The New York Giants are a mess right now. A loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday Night Football puts them at an 0-6 start that appeared unimaginable heading into the season. Dropping to the Bears 27-21 at Soldier Field typically is a forgivable loss, but given how the Giants have played this year, it was a game the team needed to have. With the playoffs all but out of the question despite playing in an unbelievably bad NFC East, it might be time for the Giants to rebuild their roster and coaching staff.
Several things have changed in New York, and no we’re not talking about the Jets and their surprising start this time. The Giants once formidable defense has been anything but in 2013. Just ask any fantasy football player. The Giants defense scares no one this year, even middle of the road offenses have lit them up.
Holding the Bears to 27 points was actually the best week this defense has had so far this season. In week four the Chiefs put up 31 points against the Giants, while the week before that they were utterly destroyed by a Panthers team that put up 38 points.
The offensive side of the ball has not been better. Just a few years ago this team was a Super Bowl victor who once again upset Tom Brady and the New England Patriots on football’s biggest stage. The play of Eli Manning was a huge reason for that win, as well as the team’s success in 2011.
The younger Manning brother has been a shadow of his former self this year. Normally a guy who protects the football fairly well, Eli has given it away freely in 2013. 15 interceptions in six games is a staggering statistic, and a huge reason his team has not been able to notch a mark in the win column.
In fact the first pass Eli threw in the season opener was intercepted. Not exactly improving, on Thursday the Bears picked off the third pass he through and ran it back for a touchdown. Manning would throw two more picks on the night, including a heart-breaker as he was positioning his team for a go-ahead touchdown.
At least the offense has been balanced in its struggles. The offensive line has not done Manning any favors, allowing him to be sacked 16 times already. Nearly three times a game.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, what was supposed to be a breakout year for running back David Wilson has turned into a nightmare of a rushing attack in New York.
Wilson can’t hold on to the ball, and his fumbles have kept him in the doghouse of coach Tom Coughlin throughout the year. As a result, Da’Rel Scott and Brandon Jacobs, yes that Brandon Jacobs, have led the ground attack. Neither has amassed 200 yards on the season through six games and the team has a sub 4 yard per carry average. Not pretty.
Perhaps more concerning for the Giants are the comments of defensive back Terrell Thomas. Thomas said that he is unable to sleep after a loss, but that he doesn’t feel some of his teammates are as concerned about their shortcomings so far this season.
A broken locker room can develop from early struggles, but so far it appears as if coach Tom Coughlin has been unable to stop it from occurring. Keeping a positive attitude throughout the roster is key in turning around a slow start, if this team stops buying into the system things could get even uglier.
Should that happen New York may have to seriously contemplate blowing up the roster and rebuilding. Eli Manning makes for interesting trade bait should that be the course of action taken. The Browns could be a buyer, given that they are a surprising contender at 3-2 and have Brandon Weeden at the helm. The Arizona Cardinals could be another destination given that they are still in the hunt and have an aging Carson Palmer who has never won a playoff game leading their offense.
There are pieces the Giants could trade, and the draft picks they would receive in return could help infuse an aging roster with some young blood. A coaching change also could be in the works, this is not the first time Coughlin has been on the hot seat while with the Giants after all.
New York is an interesting football town this year, just not for the reasons we suspected heading in. The Jets look good and the Giants are a mess, it’s almost like Bizarro World in the NFL.
Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express