Commentary

Bumbling Giants need to let the err out

G-Men have talent, but it won't mean a thing if they don't cut penalties and mistakes

Updated: September 27, 2010, 8:51 PM ET
By Ohm Youngmisuk | ESPNNewYork.com

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Tom Coughlin stood before his team Monday and reviewed the mess from the day before.

No one in the room needed to relive the meltdown against Tennessee. The New York Giants knew they let one get away, and they knew there was no one to blame but themselves and a serious case of brain freeze.

"We're obviously very humble. We're very quiet today. We're down, but we'll be back up," Coughlin said in his Monday meeting with reporters. "I told the team, 'Let's move on; let's learn from it. Get yourselves rested and ready to go for Wednesday.' I think we'll definitely respond."

[+] EnlargeEli Manning
AP Photo/Bill Kostroun"A lot of it goes on the coach, and a lot of it really isn't his fault," Eli Manning says of the blame dished out after a loss.

The Giants know they are their own worst enemy. That much was clear the day after their abysmal 29-10 loss to the Titans at home.

Last week, the Giants were surrounded by controversy from Brandon Jacobs' helmet toss and his role in the offense to Antrel Rolle's comments on a lack of leadership and the team's "controlled" environment. Then the Giants showed a complete lack of discipline and composure Sunday with 11 penalties, five of them personal fouls that came after the whistle.

Coughlin said it was his responsibility that his veteran team lost control against Tennessee, but players continued to say it was their fault and not the coach's.

"That's kind of what happens with football games. ... A lot of it goes on the coach, and a lot of it really isn't his fault," said Eli Manning, who has six interceptions already this season, four of them going off the hands of his own receivers. "It's our responsibility, the players' responsibility, to go out there and perform well, do our job.

"We were well coached, well prepared. We had a good plan; we executed a lot of things really well. Certain plays we have to execute a little bit better."

The Giants insist their issues can be fixed. Coughlin has a week to plug the holes before Big Blue turns into a sinking ship. Halting a two-game slide Sunday night against the Bears is crucial because the Giants will travel to Houston the following week.

Chris Canty The flags are like hand grenades. It doesn't matter who pulls the pin; we are all done.

-- Giants defensive tackle Chris Canty

"It is not alarming at this point," defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka said. "We understand what corrections we have to make. At this point, it is just a matter of getting it done. There is no panic in this team yet."

The Giants (1-2) are only one game out of first in the NFC East behind the Eagles (2-1). And they know things can change quickly. Remember, the Giants began the 2007 season 0-2 and won the Super Bowl.

But that team had leadership in Michael Strahan and Antonio Pierce. It had playmakers like Plaxico Burress. And the special teams play was better than it is now.

Coughlin, who called his special teams play "horrible" Sunday, said he will consider putting some of his regulars in on special teams if it will help. The coverage has been bad since training camp, and there was an inexcusable delay of game on a field goal attempt.

While there could be change with who plays this week, the head coach said he is not contemplating any move with special teams coordinator Tom Quinn.

The coaching doesn't seem to be the issue at the moment. It is more the execution and poise of the team. An exasperated Coughlin explained how much he talked about discipline entering the Tennessee game. The coaches preached to the players about how the Titans try to get underneath opponents' skin. And still, the Giants lost their cool.

"The flags are like hand grenades," defensive tackle Chris Canty said. "It doesn't matter who pulls the pin; we are all done."

Now the Giants understand that if they don't get their act together, their season will blow up sooner rather than later.

The word "talent" has been used a lot around the Giants. But talent doesn't win games by itself.

And now the Giants have lost 10 of their past 14 games, dating back to last season.

"Well, everybody keeps saying that, and I think that we have to come together to prove that," Coughlin said of his team having the talent to win. "I think that has to be proven. We have to play as one in order to get to that, and yes, my frustration is that because I'll remind you again, in '08 we set the all-time record for fewest turnovers in the history of the National Football League and here we are.

"Last year was nothing but absolute torture with turnovers," Coughlin added. "And we've started out this year as well."

Ohm Youngmisuk covers the Giants for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.

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Ohm Youngmisuk has covered the Giants, Jets and the NFL since 2006. Prior to that, he covered the Nets, Knicks and the NBA for nearly a decade. He joined ESPNNewYork.com after working at the New York Daily News for almost 12 years and is a graduate of Michigan State University.
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