It isn’t a surprise to Ben McAdoo that his team is winless through the season’s first four games. The New York Giants head coach sees a team that is competing hard, but is struggling to find consistency.
The Giants could very easily be 2-2, however, their last two games both ended on game-winning field goals for the opposition. Offensively, the team has a bit more traction and the protection of quarterback Eli Manning has improved; so to has the running game which has shown marginal gains in recent weeks.
But penalties, mistakes and a lack of focus have led to this 0-4 start.
McAdoo is making no excuses for his team as they face steep odds the rest of the way. This is a group that made the playoffs only a year ago, and returned the vast majority of the league’s second-best scoring defense, features a two-time Super Bowl MVP at quarterback, and a number of exceptional playmakers on the offense.
Yet it is a team that has fallen very short of the lofty expectations set in the preseason, this after a return to the playoffs in 2016 created considerable buzz around the Giants.
“We are 0-4 and our film verifies it. A lot of problems are all correctable and it starts with blocking, tackling, catching the football, kicking and punting, especially in the fourth quarter. At times, we look like we are pressing. Other times it looks like we’re hesitant. Really, we were fortunate to be in the ballgame yesterday,” McAdoo said during a conference call Monday.
He went on, “Tampa missed two field goals and a [point after attempt]. We started slow on offense, which has been a theme for us. We battled back. Expended a lot of energy battling back in the second and third quarter to get back in the game and take the lead.
We had some opportunities after we got the lead to extend the lead, which would have been huge for us. We didn’t do that and we didn’t finish strong on defense. We had four times in the last two ball games to do that and we failed to do it. We’re the only ones that can do anything about it. We got to get back out there on the practice field and we got to work through the fundamentals. We can’t get numb. We can never get used to this feeling or accept it.”
The point now is that the Giants certainly face a tough road to make a return trip to the playoffs, an epic occurrence where McAdoo and his team are able to pull it off. They have as much talent as any team in the division, but have had their struggles in certain key moments.
Sunday’s loss at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was one that stung. The Giants again let a second-half comeback and a fourth-quarter lead be squandered on the game’s final drive. Now as they return home in Week 5, they will have to ignore all the outside chatter and be resigned to focusing on this week.
Eli Manning shares his emotions after a second straight heartbreaking loss puts the Giants at 0-4 on the year.
Piece together a win or two and suddenly this Giants season looks and feels very much different. The squad has all the components on paper to rattle off a few wins.
Now they have to go out there on Sunday, step out on the field and do it.
“I’ve been in this league long enough to know that it takes a lot of work, it’s hard to win in this [league]. And when things aren’t going well you have to dot your i’s and cross your t’s, and you have to play fundamentally sound football,” McAdoo said.
“And we haven’t done that. And it’s no reflection of the team, it’s just the fact it’s not surprising when things aren’t going well that you really have to buckle down.”