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The Giants Haven't Gotten Rid of That 2009 Smell

Saturday night's loss felt like old times

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images

    After Saturday night, it's getting harder and harder to avoid getting nervous about the state of the Giants.

    Preseason or not, the loss to the Ravens featured a Giants team that looked eerily like the one that got run off the field with regularity over the final weeks of the 2009 season.

    There was the same amount of space ceded to opposing receivers and the same inability of the linebackers to make plays that got the team off the field on third down. The pass rush was still limited to cameo appearances and the running game still struggled to make plays in the red zone. The defense looked slow, the offensive line looked mediocre and the whole thing was staler than the air in coach during the 11th hour of a flight with a broken AC.

    There are caveats to just about any of those problems. Schemes are still vanilla, there were players who would have played through pain during a game that counted in the standings and all the mixing and matching of players means that there hasn't been much time to develop rhythm. There are going to be bumps in the road for a team with great stability -- see the Colts at this point in preseason -- and the Giants have a lot of moving parts that need to be figured out. And, last but not least, it is still preseason. 

    None of that excuses the total lack of passion exhibited by players who should have been so embarrassed by what happened last season that effort was never a question again. Tom Coughlin and Justin Tuck both called out the team for their missing energy, but it's impossible to ignore that these are mostly the same guys who shrugged their shoulders through one lifeless performance after another in 2009.

    Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. No one's getting fooled any more and it's hard to imagine that anyone's capable of shame, either.

    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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