The duo of Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning have been together on the New York Giants for over a decade. On a team level, things have never been as bad as they are now.
There’s no turning around after a loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Giants have been one of the more consistent franchises in the NFL in terms of winning. Since Tom Coughlin took the helm in 2004, there have only been two losing seasons: 6-10 during his first year on the job and last season, finishing at 7-9. Not exactly the end of the world. But they’re at 3-9 this season and they seemed to have peak after five games.
What’s worse? Despite winning two Super Bowls (2007, 2011), the Giants have made the playoffs only once since a four year streak from 2005 to 2008. Yes, the one time they did make it ended up with another trophy, but a Super Bowl buys you a few years of rest, not a life time. Coughlin knows that, and still is trying to deflect the attention regarding his job security. He has no problem saying it’s all his fault (although it’s clearly not just his) while trying to get the players to actually focus on what’s left of this season.
While Coughlin,68, who has been coaching at various levels since 1969, wasn’t going to stick around forever, the bigger question is about Eli Manning. The problem is there isn’t a lot to do. Ryan Nassib isn’t the quarterback of the future. Manning eats up a lot of space with his not very friendly long term contract, which runs out in 2015. Is it time to think about going in a different direction? That means drafting a quarterback now – Marcus Mariota? Jameis Winston?
Manning isn’t having the bad season he had in 2013, when he posted a 69.4 passer rating while leading the NFL in interceptions for the third time in his career, throwing 27. Manning has never been a very accurate thrower or someone that shines with efficiency. He takes risks, although the Giants tried to change that this season. One might say that in a purely individualistic outlook, they didn’t do too badly with his conversion. But for a team with a terrible defense, a bad offensive line and a running game that has had too few moments of actually affecting the game, the Giants needed more.
He’s only 19th in the NFL in passer rating and despite completing a career high of 63% of his passes, he’s just 20th in the NFL. Too many middle of the pack or lower numbers. Manning is the kind of quarterback that doesn’t seem to get shaken up by playoff situations and big occasions. The problem is that the Giants need someone that plays well without making costly mistakes on a regular basis. That’s not Manning, and with the dysfunctional parts around him, that’s a recipe for disaster.
The Giants have lost seven straight games, and not even a late season push like last year to mask their terrible season is going to hide the fact that this team is in need of a massive overhaul in almost every area on the field. It might also call for other changes – at head coach after a decade of Coughlin, and thinking a year or two further, that change also includes finding someone to replace Eli Manning.