Giants know they need to start doing things right
Tom Coughlin was speaking about how the Saints were able to beat the Bears on Sunday, even though Chicago's offense had piled up a season-high 434 yards. He noted that the Saints controlled the ball for 36 minutes. He pointed out that the Saints committed just two penalties. And he emphasized that the Saints did not turn over the ball.
"That," he said in the best deadpan he could muster under such dreadful circumstances, "sounds like a reasonable formula."
It's one the Giants have been unable to concoct this season. They have turned over the ball 20 times -- which is eight more than any other team in the league -- have more penalties than all but two teams, and are last in time of possession. Throw in last in rushing yards, last in third-down efficiency on both sides of the ball, last in sacks produced and ranked 30th and 32nd in points scored and points allowed, respectively, and the only reason the Giants are 0-5 seems to be that they haven't played their sixth game yet.
That happens Thursday nightagainst the Bears in Chicago.
Another loss and the Giants would have the third-worst start in franchise history and be winless through the first six games for the first time since 1976, when they were 0-9. Even the 1966 team, generally considered the franchise's worst ever, won its sixth game.
The last time the Giants were 0-5 was 1979, and they made a change. They put rookie Phil Simms in at quarterback and won four straight and five of the next six. These Giants aren't going to make a change at quarterback, but it would be nice to see their quarterback change. Eli Manning's atrocious season, marred by 12 interceptions, has left him with a 65.8 passer rating. In the fourth quarter, a time he used to thrive, he's thrown seven picks. Geno Smith, the erratic and unpredictable rookie across town, has thrown eight the entire season.
"I feel like I made some good throws and have done some good things," Manning said earlier this week. "Obviously just clean up some of the bad plays and it should be fine."
Manning disagreed with others who have said he is trying to do too much, to carry too big of a burden to get things going in the right direction.
"I think I'm trying as hard as I need to, to try to win and make plays," he said. "I think I can play smarter in those situations, but I'm always going to compete. I never feel like I'm trying harder or any less in any situation."
The losses are not all Manning's fault. Nor are the turnovers. But he can play a big role in correcting both. The Bears defense is a ball-hungry group with 14 takeaways and a league-high 55 points off them. They've already scored three defensive touchdowns this season and over the last two seasons they have returned 10 interceptions for scores, the most in the NFL.
If the Giants can break this losing streak, they'll have to do it by holding onto the football and not making mistakes. So far that's something they haven't been able to accomplish in any game this season.
"I know what situation we're in and I'm not pleased with it," Manning said. "I'm not happy with our performances and so I know we've got to fix them. We've got to play better."
A reasonable formula, no doubt. But is it achievable?
Notes & quotes:David Wilson will get a second opinion on his neck injury from specialist Dr. Robert Watkins in Los Angeles on Monday. Coughlin said the running back is "week-to-week," but neck injuries can be troublesome and there is a chance he could miss extended time or even require season-ending surgery. Wilson said he felt tingling in his hands in the game on Sunday when he was first evaluated and not allowed to return to the field . . . There won't be much suspense regarding the Giants' inactive list for the game as six players already have been ruled out because of injury. Wilson (neck), C David Baas (neck), CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring), TE Adrien Robinson (foot), S Cooper Taylor and CB Corey Webster (groin) did not travel to Chicago with the team. That leaves only one inactive spot left and it will either go to DE Damontre Moore, who is listed as doubtful and hasn't practiced this week with a hamstring injury suffered in the loss to the Eagles on Sunday, or third-string quarterback Ryan Nassib.