In a parity-driven league, a win is a win and the Giants will certainly take Sunday’s victory over the winless Dolphins.
But when asked if he’s happy right now with the state of his team, head coach Tom Coughlin was brutally honest. The Giants (5-2) are coming off a closer-than-expected 20-17 win over the Dolphins (0-7) and as Coughlin sees it, that one-dimensional performance won’t get it done going forward.
“After watching the tape today, I’m not thrilled with everything I saw,” Coughlin said. “I wasn’t pleased with the running game. We didn’t move anybody and didn’t block anybody, for whatever reason … we need the balance.”
Coughlin added while he has all the confidence in the world that quarterback Eli Manning can continue to pull his weight, he’d rather not leave it up to the currently red-hot signal caller. Manning is quietly having a Pro Bowl-like season (2,127 yards, 64.7 completion percentage, 102.1 rating, 13 touchdowns and five interceptions) and said following Sunday’s win that he had no problem carrying the offense if needed.
While Coughlin agreed with Manning, he’d rather have more balance and said it’s about time the running game rounded into form.
“You’d like to think we can get back to basic runs,” was all Coughlin would say about the lack of production.
Left guard David Diehl, who is known for his power-blocking ways, said it’s imperative to get the running game going. Diehl added that a mastermind like Patriots head coach Bill Belichick is already in the lab plotting ways to make the Giants’ offense even more one-sided.
“That’s what makes him a great coach. I think he’s going to do the same thing [as the Dolphins] and see what he can try to do to take away the run,” Diehl said. “That will get us in third-and-long situations so that they can play coverage and take away our receivers. I think it’s an important way for us [to stay in] third-and-shorts and keep ourselves in manageable downs, so that we’re not sitting there trying to get out of [long down and distance] problems.”
Diehl said he’s been in the league long enough — and played for Coughlin long enough — to recognize the importance of getting Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs off to a fast start. He added once the weather turns colder and the schedule cranks up, Big Blue will need to stop relying on Manning so much.
“We all know how important it is down the stretch to run the ball when the weather starts changing and all of that stuff,” Diehl said. “Eli did an unbelievable job of picking apart things, being able to diagnose things, adjust the blocking schemes to pick up Miami’s blitz and to be able to throw for that many yards. [But] we all understand how important it is to get that [balance] … We understand the importance of it.”
Big Blue notes
» Coughlin was quick to praise the play of cornerback Justin Tryon for his effort and toughness. Tryon will miss significant time with a broken right arm suffered sometime late in the first half. Tryon, who underwent surgery on Monday, didn’t tell team doctors or the coaching staff until well after the fact. Tryon was responsible for a big pass breakup to a streaking Reggie Bush down the sidelines in the third quarter that thwarted a long completion and also made the special teams play of the day when he nailed Bush on a punt return that made the Dolphins begin its final drive deep in their own territory.
Coughlin said he was disappointed in losing Tryon’s services because he had many roles on the team and was doing them all well.
“It’s serious. He’s currently having surgery, so here we go again,” Coughlin said regarding the mounting injuries. “He was counted on.”
Tryon said he had no qualms about staying in the game: “I just wanted to keep playing … I wanted them to put a cast on it so I could play.”
»People sometimes forget that the elite money makers in our society are just as susceptible to plights as the rest of the population — specifically when it comes to problems Mother Nature can cause. Case in point: Center David Baas needs to rehab his ailing right knee, but can only do it at the Timex facilities because as of Monday afternoon his house still didn’t have electricity. Baas wanted to take home a rehab device to help expedite the healing, but couldn’t because he had nowhere to plug in the machine at his home. Baas was also looking for a ride home as the media cleared out and half-jokingly asked the scribes if they were “going his way.”
The seriousness of Baas’s injury isn’t known yet, but he hopes to be on the field Sunday in New England. He said it’s encouraging to know that he could’ve gone back on the field if needed against the Dolphins.
“They checked it out on the sidelines and I was stable enough to go back in and play, so that’s a positive sign. My hope is very high [to play on Sunday]. We just have to watch it day-by-day. Seeing how it felt from [Monday to Tuesday] will be a big factor.”
»No word yet on the status of wideout Hakeem Nicks’s injured hamstring. Nicks was sent to get an MRI yesterday and was in and out of the facilities. Coughlin called Nicks’s status as “a day-to-day thing.” Second-year wideout Victor Cruz said he hasn’t spoken to Nicks yet, but hopes he’ll be OK for Sunday. And if not, he’d love to help pick up the slack.
“I understand for us to play at top notch we need all three of us [Nicks, Manningham and Cruz] to be out there and to be clicking on all cylinders. [But] anytime you get an opportunity to go in there, have an opportunity to be the number one or two guy and make some big plays you always want to be excited.”
»Jacobs didn’t make himself available for comment yesterday but his post-game comment about his happiness in Big Blue still lingered in the air, Monday: “I’ve got nothing positive to say,” said the mercurial Jacobs following the Miami game when asked if he’s happy with his current standing with the team. “All I know is that I’ve got family at home and on Tuesday I’ve got a fast car being delivered. That’s it.”
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.