Here at Shutdown Corner, we want to help. So once a week, we'll go in and examine a team coming off a bad week, bad month, maybe a bad decade (you're in luck, Cleveland), and see what fixes can be made to turn around the season. So step aside, we've got this. First up, the New York Giants.
We're not panicking on the Giants. After all, some of us around here picked them to win the NFC East. It's just one loss. And anytime you turn the ball over six times on the road and somehow still have a chance to win, as they did against Dallas on Sunday night, you're not a lost cause.
That doesn't mean there aren't some adjustments to be made.
Why do the Giants always do this? They have a coach in Tom Coughlin who might go to the Hall of Fame someday, a good roster and a championship pedigree. Yet every year there are a game or four from the Giants that make you wonder if they're tanking for a better draft pick. A good team shouldn't be so inconsistent or sloppy, but here we are.
So let's see what can be done.
What's right: We like to accentuate the positive around here, and there are plenty for the Giants. First and foremost, the passing game is legit. Eli Manning had 450 yards and four touchdowns, with a great 10.7-yard average. It was good to see Manning pushing the ball downfield, something the Giants didn't do enough last year. And you thought Manning was going to bring the Giants back at the end, right? Everyone did.
The reason this passing game is so good is because Manning is good, and he has a ton of weapons. Hakeem Nicks looked healthy, Victor Cruz is great, Rueben Randle had 101 receiving yards and tight end Brandon Myers chipped in a touchdown. A couple of these guys are going to be single-covered each play. If Manning has to throw for 5,000 yards this year to keep the Giants afloat, he can do just that. And he might have to because ...
What's wrong: Brandon Jacobs, really? Really? That isn't the solution at running back. Maybe Jacobs, a blast from the past who was signed this week, can be a short-yardage guy who doesn't blow assignments, but it shows what a mess the running game is right now. That's what happens when David Wilson decides he just misses the warmth and comfort of Coughlin's doghouse and knows the best way to go back is to fumble a couple times. After Wilson was benched for two fumbles, Da'Rel Scott didn't do himself any favors getting out late on a screen pass that was intercepted and returned for a touchdown with the Giants trying to put together a game-winning drive (although Manning deserves blame too for rushing the throw). Because running back Andre Brown was hurt as the Giants tried to gain some momentum during that fourth preseason game (ugh), this is what New York is stuck with at running back.
How to fix it: The Giants' best move is to be patient, with everything but especially Wilson. The Giants aren't going to be special unless Wilson is a legitimate No. 1 running back. Any team planning on some Scott/Jacobs combination at running back is going to have a long season. We've seen what Wilson can do when he's not fumbling the ball, and it's special. Ahman Green, Tiki Barber, even Adrian Peterson are among the backs to get over fumbling problems to have a great career (Peterson had 20 fumbles his first three seasons, and just six in the three-plus years since ... we kind of forget that about him), so Wilson can too. Keeping him in the doghouse, as Coughlin did last year after an opening-day fumble, is just limiting the offense. Maybe if Wilson is in the game at the end on Sunday at Dallas, he doesn't make the mistake Scott did and the Giants win (or, he fumbles the game away well before that ... either way). The Giants need to keep riding Wilson. And maybe teach him some "high and tight."
Can it be turned around?: Of course. Any team that out-gains another 478-331 wasn't exactly blown off the field. Lost in the turnover hullabaloo is the Giants' defense looked pretty good against a tough offense. And Manning is going to have a huge year. The biggest problem might be the schedule. The next five weeks: Broncos, at Panthers, at Chiefs, vs. Eagles, at Bears. Yikes. The Giants can't dig themselves too big of a hole (though, we've seen them rise from the dead many times before). As long as Wilson becomes a playmaker for his team instead of the opponent, and they survive these first six weeks without being too far behind, they'll be fine.