The New York Giants’ 2019 season is quickly spiraling out of control.
Big Blue suffered its fourth straight loss this past Sunday at Ford Field to the Detroit Lions by the score of 31-26, despite a highlight performance by Daniel Jones in which he threw for 4 touchdowns and 322 yards. Their record now stands at 2-6, and the chances of staying close behind the Cowboys and Eagles in the NFC East race for a possible playoff spot has become slim to none.
With the season reaching its halfway mark and the Giants’ likely final attempt to string in a win to temporarily save their season looming in Week 9’s matchup with the Dallas Cowboys on Monday Night Football, New York is desperately searching for the answers to salvaging it.
The first of these answers is accountability, and following the loss to Detroit, the players understand that very well.
During Sunday’s postgame pressers, many of the Giants players, veterans and young rookies alike, stressed a message of accountability and voiced their responsibility for the situation they are currently in. They expressed that it is up to them to fix the problems at hand and create a turnaround, and that would start with a players-only meeting Monday.
Numerous starters, such as Jabrill Peppers, Even Engram, and Alec Ogletree were upset with the fact that early fingers have been pointed towards head coach Pat Shurmur. For them, Shurmur and the coaching staff should be anything but the first receivers of blame, as they have done their job of putting the Giants in positions to win games and it is the players who need to step up.
As was best phrased by ESPN staff writer and Giants reporter Jordan Raanan, it was “Accountability Sunday” for the New York Giants players, and in a sense their argument holds weight. However, despite how they feel, the reality of the situation is that blame needs to fall on all levels of the Giants’ organization, from management to player.
Coming into the 2019 season, the main offseason objective for GM Dave Gettleman, outside of finding Eli Manning’s heir apparent, was to bring in players who will fill the gaping holes in the Giants’ bottomed out defense.
Through April’s draft and free agency pickups, he was successful at finding his defensive “hog mollies” for the line, but he never boosted the secondary and linebacking core with top talent to completely fill all voids. While he did draft top college talent in the corner position, it’s the lack of a solid veteran presence out deep to assist the rookies that is a missing piece.
As a result, the Giants’ defense has seen serious weaknesses in the linebacker and secondary areas, with the former plagued by weekly injuries and the latter giving up big plays in the passing game.
To make matters worse, with the NFL trade deadline approaching this Tuesday, Gettleman has made almost no moves which continues to show that he does not know how to properly transform this team.
While all the Giants players are against their head coach being thrown under the bus for the way the season has gone, it is impossible to deny that Pat Shurmur has some skin in the game.
Shurmur is in his second season as head coach of the Giants, and to this point holds a disappointing 7-17 overall record. In numerous games this season, he has made extremely questionable play calls at pivotal moments that in the eyes of many cast doubt on his ability to help the team win games.
The most notable of these occurrences came in Week 7 against the Arizona Cardinals. With over two minutes remaining and the Giants attempting to operate a game winning drive, Shurmur called for a draw play on 3rd and 18 in what was indefinite fourth down territory. The play gained little yardage and forced the offense to have to convert a long 4th and 15, the result being an offensive line collapse and sack of Daniel Jones.
Not to mention, Pat Shurmur has been prone to dodging his acceptance of responsibility for these costly play calls and has provided mildly annoyed and insufficient answers to the media in response to questions about his play calling.
It is true that the players need to make something happen with the opportunities given to them by the coaching staff, however at the same time the coaches need to call plays that can turn into something successful, and Shurmur has not always done that.
This is where we shift to the players side of the whole issue that is the Giants’ 2-6 start.
As the players have said, they have certainly not made enough plays to win, even when they could have. Wide open, beautiful passes by Daniel Jones have been dropped, Jones himself has failed to protect the football leading to fumbles, and tackling has been a lax effort. These reasons have attributed to the Giants’ slow starts and quick deficits, and it has hurt them late in games.
While anyone following the Giants would respect their team defending their head coach from criticism and blame, the proof is there to show that he has a share in it, along with management. All three parties have skin in the game and should be evaluated on their performance. Players cannot win games without executing and being given plays that work, while coaches cannot hold winning records without calling the right plays that help their guys win.
The New York Giants had an “Accountability Sunday” this past weekend, but it was really a “Players Accountability Sunday”. The accountability part needs to fall on everybody in the organization.