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New York Giants Coordinator Corner: Balance, consistency have improved

The New York Giants are preparing for their season finale at MetLife Stadium this weekend against the rival Dallas Cowboys. It’s been an up-and-down year for the Giants, falling into a 1-7 hole before getting their bearings and winning four of the next seven.

The three coordinators have addressed the media every Thursday religiously this season under first-year head coach Pat Shurmur, and all three had interesting tidbits to share as they close out their seasons.

The last few years, the Giants have struggled on special teams. This season, the ‘teams’ — as they are called — have become a strength of the club under Thomas McGaughey.

“I didn’t see it as anything needed to be overhauled,” McGaughey told reporters regarding his first glance at the unit. “I just think we needed some consistency. When you look at the roster over the last — especially last year. When I got here and I looked at the tape and then every week you saw different guys out there, I don’t care who’s standing right here, that’s hard when you have to re-teach every week and you got different guys coming in every week.

“It’s hard to create that consistency and continuity. It’s starting over literally every week. That’s hard, so we’ve had the consistency with the roster this year and guys staying healthy and I think more than anything, that’s helped us have success.”

James Bettcher came from Arizona with a reputation for putting pressure on quarterbacks. To be kind, the Giants’ defense failed to uphold that reputation in 2018. The Giants have been sack-starved all year and are in dire need of pass rushers.  In addition, their tackling was atrocious and they couldn’t seal down the edges to stop the run.

Bettcher was asked if he felt the building blocks for his aggressive defensive scheme were still there coming out of this season.

“I think being tough and playing hard are the cores of playing good defense in this league,” he said. “Playing tough and playing hard. Then after that is execution in the moment, is those things that come with playing more snaps. Ball gets thrown to you, catch it. Ball on the ground, find a way to get it.  Finishing tackles. Knocking guys back. Those two-yard gains that need to be zero, or the one-yard gains that need to be minus-two — those are the things that come after.”

The Giants’ offense has been all over the map this season. They couldn’t score in the first half of the year but after the bye week, they began to ring up the points. Offensive coordinator Mike Shula was asked what he felt the identity of the offense was.

“I think it’s what we strive to be is kind of what we’ve been talking about is balance,” he said. “I think it’s going to be a running game that when you’re talking about the run and that can be both run inside and outside with some misdirection. I think the identity in our passing game is again a little bit of versatility with misdirection passes, quick gain, and the ability to throw the ball down the field off play action.”

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