Tom Coughlin has not been happy with his first-team offense or defense. Credit: Getty Images
The Giants have won every game this preseason, but that’s no thanks to the starters on either side of the ball.
Head coach Tom Coughlin sounds like a man frustrated at the fact the starting offensive unit has looked liked a team in need of the extra exhibition game.
“We’ve got to basically work on everything,” Coughlin said. “Offensively, it’s been the same way since we started [the preseason]. There’s been very few productive yards, whether it’s from the run or pass. But that’s been from our starters. I’ve been pleased for the most part with our subs making comebacks and producing in the second halves.”
"We just didn't play well; I haven't played well," said second-year right tackle Justin Pugh.
While Pugh gave props to the reserves for their stellar play so far, he knows the success of the season lies on the shoulders of the regulars. And he's itching to get back on the field Friday against the Jets, to show the doubters — and specifically Coughlin — they're the right choices to start.
“It's definitely been frustrating for us [starters]. We know we can play better. And from a personal standpoint, I know I can play better. I know I haven't played as well as I know I can,” Pugh said. “But that being said, I'm glad that all this is happening now, so we can work on what needs to be done, learn from this and better our techniques. As a[n] [offensive] unit we know we all need to get better.”
Quarterback Eli Manning leads a group of veterans who sense the urgency to get better. Manning, who has had his share of preseason woes, said he’s looking forward to installing a game plan as if it’s the regular season when they play the Jets.
“I think that’ll help. Hopefully it helps,” said Manning. “But we still have to play better, no matter the gameplan. It’s still about the execution on the field and that’s the most important thing. We all know we have to perform at a higher level and make some plays that are out there to make. ... We just all need to be more consistent.”
The starting offense has been awful, but that doesn't absolve the struggling defensive.
“All of a sudden the preseason is flying by and we still have an awful lot to still accomplish,” Coughlin said. “Defensively, opponents have been aided by penalties. And while that's not an excuse, it's a reality. When their [opponents] have been in the game while ours are in, too, we've yet to stop anybody in a consistent fashion yet. We'll have a play here and a play there, but that's not good enough. ... By and large, this isn't what we've expected of ourselves.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter@TBone8.