Flagship NFL franchises in the Big Apple failing to deliver once again
The state of football in New York during the 2019 season is pitiful – once again. The Giants and Jets are two of the glamour NFL franchises, but neither is close to a playoff spot, as has been the case for much of the last decade.
The Jets (5-8) have a better record than the Giants (2-11), but the AFC team are not necessarily in better shape than their NFC counterparts. The Jets have a decent quarterback prospect in second-year signal-caller Sam Darnold, but the rest of the team is in flux.
General manager Joe Douglas may turn out to be a decent leader, but he inherited a mess when he took over from Mike Maccagnan during the offseason. Head coach Adam Gase lacks the ability to keep his team focused on a week-to-week basis and he possesses none of the leadership qualities needed to give his players confidence that he will be able to make the right decision when the game is on the line.
Dave Gettleman is floundering as the Giants general manager. His selection of Daniel Jones to take over at quarterback from Eli Manning was roundly criticized last April, and while Jones has had a few decent performances this season, he has not shown the consistency to make any Giants fan believe he can be a winner.
If Gase has problems on the Jets sidelines, Pat Shurmur appears to be an even worse alternative at head coach for the Giants. He had his team prepared at the start of the game in the Week 14 Monday night game against the Philadelphia Eagles, and New York was able to take a 17-3 lead into the lockerroom at halftime.
However, while Eagles head coach Doug Pederson was making adjustments at halftime to get his team back on track, Shurmur was unable to anticipate his counterpart’s next moves and the Giants stalled. Philadelphia rallied to send the game into overtime, and the Giants were clueless in the extra session and appeared to have no idea of what to do when quarterback Carson Wentz hit tight end Zach Ertz with a wide-open, game-winning touchdown pass.
The Jets have not made the playoffs since the 2010 season when they made it to the conference championship game. They have had one winning season in the last nine years.
The Giants won the Super Bowl following the 2011 season, but they have only been to the playoffs once since that triumph. That came in 2016, when they followed a 6-10 year with an 11-5 record that netted a wild-card position. However, a year later they were back to their losing ways with a pitiful 3-13 mark.
The Jets have been tormented by the New England Patriots in the AFC East, and years of falling short to Bill Belichick & Co. appears to have taken its toll on the franchise. The Patriots have won the last eight games played between the two teams, and they are 17-4 against New York in the current decade.
The Jets are rarely competitive against winning teams, as they regularly fall behind early, are forced to play catch-up and simply don’t have the weapons to get back in most games.
The Giants are not tormented by any one opponent in the weak NFC East, but they have been one of the worst defensive teams in the league since their Super Bowl triumph. The problem has been two-fold as the pass rush has been unable to put substantive pressure on opposing quarterbacks and the secondary has been unable to slow down receivers.
The biggest reason the Jets have for optimism in the future is their 22-year-old quarterback. Darnold has completed 62.2 percent of his passes for 2,424 yards with 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions in 10 games. If Le’Veon Bell, a former All-Pro with the Pittsburgh Steelers, can regain the form he had before holding out in 2018, the Jets could have the 1-2 punch on offense to build in seasons to come.
The biggest asset the Giants have going for them is second-year running back Saquon Barkley, who has rushed for 610 yards in 10 games this season and caught 41 passes for 292 yards. Barkley can become the most versatile running back in the league, but if the Giants don’t build up their shoddy offensive line, he will have a hard time reaching his vast potential.
The Jets and Giants are playing in the shadow of the biggest city and they should be two of the most glamorous and successful franchises in the league. Instead, neither team can figure out the right moves. They are failing with their personnel decisions, coaching moves and on-field performances, and the likelihood is that both teams will continue to frustrate their legions of fans long before they can turn it around and become winners again.