(Long Island, NY) They hired him to be the disciplinarian they didn’t have in Jim Fassel. He was supposed to come in here and right the ship and not allow any distractions from the locker room affect the team’s play on Sundays. But as the current season goes on, Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has looked to be anything but what he is sometimes called in the tabloids, “Major Tom.”
Following the 36-22 win at Dallas on October 23rd, the G-Men were riding high in first place and appeared to be on their way to their second consecutive NFC East title. The Cowboys pulled veteran quarterback Drew Bledsoe at halftime in that game and replaced him with the then unknown Tony Romo.
But the Giants have gone 2-4 since then, and last tasted victory on November 5th. A four-game losing streak has put them two games behind Dallas, and at 6-6, the Giants are barely holding on to a wild card berth.
You want distractions? Start with Tiki Barber’s retirement at the end of the season announcement. Followed up by the media bashing him for stating it at that time. Both Barber and Jeremy Shockey have questioned Coughlin’s use of them in public. And then the entire Michael Strahan-Plaxico Burress fiasco this past week.
This team has not played well recently. Mistakes have cost them games, and watching them is like having a video description of ‘the wheels are coming off.’ Eli Manning has not been the stellar quarterback this team needs. His late interception in the loss at Tennessee was an incredibly bad decision for a team that needed to take a breath and get ready for an overtime that never came after blowing a 21-0 lead in the fourth quarter. In the same game, a missed sack by Mathias Kiawanuka and a wave tackle attempt by Burress spelled disaster as much as the pick. Against Chicago on November 12th, the Giants’ special teams were caught off guard on a 108-yard return after a missed 52-yard field goal attempt. These are just a few of the ‘highlights’ of their losing streak that have ripped apart of the early season success they enjoyed.
Can they recover in time? Possibly, with some of the walking wounded starting to return. They need to take it one game at a time and not try to make up for four losses in one contest. They do not have an easy schedule the rest of the way. This week, they travel to Carolina. Then they host the Eagles and the surprising Saints. The final game of the season is at Washington. In the weaker NFC, 9-7 will probably be good enough to make the playoffs. That means that Big Blue can only have one slip up in the next month. The pressure will really be on them if they lose to the Panthers, which is a strong possibility. Then they will have no choice but to run the table.