The problem is that the Giants have lost all five of those games.
With the Giants taking on the Chicago Bears Thursday night, things do not get any easier, especially against a defensive unit known for getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks and creating turnovers.
“They’ve (Bears’ defense) got a nice package, particularly on third down against three wides,” Gilbride said. “It’s caused a lot of offenses a lot of difficulty over the years. We’ve addressed it intellectually. Schematically we feel like we’ve got a couple of good ideas to contend with it.”
Hopefully, those “good ideas” that Gilbride speaks of involve somehow finding a way to run the ball effectively. David Wilson will be inactive with a neck injury, so it will be up to Brandon Jacobs and the recently-signed Da’Rel Scott – fresh off being cut just a week ago – to shoulder the load.
“We’ve had a lot of changing parts, a new tackle, new guard, new center, new tight end, new back in three times over the last three weeks,” Gilbride said. “It’s just part of what we’ve had to deal with.”
He is pleased with Jacobs’ progress, however.
“We had no intention of having him (Jacobs) play as much as he did,” Gilbride said. “He held up well. For a guy that we’ve asked to do so many things that he hadn’t had to do, he hadn’t been a third down back for years. He hung in there and did a pretty good job. I think his competitive nature will be such that he’ll respond as best he can. He’s a big, powerful man, a great physical specimen. I’m sure they’ll have to contend with him a little bit, too.”
Eli Manning said the other day that he actually does not think he is playing that bad. Other than the interceptions of course – many of which have been tough luck – he has pretty decent overall numbers. But the one number that matters – wins – has not been there.
“We all have to play better,” Gilbride said. “Without getting into it, there’s so many contributing factors into those stats and certainly some of the energy to try to do something to win a game, to put you where you sometimes play outside the envelope of a player and that has certainly contributed to it. In terms of him (Manning), knowing where to go with the ball, trying to throw the ball to the right spot, throwing the ball generally accurately, he’s done a great job. Unfortunately it’s the mistakes that have killed us. We all have to share the blame for that.”
What’s really killed this offense are the third-and-long situations. Gilbride said that in 35 of the Giants’ 61 third-down plays, the team has faced a conversion of 11 or more yards.
“That’s why you have to be more successful on first and second down,” Gilbride said. “If you can do that, that’s where the running game and some of the short passes come into play. More than anything, the biggest problem I have has been our inconsistency. We’ll do some good things, but we haven’t strung them together.”
The Giants hope they can start stringing good drives together Thursday night against the Bears, but it certainly will be a tough challenge, compounded by the short week to prepare.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.