Once again, a part of the site that is supposed to be dedicated to analyzing specific games has turned into a running commentary on the season. But at this point, I see no reason to get into X’s and O’s for a team basically playing out the string.
For fans, this is a really bad situation. It’s not like there are only two or three games left to play. There are eight, which is half the schedule. And with little to play for other than pride, and factoring in the remaining opponents and the situation at quarterback, many anticipate the losses to continue to pile up. The Giants could be looking at a disastrous 2-15, 3-14, or 4-13 type season. With each loss, the emotional toll will build. More and more fans will advocate for another complete overhaul simply for cathartic purposes.
And there’s the rub. Each time a general manager or head coach is fired, the rebuilding clock gets set back to zero. I’ve tried to make this point for years but I still don’t think many fans completely accept this principle. If the Giants fire their fourth coach in a row after two seasons, we’re talking about Dan Snyder level of turnover/incompetence. On the other hand, if you don’t have the right general manager and head coach, you’re not going to get better either.
John Mara has hired three general managers (Jerry Reese, David Gettleman, Joe Schoen) and four head coaches (Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur, Joe Judge, Brian Daboll). It’s not a great batting average. If you start over, there is absolutely no guarantee the next duo is going to be better than Schoen and Daboll. On the flip side, do you trust them to get the quarterback right when they just gave Daniel Jones a 4-year, $160 million contract? In their defense, are two drafts and one legitimate free agent period enough time to rebuild what was a horrific roster? Back and forth…argument and counter-argument.
It boils down to this. The Giants are going to finish the season with a horrible record. They may not win another game. Bill Parcells would have a hard time winning another game with a rookie undrafted quarterback. The Cowboys will complete the sweep on Sunday. The Eagles will embarrass the Giants two more times. If you think that is on Schoen and Daboll, you’ll want them gone. If you think the roster is the issue, you’re more inclined to give them more time. My gut tells me Mara has already made the decision to bring both back. I don’t think Daboll is stupid enough to melt down like Judge and force Mara’s hand.
THE INJURY REPORT:
- RB Jashaun Corbin (hamstring – questionable)
- RB Deon Jackson (concussion – out)
- WR Parris Campbell (hamstring – questionable)
- LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring – probable)
- RT Evan Neal (ankle – out)
- OG Justin Pugh (ankle – probable)
- OG Mark Glowinski (personal matter – questionable)
- OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle – questionable)
- CB Adoree’ Jackson (concussion – out)
- S Dane Belton (back – probable)
GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
This is how bad it is:
- Total yards per game: 268.9 – dead last in the NFL
- Passing yards per game: 155.0 – dead last in the NFL
- Points per game: 11.2 – dead last in the NFL (no one else is close)
Coaching? Perhaps. But Brian Daboll has been in this league a long time. I still contend it’s been a combination of countless offensive line issues and lineups, injuries to the most important players, and poor quarterback play. Whatever the reason, you can’t win these numbers. The Giants might not score 200 points this year.
I don’t buy the argument that Schoen and Daboll were smart for the way Daniel Jones’ contract situation was handled. No, Schoen and Daboll would have been smart to slap a 1-year franchise tag on Jones. They gambled that Jones was more likely to keep playing like he did down the stretch in 2022. They lost that huge gamble. It was the worst move of an offseason that otherwise looked pretty strong (good draft, decent free agent period, re-signing players like Andrew Thomas and Dexter Lawrence and passing on guys like Leonard Williams, Adoree’ Jackson, and Xavier McKinney). But because it was the quarterback position and because it involved $160 million, it was a big miss. Regardless of who the GM or HC are, the Giants are stuck with Jones for one more year, either as a lame duck starter or expensive clipboard holder. It will be an uncomfortable situation for all parties.
The final kick in the nads for Jones will be if Tommy DeVito shows any signs of life in the final eight games. No, I’m not talking about him being an answer at quarterback, but simply if the offense begins to generate more than 11 points per game. Jones finished 2023 with two touchdowns. If DeVito throws one more TD, he ties Jones in that department (he’s already tied him with rushing TDs with one). Through nine games, the three New York Giants quarterbacks have thrown five touchdown passes. FIVE. It makes one long for the days of Dave Brown.
Regardless, everyone is coming to the realization that the Daniel Jones era is about over. Two neck injuries and an ACL tear for a quarterback who does his best work on the run is simply the exclamation point. Hopefully, common sense prevails over warm, fuzzy feelings by Mara for Jones.
2023 was also a disaster for Evan Neal, who never seemed to get into a groove due to alternating poor play and injury issues. He’s out again now with an injury that may sideline him much of the remainder of the season. When Neal did show some small signs of improvement, he got hurt. Like Jones, the Giants simply cannot afford to assume Neal will be part of the solution in 2023. They have to have bring in a legitimate insurance policy, either in free agency or the draft. The disappointment is so great that the offensive line coach may have to be fairly or unfairly scapegoated.
As for the game, the dead last Giants offense will be facing the NFL’s third-ranked defense. Oh boy.
GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
- Total yards allowed per game: 338.3 – 21st in the NFL
- Passing yards allowed per game: 211.2 – 11th in the NFL
- Rushing yards allowed per game: 127.1 – 25th in the NFL
- Points allowed per game: 24.1 – 24th in the NFL
The defense started off slow, improved markedly in weeks 6-8, and then regressed last week. It hasn’t been helped by an anemic offense and shoddy special teams play. The kick to the groin was going 1-2 during a three-week span where the defense gave up a total of 34 points (11 points per game), effectively ending the season. Then they saw one of their most respected defensive leaders and effective two-way players traded away.
Moving forward, the defense simply has to accept the situation for what it is, do its job to the best of its ability, and not complain. You deal with the chips dealt to you. And the players will be judged and evaluated on the effort and performance they give. The last eight games are not just about 2023, but 2024. Xavier McKinney may have already dug his own grave.
Losing Williams hurt the pass rush. It makes it easier for teams to deal with Dexter Lawrence and Kavyon Thibodeaux. The Giants may get Azeez Olulari back, but he has to prove he can stay on the field and be an effective two-way player.
As for Dallas, again, this looks like trouble. The Cowboys are 10th in the NFL in yards per game and third in scoring. They are averaging 27.5 points per contest and will be facing a team that scores less than half that mark. Yikes.
GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
The Giants are so bad on offense that they didn’t even get to test one of their two new kickers last week. Here comes the Cowboys, whose blocked field goal in Week 1 was the catalyst for New York’s downward spiral.
THE FINAL WORD:
As a lifelong New York Giants fan, I can never root against the team. When they lose, I’m in a bad mood. When they win, I’m happy. But I cannot move past the notion that the higher their first pick is in the draft, the more likely the team will be able to select their preferred solution at quarterback. I appreciate the counter-argument and agree with it… that the only way to build a winning culture is to win. But New York is in quarterback hell right now. Until they fix that, they aren’t a serious football team. The Giants have painted me into a position where if they win, I’m not sure it is a good thing. And that’s a bad place to be.