It wasn't hard to notice the difference between Tom Coughlin and Broncos coach Josh McDaniels on Thursday night. While McDaniels was getting caught on tape wildly exhorting his team with a variety of expletives, Coughlin stood stone-faced and motionless on the Giants sideline. Coughlin's calmer nature has been the subject of much discussion the last couple of years, but it didn't seem like a Zen trance was behind his demeanor.
It seemed a lot more like he knew that the saltiest of tirades wouldn't do a whole lot of good for his team. He's probably right, because the last six games have made it pretty clear that this team isn't as good as people thought it was before the season and through the first six weeks.
You'll hear critics saying that the team simply doesn't have enough heart, desire or confidence, but those claims ignore the pretty clear talent issues that the Giants have displayed as well as any of the reasons you would have had hope in the team in the first place. Is it likelier that David Diehl, Rich Seubert and company can't open holes for Brandon Jacobs anymore because they don't care or because they aren't physically able? Based on the last three seasons, the latter seems much more likely.
That's just as true of Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield in the middle of the defensive line and even Justin Tuck. Injury is the only way to explain how Tuck has gone from an elite to ineffectual overnight. Osi Umenyiora hasn't looked like the same player at all this season after blowing out his knee in 2008, and that frustration may be what caused him to blow his top during on Thursday night.
The fact is that there's no quick change available to Coughlin to right this ship. The roster is the roster at this point in the season, and the players that are showing the greatest decline are the same ones that the team counted on to lead them this season. Any way you slice it, the team needs better players which aren't coming until after this season comes to a close.
That doesn't mean that playing hard enough doesn't factor into the equation, especially since Tuck and other Giants pointing fingers in that direction after the Broncos loss. Fire can only substitue for talent up to a point, however, and there's no inferno looming for the Giants.