The New York Giants have played most of the season with a rookie quarterback at the controls and are predictably 2-10 with one month left.
Little of that is surprising. But ineptitude or irrelevance doesn't fly in New York for very long without significant change. That brings us to the question: Is Pat Shurmur's job safe?
"It's been a very frustrating season," Giants co-owner Steve Tisch said Tuesday at a New York March of Dimes luncheon, via WNBC-TV's Bruce Beck. "At the end of the season John Mara and I are gonna get together and discuss the future. As partners we have to be very honest with each other about where we see this team going into the 2020 season."
Shurmur attempted to explain away his team's struggles in its most recent loss, a 31-13 drubbing at the hands of the Green Bay Packers at a snowy MetLife Stadium, by pointing to his team's general youth and desire to compete despite its inexperience. He did, however, acknowledge a need to finish the season with a few wins.
The problem, as NFL Network's Mike Garafolo pointed out, is New York just lost to a team that's even younger than the Giants -- and is in first place in its division. The explanation only flies, really, when referring to Daniel Jones
, the first-year quarterback who's still learning with each week, which passes at a rapid pace.
As NFL.com's Nick Shook suggests,the quarterback part of this explanation is fair.
What isn't is the play of the rest of the 11 on the field, assembled by a general manager who made a blockbuster trade in the offseason that hasn't really panned out.
Dave Gettleman sent Odell Beckham
Jr. and Olivier Vernon to Cleveland in exchange for guard Kevin Zeitler, safety Jabrill Peppers and a first-round pick, which they spent on defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence. The rookie DT is having a decent year (31 tackles, 2.5 sacks in 12 games), but New York's defense ranks 26th
in total yards given up and 25th in pass defense. It's only mildly better against the run, landing at 21st while allowing 114.2 rushing yards per game.
While far from a perfect statistical measure, New York's offensive line -- which includes high-priced left tackle Nate Solder, Zeitler and second-round pick Will Hernandez -- has given up 50 sacks (20th in the NFL).
Perhaps worst of all: Rookie sensation Saquon Barkley
's production is nowhere near its 2018 level, due in part to injury but also to New York's general offensive ineffectiveness (25th in total yardage per game).
Simply, the explanations aren't enough. Falling from 5-11 in Year One to 2-10 in Year Two with four games to play is the opposite direction in which ownership expects a new regime to travel.
And Tisch had an interesting response to a question of if he believes in Shurmur and Gettleman.
"Those decisions and conversation are not going to be made this morning," Tisch said. "It's really at the end of the season that John and I are going to sit down and talk about these issues."
We're four weeks from that sitdown.