The more things change, the more they stay the same.
The well-known and oft-said quote, originally penned by French journalist and novelist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr nearly 200 years ago, could aptly be co-opted as the official motto of the Giants. After beginning the season 2-0, the spiraling Giants have lost three straight games and now find themselves in a state of urgency.
Disregard the premise that it is early in the season and they have 11 games remaining, including this Sunday’s 1 p.m. pairing with the Baltimore Ravens at home at MetLife Stadium. The Giants, who have not made the playoffs since the 2011 campaign, are in last place in the NFC East, occupying that position for reasons that have become all too familiar to those who have closely followed the franchise over the past five seasons.
Inexcusable mental mistakes, untimely penalties and a minus-seven turnover differential, which ties them for second worst in the NFL, have detrimentally afflicted the Giants over their first five games. And it is the same category of errors that plagued them in the recent past under former head coach Tom Coughlin. Now the Giants’ first-year head coach, 39-year-old Ben McAdoo, is confronted with rectifying the costly flaws that threaten to undermine the team’s playoff aspirations.
“I think every time you go through something it makes you stronger,” McAdoo said late last week before losing to the Green Bay Packers 23-16 Sunday night. He was specifically responding to a question regarding the widespread national media coverage surrounding Odell Beckham Jr., whose emotional outbursts on the field as well as on the sidelines, some leading to penalties, have been viewed by many as a source of distraction for the Giants and as perhaps affecting Beckham’s substandard production this season.
In the midst of the controversy and the Giants’ struggles, the 23-year-old wide receiver echoed McAdoo’s sentiments concerning facing adversity.
“Sometimes you gotta go through some things to give you a greater appreciation of it all,” said Beckham Sunday after the defeat to the Packers. His eight-yard touchdown catch from quarterback Eli Manning with 2:54 remaining in the fourth quarter gave the Giants hope for a comeback victory that never materialized. It was only his first touchdown of the season, in addition to an unsubstantial 27 receptions on 51 targets for 359 yards.
“We’ll be all right,” asserted Beckham. “Three losses in a row, we had two wins in a row. [We] can put it together. End up winning [against the 3-2 Ravens], win in London [Oct. 23 versus the Los Angeles Rams], go into a bye-week 4-3. It’s not exactly what you want. But we’re going to fight, scratch and claw for every win…”
It’s certainly an optimistic viewpoint from Beckham and a plausible scenario. Yet the Giants have not demonstrated they will likely execute the plan he has put forth.