“The way the game went, the opponent wouldn’t have mattered much,” Slayton said Monday on Zoom. “It wouldn’t have mattered if it was them or Teaneck High School. There’s things you can’t do and expect to win in this league.”
The Giants have the same record as Teaneck: 0-1. But at least one of them kept it close last week, 23-22, against Pascack Hills. Sunday night’s Giants defeat was a demolition, a self-destruction, an organizational failure in East Rutherford.
They spent 60 minutes stumbling over self-inflicted wounds, technique problems, assignment mistakes and turnovers in the rain.
They did nothing to earn being 4.5-point favorites in Sunday’s Week 2 visit to the Arizona Cardinals (0-1), as they are on Fanduel. And if they lose in the desert, they will be staring at 0-3 with a Thursday night trip to San Francisco on deck.
“Seven times the ball was either in their hands or on the ground,” head coach Brian Daboll said. “You start with ball security. In third down and red zone situational football we didn’t do a good enough job. Then obviously we didn’t score a single point. So a lot to learn from.”
Daboll sounded open to the possibility of making immediate lineup changes based on what he sees on this embarrassing game film.
“You take into account what happened the previous game and you have difficult discussions if you need to have them,” Daboll said. “And then try to make the best decision you can for the team.”
Presumably, if Daboll is going to make lineup changes, that would include sitting right guard Mark Glowinski in favor of Josh Ezeudu. There is no guarantee that would help fix the line, though, because as poorly as Glowinski played, he was better than Ezeudu all summer.
A shakeup to the foundation here has to happen, though. Daboll can’t keep this operation the same and expect different results. It would be complete insanity to practice and prepare the same way that a team did for a performance like that.
Unfortunately, that was the message both Daboll and Saquon Barkley delivered after the game.
“I don’t think [the loss] takes away anything from what we did in training camp,” Barkley said, echoing his coach’s sentiment. “I feel like we had a good week of practice; we came out and we just didn’t execute.”
Daboll later insisted he evaluates his process every week “whether you have five wins in a row” or “get blown out 40-0.” Still, it remains to be seen if he’ll take any dramatic steps to change the urgency around the building.
“We are all in this together,” he said.
For their part, the players were clearly accountable and visibly upset postgame and on Monday afternoon.
“I never want to feel like this again,” right tackle Evan Neal said Sunday night. “Definitely a horrible feeling.”
“We all had one too many my-bads,” Slayton said.
“Unacceptable, definitely some anger, just at the result more so than the people,” tight end Darren Waller said of the players’ collective attitude. “And that’s what we’re about: Not attacking the people doing the work; it’s attacking the work that needs to be fixed. And that’s the mindset and message of coming in with confidence, not pointing the finger and [being] like, ‘Alright, let’s move on, let’s continue on this journey.’”
Slayton said one potential positive is that given “the little success” the Giants had last year, they now “know what it takes to win these games and we know what we need to do to fix.”
“Whereas in my first three years we were 4-12, 6-10, 4-,” Slayton added. “We knew nothing about winning. So I would say that the biggest difference now is we know what it takes to win, and we know what to do to get there.”
Corner Adoree Jackson said the best way to improve is to embrace learning from those mistakes, however ugly it is to relive them.
“If you want to get better, it shouldn’t be hard to watch the film,” he said.
And safety Xavier McKinney, reinforcing Slayton’s point about Teaneck High School, didn’t want to hear about how far the Giants are from competing with the Eagles and Cowboys.
“I don’t care about none of those teams,” McKinney said. “We’re not chasing them. We’re in a battle with ourselves.”
Are they ever.
The next six days will go a long way toward defining their season. Everything has to be on the table. And something has to change.