The New York Giants are one of the worst teams in the NFL once again. They sit at 2-9, tied for the second-worst record in the league. They have issues all over – coaching, playcalling, and just pure talent – but perhaps the biggest issue is something that has been a concern for multiple years now – the defense. The Giants hired their current defensive coordinator, James Bettcher, during the offseason in 2018. Since taking over, he has made very little progress on a group that was already significantly below average. It is time for the Giants to pull the plug on the Bettcher experiment, and here’s why:
Why James Bettcher Needs to be Fired
The lack of development in the youth
The Giants are a young team. Four of the team’s eleven starters on defense are in either their first or second year. Another four are utility players who occasionally see the field. One commonality is present for all of them though – little to no success.
The player who has perhaps struggled the most in Bettcher’s defense is Corner Back Deandre Baker, a first-round pick out of Georgia in last April’s draft. Baker has allowed 40 receptions for more than 600 yards this season and surrendered 6 touchdowns. All of those numbers are among not only the worst for rookies, but they are near the bottom of all NFL players.
Struggles that bad brings into question if the coaching has been doing their part. Baker admitted a few weeks ago that it hasn’t. Following a 37-18 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9, Baker said to the media that he still doesn’t understand the playbook or the way the defense runs. More than halfway through his rookie season, Baker was still struggling to get a grasp on his assignments. That is entirely on Bettcher, who is in charge of making sure his players are prepared to play each week.
The constant playing down to the opponent
A theme that has been constant for Bettcher and his troops is the consistent playing down to their opponent. The Giants are allowing a whopping 377.5 yards per game, the sixth-most of any team this season. Those struggles have not come against the best offensive teams though. They have failed to find success even against offenses that are near the bottom in the league.
There are currently five teams in the NFL averaging less than 300 yards per game on offense. The Giants have played three of those teams, and have lost to two of them. Those teams are the crosstown rival Jets, who stand at 4-7, and the underwhelming Chicago Bears.
To put into perspective how bad the Giants have been, the Jets have been one of the worst teams on offense this season. They are scoring just 18 points per game and recording 262.1 yards per game. Against the Giants though, they scored 34 points and totaled 294 total yards. Even against one of the worst units in the league, the Giants failed to find any success.
The same was against the Bears this past Sunday. Chicago has been averaging 17.1 points per contest this year, the fifth-worst in football. They are also posting only 269.3 yards per game, the fourth-worst of all teams. Like the Jets though, they found success against the Giants. They recorded 335 total yards, resulting in 19 points. Another strike on Bettcher.
The need for a change
As a whole, the Giants need to make a lot of changes if they wish to become a competitive football team again anytime soon. They have reached the postseason once in the past eight seasons and for the most part, it has been greatly due to poor coaching.
The Giants need to clean the house this offseason and start a new era. If Head Coach Pat Shurmur is to be fired soon, which is quite likely, Bettcher should be expecting the same ending. He has made absolutely zero progress on a defense that was already one of the worst when he arrived.