As the “Owen” jokes are somewhat of a distant memory, the changes made to get the last two wins weren’t drastic. The New York Football Giants really only needed to dig deep within for what’s been there all along.
Head Coach Tom Coughlin is not one to quit, as some suggested he should (and would) do by season’s end. We still stand firm on the fact that this August-September assumption was ludicrous. Coughlin stays.
Coach is still, in fact, being asked about the attitude of his team and how they’re responding — even through the bye week. His answers however, remain very much like those of every year, independent of the Giants’ record.
"Was I happy with the way they came back? They’re very much aware of the circumstance we’ve put ourselves in and the importance of the final eight games of the year and the schedule now is an eight-game schedule, one game at a time, but the significance of which is great. They did come back focused and they came back rested. There’s no doubt how we’ve challenged them now," Coughlin told Giants.com. "We have to have great focus; we have to have great concentration, no distractions. We have to give superb effort on the field and in the class room and we have to do it consistently day in and day out. And there’s nobody who can tell me that they can’t do it with this eight-game schedule….we have to win. You don’t depend on anybody else. We have an exciting and challenging schedule, but you have to take care of yourself. You have to be prepared; you have to go win football games. Now five of them are at home, that seems this year to have great significance around the league as I see it, and I’m hoping that that is a very significant factor as we move forward here."
While there is no doubt that there are areas that need improvement, some sides of the ball are finding their niche: the defense. The defense which hasn’t let an opponent’s offense score a touchdown since the second quarter of the Chicago Bears game is one that Coughlin sees a transformation.
“Well, number one is that we’re performing better and we continue to do a nice job against the run. I think we’re contesting the pass better and we’re turning the ball over. We’re plus-two (turnover differential) two games in a row without an offensive turnover. That’s really been the difference," he said.
Like many of us fans, coach sees an area that shouldn’t be mentioned.
“Now, can we shore up and eliminate the colossal special teams error, one a week? That’s a tremendous challenge for the people that we play against. What happened against Philadelphia (Zak DeOssie’s punt high snap) was as bizarre as anything I’ve ever seen…never even been close (to doing that in practices). I know it was Halloween, but what was that?”
At least he has a sense of humor about that.
Another area that is obvious in improvement comes from quarterback Eli Manning.
“He’s also got the benefit of balance. There’s not a lot of yardage to show for it, but 32 and 31 rushing attempts in the last two games, it’s important. If you keep track of statistics, how many games do we win when we rush the ball over 30 times? I’ll bet there’s a bunch," he added.
Well, Tom, some of us paid attention to that statistic. The run to pass ratio changed with the Chicago game. Here are the numbers going backwards from Week 8: vs. Philadelphia 31 runs: 39 passes, vs. Minnesota 32:39, vs. Chicago 26:26, vs. Philadelphia the first meeting the Giants ran 17 times and passed 52, vs. Kansas City ran 21 to 37 passes attempted, vs. Carolina was 16:27, vs. Denver 29:43 and finally, Week 1 vs. Dallas 14:42. What used to be skewed isn’t anymore. New York Giants football is balance and lo and behold, the defense doesn’t suffer. Protecting the ball helps tremendously too.
Next goal in the improvement department: scoring on offense. Unfortunately, that big answer that’s being sought out hasn’t come from coach this week.
“You’ve also got to look at the limited number of big plays. We were a big play offense, it was nothing for us to have 10 big plays in a game. We’re scrambling for big plays right now. That, and then obviously we’re not going to complain about any win, we want to win games”, he told Giants.com. “I don’t care if it’s 3-2, but we’re noticeably not getting into the end zone. Again, we didn’t turn it over, we kicked five field goals, we won a game, we played good defense. We’ll take that, look at it, analyze it, take the good, analyze it and try to improve on the bad and go on to the next one."
On to the next win, please.
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