NFC East Update

Football Outsiders posted an NFC East update late last week, here’s the gist when it comes to the Giants:

How can the second-half struggles under Tom Coughlin stop?

Under Tom Coughlin, the Giants have exhibited a disturbing trend: They get worse as the season goes along. In each of Coughlin’s seven seasons at the helm, New York’s record in the second half of the season has been worse than their record through the first eight games of the year. If we assume that there’s no meaningful reason for that to be the case, the odds of that occurring in seven consecutive seasons is less than one percent.

Be that as it may, the reality is the Giants have not finished strong under Coughlin for the bulk of his tenure and that is a huge problem. Plus, FBO gave him the excuse of the century:

One problem is out of their control: Their schedule has been much more difficult in the second half over that timeframe.

So what — in order to win you have to figure out how to win the easy game easily, and the find a way to grind out the tough ones. The Giants have not done that consistently, and are clearly built for the regular season, not the post season right now. How do they look to change that in 2011?

FBO’s Roster/Free Agency bullet points:

• the Super Bowl run in 2007 came after what looked to beone of the best drafts of the decade
• Steve Smith is coming off of microfracture surgery, long-term viability in jeopardy
• Kevin Boss is a tough guy, but $12 in guaranteed money?
• Ahmad Bradshaw’s issues vs Brandon Jacobs’s issues… who is more of a priority?
• Barry Cofield alone is better than expensive free agents Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard… but they’ll probably let Cofield walk.
• Mathias Kiwanuka could be fourth on the depth chart at end heading into 2011, he may be too risky and expensive to keep
• Giants will also likely part ways to fullback Madison Hedgecock

Here’s the low hanging fruit – thank you Bear Pascoe for doing as good of a job at FB than Hedgecock has basically ever done in a Giants uniform. After that, it gets wishy washy.

All I can say is remember the week following the 2009 season — John Mara basically said the status quo would not do in this organization, and there is money to bring in talent and keep it in NY Blue. I think that sentiment extends to this year after the way things ended up missing the playoffs. The Giants need to keep Smith, Bradshaw, Cofield, and depending on the final outcome of Kiwanuka’s injury — the Giants would benefit from his added depth along the defensive line and make a good line into a great one.

Bradshaw and Jacobs together again in 2011? Swallow the pride and get it done — they can be one of the best tandums in football if you let them. Forget Jacobs’ issues — he has a place on the Giants and it’s WITH Bradshaw… not behind him. Another year of the ‘backfield of one’ campaign and I think all the good will that ~2000 rushing yards were gained as a team is enough to grow on… regardless of who starts. Splitting carries is going to happen, both players are unique in their skill sets… let’s see the Giants find a way to utilize both and stay deceptive at the same time.

In other NFC East news from the article:

• Terrance Newman may get the ax in Dallas, Cowboys need OL and S free agents.
• Eagles should trade Kevin Kobb
• Redskins will likely cut McNabb, possibly Haynesworth. Already have cut ties with Portis.

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