The Giants put on a clinic in Sunday’s 25-14 loss to the Cardinals — if that clinic was in how to find creative ways to give away a game.
Head coach Tom Coughlin, who had a day to cool off and reflect, still sounded like he had a gnawing feeling in his gut.
“We beat ourselves, yes, we did. So, we’re back to that axiom as old as football,” Coughlin said. “This is professional football. Make the plays necessary to win and eliminate these bizarre events which take the heart right out of you.”
Coughlin admitted losing was bad enough, but it was how the Giants (0-2) loss that really had him perturbed. The dropped passes, the missed tackles on the 71-yard game-winning punt return by Ted Ginn Jr., the lack of forced turnovers and ill-timed giveaways are still unsettling to the coach.
And while he still “believes” Big Blue can turn around their season and “get this thing done,” he admitted they’ll need to shore up the loose ends and perfect the basics — like catching the ball.
“Catch the ball. That’s what you’re paid for. Professional wide receivers have got to make plays,” said Coughlin, who noted the offense as a whole let down the team. “You are not going to beat anybody in the National Football League with 14 points.”
The man in charge of scoring more than 14 points, quarterback Eli Manning, wasn’t as dour as Coughlin. Manning, who actually played a solid game by going 26-of-39 for 277 yards, two touchdowns and two picks, doesn’t think his offense is too far away from putting together a complete game.
“We felt we really did some good things on offense [and feel] it can get better,” said Manning. “I think the spirit of the team is in good spirits. ... Obviously, when you’re 0-2, you want to get a win soon [so] we’ve got to get better quickly.”
Coughlin was down on his offense, but there seemed to be a sharper edge for his defense as they’ve failed to shorten the field and create opportunities for an offense that still needs all the help it can get.
Big Blue has yet to register a takeaway — something not lost on the coach when he addressed the team Monday.
“Obviously we’re not as good at [creating turnovers] as we should be. We are not taking the ball away from the opponent. The no takeaways is an issue now,” said Coughlin. “This is something that every team counts on. We are back in the business of defensive holding and illegal contact ... which was definitely an issue for us last year, too.”
Last year is an ugly phrase around the Giants’ facilities, and Coughlin refuses to even think about another dreadful start to the season.
“I’m a believer. Put me up at the top, OK,” Coughlin said. “Blame me for the problems, put me at the top as far as getting this thing done. ... But I do think they can turn this around and go do it.”
Big Blue notes ...
»Cornerback Walter Thurmond will have surgery on a torn pectoral muscle Tuesday. He’ll miss the remainder of the season. Trumaine McBride will replace him as the nickelback.
»Rookie linebacker Devon Kennard (hamstring) is still ailing and Coughlin sounded as if the USC product won’t suit up again Sunday against the Texans.
»Coughlin said he’s yet to be given a timetable for the return of wideout Jerrel Jernigan from a mid-foot sprain.
»The Giants rank 30th in total offense, averaging 269 yard per game. The passing attack ranks 21st at 202 per game, while the running game is 28th with 67 yards per game.
»Coughlin on wideout Victor Cruz’s past week that included his claim for more receptions – and then his subsequent literal dropping of the ball on Sunday: “I’ll visit with him … on a whole bunch of subjects.”
»Offensive lineman Eric Herman will be a part of a group of players who will be reinstated early with the implementation of the new drug policy.
Follow Giants beat writer Tony Williams on Twitter @TBone8.