In his weekly spot with Joe and Evan on WFAN Banks discussed the team that is stuck in Green Bay.
Banks first line of attack was directed at Eli and “how bad this Quarterback has been for the cohesion and success of this team.” He even went on to compare him to Favre of late. Banks is bewildered by the fact that Eli is “throwing the ball into double and triple coverage.” Against a team like Green Bay “you can’t win much less contend when you have those types of statistics in terms of interceptions.” When Evan asked Carl for his impression of what’s wrong with Eli, Banks points to the “pass heavy offense where the percentage for mistakes and interceptions are going to go up.” Eli’s poor decision-making was cited, where on one interception he had Ahmad down the field for a 7 yard reception that would have kept the drive alive. Banks summarizes: “When you look at the decision-making of the quarterback it has been tough to justify anything and it doesn’t get any better.”
Banks points out the obsession of Gilbride. “They are a big play offense that don’t have any type of balance,” says Banks. Yet hasn’t Coughlin always preached a balanced approach? In the end the “Giants have to spend as much time drawing up plays for their running game to attack a defense as they do with their passing game… it is clear that they haven’t put the same amount of effort into game planning with their run game.” He specifically calls out Gilbride by his statement on how “you can look at play calling when you are playing a team that is somewhat undersized….why are you not running at them?” He questions “why is Clay Matthews not forced to contend with a TE on every running play?” A byproduct of the 3-4 defense, Banks clearly knows how to attack it. Banks questions why they didn’t implement the “basic tenet of attacking a 3-4 defense” by getting to the edge to “attack their undersized linebackers.” This was compounded by the fact that “their middle linebackers are not guys who play strong in the bubble and they didn’t even try to attack them.” Banks concludes that “the offense has gotten away from how it was built.”
On the defensive side of the ball Banks felt “they had their worst game in terms of gameplan and performance.” We haven’t heard this in a while but to Carl “when you look at it from a gameplan perspective they were certainly out-coached.” All game long “they couldn’t stop a receiver which leads Banks to question Fewell’s approach to this game with Antrel Rolle too shallow on a few plays and too close to the line of scrimmage on a few other ones.” Somehow Fewell was “tricked into believing that Green Bay could actually run the ball.” If Carl had his way he “would take (his) chances in putting (his) safeties in coverage and bet that this kid Kuhn and Jackson were not going to run for over 200 yards on this defense.” Your defensive line is “not going to sack Rodgers because they were using 3 step drops” while the Giants also “continued to honor the play fake.” All this was more than “enough to get the ball out of Aaron Rodger’s hand quick.” Banks feeds more Fewell to the fire by stating that “the defensive backs were playing off coverage trying to keep everything in front of them with no help inside out…so it was pitch and catch all day.”
Roberts questioned why Coughin challenged the Jacobs fumble. At that juncture of the game Banks felt the “game was spiraling out of control and he gambled to keep the drive alive.” He piled on with the fact that “you kind of knew early in the game it was getting late fast for the Giants.” But doesn’t this reek of desperation, sending a poor message to your team?
To conclude, the elephant in the room was brought up by Evan. On Coughlin’s job status Banks went on to state “I’m not going to be the one to say he’s in trouble but every option is on the table if this team can’t get themselves to the playoffs.” Bottom line to Banks “it all points back to coaching when your team doesn’t perform.” Banks looks back on “a team that continues to make mistakes and they manifest themselves when you play a against better competition. All season long they got away with it as they were playing against teams with limited talent.” But “this is the time of year when you are playing the cream of the crop” and your flaws will be on full display.
Is the out-coached statement a pattern here with Coughlin? We heard this with Tiki after the wild card loss to Carolina in 2005 and again with Shockey after the Seattle loss in 2006. Banks clearly felt they were out-coached in 3 areas. Fewell in his coverage schemes and run defense. Gilbride with his reliance on the big pass play with an erratic quarterback. And Coughlin with his desperation challenge, sending a poor message to his team. We have dissected Gilbride’s incompetence for so long that it’s the equivalent of beating a dead horse. But how can a Head Coach, much less an organization, continue to allow their $100 million investment to be put in a position to fail? Accorsi and Reese built this offense around the run game first and complimented it with a passing unit.
Banks has continued to defend Coughlin over the past 2 years by deflecting a lot of the issues on the players. He finally acknowledged the issue is “on the table.” I find it almost condescending when he states “it all points back to coaching when your team doesn’t perform.” A team that has continued to make mistakes over the past 2 years, a $100 million dollar quarterback who leads the league in interceptions, a defense that statistically was among the best in the league getting shredded for 396 passing yards and an inept Special Teams unit over the course of an entire season does not reflect the qualities of a good Head Coach.
But more so, sometimes a coach’s message begins to fall on deaf ears. Howard of ESPN-New Yorkpoints to Pat Riley’s tenure with the Knicks as a prime example:
Riley acknowledged even before he quit New York that the problems in his last Knicks season were “fatiguing” and sometimes “defused my energy for coaching.” He conceded that getting the Knicks to keep taking a leap of faith with him might have backfired when, after doing all the grunt work he asked of them, those teams didn’t find uninterrupted title runs at the end of the rainbow. “Maybe doubt creeps in,” Riley said.
Riley noticed his exhortations to win what he called “statement games” — games like the two the Giants just played against Philly and Green Bay — “fell on deaf ears more [my last] season, for some reason.”