With two games left in the 2014 regular season the New York Giants will finish in the same fashion in which they started it — with many questions left unanswered. It is natural to go into a season with questions but the Giants have played out a season that makes observers as lost in thought as they have been within a decade of following this season. Despite still fielding a strong core of players and coaching, this season is leaving the same stale taste in mouths of fans after experiencing last season’s letdown.
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Head coach Tom Coughlin is still in headlines in regards to whether or not he is still the right man for the job. Coughlin, in his defense, gets more criticism than he deserves.
His team has been ravaged by injuries (they are leading the NFL with the most players on injured reserved) yet it is somehow his fault that a lack of depth is the reason why his team is not executing as sharply as they should.
Quarterback Eli Manning, who is putting together a solid season after a worrisome preseason and season-opener, is due for a revaluation by the organization with his current contract coming to its demise after next season.
He has proven that he can play in offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo’s West Coast offense and can be extremely effective in it – granted it is more of a quarterback-friendly system.
The rise of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. makes brass and fans salivate at the idea of pairing him with Victor Cruz. In the passing game next season, Manning should only be better in 2015 with another season in this system along with having his top-two weapons ready to execute.
The offensive line has not been as successful as many have hoped. However, they are a struggling unit because of their inexperience in terms of playing time, along with the cohesiveness with playing together. While the unit struggled last season as well, it was because of the decline of veterans such as center David Baas and guard Chris Snee.
Oct 5, 2014; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin talks to New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham (13) before the game against the Atlanta Falcons at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
During this season, center-made-guard Weston Richburg struggled mightily at times and earned a benching while the Giants hosted the Dallas Cowboys back in Week 12.
Another season will only make the young unit better, highlighted with offensive tackles Will Beatty and Justin Pugh. Pugh may also be considered for a move along the interior if the Giants were to have a chance in bringing in another talented offensive tackle.
The Giants are currently in a transition phase. Whether or not this phase results in success will only be determined down the road. With a baby-faced offensive line, the looking of a rising star in Beckham, and a refreshed Manning – there is a lot to look forward to.
While some fans may be calling for a new head coach and a young franchise quarterback to rebuild around, replacing the duo of Coughlin and Manning would make everyone regress and the last two seasons would have been a waste.
Yes, the last two seasons have kind of been a waste given 2013 resulted in a 7-9 record and this season will at best result in the same. But they also brought clarity and attention that the franchise needs in order to shake up its roster. Coughlin is still every bit as eager to do his job and there have been no signs of any “quit” by the players.
It has become a question of talent instead of heart, and the leadership is still there. With two games to go the offense still has a lot to play for. If McAdoo is any sort of answer then his unit must show that his system is one that Giants’ brass are going to want to keep investing into. Continuity is vital for future success.