Tuesday, September 21, 2010
Giants resembling team of last season
By Ohm Youngmisuk ESPNNewYork.com
Two games into the season, 2010 feels eerily like 2009 all over again.
The New York Giants can look impressive in beating up on mediocre teams like the Carolina Panthers. And they can appear completely inferior to an elite offensive team on Sunday night like they did against the Colts in a 38-14 demolition.
So to borrow Dennis Green's famous line: They are who we thought they were. Until the Giants prove otherwise, this team will have people wondering if this year's version is any better than last year's group that started the season 5-0 only to limp to an 8-8 finish.
It is just two games into the season and the Giants are 1-1, which the Dallas Cowboys would die to be at this point. But Sunday night felt a lot like last year. The Giants' defense looked overmatched and surrendered the big-play touchdown with poor safety play when Dallas Clark scored on a 50-yard catch-and-run.
Antrel Rolle expressed his displeasure with the team following the Giants' 38-14 loss to the Colts.
The Giants' running game didn't rise to the occasion again and the offensive line looked under siege.
These were major areas that the Giants needed to improve on and they failed in their first major test of the season.
And there appears to be an emotion problem with the Giants as well. While Brandon Jacobs has trouble containing his emotions with his helmet fiasco and his disdain for the media, other Giants apparently aren't showing enough fiery emotion.
"I saw some things that I wasn't too fond of in that locker room," Antrel Rolle said in an interview with WFAN. "I felt like there was no one that stepped up to the plate when the opportunity presented itself."
"I love my teammates," he added. "They are warriors. But in a situation like that, something should have been done to a higher extent and I don't feel like there was enough done at all taking place in that game."
Rolle also said there is too much of a controlling atmosphere surrounding the team and that things need to be loosened up in the organization.
If anything, Tom Coughlin is looking for his players to take control. Leadership was a major concern entering the season with Antonio Pierce moving into the broadcast studio.
Coughlin has been asking for his leaders to step up. He has talked to captain Justin Tuck to be more vocal. With Eli Manning being his usual steady self, veterans like Rolle and Keith Bulluck will need to assert their leadership skills more with their new teammates and make sure the team gets back up after taking its first knockdown punch.
It is time for the Giants to show they are not the same team from last year. It's no surprise that they are 1-1 after the first two games. Few, if anybody, would have beaten the Colts in a game that Indianapolis needed in its home opener.
But the Giants are a team that has to absolutely beat non-elite teams at home. They have the Titans and Bears at home the next two weeks. They have to find a way to stop the best running back in the league in Chris Johnson and win those games before a tough road test at Houston, which is emerging into a playoff team and has a plethora of offensive weapons.
After that, the Lions come to town before the NFC East portion of the schedule begins with a Monday Night visit to Dallas.
By the time the Giants get to Jerry World in late October, they need to be 4-2. Six of their last 10 games are on the road with stops at Minnesota and Green Bay. The NFC East will be a dogfight as usual.
So whatever issues the team has now, Coughlin and his players must correct them if they want to be a playoff team.
Coughlin was asked if he felt the Giant' 38-14 loss to the Colts was different from blowout losses last season.
For those who need a refresher, last year's Giants didn't subscribe to Billy Ocean's mantra -- when the going got tough, they practically quit.
Did Coughlin see any quit on Sunday night?
"No," Coughlin said. "That word, I'm not using that word. But no, I never saw any of that."
It will be a while before the Giants can truly wash the foul taste from last year away.
But the Giants can go a long way toward accomplishing that by starting a winning streak this week and putting the Colts' fiasco behind them in the rear view mirror.
Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.More from ESPNNewYork.com »