COMMENTARY| After a deplorable effort against the Carolina Panthers on September 22, 2013, the New York Giants now sit at 0-3 for the first time under head coach Tom Coughlin. At a point in the season when many teams begin to toughen up, dig their cleats into the turf, and prepare for the long fight ahead; the Giants seem to be falling fast into a proverbial abyss that seems to be growing deeper by the day.
For Giants fans, the "coulda, woulda, shouldas" are starting to take root, and hypothetical judgments regarding personnel are being shaped and molded. Obviously, the Giants can only make certain changes to the team, but for the sake of fun, wishful thinking and a tiny bit of venting, who would you fire heading into Week 4 of the NFL season?
Here are a few ideas:
Pat Flaherty, Offensive Line Coach
He is the obvious choice, and he is probably the right choice. Flaherty's tenure began in 2004, and he coached two Super Bowl-winning squads. However, the offensive line has steadily declined since 2011, and they are now in complete disarray with no direction, no answers, and seemingly no future.
The Giants are last in the league in rushing, and they are third in the league in sacks allowed with 11 -- a double whammy. Sometimes coaches run their course with a team and change becomes necessary. The offensive line does not seem to be responding anymore, and it is becoming increasingly clear that Flaherty might be on his way out of New York.
Kevin Gilbride, Offensive Coordinator
It might be Gilbride's time, too. It is no secret that the Big Blue universe believes the Giants' offense has become predicable and stale. Red zone problems, issues converting on third down, and a running game that has completely flat-lined, it is no wonder Gilbride has earned the moniker, "Killdrive."
Even former Giant and present Carolina Panther, Chase Blackburn, took credit for the dominating Panther defense by using his ability to predict the Giants' play calling, according to Dan Graziano of ESPN.com. In the NFL, just because it worked yesterday doesn't mean it will work today. The Giants' offense needs an overhaul. New ideas and new schemes could be the perfect remedy for a stagnant group.
David Baas, Center
The Giants' running game has been a problem since Baas' took over duties as center in 2011. During the 2010 season, Shaun O'Hara's final year snapping the ball, the Giants ranked sixth in the league in rushing.
During Baas' first season with the Giants, the offense ranked 32nd in rushing -- dead last -- and in 2012 they were in the middle of the pack at 14th. So far in 2013, the Giants are dead last again, but this time it is with authority. They are averaging an abysmal 44.3 yards per game, 7.4 yards behind the Pittsburgh Steelers who average 51.7 yards per game.
Baas is not the only player on the offensive line who is struggling, but he is the presumed leader and the anchor. The issues begin at the center position, and Baas looks like he should be the first player to be replaced.
The Entire Linebacking Corps
General Manager Jerry Reese has neglected the linebacker position for years, drafting late-round projects, Brian Kehl, Jonathan Goff and Jacquian Williams, as well as signing veteran cast-offs -- Michael Boley, Keith Rivers and Dan Connor. The strategy has not yielded one impact player, and this year's crop seems to be the worst yet.
To say the linebacking corps has been ineffectual in 2013 is being very, very polite. In reality, they have been ghosts. The trio of Rivers, Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger has struggled mightily after three games. All three are liabilities in pass coverage, and their second-level run stopping is average at best. Combined, they have 1 tackle for a loss, 0 interceptions, 0 passes defensed, and 0 sacks. To top it off, starting cornerback Prince Amukamara ranks second on the team in tackles with 20 -- more than any Giants' linebacker. Safety Ryan Mundy leads the defense with 23 tackles.
The problems with the linebacker position are nothing new. The issue has popped up during every offseason for the past few years. It is time for the Giants to stop the decay and restore pride at the organization's most storied position. Neglect has gone on for way to long.
Agree or disagree? Who would you fire? Make your choices in the comment section below.
Matt Mosley is a professional writer with more than 10 years experience covering sports, music and film. Along with his passion for other New York sports teams, he has followed the New York Giants for more than 25 years.
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