1987. That was the dreadful year in which the Giants had a losing record for the first time in four years. This underwhelming season also came directly after the Giants won the Super Bowl the previous year, which made their descent into mediocrity all the more unexpected and depressing.
Despite this drop off in success, the Giants would go on to rise from the ashes to eventually win their second Super Bowl against the Buffalo Bills in 1990. With that being said, todays New York Giants are suffering from a form of incompetence that is currently preventing them from being the perennial playoff contenders they have been for nearly a decade. Between Eli’s passing woes and a defense that looks anemic and defeated, the Giants are suffering from an unexplained identity crisis that is preventing them from being the monumental success they should be.
In the Giants four losses this season, they have given up at least 31 points or more. Granted these defeats came at the hands of fairly competent quarterbacks who are capable passers in their own rights. Even so, the Giants inability to both consistently pressure these quarterbacks while forcing turnovers has made it difficult for this franchise to keep up in these high stakes games. Although the Giants nearly came back to defeat the Dallas Cowboys in the first game of the regular season, the same cannot be said about their subsequent encounters against the Broncos, Panthers and Chiefs. Although the Giants secondary isn’t terrible, their performances as of late can only be described as adequate at best. Worse still, the Giants defensive line has proven to be paper-thin, as they have allowed 122.5 rushing yards per game (28th in NFL).
While the Giants defense has been a major cause for concern, Eli’s wavering confidence and poise in the pocket is by far the more disturbing issue with the Giants losing ways. So far, Eli has completed only 56.3% of his passes and has already thrown nine interceptions on the season (he only threw 15 INT’s last season). Although Eli has never been the most accurate passer in the league, he has never completed less than 57% of his passes since his first two years in the league from 2004-2005. To be fair, Eli’s poor performances can at least be partially attributed to a finicky offensive line that has already allowed their quarterback to be sacked 14 times this season (only allowed 19 sacks all of last season). As a traditional pocket passer, Eli’s elite performances can only come to fruition if he has a stout offensive line to protect him consistently and effectively. Without protection, Eli will succumb to the same fate of last years Michael Vick who was brutalized thanks to a discombobulated offensive line.
Without a reliable offensive line, the Giants once mesmerizing running attack is now practically non-existent. So far, the Giants have only been able garner 57.8 rushing yards per game (30th in the NFL). Along with the Giants backs having little to no room to break free from tacklers, they don’t have a reliable rusher who can not only find the small holes in a defensive line but who can also tenaciously push themselves to garner at least a few yards. Last year, the Giants had a rusher who had the strength and quickness to evade linebackers in Ahmad Bradshaw. While it seemed that the Giants were confident in David Wilson’s abilities initially, he has thus far proven to be both a turn over machine and an ineffective runner more often than not.
In the end, while the Giants are fortunate enough to play in a division that is also in state of athletic disarray, without a formidable team identity this organization will continue to suffer at the hands of their opponents. Between an offensive line that can’t get their act together and a running game that lacks the gusto that once made this offense tick, the Giants don’t have enough talent or consistency to completely bounce back from this catastrophe. While the Giants dynasty as a whole won’t be permanently defaced because of this travesty, it seems highly unlikely that this franchise will be able to fix all of their current issues while simultaneously making a run at the playoffs.