by Daniel Karpin
For what looks to be the 4th straight year in a row, the New York Giants are garbage again. That’s almost half a decade of unwatchable football that they’ve been putting out on the field. This is now Dave Gettleman’s ship and he will go down with it. Unfortunately for him, that looks like it might be a lot sooner than later if they do not start putting wins on the board.
Sure, Gettleman has hit on some picks (Darius Slayton seems to be the best one for where he was drafted so far) but he has also ignored some glaring needs for a while (the pass rush) and for the areas he has attempted to fix (the offensive line) – the returns have been middling at best.
Let’s start with the defense, they’ve played well but without a consistent pass rush they are susceptible to bad days. (Nick Mullens on the 49ers can attest to that) Too many times, the talented DBs they’ve collected are left out to dry on plays where the opposing quarterback can sit in the pocket for way too long. A lack of a rush gives a quarterback time to salvage broken plays that develop into big plays. Without a consistent pass rush they give up big and small third down conversions, not to mention other big plays that are completely demoralizing.
They’ve got a good secondary – Gettleman gets credit for having built that so far, but we haven’t even seen it with their 2nd round pick, who is not playing yet. Xavier McKinney could be one of the best of the bunch but potential is just that. The Giants need edge rushers badly, while their defensive line is almost composed of three guys who are the exact same player.
Leonard Williams is a nice interior lineman but doesn’t generate pressure consistently. I wouldn’t pay him handsomely after the season. He’s a solid player no doubt but I don’t think he will be worth the money he’ll want. Same goes for Dalvin Tomlinson and Dexter Lawrence. Unfortunately, both are fine players at their respective position but it’s one that they all play. It clearly doesn’t seem to be working that well. They are all basically defensive tackles but not one of them plays like a true edge rusher. B.J. Hill is kind of a hybrid edge-rusher, defensive tackle type of player but even he can’t seem to give them the help they need. Outside of Markus Golden, they lack pressure from the mid level too. If they had that it would make up for the three guys basically playing the same position on the line. Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines have not developed into the pass rushing threats they’ve needed them to be. Carter does look like a future starter but unfortunately, Carter is out for the season with a ruptured achilles.
On the offensive side of the ball, it seems DG has put more thought into fixing. The bottom line is: Daniel Jones looks to have improved very marginally so far in his 2nd year. Now without his security blanket in Saquon Barkley, he is forced to make more plays and more attention is focused on him by the defense. Jones has shown some stuff to make you think he is the guy for the future but the lack of protection around him is causing him to turn the ball over in almost every game. I think he only has one game in his entire career without a turnover and that all may not be his fault. His protection has been bad again this year and it is a big reason for the turnovers and their lack of offense early on. They are going to turn him into the next Matt Schaub if they can’t get that line fixed sooner rather than later.
Their first round pick, Andrew Thomas, is a mixed bag so far. He makes some plays that wow you and then he also misses some blocks and misses them bad (see the DeMarcus Lawrence missed block Sunday in the Dallas gamethat gifted the Cowboys a defensive TD) Unfortunately for DG – the offensive tackles selected AFTER him in this past draft (Tristan Wirfs – Bucs/Jedrick Wills Jr-Browns/Mekhi Becton-Jets) ALL seem to have played better than him so far. And they all have not had a true off season or preseason as well so that excuse doesn’t seem to be affecting them as much as Thomas. We all know there are a litany of circumstances that affect a young lineman’s play but that initially doesn’t look good on Gettleman’s resume at all. However, there is still plenty of time left in all four of these guy’s careers and Thomas could still very well turn out to the be the best of the bunch.
Perhaps the most troubling thing about this year’s team is that Gettlemen has not ignored this offense, he’s actively worked to fix it. Their offensive line has been completely over-hauled recently yet they still cannot block effectively. Saqoun going down for the year might have secretly been the best thing for him. He now can stop taking so many hits as he receives the ball and the Giants have some time to figure out how to field a competent offensive line for him by the time he gets back up to speed. They seem to be improving on that offensive line play, but 0-5 is 0-5.
Sure, they have faced some tough defenses early on but almost every team in the league has a decent pass rush. If you can’t consistently protect and develop plays for your offense you are not going to get much going on offense.
The Giants kicked four field goals against the Cowboys on Sunday, three of them were from 50+ yards so they didn’t really get to the red zone much. If they had converted even just one of those to a TD they might have a win today and still be in contention in the crap NFC East with a 1-4 record. Instead they’re left scratching their heads for answers at 0-5. Stalled drives seem to be a theme yet again.
It should be noted though that they do look like a completely different team with Joe Judge leading them than under Pat Shurmur. Judge seems to know what he is doing, even as a young coach. They had two killer penalties yesterday that literally took 14 points off the board, but overall they’ve made strides and look to be immensely more disciplined than under Ben McAdoo and Shurmur.
There was only one game this season that they we’re completely out of and that was against the 49ers. I think they have had a genuine shot to win the rest of the four games they lost so they are making progress, but again, 0-5 is 0-5.
Perhaps that is what makes it so frustrating now at this moment. We’ve been seeing this for the past 3+ years and the improvement is not translating to wins. We’ve seen some things get better so far but until it translates into wins it will feel completely hollow.
(Photo courtesy of twitter)