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NY Post
New York Post
18 Nov 2023


NextImg:Giants remain steadfast against tanking narrative ahead of Commanders clash

LANDOVER, Md. — Let’s play word association. 

You say “tank’’ to coach Brian Daboll and he offers a quick response: 

“Compete.’’ 

If it were only as easy as that. 

The Giants are not looking at their record of 2-8, studying the 2024 NFL Draft and thinking, “It is better for us to lose now so we can pick a prize later.’’

Fans can think that way.

The media can speculate that way.

There are too many games remaining — seven of ’em — for the Giants to do anything other than try to have some success each week. 

Does anyone think for a moment that Daboll, coming off a Coach of the Year debut season, is willing to put a 2-15 or 3-14 record on his résumé?

Brian Daboll speaks to the media before Giants practice on Nov. 15, 2023.
Charles Wenzelberg / New York Post

The same for general manager Joe Schoen and team ownership.

This season has been painful and unexpected and sobering, a gaping crater that keeps getting deeper and deeper, burying a franchise that believed it was beyond this bottom-feeder existence. 

“We’re in a competitive business,’’ Daboll said. “Try to compete in everything you do.’’ 

The Giants will start undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito at quarterback for Sunday’s game against the Commanders at FedEx Field.

Daniel Jones is done for the season and awaiting ACL surgery and Tyrod Taylor is on injured reserve dealing with a rib cage issue and must miss this game and at least one more before he is eligible to return.

If Taylor is healthy and the Giants keep him on the sideline, that is tanking.

That is not the expectation. 

“I can’t sit here and say that’s not the case for some places, but the way I look at it, it really doesn’t make sense,’’ Saquon Barkley said, when asked if the Giants might not be doing everything they can to win. “Because at the end of the day, the coaches and the people in the front office, their jobs are on the line, too, just like our jobs are on the line. If you don’t go out there and compete and play at a high level, coaches and players get cut, coaches get fired, and that’s the business of it. 

“Tanking, I know it’s not the right thing to do, and I don’t know if that’s really a real thing, I can’t speak for every other place, but here I don’t get that feel at all, especially with Dabs. You can see how fiery and how competitive he is. That’s not the type of team or type of people we have in this building or this locker room.’’ 

    Trying is great.

    Failure is not.

    There is losing and there is losing big, and the Giants are equal-opportunity investors here.

    Tucked inside their eight losses are six games that were one-sided routs, resulting in point differentials of 40, 28, 21, 15, 24 and 32 points.

    So, the close-call losses in Buffalo (14-9 with the Giants on the Bills’ 1-yard line as time expired) and to the Jets (an unfathomable collapse and 13-10 overtime defeat) are aberrations.

    Saquon Barkley speaks to the media after Giants practice on Nov. 16, 2023.
    Bill Kostroun/New York Post

    Mostly, when the Giants take the field, the game is decided well in advance of the fourth quarter, and often before halftime. 

    Daboll will say (and has said) that he sees his players competing to the final whistle.

    That is all well and good, but when the results are non-competitive on the scoreboard it puts the spotlight on the quality, or lack thereof, of the players the Giants have in uniform.

    Or the coaching.

    Tommy DeVito will again start at QB for the Giants against the Commanders on Sunday.
    AP

    When it is this bad, everything is fair game to get put through the wringer. 

    The season was barely past the midpoint when it became open-season on Daboll, because that is what happens when a team well before Halloween is dead and buried, in terms of potential playoff credibility.

    Daboll reported he has frequent conversations with team ownership and also with Schoen, who hand-picked Daboll for the job. 

    “I’d say there’s good communication in our building,’’ Daboll said. 

    And? Ownership’s reaction to the past two losses, to the Raiders and Cowboys, by a combined score of 79-23? 

    “Kind of like everybody’s,’’ Daboll said. “Nobody’s happy.’’ 

    Clearly, Daboll does not appreciate this line of questioning.

    It goes with the territory, though, and Daboll knows that, as well.