Walk around the Giants’ locker room after a game and you can see the shock in the players’ eyes. They seem to have no legitimate idea why this season is unfolding the way it is.
“No one expected our record to be what it is at this point and us to be playing the type of football that we’re playing at this point,” coach Ben McAdoo said Monday.
Maybe that’s the problem. Maybe that’s why the team is 1-8 with no sign of being able to muster a winning effort. Maybe the surprise isn’t that they are this bad, but that they were so successful last year.
The 11-5 record in 2016 with a playoff appearance felt like the springboard to what could have been several years of championship contention, but from this vantage point almost a year later it seems more like an outlier than a portent of glory. This will, barring a miracle run that includes no more losses, be the fourth losing season for the Giants in the past five years. Prior to this streak they had not finished below .500 since 2004, the year of the last great Giants rebuild.
Winning has become the exception, not the expectation, and all the glitter from last year’s run is starting to look like fool’s gold.
If they can’t win another game this season, the Giants’ 10-game decline in wins from one year to the next will match the NFL record. It was set by the 1994 Oilers, who fell from 12-4 in 1993 to 2-14, and tied by the 2013 Texans, who were also 12-4 in 2012.
The Giants are trying everything they can to avoid that. At least many of them seem to be.
Safety Landon Collins looked as befuddled in Sunday’s locker room in Santa Clara, California, as he did when he was an overwhelmed rookie starter on the field in 2015. He was groping for answers to the Giants’ woes, trying to think where it all went so wrong and brainstorming for ways to slam the brakes on this skid.
“We’ve been saying stuff all year,” Collins said forlornly when asked who needs to stand up and put a stop to the losing. “Everybody’s spoken. I’ve spoken. Snacks has spoken. JPP even spoke. OV spoke. I mean, we can only do so much speaking. It has to transfer. It has to go from the practice field to the game field and it’s not doing that. We practice so well and it’s not transferring.”
It’s frustrating for those who are working hard to turn the season around.
But to say it is unexpected, in hindsight, is just exacerbating the delusion of 2016. The Giants may feel unlucky in 2017, but more and more their lack of success acts as a reminder of just how lucky they were a year ago.
Notes & quotes: LB Keenan Robinson (quadriceps) was placed on injured reserve Tuesday as the Giants made a flurry of roster moves. They signed two veterans — LB Akeem Ayers and G John Greco — and promoted WR/KR Kalif Raymond from their practice squad. To make room, they waived WR/KR Ed Eagan and DE Devin Taylor. Both of those players were with the team in recent weeks but made minimal impact . . . OL Justin Pugh was named the Giants’ nominee for the Art Rooney Sportsmanship Award, presented at the NFL Honors show in February . . . Former Giants T Will Beatty signed with the Eagles. Beatty, 32, has played just six games since 2014.