The 2014 season did not go the way the New York Giants would have hoped. The Giants for the second straight season finished with a losing record and for the third straight year failed to make the playoffs. Head coach Tom Coughlin had another where had to deal with several injuries too many of his key players, and his offensive and defensive units going through long stretches of struggles throughout the season. With all that said though and the Giant finishing with a 6-10 record, Coughlin will still be Big Blues Head Coach in 2015. Here though is a review of Coach Coughlin’s coaching in 2014 in this edition of The Giants Beat Report Card.
The Giants rushing offense in 2014 was another year of disappointment. The Giants for the second straight season did not have a 1,000 yard rusher and had only three games where they had a running back rush for over 100 yards in a game. The Giants though did see some good things in their running game. Running back Rashad Jennings showed, when healthy, he can be a productive player running the ball and catching the ball out of the backfield. Rookie running back Andre Williams showed, in spurts, that he can be a good power running back in the NFL. With a better and healthier offensive line, the Giants rushing attack can be very dangerous. That is if Jennings can stay healthy and Williams can have a much improved sophomore season.
It was a slow start, but the Giants passing offense in 2014 was dominant and fun to watch. Quarterback Eli Manning had a bounce back year, throwing for 30 touchdowns and over 4,000 yards. A lot of that had to with the emergence of rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. Beckham had a phenomenal year, having 91 catches for 1,305 yards with 12 touchdown catches which earned him the NFL Rookie of the Year. The Giants passing attack overall ranked seventh best in the NFL and could be one of the best passing attacks in 2015. With having wide receiver Victor Cruz back and both wide receiver Rueben Randle and tight end Larry Donnell as great secondary options for Eli the Giants passing attack in 2015 will sure to be fun to watch.
The Giants defense overall had many ups and downs in 2014. A lot of that had to do with the Giants struggles stopping their opponents running game. The G-Men ranked 30th in rushing defense, a big drop from being ranked 14th in the same category in 2013. In many games especially against the Seattle Seahawks, where the Giants defense gave up over 300 yards rushing, Big Blue will need to put more of an emphasis on stopping the run in 2015. With Steve Spagnuolo coming back to be defensive coordinator, the Giants defense has a lot to look forward to in 2015, since the last time Spagnuolo was Giants defensive coordinator, Big Blue
Normally a weakness for the Giants defense, Big Blue passing defense was again a strength for them in 2014. The Giants secondary, which battled many injuries to the unit during the season and had a lack of a pass rush from their defensive line, did a great job of stopping the opponents passing game. Even with the possibility that safety Antrel Rolle might leave in free agency, the Giants secondary will still be strength to them with Prince Amukamara and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie still manning the cornerback spots. As for the other part of the Giants pass defense in reference to their defensive line, the Giants will need a better pass rushing attack in 2015. If the defensive line can play like they did at the end of 2014 with the emergences of defensive linemen Jonathan Hankins and Damontre Moore and they resign Jason Pierre-Paul, the Giants pass rush attack will be much improved next season.
The Giants special teams units were much improved in 2014. Big Blue did a great job at stopping their opponents in the return game giving up no punt or kickoff returns for a touchdown. On the other hand, though, the Giants did not have much a return game themselves, having no punt returns of kickoff games for touchdowns either. Kicker Josh Brown had another good year for the Giants making 24 out of the 26 field goals he attempted for a long of 53 yards. Punter Steve Weatherford didn’t have the season he was accustomed to having but still had a productive year. After a shaky start because of an injury he had early in the season, Weatherford finished the year off strong. With guys like Odell Beckham Jr. being implemented into the return game next season, the Giants special teams unit will be much improved in 2015 and will be a great phase of the game they can use towards their advantage during the season.
Coughlin did a good job manning the head of the New York Giants in 2014. He always had his players well prepared for each game and through all the ups and downs that the season presented to him, he still showed he could coach this team to the playoffs in the near future.