Giants Coordinators Frustrated Over Team’s Lack of Production
If you have been frustrated with the showing by the Giants the last couple of weeks, you’re not alone.
Kevin Gilbride and Perry Fewell, the offensive and defensive coordinators, have also been left exasperated with what they have seen from the team down the stretch in what has been a string of critical opportunities that have slipped away from them, and with it, any hope to win the NFC East.
With the Giants’ playoff hopes literally clinging by a thread, both coordinators are left trying to figure out one last-ditch attempt to find the right schemes and the right personnel combinations to make sure that the Giants do their part to boost their playoff chances by winning Sunday’s regular season finale against the Eagles.
Gilbride, whose offense is ranked 14th in the league, has converted just six out of their last 20 third down attempts. The have also seen their points per game average dip from 29.25 through the first eight games to 21.8 over the last seven.
Gilbride, who admitted that it was difficult to put a finger on the one thing that’s been holding his unit back in the second half of the season, said, “There are too many threes-and-outs, and there are too many failed opportunities to get the drive going, get the momentum started.”
Case in point: over their last two games—both blowout losses–the Giants have had 19 offensive series. Of those, nine have resulted in a three-and-out, and three have resulted in a turnover.
“We’re just not making plays that we’ve had some opportunities to make, and they’re there to be had,” Gilbride said. “Whether it’s a misfire of a throw, or pressure on the quarterback, you got two big plays last week (against the Ravens).”
Fewell, meanwhile, took more of a direct approach in outlining what he believed to be at the root of his unit’s struggles that has seen them fall to 30th overall in the NFL.
“We’ve prepared better than what we’ve played,” Fewell said. “We haven’t made plays. I think if you look at the tape, we are in position to make plays, and we haven’t made plays.”
On the contrary; the Giants defense, by either being out of position or failing to tackle properly, has helped the opponents make the plays instead. In addition to not having any turnovers since the Saints game, which has been another shortcoming of the defense, the Giants have given up 49 big play runs of tenor more yards and a staggering 56 big play passes of 20 or more yards, those numbers topping what they yielded in both categories last season.
By comparison, last year the pass defense only gave up 15 plays of 30+ yards, this year, that number has swelled to 27 with one game to go.
Fewell emphasized that he doesn’t question the effort, but added that there just hasn’t been that spark that has boosted the momentum.
“I think they’ve been playing hard, but they have to make up in their mind that we have to make some plays,” Fewell said. “We have to get a spark from somebody. Somebody has to go through and make a football play and get everybody going, either offensively, defensively or special teams. We need somebody to make a big play for us and get us rolling.
This week, both coordinators hope to jumpstart the confidence in their respective units.
“You look at why things failed, and you say, ‘Did I call it at the wrong time? Was this the wrong play for that situation? Did they have a coverage or a blitz that I wasn’t expecting?’” said Gilbride of his challenge. “As always, you’re never perfect. There are always going to be a couple of those in a game. Did we have some chances? Yeah, we did. Hopefully, we’ll capitalize on them this week.”
“You just continue to coach and emphasize, ‘Hey, you’re in that spot, you either have the wrong leverage,’ or like we missed a couple tackles and that type of thing, we’re in the right positions,” Fewell said. “We need to wrap-tackle. You have to emphasize the things that they’re not doing to finish the play because we’re in position to make those plays.”