It was supposed to be the Jets who were nothing this season. The Giants have been nothing, one win better than the Browns and the 49ers. If they’re going to look like more than that, this Sunday at 1 would be a good place to start, as they end the first half of their season. They are playing the Rams, who have been as much of a surprise being good as the Giants have been a surprise being as bad and unwatchable as they have been so far.
Now the Giants’ coach comes out this week and talks about how the Giants’ practice habits have improved this season even as their season is currently as far south as the Jersey Shore.
“I feel that we are a better practice team this year than we were last year,” Ben McAdoo said. “The tempo has been consistently better.”
That ought to make Giants fans feel better about everything.
But Giants fans are smart enough to know what they are seeing on the field, how their team is being coached, and how it has been general-managed by Jerry Reese. McAdoo can’t be sustained by past glory. Reese still is. But the Giants’ last Super Bowl has become irrelevant to conversation about this team. In pro football, you are either moving towards the Lombardi Trophy or away from it. The Rams look as if they are moving in that direction with a young coach, Sean McVay, whose grandfather coached the Giants once, in a time – middle 70s – when they looked as bad as they do right now.
In 2017, here is the only thing the Giants lead the league in:
If anybody else gets suspended now that Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Janoris Jenkins have, the team might set a new world’s record. This is the brave new world of the young coach who was supposed to lead them once the organization decided Tom Coughlin got too old.
The Giants are 1-6 after beginning the season with Super Bowl aspirations.
I asked this question at the start of the season: If the Giants weren’t built to do something this season, with Eli Manning at 36, then when were they being built to do something big? Now we all see what has happened. They are 1-6 going into the Rams game. If you still think this is all about Odell Beckham’s injury, maybe there is some swamp land in the Meadowlands still for sale.
And if you want to blame all of this on Eli Manning getting old, after Reese did nothing to improve the people whose job it is to block for him, well, then you still think that Reese invented football because the Giants won two Super Bowls with him as general manager.
The last time the Giants played a game they weren’t much better than the Browns against the Seahawks. It is why they are supposed to show up against the LA Rams.
Jets were supposed to be nothing. Jets have turned out to be something. The truly amazing thing about the football season in New York and Jersey is this: The Jets – did I mention they were supposed to be nothing? – are now 4-5 and have underachieved. Yeah. There it is. You can make a good case that a team that wasn’t supposed to achieve anything except the No. 1 pick in the draft really isn’t all that far away from being 7-2 and in first place in the AFC East.
But they have been fun to watch, even around the times when Josh McCown turned back into Josh McCown. They were ahead of the Patriots, 14-0, at MetLife and were still ahead, 14-7, when McCown got greedy, got intercepted, the two teams went into the locker room at 14-all and you knew they were going to lose, even if they did get jobbed by the refs in the second half.
They were on their way to overtime with the Dolphins when McCown threw a pass into the flat that hung in the air like a Frisbee. Then they had the Falcons last Sunday in the rain and let them go. But you know what they did after losses like that, and with the Bills looking like the hot guys in the AFC East? They showed up on Thursday night and ran the ball down the Bills’ throat, in a season when we had heard plenty about the Bills’ defense.
Now it is fair to ask, if the Jets go the wrong way over their last six games, how going 7-9 or even 8-8 and not finding out about Christian Hackenberg or Bryce Petty will have been worth it. They already look silly for having passed on Deshaun Watson, the most exciting player in the league this season until the kid’s knee exploded on him at practice the other day. They’re likely not going to get a high enough draft pick to get one of the best quarterbacks in this year’s draft. But then the Jets never get one of the best quarterbacks in the draft, at least not since they got Joe Namath out of Alabama 50 years ago.
Josh McCown has guided the Jets to a surprising 4-5 start to the season.
(Al Bello/Getty Images)
But so far they have provided so much more of a season, and that means so much more of an entertaining season, than the Giants have. It doesn’t mean the Jets are getting any closer to the Lombardi Trophy, either. But they have showed up, all season. They have played hard for Todd Bowles. And they have produced no slapstick comparable to what the Giants have seen from Rodgers-Cromartie and Jenkins.
Barring about three Christmas miracles, it will be the fifth season out of the last six out of the playoffs for the Giants. We still operate off the notion that they are a model franchise. When have they been one lately? Why shouldn’t they think about hitting a reset button, with their coach and their GM, if this season continues to be this kind of mess?
The Giants, who have too often played like the New York Browns, need to be something today. Really, the biggest surprise in all of pro football is this: They have been the JV team at MetLife, not the Jets.
Celtics’ streak, Hinch’s hunches & NFL’s M.I.A. . . .
– Friday night was one of those games — 57, 11, 7 from LeBron — when The King made you think he could grab four guys from W. 4th Street and still win a whole lot of games in the NBA.
But as big a story as he was on Friday, so were the Boston Celtics beating OKC on the road, and improving their record to 7-2.
They do this without Gordon Hayward, lost for the season five minutes into the season.
But they clearly still have Brad Stevens, whom I believe is the best basketball coach anywhere.
– When do you think we will next see a baseball pitcher do what Charlie Morton did in this baseball October — start a Game 7 in a league championship series with five brilliant innings and then finish Game 7 of the World Series with four brilliant innings?
A.J. Hinch merely managed a perfect game, by the way, in Game 7.
He got Lance McCullers — the guy who pitched in relief in Game 7 of the ALCS the way Morton did against the Dodgers on Wednesday night – out of there at exactly the right time, he matched up beautifully after that.
Then A.J. Hinch rode Morton all the way to the first Series title in Houston baseball history.
Hinch is an analytics guy, you know he is.
But in the biggest moments of his team’s run, Hinch managed more with instinct and vision and feel for the game being played in front of him than by all the numbers available to him.
He did this in the same World Series, by the way, when over one 20-inning stretch, Dave Roberts used 17 different pitchers.
– Hey, I’ve got kind of a fun question:
Who told Porzingis’ brother to start acting like Lonzo Ball’s dad on training wheels?
I hope C.C. Sabathia is pitching for the Yankees next season.
He has, in the late innings with the Yankees, carved out a fascinating place in recent Yankee history:
He made what was looking like such a terrible contract extension into a terrific one.
– As you follow the Ezekiel Elliott story, aren’t you starting to get the idea that you could find a Circuit Court judge in this country to tell you almost anything?
And while we’re on the subject:
You have to say that Jerry Jones was a lot sweeter on the way Roger Goodell exercised power until Goodell did hand down that six-game suspension to Elliott.
– So far this season in the National Football League, Aaron Rodgers likely has been lost for the season.
Rodgers is the best player in football.
Deshaun Watson has now been lost.
Watson wasn’t just playing like the Rookie of the Year, he was playing himself into the MVP conversation.
J.J. Watt, one of the great defensive players of his time, got hurt and so did Odell Beckham, Jr.
And you know that is the short list.
And people keep blaming any decline in attendance and ratings on anthem protests and Colin Kaepernick.
Go with that.
Notre Dame might not make the Final Four in college football, because there are still hard games left on its schedule.
But I absolutely think they deserve to be ranked No. 3 by the committee right now.
Interesting that a president who says he has the best memory, like ever, can’t really remember a meeting with George Papadopoulos.
The bad news is that the baseball season is over.
The good news?
We don’t have to watch A-Rod and David Ortiz and the rest of the guys on the pre-game and post-game until next October.