Manning takes blame for offensive struggles
It’s been less than 24 hours since the Giants blew a 10-point fourth-quarter lead to the Steelers, and most of the players and coaches at the practice facilities just wanted to move on, specifically when the topic was the toothless offense.
“I don’t have a lot to add from what I said last night. Last night was frustration and disappointment combined and, you know, I’m still disappointed today. The pain of regret, the remorse of opportunity missed, all those things mixed into one,” head coach Tom Coughlin said, adding it’s time to look ahead. “That’s what we preach [turn the page]. We can’t do anything more about yesterday.”
Unfortunately for Coughlin, all the critics will specifically want to talk about until next Sunday’s tilt at Cincinnati, or at the very least until Wednesday’s first full-day of practice, will be how awful the once-potent offense has looked in recent weeks.
There have been several occasions in past weeks that quarterback Eli Manning and his favorite wideout Victor Cruz have looked disjointed. It’s been a mystery as of late, because of how fast the duo got out of the gates to start the season. But during key moments in Sunday’s game, specifically on third downs, Manning and Cruz clearly blew assignments and missed opportunities that they usually capitalized on.
“They hopefully will get back on the same page. There was one, right at the end of the game, that looked like they were not on the same page, so that’s all got to get ironed out,” Coughlin said. “There’s no way you can have a lack of communication and be effective in the passing game. It’s got to be decisive. The timing’s got to be perfect and it wasn’t.”
Coughlin added that while he used the word “communication,” that shouldn’t just be used as a throwaway excuse, as he thinks there’s more to the dysfunction than just guys not being on the same page.
“That word is covering a lot of sins. You say ‘communication,’ [but] you’re also talking about execution and efficiency and beating the guy who’s defending you,” Coughlin said. “There’s a lot of using that word to cover a multitude of sins and it doesn’t describe adequately every bit of the problem. … And I probably can’t explain every bit of the problems either. I may not be able to do that verbally.”
Manning put the onus on himself to play better. His quarterback rating has plummeted in each of the last five games (from 103.3 against the Browns to 41.1 on Sunday), as have his yards per attempt (as high as 10 yards per attempt to 5.2 against the Steelers).
“I’ve got to play better. I’ve got to make some throws, [but] I’ve gone through [bad] stretches before and bounced back,” Manning said. “Offensively we have to play better. So, whatever you want to call it, I call it we just have to get better. … Nobody is going to help us.”
Coughlin said he wants no part of the word “slumping,” and was annoyed when it was suggested the team needs the bye week to come now, rather than in two weeks.
“I don’t think so. I think 7-3 will be a nice break,” Coughlin said. “I don’t know what [slumping] is. This is not baseball. I just think we didn’t play well. We didn’t play well for a couple of weeks on offense. We need to do better. We got to get back to, you know, drop back, throw, drop back, throw. Let’s get the game going.”
Big Blue notes
» Coughlin said he’s confident Manning will right himself and the offense, because the quarterback is one of the best workers he’s ever had: “It’s his ability [and] who he is. How he works. Resilient. You know, the type of person he is, the character he has, the pride, the work ethic. All of those things. … He’ll come bouncing back. He’ll be back.”
» If the Giants’ offense is to bounce back, Coughlin hopes wideout Hakeem Nicks is a part of the solution: “I certainly hope so. That’s what we depend on and we haven’t seen that, or that hasn’t happened in the last couple of weeks. That’s another area that we’ve got to get going.”
» One of the team’s slogans is to “finish,” and Coughlin snidely reminded the media that the Giants have finished very well in two of the last four seasons: “I didn’t see any problems at the end of the last season [when the Giants won the Super Bowl]. You can talk about it all you want, ‘Oh, the second half the season.’ I don’t know what the numbers are. I’m not defending anything. I’m just telling you that the facts are the facts.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.