The Giants face yet another defibrillator game for the third week in a row, attempting to jump start a pulse into their dying season. Sunday, New York will travel to stormy Tampa Bay holding out fading hope the season isn’t quite over yet.
Winless after two games means it’s an uphill climb to make the playoffs. A zero in the victory column after three weeks equates to the playoffs hanging by a thread. Oh-and-four? Get out your mock drafts because there won’t be a meaningful weekend for your franchise until April.
The face of the Giants’ problems is the mercurial Odell Beckham. His defiance in the wake of a 15-yard penalty for his dog-peeing celebration showed a blatant disregard for putting the team’s success first. In Beckham’s mind, as long as he makes sensational touchdown catches (as he did twice in Sunday’s loss to the Eagles), flags are just an unfortunate byproduct. To Odell, the headaches he brings upon the franchise are merely a property tax for owning the most dynamic playmaker in the league.
The Giants have created this atmosphere of entitlement for Beckham by defending him and soft-peddling any criticism after his on-field fighting, playoff yacht saga, and summer workouts away from the team. They made their own bleached-hair bed and are being forced to sleep in it.
But this is far from the only problem for a preseason contender whose season is on the brink. Ben McAdoo has shown an alarming inability to get the offense clicking despite being hailed as a great playcaller. The head coach oversaw two of the most prolific offensive seasons in the franchise’s history as the coordinator. This gilded his reputation as someone who could get the most out of Eli Manning in the twilight of his career, and the obvious successor to Tom Coughlin.
Instead the Giants got an exploding cigar with a Jeff Foxwortthy-turned-Tony Soprano haircut. McAdoo’s offense has been dormant for almost the entirety of his 20 games as head coach. The attack finally came alive in the fourth quarter in Philly, but to underscore the Giants woes, the defense couldn’t make it hold up.
The offensive line has been a disaster, neglected by Jerry Reese and the front office. The ground game has been patchworked via mediocre runners. Outside of Beckham, the passing game is clogged like the Holland Tunnel on a Friday afternoon. Whatever genius McAdoo was supposed to bring to the offense seemed to die the moment he was also asked to run the team.
It’s been too much for McAdoo to balance, yet the Giants went 11-5 last year on the backs of the newly revamped defense. But even all that talent New York signed before last season have given up touchdowns in the red zone and couldn’t get stops when it mattered most this year. And in the playoffs last January, that unit was torn apart by Aaron Rodgers in Green Bay.
The problem with the Giants isn’t just Beckham, although his histrionics feel symbolic of a dysfunctional season spiraling down the toilet. The problem with the team is widespread. Play-calling, in-game management, a porous offensive line, an inconsistent defense all deserve the blame too. That’s what makes their 0-3 hole that much more dispiriting. You can try to stop Odell from peeing on the fire hydrant, but it feels like the season has gone to the dogs already.
D.A. hosts 9am-12 pm ET on the CBS Sports Radio Network. He has hosted The D.A. Show (aka “The Mothership”) in Boston, Miami, Kansas City and Ft. Myers, FL. You can often catch him on the NFL Network’s series “Top 10.” D.A. graduated from Syracuse University in ’01, and began looking for ways to make a sports radio show into a quirky 1970’s sci-fi television series. Follow D.A. on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page. D.A. lives in NYC, and is a native of Warwick, NY.