Michael Mankoff examines how the New York Giants are regrouping for the 2015 season.
Nov 30, 2014; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Sherrod Martin (36) trips up New York Giants wide receiver Kevin Ogletree (15) during the second quarter at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
(C+P) — Winning two Super Bowls in the past eight seasons has bought Giants’ coach Tom Coughlin gratitude from fans and entitled him to a bit of slack with the front office, but in the last three years that slack has been getting tighter and tighter. The Giants haven’t exactly made their disappointment in Coughlin a secret, either; after last year’s week 13 loss to the Jaguars, team owner John Mara told the media that he had considered, “firing everyone.”
In the past six years, the Giants have been playing like a shadow of their former selves, making the playoffs only once; although to be fair, during that one playoff appearance they did win the Superbowl. But 2011 was a long time ago, and fans (not to mention front office executives) have short memories. And right now the “what have you done for me lately” attitude most fans have only remembering a dismal 6-10 2014 season, the worst since Coughlin took over in 2004.
Although Coughlin isn’t one to make excuses, the 2014 Giants were riddled with injuries, particularly in the offensive line and secondary. Coughlin supporters point out that even with these injuries, the Giants still managed to record 47 sacks (third in the NFL) and Eli Manning had a productive season under first-year offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo. But in the NFL, it’s all about winning, and a lot of sacks without wins don’t mean anything to fans when you finish 6-10.
Despite the Mara’s obvious disappointment in the coaching staff, the Giants’ front office appears to be doing everything it can to help Coughlin keep his job. In an effort to shore up the defense, the Giants rehired former defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, a move that Coughlin applauded, saying that Spagnuolo has, “energy, enthusiasm and a strong personality.”
Helping Spagnuolo revive the defense will be Alabama safety Landon Collins and former Bruin defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, whom the Giants drafted in the second and third round respectively. Rounding out Sapnuolo’s supporting cast is former Texas defensive back Mykkele Thompson, although it is unclear which, if any, of these picks will be beneficial in shoring up the Giants defense.
The Giants also drafted former Miami tackle Ereck Flowers, a move which Coughlin hopes will offer some relief to the beleaguered offensive line. In interviews, Coughlin has compared Flowers to a battleship and an aircraft carrier because of his 6’6’’ 329-pound frame. While Coughlin meant it as a compliment, detractors point out that Flowers moves as slowly as these ships when blocking.
Only time will tell if these moves will help the Giants, but time is not on Coughlin’s side. If the Giants continue to underperform, then Mara may indeed fire everyone this year- Coughlin included.