Welcome to the enigma named the New York Giants.
It has been the season of head-scratching and soul-searching for fans, players, coaches and administration.
Frustration continues to simmer. The fires from last year are now embers.
This was supposed to be the year of the new era after last year’s late-season awakening.
Joe Judge was going to be the next Bill Parcells, and Dave Gettleman secured what appeared to be a solid defense and a surging offense.
Yes, injuries temporarily derailed their path this season, but there still were enough irons in the fire to blaze their path.
The bottom line,,they just haven’t gotten it done. And like an enigma, the bottom line answer has been hard to find.
The latest episode was in Kansas City Monday night against a Chiefs team that was reeling and needing a life preserver. They certainly haven’t been Super Bowl contenders.
The Giants had them in their grasp and allowed bad penalties and bad decisions to get in the way of a win that could have certainly kicked started another potential 6-2 finish like last season. Those decisions came from Judge on down.
They couldn’t finish and couldn’t get it done.
The Giants were totally quiet at the trade deadline unlike last season, and that isn’t a good sign. Judge and Gettleman could be satisfied with this bunch and believe there are some more wins down the line.
But the quiet and presumably quiet stance doesn’t leave you with a good feeling. Throughout this season, the Giants seem to have a sense of complacency, the type a playoff level team typically has that knows when to turn it on.
Even though the Giants may believe they can shift gears in the second half, there aren’t any obvious signs. And this isn’t the NFC East from the mediocre group last year, as Dallas is running away with the division.
Evan Engram has one of his better games against the Chiefs, but he likely will walk away from the Meadowlands next year.
Will Hernandez and Jabrill Peppers also could be out the doors next year. Hernandez is part of a major enigma of the offensive line that still hasn’t been totally solved over Gettleman’s four years, it being one of his top priorities.
The defense has been a major disappointment, and there have been many candidates like Leonard Williams, who have not contributed on a consistent basis. The unit showed what they can do in their shutdown of San Darnold and the Panthers, holding them to three points and 130 total yards. They also hung tight in the overtime win in New Orleans.
Yet, where were they for the other six games? Like the remainder of the Giants’ unit, there have been too many mistakes and missed assignments.
Kicker Graham Gano continues to be the constant positive, and he may be Gettleman’s finest signing in the last two years and one of the best overall.
The second half of the year gets underway with the Las Vegas Raiders ( I still say Oakland) coming to the Meadowlands Sunday. They have had their share of their own issues, recently seeing star wide receiver Henry Suggs inexplicably throw his career away over a horrific DUI incident.
Saquon Barkley tested positive for COVID align with six other teammates and an assistant coach, but Barkley’s ankle probably will keep him out of the lineup. One has to wonder if we will ever see the type of player he was in his rookie year. Barkley continues to show that he may be more of a speciality back than a workhorse due to the fact that he is constantly nicked up.
It will be intriguing to see how the Giants play Sunday. When they were last faced with a “must-win” type of situation to save this season, they responded with a Giants-type win, shutting down Carolina.
This is another game in which the Giants have to show their mettle. They have to again prove that they can finish,
This won’t be easy against a 5-2 Raiders’ team that has surged again after a pair of defeats following a 3-0 start.
There’s plenty of football left, and there is plenty of room to find out what this team is truly about.