When the season began, Amani Toomer had no idea what to expect from the New York Giants.
“I was clueless,” Toomer said in studio on CBS Sports Radio’s Tiki and Tierney. “Their defense had a whole bunch of new people on it. I’ve been on teams where you throw a whole bunch of people together and it works, and then I’ve been on teams where you throw a whole bunch of people together and it’s terrible.”
So far, the Giants (6-3) have fared well – for the most part. They’ve won six games, albeit by 21 total points, and they’ve won four in a row following a three-game losing streak in Weeks 3-5.
“I didn’t think the defense would come along this quickly and be such an improvement over last season,” Toomer said. “I’m actually surprised that the offense isn’t playing as well in terms of the running game. We could use Tiki back there a little bit.”
In fact, Toomer and Brandon Tierney believe that if the Giants had Barber, even at 41, they could win the Super Bowl.
“Oh, no question,” Toomer said. “People don’t know this, and they think about Tiki and they think about how nice he is and how well-spoken he is and how kind of quiet he is. Tiki was one of the toughest players I’ve ever played with. I remember he broke his arm playing against the Cowboys, and then the next week I thought, ‘Oh, man, Tiki’s out for the season.’ (But he put) a cast on it, and he’s playing – and he’s throwing it trying to get extra yards. I was like, ‘This dude’s crazy.’ He’s absolutely like Clark Kent in Superman. That’s what Tiki is.”
Toomer, who played for the Giants from 1996-2008, was a member of the team that won Super Bowl XLII. He is impressed by how well the team has responded to new head coach Ben McAdoo.
“I think he seems to be a guy that people respect,” Toomer said. “I know they play the rap music and hip hop during practice. It’s just a different feel to the organization with the younger coach in there, and obviously it’s doing pretty well.”
McAdoo, 39, was named head coach after the Giants parted ways with 70-year-old Tom Coughlin in January.
Toomer said that Coughlin could “absolutely” still coach in the NFL, even if it involved a four- or five-year project.
“If anybody can do it, he can,” Toomer said. “The guy wakes up at 5 in the morning and runs five miles a day. He’s 70-some years old and still doing it. I almost think he needs it. If he doesn’t have coaching, I think he’s uncomfortable. This is a guy who spent his entire life in coaching, and that’s what he wants to do and that’s what he’s meant to do. I think that’s where he feels the most comfortable: being a head coach in the National Football League.”
Tierney wondered if Coughlin would be better-suited to coach in college, perhaps at one of the academies.
Toomer didn’t think so.
“There’s not enough time in the day to play football for Tom Coughlin and then try to do your studies,” he said. “It just doesn’t work. I think the Players Association does a good job of kind of mitigating between what Tom Coughlin would naturally want to do and what you’re allowed to do.”
In any event, Toomer believes that the Giants can make the playoffs, but they need more consistency from their running game.
“That, to me, is going to be their ultimate Achilles’ heel,” he said. “I just want them to get to eight (wins), and then I’ll kind of figure out where they’re going to be. Until they get to eight (wins), until they have a guaranteed .500 season, I don’t look at them as a team that should be over .500 the way they’ve played so many close games that could have gone either way.”
The Giants host the Bears (2-7) this Sunday at 1 p.m. ET.