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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

The 2014 Giants: What a Difference a Year Makes

     Superficially this team’s not only didn’t have a better record than 2013, it was actually worse as the G-Men slip from 7-9 to 6-10 giving them their second straight losing system-worse year since 2004, Coughlin’s first year-and the third straight year out of the playoffs. 

      Still, the feeling ending this year is quite different form last. Quite honestly, I already feel like I can’t wait for 2015. Eli Manning had what arguably was his best season ever at least statistically, and the emergence of rookie phenomenon has totally changed the conversation around the team. What looked like such a disappointing season 5 weeks ago, now ends with optimism with the thought that next year a healthy Victor Cruz will join Odell, Eli, Randell-and Larry Donnell who certainly had his moments at tight end this year-remember that early Redskin game?

    I think most fans as well as players were very glad if not relieved to hear that Coughlin will not be fired-the only person who seems not to like him these days is Tiki Barber who has long since become a punch line

     “The 2014 season was a tough one for the New York Giants as the offense acclimated to new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo, but there were some bright spots too. Big ones.”

      “Eli Manning had a very good season after a sluggish start, and rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. became a superstar thanks to his highlight-reel catches and consistency over the final 12 games. The trio of Manning, Beckham and the returning Victor Cruz is enough to give any Giants fan hope in 2015.”

        “The defense needs help, and the offensive line is a question mark due to so many injuries in 2014. However, with Tom Coughlin coming back as coach next year, per’s Dan Graziano, the Giants should find themselves right back in the thick of the NFC East race.”

        Last year as Mara said we had a ‘broken offense’ which lead to Gilbride being fired for McAdoo who has been a huge success. Now the defensive coordinator seems to be the one to take the ax. Compare this year’s points and points allowed vs. last year:

                      PF   PA

         2013    294  383

         2014     380  400

        It’s clear that one unit’s performance was much improved and that unit wasn’t the defense. Similarly after finishing the season with over 500 offensive yards in the last two games of the year, the team ended up 10th in the league in total yards and 7th in offensive yards-what wasn’t so impressive was rushing yards though Andre Williams had his moments this year as did Rashaad Jennings. 

        I’ve said before-the point differential was way down this year-from -79 to only -20 which suggests that this team was much better. This year it’s the defense that is broken however, The team was near the bottom in most defensive areas-29th in total yards, 30th in rushing yards, 18th in passing and those 400 points-25 per game-puts them 22nd in points allowed. So it makes sense that this is the area that will have to be refurbished next. Also on the agenda is an offensive line with way too many injuries and bringing consistency to the running game. 

       Still, we have the pieces here on offense with Beckam, Eli, and maybe Randle and Donnell-what’s so great about Beckam is he just makes everyone better around him as defenses have to focus on him so much. Other guys get open and this may even help the running game some as teams have to focus so much on ODB so much that they can’t focus on stopping the run as much. 

      Gary Myers makes a good point here even though I’m so glad Coughlin is not fired. 

      “Mara is loyal to Coughlin and appreciative of the two Super Bowl trophies he’s won. But this is not a lifetime appointment. Mara is giving him the benefit of the doubt after three straight seasons without the playoffs, a six-game losing streak last year, a seven-game losing streak this year and two straight Decembers with no chance to make the playoffs.”

      “He deserves another chance, but just one more chance.”

       Still, I don’t want to ever see him fired. Ideally the Giants will make progress next year and in about another year or two Coughlin can retire on his terms and then MCAdoo can take over for him. 


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