EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J.--Maybe it’s because the memories of a 3-13 2017 season, or a reminder of the fact that the Giants have now started the regular season 0-2 in five of the last six years that are still fresh in the minds of the fan base.
Or perhaps it’s due to the fact that the 2018 New York Giants are showing a lot of the on-field issues that doomed the 2017 squad such as an unsettled offensive line, an offense that has struggled, and a defense that has been up and down.
Whatever the case, there is panic around East Rutherford these days about the state of a Giants team that underwent a massive overhaul in the offseason, from the general manager and head coach right down to 70% of the roster, and yet the results are still the same as last year’s debacle.
In reality, the won-loss record is probably the only thing the 2018 team has in common with the 2017 squad.
“It’s a completely different team with different guys in positions,” said nose tackle Damon Harrison.
“You just go back and look at the previous years and compare it to this one, rightfully so, but it’s just a different group of guys, a different mindset. Not saying that the mindset that we had in the past was wrong. I think just one game at a time and not looking ahead will help us.”
One of the biggest differences, perhaps more so noticeable inside the team’s Quest Diagnostics Training Center, is that that the goal is to get better a little bit each day as the players and coaches not only continue to learn about each other, but also about their new responsibilities within the brand-new schemes on offense, defense and special teams.
“Everybody’s learning, every week we’re going to learn and get better and make improvements,” quarterback Eli Manning said.
“That’s what we have to do. When you have a new offense, new players, new guys coming in, there is a learning curve to it, so we’ve just got to keep grinding and keep preparing and don’t get down.
“Have the desire to get better--if we all want that, we all have that, and we’ve got to make the improvements that the coaches are giving us, and that will give us a better opportunity to win game.”
That approach is a big reason why there is no panic yet inside the Giants headquarters, though Shurmur said he understands the concern that exists on the outside about the state of the team, particularly the concern coming from the fan base.
“We get evaluated all the time. I understand when you don’t win, this is what comes with it. I get it,” Shurmur said.
On the flipside, Shurmur, whose team will try to get its first win of the 2018 regular season on the road against the Texans Sunday, said that even if the situation was reversed and the Giants were 2-0, it’s important to block out the noise from outside the building and keep an eye on the prize.
“When you do win, you’ve still got to turn your back on what people say and just keep moving,” he said.
Lest there is any doubt, Shurmur isn’t happy with the losses nor is he or the players simply sitting back and collecting paychecks regardless of the outcomes.
Shurmur has been tight lipped about any changes he and his staff might be contemplating, instead preferring to spring those changes on unsuspecting opponents come game day.
“We’re always evaluating everything, and when the game is over you give praise and assign blame, I get that,” he said.
“But I think what we have to do as a team is not let all that conversation polarize us. We just stay together and move forward. And typically the teams that do pull through in the end.”