EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP)No matter how bad things get for the New York Giants, coach Brian Daboll is probably not going to change his message to the team.
It’s always going to be: Trust the process, stay the course, work the problem and take it one week at a time.
It worked well last year as New York started fast, posted a 9-7-1 record and made the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Five weeks into this season, the process isn’t working. The Giants (1-4) have lost three straight and are quickly running out of time to make the postseason again.
They need to go 8-3-1 in the final 12 games just to match last year, and that’s no guarantee of a postseason trip. The final 12 games include two with the Eagles (5-0), next week at Buffalo (3-2) and another at Dallas (3-2), which beat New York 40-0 to open the season.
There are other teams on the schedule that would seem not as tough, but the bottom line is the Giants have to get on a run – now. The missed tackles, sacks and hits allowed and blown coverages have to stop.
“You can say it’s early in the season for so long,” linebacker Bobby Okereke said Monday. “We all look at reality. We’re 1-4 and we’re going into Week 6. So urgency is upon us and we realize that if we want to be where we want to be in the season, we’ve got to start playing really good football, get to be on the details and start to turn this thing around quickly.”
Daboll is refusing to push the panic button. He has rebuffed suggestions to take over the offensive play calling from Mike Kafka, and stood by O-line coach Bobby Johnson, whose injured unit has been bad.
“It’s a week-to-week, day-to-day proposition of trying to improve,” Daboll said. “That’s the focus, that’s what you can control, so, that’s what we do.
Despite giving up 524 yards in total offense to the lightning-fast Dolphins, the defense kept the Giants in the game. It had its first three takeaways of the season and they resulted in 10 points.
Safety Jason Pinnock tied the franchise record with a 102-yard interception return that got the Giants to within 17-10 at halftime, and an equipment issue created a matchup early in the second half that Miami exploited for a 24-10 lead.
With top cornerback Adoree Jackson off the field on third-down getting an equipment adjustment, rookie Tre Hawkins replaced him. Tua Tagovailoa noticed the change and found Tyreek Hill for a 69-yard touchdown catch after the receiver got behind the sixth-round draft pick.
New York was never close again.
WHAT NEEDS HELP
It’s the same thing every week. The offensive line has been decimated by injuries and poor play. The Dolphins had seven sacks and 14 quarterback hits. That came less than a week after the Seahawks tied their franchise record with 11 sacks and 14 quarterback hits.
Left tackle Andrew Thomas has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury and he does not seem close to returning. Rookie center John Michael Schmitz was out Sunday with a shoulder injury and right guard Marcus McKethan hurt a knee against Miami.
The offense has not scored a touchdown in the first half all season and it was limited to 268 total yards despite having the ball almost 36 minutes and 68 plays.
Tight end Darren Waller finally lived up to expectations. He was targeted 11 times and caught eight passes for 86 yards. He got his hands on two other passes, one of which would have been a touchdown.
“He (safety Xavier Howard) got his arm in there, but that’s a play that’s got to be made,” Waller said. “I’ll be thinking about that one.”
Rookie receiver Jalin Hyatt. The third-round draft pick was supposed to be a big-play guy. He has been invisible lately. Over the last two games, he has been on the field for 78 plays and caught two passes for 10 yards. Granted, the O-line is not providing much protection for Daniel Jones, but he needs to do more if he is on the field that much.
Jones left in the fourth quarter with a neck injury. Daboll is optimistic he will play against the Bills. He also thinks McKethan and receiver Wan’Dale Robinson (checked for a concussion) may go. There also is a chance running back Saquon Barkley may be back after missing three games with an ankle injury.
3 – Three straight losses for the Giants. New York also got its first three takeaways, including Pinnock’s INT return for a touchdowns.
It doesn’t get any easier. For the fourth time in five weeks, the Giants are on the road. This time they face the Bills, who are coming off a loss in London against Jacksonville. It’s the same Bills who ripped the Dolphins in Week 4.
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