Giants owner John Mara on Eli Manning criticism: 'What else is new?'
The Giants are 0-2 and underdogs this week against the 0-2 Texans
It wasn't supposed to start this way. Yes, the Giants are 0-2 but they spent the offseason addressing many of the issues that plagued them a season ago when they finished 3-13. They upgraded the offensive line, adding Nate Solder and Patrick Omameh, drafting Will Hernandez in the second round, and moving former first-round pick Ereck Flowers from left to right tackle. They also drafted running back Saquon Barkley with the second-overall pick instead of taking a quarterback, and Odell Beckham Jr., who played in just four games last year because of an injury, is now healthy. And the defense, which ranked 24th last season but finished No. 2 in 2016, was to poised for a bounce back.
But the Giants lost to the Jaguars in the season opener and were outclassed against the Cowboys on national television a week later. And on Sunday, they'll face off against another 0-2 team: the Texans.
As has been the case in four of the previous five seasons, when the Giants lost more games than they won, much of the blame has fallen to 37-year-old quarterback Eli Manning. New York's offense ranks 24th overall, according to Football Outsiders (24th in passing, 29th in rushing), and Manning is 27th among all quarterbacks. Predictably, this has led to second-guessing the organization's decision to take Barkley with the No. 2 pick instead of a quarterback.
But Giants co-owner John Mara has heard it all before when it comes to finger-pointing in Manning's direction.
"So what else is new?" he said Friday night from the Tom Coughlin Jay Fund Champions for Children Gala in Manhattan, via the New York Post. "Listen: we're 0-2 for a reason. There's nothing I can say to defend that. Obviously we're hoping to be a little better. We'll see. It's a long season."
But record aside, Mara likes what new coach Pat Shurmur is doing in New York.
"I like the way we've practiced, I like their enthusiasm, I like their attentiveness to the coach," he said. "We'll see if it pays off."
Meanwhile, Tom Coughlin, who coached the Giants from 2004-15, is unworried about the slow start, in part because his team started 0-2 during their 2007 Super Bowl run.
"That was great," Coughlin said Friday. "Every season after that we would get together and I'd say, 'Will you guys please print that I'm going to get fired? Because whenever you do that, we win a Super Bowl.' You did it in '11, you did it in '07. Let's get it out there again!"
Coughlin also has faith in Shurmur.
"Pat's a good coach and a good man," Coughlin said. "... He's started out with a couple of tough ballgames, no doubt, but ... I believe he'll get it done."
The eight CBSSports.com experts disagree, at least this week, because all of them are picking the Giants to lose to the Texans.
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