EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. - Ben McAdoo can hand off his oversized play card to his offensive coordinator if he wants, but Mike Sullivan still could run into the same problems with the Giants offense. Because in the end, it doesn't matter what a coach calls if the players don't make the plays.
That's the reality of the Giants' offensive mess in the wake of their 0-2 start, in which they've managed just 13 total points. The missed blocks, drops, poor throws and everything else they've been doing were likely to happen no matter which plays were called.
So changing play callers, Sullivan insisted, wouldn't necessarily have a dramatic effect unless the play becomes better overall.
"I think regardless of the team, regardless of the offense that's run, regardless of any of those variables, it still comes down to players making plays," Sullivan said on Thursday. "It's about the players and it's about them being able to go out there and perform."
That doesn't mean a play-caller can't have any effect, of course. Sometimes a fresh set of eyes looking at a problem will help.
"Obviously, no kidding, it's our job to put them in the right spots and try to feature what their strengths are and try to minimize or mask or reduce what the weaknesses are," Sullivan said. "(But) I think the most important thing for us right now is making sure that we can start playing better football, more consistent football. That seems like an oversimplification, but a lot of that just comes down to us having more opportunities."
Through two games, the Giants have only run 113 offensive plays, and their inability to sustain drives has been an issue. Their average time of possession is 26:30 - second worst in the league. That limits their play calling, especially when, for the most part, they have been in 2nd-and-long and 3rd-and-long situations far too often. That will still be a problem if that trend continues, no matter who is calling the plays.
Sullivan also doesn't believe the issues are a case of the Giants being too predictable - a charge that was levied against McAdoo's use of formations and his play calls for most of last season.
"I think it goes a lot deeper than that," Sullivan said. "I think we've certainly looked at the tape and haven't necessarily had the sense of, 'Oh man, they certainly had our playbook right here,' or 'Holy cow, they must have been able to hear what we said on the headsets.'
"I think you give credit to the opponent. We're not making excuses. (But) from the standpoint of being predictable, I don't know how predictable we've been. We haven't been out there long enough to be predictable. I hope we can be predictable, because that means we're sustaining some drives and we're doing some things to get the ball in the end zone. But I don't know if that's quite on point right now."
Regardless, the Giants coaches do seem to believe that there is a way out of their offensive doldrums. And from what Sullivan has seen in the meeting rooms, his players believe that, too.
"There hasn't been any type of finger pointing at each other or at us coaches," Sullivan said. "There isn't a group of guys that are looking to quit or looking to point fingers or looking to make excuses. It's a prideful group. It's a competitive group. It's a group that is frustrated, but I think in a positive way that there's more of a determination and more of a resolve to get this thing headed in the right direction and play the type of football we know we're capable of rather then look to make excuses and finger-point."