The New York Giants 2012 Season In a Nutshell

eli manning new york giants 2012

The Giants are all but eliminated from postseason play. They need to beat the Eagles (who gave the Redskins their money’s worth and will have Vick under center on Sunday) and the Vikings, Bears, and Cowboys have to lose next weekend for them to clinch the final Wild Card spot. Even if that miracle happens are there any Big Blue fans out there who are confident this team could win?

On last week’s podcast, I noted this season feels a lot like the 2010 season. After this last humiliating blowout loss to the Ravens, it honestly feels more like the 2006 season, where the team finished 8-8 and barely made the playoffs only to lose by a last second field goal to the Eagles in the Wild Card round.

Everyone wants to point fingers when the season doesn’t meet expectations. There’s no shortage of people to blame this year. The defense has stunk, the play-calling has been atrocious, and the injuries turned out to be insurmountable. The ‘Next Man Up’ philosophy couldn’t carry this triage unit. There’s just no depth.

Terrell Thomas goes down in the preseason, Prince looks okay filling in then gets hurt and we have to resort to the likes of Jaron Hosley and Justin Tryon. You’d think they’d be the crux but it was veteran Corey “Toast” Webster who the Ravens targeted on just about every play Sunday.

But, being a former quarterback, my focus always gravitates towards the man taking the snaps. Eli hasn’t passed the eye test this year. You look at top-level numbers – almost 4,000 yards, 20+ TDs – and you’d think he’s holding his own. However, I took a deeper look.

Following Week 7, Eli’s numbers have been horrible with the exception of the Green Bay and New Orleans games. The two defenses he met in those games are among the league’s worst – especially when the Packers didn’t suit up Clay Matthews and Charles Woodson. Eli hasn’t just played mediocre or average the last 8 weeks, he’s been downright awful. Just take a look at the sheet I compiled below:

Eli Manning 2012 Passing Stats

One could make an argument that Kevin Gilbride’s play-calling has been the prime factor in Eli’s lack of productivity. There have also been a lot more dropped balls this year and the running game has been incredibly inconsistent and often nonexistent. But, still, this is the worst Eli has played in a long time. I’d go so far as to say the second half of this season is the worst Eli has performed since his rookie season.

Obviously, when Eli goes so do the G-Men. But when a fat, drunk fan like myself can predict plays from his couch, highly trained defenses must be foaming at the mouth for the snap of the ball. I know it sounds crazy to call for Gilbride’s head since he was the ‘mastermind’ behind 2 championship runs, but how much of that is his work and how much of that is Eli and Co. rising above? Fact is the playmakers aren’t making plays. Eli’s accuracy has been off and even when he gets the pigskin in the vicinity of his receivers, they’re not making the catches. It’s what separates playoff teams from postseason spectators – making plays the other team doesn’t.

To me, these are the areas that need improvement in the offseason:

David Diehl has been unable to bounce back from the DUI and the injury. His days as a Giant are done. Luckily for him, he might have a position lined up with ESPN. It’s possible that Chris Snee AND Davis Baas might also be done. Losing Locklear was huge – now we see how underrated and under-valued he was. When Eli has time, he’s top 5 in the league. When he doesn’t, well, he’s well below average. He can’t move like Aaron or Big Ben or Romo and he can’t scramble for big yards like Cam, RG3 or Russell Wilson. Outside of the NFC Championship against the Niners last year when he put up 60+ pass attempts and got his clock cleaned every play, I’ve never really seen Eli get pressured and knocked around and still have a good game. The front office should look to the young fourth year free agents and the draft to pull 2-3 quality starters. Re-sign Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe. I don’t know my OL that well, but Jake Long is an unrestricted free agent. Give him a shot.

Where was my mind at in the waning moments of last night’s loss? I honestly asked myself if we should bring back Brandon Jacobs. Yup, it’s been that kind of tortuous stretch of games. They obviously miss Andre Brown. Ahmad Bradshaw is too injury prone. David Wilson is not a full-time feature back. Rumor has it they might go after Rashard Mendenhall – but he’s had injury problems of his own. I’d rather bring back Bo Jackson and his artificial hip than move forward with him. Here’s who I’d like to see them pursue:

Jackie Battle
Reggie Bush
LeGarrette Blount
Ronnie Brown
Steven Jackson
Felix Jones

As much as I love Chase, I don’t think he’s the answer at the Mike. For some reason, the staff loves Kiwanuka but I don’t know that he’s a difference-maker. Are they using him the right way? I don’t know, I’m an offensive-minded guy.

I sincerely miss the days when we had the most dominant LB squad in the game and I’d like to see them make an effort to get back to that. Justin Tuck is done – he’ll most likely retire, Osi’s a backup / pass rushing specialist at best.

I say go to the 3-4 and land a couple big names in the market like Rey Maualuga, Connor Barwin, maybe Dwight Freeney?

Thanks for the memories, Corey Webster. But, your time has come. It’s time for #23 to ride off into the sunset. He’s been burned way too many times this year to remain the starter. I’m not sure Jayron Hosley is the answer. Terrell Thomas might come back from two back-to-back season-ending injuries but odds are, he won’t.

Prince has stepped up, but injuries have plagued him. Big Blue plays better when they’re in that 3 safety look but Kenny Phillips has been plagued with injuries. Stevie Brown’s a ball-hawk but seems to blow coverages from time to time.

Is Will Hill the answer? He’s shown glimpses of promise, but I’m still not sold on him. There are a lot of name players on the market – Ed Reed and Marcus Trufant being the two most desirable – but other than them, there aren’t any real game-changers.

I’m grateful for Lawrence Tynes making clutch kicks to propel us into 2 Super Bowls. But, for my money, he’s still not dependable when it counts on a consistent basis. A couple misses this year cost the team games, games that could’ve been the difference in making the playoffs and not. Good teams overcome those misses, I get that (David Akers has 11 missed FGs this year and SF is a potential 2 seed), but wouldn’t it be nice to trot out the kicking unit and know it’s an automatic 3? Phil Dawson’s out there – why not?

I understand it’s unrealistic to expect the Vince Lombardi trophy every year, but it’s not nuts to think a championship team should at least make the playoffs the next season.

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