Sunday, December 24, 2006

The New York Giants are so bad....How bad are they? There isn't one thing they do especially well. Tiki Barber is still a great back, but his effectiveness has been limited lately, as the rest of the team has completely broken down. Moreover, the future isn't looking too bright. Barber maintains he's played his last home game, as he heads into a very early retirement. Michael Strahan can't be too far behind, as he finishes his 14th season. So, how bad are the Giants, really? Let's break it down:

The Giants' defense can't stop the run. Their tackling is abysmal, and the line gets pushed around too much. The Giants also have as bad pass coverage as I've ever seen. Even their vaunted pass rush hasn't that impressive either, this year. They have given up more big plays than any other team. Whatever success they have had on some first and second down plays, they erase by allowing other teams to move the chains at will, on third down.

On offense, their offensive line is hurting, to be sure -- but, it has become one underwhelming unit. Finally, their passing game is almost negligible. The quarterback really can't throw downfield, and he isn't very accurate with the short ones, either. Their most effective play of late has been the high throw resulting in a defensive penalty. Occasionally, the underthrown long ball beats the defense, as the receivers are able to adjust to Manning's errant tosses more easily than the defenders.

Even their special teams are atrocious. Their coverage unit routinely allows the other team good starting field position, while their own kick returners haven't been especially dangerous. With Chad Morton tearing his ACL in today's game, the Giants would be well-advised to rebuild their kick-return unit from scratch. I could say the same about their offense and defense.

There are a couple of players they could build around. Burress is a good receiver, and Shockey has his moments -- both good and bad. But, I don't think Shockey will want to hang around much longer, so long as Eli Manning is manning the QB position. On defense, Strahan is still one of the finest players ever to don the uniform, but he can't have more than a few years left, if that. They have a couple of young defensive lineman who might develop into top players, in Uyemyiora and Kiwaunuka, but the rest of the defense should be traded in. Ditto for the coaching staff.

The Giants are headed into a long dark night that will likely last years. The amazing thing is that they could stil sneak in the playoffs, if they can upset the Redskins next Saturday, and a few games break their way next Sunday. Hooray for mediocrity. Actually, mediocrity is too kind a word -- I guess parity is the appropriate word. Right now, the Giants are a long way from mediocre.

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