By Steve Silverman
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The Giants go through the same postseason evaluations as any NFL team.
Under most circumstances, a team that won the Super Bowl a year ago would be expected to win its division and at least win one playoff game.
Anything less than that would result in significant disappointment. Failing to make the postseason is often the impetus for possible changes within the organization.
But in the case of the New York Giants, there are not going to be knee-jerk reactions. Coaches don’t get fired and key players don’t get jettisoned.
Moves are not made unless the team is convinced that the team will be better the following year. If the Giants are going to make mistakes, they are going to err on the side of caution.
The Giants are not going to make changes for change’s sake. If their fans are angry or disappointed, that’s not a good enough reason to throw Tom Coughlin out in the cold or seek a new quarterback.
That’s a good thing, because the Giants have a winning formula. They have one of the four or five best head coaches in the game and Eli Manning is a quarterback who has proven his ability in clutch situations like few others in the NFL – including his brother Peyton.
The Giants and the Bears are both old-school franchises who tend to follow this pattern. The Bears often hold on to their coaches years past their expiration date, giving them every opportunity to turn their situation around. However, when the Bears got off to a 7-1 start and failed to make the playoffs for the fifth time in six years, they fired head coach Lovie Smith.
The patient approach did not work for the Bears, but it has worked well for the Houston Texans. The Texans were one of the most disappointing teams in the league for years, but owner Bob McNair liked what he saw in head coach Gary Kubiak and continued to give him chance after chance even though the team could not make a playoff run.
Finally, he was rewarded last year with the team’s first playoff appearance and the Texans scored one postseason win before they were sent packing by the Baltimore Ravens.
This year, they were the dominant team in the AFC for the first 12 games of the year. They appeared to be on an easy path to the top seed in the AFC before they slumped and ended up as the third seed.
Instead of a first-round bye and homefield advantage throughout the playoffs, they host a Wild-Card game against the Bengals.
That brings us back to the Giants, who know that they have the talent on hand and the coaching staff to get back to serious-contender status next year.
The Giants may not throw the ball around the lot as well as the Green Bay Packers and New Orleans Saints, but they do it well enough to threaten any opponent.
When the Giants are at the top of their game, they have a dominant pass rush, a solid running game and they can make explosive plays in the passing game.
They are going to have to do some work in the secondary. A great pass rush helps a team overcome coverage issues, but the Giants did not get the outstanding play from their pass rush this season and the defensive backfield was exposed.
General manager Jerry Reese and Coughlin will have to work on the secondary in the offseason.
But the foundation of this franchise is not broken.
They don’t need to tear down the house and rebuild. They need to tweak, fine tune and perhaps increase the focus a bit more.
If that happens, the Giants will be preparing for the postseason a year from now, instead of trying to figure out what went wrong.
How would you go about fixing the Giants? Let us know…