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There's No Giants Identity Crisis

Giants flaws were readily apparent before Wednesday night

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images
    Coughlin's words sound good, but they're lacking substance.

    You'd think all of the "Fire Coughlin/Coughlin to the Hall of Fame" nonsense from last season would have left a bigger impression when it came to jumping to conclusions about the Giants.

    With one game in the books, that doesn't appear to be the case. No one's calling for Coughlin's head on a pike, but there's a lot of talk about the Giants needing to find themselves after the 24-17 loss to the Cowboys on Wednesday night.

    Even Coughlin, who never wavered during the team's four-game losing streak last year, is engaging in a bit of overwrought reaction to the loss.

    "Alarming is probably a good word," Coughlin said, via the Daily News. “Upsetting. That we would make the run that we did and then come back to some of these issues, disappointing because the idea of us coming into the regular season full-speed ahead with our issues under control, that’s obviously not the case."

    Coughlin suggested Wednesday night and again on Thursday that the team was living off of last year's success instead of moving forward. Perhaps, but there seems to be a much more obvious explanation for what went down against Dallas.

    Why would it be the least bit surprising that the team came back to these issues? There was no effort made to address the offensive line problems over the offseason, which means it should be expected that the running game was just as bad as it was last year. And doubly expected that David Diehl would be a problem because he's been a problem in each of the last two years.

    The cornerbacks have been devastated by injuries again and, just like last year, they got shredded anytime the Giants pass rush didn't make Tony Romo uncomfortable. The Cowboys offensive line did a fair enough job and, outside of his first half interception, Romo never got skittish under pressure on Wednesday night.

    Would it have helped if Corey Webster didn't look as bad as he ever has? Sure, but it doesn't change the fact that the Giants, like every other team in the NFL, had a flaw that their opponent could exploit.

    It goes beyond that, though. David Wilson's fumble is being treated like an insult to the entire history of the Giants franchise -- Coughlin actually complimented him for being apologetic, as if there were people who thought Wilson wanted to fumble -- when it should have been seen as par for the course when you draft a running back in the first round despite serious fumbling problems in college.

    In short, the Giants are exactly what anyone paying attention thought they would be this year because it is the same plan as last year. They executed the same exact game plan as last year, with all its attendant Kevin Gilbride shortcomings, but didn't get the result they wanted because the Cowboys were better across the board. 

    These things happen, just like they happened in Green Bay during the playoffs. The Giants have taken great offense to members of the Packers suggesting that Green Bay beat itself, which makes it more than a little ironic for them to claim there was some kind of Giants identity crisis.

    There's nothing wrong with the Giants' operating philosophy. Eli Manning and a great pass rush have won two Super Bowls, but it also led to two playoff-less seasons and last year's disconcerting losing streak.

    Winning the Super Bowl didn't change the fact that the Giants were mediocre in the regular season. It also didn't fix everything that made them mediocre, something that was clear in the preseason.

    Knowing all of that, it is hard to believe the notion that there's some kind of existential crisis going on where the Giants need to figure out what kind of team they are during a weekend in a sweat lodge. Their problem isn't that they lack an identity, their problem is that they got beat by a divisional rival on a night that could have been a Giant party. 

    And that's just fine. No team should like losing or accept losing under any circumstances.

    Understanding why the team lost is just as important as not liking it, though, and the Giants only have themselves to blame if they didn't think this was possible.

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