EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — Halfway through their home opener, the New York Giants left the field to a cascade of boos.
By the end of the game, MetLife Stadium was practically deserted. Few fans stayed to watch the Detroit Lions leave with a 24-10 win that sent the Giants to their fourth 0-2 start in the past five years.
New York did not make the playoffs in any of those first three seasons and there are many ready to write off this team because very little is going right. The offense has 13 points.
While the defense is only allowing an average of 21½ points, it is not playing nearly as well as last season. Special teams has contributed nothing and allowed a punt return for a touchdown.
It’s not what anyone expected after an 11-5 season in 2016 that returned New York to the postseason for the first time since 2011.
“We’re not worried about the fans. We’re not worried about the fans, at all,” Pro Bowl safety Landon Collins said. “If they want to neglect the New York Giants, they can neglect us. It’s about the guys in here, all 53 guys. We’re all that matters to each other.”
It would be easy to blame the Giants’ problems on the offense. It has generated very little either running or passing the ball. Coach Ben McAdoo’s play calling has been criticized and many think the job should go to offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan. The line has been terrible and Eli Manning’s play has been just as shaky.
Not having Odell Beckham Jr. for the first game because of an ankle injury and limited in the second compounded the problems.
“I think you’ve just got to believe that going through tough times will make you stronger, will make you stronger as a team,” Manning said Wednesday after a jog-through practice for Sunday’s game in Philadelphia.
“But you’ve got to get through them. That’s kind of the situation we’re in. There’s always going to be ups and downs of a season, hopefully we’ve kind of hit the rough patch and we’ll work ourselves out of it.”
Justin Pugh, who had to move from left guard to right tackle on the opening series after Bobby Hart aggravated an ankle injury, said the line remains confident despite all the negativity surrounding the unit. It just has to execute better, avoid the penalties and mistakes and keep fighting.
“If the fans want to go out and boo, I can’t fault them,” Pugh said. “We haven’t put anything good out there on tape so far to prove them otherwise.”
Halfback Orleans Darkwa, who is pushing Paul Perkins for the starting job, said the offense is beating itself.
“I don’t think it’s the play calling or anything like that,” he said. “I just think it’s the execution part. We just have to execute better. We’re definitely still confident. One play here or there can change the whole thing.”
Collins feels the same way about the defense, which is ranked No. 28 against the run (133.5 yards) after being one of the best in the league last season.
“We’re fighting, trying to figure it out,” Collins said. “The offense is trying to figure it out. As a defense we just have to play much better so our offense can pick it up. We just have to hold teams to zero to three points. It’s on us. We’ll just try to do that as much as possible.”
Defensive tackle Jay Bromley summed it up for the team.
“We believe in these walls we are a good football team,” he said. “We just haven’t played good football and we want to go out there and prove that we can.”
NOTES: TE Evan Engram was in the concussion protocol as a precaution. Beckham and LB Keenan Robinson (concussion) were also limited. … Hart, LB B.J. Goodson (shin), CB Janoris Jenkins (ankle) and LB J.T. Thomas (groin) did not participate in the workout.