James Bettcher, Pat Shurmur
ESNY Graphic, AP Photo

Three coaches on the New York Giants staff have done a horrible job with this team through the first 10 games of the season.

Ryan Honey

On Sunday, the New York Giants fell to their crosstown rivals, the New York Jets, 34-27. The loss is their sixth straight, as it’s evident they’ve hit a new low. The Jets only won one game prior to their victory over the Giants and most recently lost to a once-winless Miami Dolphins team.

Big Blue is now 2-8, but how? If you look at their roster, there’s definitely talent within this organization. They have reliable receivers, a fresh rookie quarterback, one of the best running backs in the league, a versatile tight end, an experienced corner and safety and a Pro Bowl defensive lineman. So why does this organization seem like they’re actually regressing?


Simply speaking, it’s the coaching. If this team doesn’t start winning games, this coaching staff could be on its way out.

There’s a possibility head coach Pat Shurmur could be fired before year’s end anyway. But out of all the coaches, there are three that are evidently doing a horrible job this year, and it’s contributed to their 2-8 start.

Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher

Through 10 games this season, it’s obvious this is arguably the worst Giants defense in recent memory. At the end of the day, it all comes down to one man and one man only, and that’s defensive coordinator James Bettcher. Overall, this defense is allowing 381.7 total yards-per-game, which is tied for 26th in the league. They’re also 30th in the league with 28.9 points allowed-per-game.

The pass rush, while statistically better than it was at this point last year, isn’t nearly as consistent as it should be. For example, in either of the two games against the Dallas Cowboys, they didn’t bring down Dak Prescott once. Yes, you read that right. Not once in either matchup. It contributed greatly to why the Cowboys were able to defeat the Giants twice. Big Blue allowed a combined 72 points in the pair of games.

Some players on the front seven are actually regressing. B.J. Hill, who racked up 5.5 sacks last year as a rookie, lost his starting spot after half the season. Lorenzo Carter, who was a promising rookie in 2018 with four sacks, has only racked up 18 tackles thus far on the year with 2.5 sacks.

The defense’s two safeties are the leading tacklers, which is definitely an issue. Antoine Bethea and Jabrill Peppers have 72 and 71 combined tackles, respectively, through 10 games. It’s just more proof of why this front-seven is struggling and isn’t improving as the year progresses.

And then there’s the secondary, which is near the bottom of the NFL. The Giants are allowing 259.0 passing yards-per-game, which is good for 24th in the league. They’re also 23rd in the league with 17 touchdown passes allowed this season.

When watching the secondary operate, you start to realize Bettcher’s schemes simply don’t work either. There’s someone wide open on what seems like every single play. No way these defensive backs are that horrific to allow someone to be wide open that much. Two of the starting defensive backs have been to the Pro Bowl in their careers (Bethea and Janoris Jenkins).

With the developmental issues with rookie corner Deandre Baker as well, you can see there are numerous reasons to support the fact that Bettcher has to go. His defense doesn’t work, at least not for this group of players.

Offensive Line Coach Hal Hunter

One of the priorities for the Giants the last two offseasons was to revamp the offensive line. From the 2018 offseason season until now, they’ve signed left tackle Nate Solder, drafted left guard Will Hernandez, traded for right guard Kevin Zeitler, and signed right tackle Mike Remmers.

So with all the moves, is this offensive line better than it has been the previous two years? It may look better, but sadly, it’s not. The Giants now actually have a quarterback (Daniel Jones) who can move a little bit and get outside of the pocket to extend plays. It’s something Eli Manning struggled with his entire career. Therefore, this current offensive line is getting bailed out more for its mistakes than it previously did.

In reality, it’s still very much not a great offensive line and one that hasn’t improved at all as of late.

The O-line is tied for 28th in the league with 34 allowed sacks this season, with is 3.4 allowed-per-game. This compares to last year’s offensive line group, which allowed 47 sacks (tied for 22nd in the league). That averaged out to 2.93 sacks allowed-per-game.

So why is it regressing even with all the moves that were made? You can thank Hal Hunter.

The offensive line coach, who’s been in this role since the 2018 season, has done a horrible job developing and coaching up this group. During the loss to the Jets this past Sunday, three reserve offensive lineman had to be used (two tackles) due to injuries. None of them looked to be prepared for the assignment at all. Left tackle Eric Smith, who replaced a concussed Solder, contributed to the six allowed sacks of the Jets.

But what if I told you the coaching staff didn’t prepare Smith to play left tackle? What if I told you he actually practiced at the jumbo tight end spot because Nick Gates (who’s primarily in the jumbo spot) was starting in place of Remmers? According to Smith, he hasn’t had any reps at left tackle since the preseason when he was a member of the Jets.

How do you not have one of your reserve tackles prepared to play at the left tackle spot? How do you not give him any reps in the case that your starting left tackle goes down, which is exactly what happened? Some of the decisions made within this staff are pitiful and crucial to why this team has lost so many games up to this point.

Head Coach Pat Shurmur

And last, but certainly not least, is the Giants’ second-year head coach. After Sunday’s loss, Pat Shurmur is now 7-19 since coming over to New York, and it doesn’t seem like that win total will increase by much anytime soon.

Shurmur has proven over his 26 games for the Giants that he’s a below-average decision-maker and play-caller. During the loss to the Jets, he kept trying to go back to the inside zone run to Saquon Barkley, a play that simply wasn’t working at all the entire game. Barkley, who seems like he’s still banged up from his previous ankle injury, had just one rushing yard on 13 carries.

The play-calling, overall, is so predictable too. An incomplete pass on first down, inside run on second down, then a 3rd-&-long. Why does it seem that’s the basis of the offense in every single game? There’s no creativity whatsoever and just seems like a basic gameplan almost every week. It’s tiring to watch whether you’re a fan or not.

With the talent they have on the offensive side of the ball, this offense should be efficiently producing more than they have. They have an up-and-coming quarterback in Daniel Jones (despite the turnover issues, which is also a coachable aspect that hasn’t been developed very well). A sensational running back in Barkley (despite not being 100%). Receivers such as Golden Tate and Darius Slayton who have proved to be effective targets for Jones. And a versatile tight end in Evan Engram who’s one of the more athletic tight ends in the NFL.

With all those names, the Giants are still putting up just 20.3 points-per-game (22nd in the league) and 228.0 total yards-per-game (18th).

This team has talent, don’t get me wrong. But the fact that this talent isn’t being developed nor correctly utilized, and seems to be regressing, is evidence this coaching staff needs to go. If Shurmur gets fired, which means the rest of them are gone as well, it would be beneficial for this organization moving forward.

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