The National Football League is a funny thing really, teams projected to be good end up bad and teams thought to be devoid of talent sometime end of being pretty good. Recently, Mike Garafolo, Giants beat writer on nj.com, posted a nice little article featuring Justin Tuck, who had this to say: “…I think we got spoiled,” he said. “We started 5-0 and we kind of looked at ourselves like, ‘Here we go again. We’re going to make the playoffs and blah, blah, blah.’ And then we got hit in our face and we couldn’t respond. So it’s a good thing. I’m actually happy all of that happened last year because not we have to start from square one.”
Interesting, very interesting. Nothing serves as better motivation than past failure. And, Tom Coughlin, if nothing else, has proven to be effective at motivating his team. Though last year, perhaps not so much. Former Giant Antonio Pierce is exactly right, Tom Coughlin, the coaching staff, Jerry Reese, and most of the players not named Eli Manning (or wide receivers) are on the hot seat in 2010 and it makes sense why. Sure, the Giants were decimated by injuries last year (no injury was more impactful than losing Kenny Philips for the year after week 2 of the season), but all teams suffer significant injuries and Tom Coughlin and his coaching staff were never able to right the ship and most fans would agree that the Giant effort, while battling for a playoff birth, was anything but Giant.
Justin Tuck’s comments are honest and revealing, if this team, especially the defense, is not motivated to wipe away the embarrassment of 2009, than big changes are in order. for Tom Coughlin, it is playoffs or bust. A return to Giant football on defense is crucial to this team’s success. And even with the noted development of Eli and the passing game, the Giants need to be able to run the ball more effectively, which is dependent on Jacobs and Bradshaw staying healthy and the offensive line returning to a dominating run-blocking unit, no guarantees for either, but the feeling I get is the guys are motivated, competition will be fierce, and there is little room for error. Tom Coughlin and the entire roster is on the hot seat and perhaps the Giants couldn’t be in a better situation because of it.