Giants get passing grades for ‘05: Coaches

Ok, fans. It's time for the Giants final report card. And just remember that the players are being graded on their entire season's body of work, not just the terrible playoff game that ended the year prematurely. Players not listed received incompletes.

Here goes the Coaches & Units:

Tom Coughlin – All in all, Coughlin did a great job, even though he definitely was out-coached against the Panthers. He got his club to buy into his system and all the complaining and backbiting subsided. For the most part, his in-game decision-making was solid. Grade: B

John Hufnagel: The Giants offensive coordinator took a beating after being shutout in the postseason. However, he was the architect of one of the game's most explosive offenses. His play calling might have been a little predictable at times, but he opened up the passing game and was calling the plays behind Tiki Barber's record-setting season. Grade: B

Tim Lewis: The Giants defense picked up steam as the season wore along and then did as well as could be expected considering all the injuries that hit the linebackers and defensive backfield. He did enough to warrant a head-coaching job. Whether or not he gets one remains to be seen. Grade: B

Better or worse

Now TGI will take a look at each position and whether said unit improved or dropped off from last year to this. The categories are much better, somewhat better, somewhat worse and much worse.

Offense – Much better. Say what you will about Manning, but he had the offense humming more often than not.

RBs – Somewhat better. Tiki's career year paced the ground game to previously unseen heights.

WRs/TEs – Much better. A little bit of Plaxico proved that it could go a long way – and help the other receivers as well.

OL – Much better. Another year together and the addition of McKenzie were huge.

Defense – Somewhat worse. Better pass pressure still wasn't enough to offset the lousy pass D.

DL – Much better. A healthy Strahan and emerging Osi were unstoppable.

LBs – Somewhat worse. More so because of injuries than anything, the LBs had to plug the gap almost all season long.

DBs – Much worse. The worst unit on the team hurt them pretty badly almost all season long.

Special teams – Somewhat better. Even without Ponder leading the league in kickoffs, the overall success of the units was better.

Kicking/punting – Much better. Feagles was his usual brilliant self and Feely was a tremendous upgrade.

Kick coverage – Somewhat better. Tyree is as good as they come. His presence also opens up lanes for the other cover guys.

Kick/punt returns – Somewhat better. Even though Ponder was down, Morton's addition on punt returns was huge.

Coaching – Somewhat better. Coughlin learned on the job very well and showed the ability to change when everyone said he couldn't.

Offense – Somewhat better. The offensive explosion wasn't all because of the players.

Defense – Somewhat worse. As good a coach as he is, Tim Lewis actually did a better job last season.

Special teams – Somewhat better. Mike Sweatman made the necessary adjustments to improve on an already solid special teams unit.

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