Tom Coughlin likes to call the area inside the 20 the "green zone," but based on the color of his face when the Giants get there he may want to join the rest of us in calling it the red zone.
So far this preseason the Giants have had six opportunities inside their opponents' 20-yard line. They are 0-for-6, including four missed opportunities in the first half of Sunday's 20-12 loss to the Colts. And according to Coughlin, all of those failures boil down to one element.
"Execution," he said. "It's execution is what it is, that's the common denominator."
The Giants failed to convert a fourth-and-1 from the Colts' 7 on their first drive and turned it over on downs. Kevin Hardy dropped a pass from Eli Manning on third down from the 7 on the next drive and the Giants kicked a field goal. Manning and tight end Brandon Myers were out of sync on a third-down play from the 9 in the second quarter, leading to another field goal. And a penalty against Coughlin for coming out of the coaching box pushed the Giants from the 12 to the 27 in the final seconds of the first half. Three points once again.
Last season the Giants ranked 13th in the NFL in red-zone touchdown percentage, scoring a touchdown on 54.8 percent of their visits. "[It's] making plays," Coughlin said on a conference call Monday. "Make a play, you know? Somebody, let's make a play!"
That includes Manning, who besides the incompletions Sunday also hurried a pass to Rueben Randle from the 5 against the Steelers the previous week on a third-down attempt.
"It's something we've got to get better at," Manning said. "We had three opportunities with that first group of getting down there inside the five-yard line or near it and not get any touchdowns. So obviously that's something where we've got to get better and make sure . . . to finish up with seven points instead of settling for three."
The good news is that the Giants have been able to move the ball into a threatening position before calling on Josh Brown to kick short field goals. After two weeks of preseason games, Brown's seven field goals are the most in the NFL.
Ironically, the one red-zone opportunity that did not result in points was the one Coughlin seemed most willing to absolve the Giants for. That was the fourth-and-1 run by Andre Brown that was stuffed for no gain on the opening drive.
"A good play by them," Coughlin said. "They made a nice defensive play and we couldn't get to the strong safety and he caught the runner on an angle instead of perhaps getting north and south. Which wasn't the fault of the runner. He had to do what he had to do to avoid getting tackled earlier."
The others, though, have stuck with Coughlin even though it's only the preseason.
"Not taking anything away from the Colts, but this game was a lot about what we didn't do, what we weren't able to accomplish," Coughlin said. "I was disappointed in the fact that we didn't make those plays . . . We made a few, but we certainly didn't make enough. That's basically the disappointment that I have coming out of this game."