Written by: Glenn Warciski and Paul Burke
Another Sunday and another miserable Giants loss! Eagles 34, lowly Giants 29! Due to the Giants ineptitude on special teams (extra point, field goal and punt blocked), the Giants overall record fell to 2-12, 0-10 in the NFC Conference and 0-5 in the NFC East. On top of this disgusting season, what is even more insulting is the Eagles’ fans took over MetLife Stadium. Based on reporting from the New York Daily News, there were more Eagles fans in attendance than Giants fans. The storyline in this contest is meager special teams coordinator Tom Quinn.
At the NYG Underground, we have chronicled Quinn’s spotty record as the special teams coordinator. Yesterday’s performance by the special teams coincides with this disastrous season. I could not find anywhere in the annals of professional football in which a team had an extra point, field goal attempt and a punt blocked. In defense of Quinn, the mishap after mishap after mishap could be the following:
As we have pointed out time and again, former Giants GM Jerry Reese has had terrible drafts. This Reese effect has marginalized the quality of players Quinn has available at his disposal to play special teams. Players drafted in the mid-to-late rounds, generally speaking, make a roster spot because they can help on special teams. With Reese’s drafts producing a paucity of quality players, it affects the entire team. Clearly, as we saw yesterday, it manifested itself on special teams. Under Quinn’s leadership, this has shown to be problematic for the Giants from season to season.
The second point is the health of the team. Except for last season, the Giants have been tops in the NFL amongst leading the league in player’s lost to injury. As former Giants teams special teams coach and current coaching legend Bill Belichick pointed out:
“You don’t go into the game thinking about losing two guys at the same position. When that happens, that’s a difficult situation. And particularly in the kicking game because now you’re talking about that’s 66 players on special teams—kickoff, kickoff return, punt, punt return, field goal, field goal rush—that’s 66 players. That means you have to have 66 backups. I mean, you’ve got to have it. So, this guy is out on this team, who is going in for him? You’ve got to have somebody. It might be the same guy for five positions, but you’ve got to have somebody. O.K., now you lose two guys at the same spot, again two anything—two safeties, two corners, two linebackers, two whatever they are—and they’re going to be playing the same players in the kicking game.
“I can tell you from experience having been a special teams coach, you’re really talking about making some adjustments. Like I said, it’s hard enough to lose one because you’re looking at 66 plus 66. You start dropping down below that, then the opportunity to even give that guy reps at that position when you get 11 guys on the field, whoever that guy is, just getting him out there is one thing, him having reps at what he’s doing is probably that would be a dream I would think that most likely didn’t happen during the week. So, those are tough. Lose two long snappers, lose two punters, lose two anything—that’s pretty challenging.
“But special teams, people don’t realize how difficult it is to just manage the roster in the kicking game because there are a lot of guys you can just eliminate from special teams. You don’t seen any offensive linemen on the kickoff team, you don’t see any defensive linemen on the kickoff team, you don’t see any quarterbacks, other than the kicker and the punter, so you can take probably 15 to 20 players and just eliminate them from a lot of those teams. So now you’re working with a much shorter list. And what that total number is, is one thing, but realistically what that number is, is it’s another ball game. So you start talking about how many players you actually have and then you’re looking at 66 spots minus the field goal team, you start looking at 66 spots and then who backs those 66 spots up and then who’s behind them.”
So how bad has Quinn been:
Rich Gosselin, a sports writer and special teams guru, ranks the performance for each NFL special team’s unit. His rankings have been the cornerstone in assessing the quality of each team’s unit. According to Gosselin’s formula, this is how Quinn and his special teams have fared.
2015-SECOND. This is not a misprint. Why?
From Gosselin: The Cowboys opted not to resign Dwayne Harris last offseason, which cost Bisaccia his best punt returner, best kickoff returner, best gunner on the punt team and best coverage ace on the kickoff team.
Harris signed with the Giants in free agency and was a key figure in New York’s ascension from 25th in the NFL in special teams in 2014 to second this season. He returned both a kickoff and punt return for a touchdown with the kickoff TD providing the winning points in a 27-20 victory over the Cowboys.
Based on these rankings, Quinn has been too inconsistent. Even after last year’s playoff debacle versus Green Bay, where the Giants’ special teams played so poorly, it was my belief Quinn should have been fired. Again, the stupid Giants kept him and we have had THREE meltdowns this year which have cost the Giants wins. In the Philadelphia and Tampa Bay games, inexplicably, Quinn advised our punter to directional kick. As a result, Wing shanked both punts. This led to outstanding field position for the Eagles and Buccaneers, respectively. Ultimately, they took advantage of the Giants miscues and won. What is so sad is the Giants defense and offense played well versus the Eagles but were thwarted by their special teams unit. So instead of getting their third win of the season, the Giants lose again and this season cannot get any worse.
Eli Manning got his mojo back. Where has he been the last two years? This is our take on Eli Manning’s performance: we have to give credit to Giants offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. Instead of this dink and dunk McAclueless ineffective scheme, Sullivan went back to the well from the Kevin Gilbride system as they took more shots down field perhaps than any other game in the last two years. The uptempo style was a factor in that it allowed the Giants to get Eli and the offense into a rhythm. This is something that has been lacking over the last two years. While giving credit to Eli for playing well, keep in mind his deep ball is off, and he continues to miss a lot of throws. Although it was good to see Eli throw for over 400 yards, the future is about a total team rebuild, which includes replacing Manning.