So much has been said and will be said about Harbaugh leaving, I can’t really add much to it. I think it’s stupid as hell and make Jed York look like a whiny baby man who is so spoiled that 3 Championship games and a 8-8 season is worth firing someone over. I can’t possibly fathom how bad their relationship has to have been to justify letting go of probably the best new coach of the past 5 years. Possibly generational. I imagine Harbaugh is probably an asshole and might be tough to work with sometimes, but good lord. 3 Straight championships, one super bowl appearance that they almost won (I blame Greg Roman for the loss) and one down 8-8 season where they were ravaged by injuries that would cripple any team. There just isn’t a way to justify this firing. There isn’t. It’s so dumb. It’s unbelievable and I’m still having trouble comprehending how utterly stupid it was. Jed York deserves to have his team sent back into the stone age for being so utterly dumb. It’s starting to make sense why the 49ers have had such a difficult time for so long now. York seems to want a buddy-buddy yes man, but those types tend to not be very good coaches. He probably think’s he’s a genius and that no one else sees what a problem Harbaugh was, when in reality everyone sees what a great coach Harbaugh was and what a stupid idiot York is. 49er fans are PISSED, and rightfully so. My local football group friends who are 49er fans were so distraught this past week watching the win over Arizona. I’ve never seen them with such a sense of deep despair, even after the Super Bowl loss they weren’t so distraught. It’s like they just knew that this was the final game before their team goes bank into the dumpster, this sense of knowing the future was bleak.

It was the polar opposite of how I felt. I watch a terrible Giants season, the worst (win-wise) of the Coughlin era, and yet I was happy knowing that the Giants were likely to bring Coughlin back, because our ownership and front office is loyal, patient, and not stupid as hell. It’s a blessing to root for a team with ownership as stable as the Mara family, because it could be so much worse. If the Maras have any faults, it’s that they might be a tough too loyal, but I’ll take that over jettisoning possible HoF coaches because they might have been jerkish sometimes.

Since the Giants season is over, I’m going to do a 2014 post-mortem right now.

Overall we had a worse record than last year (6-10 vs 7-9) but I cam out of the season honestly feeling more optimistic than last year. Last season the problem was the offense. Eli looked to have regressed, the O-line was the worst Giants O-line I’ve ever seen, we started like 7 runningbacks, Hakeem Nicks gave up, Brandon Meyers was a nightmare TE, Rueben Randle was typical Rueben Randle, and the only player who truly didn’t seem to give up was Cruz. I love you, Cruz. The defense played at a top 10 level, but keep in mind we did face a string of 4 backup QBs in a row, so the level of play might be inflated a bit. We went into the offseason needing big changes, and Reese made some noise in the free agency market and I think we drafted well. If our new offense could click and Eli could return to form with our defense still playing well, we might compete. Then everyone got hurt and it all fell apart.

First, the positives.
Eli did indeed return to top Eli form. Eli is never going to be a world beater. He will always throw dumb picks, he will always throw a bit too high and have passes tipped, he will always force some things, and he will always have that doofy look on his face. But this season proved rumors of his demise were greatly exaggerated. He had one game where he looked like 2013 Eli (against San Fran no less) but outside that, he was good. 30 Tds, 14 INTS (5 in one game, so take one game away and it’s his best ever), 4000 yards, his highest completion % ever, and generally just looked sharper. He got the ball out fast and took fewer hits. This was an up year for Eli and it’s not all because of Beckham.

The offense seemed to find its rhythm more and more over the course of the season. Andre Williams looked bad for a while, but really turned it on down the stretch and looks like a valid replacement for Bradshaw. Randle improved, slightly, at this point we shouldn’t expect better than WR #3 production out of him. The O-line started well, then got banged up, then seemed to find itself again. Really impressed how they played against the Rams despite so many players being hurt.

I am not high on Larry Donnell. Everyone started sucking at the Donnell teat after the Redskins game, but he didn’t do much past that game at all. He’s not a good blocker and while he has pretty good hands, he seems to lose those hands once he’s running with the ball because he fumbles like mad. His costly fumbles were sickening and directly contributed to the first Cowboys loss and the Jags loss. He needs to fix that shit and work on his blocking, but we might have a TE worth keeping when we entered the year not knowing if we had anything there at all.

I like the McAdoo hire. No offensive coordinator got more on-air discussion than McAdoo, and he proved he can figure it out. He made the occasional dumb error and he kept running the ball against Dallas the first time despite the passing game working so much better, but overall I’m happy with the hire. We kept up with most teams and we moved the ball well. Our offense seems on the rise. Hopefully Cruz comes back close to his former self. Parker was fine for a #3 WR enforcer type. As for Beckham? Rookie of the year, I’ve never seen a player like that on this team, not even Cruz looked that good in 2011. His hair is stupid, but if he keeps playing like this, he’s going to be a top 5 WR in this league. Nobody could stop him. I still can’t believe he put up all those numbers after missing 4 games. Praise be OBJesus. Looking forward to seeing you for years to come.

The defense is another story. I will say the defense got hit with injuries really badly and we lost depth as well, but that doesn’t entirely excuse the drop-off. From a top 10 defense to a bottom 10 defense. Rolle seemed to regress, DRC was hurt a lot but still had his issues, Stevie Brown isn’t the same, Kiwi is old and not starter quality anymore. Our defensive line just didn’t get much pressure on the QB this year. Ayers was alright when he got snaps, Hankins is a good DT, JPP played the run well but didn’t get the pressures. Our linebackers are still bad, but it’s been that way for years. 5th round rookie Devon Kennard proved to maybe have some skills, then he got hurt because of course he did.

Perry Fewell has done good things for the Giants so I’m hesitant to kick him out the door, but if we need to have a casuallty for this season it needs to be him. Putting Kiwi in on the final drive against Dallas (game 2) instead of the much better pass rusher Robert Ayers was a huge error and may have cost us that game. He didn’t seem to adjust to offenses and our defense was just unreliably awful all season. He also didn’t know how to scheme for mobile QBs and goddamn Blake Bortles schooled us on it. I’ll miss Fewell if he goes, he seems like a cool guy and helped us to a Super Bowl, but the defense needs a shot in the arm and he isn’t going to provide it at this point.

Tom Quinn, the special teams coordinator, is still garbage and should have been let go 4 seasons ago. At this point I’ve given up calling for his head because if it doesn’t roll now, it won’t till Coughlin leaves. Coughlin himself is still a hell of a coach, but his issues cropped up badly this year in some ways. One of his biggest problems is veteran loyalty, even when our young guys seem to prove they are worth playing. Corey Washington, WR hero of the preseason, didn’t get any playing time all year supposedly because he didn’t play well on special teams. That’s some crap, Washington lit up the preseason and deserved a chance to prove himself against starters. He’s a big man and we could have used him. By the end of the year we were playing some of the young guys and what do you know, they looked good. Coughlin needs to let the best man play at this point and stop trotting out veterans no matter what. Outside that, I still love Coughlin and I feel he deserves the final year on his contract. If we don’t reach the playoffs next year, then we should let him go. If we do? 1 year extension is a possible option.

As for DC I don’t know what to think. I’ve seen Spags floating around and lots of Giants fans are salivating at the idea. I don’t get it. He’s been garbage since he left and his last DC gig put up the worst defense in New Orleans history. Sure they were hurt by Bountygate, but still, that is awful. Spags was good for us but he wasn’t some god. We won the same amount of Super Bowls with Perry Fewell, remember? Spags isn’t going to come in and turn our D into a top 5 out of the blue. We had Osi, Strahan and Tuck on our D-line in 2007. That was an incredible D-line. We don’t have that talent right now. Moore hasn’t put it together, Kiwi is old, JPP is probably gone in free agency, and Ayers might not stick around. We also still had the smarts of Antonio Pierce in 2007, something we’ve missed dearly. Beason might be that guy, but I can’t trust him to stay healthy. Spags is a bad idea. Thanks for 2007, I’d rather not have a retread. I saw the idea of Pepper Anderson (currently Buffalo D-line coach) coming in as a first time DC, and I love it. Former Giant, knows his stuff, could come in and fix our D-line issues, and spent 13 years under Belichick. Sounds like a winner to me. Hire him. Take that chance. Take that gamble.

Reese is on the hot seat too, and if Coughlin goes next year Reese probably goes with him. I personally really like Jerry Reese. I think he’s gotten a bad rap from Giants fans recently because no one wants to blame Coughlin so they move onto Reese. It was all Reese hate this year before it became obvious our D was the issue and we all jumped on Fewell. I think Reese has done an overall good job and is in the top half of GMs. He’s been skittish in free agency until this year, and his drafting goes from hit to miss, but he knows when to let players walk and we haven’t had too many dumb contracts weigh us down, though I think he gave DRC too much dough. Some fans blamed Reese for the lack of depth on the team and I can see their point, but I see injuries that would decimate any team. No team is going to suffer 20+ people on IR including at least major players (Cruz, Beason, Prince) and not suffer big problems. Reese’s work has brought us two Super Bowls. His signing of Canty and Rocky Bernard helped our defense win 2011. It’s not Reese’s fault JPP has been hurt, and JPP was a great pick. His biggest issue was his inability to properly fix the O-line which hurt us bad, but I also kind of blame Gilbride there, because our O-line wasn’t great this season either but the new scheme helped get the ball out faster and mitigate the problem. Jerry hasn’t hit on all his drafts and Brandon Myers was a mistake, but I look out on the rest of the league and I see plenty of good GMs have similar problems happen. I like Reese. I’m glad he kept his job for now. Give him one last draft and offseason to prove it.

Speaking of Reese, he needs to essentially choose between Rolle and JPP this offseason and I’m calling it now, JPP is gone. JPP is talking about how much he’s worth and no hometown discounts for him, and the Giants don’t have the cap space to pay both. If we can get Rolle back for cheaper (I hear he likes it here and wants to stay) then maybe we could afford JPP, but I think he’s going to demand too much money and another team will pay it before we do.

That’s it for the Giants. We beat one team with a winning record (HOU) and lost to one team with a losing record (JAX) but outside that lost to nothing but winners and beat nothing but losers. It was an average season marred by injury, but there is reason to hope. Beckham is the real deal, the offense is on the rise, and Coughlin’s seat is on fire. Next year will mark the 4 year mark between Super Bowls. Maybe, just maybe, we can piss off the world again.