Dec 272022
Isaiah Hodgins, New York Giants (December 24, 2022)

Isaiah Hodgins – © USA TODAY Sports


-Daniel Jones: 30/42 – 334 yards / 1 TD – 1 INT / 92.8 RAT

Jones added 34 yards on the ground and a successful two-point conversion attempt in a do-or-die situation in the fourth quarter, down two points. From a big picture perspective, this was the best I have seen Jones play all year. The 42 attempts were tied for the fourth-most of his career, second-most of the season. He had a stretch where he completed 22-of-24 passes. He gained a season-high 17 first downs via the air and added two more on the ground. On paper, this was a very good game by Jones. When I took a deeper look, I came away with the same impression.

Jones’ movement in the pocket was brilliant. His clock was spot on, his footwork while keeping his eyes downfield was clean, accuracy was a plus, and decision making was near-perfect. The one blemish was, of course, the fourth-quarter interception on the drive following MIN’s go-ahead touchdown. The ball was intercepted in the red zone, and it was a misplaced ball. Jones had two other bad throws. Nobody can demand perfection out of him, but when you see his stat line and add in the fact Saquon Barkley had another strong day, settling on just 20 points is a loss for the offense overall. While there were other issues stemming from the line, the Bellinger fumble, and the drop by Richie James, the interception was a big-time miss in a big-time situation. He also fumbled earlier in the game (did not result in a turnover) where his ball security technique was the main culprit. This game causes more confliction. For almost the entire game I was ready to say this was the best we have seen out of Jones all year when breaking all elements down. Then, the ill-timed interception. I see vast improvement across multiple components to the position, but once again he left me wanting more.


-Saquon Barkley: 14 att – 84 yards – 1 TD / 8 rec – 49 yards

Another explosive game by Barkley. Elite movement across multiple forms. One of his best yard-after-contact games of the year and a clutch touchdown that stemmed from good vision and aggression. Barkley is trusting the play designs and I cannot stress enough how big of a difference that is. Even the runs that end up not being there, the 1-3 yard gains make such a difference over the 1-3 yard losses in an offense that is working with such a small margin. 26 touches for #26 is right where this team needs to be down the stretch, at least. One thing I want to see more is him getting the ball on screens or splitting him out wide and moving him on cross-routes.

-Matt Breida and Gary Brightwell barely saw the field. Breida gained 9 yards on 2 carries and Brightwell lost a yard on his lone touch. The 91% snap share that Barkley had in this game was the most we have seen since Week 4. All chips are being used now and there is no more pacing the race. I expect to see this again against IND.


-Isaiah Hodgins: 8 rec / 89 yards / 1 TD

Hodgins came up with several underneath receptions that displayed his ideal blend of quality route-running and contact-strength. He then added the best catch we have seen all year out of a NYG receiver up the sideline for 29 yards. When you want to see if a receiver is capable of extending himself to the limit while moving at his top rate of speed, this is the kind of tape you use as the barometer. Hodgins has never been and will never be a deep threat. He simply is not fast enough. But the ball skills are there in every sense of the term. Hands, concentration, timing, and coordination. He is playing his way into a 2023 roster spot and has elevated the entire passing game. What a good find!

-Richie James, a week after I discussed how reliable his hands have been this season (top 10 in NFL), had one of the biggest gaffes of the game. A third-down drop where no defender was near him on a simple, short, slant route and pass. He did catch 8 balls for a team-high 90 yards including a season-high 33 yarder. I was curious how he would respond following the big drop. He dropped another ball two drives later. These are the facts that will come up when the decision makers decide his fate with NYG in a few months, especially considering he is a slot-only target.

-Darius Slayton had a drop early (a difficult catch, I will say) but responded with a couple of big plays later on. He had 4 catches for 79 yards, continuing to be the team’s top playmaker at the position. On a scaled version, this receiver room is put together in a balanced manner. Slayton is the big play guy, James is the slot, and Hodgins is the possession/underneath safety blanket. If this passing game is going to stay at the level we saw in this game, Slayton needs to continue his solid play. 478 yards / 28 catches (17.1 per, way above his career average) since Week 10. Just one touchdown over that span and just two on the year. I think we are right on the brink of seeing a big score on a big play here. He is 41 yards away from a career-high for a single season.


-Daniel Bellinger caught both of his targets and they totaled 27 yards. The glaring issue was the fumble in the red zone at the start of the second quarter that would have resulted in a first down had he held onto it. While any turnover hurts, this one had a little extra bite to it. Like Jones, NYG was heading toward a score and this mistake took the wind out of the sails. Bellinger continues his steady performance as a blocker. That is not necessarily a complement as I am still seeing too many losses. But he has not regressed, and he is showing enough quality there to maintain the positive long-term outlook I have on him.

-Nick Vannett saw just five snaps as NYG spent almost the entire game in 11 personnel (3 WR + 1 RB + 1 TE).


-The MIN pass rush is one of the best seven in football over the last 5-6 weeks. As Danielle Hunter heats up (I think he is a top 5 edge defender when healthy), the group overall is brought to an even higher level. Hunter got the best out of Evan Neal for most of the game. The rookie right tackle allowed 4 pressures and 1.5 sacks. The half-sack was hard to peg on him because of the movement in the pocket. The lone-sack and a couple of his pressures were almost as bad as you are going to find when it comes to one-on-one pass rushing. I try not to compare him to Andrew Thomas too much, but I know some have asked about looking at Neal’s rookie year and putting it next to Thomas’ rookie year. To me, they both struggled, but it isn’t close. Thomas had more hand-placement and timing issues. Neal’s footwork is a complete mess, his balance isn’t getting any better, and I don’t see the “learn from mistakes” progress. It is early and nobody can write him off or bring up the “move to OG” talk yet. But in relation to NYG and their 2022 season, his play is mightily hurting this passing game. His saving grace is the above-average run blocking he provides. All in-line roles have been quality. I still see issues in space, though.

-Andrew Thomas allowed a pressure that led to an eventual sack and then a half-sack himself. Safe to say his play has fallen off over the past month. Still a very good left tackle in a league that does not have many of them but no, not an All-Pro. Not yet.

-Mark Glowinski allowed two pressures and a TFL to former NYG second rounder Dalvin Tomlinson. That is a guy I miss seeing in blue, but it was likely the right call to let him walk. Anyway, Glowinski played better after a rough start but the lack of explosion off the ball prevents him from winning at the point- of-attack when lined up across from a strong and fast defender. If he can get some space to build up his movement and power, he does well. We saw that on the combo blocks and then when he peeled off to the second level. He had a couple key blocks on big runs.

-Ben Bredeson and Nick Gates continue to split snaps. Hard to tell who the better player is, to be honest. Bredeson got walked back by the bull rush a couple times, but he does a better job of staying on his man. Gates has been struggling there a bit. Bredeson did allow a sack and a pressure. Gates was flagged for a huge false start on 2nd-and-6, which killed the drive. He was also flagged for a hold but upon second look, I believe the ref got the wrong number. It was center Jon Feliciano. The center played a poor game. Three pressures from a center are too many. MIN went with a stunt-heavy approach and his tracking + body control was all over the place. That said, like Glowinski, he came up with a couple key blocks in the running game including Barkley’s touchdown.


-Azeez Ojulari went down again with an injury. He had a sack in the first half, and they could have used him in those big moments of the second half. The lower body injuries with this kid are piling up and it does concern me. Rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux, coming off NFC Defensive Player of the Week honors, had 2 pressures and 6 tackles. Another good pursuit-game for him but he did get caught out of position on the screen pass to Justin Jefferson that set up MIN for the game-winning field goal. Over-committing is the glaring issue in his game right now.

-Jihad Ward had 4 tackles, 2 pressures, and a pass break up. Solid game for him as they kept him out of space-situations for nearly the entire game. Oshane Ximines saw his playing time tick up in the second half after the Ojulari injury, but he did not impact the game much. He was almost in on a sack, but Leonard Williams got there first a second before.


-Dexter Lawrence returned to his dominant ways despite playing just 75% of the snaps. Three straight weeks he is at that percentage or lower. He led the team with 5 pressures, one of which caused a sack. Lawrence is also showing outstanding awareness against middle screens. He sniffed two of them out and immediately broke on the play. Amazing to see a player this big move this fast.

-Leonard Williams aggravated a neck/shoulder injury on a missed tackle in the third quarter. He was having a disruptive game up until then with 4 tackles, 1 sack, a half-TFL, and 1 pressure. This defense is going to be dependent on this front four taking over against the porous IND offensive line next week. The question will be, if he plays, how much do you play him? 50% of the snaps getting the most out of him? Or 80+% of the snaps and risk injury in addition to a scaled back version of him. Tough call.

-Rookie Ryder Anderson can help answer the question. He had 2 tackles and a half-TFL. This marks the third-straight week the undrafted free agent has made a play behind the line of scrimmage. While he still plays like a weak link against the power-run game, it is an encouraging sign to see him make plays like this.

-Justin Ellis and Henry Mondeaux did not see the field much, and when they did, they weren’t very effective.


-MIN went pass-heavy on offense, but the inside running game gashed the NYG defense a few times. While I am not in the meeting rooms, these big running plays appear to be on the shoulders of linebackers Micah McFadden and Jaylon Smith. They are dancing with the blockers 4-5 yards from the line of scrimmage and a back like Dalvin Cook can toy with those creases all day. They did combine for 18 tackles, and both made plays at or behind the line of scrimmage. It was not a complete washout for them, but quality running games are going to eat these two up. In coverage, McFadden was abused on the first T.J. Hockenson touchdown. He simply cannot be relied on in space when dropping back. No feel, no length, no downfield speed.

-Landon Collins is becoming a more consistent presence on the defense. He had 4 tackles, 1 sack, and a third down pass break up as he played more than 25 snaps for the second week in a row. There are issues that come from him playing more and more, but I do think he is the lesser of two evils when looking at him and McFadden.


-Justin Jefferson is the best wide receiver in football. It is hard to look down on Fabian Moreau for getting torched by him, but it is the truth. You can see these two are not even in the same class when it comes to movement traits. He allowed almost all of the 10 targets thrown his way to be completed and was penalized for pass interference on a play where he intercepted a pass at the end of the second half.

-Cor’Dale Flott is improving every week. This is a good sign and exactly what many were hopeful for down the stretch of his rookie season. His 41 snaps tied a career high, and he added 2 tackles along with a pass break-up. That break-up was originally ruled an interception, but after reviewing it was clear the ball hit the ground. His movement traits are a step ahead of everyone else in this corner group.

-Nick McCloud and Darnay Holmes both walk away with positive grades for different reasons. McCloud’s was more coverage-based. While Adam Thielen has lost a step, McCloud blanketed him for most of the game. Excellent anticipation and feel. Holmes was beat multiple times, but his physical play made a difference in key moments down the stretch. Late in the game, he had a high-level third-down tackle and then a fourth-down pass break up on the next play. This was in the fourth quarter right before the NYG drive where Richie James dropped the third-down conversion pass, but NYG still put up three points to pull within one. As I said last week, teams are attacking him in key moments. The success rate overall is still low, but Holmes has the play-making potential, and he remains aggressive. That will end up making a positive difference at times.


-Julian Love and Jason Pinnock both played every snap. Both played a solid game, but between the two they did not make any game-changing plays. The defense could have used something here. Tall ask, I know. But in the league right now, we are seeing safeties make outcome-altering, or at least momentum-altering, plays at some point. While these two are more-than solid, that will need to be the next step for both. We need to see turnovers and/or plays behind the line of scrimmage at some point. Love allowed a touchdown on a play where tight end T.J. Hockenson made a catch that could not be defended. A brilliant play by him. That play also shows something you will hear me talk about often come draft time. Length matters, a lot. If his radius was just another 2-3 inches, I bet that pass is broken up. But he stands under 5’11” and his arms are under 32”. That brings us to 3 inches below average for league safeties when it comes to overall reach.

-Dane Belton played just one snap and Tony Jefferson had 1 tackle and 1 miss.


-K Graham Gano: 3/3 (Made 44, 44, 55)
-P Jamie Gillian: 3 punts / 43.0 avg; 30.5 net (1 punt blocked)


-WR Isaiah Hodgins, DT Dexter Lawrence, K Graham Gano


-LB Micah McFadden, OT Evan Neal, TE Daniel Bellinger


(1) MIN is now 11-0 in one-score games. There are two ways of looking at this. One, they aren’t head-and-shoulders above most teams they play against. They’re just +5 points in scoring differential. For comparison sake, the other first place teams in the league are: +157, +85, +22, +`106, +137, -38 (TB), and +145. Two, it means they are battle-tested in tight situations. They have more experience in tight-margin contests. And I do believe it helps in the playoffs. What is the conclusion here? This team is very beatable if NYG cross paths with them again. Very.

(2) Does anyone see how the MIN template relates to NYG? Especially on offense. A highly-paid quarterback who nobody is going to mistake for a top tier guy, but he is “good enough.” A high-quality running back who they locked into a long-term deal. Multiple first round picks along the offensive line. What is next for NYG if you are viewing this as the route to go? Drafting a first-round wide receiver (remember Jefferson was a #22 overall pick), quality depth behind him (veterans and picks), and constant day 1-2 draft picks used on the line. MIN’s entire offensive line is homegrown. They’re all 1st or 2nd rounders. And they’ve all been taken in the past five drafts.

(3) In the same breath, all of those resources put into the offense caused a lack of resources put into the defensive backfield. They’re overly reliant on Patrick Peterson and mid-to-late round picks in the secondary. If/when this team runs into a quality passing attack, it will do them in. It is not a coincidence the NYG passing game looked good against them.


(1) Win and in. NYG is right where a lot of teams want to be. Fortunately because of losses by WAS, DET, and SEA, they are in the best possible spot heading into a match-up against IND. I watched every snap of the IND game last night against LAC and I don’t think there are any teams in the NFL worse than IND. Things could not be lined up better for their final home game of the year. They have not won there since November 13 (vs HOU). Get the crowd in it, play clean football, and win the damn game. All hands on desk, you can rest Week 18. No questions asked. No excuses allowed.

(2) Watching Justin Jefferson run routes, track the ball, and create after the catch is such a bar setter. He is the top WR in football when looking at the combination of his traits. It also shows how far the gap is between what NYG has at corner and what exists out there at receiver. We will have plenty of time to discuss this once the season is over, but trying to up the quality at corner is a must-get for this team. Whether you believe in Adoree’ Jackson or not is irrelevant. NYG needs such a boost in quality at corner. Trust me, I know, it is a hard position to accurately project. That said, the 2022 rookie class at corner is having an enormous impact on the league right now.

(3) What does NYG have a tight end? I may have anticipated too much from Daniel Bellinger when he came back from the eye injury. At the end of the day, he is a rookie fourth-rounder who I knew would not provide above-average play right away. That is a tall ask for someone at that position. Because of how little depth they had at tight end when he went down, I simply thought we would see more. The blocking has been below average, but he did add an element to the passing game prior to the injury. We haven’t seen it come back yet. It is a subtle but important element to the offense.

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David Syvertsen

David Syvertsen, aka Sy'56, has worked for Ourlads Scouting LLC since 2013, starting off as a college depth chart manager and now a lead scout for one the most-sold NFL draft guides year-in, year-out. He has been scouting for over 10 years and will compile anywhere from 400-600 scouting reports per season, with that number increasing year by year. He watches and studies game films 20-25 hours per week throughout the entire year with his main focus being NFL Draft prospects.

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