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The Same Old Giants Song

Holding onto the ball is again a problem for the Giants



    The Same Old Giants Song
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    Enough talk, time for action from the Giants.

    There's almost always a theme to the public comments of an NFL team leading up to Sunday. 

    For the Giants this week, the theme is ball security. Everybody associated with the team is talking up the way the Bills force turnovers and stressing the need for the Giants to avoid them if they are going to come away with a win this weekend.

    On the surface, the talk makes sense. The Bills have forced a league-high 16 turnovers this season while the Giants turned the ball over five times en route to their loss to the Seahawks last weekend.

    The problem is that we hear this kind of talk from the Giants all the time and never see any concrete steps taken to actually alleviate the problem.

    The team knows that Eli Manning, like many quarterbacks, is more prone to give the ball away when he's under pressure, but the Giants continually treat the play of the offensive line like an afterthought in the offseason by refusing to make significant changes to the players up front.

    Beyond that, Manning has never seemed to learn that there are passes that shouldn't be thrown because the risk outweighs the reward. His first interception against the Seahawks was a totally awful throw that safety Earl Thomas picked off without much effort and even Manning's biggest play of the game -- Victor Cruz's one-handed touchdown grab -- came on a throw into double coverage that had absolutely no business being completed.

    Tom Coughlin has made getting red-faced about turnovers a cottage industry for himself, but the level of disgust he shows on the sideline simply isn't backed up by the way his team has played since he's been the coach.

    At some point, the Giants actually have to do something about stopping negative plays instead of bemoaning their existence.

    It's not just about avoiding turnovers in the passing game, though. The Giants would also benefit from actually putting into action the tough, run-oriented offensive philosophy they espouse so often.

    Ball security and ball possession go hand in hand, so it might behoove the Giants to actually try running the ball this week instead of just saying that they need to run the ball. Kevin Gilbride is despised by many a Giants fan for his reluctance to call running plays, so if Coughlin is going to keep going to podiums and talk about the kind of team he wants it might be time for him to do something about putting it into practice.

    There have been plenty of things wrong with the defense through five weeks, but the biggest reason why the Giants keep playing these tight games that are up for grabs at the end is because the offense keeps giving the opposition chances to get the ball and do damage. They need to actually stop doing that, instead of simply talking about doing things differently.

    If the Giants need some reminder of the benefits of running an offense this way, they need only dig into the team's archives for a tape of their most famous game against the Bills. Super Bowl XXV wasn't won just because Scott Norwood missed a field goal, it was won because the Giants kept the Bills' potent offense off the field for the majority of the game.

    This year's Bills aren't quite as good as that team, but they can score in bunches so stopping them from having the chance would work out quite well for the Giants. Holding onto the ball, in every sense of the word, is the easiest way to do that.

    Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City. You can follow him on Twitter and he is also a contributor to Pro Football Talk.

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