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New York Giants Week 8 Postgame Thoughts: The Little Things

The Giants continue to come up short with their efforts, and it's becoming maddening.

As a writer, I'm heavily dependent on my laptop working properly. 

But as anyone who has ever worked with a computer before knows, sometimes things happen. So what do I do if my laptop decides to get cranky and I'm not at home? I use my iPhone to write. No, it's not ideal, and my aging eyes struggle to see the tiny keyboard, but if I have a deadline to meet, it's better than nothing.

My point? Giants head coach Joe Judge revealed in his postgame press conference last night that they've been having trouble with the headsets, and it was inferred that was the reason behind players not always being lined up properly, which has, in turn, forced them to burn timeouts that they could have probably used later in the game.

It happened again last night as the Giants wasted five of their six timeouts because the team wasn't lined up correctly. And a strong argument could be made that the two that were wasted in the first half could have come in handy with the Giants getting the ball back before the half and trying to add points to the scoreboard only to have no choice but to run out the clock they couldn't stop.

(Why they weren't running more plays outside the numbers to allow players to get out of bounds to stop the clock is a whole other puzzle to solve at another time.)

While Judge admitted that they could have done things to give themselves a better chance to succeed, he also volunteered that the coaching staff has been dealing with malfunctioning headsets more than one time this season, regardless of the venue.

"I don’t want to make this all about headsets," Judge said as he was continually pressed on the subject after the game. " I would say this. Whoever is in charge of it. I don’t know the exact answer. I don’t know if it comes from the league or us exactly, but they better fix it fast."

I'm not sure how Judge has set up the communications among the coaching staff, but I do know that the three coordinators--Jason Garrett, Patrick Graham, and Thomas McGaughey--are all on the sideline and not in the press box.  While Judge did say they would use hand signals if the equipment is unreliable, it's unclear if they did so last night (judging by how things played out, that's debatable).

Judge continued.

"We are trying to make the right call. There were other times it was not the right look. I wanted to make sure we settled down, but the other one with the substitution right there, that is a breakdown. We have to make sure the hardware is working. So whatever the issue with that is, the people involved better get it fixed fast."

"We will do hand signals or whatever we have to do," Judge continued. "If we can’t rely on the equipment, we will figure something else out. At one point, we tried to go back to the old equipment, and they told us we were not allowed to do it for whatever reason. We didn’t have issues with it last year for the most part. Hopefully we will figure that out.”

If this has been happening every game, it's somewhat unsettling that it hasn't been figured out yet. 

Some other thoughts...

1. How disappointing was it to see Sterling Shepard, who is the last guy you'd expect to run a questionable route, run a route a year or so short of the sticks on the Giants second scoring drive of the game, the one that ended in a 23-yard Graham Gano field goal conversion?

Again, maybe there's more to this than I have been led to believe, but when a team is running a third down play, why wouldn't you want to have your receivers--all of them--run routes past the sticks?

2. Is it me, or is punter Riley Dixon producing at least one clunker in almost every game?

Dixon punted five times, and his first three were positive. On his fourth one, which came with 7:45 left in the third quarter at their 47-yard line on a 4th and-3--why the coaches didn't go for it at this spot is another topic--instead of pooching, Dixon went for direction. The ball, predictably, went out of bounds at the 19-yard line, the Giants failing to pin the Chiefs inside the 10. Inexcusable.

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Also inexcusable was his fifth and final punt when he did the same thing, coming up with a 34-yarder that set the Chiefs up at their 29-yard line instead of inside the 10. Never mind that the Chiefs had zero punt return yards against the Giants--field position can be won and lost with ball placement on punts, and on those two punts, Dixon came up short.

3. The whole point of winning the coin toss and deferring is that you ideally want to be the last team to touch the ball before halftime since you'll be the first team to touch it coming out of the half. As such, you want to make sure you come away with points on the board in both instances.

Well, the Giants won the toss and deferred, but that was about as far as they got with fulfilling the master plan of scoring before halftime and then again coming out of the half.

The lack of urgency in that final drive before halftime bothered me the most about the drive before the half (besides not having the wasted timeouts).

Getting the ball with 1:36 to go, the Giants, with no timeouts, showed no sense of urgency, and they ran several plays up the middle of the field rather than outside the numbers where they might have a chance to stop the clock by going out of bounds.

Then when the offensive line penalties hit--Will Hernandez was flagged for a false start, and then Nate Solder was flagged for holding on the following play. The Giants just seemed to raise the white flag of surrender, content to go into the locker room down by four after failing to get out of their own territory.

Again, I don't get it. Sure the penalties hurt, and perhaps that was them reading the tea leaves as saying the football Gods just weren't going to allow them to score. But I can't help but wonder if they had been a little more aggressive and smarter earlier on in getting plays out of bounds to stop the clock, would things have been different?

4. Teams will get penalized, but the most alarming thing with the Giants last night was the number of discipline-related penalties they drew.

I'm not talking about subjective calls like holding or the phantom face mask penalty. I'm talking false starts, off-sides, tauntings, and unsportsmanlike penalties.

The Giants now have 59 penalties this season that have nullified 144 yards. Against the Chiefs, they had ten penalties for 88 yards, nearly an entire football field.

Of the ten penalties, three were discipline-related (unnecessary roughness and taunting), and two were for fundamental infractions (illegal touch and false start).

For a team that prides itself on the fundamentals, that's simply inexcusable.

5. It's been very unfortunate that the Giants receivers can't seem to stay healthy this year. That said, did anyone else get the impression last night that when the Giants lost Dante Pettis and Sterling Shepard to injuries (and with Kadarius Toney apparently on a pitch count), it seemed as though whatever the Giants had planned on offense went flying out the window?

I thought, for example, the tight ends could have been utilized a little more to help pick up the slack, yet I'm not so sure the Giants made that adjustment.

Running back, Devontae Booker ended up with a team-high six pass targets, catching five balls for 65 yards, second-most behind John Ross's 72 yards. Booker is solid but not explosive, so why not give more of those targets to the tight ends and see if they could generate a little more?

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