What's Wrong with the New York Giants?

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The New York Giants are falling right into place with their NFC East division brothers. Sophomore QB Andy Dalton shone for the Bengals last Sunday, and if Giants QB Eli Manning was paying any attention, he could have learned a thing or two from this young upstart. Now, having dropped two straight games, the 6-4 Giants will go into a bye week scratching their heads, wondering what happened to the magic that brought them a Superbowl championship last season.

The shellacking that was delivered to the Giants uncovered the giant elephant in the locker room. Manning can’t throw the ball. He has no pass protection. The defense has no pass rush. Manning keeps throwing to the wrong colors, and he has a history of second-half-of-the-season slumps. He has gone from a completion percentage of 56 in his first seven games to 30 in his last three. His touchdown to interception ratio was 6-3 in his first 7 games (not even one TD/game?) to 0-3 in his last three. More importantly, his yards per attempt average went from 13.6 to 6.8 yards. Manning swears he doesn’t have a “tired arm,” and he may not. Maybe he needs to look at a different target, because Manning has not thrown a touchdown in the last three games.

His favorite target, meanwhile, Victor Cruz, is more interested in the lavish NFL lifestyle that is being a Giant. Instead of apologizing for God-awful play against the Bengals on Monday morning, Cruz took to Facebook to ask which hat would better suit his Young Whales Brand clothing lineup. It would be nice if he cared as much about his performance as he does his personal sartorial branding. In fact, save that shit for the off-season. For 16 lousy weeks out of the year, he gets paid to do one thing: catch a ball. Is the Giants’ 3-year, $1.22 million salary not enough? He’s getting paid $490,000 in 2012.

That’s $30,625 for each regular season game, including a paid day off during your bye (which you’ll be enjoying this weekend). EVEN IF YOUR OFFENSE DOMINATES IN EVERY ASPECT OF THE GAME, YOU’RE STILL SPENDING LESS THAN AN HOUR ON THE FIELD! I wish I could make $30 grand an hour. Oh, I know, he has to watch tapes, practice, sign autographs, make appearances. But worrying about your clothing line after a questionable AFC team beat you up the day before is plain silly.

And what happened to Coach Tom Coughlin? The once-tough “I’ll bench your ass in a New York minute” leader had players crying from the locker room to the media. He has softened his ways over the past couple of years (and yes, still won a Superbowl), but the only gripe in recent memory about Coughlin was from ex-Giant Plaxico Burress, but he griped about Bill Cowher when he was with the Steelers and would likely gripe about anywhere he played. The nice thing about karma is that he’s now an unsigned free agent.

Maybe Coughlin should tighten the screws on his team. Manning grew under his harsher-than average tutelage. He was considered a branch off the Bill Parcells tree. In 2008, “Sports Illustrated” asked 320 NFL pros who they would least like to play for. Coughlin won that vote, ahead of Bill Belichick. Parcells himself was only fifth.

Now, it seems like Coughlin is only going through the motions. Or maybe he’s come to another startling revelation: A steady record of second-half-of-the-season slumps does not make an elite QB.