Time for New York Giants franchise to look in the mirror

ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 16: Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys hits Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 16, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TX - SEPTEMBER 16: Jaylon Smith #54 of the Dallas Cowboys hits Eli Manning #10 of the New York Giants in the third quarter at AT&T Stadium on September 16, 2018 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

Former New York Giants head coach Bill Parcells used to opine, “You are what your record says you are.”

It’s about time that the entire New York Giants franchise adopts that mentality. At 0-2 for the fifth time in six seasons, Big Blue has started their season inauspiciously. What’s worse seems to be the fact that despite all the free agent pick-ups, trades, “can’t miss” draft picks and new coaches, this team looks like a mirror image of its predecessor.

Diehard New York Giants fans aren’t going to want to hear that evaluation. If that’s the case, then revert back to the Parcell’s mantra. At the end of the NFL day, all that matters is your record.

More concerning to everyone than 0-2 should be the prospects for improvement. Anyone who thinks that their record hasn’t been earned, should think again, or at least try to look at things factually. Nearly everyone on the squad and coaching staff can improve, and the entire NFL knows how to exploit the New York Giants offensive line and defensive scheme.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way.

After all the bluster about watching the game film, schemes, execution, banding together and being patient, only one New York Giants player hit the nail on the head after yesterday’s 20-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. It was wide receiver Odell Beckham, who in actuality, should be the most frustrated New York Giants player.

According to the team’s official website, Beckham said:

"“They just outplayed us. Plain and simple. [The Cowboys] just came out and beat us.”"

Lucky for Big Blue that OBJ already put pen to paper on a contract extension, otherwise he might not want to sign up for another five years of this.

Improvement needed

If you thought that the New York Giants offense would be a juggernaut at this point, you were wrong. In fact, many Big Blue fans thought that rookie running back Saquon Barkley became the final puzzle piece upon being drafted.

(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images) /

And if you think the Giants gave up on their rushing attack too quickly, you’re wrong again. Barkley had 11 carries for 28 yards. Those were 11 painful carries with barely a sliver of open space. Barkley averaged 2.5 yards per carry, and not by coincidence.

Barkley also had 14 receptions on 16 targets. Those 14 receptions netted just 80 yards. Can’t argue with the philosophy of getting Barkley into space. It just didn’t work.

The running game won’t improve without better productivity from the offensive line. Ditto for the passing attack. But is improvement possible with the current personnel grouping? That’s hard to tell, but an injury to Jon Halapio already means that the center position is in flux.

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Overall, if the excuse is that the o-line needs more time to gell, then why wasn’t that idea force fed in the preseason?

You can’t win a Super Bowl in September, but you can torpedo your season. Teams who start 0-2 have an 11 percent chance to make the NFL playoffs. And with this team’s personnel, the 2018 NFL season was not supposed to be a rebuilding campaign.

Statistically speaking, of the Giants 255 total offensive yards, 83 yards were given back in sacks and penalties. Under those conditions, it’s difficult, at best, to win an NFL game.

Defensively, teams have thrown the aggressiveness of James Bettcher’s defensive scheme back into the face of the New York Giants. On Sunday night, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott had seven rushes for 45 yards. On at least two occasions, Dallas got the G-Men to bite hard on the read option. Both Connor Barwin and Kareem Martin were left in the dust.

And giving up an early 64-yard touchdown from Dak Prescott to Tavon Martin was an unforgivable sin. Take away that bomb and understand that Prescott had less than 100 yards passing otherwise. He completed 64 percent of his passes, and his quarterback rating was still less than Eli Manning (95.4 vs. 98.6).

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The team gets to right the ship against the similarly situated Houston Texans (0-2) this week. A loss on Sunday means the New York Giants are staring down the barrel of an 0-4 start. Hopefully, a win generates confidence for the squad. Right now, however, it seems like the entire franchise is in need of a reboot though.