All together now, Giants fans: Same old Giants.
Once again, they lost their third straight season opener in their forgettable 35-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday afternoon at AT&T Stadium. Their opponent outplayed, outworked, outsmarted and outcoached them the entire game. It’s the same old, tired script the Giants have written the last two seasons.
It was not how they envisioned starting after working hard all offseason and training camp to show they are going to be different from years past. They promoted culture over talent in building a 53-man roster.
Nothing has changed despite the new philosophy. It’s new year, same old Giants. Ever since they won the 2012 Super Bowl, they started 0-6, 0-2, 0-2, 2-3, 0-5 and 1-7. Poor starts caused the Giants to miss the playoffs frequently. It appears it will be more of the same this season after watching them go 0-1 for the eighth time in nine years.
The Giants demonstrated that by letting Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott shred the Giants defense for 405 yards while completing 25 of 32 passes and throwing for four touchdowns. Their offense showed no creativity or smarts against the Cowboys defense. The coaching left so much to be desired, particularly in not letting Saquon Barkley run on a crucial 3rd and 4th down in the red-zone after a 59-yard run on the Giants’ second play that set up Eli Manning’s 1-yard touchdown pass to Evan Engram for the first touchdown of the game.
Giants head coach Pat Shurmur offered no answers to why his team continues to be a mess. He even got snippy with the beat writers after the game when asked about playing Giants quarterback Daniel Jones.
This can’t please his bosses since they are paying him to find solutions to the problems. He continues to underwhelm as coach. At some point, his 15-35 overall coaching career does not become an accident anymore.
If he can’t start delivering wins, he could be out of a job after this season, so he would be wise to figure this out and hope this does not happen the rest of this month.
It’s not a crime to lose to the Cowboys since they are a Super Bowl contender. It wasn’t the loss that was disturbing. It was how the Giants lost and how they were coached. It can’t be too much to ask for them to put on a respectable showing at least. It can’t be too much to ask for Shurmur to have Barkley get more than 11 carries, especially for a team that wants to be predicated on a running game, not to mention they drafted him as the No.2 pick last year.
It’s inexcusable the second-year Giants head coach could not get Barkley to run the ball twice with the Giants trailing 28-10 in the third quarter, once with a third-and-2 from the Cowboys’ 8-yard line, and again with a fourth-and one from the 7-yard line.
This isn’t the first time Shurmur did this.When the Giants played the Philadelphia Eagles in Philadelphia last season, he got away from the running game after Barkley had success against them early as he had Manning throw the rest of the way.
Either Shurmur deliberately wants Manning to fail so badly by making him throw to justify changing quarterbacks or he truly thinks Manning has it. This does not make him look good either way.
The second-year Giants head coach is showing that he might be worse than his failed predecessor Ben McAdoo. At least, the previous Giants head coach took the Giants to the playoffs and used the running game.
The Giants lost their identity on defense a long time ago. They have become a highlight reel for quarterbacks torching their secondary and not getting hit in the process. They were built on pass-rushers, and right now, they don’t have one. Their secondary can’t even make plays. It was like that last year, and Sunday was no better. Hard to think that was changing even before the season started.
The offense offered nothing to brag about. Not one of their receivers made a big play that could have made a difference between winning and losing. Manning was okay at best. He did not throw an interception, which was good enough not to lose games on his own. But his quarterback rating was 22.4, which is not good enough to win games on his own.
Sooner or later, there has to be an end game for Manning. It’s going to be near with the way he and the Giants are going. Shurmur had Jones relieved him to finish the game, and that should be a warning of sorts for his starting quarterback to get better. It could be sooner rather than later. If things don’t get better at the end of the month, the Giants head coach and the brain trust will have no choice but to start Jones and have him go through baptism by fire.
All of this comes down to Giants general manager Dave Gettleman. He talks like he knows how to build Super Bowl championship teams when in reality, his work does not reflect that as the Giants architect. This performance reflects poorly on him since he has not gotten much young talent on the roster outside of Barkley, which was an obvious choice any general manager could make, including a fantasy football fan.
It’s easy to blame Shurmur, but eventually this falls on Gettleman since he hired a head coach who is probably not fit to be a head coach.
Shurmur could be on notice soon with his job while Gettleman is in no danger of being fired as a result of his relationship with Giants CEO and co-owner John Mara.
But sooner or later, Gettleman will have to answer just like his head coach.
The Giants have to play better against the Buffalo Bills, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Washington Redskins or they will once again be irrelevant in the NFL scene for the third straight year.
Say it’s all one game, but all signs point out it’s more of the same from this game.
Recent history trumps a tired cliche when it comes to the Giants.