Three cheers for the NY Times’ Lynn Zinser, who like Tom Coughlin, recognizes there’s more to winning football than entertaining anyone.

For seven games, the Giants’ offense has been the football equivalent of a collection of sports cars that do little more than drive around the cul-de-sac.

The Giants, who play host to Chicago on Sunday, are averaging 346 yards a game, which ranks 11th in the N.F.L., but 40 percent of their yards have been gained on the ground. The starting receivers Toomer and Ike Hilliard have not caught a touchdown pass between them. Shockey has caught two – but the long one was for 4 yards.

Warner has turned in his reputation for shredding defenses, earned in six seasons with the high-flying Rams, for a blue-collar role that largely involves handing the ball to tailback Tiki Barber, the only one of the Giants’ offensive superstars having a sports-car season. He leads the N.F.L. in yards from scrimmage with 1,100. Warner has topped 250 yards passing only twice this season. Toomer, the Giants’ career leading receiver, has only 29 catches for 402 yards.

“This is our reality,” Toomer said. “It’s what we get.”

Part of Coughlin’s philosophy is based on his past success with Jacksonville’s offense and part is based on the belief that a team that plays its late-season home games in windy, cold Giants Stadium cannot rely on a high-wire passing attack.

(with the aid of photoshop, here’s a picture of New York’s coach smiling)

Coughlin takes great pains to say that his offensive approach is based on each opponent and will not concede a more open approach. But the odds are clearly against it.

“We’re a work in progress,” Coughlin said. “I think we’re getting better in a lot of phases, and we’ve just got to keep doing that.”

He does not believe that the players are underused or that the offense is underachieving.

That does not stop Toomer and Shockey from commiserating on the sideline between offensive drives, feeling like a set of uncashed checks.

Coughlin’s Giants take on the Bears later today.