Panic in the Meadowlands

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The names Eli Manning, Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall, and Jason Pierre-Paul all have something in common: they all play for the New York Giants and they all have struggled to earn a win this season. This isn’t like them. In years past, most notably, 2007 and 2011, they twice beat the NFL powerhouse the New England Patriots, and star quarterback Eli Manning nailed down two Super Bowl MVPs. In this 2017 season, they haven’t played nearly as good compared to those in years past. This isn’t something that is new to this team. After winning the Super Bowl in 2011, the team fell into a slump or a “hangover”. The Giants suffered three consecutive losing seasons and struggled being a playoff contender. Eventually in 2016, with the goal of returning to the playoffs, Manning and the Giants succeeded in their efforts but fell short in the Wild Card game against Aaron Rodgers and the Packers. Now that we’re in the 2017 season, what’s holding the Giants back from being the great team they once were?

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Photo by Ted Kerwin. Licensed for reuse by CCAA2.

The blame has shifted from head coach Ben McAdoo, Brandon Marshall, and Eli Manning for not making the right plays. The buck is going to stop somewhere. In order to come together as a team and overcome the obstacles that have found their way in the Giant’s path to the playoff; unity, strength, and communication are the names of the game to win. These have to be kept as the main thing. And as Stephen Covey puts it,“The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” One big aspect of the Giant’s offense that desperately needs work is their running and passing game. New York ranks 31st in rushing yards with 59.3 yards and 19th in yards of total offense. They also rank very poorly in first downs and third down conversions.

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Photo by Erik Drost. Licensed for reuse by CCAA2.

According to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, “I think regardless of the offense that’s run it still comes down to players making plays and it’s about them being able to go out there and perform.” Performing for the New York Giants translates to scoring 7 touchdowns this whole season with Manning scoring only one of them. There’s no denying that the workload needs to be shared and dispersed evenly throughout the offense, but it’s clear there is something wrong with Manning. Some of the questions out there are about pocket protection, offensive line woes, and wide receiver locations. When Beckham Jr. was asked what wasn’t going right for them, he mentioned the importance of Manning and how leadership within a team is vital for success, “Is he going to lead us there? Absolutely. He’s done it before and I don’t see why he wouldn’t do it again. He just had a slow start, you know?” It may all be there for Manning and the Giants, it may just take time to develop on their weaknesses and capitalize on their strengths.

Just recently, New York suffered the loss of 4 of their top-tier wide receivers creating a gaping hole in the Giant’s offense. There are some unique options as to who will fill this void and close the standings gap this early in the season. Former NFL stars Terrell Owens and Chad Johnson took to social media and reached out for a possible job opportunity. Two veteran offensive players wouldn’t be such a bad idea for this team. T.O. and Ochocinco might just be the pieces to this puzzle and could very well revitalize and revamp not only the team’s morale but their season record as well. As it stands, I’m sure Manning would appreciate their company.

This is Mike Sullivan on improving their offense in hopes of a better record, “[Improvement] never happens as fast as we might like and there’s frustration, I’m sure, from all of our fans and from everyone on the outside looking in and, guess what, our players are frustrated with themselves. We’re frustrated in ourselves as coaches.” Frustration is one thing, and we all saw how that went for OBJ and that kicking net last season.

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Time may solve the New York Giant’s problems, but time is one thing that isn’t on their side. Fans, players, and coach’s patience wither away and then you’re left with nothing to hold on to. Lackluster results lead to staffing changes, benched players, and empty stadium seats. It takes a collective effort to become good, and like the great Lou Holtz once said, “Ability is what you’re capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it.”

The Giants have the potential, they’ve shown that they’re capable of doing great things in the past. If they can beat the 2007 Patriots, they can come back from being 0-4.

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