One year after winning 11 games and reaching the playoffs, the New York Giants set a franchise record for losses. Can this team return to contender status?
Following their Super Bowl XLVI win in 2011, the New York Giants proceeded to miss the playoffs each of the next four seasons. Head coach Tom Coughlin was dismissed and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo was promoted to the top spot. In ’16, Big Blue finished 11-5 and captured a wild-card spot (although the team was humbled by the Green Bay Packers in the first round of the postseason). Still, there seem to be some optimism when it came to this team.
However, it all came apart very quickly this past season the Giants lost their first five games. With four games to play, both McAdoo and general manager Jerry Reese lost their jobs. And when it was all said and done, the Giants finished 3-13 – setting a franchise record for losses in a season. Now the team is under the command of GM Dave Gettleman and head coach Pat Shurmur. So what areas do the New York Giants need to do to improve in the most?
5. Overhaul the special teams
From the kicking game to the coverage teams to the lack of explosive plays on returns, the Giants’ special teams also played their part in the team’s forgettable season. Of course, reliable return artist Dwayne Harris to a broken foot in early October certainly didn’t help. Only one team in the league averaged fewer yards per punt return while the club ranked 28th in kickoff return average.
Wide receiver Kalif Raymond began the season with the Jets and wound up trying to fill Harris’ shoes but just wasn’t up to the task. The Giants’ longest punt return was 20 yards and longest kickoff return covered just 30 yards. As for the kicking game, undrafted rookie Aldrick Rosas missed seven of his 25 field goal attempts and was 20-of-23 on PATs. Meanwhile, Brad Wing averaged just 44.1 yards per boot and had a pair of punts blocked.
Throw is so-so coverage units and this entire area must be upgraded. A healthy Harris would certainly help in terms of field position. And can Rojas make significant improvement in his second season. There are plenty of question marks here.