The New York Giants bumbled their way to their sixth straight loss to start the 2013 season, and head coach Tom Coughlin has to be sick of what he’s seen thus far.
In their 27-21 loss to the Chicago Bears on Thursday, quarterback Eli Manning threw three interceptions, including a pick-six that gave the Bears an early 7-0 advantage. Manning has now thrown a league-leading 15 picks on the season. For those of you who failed math, that’s an average of 2.5 per game. In the NFL, that’s simply not acceptable.
But it’s not entirely Manning’s fault. He’s had to deal with injuries that have affected both the offensive line and his receiving corps, and he’s been forced into many throws that he normally wouldn’t consider.
Still, Manning’s ineffectiveness and the Giants’ penchant for turnovers has led to the franchise’s worst record to start the season since 1976.
Coughlin is in his 10th season as head coach. He has won two Super Bowl titles and has directed his team to five playoff appearances in his previous nine seasons. Only once have the Giants had a losing record with Coughlin at the helm—his first as head coach back in 2004.
Now, two years removed from his second Super Bowl, is it time for Coughlin and the Giants to part ways?
As of right now, the plan is for the Giants to allow Coughlin to make his own decision, at least for next year. At halftime of Thursday’s game, NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Giants were content in allowing Coughlin to decide his fate for next season.
If I’m a Giants fan, I’m certainly questioning the wisdom of that decision.
The Giants are simply not in a position to even consider a comeback of any kind this year. It’s a team that’s in need of a rebuild, and there are absolutely no guarantees that a coach who is already 68 years old will hang around long enough to see the fruits of that rebuild.
Coughlin deserves the benefit of the doubt. His two Super Bowl rings are proof of that. But the NFL is all about “what have you done for me lately,” and Coughlin and his coaches simply haven’t gotten it done.
Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride can certainly share part of the blame. Over the past 13 games dating back to last season, the Giants have lost eight of 10 games and the offense has been abysmal. Manning has already thrown as many interceptions in six games this year than he did for all of last season, and turnovers have plagued the team for the better part of two seasons.
Talent is part of the issue as well. Receiver Victor Cruz is a genuine All-Pro, but the rest of the receiving corps have problems in creating separation. The running game hasn’t offered much support either.
The Giants need a younger group of coaches who can help to facilitate a complete rebuild and then be able to actually stick around to see the fruits of their labor. Coughlin is already one of the oldest coaches in the history of the NFL, and sticking around for one more year at most doesn’t do anything to help the Giants in the future.
Does that mean Coughlin needs to go now? No, but allowing him to make the decision to come back for one more season is foolhardy at best.
All good runs eventually come to an end, and Coughlin certainly enjoyed a run as good as any in Giants history. But that run is over, and Coughlin’s time should be over as well.