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No Quick Fixes Available for the Giants

Getting the Giants back on track isn't as simple as some seem to think

By Josh Alper
|  Tuesday, Sep 28, 2010  |  Updated 3:15 PM EDT
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The New York Giants have won four of their last 14 games. They have lost seven of those games by double digits and have an average margin of defeat of almost 19 points. They have turned the ball over 36 times in those 14 games and have more takeaways than giveaways on three occasions. Through three games this year they have allowed 85 points, most of any team that has actually managed to win a game this season.

For many football watchers, those kinds of facts would be a compelling argument that something was rotten in the state of Giantsland. Based on the general reaction to the carnage of the last two weeks, however, not many of those watchers are avid followers of the Giants. According to those diehards, all the Giants need to do is stop turning the ball over, stop commiting penalties and play starters on the special teams. Do that and the wins will start piling up like pastrami on a sandwich at Katz's.

The Giants players and coaches don't have a much different opinion, which makes you wonder why they haven't simply done it if it is so easy. They're convinced that nothing is wrong with a team that has beaten only a terrible Panthers team and gotten run off the field in the other two games. It's just a matter of listening to Tom Coughlin more or a matter of a leader stepping up, because, to the Giants, there isn't anything wrong with the talent. 

Shoot your eyes back up to that first paragraph and then chew on that last point for a while. We're not arguing that there isn't talent on the Giants, we're just arguing against the idea that this team is so stuffed with playmakers that sloppiness is the only thing holding them back from reaching the heights of the football world. That talent isn't in evidence on the offensive line or among the linebackers, to name two spots, and other areas don't rise much above average when you're looking at them in comparison to the entire NFL.

The fact that the Giants are so quick to point out things like discipline and leadership is a pretty good sign that they are missing some talent. Teams overflowing with talent can be a bit undisciplined and still succeed and talented teams rarely hear about a lack of leadership because they are out there winning games. Coaches, fans and some members of the media like to harp on things like character and effort as keys to success. They matter, but they matter a lot more to teams that have average or below average talent and need to earn wins through other means.

Cleaning up the sloppiness from Sunday clearly would help the Giants, but after so many games played at the same low level it is asinine to suggest that there is some easy fix to what's been wrong with the team.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com. You can follow him on Twitter.

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