As the dust settles and the smoke clears on this unexpectedly disappointing start to the 2019 season (by some) and we look forward to Tampa, the common theme running through my head has been adjustments, or lack thereof. Until the bombshell news dropped Tuesday that Shurmur is letting the Danimal out of his cage, I hadn’t seen one adjustment made to help this team win. In a league where year in and year out, we watch Bill Belichick outmaneuver and outcoach his way to the Super Bowl, either by in-game adjusting or fine tuning his machine on a week to week basis, the GMen have stumbled out the block to 0-2, again. Although Pat Shurmur is only responsible for the Giants starting 0’fer the last two years, they’ve done it six out of the last seven after getting worked by the Cowboys what feels like every opening day.
The offensive side of the ball, with a newly rebuilt offensive line and the most dynamic back in the game, was supposed to be the heart and strength of this team. Behind 25 to 30 carries a game, the ideal game plan for the Giants to win was to win time of possession battle and hammer the rock. What did the offense do on the first possessions of both the Cowboys and Bills game? They dominated the line of scrimmage, put the ball in Barkley’s hands, and ran the ball down their throats. The second possession of Game One started with the Giants moving the ball across mid field, only to have the drive stall after the NFL did the Boys a solid and picked up the 12 men in the huddle flag. Then, on 3rd and 1 on the Dallas 36, you run a play action bootleg with your 38-year-old immobile QB only to get flagged for an intentional grounding. What the hell am I missing here?
Fast forward a week, to the second possession of Week Two against Buffalo. After a heavy dose of the running game, capped off by a 27-yard Saquan TD run, Shurmur followed up a 5-yard run to start the second drive with an incomplete dump-off pass intended for Engram. A bonehead false start brought the drive to a halt before it even began. When you have a football team full of shortcomings as far as talent, it’s the coaching staff’s responsibility to put the players in the best position to win through a combination of play calling and game preparation. If you’re fielding a JV wide receiving corps up against a formidable Buffalo defense, why go away from what’s working? Maybe it’s because the first ten to twenty plays of the game are scripted and Shurmur can’t adjust to what’s going on in the game? The opposing team has adjusted of each first drive in the past two games, and the Giant offense needs to be able to adjust their game plan once that initial adjustment happens.
Speaking of adjustments, nobody has been worse at adjusting then James Bettcher. Going into last year, when Bettcher was hired, we were hearing that this guy would be in line for a future head coaching job. Two games into Year Two, we’re wondering if he keeps his defensive coordinator job.
One thing I’ve been hearing of late, is that Bettcher’s defense is on the more complicated side and takes a while to learn. The players just need to go out there and play ball. Stop overthinking everything. Unfortunately, time is not on your side Mr. Bettcher. If your defensive schemes are so complicated that Jack Rabbit looks juts as lost as Baker, then maybe it’s time to make some adjustments to your defensive game plans. While the front seven did make strides from game one to game two, the amount of time both Prescott and Allen had 3rd down was comical and you couldn’t expect Deion Sanders in his prime to fair well out there.
Mr. Glass-Half-Empty’s Take:
As I turn my attention to the debut of Daniel Jones, I’m trying to temper my expectations. I am trying not get too high or excited, and let me tell you, it’s not very hard. In the ultimate team game, where it takes the full eleven players on both sides of the ball contributing and playing a high level to get a win NFL, Daniel Jones does not distract from the fact that we have too many holes in too many places to be winning team. What it does make me realize is that the Giants brass, from Mara down to Shurmur, have removed their heads from their collective asses and realized that the future must start now.
When I hear how Eli was disrespected for the way the Giants handled his benching in 2017, or how Manning is being disrespected now by not getting a fair shot this year since he’s not the reason they’re losing games, the only thing that comes to my mind is “What about the fans?”
It’s time for this franchise to start acting, and more importantly, playing like the New York Football Giants. The future is now and despite my piss poor attitude, I’m just as excited as everyone else to see what this kid can do. As I pray to God that the team stops looking like a three-ring circus, and start looking like a team we can be hopeful for in the near future, you can find me in the nose bleeds, Bleeding Blue.