There were a lot more questions than answers coming out of Giants camp today. There are seven players listed as questionable on the injury report, including Justin Tuck who is unsure of his status for Sunday's matchup against the Baltimore Ravens. However, head coach Tom Coughlin was asking big picture questions delving a little deeper into his team's recent woes. The Giants have lost four of their last six games and are playing for their playoff lives this weekend in Baltimore.
Despite their recent shortcomings, the Giants have miraculously retained control of their playoff destiny. Win these next two games, and Big Blue will have a chance to defend their Super Bowl title in January. Last season, the Giants came off an embarrassing Week 15 defeat to the Washington Redskins and beat the New York Jets. The win created momentum for the team and carried them into the postseason. However, Coughlin is not so sure that history will repeat itself this season.
"Just because we’ve been there before and had our backs to the wall and we performed and did well," Coughlin said "[...] we have some inconsistencies this year that, quite frankly, have upset me to the point where I really don’t want to be historical."
Consistency has always been an issue with the Giants under Coughlin. There is no doubting the championship-caliber talent on the roster, the abilities of Eli Manning, or the explosive nature of the pass rush. However, this team has been consistently inconsistent over the years. In the NFL, each and every game has the potential to make or break a season. The Giants have come dangerously close over the last two seasons to prematurely ending their season due to a lack of mental fortitude.
Given that history tends to repeat itself with the Giants, it would be foolish to ever count them out. However, something about this particular group feels off this year. Last season, we saw a team riddled with injuries get healthy and hit their ceiling at the end of the season. For the 2012 squad, that ceiling may not be as high as many once prognosticated. Hakeem Nicks is injured, the pass rush has not been as effective, the run defense has been deplorable and Eli Manning has had a down season. All of those issues have lead Coughlin to question why his team is not playing up to their capabilities.
"Why aren’t we on an ascending line?" he continued. "That’s the word I was using with our team. We need to be ascending. Not leveled off and not going backwards, but ascending at this time of the year, because it’s discussed by every team, even the teams that are in the playoffs now. If you listen closely, they want to be playing the best football that they can when the tournament starts. They want to be playing their best. They don’t want to be asking questions about, ‘Are we going to do this or are we going to do that?’ You don’t want to be asking those questions. You want those answered.”
2007 was an incredible season for the Giants, as was 2011. However, 2012 is an entirely different animal with different dynamics. Nobody is going to bow down to this team based upon history, and definitely not based upon recent performance. The Giants have nobody but themselves to blame for their inconsistencies this season, but the team is fortunate to have the opportunity to get to 10 wins and into the playoffs. The way this team comes out on Sunday will tell a lot about whether it has the same mentality as the Super Bowl XLVI champions.
Also…Baltimore, Baltimore Ravens, Eli Manning, Football, Hakeem Nicks, Justin Tuck, New York, New York Giants, New York Jets, NFL, Super Bowl XLVI, Tom Coughlin, Washington, Washington Redskins
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