This loss is on 6 people. Jerry Reese and the 5 members of the Offensive Line.
First off, we have been screaming for more resources at OL for years now, given the aging of Diehl, Seubert, O'Hara, Snee and McKenzie. Reese did not adequately provide those resources. 3 of those players are gone. Diehl is a turnstile when healthy and hurt anyway. And Snee, showing his age, is now part of the problem. Second, two of the biggest offenders today have been the LT and RT, the only 2 high OL draft picks that Reese has made in his 7 years as GM. To give the benefit of the doubt to Justin Pugh, this is his 3rd game in the NFL, but his play must get better quickly. Last, as inadequate as Reese has been with providing assets to the OL, the linemen themselves have to be able to do a better job than that. They were beaten like a drum by 4 man rushes and 7 men in the box routinely.
Will Beatty killed the Giants all day, but ironically his biggest sin may have been a holding call on a Wilson TD that would have made the game 10-7. Not only did it kill 7 points, it pushed the team to the edge of FG position, and a subsequent FG attempt was missed. Ugly.
There was some truly great news that came out of today's loss- Eli Manning was not injured. Thankfully, the franchise is still secure for one week, as Eli is still upright. But make no mistake, the Giants coaches, from Coughlin down to Flaherty, must make sure that regardless of how well or badly the OL plays from here on out, that Eli Manning is protected. With the team at 0-3 and unable to control the line of scrimmage, you better remember your priorities. Joe Gibbs, the Hall of Fame coach of the Redskins, once stated that he would not throw the ball unless he was able to block up against the pass rush.
These problems with protecting Eli (7 sacks, 6 in the first half) start with not being able to run the ball. Pass protection becomes much harder when the defense knows that it can stop the run with its front 7. Eli Manning's desperation scramble for 14 yards was 25% of the run yardage from scrimmage.
The defense was not good either. The Panthers OL controlled the line of scrimmage. Ross was undressed on a few plays. And the LBer corps was exposed underneath. Whether it was the Read Option or just tackling RBs past the line of scrimmage, the Giants allowed 194 yards on the ground. On one play, Herzlich was blocked up so easily and Williams scrambled for 27 yards. On another goal line situation, Newton ran into Jacquain Williams, who meekly threw him FORWARD, past the goal line! LT, Banks and Carson regurgitated their lunch after watching that embarrassment.
All told, the common denominator in the 3 losses this season has been the horrible play by the Giants OL. Yesterday we examined the poor grades of the OL that were handed out by Pro Football Focus in Weeks 1 & 2. Considering that it only got worse here in Week 3, this is the prime area of concern for the team. These problems surfaced more consistently last season and now they are in full boil. When other people started tweeting last week that the Giants won the Super Bowl after Coughlin was 0-2 in 2007, we said that that remark was frivolous because problems from 2012 had been carrying over to 2013. The problems at Offensive Line are chief among them.
Speaking of chief, the 0-3 Giants face a Chiefs team that will be well rested after a Thursday win vs the Eagles. KC has a very solid Defense, so the Giants Offense will have its work cut out for them.