It was the turnovers, stupid!
If there was any one area on which the Giants could pin their failure to make the playoffs, their alarming rate of turnovers was it. And neither coach Tom Coughlin nor general manager Jerry Reese were in a mood to give any of their offensive offenders a big, consoling hug.
“If you took half the turnovers away, what would our record be?” Coughlin asked almost whimsically a day after his team’s 17-14 win at Washington put Big Blue at 10-6, but out of the playoffs. “Take half of those darned things. Catch the ball!”
As the organization looks ahead to a free-agency period clouded by labor issues and the crapshoot of the draft, Coughlin and Reese agreed that solving their league-high, 42-turnover problem was a top priority.
Among those turnovers were Eli Manning’s career-high 25 interceptions, for which Reese had little sympathy.
“I think Eli tried to do too much,” Reese said, noting the injuries that caused frequent adjustments to the game plan. “We had different linemen and different receivers, but Eli has to make the adjustments. Stats-wise, you’d be happy with 31 touchdowns and 4,000 yards. But we only won 10 games, and we could have won a couple more than we did.”
“I’m not a 25-interception quarterback,” he said. “Obviously, that’s got to be fixed. Most of that’s on me.”
While Coughlin contemplates how to solve that problem, he also may lose some assistants. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride is reportedly a candidate for the University of Connecticut job, and NFL Network reported that the Browns and Panthers have asked to interview defensive coordinator Perry Fewell for their vacant head coaching spots.
Special teams coach Tom Quinn could lose his job outright after the dismal performances from the punt return and punt coverage teams, though Coughlin said he’s not contemplating any changes yet.