On paper, the New York Giants look like a tough, competitive team. On the field, they look like a tough team.
The New York Giants are 1-2 to begin the season, with their lone victory coming at the hands of the weak Carolina Panthers. Since then they have been pummeled by both the Indianapolis Colts and on Sunday by the Tennessee Titans.
The Giants turned the ball over three times against the Colts, one of those turnovers a fumble that turned into a one yard score for Fili Moala. Turning the ball over three times to the Colts is a disaster waiting to happen to any team, especially for a team like the Giants, who are having trouble scoring this season.
The loss to the Colts was just a preview of what was to come the following week against the Titans. When the Giants were actually playing football they dominated the Titans. Eli Manning was 34-48 for 386 yards. He had no touchdown passes though, and two interceptions, one of them a comical left handed "throw" that ended up as a Tennessee touchdown. Chris Johnson had 125 yards rushing, but averaged less than four yards per carry overall. If not for a 42-yard gallop on one play, his numbers would not have looked nearly as good. 11 penalties, including 5 personal fouls though, killed any chance of the Giants actually winning the game.
Coach Tom Coughlin has discipline problems on his hands. He pulled two players on Sunday, Antrel Rolle and Kareem McKenzie after retaliation personal fouls. Coughlin has been in this situation before though. Even with four playoff appearances in six years, including a Super Bowl win over the "unbeatable" New England Patriots, Coughlin has faced some kind of adversity every year. The media and more than one player have called for Coughlin's head, going back to 2004. This year is no different, with former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher rumored to be interested in Coughlin's job if he's fired at the end of the season.
Don't look for that to happen though. Coughlin has been in this situation before, and is likely to be here in the future. The Giants have a good team, but right now they’re just making too many mistakes. Eli Manning is in the top 10 in passing yards. He turns the ball over though. The Giants as a team commit too many penalties. Their redzone offense is awful. They run up and down the field and accomplish nothing. Coughlin has seen it all before.
If you have raw, but undisciplined talent, you probably want a guy like Tom Coughlin at the helm. The Giants don't need to be nurtured, they need to be whipped into shape, and Coughlin has the personality to deal with undisciplined players. It may take a little time though, but look for the Giants to make a run later in the season. This isn't the first time the Giants have been counted out early in the season. Tom Coughlin may well prove critics to be wrong once again.