The thing about the New York Football Giants is that they’re bad all the way through. They’ve drafted badly, signed badly, traded badly; they coach badly and play badly. Contraction is unfortunately not an option, and the Betting-Industrial Complex demands that they not forfeit the rest of the games. A bonus downside of ineptitude this thorough is that it becomes nearly impossible to evaluate the individual pieces in their own right, drawn down as they are into the mire of poo by their fellow failures. For example: Is Daniel Jones bad, or does he merely have bad receivers and no protection and an unhelpful playbook? Not even god himself could untangle the convoluted suck to find the answer.
But you can always fire the guy in charge! Well, not that guy’s bosses, not until the end of the season. But today the 3-7 Giants canned offensive coordinator Jason Garrett after just a season and change. And what a season and change it’s been: New York’s offense was 31st in the league in both points and yards per game last year, and just 25th and 23rd this year. They are dead last in the NFL in offensive touchdowns scored since Garrett took over.
Garrett’s firing was telegraphed by head coach Joe Judge’s comments after Monday’s 30-10 loss at Tampa put the blame squarely on the coaching. (Well, the offensive side of the coaching, not Judge’s.)
“We’ve got to do a better job of scoring points,” Judge said. “I know that sounds pretty obvious and to the point, but I want to keep it blunt right there: We’ve got to do a better job of putting our players in position to make plays. We have good players. We have to put them in better position to capitalize on it. We’ve got to make sure we sit down tomorrow as a coaching staff to understand how we have to play this game to give our players a chance to make plays. As a player, there’s some things I’d be frustrated with as well.”
OK, sure, it’s been a big disaster for a long time. But I want to float an alternative idea. I submit that one single play got Jason Garrett fired, and it’s this one:
This is worth savoring. Three Giants receivers all just sort of run into one another, helpfully while completely surrounded by Bucs defenders. The offensive line collapses, giving Jones zero time to throw despite Tampa rushing just three, which would be a bigger problem if there were anyone to throw it to but still isn’t ideal. Oh, and it was third-and-short. None could watch this abomination and say Yes, this is good, this is the NFL offense we want to have.
Again, though, complicating matters is the sheer number of things that had to go wrong to make this happen. It’s a man-coverage-beater against a zone (the receivers were attempting to peel off their defenders, but the defenders didn’t follow). Jones and/or Garrett weren’t able to identify the zone pre-snap, and no motion was called to get the Bucs to reveal it. Five O-linemen couldn’t stop a three-man rush. The center blocked nobody. (He, like the rest of the interior line, was acquired during training camp, typically not the best time to find talent.) A running back drafted second overall was not trusted to pick up two yards. It’s a lot.
Luckily, it’s only six more weeks until the firing of Judge and GM Dave Gettleman, the actual architect of this sagging, termite-infested lean-to.
The immortal Freddie Kitchens will call the plays the rest of the way.