Nov 262021
 
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THE STORYLINE:
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the New York Giants are simply a chronically mismanaged organization. My “game previews” annually touch upon this as the number of successive losing seasons mount. Even the usually optimistic Sy’56 is losing patience. The end of his last game review was about as harsh a criticism as you will see from him:

The NYG organization has been all about saving face and public perception. The press conferences try to convince those who listen that things are under control and there is a plan in place. It is clear to me that this team does not have a plan beyond basic football. They don’t know how to draft, they don’t know how to manage the cap, they don’t know how to play 2-minute offense and defense, they don’t know what to do in the red zone, they don’t know how to manage timeouts. You can preach fundamentals all you want, and you can say one-liners about being a teaching-based coaching staff. Sounds very Belichick-y. That helps during the spring and summer months where results are subjective. However, the mismanagement always rears its ugly head during the fall and this is the problem that starts from the top.

All of this negativity is not due to the team losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are one of the best teams in football. The Giants are one of the worst. The frustration is mounting and mounting because the team – one again – does not seem to be getting any better. Draft pick after draft pick, high-priced free agent after high-priced free agent, coaching change after coaching change… the team simply is not getting any better.

What struck me about Sy’56’s comments is something that has been bothering me for quite some time, but he nailed it. The top officials from this team put on a good act. They say the right things. But unfortunately, they do the wrong things. If Super Bowl trophies were awarded for being good at public relations, the Giants would be in the middle of a 10-year dynastic run.

So be prepared for John Mara’s end-of-year press conference where he tells fans he is just as frustrated as the fans and changes will be made. (You can already hear the Boston College harrumph). Dave Gettleman, who appears to have made two catastrophically-bad top-6 draft selections in 2018 and 2019, will most likely be put out to pasture, temporarily mollifying many fans. As for used-car salesman Joe Judge, much depends on the final seven games. Right now, it’s not looking good for Joe.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle – questionable)
  • FB Cullen Gillaspia (calf – out)
  • WR Kadarius Toney (quad – doubtful)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (quad – out)
  • WR John Ross (quad – questionable)
  • TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle – doubtful)
  • TE Kaden Smith (knee – out)
  • LB Lorenzo Carter (ankle – probable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (quad – probable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Jason Garrett was fired. Not during the bye week when it made more sense, but on a short-week after playing on Monday night football. Perfect move for a dysfunctional franchise.

The removal of Garrett is a huge red flag because it means one of two things. Either Joe Judge botched one of the most important head coaching decisions he had, or as some have long speculated, Garrett was imposed on Judge by John Mara. Either way, it’s not good. And reading between the lines, based what was and was not said in both Judge’s Monday night post-game press conference and Garrett’s Tuesday farewell statement, it appears there was no love lost between Judge and Garrett. Combine that with last years odd drama surrounding the in-season firing of Offensive Line Coach Marc Colombo, who Garrett brought over from Dallas and either Judge or Mara signed off on. I’m starting to suspect that Mara did in fact meddle with decisions that should have been left to Judge. If Mara felt he needed an insurance policy for Judge, then he never should have hired the man in the first place.

More good news. When a team blows the #2 pick in the draft, it’s a disaster. When a team blows the #6 pick in the draft, it’s a disaster. When a team does both and one of those picks is a “franchise” quarterback, it’s beyond a disaster. Thank you Dave Gettleman. You’ve sealed your legacy by putting the final nails in the coffin that Jerry Reese began to build. Don’t forget, however, that John Mara hired Dave Gettleman. And he decided to retain him after Pat Shurmur failed and before hiring Joe Judge.

So where are we now? The 3-7 Giants are in last place in the NFC East. They are not dead, but they are on life support. Joe Judge, who must know his neck is on the chopping block, fired his offensive coordinator on a short week before facing a team that has owned the Giants for years. This reeks of desperation. Good luck Freddie Kitchens! The offensive line is still a mess. Daniel Jones isn’t getting better. Saquon Barkley is just a big name who falls over himself. The injury-prone Sterling Shepard is out again, joined this week by the injury-prone Kadarius Toney. If Judge, Kitchens, Jones, Barkley, etc. put up 30 points against the Eagles and win the game, we’ll all be thrilled. But who in their right mind truly expects that?

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The luckiest man in New York this past week was Patrick Graham. The drama surrounding Jason Garrett completely overshadowed the utterly miserable performance by Graham against Tampa Bay. Remember, Graham’s defense looked like crap for the first six games of the year, being a major reason why the team started 1-5. His defense improved over the course of the next three games as the Giants “rebounded” with a 2-1 record. Against a Bucs’ offense that mightily struggled Washington, Graham’s unit allowed 400 yards of offense and six scoring drives. Tom Brady got to come out of the game early.

We went through something similar with Graham last year. The difference being that an admittedly undermanned defense started off poorly and made improvements in the second half of the year as the Giants shockingly finished as a top-10 defense. In the second year of his system, with free agent and draft additions, this was supposed to be a consistently good defense, anchored by the defensive line and secondary. Now it seems like a crapshoot as to what kind of defense will show up on a week-to-week basis. Sy’56 contends it is because New York’s defenders have no firm, systemic identity. I don’t know what the reason is. All I know is it is not working the way it was envisioned. I like Graham and want him to succeed. He appears to be a very smart and humble man who really cares. I think losing really bothers him. But he’s got to get this figured out or he’s going to be out of a job in January.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
The death knell for Judge is if his team starts losing games because of special teams. With the buzzards circling, you almost kind of expect it.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Former Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett on Head Coach Joe Judge: (Deafening silence)

THE FINAL WORD:
I expected the Giants to lose to the Bucs. But I thought it would be a close game and that the arrow would still be pointing up after the miserable 1-5 start. The Giants weren’t even competitive.

For the Giants to make a serious run, they were going to have to sweep the Eagles and beat Washington after the bye. That all seems unlikely now. The wheels appear to be coming off.

What seems more likely is a Philadelphia Eagles team that was supposed to be the worst in the division will once again humiliate the Giants, in the process also wrecking Michael Strahan’s jersey retirement ceremony with thousands of mocking Eagles fans in the stands.

But hey, at least John Mara will tell us how upset he is in January. So we have that to look forward to.

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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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