Last year, before Phil Jackson swooped in, NY fans were often yelling at their HD TVs for change. With the retirement of Jason Kidd and a hobbling front-court, the Knicks fell back into the familiar territory of purgatory. I said in that post that Knicks eerily similar to the Dallas Cowboys. With Jackson at the helm and Derek Fisher implementing a new system, the Knicks are expectedly going to struggle to find their way. However, the talent is there and most NY fans are believing in the Zen Master to help move this team into perennial contenders while we still have Melo and will soon have cap space.
After Eli Manning threw a career high 5 interceptions vs. the 49ers, that same negative attention is now on the Giants. I struggled for comparisons that would make sense for this team. The closest I could come up with (and this pains me to say) is that the Giants are similar to the Lakers in terms of management.
The Lakers are one of the few teams that rarely strengthens their roster through the draft. Even their 2nd rounders don’t stick around long enough to develop. Before drafting Julius Randle in the first round, the Lakers hadn’t had a first round pick since 2007. Their last good first round pick was Andrew Bynum in 2005. Letting Shaquille O’Neal go in 2004 was the beginning of the trade machine that is still going on to this day. Although the Giants aren’t much into trading, GM Jerry Reese hasn’t always been very proficient in building through the draft either.
The Giants have won 2 Superbowls in the Eli Manning era. Somehow, they are still the only NY team who doesn’t boast the “win now” philosophy. Football is harder to predict than basketball. But look at some of the draft history that exists in recent years.
2012 – We could’ve had TY Hilton as a future 3rd receiver. We drafted Reuben Randle.
2011 – One of our most complete rosters that would go on to the Superbowl. We didn’t have any immediate needs. But in that draft, Jordan Cameron and Richard Sherman were still on the board in the 4th round. Who we drafted? Jerrel Jernigan.
2010 – a rare success for Reese as he drafted all defensive players, namely JPP and Linval Joseph (who is now a starter for the Vikings)
The past is the past. What’s happening right now is indicative of bad personnel moves that start at the top. Granted, JPP and Amukamara have turned into gems from the draft. We found Victor Cruz as a free agent. Justin Pugh will definitely turn into a gem and if Larry Donnell sticks around long enough, he’ll turn into an underrated red zone vulture. But Reuben Randle has yet to manifest. And I’m sure even the biggest Giants fan couldn’t tell you what jersey number Jerrel Jernigan wears without looking it up. Our running game has come in spurts since we couldn’t hang on to Ahmad Bradshaw or Andre Brown and had to pull Brandon Jacobs out of retirement in 2013. Rashad Jennings was a wise free agent signing but Andre Williams was ineffective in Jennings’ absence. In last year’s draft, there was an opportunity to revitalize the secondary but we drafted a backup quarterback. From Syracuse of all schools!
The way this team is currently constructed does nothing to help Manning. The injuries keep piling on at our strongest positions. Nowhere is it more evident than the O-line. That’s an expectation in football because of its physicality. However, if you can’t keep your quarterback on his feet, half of your offensive scheme falls apart. One problem I also see on the this team is that the depth is lacking across the board. Coughlin doesn’t always give backup players within the 53 enough chance to get reps. Case in point, I’ve been a fan of Spencer Paysinger. He’s tenacious on defense and has a great handle on the weak side. Yet he’s just now getting some reps behind Jacquian Williams.
The Giants will miss the playoffs for the second straight year. In the next few weeks, the media will continue to play up the beef between the Coughlin and Reese. Some people think it’s time for the Giants to part ways with Coughlin. Most of us level-headed fans knows that it’s Reese who is the problem. There’s a pretty clear power struggle going on. I also think as a quarterback, Eli Manning is extremely passive and often quiet on lighting a fire under his teammates. He’s supposed to be the leader yet we hear more from Antrel Rolle; one of the few players left from the last championship roster. Perhaps Ben McAdoo was specifically brought in to replace Coughlin in the
very near future. One thing that is clear is that change is coming. It might be easier to replace a coach than it is to replace a GM.