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New York Giants Must Focus on Player Development in 2014

December 19th, 2013 at 9:00 AM
By Paul Tierney

As if watching the New York Giants get shut-out by the Seattle Seahawks last Sunday wasn’t degrading enough, fans everywhere must continue to cope with the notion that they still have to endure two more weeks of this monstrosity of a season.

On Sunday, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride is still going to be calling the plays for Eli Manning, who in turn will attempt to evade the herd of Detroit Lions defensive linemen who will undoubtedly burst through the pathetic excuse of an offensive line that takes the field each week. The running game will be non-existent, receivers will botch routes (causing at least one of Eli’s multiple interceptions) and the faithful readers of Giants 101 will retreat to the comment section numb to the results of the game, because everyone saw it coming.

Two seasons ago, we were watching a team on its way to a Super Bowl championship. Now we’re just hoping for the season to end so all parties involved can be put out of their collective misery. Let that sink in.

Even the most optimistic fans have to admit, this is a bad football team. It’s not like the Giants just caught a few bad breaks along the way and their season crumbled. Regardless of injuries, 2013 was a full-on implosion from the very start. In reality, there’s nothing to gain from a win in either of the final two games. The players and coaches won’t quit, but a win does nothing but hurt the team’s draft position. And the draft is the only way this team will effectively mend the deficiencies that have kept the Giants out of the playoffs four of the last five years.

On the surface, it appears as if new leadership is badly needed. But in reality, change isn’t happening. Although it may be fun for some fans to think about who the Giants could bring in to replace Tom Coughlin, he’ll be back next season. If fans are lucky, Gilbride may be given his walking papers, but then again, maybe not.

Perhaps for the Giants to take their biggest leap forward, it may be necessary to take a few steps backward. Maybe letting Damontre Moore see more snaps in 2014 will be more productive than giving a multi-year contract to Justin Tuck. James Brewer may be a question mark, but is it worth further stunting his development so Kevin Boothe can play?

The question marks don’t stop there. Corey Webster, Chris Snee, and Hakeem Nicks are all likely gone next season. Antrel Rolle is on the books to make over $7 million in base salary, which makes him a prime candidate to be cut if cap space is needed.

Next season, we’re going to have almost the same coaching staff with a roster of players that is less talented, on paper at least, than the one that entered training camp this season.

Giants fans have enjoyed competitive, and at times, championship caliber football during the Coughlin-Manning era. But the NFL is a league based upon parity, and all teams, at one time or another, are going to need to rebuild. The Giants are far from needing to blow everything up and start over, but general manager Jerry Reese has an aging roster devoid of talent at key positions. It could be a while before it’s fixed.

So when the Giants are getting embarrassed once again on Sunday, don’t tell yourself “there’s always next year.” For this organization, next year is about developing talent so this year doesn’t happen again.

photo credit: Kadath via photopin cc

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Tags: Antrel Rolle, Chris Snee, Corey Webster, Damontre Moore, Eli Manning, Football, Hakeem Nicks, James Brewer, Jerry Reese, Kevin Boothe, Kevin Gilbride, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tom Coughlin

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58 Responses to “New York Giants Must Focus on Player Development in 2014”

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  1.  fanfor55years says:

    I agree, but the time to start “developing talent” was immediately after the loss to the Cowboys when everyone knew the season was over. Why think for one second that this staff will change their stripes in 2014? Apparently, Tom Coughlin “plays to win”, no matter the cost paid in the future when decisions about rosters have to be made in the absence of any real sense of what individual players could do in real games.

    I spent a good part of last year insisting that what I saw in Spencer Paysinger was a linebacker who “made plays” when given the chance (which was pretty infrequently). Turns out that in the midst of a linebacking corps that was truly pathetic in 2012 we had a player who turned out to be a capable NFL linebacker, and who continues to “make plays” when those with apparently more confidence from the coaches did nothing but take bad angles and miss tackles and fail to cover zone gaps thereby allowing easy pass completions. In 2014, when Paysinger got to play (in part because Williams was injured early in camp so they had to play Paysinger), he played well. He has been one of the very few good stories on this team this season.

    I just no longer trust these coaches to play the right players. They didn’t play Bradshaw until they had no choice, and he proved the best back they had. They had no idea that Cruz would do what he has done. They stumbled into Ballard. They thought it would be okay to allow Bennett to go and bring in Myers (yes, Coughlin and Pope had plenty of influence on that decision, and Coughlin has enormous influence on ALL personnel decisions). They thought these aging and, at best, average, offensive linemen could get the job done.

    I think Tom Coughlin has been a terrific coach, and could be, still, for a team that is building from the bottom and needs to be taught how to win. But despite the lack of talent in some parts of this team, there is top-level talent as well (Eli, Cruz, Rolle, JPP if he’s healthy, Prince, Beason if he can be retained, Joseph if he stays, Jenkins, Hill, Pugh, etc.) so this team isn’t building from the bottom. I hope Tom retires, but I very much doubt he will. I will continue to say, though, that if Mara gives him an extension then the Mara family’s valuing of friendship and cronyism above winning will have obviously been passed down to another generation. I guess that’s what might happen when a bookmaker makes a $500 bet that turns into a New York NFL franchise in 2013. Such good fortune might induce the owners to value being “good guys” above victory.

    •  JimStoll says:

      I have a slightly different take.
      If Mara intends to keep Tom then I think it is for another 3-4 years, long enough to accomplish a rebuild cycle.
      Although I (and others) see a major rebuild needed, keeping Tom says to me neither he nor Mara see it that way.
      They see only small tweaks. One linemen to add to a “healthy” Snee and Baas; 1 WR to replace Nicks; 1 CB to replace Corey.

      A 3 year extension would also keep Eli and Gilbride together past Eli’s 36th birthday, at which time a new coach may wish to bring in a youg QB to be the next face of the franchise.

      So, despite the misery of the past 24 games, I think following Washington, whatever the final record, we will hear within a week or two that Tom (and his staff) has received a 3 year extension through 2017.

    •  skinnydoogan says:

      FF I endorse this post in it’s entirety, may be the best one in a while.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      While after the Dallas loss our season was a long shot it wasn’t over. I think the coaching staff was right to coach for now after that game. But that’s only until the SD loss. After that game the season was over officially and at that point we have to think of the future.

      I think the coaching staff plays the right players for the most part in terms of giving us the best chance to win each week. However, they are not playing the right players now in terms of giving us the best chance to win in 2014.

      Players surprise all the time so I don’t blame them in those cases. But now with a team going nowhere we have to see if Robinson can play. And Donnell too. There’s other players who should play like Mosley as well. But at TE both Myers and Pascoe are free agents so we need to know how to address the TE and other positions.

  2.  Ted Kwiecien says:

    Develop young talent??? It needs to start by drafting talent. That can actually contribute on something other than special teams. Which is pretty awful as well. We have been routinely missing on players arguably from the second round on. Something is clearly wrong with our ability to evaluate talent In today’s NFL. I feel like we draft the same undersized LB who can only play special teams….our corners are small, poor tacklers, and even worse hands. The list of poor drafts picks since 2007 is HUGE!!! it’s not like they leave become a solid player on another team. Most of them are done with football. Moore, Robinson, cox, hosley, brewer, David Wilson, SCRUBS!!! Yes David Wilson!!! Scrub. A number 1 draft pick who is nothing more than a kick returner. Bad coaching? Poor talent?? Both?? BLOW IT UP!!! Even if TC stays and Gilbride is gone….does anyone really expect a big season? Talk is cheap…everyone was put on notice…will there be any follow through after another sad season???

  3.  skinnydoogan says:

    What I have a hard time wrapping my arms around is the fact that this team is seemingly not run like a typical business. If I failed to perform or meet expectation, I would either be on notice, or fired. I work for a billion dollar company, this is what happens when a good product o result are expected. How can the owners of this team be satisfied with this? Is it really because the stadium is sold out? I just have trouble grasping this.

    •  Krow says:

      There are elements of a family business still lingering. $nee will be the definitive test. No GM in his right mind would drop $7,000,000 cap dollars on that fraud. Unless there were “other” considerations at play.

  4.  BigBlueGiant says:

    Per Bovada, the over/under on interceptions for Eli Manning this season is 28. He currently has 25.

    My book doesn’t have this prop. but seems like a good bet. It might go over this week.

  5.  Krow says:

    The article is such an unmitigated downer I thought it was a parody.

  6.  fanfor55years says:

    Sorry GOAT but anyone who looked at this team and the remaining schedule knew the season was over the second Dallas scored that last TD.

    The youngsters should have started getting plenty of snaps that next week.

  7.  Krow says:

    At least we’re talking about the real problem … lack of talent. We’re not musing over how we can tweak and twerk this bunch to a Superbowl. Hey, the NFL is all about parity. We’ve had a great run. Now it’s time to rebuild. That’s how it works. Let’s get on with it.

  8.  Krow says:

    I don’t have any problem keeping Coughlin IF he’s going to stick it out for the 3-4 years it will take to reload. And he has to jetison that fata$$ son-in-law too. Goes without saying. But Tom’s not the problem. We need players. A bus load of players. Do that first …

  9.  Krow says:

    Next year … OK, with some luck and a few good moves we could contend for a playoff spot. The NFC East is a trash heap. Anything is possible. However I can’t imagine we’d be a factor in the playoffs should we get fortunate enough to make it. That’s going to take more time.

    •  jerseyrich says:

      Its all on Eli. If this year truly was a total aberration due to the horrible line play, then anything can obviously happen if the line is fixed and we get in. If however eli really is just becoming an overpaid scrub, then we are obviously done….maybe for a few years.

  10.  Krow says:

    Sunday we get to measure Nicks against the best … Calvin J. It will be an interesting study. I’m sort of interested in seeing who ponies up the cash for Hakeem. They’d better be riverboat gamblers, cause he’s done nothing to warrant a huge deal.

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