Takeaways from the Giants 31-13 Loss to Green Bay
With each mounting loss, Giants head coach Pat Shurmur is making it harder for team ownership to justify keeping him a third season.
Despite this claim about making progress behind the scenes, any progress has been superficial.
"They fight, and they are resilient," Shurmur said when asked what specific progress the players have shown. "That game was in the balance. We had an opportunity within one score, and it got away from us. That’s where I see it. They fight, and some of these young players are very talented, and they are learning on the job here."
Sorry coach, but that's not progress--that's expected of a paid professional to fight and be resilient until the better end.
Progress is all about eliminating the same mistakes that are popping up every week, no matter who the opponent. It's about advancing each week and growing, not doing what you're supposed to be doing.
That Shurmur can't tell the difference between progress and people doing what they're supposed to do is just as alarming as the team's won-loss record itself.
Here are a few other thoughts and observations.
Can We Stop with the Youth Excuse?
According to this article from the Philly Voice, the Giants had the 18th youngest team as of the 53-man roster cutdown date way back at the end of August.
Even if you want to buy the youth excuse, this year's Giants team's average age is 26.0 versus the average age of 26.1 from 2018, and that 2018 team still found ways to show progress at the end of the year.
Age shouldn't matter at this point. The majority of these players have been together since the May OTAs and have had plenty of time to work on formations, communication, etc.
To see the same mistakes made week after week, albeit by different players, defies logic.
Oh and if you want a number to chew on, this Giants team has an eight-game losing streak, one shy of the team record, and this team has not shown the kind of progress it did in the last five games of last season where, despite a 2-3 record, you could actually see signs of growth in the roster.
That they have failed to build upon that progress is one of the most damning aspects of Shurmur's 2019 season.
About the Future
I have no idea if the Giants plan to make a change at head coach--I would think if the losing streak continues, then it becomes a given.
But should Shurmur somehow get another year--and to be clear, I think that would be a mistake--they MUST shake up the assistant staff.
I'd start with defensive coordinator James Bettcher. I have said for a long time that I believe Bettcher is coaching these players as though they're at Level 4 when they haven't mastered Level 1, and that bothers me to no end.
For example, why leave your young cornerbacks out there to try to figure things out when it's clear they're struggling?
Wouldn't it make more sense to let the kids build up some confidence each week then to leave them out there to be engulfed by the wolves?
Take, for instance, Corey Ballentine. He's a good kid, and he works hard. You can usually find him in the locker room during the open media period with his face in his playbook. But the last two weeks he's struggled to play the slot, which isn't an easy position to play.
So why not play him outside and move Janoris Jenkins into the slot, especially if the other team's best receiver happens to be their slot guy (as was the case the last two weeks)?
This is just one glaring example of head-scratching decisions made by the coaching staff.
Want another? How is it that veterans and youngsters alike are getting spun around like tops in the defensive secondary? Say what you want about Antoine Bethea and his lack of speed, but I find it hard to believe that some of the mistakes you're seeing him make aren't a result of the coverage scheme being called.
Besides the frustration in the players' voices over how they're being deployed, other issues leave one wondering what this staff is thinking.
Here's one other thing to chew on. When you see a veteran like Antoine Bethea getting turned around like a top, and you see the rookies continuing to be turned around, it's certainly fair to wonder what's going on in the classroom that there would be this many breakdowns this late in the season.
The coaches are right; you can't use the youth excuse anymore. But that these breakdowns keep happening has one starting to believe that this isn't all on the players.
So what Gives with the Snap Counts
This is a minor point in the grand scheme of things, but running back Wayne Gallman didn't get a single snap Sunday on offense or special teams--Buck Allen took his snaps--and on defense, rookie Oshane Ximines only received an estimated ten snaps.
Why? Based on what I could gather, it was a coach's decision and one that left each player not only disappointed but confused as to what they might have done (or didn't do) to earn a decrease in snaps.
Again, this team has much bigger problems, but I can't help but wonder if the coaches had gone to these players and maybe clued them in on the thought process--you know, give them a little more of a sense of ownership into the whole thing-- perhaps it would have been a better look all around?
No, Eli isn't the Answer
I've seen a few people jump on my Twitter feed suggesting the Giants play Eli Manning (ironically some of the same people who couldn't wait to run Manning out of town on a rail).
Let me stop you right there. Once the Giants flipped the page to Daniel Jones, barring an injury, there was NO WAY they were going back to Manning. NONE.
To cry for Manning now is not only ludicrous, but it's also not happening. This team has nothing to play for other than draft position, and at this point, you might as well let Daniel Jones continue to work out some of the bugs in his game.
But I'll leave you with this. Next time you think that one player is behind the team's misfortunes, remember that football is a team game, and it's rarely one player's fault, even if that one player appears to be the common denominator.