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No simple cause or solution - another persepctive

Gross Blau Oberst : 11/7/2017 2:28 pm
Much of the Giants fan base, including many on BBI, are disgusted with the 2017 Giants. Rightfully so. 11-5 in 2016 followed by 1-7 so far, and quite possibly 2-14 by season's end. Disgusting.

Opinions on how and why the Giants reached this point are endless, yet most point to similar conclusions. Blaming someone is all that appears to matter now: not the underlying reasons and they are many reasons. Fire someone!

In my opinion that is the overly simplistic reaction brought on by emotional strife. The beloved team is losing and is a league wide embarrassment. Especially tough to deal with after many predicted a super bowl type of run. Instead, the Giants have produced a product that warrants a toilet bowl run. Embarrassed. Mad. Frustrated. A human sacrifice is demanded.

The two main sacrificial candidates are the GM and/or the head coach. One or both must go many say. Before we offer the Giants human sacrifice up to the gods, perhaps we should consider the causes that corrections that are needed and it is more than human sacrifices.

To me, there are three main areas that brought about the Giants current situation. Some of have fermenting for a few years.
• Talent Evaluation
• Team Building
• Rookie Head Coach.

Talent Evaluation. Whoever is evaluating the teams personnel has not been honest with themselves or is sight impaired. The Giants staff and many of their fans have overvalued the talent on the Giants roster and the Free Agents they pursue / acquire. Sure, there have been notable successes (Harrison and Jenkins) but these are too few and too far between.

Within the Giants, the individuals responsible for evaluating the talent are:
• Senior Vice President and General Manager: Jerry Reese
• Assistant General Manager: Kevin Abrams
• Vice President of Player Evaluation: Marc Ross
• Director of Pro Personnel: Ken Sternfeld
• Director of Football Operations/Special Projects: Vacant

The coaching staff have input on the current players and may even have input on the who to pursue in Free Agency. But the ultimate decision and responsibility lie with the staff listed above.

The inability to improve the offensive line is often cited as a multi-year issue. The Giants have invested multiple premium draft choices (Pugh, Richburg, Flowers) on the line, yet the results have not produced as hoped. Pugh has been successful in multiple positions, and Richburg had 1 very good year and then regressed. Flowers has performed as predicted by most draft analysts - struggling at Left Tackle and better suited for right tackle. Beyond these three premium picks, the greatest Giants error has been the refusal to pursue a realistic competition to Flowers at Left tackle. The Giants had opportunity to upgrade the line, yet passed on multiple quality Left Tackle free agents because they were determined to keep Flowers at Left Tackle. None of the LTs to visit the Giants were interested in changing positions or competing with Flowers for LT. These LT candidates moved on to other teams and some are doing quite well this year. Of late, Flowers has been criticized less, but that may be more to do with other areas for critics to focus on, and not solely on Flowers' improved play.

The Giants have overestimated the talent on the roster and failed to upgrade the line.

Team Building. The draft is how teams build a roster base, and use Free Agency to supplement. The Giants draft success has been discussed and debated for years on BII. The conclusion of the discussion never changes - the team has not had enough success in drafting players to field a talented team that can compete year after year. Who to blame is where the discussion leaves the tracks and arguments ensue.

At the end of the 2015 season, the conversation was eerily similar. The Giants were not, and had not been, successful on the field (for a few years at that point). At that time the decision was made to blame it on the head coach and force him to resign / retire out of the position. The Giants elected to retain the person who built the roster for Coughlin to compete with on the field.

The Giants staff responsible for acquiring the Talent Evaluation and Team Building have remained largely unchanged.

After a huge splash in the 2016 Free Agency, the team appeared to surge ahead and produce an 11-5 season. With many of the wins being very competitive and decided by a small margin. The defense was vastly improved, but the offense was not, and was masked over by the defenses success.

Now halfway through 2017, the bottom has fallen out and the talent problem has been exposed once more. The offensive problems from 2015 (and earlier) have not been fixed (offensive line). The offensive skill positions have not been able to flourish because of a inability to protect the QB or create lanes for the runners to exploit. The 2017 defense has returned to a more realistic level of play, good enough to win, but not good enough to cover for the lack of offensive scoring.

Rookie Head Coach. Many want to place the blame solely, or in large part, on Ben McAdoo's shoulders. OK. The head coach is responsible for all that happens on the field and off of it. I get that. He is responsible, but is he the cause for the 1-7 record?

Ben McAdoo is coaching the Giants with a couple of significant handicaps. First is the talent situation addressed earlier.

Second is his inexperience as a head coach. Consider this - Ben McAdoo is in the middle of his second year as head coach. His first ever head coaching position. Anywhere. At any level. Four years ago, McAdoo was a position coach at Green Bay when the Giants hired him to be a first time Offensive Coordinator. 2 years as an Offensive Coordinator and suddenly a first time head coach of the New York giants. Wow! Mercurial rise. Was McAdoo ready for that?

Why did the Giants hire Ben McAdoo to be the Giants head coach? A few reasons.
First, he is recognized as a talented coach that the Giants did not want to lose. Ben McAdoo is well regarded by the Giants and Green Bay organizations, if not league wide.

Second, the Giants did not want to lose Ben McAdoo to the Eagles who were reportedly pursuing Ben to be their head coach.

Lastly, the Giants wanted to retain continuity in Ben's offensive schemes and relationship with Eli Manning. Continuity reigns supreme with the Giants organization.

McAdoo receives significant criticism. Some warranted. Others not so much.

McAdoo's critics cite the suspensions (DRC and Jenkins) as examples of Ben "losing" the team. Or the Team is "quitting" on Ben. Both are emotional reactions and damnations born out of a losing seasons. I hear very little about the players themselves being responsible for their own performance, conduct and behavior or attitudes. Many support the employee and blame management for enforcing rules. It is happening in this situation. Do fans want a head coach who doesn't hold players accountable, or unwilling or unable to enforce team rules?

Many people criticize McAdoo for how he responds to the press such as "His dismissive responses without the resume' to back them up". I actually applaud McAdoo here for fending off a press corps who has an overinflated opinion of self and their role as unqualified critic. He is the coach, he should act like the coach, regardless of his resume'. When in charge, take charge. McAdoo is doing that, but it makes him a prime target for finger pointing in his direction.

Others criticized McAdoo for calling the offensive plays on game day. Ben retained what he was most comfortable doing. He should have relinquished this to his OC long ago, but didn't. Another sign of an inexperienced head coach. Did the Giants provide a mentor to assist or advise McAdoo as he learned to be a head coach?

We are witnessing McAdoo learn and develop as a head coach. He is experiencing a lot of thing has not been responsible for in his previous positions. These are painful to experience and to watch. Does he survive to continue to grow in New York? New York is a tough place to expect patience and support from fans and the media during periods of stress.

The Giants knew this risk heading into the hiring decision. Year one worked out well. Year two has not.

This is a rookie head coach experiencing situations that he wasn't prepared for in an environment filled with hyper inflated commentary from fans and press alike. (Nothing like a controversy to inspire the press to fuel the flames).

Do the Giants continue to support McAdoo and believe in his abilities, or do they follow the 2015 model and blame the head coach and force him out?

Regardless of the head coach outcome, the Giants talent evaluation and team building staff must change. A new culture is needed there. The overhaul that was needed in 2015 didn't happen. The responsible people were retained and a hall of fame coach was blamed. Does the Giants front office take the corrective steps in 2018, that they should have taken in 2015?

The team certainly did not set up Ben McAdoo for success in 2017. Even a seasoned and experienced coach would have struggled with the current roster. Does the team still has confidence in, and retain, Ben McAdoo?

Personally, I like McAdoo and believe he will be a good head coach in time. Unfortunately for the Giants, the time is not today.

good work  
GiantNatty : 11/7/2017 2:38 pm : link
pretty much agree...
I'm not making excuses as I want a complete regime change  
Chris684 : 11/7/2017 2:59 pm : link
but there has been an element of terrible bad luck that has played a major role in this franchise's recent overall makeup.

Now, before anyone bites my head off, all franchises deal with injuries/bad luck, so that's part of it, but it does seem the Giants has been exaggerated. And yes, bad overall decisions, nostalgia and fear of change has reared its ugly head as well.

Nicks, Smith and Cruz? Careers cut short/not what they should have been.

Terrell Thomas and Kenny Philips? Careers cut short/not what they should have been.

Chad Jones, David Wilson, Will Beatty, JPP? Off the field accidents/medical conditions.

All of those guys COULD still be on the roster. All of those guys except Smith or maybe Philips SHOULD still be on the roster.

Beatty should be a vet LT playing out the 2nd contract he earned here. Flowers should be at RT (like he was drafted for). JPP should have his full 2 hands.

David Wilson should have been a star.

Forget about this season, think about all those names and the 13, 14, 15 seasons. How much different does it play out? Probably much better if you ask me.

generally a thoughtful agreeable post  
Nitro : 11/7/2017 3:14 pm : link
but McAdoo is incompetent, and I don't think he deserves the time to learn on the job. Agreed the press is prying and asks loaded questions, but he does himself no favors. Secondly, the commonality in the first two struggles is Reese, everyone else is down stream. Changes in both areas seem beyond necessary given the systemic failures stemming from both.
and frankly - deserved or not, coaches are often fall guys  
Nitro : 11/7/2017 3:15 pm : link
because it's easier to replace them then 53 players.
Dragon : 11/7/2017 3:37 pm : link
It starts and ends with Eli what is his future with this team? That’s the first thing they need to resolve in house and make public. If we go with a QB who has one or three years left then they are not looking at the future they are once again believing the hype and not the on field facts.

It’s a franchise who wants to keep things clean but it’s time they admit many changes need to be made. Number one is at QB no OL in today’s game can protect him and he is all about staying on the field and his accuracy suffers because I need to get rid of the ball now don’t get hit. He misses the throws that Goff a first year starting QB made almost all day on Sunday to complete big plays. This season record is not all his fault but can he really help this team next year or the next two years the correct answer is NO.
The problem with McAdoo is that he was promoted  
Section331 : 11/7/2017 3:45 pm : link
because he was an offensive guru, and his offenses have been among the league's worst. There are many reasons for that, some of it outside of McAdoo's responsibilities, but we have multiple occasions where opposing defensive players have said they knew what plays were going to be run.

The offense is too simplistic, and McAdoo doesn't do even the most basic things to try and help. I don't know if anyone keeps track of number of plays using motion, but if they did, I would bet that the Giants would be near or at the bottom. Motion is such an easy way to help smaller WR's (hello, you have Odell!) break bump coverage, and helps the QB identify the coverage schemes. Yet the Giants run so little of it, and when they do, it is almost always to the same side of the ball, negating its impact.
The typical fan reaction  
Gman11 : 11/7/2017 5:01 pm : link
is a simplistic solution to a complex problem. All they have to do is fire this guy or trade that player. It's a lot more complicated than that.
The league figured out McAdoo's offense  
Mike from SI : 11/7/2017 5:06 pm : link
and he hasn't adjusted it.
What is there  
Gman11 : 11/7/2017 5:51 pm : link
to figure out? It's not like they use multiple formations, a lot of motion and gadget plays. A pee wee coach can figure it out.
I like how you're working...  
Dan in the Springs : 11/7/2017 8:08 pm : link
to see beyond simple accusations to a complex problem. I don't know how you've listed the top three issues this season without mentioning the injuries. The injuries have significantly impacted the team this year.

Opening two games - no Beckham.

Next three games with Beckham - team is competitive but pull off very disappointing losses. In the third of these losses, they lose four of their five WR before the game is out. While Shepard is back now, he's missed his share of games.

Also on offense they've lost significant playing time by Perkins, Pugh and Richburg.

On defense, JPP is clearly wrapping his hand and is playing through an injury and Vernon is out. At LBer, Thomas (of course), Casillas, Goodson, Kennard, Herzlich all missing time.

In the secondary, we've missed games to both injury and suspension.

Our best special teams player is on IR.

Not to make excuses, but these injuries are significant and have definitely impacted the games. The team we see on the field is not built to run the offense the way it was designed with a focus on the passing game. OBJ's injuries alone have a huge effect on the way defenses can play us now compared to when we have him healthy on the field.

I would say that injuries have to be one of the top 3 reasons for a bad year. Most fans won't agree - "next man up" and all.
Dan, yes, injuries played a role in a 1-7 season.  
Gross Blau Oberst : 11/8/2017 7:45 am : link
But not in the first four games. Injuries were not the cause of those losses.

Yes, the offensive star of the team (OBJ) was out for the first two games. Injuries happen, but good teams can compensate with talent from the bench and adjusted game plans. When OBJ was not able to go in week 1 and 2 due to the pre-season injury with the Browns, the rest of the WRs did nothing.

Marshall who was supposed to feast off of opportunities due to the multiple offensive weapons on the team did absolutely nothing for every game up until he was injured in week 5. In the few cases where he was even targeted, he dropped the passes thrown to him. Where was the play calling adjustments to throw to the TEs and Shepard?

Injuries to the WR corps became a significant factor during game 5 when all of the starting WRs went down. That remains surreal. How can that happen?

Yes, Perkins went down in game 3, but he was not being effective before that. Darkwa has a spark to him that is working on the field. Plus I like Gallman's play as well. Perkins running style and talents seems like a bad with this OL. Perhaps Perkins needs cleaner holes to showcase his talents, that is something he won't see on the 2017 Giants very often.

Richburg went down in game three. Some say Jones outplayed Richburg in relief. Pugh has played fairly well in multiple positions. Yes Pugh did miss a game at RT, but again, that was after going 0-4 (IIRC).

Until week 5, the OBJ absence only reinforces three things: Lack of talent; Questionable Talent Evaluation (Marshall); and Poor game planning and lack of adjustments.

Lack of talent. After OBJ was out, it appeared like the Giants had no WRs in the first four games. The game 5 injuries only magnified that. The lack of talent on the OL plagued everything the Giants tried to do on offense, and there were few options available from the bench to change up the OL. Especially at LT. Flowers played horribly in the first few games. Manning was skitterish, doubting his protection, and the RBs had few holes to run through.

Questionable Talent Evaluation. The Giants truly thought Marshall stillhad game left in him. His on field performance, or lack thereof disproved that theory. Also, the talent evaluators for acquiring offensive linemen are not getting the job done. Or is the two different OL position coaches over the past 5 years not being effective?

Also, as many pointed out, the offensive game planning and adjustments have left a lot to be desired and was predictable. This was while Ben McAdoo was doing the play calling. He was doing too much, and his play calling, and overall coaching suffered from doing too much himself. Delegate, trust your subordinates (the OC). Head Coaches should be focusing on the overall game plan and all phases of the game. Again, the Giants did not offer Ben McAdoo any assistance in learning to be a head coach. With OBJ unavailable, where was the game plan adjustments to emphasis the TEs - which was supposed to be another strength on the team? Short passing game using the TEs and Shepard. How many times was Marshall even targeted?

Injuries on the defensive side were minimal through game 4. Yet, the defense was playing average, not great. I was truly amazed at how poorly the defense played in the Dallas game. They looked unprepared and uninspired.

Vernon also got hurt in game 5. In retrospect game 5 looms like the death knoll for the team's season. It looked bad during the game, but it grew worse afterwards.

Robinson missed game 1 with a concussion. He was the 3rd down cover LBer.
Goodson missed games 2 and 3 with a shin injury. There goes the MLB.
Casillas missed games 3-6 with two back to back injuries.

The strength of the Giants defense is DL and Secondary. These groups were physically present for the first 4 plus games, yet were not effective. Injuries were not the problem with the defense. Has Spags lost it too?

The first four games told of a losing season with no playoff hopes. Week 5 cemented that outlook firmly in place.

On special teams, losing Harris is not the crisis you may think it is. IMO, Harris is no longer the special teams ace he once was in Dallas and for a while in New York. Harris was also a game 5 casualty.

So in recap, yes injuries played a larger role from game 5 onward. Prior to game 5, the team went 0-4 because of poor talent evaluation and expectations (Marshall); poor offensive line play that restricted the offense (poor team building) and poor offensive game planning and lack of adjustments when OBJ was not available to maximize a perceived strength in the TEs and Shepard for the short / intermediate passing game. Never mind the poor use of Vereen out of the backfield.

I hope the Giants decision makers are not using the injury excuse for the 0-4 start which doomed the season. Yes, injuries from game 5 onward have erased any change of a recovery. The 0-4 start is key to the entire season, and that is not caused by the injuries.

I agree with the Colonel  
Doomster : 11/8/2017 9:08 am : link
We had such high hopes for the season.....

But the signs were there...

Marshall never caught a pass from Eli in preseason....

Eli did not play much in preseason to get his timing down with Double E, in actual game situations...

This offense did not adjust for the opening game, with the loss of looked like it was the same "11" offense as last season, that Mac trotted out there last season, with a sub for OBj....and when that didn't work, there were no adjustments.....
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