Nov 282023
Jalin Hyatt, New York Giants (November 26, 2023)

Jalin Hyatt – © USA TODAY Sports


-Tommy DeVito: 17/25 – 191 yards / 1 TD – 0 INT / 103.9 RAT

Add another level to DeVito’s ascending performances this season. Add another level to DeVito’s comfort and responsibility within this offense. And add another level of trust that DeVito has earned in the eyes of both coaches and fans. The fun ride continues and it feels like he (and the team) have found the exit inside a dark tunnel. That light is still far away but it has at least been located and the team is inching toward it. Without getting too ahead of ourselves, I just want to break down a few elements of his game that credibly mean something. One, his ability and confidence to progress through reads as he reads the coverage. His internal clock is improving with each week. Two, his release and accuracy on downfield passing are notable. He is comfortable and confident as he throws the deep ball. He hit Jalin Hyatt near the sideline for gains of 41, 29, and 22 yards. Zero hesitation, pinpoint placement, and repeatability. And last, footwork and ball fakes. DeVito’s mechanics for the position look outstanding. It does not mean everything, but it means something. Everything he is doing right now looks clean. An undrafted rookie who looks like this on a team that has been losing like this? Hard to remember seeing anything that resembles what he is doing in the league.


-Saquon Barkley: 12 att – 46 yards / 1 rec – 6 yards

40 of Barkley’s yards came in the first half on 8 carries. Two of those runs came in the first quarter that gained 33 yards. Overall, it was a quiet game for him with a congested point-of-attack and inconsistent run blocking inside. The big runs were to the right side where the crease was big enough and there long enough for him to burst through. Barkley had two negatives on the day – an allowed sack and a drop. Those show up too often.

-Matt Breida added 6 yards on 2 carries and a 10-yard gain in the passing game. He was on the field for just 10 snaps.


-One of the best traits DeVito has shown is the ability to spread the ball out to his pass catchers. He knows what his guys are good at, and he knows where to use them the most. Enter Jalin Hyatt. A career-game for the rookie who has been frustrating to watch for no reason other than lack of usage. He caught 5 passes for 109 yards. Three of them were explosive plays (20+ yards) and all three were high-level plays. I have been saying it since the beginning of the season, Hyatt has a few special traits that are hard to find together. We can see the speed and acceleration. But the plays on the ball he made near the boundary with the combination of coordination and footwork can make him a lethal weapon. And I mean, absolutely lethal. The move he put on J.C. Jackson after the catch was not something I expected to see either, as the short area change of direction and hip fluidity were a bit of an unknown with the ball in his hands.

-Wan’Dale Robinson was used underneath over and over, totaling 26 yards on 4 catches with one drop. The average depth of target was just 2.8 yards. That will often be the case. His usage (and frame) are similar to Zay Flowers from Baltimore (Flowers is a tier or two higher with what he can do downfield) in that you will often see games like this, an average-per-catch that looks like what you see out of a running back who had a good game on the ground. The explosive plays will come, though. Just wait.

-Isaiah Hodgins scored the lone touchdown of the game for NYG on a 12-yard pitch and catch where he used his pure strength on a stiff arm to finish off the play into the end zone. Sterling Shepard had a catch for 6 yards and a drop, and Parris Campbell caught one ball that resulted in a 2-yard loss.


-Daniel Bellinger played the majority of the snaps with Lawrence Cager occasionally showing up on the field. Mike Kafka used 11 personnel for most of the game. Bellinger caught his one target for 8 yards and performed as usual in blocking roles. He was solid in the trenches, but he struggled to get across the face of his man when he needed to cut off the backside. It caused a TFL on one play and a stop at the line of scrimmage on another.


-Left tackle Andrew Thomas is human after all. He allowed 1.5 sacks on plays where he lost the initial angle and was unable to recover. He usually shows enough lower body adjustment to put himself back into the right position to make a save, but it appears his anchor is not 100%. Even though it was not his best day, those truly were his only losses of the day.

-Tyre Phillips and Ben Bredeson were the ones who paved the way on the best running gains we saw on the afternoon. Bredeson also did a fine job as a pass blocker, albeit against a low-level group of interior pass rushers. This is where Phillips struggled. He allowed 1.5 sacks and 3 hurries. His lockout game is a difference maker as a run blocker because of his length and heaviness. But in pass protection, where swifter footwork is necessary and the ability to react is more important, this is where he struggles. He did receive help from the tight end on occasion and it made a big difference. Considering Bellinger is not much of a threat in the passing game, I do feel that this is a better role for him. Help out then run a short-delayed route for dump-offs.

-Rookie center John Michael Schmitz allowed a pressure and a TFL. I am seeing a repeated problem with his outside zone blocking. He gives a bit too much ground (in an effort to get more downhill momentum) but the guy he is assigned to beats him to the spot and out-leverages him, creating more lost ground. Combine the two and the running back is multiple yards behind the line of scrimmage when he has to make his first adjustment. Schmitz gets the job done when he does not need to move far from the starting point, but he continues to struggle when he gets further away from it.

-Justin Pugh allowed 2 pressures and a TFL as well. He was the one getting pushed around when NYG tried to run left and did not have success. He is the one getting displaced and even though he can recover well, the point still remains. He is not getting enough movement at the point-of-attack.


-As I have said in previous reviews, there are always things to keep an eye on when it comes to the team and future. This was the first game Kayvon Thibodeaux has been on the field without Dexter Lawrence. Leonard Williams was traded weeks ago. So how did Thibodeaux respond to being the one guy on this front who needed to be schemed against? He finished with 5 tackles, 2 TFL, a half-sack, and a forced fumble. I thought it was some of the best run defense we have seen out of him and the reaction speed to screens (which NE ran a ton of) was excellent. Combine that with what I read about his preparation + leadership shown during the week, and I would say that is nearly as good as you can expect for Thibodeaux without Lawrence on the field.

-Jihad Ward and Azeez Ojulari essentially split reps. While they don’t exactly play the same role and alignments, Ward was on the field for 40 snaps, Ojulari 38. Ward is the one who played the better of the two and it was by a sizable margin. He finished with 5 tackles and 1.5 sacks. One of those came on a 3rd down in the fourth quarter, a big play in a big moment. It is the first time Ward has had more than 1 sack in a game over his 8-year career. Ojulari had a QB hit early on, but was shut down the rest of the game again.

-Benton Whitley, just recently signed off the Vikings practice squad, played three snaps and made an impressive play on a pass break up. He’s bounced around a few different practice squads since 2021. He is a heavy-handed, vertical threat with the straight-line burst to put some pressure on a tackle. He will also factor on special teams.


-A’Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches were the starting interior defenders with Dexter Lawrence sitting out with a hamstring injury. Nothing against these two but what a difference it was to not have #97 in there. Robinson can hold his own and he plays an active game. He finished with 5 tackles and Nunez-Roches added one pressure.

-D.J. Davidson and Jordon Riley rotated in, and while they struggled to get off blocks in the passing game, I thought their stoutness against the run was solid. Where they currently struggle is shedding the blocks and making plays on the ball carrier. Riley missed two tackles.


-Bobby Okereke had another high-impact game. He had 8 tackles and added 3 pressures. He missed a tackle on a play that would have resulted in a sack. Mac Jones threw an interception right to him. He took possession of the ball inside the red zone and returned it 55 yards giving NYG the ball on the NE 26-yard line. This is the drive they ended up scoring the lone touchdown, further strengthening how big of a play it was.

-Micah McFadden added 6 tackles (with one miss), including one TFL on a play where he read the screen in a blink of an eye and broke on the receiver instantly.

-Isaiah Simmons had 2 tackles and a miss on a third down that resulted in a first down. His untouched pressure led to the Okereke interception. When McFadden missed a few snaps with a hand injury suffered by friendly fire, Simmons played the inside linebacker role. I noticed there and other alignments as well that he is simply late. That is the way to describe his game. Big-time athlete who can do a lot – but he is almost always late. Late to recognize, late to see, late to react.


-Adoree’ Jackson returned and remained outside with Deonte Banks on the other side and Cor’Dale Flott in the slot. I’ve always felt this has needed to be their trio of starters at the position. Jackson did miss two tackles, but he was steady in downfield coverage. Banks intercepted a pass in the first quarter near the sideline. Nice catch, good awareness and read. Banks has cleaned up some of his footwork in zone coverage and it is encouraging to see him advance throughout his rookie year. He had to offer a public apology for, you guessed it, a social media mistake. That really isn’t worth addressing here but I am glad he came out and played a solid game with a big play in a defensive battle. Banks does need to shore up some of his run-defense habits. They are borderline atrocious.


-Xavier McKinney is on a hot streak and it hit the climax on one of the better interceptions you are going to see a safety make in this league. It was a thing of beauty – the way he tricked Mac Jones into thinking he was dropping deep, knowing the route concept, breaking back down at the exact right moment so Jones had no idea, and then finishing the play off by coming down with the ball. Oh, and he led the team with 10 tackles and broke up another pass. While he was not perfect in coverage, he kept things in front of him and showed a good feel for what the Patriots were doing.

-Jason Pinnock played all 68 snaps and added 6 tackles, 1 of which went for a loss. With the number of screens and quick passes New England used, Pinnock did a nice job of getting to the action and disrupting. That quick trigger means a lot for this defense and even though he finds himself on the wrong side of blocks at times, he is getting the job done.


-K Randy Bullock: 1/1 (Made 42)
-P Jamie Gillan: 8 Punts / 45.4 avg – 40.3 net


-S Xavier McKinney, EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, WR Jalin Hyatt


-OT Tyre Phillips, EDGE Azeez Ojulari, RB Saquon Barkley


(1) Mac Jones is up there with the worst starting quarterbacks in the league. While the situation around him leaves much to be desired, it is hard to see where the future is. From my summary in 2021: “The upside is where I lose it a bit with him. He will be solid, but I don’t ever see him being great”. Remember this was after an all-time season with Alabama and there were rumors San Francisco was going to take him #3 overall (they opted for Trey Lance). He’s been yanked multiple times, he has gone backwards after a solid rookie season, and there simply isn’t anything to his game that stands out in a league where you need to have a trait or two that stand out.

(2) There is smoke surrounding Head Coach Bill Belichick. He’s been there since 2000 (the year Kerry Collins led NYG to the Super Bowl, Ron Dayne’s rookie season). He is 264-117 as the Head Coach for NE and he’s won 6 Super Bowls and 9 AFC Championships. But this team has gone 27-34 since Tom Brady left town. He has made several odd, head-scratching decisions involving the offense,  including operating without a true offensive coordinator in 2022, cutting Bailey Zappe in the preseason, and playing games with Jones’ status as the starter. Add in some odd draft decisions on that side of the ball that would have been harshly lambasted in any other city and it appears to be time. Would that be the end? Or does the 71-year old get another crack with a win-now team? Looking at you, Chargers.

(3) There is a good chance New England winds up with the first or second pick of the draft. Because they currently have no hope at quarterback and a pretty awful roster (especially on offense), one has to think they will press the restart button and draft one of the top 3 quarterbacks: Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, or Jayden Daniels. Does Robert Kraft bring back someone he loves in Josh McDaniels (for a third time)? Or does he go after the hottest name in the league in Bobby Johnson from Detroit? NYG fans should want that because you don’t want him calling the shots in Washington.


(1) The Giants head to their bye week with a 4-8 record (somewhat still in playoff contention by the way) before the final five games on the schedule. They have two matchups against the Eagles and three games against 5-6 teams (Packers, Saints, Rams). Three of the five are at home. Take away your desire for a high draft pick for a moment. What do you want to see out of this team? What can they use over those five games to help build the future? First of all, it is DeVito or bust the rest of the way. Each game that comes is another opportunity to answer a key question for the 2024 season. Who is the backup quarterback moving forward? Tyrod Taylor can come back to be second string, a nice security blanket. But DeVito has played better. He simply presents more upside and carries some unknowns with him. We know what Taylor is. That is the component that needs to be figured out.

(2) I’m not sure if “turnaround” is the right word for where the Giants are right now since their November 12th 49-17 loss in Dallas. But they have won two in a row and are +13 in turnover margin since week five. By the way, that ranks NUMBER ONE in the NFL. It is the BIGGEST margin of any 8-game span in the league all year. Yes, since October 8, NYG leads the NFL in turnover margin, one of the most sure-fire stats to impact wins and losses. Criticize the coaching staff all you want, but the truth is, they have steadied the ship. On both sides of the ball.

(3) The offensive line cannot be considered a strength, but like the team overall, it has become a reliable-at-times unit. Andrew Thomas being on the field means a ton. It cannot be understated. But watching them on tape, the unit simply looks cleaner. The first half of the season was full of defenders getting free runs to the backfield. We had blockers running into each other. And we had whiff after whiff. It is clear NYG will need to add a body or two in the offseason, that fact will not change. But can any of these guys be brought back to provide depth? Possibly even a starter spot? Chemistry means a lot and we cannot just assume they can fill these spots with a rookie or journeyman free agent. I do not believe spending big will be in their budget plans.

Nov 242023
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (November 19, 2023)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

As addressed previously, we’re in a weird dynamic right now where the games are a distant secondary to the upcoming offseason. This has pretty much been the case ever since the Giants lost heartbreakers to the Bills and Jets in Weeks 6 and 8, respectively. So now the Giants stand at 3-8, with two of the team’s three wins coming against the Washington Commanders. What makes matters even more depressing is that the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys continue to demonstrate on a weekly basis the huge gap that lies between them and the New York Giants. The Cowboys have already swept the Giants by a combined score of 89-17. The annual bitch-slapping by the Eagles will occur in Weeks 16 and 18.

Giants vs. Patriots? It used to have a special meaning. But those days are long gone.


  • RB Eric Gray (ankle – questionable)
  • WR Darius Slayton (neck – doubtful)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (hip – probable)
  • OC John Michael Schmitz (finger – probable)
  • LT Andrew Thomas (knee – probable)
  • RT Evan Neal (ankle – out)
  • OT Tyre Phillips (knee – probable)
  • NT Dexter Lawrence (hamstring – doubtful)
  • DL A’Shawn Robinson (back – probable)
  • ILB Bobby Okereke (hip/rib – probable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (concussion – probable)
  • CB Tre Hawkins (shoulder – probable)
  • S Bobby McCain (illness – probable)

Despite the team’s record, these remaining games are important for many players, and one of those guys is Tommy DeVito. Midnight may be approaching for the Cinderella story, undrafted rookie free agent who won “Rookie of the Week” honors for his performance against Washington. Instead of throwing three touchdowns this weekend, he is just as likely to throw three interceptions. But the Jersey kid seems to be having fun and making the most out of his opportunity. Despite being sacked nine times last week, DeVito did something Daniel Jones has not been able to do in four years, that is, throw three touchdown passes in one game. Now he has six touchdowns on the season. Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor have combined for four. What if DeVito has another strong performance? Do the Giants stick with him after the upcoming bye week, or does Daboll turn back to Taylor, if the latter is healthy? DeVito could make the decision easy or difficult for Daboll based on how he plays against the Patriots.

DeVito and the offense had a 24-point “explosion” against the 29th-ranked defense last weekend. The 16th-ranked Patriots will be a tougher test, especially given their top-10 run defense. Bill Belichick has a knack for taking away the opposing team’s best offensive threat so I anticipate him focusing the defense’s complete attention on Saquon Barkley as a runner and receiver (Barkley is coming off an impact game as a receiver). I also expect him to do a better job of confusing the rookie quarterback by more effectively disguising his coverages. Can DeVito and the coaching staff adjust? Complicating matters is that another favorite target for DeVito, Darius Slayton, appears to be battling a stinger injury.

The book on DeVito coming out of school was a tendency to hold onto the ball too long. His emphasis on looking for bigger chunk plays down the field paid off against Washington and stood in stark contrast to Daniel Jones, but it also led to nine sacks. Another day like that and DeVito has a good chance of getting hurt with Matt Barkley entering the game. While I am dying to see DeVito take a couple of deep shots to Jalin Hyatt, he also needs to use the short passing game more when coverage and/or the pass rush dictates that response.

Speaking of pass rush, the Giants’ offensive line continues to disappoint. While not all of the nine sacks were on them, it’s astounding that a team that was winning the turnover battle 5-0 had to rely on the sixth turnover to seal the victory. The nine sacks and shoddy first-half run blocking were a big reason why. Andrew Thomas, despite playing injured, is still clearly the best OL on the team. John Michael Schmitz is battling injuries and still learning on the job. Justin Pugh, Ben Bredeson, and Tyre Phillips are not playing well and likely are not NFL-calibre starting material. I find the decision to start Pugh over Glowinski more than a tad curious. I also wonder if Schmitz wasn’t so green that we might be seeing more of Marcus McKethan, but the coaches have already alluded to the benefits of Schmitz being flanked by two veterans. Regardless, the offensive line ONCE AGAIN needs massive work in the offseason. Evan Neal’s wasted year has been devastating.

Assuming the Patriots take Barkley out of the game, someone else needs to step up. Wan’Dale Robinson? Daniel Bellinger? Jalin Hyatt? Will anyone answer the bell?

One last item to note. With the bye coming up after this game, the Giants may be getting some reinforcements back in December such as Tyrod Taylor, Darren Waller, and Evan Neal.

The defense’s six turnovers won the game for the Giants last week. But that was clearly an anomaly. What is absolutely driving me nuts is Wink Martindale’s horrific run defense. I don’t get it. With the Ravens, in a very tough division, his run defenses were ranked 4th, 5th, 8th, and 1st the four years he was defensive coordinator. With the Giants? 27th and 28th. 2022 made more sense given the lack of quality and injury issues on the defensive line and inside linebacker. What’s the excuse this season? Wink’s defense is allowing 135 rushing yards per game. It just gave up 174 rushing yards to the Commanders. You can’t win consistently allowing these kind of numbers, and this is happening with arguably the best nose tackle in the game and an inside linebacker who is near the league-lead in tackles. It doesn’t make sense. I’d prefer the Giants to not change defensive coordinators this upcoming offseason, but Wink has a lot of explaining to do.

On the flip side, I was impressed at how well the Giants rushed the passer last week. I’ve harped on this for a couple of weeks, but the departure of Leonard Williams really hurt the team’s ability to get after the quarterback. The Giants’ two best pass rushers right now are Kayvon Thibodeaux and Dexter Lawrence. Opposing teams know it and concentrate the blocking on these two as no one else is picking up the slack. Azeez Ojulari has returned from injury, but thus far, he has been a complete non-factor. Don’t be shocked when the pass rush completely disappears against better offensive lines. The Giants don’t have the numbers to make other teams really sweat. It’s why as much as the Giants need to address quarterback and the offensive line in the offseason, pass rush is right up there too.

As for the Patriots, they are struggling this year because their quarterback play has been awful. It’s not clear who will even start against the Giants and we may see multiple quarterbacks play in the game. The Patriots are also not rushing the ball well, being limited to less than 95 yards per game. However, if Dexter Lawrence does not play or is limited, things could get really ugly in terms of the run defense and pass rush.

I do think the Giants signing developmental prospect Cade York off of Tennessee’s Practice Squad a few weeks ago was a bit of a red flag. While York was waived this week and re-signed to the Practice Squad, his presence in addition to the signing of Randy Bullock makes me wonder if Graham Gano’s knee injury has the Giants concerned beyond 2023. That would be bad news, not only because Gano is one of the NFL’s best, but because the Giants had just re-signed him to a 3-year, $16.5 million contract. This is something to note moving forward.

The special teams finally contributed on the field last week with a forced fumble that was recovered by the Giants. This is the type of play I talked about last week that was missing. Good job.

I find myself rooting for the Giants but worrying about losing draft position. I can’t help it. I know we still need that quarterback. The Patriots do too. So you can see where my mind is going here. Is a win really a win? Is a loss really a loss?

Nov 212023
Tommy DeVito, New York Giants (November 19, 2023)

Tommy DeVito – © USA TODAY Sports


-Tommy DeVito: 18/26 – 246 yards / 3 TD – 0 INT / 137.7 RAT

The ascent continues. DeVito went from a guy who the coaches did everything within their power to prevent from throwing a pass in a close game to producing the highest QB rating a Giants quarterback has had since September 23, 2018 (among games with 20+ passing attempts). In addition, the three touchdowns were the most by a Giants quarterback since Week 16 of 2019 (also a game against Washington). Say whatever you want about the future of the Giants quarterback situation, but what DeVito has done in a short time is nothing short of impressive. He did all of this on a day where he was sacked nine times. There were a few instances of mental mistakes, mainly holding onto the ball too long when the pass rushers outnumbered the blockers, but it was a clean game for the undrafted rookie. He sprayed the ball all over the field and came up with three high level balls while avoiding turnovers. I look forward to seeing if he can continue the climb.


-Saquon Barkley: 14 att – 83 yards / 4 rec – 57 yards – 2 TD

For the third straight week, Barkley averaged over five yards per carry. The last time he did that was in 2018, his rookie season. While he was fully contained on the ground in the first half (-2 yards on 6 carries), he made two elite catches, one being the first of two touchdown receptions. His explosive plays were vital to the team’s offensive success. He rattled off two 30+ yard runs and was responsible for 4 of the 7 largest gains for the offense. Barkley’s one dent was the fact he allowed two sacks. Running backs are not expected to sustain blocks for a long time, but he barely even made an impact on these two whiffs. This is an area of his game that has never solidified. All in all, the team does not win this game without this performance by Barkley.


-Despite missing the second half with a hand/wrist injury, Darius Slayton led the team with 82 yards on 4 catches, including a touchdown, his first of the season. On that play, we saw an impressive burst to the end zone after a subtle stutter-step that froze the WAS defender just enough to create that lane to the end zone. That kind of athleticism is part of what creates the optimism around his game. A drop on third down is what creates the frustration around his game. The up and down element to his game lives on.

-Wan’Dale Robinson had 3 catches for 35 yards, including an explosive play that gained 21 yards. That gain was essentially all him after the catch. We have seen the flashes over the last month that strengthen the notion he will be an important building block next season and beyond. I also noted a couple of high-effort blocks he made.

-Rookie Jalin Hyatt was thrown to twice and he caught one of them for seven yards. While it is disappointing that they seem to struggle getting him consistent targets, I am optimistic DeVito will throw the ball downfield to him in the coming weeks. The training wheels are coming off. One question I would like the answer to is how well does Hyatt know the playbook? While watching the game from the All-22, there were a couple plays where there appears to be miscommunication between the two. It is hard to tell who that’s on, but that could be a reason for the disconnect between what I think Hyatt can do and what opportunities he gets.

-Isaiah Hodgins added 22 yards on 2 catches and Sterling Shepard had 1 catch for 7 yards. The latter was targeted in the end zone as well.


-It was another full day for Daniel Bellinger. He had 38 yards on 3 catches and played most of the snaps. His 26-yard gain that ended just shy of a touchdown was his longest of the day. As Waller sits out, I am interested to see if the second-year pro from San Diego State gets some of his swagger back. Some players need a lot of reps to get and stay fresh. Bellinger did allow a TFL on a play where he lined up at fullback, but his blocking was better in this game than previous weeks.

-Tyree Jackson and Lawrence Cager shared spot duty and both were manhandled by the physical Washington front a few times. Neither were thrown to.


-On paper, the offensive line was torched. But on tape, it was not nearly as bad as the 9 sacks make it look and they had stretches of solid pass protection. While the OL still is a significant weakness that holds the offense back, they have now gone up a step on the ladder from dysfunctional to inconsistent. Having Andrew Thomas back is such a difference maker, and it is an easy example to point to when discussing the sheer value of a high-quality left tackle. He allowed one pressure and created good push it the running game.

-Tyre Phillips is a hit or miss blocker. Because he has lower body movement limitations, he needs to get the initial win. When he doesn’t, the odds of him coming out on top are slim when there are deeper drop backs. He allowed 2 pressures and 1.5 sacks in addition to being flagged for illegally blocking downfield. Justin Pugh allowed a sack and was poor in the run game. His initial punch does not displace or stand anyone up. Therefore, he needs to be incredibly precise and when he is off by just a little bit, the operation blows up. Jonathan Allen ate his lunch a few times.

-Ben Bredeson allowed two pressures and a half-sack and rookie center John Michael Schmitz had his worst game of the season. The latter allowed 2 TFL and a sack. I’ve highlighted his movement issues recently and it appears the league has caught onto them as well. The lateral speed and adjustments are a notch too slow, and it’s lessened his power impact. He was put on ice skates a few times and it disrupted the zone running game.


-Kayvon Thibodeaux shined once again as he lined up across from Washington left tackle Charles Leno. If you do not watch much outside of the Giants games, you may not know that Leno is probably one of the ten best pass-blocking left tackles in the game. About a month after Thibodeaux recorded 1.5 sacks vs. Washington in New York, he added 2 sacks, 3 pressures, 1 QB hit, and 5 tackles to his season total. He now has 10.5 sacks and is the first player in a Wink Martindale defense to reach double digits in that department. There are six games left. He won inside, he won outside, he won with burst, he won with power.

-Jihad Ward recorded a sack very much because of a pressure from Thibodeaux that made Sam Howell run right into his arms. He and Boogie Basham excel at controlling a gap but when it comes to lateral speed and adjustments, they’re awfully slow and lethargic. Brian Robinson ran for 73 yards, the second most of the year, and a lot of it stemmed from that lack of speed on the outside.

-Azeez Ojulari was nowhere to be found following a pressure he had early in the game. On 49 snaps, he had zero tackles and nothing outside that first pressure.


-Dexter Lawrence should pay rent for the amount of time he spent in the Washington backfield over their two matchups this season. He had 4 pressures, 2 TFL, and a sack. Double teams, single teams, and even triple teams do not stop the eventual All-Pro.

-A’Shawn Robinson played just over a third of the snaps but he came up big in big spots. He ended with 4 tackles, one of which was a big third-down stop, and added 2 pressures. That snap count works well for him because while I do not think he has the engine to play a full snap load, he can still be effective in flashes.

-Rakeem Nunez-Roches and D.J. Davidson spelled Robinson a lot through the second half. The former had a pressure and a tackle and the latter added one tackle. Nunez-Roches is a hustler, too. He was 20-30 yards downfield chasing guys down. That kind of effort matters, especially from a backup.


-Another active and productive game for the linebacker duo of Bobby Okereke and Micah McFadden. Okereke led the team with 14 tackles and forced two fumbles. McFadden added 8 tackles, one of which was for a loss, and recovered a fumble in addition to a pass break up. They both missed tackles, one of three by McFadden’s led to a touchdown. The two seem to feed off each other, displaying chemistry. Watch some of the top linebacker pairs in the league and you will see that often. They move off each other well and can control an extra gap. These two have been fun to watch.

-Isaiah Simmons made an impact play for the first time since being acquired via trade from Arizona 12 weeks ago. He intercepted Sam Howell (the team’s sixth forced turnover of the day) and returned it 54 yards for the pick-six. He added 3 tackles on the day and missed one. This could be the turning moment for Simmons that he needed.


-It was an active game for the young group. Rookie Deonte Banks allowed a touchdown but was otherwise very solid in coverage down the field. Cor’Dale Flott continued his ascent with a forced fumble and two tackles. These two have been positives we will look back on after the season when projecting the potential of this defense moving forward. Their movement traits are both outstanding, but looking at them from the All-22 is encouraging as well. Their feel and route recognition are notably better.

-Nick McCloud intercepted his first pass of his career in the first quarter to set the defensive tone. It was an outstanding play on a deep ball where he displayed speed, ball tracking, and hands on a diving, over-the-shoulder grab. McCloud is a nice player who was a key part to their secondary in 2022 who we have not seen much of this season. He also added a team-high two special teams tackles. He is a guy who wears multiple hats for this team that all good defenses have.

-Also picking off a pass was Darnay Holmes, who has done just enough to stick around over his four-year career. If he does shake free in the offseason, you can bet your bottom dollar he will get signed. It was his second pick of the year. Tre Hawkins struggled, leading the defensive backs in yards allowed, and he was flagged for illegal contact (a questionable call). A big part of the remaining balance of this season will be getting the young guys more and more snaps, Hawkins included. The tough question will be how much and at what expense? McCloud does more for this defense right now.


-Xavier McKinney and Jason Pinnock were on the field for 100% of the snaps yet again. McKinney deserves the mention, as he seems to be in the crosshairs of some because of comments to the media and a lack of playmaking overall. He was outstanding. He finished with 12 tackles, 1 TFL, and a fumble recovery. While he did get beat in coverage a few times, he did a nice job of containing and keeping the action in front of him. He was all over the field and played with a ton of grit and hustle.

-Dane Belton had 5 tackles and continues to add a needed physical element to the defense.

-Welcome to the playmaker’s list rookie Gervarrius Owens. He made a tackle and recovered a fumble on special teams. The safety room is crowded but this kind of experience will be good for the 7th rounder who opened eyes throughout preseason.


K Randy Bullock: 1/1 (Made 36)
P Jamie Gillan: 7 punts / 45.4 avg – 42.6 net


-EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, DT Dexter Lawrence, QB Tommy DeVito


-EDGE Azeez Ojulari, OC John Michael Schmitz, CB Tre Hawkins III


1. It’s safe to say the Giants have the Commanders number similar to what Dallas has done to the Giants in recent years. Different regimes, different quarterbacks, different personnel. No matter the case, NYG over WAS has become a near-given as of late. The one thing I sense about the Commanders, especially offensively, is the fact they have nobody on offense who truly scares you. Terry McLaurin is a solid player, but he won’t keep anyone up at night when preparing for them. They have plenty of quality wins against good opponents over this span of NYG dominance, but the fact they do not have any elite playmakers (and haven’t for a long time) is a key reason why they have not gotten over the hump.

2. With that in mind, this thought crossed my mind in relation to roster building. Would you rather have a couple of elite pieces you can build around but a lesser support system around them, or a solid supporting cast with volume of quality players but missing the elite pieces that are the cornerstones? Washington has a lot of usable pieces, but they no longer have the defining players. The Giants have a few elite players, but they’re missing the much-needed depth. Something to chew on.

3. Washington traded not one, but both, of their defensive ends who were heading toward free agency this upcoming March. They received a second-round pick from Chicago (likely a top 35 pick) and a third rounder from San Francisco (likely a top 96 pick). The writing was on the wall, as Washington already locked up the interior guys Jonathan Allen and DaRon Payne and the resources have to be spread out when it comes to the larger contracts. Sweat and Young will both be getting monster deals this offseason. It is a new era coming in Washington and the next move will be the firing of Ron Rivera. I cannot see him making it to 2024.


1. This is an awkward time of year for fans. They have their eyes firmly set on the NFL Draft. Any and every win lessens their chance of getting the top pick and the player they feel will change things around. I do understand it, but I’ve always felt it was a meaningless approach and a waste of time. Texans Head Coach Lovie Smith was crushed by the fans and media for a meaningless win last year at the end of the season. It pushed them out of the number one overall pick. Here they are a year later with the second quarterback taken and will end up as the comeback team of the season. It looks like they may have the next big thing at quarterback. We see examples of this all the time. Giants fans were upset they did not get Chase Young and had to settle for Andrew Thomas. The team needs to find the pieces on this roster who are worth building around. They need to find guys who are good at football and who can be relied upon. That is the goal. If they find them, it will lead to wins, period. This would be a net-positive even though it may mess with your mock drafts and fantasies.

2. Turnovers change everything. It took seven games for the Giants to reach six turnovers for the season. They took the ball away six times in this game alone. I can recall discussing the lack of turnovers early in the year (zero through 4 games) as being the defensive catalyst to poor play. The Giants are now +3 in turnovers on the year, an encouraging sign because that ratio is tied to win-loss as much as any stat in football. For me, it has been the pass rush that has led to increased number of turnovers. It is more effective, and it now has a true inside-out force. Add another piece (or two) and watch how much this will change the outcomes of games. The offense needs personnel improvements, yes. But the pass rush is close to being something that makes a true difference.

3. I am interested in seeing how this coaching staff handles the workload of Saquon Barkley moving forward. He is on pace for the most touches per game in a season over his entire career. We all know about the contract situation, and we all know there is nothing behind him who comes even close to matching what he can produce. There is a lot of football left and Barkley has proven to be a team-first guy, but if they do not slow down his usage, we could see him suffer another breakdown. Yes, “it is part of the game” but I do wonder if there will be a point where they pull him back a bit, especially if they plan to keep him around in 2024.

Nov 172023
New York Giants Super Bowl Trophies (January 5, 2016)

© USA TODAY Sports

Given that I run one of the oldest New York Giants fan sites on the internet, I think I have a pretty good feel for pulse of the fan base. My sense is that fan morale is at an all-time low, probably reaching levels not seen since the 1970’s. And it’s not that fans are angry or upset. It’s reaching the more troublesome indifference stage. I’m seeing more and more fans who have posted for years on this site, fans who live and breathe Giants football, simply say, “I’ll DVR the game and watch it if they win” or “OK, I’m turning this off. I can’t take it.”

We’re talking about a fan base that once patiently waited 30 years (1956 to 1986) to see their team win another championship, and filled waiting lists and stadiums in the interim. It’s not just that the Giants are losing (only one winning season in the last seven years), but it’s that they aren’t even competitive. In the old days, the Giants were lovable losers. They usually came up short in the W-L column, but they scratched and clawed, and you were still usually watching the game in the 4th quarter because the contest was still undecided. The Giants would break your hearts, but at least you were being entertained. Now it’s just sad and depressing with games over by halftime. Coaches and athletes making millions of dollars per year and simply going through the motions. Only a masochist would want to watch the thing they love get humiliated on a weekly basis.

Governments, institutions, organizations, and companies that are poorly run use a neat trick. They find ways to distract the masses from their incompetence. So like clockwork, in less than two months, John Mara will stand in front of the press and convince many that he understands our pain and that changes will be made. Heck, he may even fire the general manager and head coach again. Or some of the assistant coaches may be forced out. In the past, this has worked. The scapegoats made fans feel better in the short term, buying ownership a couple of years, until the cycle was repeated. Are we really going to fall for it again? Some will.

So how do the Giants turn this around? Make better personnel decisions, draft better, don’t spend like crazy in free agency, find a difference-maker at quarterback, focus on the lines of scrimmage, hire competent coaches, acquire tough players rather than soft, injury-prone ones. The Giants lose because they haven’t done these things. They don’t have a quarterback. They don’t control the lines of scrimmage. They never have cap space. There is no depth. And they are soft and always hurt.


  • QB Tommy DeVito (left shoulder/knee – probable)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle – probable)
  • RB Deon Jackson (concussion – probable)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee – probable)
  • WR Jalin Hyatt (concussion – probable)
  • LT Andrew Thomas (knee – questionable)
  • RT Evan Neal (ankle – out)
  • OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (concussion – probable)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle – probable)
  • ILB Bobby Okereke (hip – probable)
  • CB Deonte Banks (ankle – probable)
  • CB Cor’Dale Flott (shoulder – probable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (concussion – out)
  • S Xavier McKinney (rib – probable)
  • S Jason Pinnock (thumb/ankle – probable)

As predicted, Dallas’ 3rd-ranked defense toyed with New York’s dead-last offense. A last-second, garbage-time touchdown was the only thing preventing the Giants from being held to 10 points again. The Giants are basically dead in the water with Tommy DeVito learning on the job at quarterback. But would the offense really be that much better with a healthy Daniel Jones or Tyrod Taylor starting? Sadly, DeVito already has more touchdown passes than either.

On this side of the ball, the entire focus of the front office in the offseason should be acquiring a legitimate quarterback and fixing the offensive line once and for all with tough guys who don’t miss games. A game-breaking wideout would be really nice, but what difference would he make if you don’t have someone to throw him the ball or an offensive line to allow anything to function?

I’ve said for years that fans should not over react to the last game, but look for trends. The defense was trending in the right direction for three games, albeit it against struggling offenses. In the past two games, the defense has played like dog shit. The defense is demoralized, the loss of Leonard Williams is having an impact, injuries are mounting, young players are hitting the wall, and the competition has improved. Regardless, it is completely unacceptable to allow seven touchdowns and over 600 yards against any opponent, let alone a division rival. I’ve been a big advocate for Wink Martindale and his style of defense, but he’s losing me at this point. The Giants may not win another game this year, but we expect competent defense moving forward. Do your job and fix it.

In the offseason, again, focus on the line of scrimmage. Find tough guys who don’t get hurt and who can rush the passer.

The Giants special teams are just so bland and boring. In the old days, when Giants’ teams were bad, it was mainly because the offense was terrible. But the defense and special teams kept New York in games and made the contests somewhat exciting with a big hit, forced turnover, downed punt, blocked kick. Now, this is just another part of the team that loses on game day. And as has been pointed out by many, strange personnel/coaching decisions were made all year that negatively impacted the special teams product on the field.

Washington is a better team than the Giants faced a month ago. New York is a worse team. This game should cement the Giants dead-last finish in the NFC East.

Nov 142023
Tyre Phillips, New York Giants (November 12, 2023)

Tyre Phillips – © USA TODAY Sports


-Tommy DeVito: 14-27 / 86 yards / 2 TD – 1 INT

The first career start for Tommy DeVito was his third game with extensive playing time. Even though the numbers look ugly, I can say there is progress with each one of these games. And this is the first time he prepared all week as the starter. Early on, as expected, there appeared to be a lack of rhythm and feel. He missed a couple of easy throws to the flat (equivalent to a layup in basketball or a routine ground ball for a shortstop in baseball) and then evaded non-existent pressure in the pocket, which in turn created pressure. DeVito got to show off his arm a few times and while there was an underthrow deep to Jalin Hyatt that resulted in an interception, he proved he can sling it well to the outside. DeVito can make the throws, he can create with his legs, and there is a toughness about him. With that said, it is glaringly obvious he is in over his head now and offers little chance at leading this team to a win against a quality opponent. It is worth noting that both of his touchdown passes, the second one specifically, were well-placed balls with tempo and touch. Remember, a win here would be DeVito cementing himself as a capable backup for the future.


-Saquon Barkley: 13 att – 66 yards / 1 rec – -5 yards

Another gutsy performance by Barkley who had minimal-to-no space to run through for most of the game. For the second straight week, he averaged over 5 yards per carry. That is the first time we have seen that since weeks 16/17 of 2019. They took him off the field late in the game as it got out of hand and there was no point in exposing him to more injury. Barkley was the victim of a couple poor throws by DeVito as well.

-Matt Breida and Jashaun Corbin got a couple looks late in the game but there was not anything noteworthy. Corbin did catch all three of his targets for 12 yards.


-Darius Slayton led the receiver group with 3 catches and 21 yards. There appeared to be some drama with him on the sideline and at the time of this writing, I’m not sure what happened. There is not much worth commenting on. But after a game where I simply don’t have much for you from an evaluation and analysis perspective, let me say this, the players are frustrated too. This does not even seem like competitive football at times. The offense can barely function and at any given point, it is understandable and even acceptable to see a player lose his cool on the sidelines. This happens more often than people think (on every sideline) but media coverage can sway viewers into thinking a certain way as they look for intra-game storylines in a matchup that offers very little to watch between the lines. That’s all.

-Sterling Shepard caught one pass for a two-yard touchdown. We do not know when he will catch his final touchdown in a Giants uniform and this could have easily been it.

-Wan’Dale Robinson had two catches for 6 yards and Paris Campbell had one catch for 6 yards. They also handed the ball off to Robinson once and even though it ended as a no-gain, it left me wanting to see more of him in this kind of offense. Robinson can be a key part to the team moving forward but we need to see the scheme force-feed him a bit more. Get his experience level up, let him show which plays he can make and which he cannot, and allow the coaches to gain chemistry with the skill set.

-Speaking of breeding experience for the sake of potential future gains, Jalin Hyatt had just one target again. It is the fifth time he has had 1 or less targets in a game. He is being thrown to, on average, once every 21 pass plays. He was underthrown, again. Hyatt almost seems too fast for the NYG quarterbacks no matter who is back there. The effortless burst and always-available next gear is fun to watch but there is much more to chew off here than what we have seen.


-Darren Waller was placed on Injured Reserve after suffering a hamstring injury before facing his former team last week. Daniel Bellinger and Lawrence Cager will see an uptick in playing time and snaps. Even though we have not seen much improvement in year two for Bellinger as a blocker, this set up will likely result in some increased effectiveness in the trenches. He led the team with 34 yards on 2 catches and Cager scored the first NYG touchdown on a 10-yard pitch and catch. His burst and agility showed up and reminded us what he can do in open space. A definite weapon for the Giants to try and use in the coming weeks.

-Tyree Jackson, a former quarterback, saw his first snaps with the Giants and was primarily in there to block.


-Andrew Thomas started at left tackle in consecutive games for the first time since the playoff loss in Philadelphia last January. He pitched a shutout, albeit on 32 out of 57 snaps because of an injured ankle. The positive is that he came back in after the injury and did not look too different than pre-injury. Signs point to him coming back and that means we do not need to watch more of Justin Pugh at left tackle. Thomas also made a couple of key blocks on running plays when they got him moving laterally.

-Pugh essentially split his snaps between left guard and tackle. He allowed 3 pressures and a QB hit and got tossed around in the running game. Pugh and rookie center John Michael Schmitz were displaced by Dallas defenders for most of the game, lacking anchor and balance. Schmitz spends too much time on the ground and the reaction speed looks labored. There are some Evan Neal traits here (no, I am not comparing the level of play to Neal) in that his ability to recover his body control when initially lost is concerning. It will be high up on the list of skills he needs to work on.

-The right side consisted of Ben Bredeson and Tyre Phillips. They both allowed 4 pressures and the latter allowed two sacks, the former allowing one. Bredeson was the bigger disappointment here and it caused issues with DeVito, who already seemed jittery in the pocket early on, as his pressures were right in the face of the undrafted rookie. Phillips at least made a positive impact as a run blocker on some of Barkley’s better runs while Bredeson just did not seem to compete.


-Kayvon Thibodeaux played just 40 snaps before leaving the game with a concussion. On those 40 snaps he did not register a single tackle or pressure. In three out of four games against Dallas, Thibodeaux has one pressure. One of the best performances of his career also came in a matchup against DAL in November of 2022 where he had 9 pressures as he abused Tyler Smith as a rookie (now their left guard).

-Azeez Ojulari returned from his ankle injury he suffered Week 5 in Miami. He played just 17 snaps but did show up a few times. He came up with a big 4th-and-1 stop and had 2 pressures. One of the few positives to keep an eye on in the coming weeks will be when he and Thibodeaux play together. We have not seen it much over the past year and a half.

-Boogie Basham saw an uptick in playing time and Jihad Ward continued his presence as the stout edge setter. Both missed a tackle and Ward added a QB hit, Basham added 4 tackles. For guys who are going to be near non-factors against the pass, I think they need better run game prowess than what they offer.


-Dexter Lawrence had one hurry and one QB hit as a pass rusher. This is the first time we have seen two consecutive “quiet” games out of the sure-thing All Pro. I thought his run defense was exceptional on two fronts, however. He created a logjam inside on multiple occasions that resulted in stops (wins for the defense) and made yet another impressive tackle on the move near the sideline. Do not underestimate how special that ability is from the A-Gap.

-I thought D.J. Davidson flashed late in the game where his snaps saw an uptick. He had 2 pressures and 2 tackles. He has shown a knack for getting to the passer via a strong bull rush. A’Shawn Robinson added 2 pressures and 2 tackles. He gets turned too often in the running game and it hurt the Giants in short-yardage situations. The high pad level has something to do with that. I also see a conditioning shortcoming when he is on the field for longer spurts. He had this issue in Los Angeles as well.

-Rakeem Nunez-Roches played 35 snaps for the second straight week. He made 3 tackles but was a non-factor on 17 pass rush attempts.


-Bobby Okereke and Micah McFadden were solid for most of the afternoon despite DAL averaging over 5 yards per carry. Okereke finished with 11 tackles and a QB hit. McFadden added 6 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 pressure. Both are seeing the game well, much better than early in the year. I am going to mark them as a positive to this team moving forward which is important. Not having Leonard Williams up front is a problem, however, especially for McFadden. He is getting out-angled by offensive linemen and that is a result of the downgrade up front.

-Isaiah Simmons is a third-down defender and special teamer who remains more athlete than football player. NYG did not give up much for him but I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed by the lack of impact.


-Deonte Banks is inching toward the league lead in flags. He needs to learn to play with and trust his feet. The movement traits are all there. He knows it and we know it. It is easy to see. But when a player gets this grabby it is a sign he lacks the confidence in his ability to make the right reads. That is where he resides right now and good receivers/quarterbacks know how to take advantage of it with lots of double routes and late breaks. This will be the approach with him until he proves he can be better.

-Cor’Dale Flott and Darnay Holmes both picked off Prescott. Flott left the game early with a shoulder injury, opening the door for a lot of different players to try and slow down the Dallas secondary. Simply put, they were burned badly. CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks combined for 20 catches / 324 yards / 2 TDs.

-Nick McCloud allowed 5 catches on 6 targets, Tre Hawkins allowed a 41-yard touchdown where he struggled to locate the ball, Holmes gave up 128 yards on 8 targets. No matter who the Giants threw out there, it was ugly. And the Dallas first stringers did not even play the entire game.


-With the instability at corner (and Adoree’ Jackson being out to begin with) we saw more multiple safety packages. Xavier McKinney and Jason Pinnock were still the mainstays, combining for 19 tackles. McKinney performed better in coverage and Pinnock missed two tackles.

-Dane Belton and Bobby McCain saw most of their snaps in the second half. McCain allowed a touchdown but also broke up a pass while Belton allowed a 28-yard reception on the one pass he was targeted on. He also added a pressure. McCain has surprisingly seen very little action this year, as I thought he would take on the hybrid Julian Love role. Belton is still the guy I want to see more of down the stretch because I want to have a better grasp of what he is. There is talent here but he does not show the proper feel. That could simply be an experience thing.


-K Randy Bullock: 1/1 (Made 40)
-P Jamie Gillan: 7 punts / 50.0 avg – 45.9 net


-OT Andrew Thomas, DT Dexter Lawrence, CB Cor’Dale Flott


-OG Ben Bredeson, CB Darnay Holmes, Nick McCloud


1. Is Dallas as good as some want to believe? I have leaned on point differential when looking at season-long success and evaluation. It is not the only marker, but it does break ties in my head. Dallas is +104 nine games into the season. That is third best in the NFL. But look at these wins they have. 40-point win over NYG, 20 point win over NYJ, 35 point win over NE, 3 point win over LAC, 23 point win over LAR, 32 point win over NYG. Their losses? 12-point loss vs. ARI. 32-point loss vs. SF, 5-point loss vs. PHI. It does not take much analysis to realize they’re head and shoulders above the worst teams in the NFL, but I still have a hard time accepting they are in the same tier with the best the NFL has to offer.

2. DeMarcus Lawrence is playing some of the best football of his career. The 31-year-old is turning into another Cameron Jordan-type player on the back half of his career. Early on he evolved into a double-digit sack guy and league leader in pressures. While his pure pass-rush effectiveness might be a tad less, it is still well above average, and his run defense has turned into an elite trait for an edge defender. This is something all young edge guys should be watching, Thibodeaux included. His power, strength, and techniques have constantly improved, and he is now an every-down threat, one who can line up all over the defensive line.

3. The one area this offense needs to improve the most is in the red zone. This is where they miss Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore and running back Ezekiel Elliot the most. Their offensive line is more than good enough, and their weapons are too. The play calling and execution are not. If they want to win multiple games in January, those hidden points are going to be the deciding factor.


1. Something to keep an eye on I the coming two months of football. How much does Dexter Lawrence and Kayvon Thibodeaux need another big defensive line performer to do their jobs at a high level effectively? Lawrence is playing at better defensive tackle than everyone in the NFL now. Nine weeks in, I can say that with confidence. Thibodeaux is up and down, understandably so with what has been going on around him and the skill set he currently possesses. But since the trade of Williams to Seattle, we can make the case they have been a bit quiet in the passing game compared to where they were. I like Jordon Riley and I like D.J. Davidson, but I am not sold they are the kind of player who will line up next to Lawrence rather than behind him. If we see a quiet Lawrence + Williams duo the rest of the way, another inside pass rusher needs to be a priority in the offseason.

2. At some point we need to start seeing more of Tre Hawkins and Jordon Riley. If/when Gervarrius Owens is up to speed and fully healthy, he needs to be in that group as well. While the Giants offense needs to be the primary focus next offseason, we cannot overlook a defense that has allowed the 4th-most points in the league, 2nd-most yards per attempt in the passing game, and 4th-most yards per rush. I think many are overlooking how bad this defense really is simply because they were solid against the Jets, Commanders, and Bills. And NYG needs a strong grasp on what these guys are.

3. I’ll honest and transparent here. This game review was hard to do. Re-watching that twice from different angles was hard to do. It feels like I am not breaking down professional football right now. But when it comes down to what I am supposed to do for Eric and BBI, I suck it up and do the job the best I can. There is still a lot of football to break down and there are certain players to keep an extra close eye on regarding the future. What disappoints me now is watching how some (not all) members of the media and some (not all) members of the NYG organization cannot seem to maintain integrity and respect for the people that provide the money that allow them to work in football for a living. Made up stories. Trashing a player for spending time with his family. Lame attempts late on a Monday night to act in a condescending manner to fans on X. Yes, all are signs of a losing franchise (an all-time losing team and run of losing teams) but the character of some of these guys can be tough to look past. Break the game down, agree of disagree respectfully, keep the other stuff out. You know who you are, too.

Nov 102023

Thank you sir… may I have another?

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.


  • 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)

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.

Status report:

  • 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.

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.

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.

Nov 072023
Deon Jackson, Justin Pugh, Evan Neal; New York Giants (November 5, 2023)

Dejection – © USA TODAY Sports


-After missing three games with a neck injury (his second in three years), Daniel Jones was back under center for NYG. He looked rusty, air mailing a simple throw to Saquon Barkley in the flat, misfiring to Darius Slayton which should have been intercepted, and overthrowing Jalin Hyatt on a deep route by four yards on a route where he had three steps on the corner. To rub salt in the wound of what has been just a torturous 2023 season for him and the Giants, he went down with a non-contact knee injury in the second quarter. Jones walked off the field on his own but as of the time of this writing, the likely result is a ligament tear that will need season-ending surgery.

-Tommy DeVito came in for the second straight game as Tyrod Taylor was placed on IR. The undrafted rookie led the offense last week with training wheels, a life jacket, and bubble wrap surrounding his body. This time around, the Giants coaches let him play football. The results were what one would expect out of someone who nobody in the league wanted to draft last April. He did end up completing 15 of 20 passes for 175 yards including his first career touchdown pass. He, too, underthrew Hyatt on a potential touchdown and it resulted in his first of two interceptions (the second one was not his fault). He ran himself into a couple sacks as well but considering all the circumstances, DeVito competed. He showed the offense can be run through him well enough to at least use the entire playbook. This is who the Giants will be using for at least the next three weeks, and I look forward to seeing the opportunity for growth out of the local kid. The glass half-full approach with him is the fact he will compete hard and brings an element of toughness and athleticism to the field. We are not watching Jake Fromm or Mike Glennon.


-Saquon Barkley: 16 att – 90 yards / 3 rec – 23 yards

A week after carrying the ball more than any NFL running back since 2017, Barkley played another solid game when looking at his per-touch average (5.9). This is a positive considering we have seen poor games out of him following big usage in the past. Barkley took a nasty blow to the ribs/throat that caused him to miss a few snaps. He was in obvious discomfort throughout the rest of the game but continued to gut out physical, hard-nosed runs. He had a couple plays where the elite movement traits showed up. Barkley moves like very few guys at his size can and it is nice to see he still has it along with a team-first mentality within this dumpster fire of a season. One must wonder how much he truly will want to push through pain over the second half of the season.

-Matt Breida added 11 yards on 3 touches, one of them being a catch and Deon Jackson got a carry late in the game when it was out of hand.


-Wan’Dale Robinson caught the lone touchdown of the game added 35 yards on 4 receptions. He is not even a year removed from his 2022 ACL injury and while timelines have quickened when it comes to recovery, getting back to a full 100% does take a year-plus. I see his movement traits improving as the year goes on and the best is still ahead for the second-year pro.

-Darius Slayton led the team with 59 yards on 4 catches but also had a ball bounce off his hands and ending in an interception. I was impressed with his blocking on the edge on a couple of the big Barkley runs.

-Jalin Hyatt beat the LV secondary on three occasions in which the ball was thrown his way. On all three plays, the quarterback misfired. Hyatt still came down with an amazing, body-twisting grab on the first one, but Jones put it a bit too close to the sideline and Hyatt came down out of bounds. Then there was an overthrow, then there was an underthrow. This kid can make things happen and he did his job, but the quarterbacks did not. Hyatt did catch two balls underneath for 19 yards and fumbled (which was recovered by NYG).

-Parris Campbell caught 2 passes for 15 yards and Isaiah Hodgins dropped the one target thrown his way.


-Darren Waller was put on IR with a hamstring injury, opening the door again for Daniel Bellinger who has had a rough go this season. He caught 3 passes for 43 yards and while I did see a slight improvement as a blocker, the overall performance in that department still fell below average. His initial contact was clean and physical, but the lack of latch showed up with both him and Lawrence Cager. Bellinger was also flagged for a false start prior to a 4th-and-inches conversion attempt.


-Left Tackle Andrew Thomas finally returned from a hamstring injury suffered Week One after Graham Gano’s field goal attempt was blocked on that rainy night in early September. It is amazing how long ago that seems and what has transpired since that game. While Thomas’ did seem to lose his body control at times (likely a result of not being in game shape), it was the best left tackle play this team has had all season by a country mile. He allowed a pressure and a half-sack but showed some highlight-reel caliber blocks in the running game. If you do not watch much outside of NYG football or focus much on offensive line play, do yourself a favor and watch Thomas. This is how the job is supposed to be done and it is a great barometer to use for evaluating other linemen. It is then easy and obvious to see just how far away the rest of this line is, unfortunately. Nonetheless, it was great to see Thomas out there and I expect his conditioning to improve in time.

-After missing three games with an ankle injury, Evan Neal injured his other ankle on a play where Maxx Crosby put the second-year pro on his butt. I want to say this is some bad luck for Neal, but I cannot get past this at least partially being the result of poor footwork and insecure movement traits. Neal just looks further and further away from a pro athlete the more I study him. He has a hard time picking up those feet and staying centered. I can see the oversetting, the lack of reaction speed, and the lack of mental anticipation leading to the ankles/feet not being where they need to be. Throw that on a 325+ pounder and things like this happen. Neal also reached for his oblique after a play, showing obvious pain. As for his game, he allowed 1.5 sacks and a pressure in addition to the 4th-and-1 false start on the first drive that drew the ire of Daboll. It was not all bad and ugly for Neal, as he did have a few wins against Crosby and his run blocking was a positive difference maker.

-The interior was the best trio we have seen this season. Justin Pugh moved back to his more natural position (left guard) and while he did allow 3 pressures, his game was mistake free mentally. That has been a significant cause of line problems this year and he communicated and reacted well along with center John Michael Schmitz, who allowed just one pressure. The versatile Ben Bredeson shifted over to right guard and finished with the lowest grade on the line. He allowed 1.5 sacks (one could be argued was not his fault), 1 pressure, and 1 TFL. All three were solid in the running game and I would sign up for this caliber of performance out of them for the rest of the year right now.


-Following on the best game of Kayvon Thibodeaux’s season was one of his worst. He was shut out as a pass rusher and his run defense, especially in the first half, was terrible. He was dancing around blockers rather than taking them on which created creases for Josh Jacobs to burst through. He showed no feel for the misdirection plays, played too much catch up, and he missed two tackles. He did pick it up a bit in the second half when things were more predictable but it was a game to forget for him.

-Jihad Ward was stouter and played his best game of the season, finishing with 3 tackles and a TFL. This matchup was more up his alley with a smash-mouth running game and scaled back version of a passing game.


-Leonard Williams spent Sunday afternoon in Baltimore playing for the Seahawks. A’Shawn Robinson got the start in place of him and played an excellent game. He had 6 tackles, including one for a loss, and caused another TFL via penetration. He played half the team’s defensive snaps for the first time since last November while playing with the Rams. Rakeem Nunez-Roches played five more snaps in his backup role, making one tackle.

-Dexter Lawrence was game-planned around and run away from. He saw a ton of double/triple teams but still finished with three tackles and had multiple “teach tape” plays against the run. He has such a unique ability to play big and wide but with tremendous pad level and leverage. There is a lot to be unhappy about in Giants land right now, but Lawrence (and Andrew Thomas) are among the best the game has at their positions right now and maybe the best ever NYG has had at their respective positions in franchise history.


-Micah McFadden is getting better every week. He does something very few linebackers can do. Immediately, post-snap, he runs to a spot and beats the blocker by a mile and will even beat the ball carrier there. That is something that made Luke Kuechly the game’s best linebacker for a few years. He finished with 6 tackles and 2 TFL. Bobby Okereke had 7 tackles and a TFL of his own. These two lead the NFL off-ball linebacker duos in tackles for loss.

-Isaiah Simmons added 3 tackles on 13 snaps.


-Deonte Banks was put in a blender off the line in this one. Jakobi Meyers and Davante Adams, both top-shelf route runners, had their way with him. Rookie Tre Tucker also torched him for a long completion. He needs a better plan in press coverage, and he seemed a bit too lackadaisical, not being set pre-snap. He has not earned that right, yet. He did have a nice pass break-up and 7 tackles, along with 1 missed tackle.

-Adoree’ Jackson missed half of the game with an injury to nobody’s surprise. Versatile defensive back Nick McCloud stepped in and did not have to do much. Cor’Dale Flott manned the slot for most of the game again. Nobody in the defensive backfield had a strong game but I am happy to see Flott becoming more aggressive because it means he is becoming more confident.


-Jason Pinnock and Xavier McKinney were active, as the LV running game had several runs that went through the second level of the defense. Pinnock had 3 tackles and a pass break-up as he fought through a lower body injury. McKinney led the team with 10 tackles and had a pressure, one of just three on the day for the defense.

-Dane Belton played 18 snaps, the second most of the season, and added 3 tackles with some physical play. This guy has some of the heaviest and most violent contact on the defense. If his mental game catches up to the physical talent, this defense has something.


-K: N/A
-P Jamie Gillan: 4 punts / 42.3 avg – 40.8 net


-WR Wan’Dale Robinson, LB Micah McFadden, RB Saquon Barkley


-CB Deonte Banks, ED Kayvon Thibodeaux, OG Ben Bredeson


1. Head Coach Josh McDaniels was fired just days before this matchup. He made it through just 25 games. The Raiders have not had the same head coach for more than four consecutive seasons since Art Shell in the early 90’s. Where do they go next? I am very curious to see how Antonio Pierce handles the back half the season here. The former Giants linebacker was made for coaching and when I saw him get linked up with Arizona State in 2018, I had a feeling he would end up in this exact role. Will he go elsewhere like Dan Campbell did after being an interim head coach in 2015 with Miami? Or will Las Vegas hold onto him? This organization loves to go after the headline names, but I think Pierce, like Campbell, will be the proper fit to form a real culture.

2. Next up? The quarterback. Nobody truly believes Jimmy Garoppolo is the long-term answer. Even though I have talked to people I respect when it comes to quarterback play who say Aidan O’Connell can start in this league, I cannot get behind him on a win-now team. The trade for Adams last year and the extension of left tackle Kolton Miller and Maxx Crosby makes them win-now. Add in the type of ownership they have and the fact they will not be within striking distance of a top quarterback in the draft makes me think they could be the team that pursues a quarterback via trade next offseason. Who could that be? Kyler Murray, Justin Fields, and the crazy one that I think could have some legs to it is Dak Prescott.

3. Maxx Crosby is one of the top three edge defenders in the NFL. Myles Garrett must be number one and then it gets cloudy. Bosa and Watt are there but when I watch Crosby, I just see a guy who makes more impact snap to snap. Because he is on a bad team, he may not have the respect he deserves. This guy has played 98% of the team’s snaps this year, 96% in 2022. Bosa? 79% / 74%. Watt? 83% / 83%. Garrett? 79% / 79%. Crosby – the league leader in pressures, sacks, and TFL – is a 4th rounder from Eastern Michigan and an absolute rock in the locker room. He is only 26-years old.


1. The season is over for Daniel Jones. While there will be several discussions surrounding his status with the team from now up until Draft weekend, this will be the last time I address him in game reviews. First, I don’t believe Jones is going anywhere. He will not be traded, he will not be released. The contract is structured in a way where they can’t really do anything with him unless they want to absorb a record-type dead cap hit. Even if they go after a quarterback in the draft, it would be wise to keep him around for 2024 (see Kansas City following the Mahomes selection). In the same breath, Jones did not do anything to cement his status with the team beyond 2024. Whether you think he had a fair shot or not is irrelevant. If NYG is in position to take a guy they think can be a big-time quarterback, they absolutely must go in that direction. But they must make sure it is the right guy. See you in the offseason.

2. Sticking with the quarterback position. What happens when Tyrod Taylor returns? All accounts point toward him being available in a few weeks. He is the (well-paid) backup. He gives this team the best shot to win. I know many fans want the losses to pile up for the sake of the 2024 Draft, but you know the coaches and players will not sign up for that. Taylor is going to be the quarterback and he should be. The only way that changes is if DeVito comes back and plays lights out. Anything is possible and I do like a few things about him. I would like to see if he can continue to progress on some of these downfield throws. Even if he can solidify the QB2 role on this team, that is a big deal moving forward based on economics.

3. Through 8 weeks of the season, the Raiders did not score 20 points once. In this matchup against the Giants defense that was relatively healthy, they scored 24 points in the first half with a Day Three rookie at quarterback. While I understand much of the talk will center around Jones, the injury, and the lack of scoring (rightfully so), this defense was such a letdown in a game where they could have kept it close. As we are learning, such is life when having your defense run by Wink Martindale. Peaks and valleys. More valleys than peaks.

Nov 032023
Antonio Pierce, New York Giants

Antonio Pierce – © USA TODAY Sports

The 2023 New York Giants are the sprinter who stumbled to the ground coming off the starting blocks. The race was over for them before it barely even started. They had a couple of chances to regain their balance, but the losses in winnable games against the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets for all intents and purposes ended their season. And yes, another New York Giants season is over by Halloween.

As is usually the case, there is a glass-half-full and glass-half-empty way to look at this. The optimist will say despite everything that went wrong and all of the injuries, the Giants were “this close” to being 4-4 and still firmly in the playoff hunt (hi Mr. Mara!). The pessimist will say that even if the Giants had managed to crawl their way back to 4-4, the gulf between the Giants and the better teams in the NFL remains enormous.

Some fans reading this may get pissed off at me, but my focus has already moved onto 2024. To me, what transpires between now and January is largely background noise other than the players remaining auditioning for future roster spots. You can bet your ass that Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll are evaluating everyone. Very few players should consider themselves “safe.”

The Giants play the Raiders on Sunday. I guess it would be a good thing to win the game, but I’m not losing any sleep over it. Outside a couple of seasons, the Giants of 2012-2023 have sapped much of my interest. Ten out of 12 years of really shitty football will do that. Meanwhile, a reminder of what once was – Antonio Pierce – will be standing on the opposing sideline on Sunday. The irony won’t be lost on some.


  • QB Daniel Jones (neck – probable)
  • QB Tyrod Taylor (ribs – out)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle – probable)
  • RB Jashaun Corbin (hamstring – questionable)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee – probable)
  • TE Darren Waller (hamstring – out)
  • LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring – questionable)
  • RT Evan Neal (ankle – questionable)
  • OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (back – probable)

QUARTERBACK: The fate of general managers and head coaches are increasingly tied to the performance of a team’s quarterback. The honeymoon for Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll is over. If the Giants don’t win another game this season, I firmly believe they are safe come January. However, that is not the case moving forward if they don’t turn this around in 2024. John Mara can give them all of the public and private assurances he wants, but we all know how this works. Do Schoen and Daboll really want to continue to link their fate to Daniel Jones? It doesn’t matter if you think there are extenuating circumstances or not, this is Jones’ fifth year and the quarterback play has been subpar. You have to legitimately wonder if he is one neck injury away from forced retirement. That’s not good for a quarterback who is at his best running the football. Tyrod Taylor is a 34-year old, injury-prone quarterback whose contract expires at the end of this season.

Long story short, the Giants don’t have a quarterback. And there is a good chance they will be picking in the top 10 of the upcoming draft. In my mind, they have to take a quarterback with either their first or second selection (with a possible trade up with either pick). Maybe you keep Jones one more season so you don’t throw the new guy to the wolves if he needs some time. For those who plead for more time for Jones, this isn’t 1984 anymore. The NFL operates on a different schedule now.

RUNNING BACK: Full disclosure, my impression of the players that populated New York Giants’ roster for the past five years is heavily influenced by the really bad teams they have played for. Thus I have no special connection to any of these players. In fact, the opposite is true. There is a desire on my part to shed ties or reminders to a losing era. My gut also tells me that many players can become too comfortable with losing.

Which brings us to Saquon Barkley. I said it last year and I said it this year, they should have moved him. It would have been better for him, and while it would have hurt the Giants big time in the short term, it would have been best for the team in the long term. Barkley is only 26 years old, but he has trouble staying healthy and the injuries are taking their toll. How much longer is going to be worth the money? One year? Two? Barkley was pissed he got franchised last March. To his credit, he did not hold out and did everything that was asked of him. But here we are in Week 9. He’s missed three games and has just 412 rushing yards, averaging 3.7 yards per carry, and three touchdowns (only one rushing TD). Do you franchise him for another $11-12 million in 2024? Do you give him a 3-year deal? If they don’t do either, isn’t he better off moving to greener pastures? They should have dealt him, jersey sales be damned.

My guess is Barkley will be back at least one more season, but if I’m Schoen and Daboll, I don’t count on him playing a full 17-game regular-season schedule. Much depends on what the Giants think of Eric Gray as a potential runner in the NFL or the team could be looking for another running back in the offseason to compete with him.

WIDE RECEIVER: Wan’Dale Robinson (coming off a late season ACL) has moved ahead of the disappointing Parris Campbell and the impressive but still underutilized Jalin Hyatt has stolen snaps from Isaiah Hodgins. Looking at 2024, Hyatt and Robinson seem have a future with the team. Darius Slayton will continue to receive extensive snaps until a better player is signed or drafted. Campbell’s contract expires at the end of the season and he probably won’t be retained. Given how little he has played, keeping Sterling Shepard over Jamison Crowder (who returns punts) was stupid. The Giants will probably have to use their first pick on a quarterback instead of maneuvering for Marvin Harrison, Jr. Too bad.

TIGHT END: Joe Schoen gambled and lost on the injury-prone Darren Waller, a tremendous talent who simply can’t be trusted to stay on the football field. Waller has three years left on his current contract with salaries of $10.5 million 2024, $11.5 million in 2025, and $13.5 million in 2026. How can you spend that much money on a guy who has 384 yards and one touchdown in eight games and is now going to miss weeks of playing time? And if you do bring him back, how can you count on him being available every week? “Smart, tough, and dependable” my ass. The odd thing here too is blocking tight end Daniel Bellinger has forgotten how to block. He’s been a bit beat up and perhaps he’s in a sophomore slump. Let’s hope so or a position once viewed as possibly the strongest on the team may in fact be one of the weakest. Lawrence Cager has a chance to make a statement here with Waller out. Ryan Jones and Tyree Jackson are also on the Practice Squad.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The chronic Achilles’ heel of the New York Football Giants. It doesn’t matter how many new general managers, head coaches, offensive line coaches, free agent signings, or draft picks are brought in, the results remain the same. At this point, the team needs to bring in a priest and conduct an exorcism. Again, the problem moving forward is the need to replace Jones and address other positions too. In the past two drafts, the Giants have spent a #1, #2, and #3 pick on the offensive line. Adding more experienced veterans in free agency might be the route to go in 2024.

The injury to Andrew Thomas had a domino effect on the entire line, but there were some odd decisions made here too. Not settling on a starting guard duo earlier in the summer was guaranteed to cause problems. The decision to retain Matt Peart over Tyree Phillips clearly backfired. Trusting Shane Lemieux for yet another year was a mistake. Evan Neal is a lightening rod who can’t seem to find his rhythm. A concussion cost him two valuable weeks during the contact portion of the offseason and he has been battling an ankle injury since Week 3 that also caused him to miss the past two games. Is he the unquestioned right tackle in 2024 or do the Giants consider a transition to guard if they can find another right tackle? What about Joshua Ezeudu, another injury-prone player who alternates between flashes of solid play with terrible breakdowns in pass protection? Neal and Ezeudu were drafted to part of the solution. Their lack of development to date has significantly impacted the entire offense.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Leonard Williams will be missed, but the decision to trade him was the correct one. He was overpaid, nearing 30, and headed toward unrestricted free agency. To get a #2 and #5 for him was a bit of a coup. However, while his sack numbers were nothing to write home about, Williams was one of the better pass rushers on the team. That’s not the game of A’Shawn Robinson, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, D.J. Davidson, and Jordon Riley. Robinson will be a free agent too. In other words, there is another hole to fill here in the offseason.

EDGE: There are a number of players on this squad who are proving that fans have to be a bit more patient. Kayvon Thibodeux is one of them. Just a few weeks ago, he was being written off as a bust by many (another reason why it’s too early to write off Evan Neal). But Kayvon can’t do it alone and there is no depth. The team simply can’t count on Azeez Ojulari moving forward (“smart, tough, and dependable”?). He’s got one more year on his current contract. I’d only bring him back as depth at this point. Aside from quarterback, edge is probably the most pressing need on the team. It’s also time to part ways with Jihad Ward and Oshane Ximines. It’s a shame Boogie Basham hasn’t shown more as an edge-setting reserve.

INSIDE LINEBACKER: After a slow and somewhat alarming start, Bobby Okereke has played well in recent weeks, including a couple of outstanding performances. He looks like he is part of the solution. Micah McFadden has some athletic limitations, but he’s another player who was written off and now looks to have an NFL future. It will be interesting to see if Isaiah Simmons is retained. Does another year removed from his ACL injury also help Darrian Beavers moving forward?

CORNERBACK: In a season filled with misfortune, it cannot be overemphasized enough how big a deal it is to have possibly hit the jackpot with Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins. Both are still only scratching the surface as rookies if they keep their heads on straight. The development of guys like Cor’Dale Flott and Nick McCloud is promising as well. Unfortunately for the Giants, Adoree’ Jackson picked a bad time to regress as they were not able to trade him for much-needed draft capital. I can’t see the team re-signing him. I still would not write-off the largely forgotten and now supposedly healthy Aaron Robinson. The team needs help in so many other areas that Robinson would be a nice depth piece at both nickel and outside corner.

SAFETY: There will be much fan debate over whether or not Xavier McKinney should be re-signed in the offseason. These last nine games are very important for him. While there have been some rough moments, Jason Pinnock’s play has been mostly positive in his first year as a starter. He seems to fit Wink’s defense well. We still don’t have a really good read on Dane Belton. Gervarrius Owens lurks in the wings, but Bobby McCain most likely won’t be re-signed.

SPECIAL TEAMS: While there have been some inconsistent moments, Jamie Gillan has been trending upwards. Graham Gano is under contract through the 2026 season. He will be coming off of knee surgery (non-kicking leg). Is Thomas McGaughey retained? Have the Giants learned their lesson about having a dedicated punt returner?

SUMMARY: Quarterback, edge, offensive line, wide receiver, tight end, defensive line… a lot of needs, especially for a team that may need to trade up for the QB.

As for this particular game, I am not overly optimistic. The Raiders will get a short-term emotional boost from a squad trying to impress their new bosses. And while Las Vegas has a lot of issues, they still have Maxx Crosby (good luck gimpy Evan Neal!), Davante Adams, and Josh Jacobs – three of the best in the NFL. Meanwhile, the Giants have played two emotionally-draining, catastrophic losses that all but ended their season. The team trading away one of their best players also clearly sends the same depressing message. It will also make life much more difficult for Dexter Lawrence and Kayvon Thibodeaux as teams will be able to concentrate on these two.

With Daniel Jones returning, in a normal situation Daboll and Kafka would probably want to go back to the 2022 offense that worked so well as the end of 2022. However, Jones’ neck injury precludes exposing him to a lot of hits on QB runs. “You’re certainly aware of it,” said Kafka. “You’re certainly aware of the previous injury, but you’ve got to make sure we talk about that as a staff and in the game plan and see how we want to handle that.”

The Giants may win. They may not. Whatever.

Oct 312023
Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants (October 29, 2023)

Kayvon Thibodeaux – © USA TODAY Sports


-Tyrod Taylor was the starter for the third straight week as Daniel Jones still had not been cleared for contact until shortly before the game because of his neck injury. Taylor, himself, only lasted until about the halfway point of the second quarter. He completed 4/7 for 8 yards and gained 33 yards on 5 carries. He was quick to evade the pocket twice where he had more time to hang in there, and he made a poor throw on a third down that had potential for more. Taylor suffered a rib injury as he fell on the ball when tackled at the tail end of an odd play where the ball slipped out of his hand before re-catching it himself. At the time of this writing, I do not have a full report on his injury but it could very well a punctured lung, which happens on specific rib fractures/displacements. Ironically, this would not be the first punctured lung of his career. He suffered one in 2020 when a team doctor inserted an injection too deeply on the sideline.

The Giants did not have a Justin Herbert on the sidelines. Instead, undrafted rookie and Don Bosco Prep graduate Tommy DeVito ran onto the field for his first taste of NFL regular season action. The talk will center around the decision to keep the training wheels on his game. He threw 7 passes, 2 were completed, and the result was -1 passing yards. He was also sacked twice (losing nine more yards) and threw two-near interceptions. Forgotten by many is the fact DeVito was the lone Giant to score a touchdown in this game. He made an excellent read on the ball fake to Barkley and exploded into the end zone. This was a tough tape and situation to fully evaluate, but DeVito showed his lack of experience on two occasions and did not make the throws that were there. I will touch on this situation more below.


-Saquon Barkley: 36 att – 128 yards / 3 rec – 0 yards

With Jones on the sideline and Taylor injured early, this offense hopped on the shoulders of Barkley on this rainy day in the northeast. His 36 carries were a career high. The last time we saw anything close to this took place last year. He carried the ball 35 times in their home win over the Texans in the team’s 9th game of the year. He followed that with his worst game of the season (15 att – 22 yards) and he did not break the 87-yard mark the rest of the way. Barkley was the definition of “workhorse” in this game. He ran into crowded boxes against a physical defense that knew where the ball was going. He found ways to pick up extra yards and first downs as the game plan became bleeding the clock (and nothing else) once they took the 10-7 lead in the third quarter. There was one blunder, however. Barkley’s lack of situational awareness and questionable competitive nature showed up again. On first and ten with 1:26 left in the fourth quarter, Barkley found a cutback lane and darted upfield. He could have easily run past the first down marker, but he instead dove forward. The Jets then stopped the Giants offense on the next two plays. Had Barkley gained that first down, the Giants could have run out the clock with no field goal attempt needed. Barkley made a poor decision, and it overshadowed the gutsy performance he had all afternoon. Not the first time this has happened with him.

-Matt Breida gained 13 yards on 5 carries and added another 4 yards on one catch.


-This won’t take long for obvious reasons. Darius Slayton (2) and Wan’Dale Robinson (1) were the only receivers to have the ball thrown their way. The former caught one of his for a loss of one yard. The latter made two plays in the running game with gains of 10 and 7 respectively. Jalin Hyatt played 25 snaps but was not given any opportunities for obvious reasons. Isaiah Hodgins played nearly double the snaps because of his blocking prowess.

-Punt returner Gunner Olszewski was added to the roster after their return game debacle last week. He had 6 returns (averaging 9.3 yards) while fair catching 2.


-In an offense that, no matter what, was going to be run-heavy, the Giants entered the game with two tight ends. Darren Waller (more WR than TE) was obviously one of them. He left the game early with a hamstring injury just when we thought that was in the rear-view mirror after a few weeks of issues earlier this season. Daniel Bellinger was the backup, a guy who has not yet proven he can be even an average blocker. This situation would fully show where that part of his game has evolved. It was a complete fail. Bellinger allowed 3 TFLs and a sack, and was flagged for a holding penalty that created 1st-and-20 from the NYG 15-yard line instead of 2nd-and-8 from the NYG 27-yard line on the team’s first play in overtime. In that offensive situation, it all but destroyed any shot of them moving the ball past the chains. Bellinger’s lack of impact as blocker is a significant problem on an offense that already has a below average blocker in Waller on the team.


-Justin Pugh and Tyre Phillips remained the tackles. In a game where the play-calling was nearly allergic to dropping back to pass, these two escaped potential nightmare scenarios considering their opponent. Even with the limited looks in that department, Pugh allowed 1.5 sacks and Phillips 3 pressures and a TFL. He was also flagged for a false start. When it comes to the running game, Pugh made a couple things happen on the move when the blocking scheme got more creative up front. That gives some hope that he can play left guard once Andrew Thomas is back. Phillips had a hard time getting push with his high pad level.

-Inside we saw Mark Glowinski with another solid game in the run game. Once again, when the blocking scheme had these guys pulling laterally it seemed to catch the NYJ front seven out of position. That is great, but meaningless if the blockers don’t get clean contact. Glowinski was making heavy hits and staying attached at both the second level and point-of-attack. He allowed a half-sack and a pressure in pass protection.

-John Michael Schmitz returned for the first time since Week 4. The rookie excelled in gap blocking and was a key component to a couple of the big NYG runs. He ended up on the ground often, however, and looks heavy footed when matched against pure speed, allowing a TFL and a pressure. That will be an issue for him that I do not see going away, not this season anyway. But there was some good cohesion up front, and I want to believe it was a result of him being back. Ben Bredeson got the nod at left guard and he allowed a TFL and rarely got an upfield push in the running game.


-The Kayvon Thibodeaux breakout performance was coming. He was heating up for a few weeks straight and exploded against the Jets tackles. He finished with 3 sacks, 1 forced fumble, 1 pressure, and 1.5 TFL. This was a fast, physical performance that saw him empty the tank yet again. He made several hustle plays during his 9-tackle performance, the second most of his career. He was on the field for all but three snaps, once again showing the reliability and gamer mentality. An area of progress I see when it comes to the pass rush comes from his timing of double moves. He’s been late there often. But his footwork and positioning are a notch quicker and it stems from the decision when to make his move. If he gets the corner/edge, he is hard to catch up to. His inside arsenal has always been solid, but it can be used at a higher level now that he seems to be presenting less time for tackles to respond. The offsides penalty on that final drive was an absolute killer, though. It gave NYJ an extra timeout in a situation where NYG was one second away from a win.

-Jihad Ward had another quiet game despite 52 snaps, 37 of which were rushing the passer. He did recover the fumble created by Thibodeaux, but all he did was add one tackle from there on out. While there is some truth to the dirty work he does that will not show up on the stat sheet, he is quite the ineffective player. Boogie Basham played just 5 snaps and added 2 tackles.


-The Jets have had their own share of offensive line injury woes, inside in particular. Three different centers were rotated in because of injuries and their second-round rookie (Joe Tippman) was already out and they lost their top OL (guard Alijah Vera-Tucker) last week to an Achilles injury. No matter who was in front of Dexter Lawrence, it simply did not matter. He was a one-man wrecking crew, finishing with 13 pressures, 3 of which were QB hits, and added a sack. I have not charted a single defensive pass rush performance like this since grading Giants players on game day. He also added 2 tackles and was disrupting the NYJ running game inside and outside. Humans this big and strong never move this fast. He is an anomaly who is doing things we have never, ever seen from a nose tackle.

-Leonard Williams added 5 pressures, a season high. I will touch on the trade below. As for this game, his disruptiveness was not as important and impactful as Lawrence, but the fact he was getting through as well exacerbated the NYJ pass protection to a point they could not function on several occasions. When these two are on like this, they can crush any passing game in the league without too much outside help. He added a tackle and a pass break up.

-A’Shawn Robinson is another player who seems to be heating up weekly and it does soften the blow of losing Williams to Seattle. He had 2 tackles, one for a loss and one being a stop on 3rd-and-1. He also added a pressure for the second straight week, and it looks like his response to more playing time is exactly what this defense needs post-trade.

-Rakeem Nunez-Roches and D.J. Davidson both played under 10 snaps and did not move the needle in either direction.


-Similar to Thibodeaux, Bobby Okereke played another excellent game and has been proving to be worth every penny that the Front Office spent on him this past offseason. He finished with a team-high 10 tackles, and 2.5 TFL. He was the one who stopped NYJ quarterback Zack Wilson in the fourth quarter dead in his tracks on a long-winded scramble near midfield just a few yards shy of the first down marker. While we know that did not help much with the outcome of the game, it was an underrated play that we see many defenders screw up around the league. His biggest gaffe, and he was not alone, was the complete whiff on Breece Hall’s touchdown. Okereke had Hall right where he wanted him, but he hesitated and was shook out of his cleats, not even making contact to slow Hall down. That touchdown did not seem as big at the moment, but what a miss it ended up being.

-Micah McFadden is another defender who has grown a lot this season. I seem to be saying that often but then again, this defense has averaged just 11 points allowed per game over the past three weeks. This guy is one of the reasons for the improvement on that side of the ball. He added 4 tackles and a fumble recovery along with 2 pressures. His heavy contact downhill sent shockwaves to NYJ lead blockers. He did miss two tackles, including one on the Hall touchdown as well, adding to his season total of 10 which is 9th most among NFL linebackers.

-Isaiah Simmons saw 26 snaps, all but two of which were at outside linebacker. He had one pressure and one tackle, but also missed one in space.


-Garrett Wilson, Terry McLaurin, Stefon Diggs, Tyreek Hill, D.K. Metcalf, and Brandon Aiyuk. Those are receivers rookie Deonte Banks has faced off against over the past six weeks alone. Talk about being thrown into the fire right away and I like how he has responded. This game was not one of his better ones, however. While I do like the athleticism he showed in coverage against Wilson, one of the best at getting open in the NFL, he added 2 more penalties to his state sheet (1 of which was declined). He also missed two tackles. He had a pass break up and added 3 tackles. Banks has been flagged six times this season, tied for third-most among players in coverage.

-Cor’Dale Flott is yet another young, emerging player this team needs to keep feeding opportunities to. He broke up a team-high three passes and appears to be playing up to speed now. He always moved well enough, but the questions were anticipation and instincts. The physical presence on his contact will never be good, but the other traits are coming along and weigh a lot more for corners.

-Adoree’ Jackson was torched in big moments. While he did get thrown at a ton in this game and his overall coverage grade was solid, those key plays are where a guy like him needs to step up. The pass interference penalty that set NYJ up for the game-winning field goal was a result of him being tricked on a route by an undrafted receiver. That cannot happen from that kind of player. Jackson is a solid cover man, but his level of play has been inconsistent and seems to degrade in key moments and against key players. Not ideal from your number one corner.


-The every-snap streak lives on for the Jason Pinnock / Xavier McKinney duo. They combined for 9 tackles and Pinnock added both a QB hit and pass break-up. His missed tackle on the Hall touchdown was by far the worst play of the sequence and one could argue the worst play of the game for NYG. No wrap up attempt and, to honest, a half-ass soft attempt at a player who was running downhill. This surprised me from Pinnock, who plays anything but soft. A play like that in a game against a team that cut you? Major blemish.

-Nick McCloud and Dane Belton saw rotational/sub package duty but neither made an impact.


-K Graham Gano: 1/3 (Made 31, Missed 47, 35). The first game in a Giants uniform Gano has missed two field goal attempts in a game, and first time since a 2017 Week 17 loss at Tampa Bay when he was with Carolina

-P Jamie Gillan: 13 punts (42.2 avg – 40.7 net).


-DT Dexter Lawrence, EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, CB Cor’Dale Flott


-K Graham Gano, TE Daniel Bellinger, CB Adoree’ Jackson


1. Even without Aaron Rodgers, the Jets are one of the most interesting teams in the NFL. Whether they are playing the best or worst the NFL has to offer, they keep it close. This all comes back to their defense and how this team is built. Head Coach Robert Saleh and Defensive Coordinator Jeff Ulbrich came over from SF and the NYJ defense ranked dead last in both yards and points allowed year one. A season later? 4th best. They have wins against BUF and PHI along with a 3-point loss to KC. They then have a loss to NE and a close win against DEN. This is life of a team that is built on defense. I am still old school in thinking that this is the proper way to do it, but I will admit it is more difficult to do than build an offense because of the amount of personnel moves and picks you need to get right.

2. Speaking of getting it right. What a whiff they made at quarterback. Here is an excerpt from my final report on Zack Wilson in 2021 “…There is a bit too much ‘backyard football’ that I’m not sure will work in the NFL…Is he tough enough to handle the New York market?…He hasn’t exactly faced a lot of adversity in his life.” Wilson was a late 1st/early 2nd round grade on my sheet, like Daniel Jones. Just another one of those guys who just did not show enough to warrant the high pick but when you’re against a wall and in need of the quarterback, it is hard to pass on the upside. I fully expect Wilson to be elsewhere following the 2024 season.

3. The Joe Douglas-led front office is going to be in a very tough spot. If Rodgers comes back, and I consider it a big if, he still needs to consider the long-term future of the franchise. That is his job, more than anything. Do you use another pick on a QB? This class is going to be a deep one at the position. But will Captain Rodgers approve of using a premium pick on a guy that plays his position? That is what I can’t wait to see. The Jets coaches and players were almost embarrassingly giddy every time Rodgers threw a nice ball in practice. It is a poor way to act because of how sensitive older players can be physically. More cheerleader than coach. Does Douglas have the decision-making power to use a premium asset on a win-now player? AKA not a quarterback. I can’t wait to see.


1. There are two “Monday Morning Quarterback” components to the offensive situation that led to this loss. One, did Daboll/Kafka pull back the reins too much for a quarterback who as in this system for months? Two, should the team have signed another quarterback with veteran experience? I can understand not having three quarterbacks on game day ready to run the (almost) full offense. Most teams in the league would say the same. But Jones was still on the sideline and NYG knows they’re one play away from the next man up coming in under center. If DeVito, the low-graded rookie undrafted free agent could not run the offense to anything near full capacity, how is he logically the number one backup at the most important position in the game?

2. Building off that point, the question can be asked about the mentality and overall ethos of this coaching staff. Have they gotten to the point where they are afraid to lose more than they are trying to win? I have seen this over the years, notably in year 2/3 of coaching regimes. The honeymoon phase is over, expectations grow, adversity hits, and the pressure changes everything about the way a team played that made them originally competitive. If Barkley runs for the first down or Gano hits the field goal or Thibodeaux does not get called for offsides – if any of those happen – perhaps we are calling this a coaching masterpiece and a gritty win that alters the direction of a season that felt loss. But here is the truth. They won the turnover battle for the third time in four weeks, and they won the penalty yardage battle for the third time in four weeks. That combination will net wins in over 85% of games in the NFL. They won 25% of them. The truth is, despite the injury bug, this team has been in position to win games. But they lost some identity. Culture is not created during good, easy times. It is created when adversity hits and the response is conditioned. This coaching staff needs to be better. Daboll in particular.

3. The trade deadline is at 4PM on Halloween. I was going to write up the three names who I feel have value around the league and what they could net for NYG. I am not including Saquon Barkley, as I just do not see ownership signing off on giving away the one high-ticket player on this team, and one who had some public turmoil against the franchise recently. The first name was Leonard Williams, but I thought at the most he would net a 3rd rounder. NYG getting a 2nd and future 5th for him is a huge win and it opens the door for more playing time for both Jordon Riley and D.J. Davidson. A’Shawn Robinson playing well helps soften the blow. Next up is Adoree’ Jackson, a credible corner (with limited upside) who is almost sure to be gone in 2024. Like the defensive line, it fully opens the experience door for Tre Hawkins and Cor’Dale Flott. Jackson would likely net a 5th or 6th rounder for a defense that needs a number three/four corner. Lastly, and this may not be popular, is Xavier McKinney. A free agent in 2024 on a team that will need to make some difficult money decisions on guys like this, McKinney would likely draw some mid-round interest from teams that need to upgrade the position. While his career to this point has not been anything special, McKinney is a solid player who could start on 20+ teams in the league.

Oct 272023
Victor Cruz, New York Giants (December 24, 2011)

Better Times – © USA TODAY Sports

In last week’s preview, I said the Giants-Commanders game would give us an indication of just how deep the abyss for the 2023 New York Giants would be. The good news is not only did the Giants win, but despite significant number of important players still missing due to injury, they dominated the game. The bad news is they almost handed the contest to the Commanders with key mistakes on offense, defense, and special teams.

Stating the obvious, at 2-5, the Giants remain in desperate straits. There is no margin for error if the Giants want to get back into playoff contention. After the “home” game against the Jets, the Giants face three consecutive road games, one against the Cowboys who already crushed the team 40-0. This is as close to a “must game” as there is, with the difference between 3-5 or 2-6.


  • QB Daniel Jones (neck – out)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (elbow – probable)
  • RB Gary Brightwell (hamstring – out)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee – probable)
  • TE Darren Waller (hamstring – questionable)
  • LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring – doubtful)
  • RT Evan Neal (ankle – questionable)
  • OC John Michael Schmitz (shoulder)
  • OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee – questionable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (neck – questionable)
  • PK Graham Gano (knee – probable)

There is a lot going on here, with implications for 2023 and beyond. Before getting into longer-term issues, let’s address the immediate concern of the game against a very good New York Jets defense.

On paper, this side of the ball looks like a clear mismatch. Despite all of their issues on offense, the Jets are still only allowing under 20 points per game. Meanwhile, the Giants are scoring a league-low 12 points per game (somewhat inflated by a defensive score). And the strength of the Jets is a strong (and deep) defensive front against a patchwork NYG Giants offensive line. The Giants’ OL was an utter disaster for first five weeks of the season. It has been a little less so for the last two weeks. As I talked about last week, the improvement has been mainly due to fewer mental breakdowns because of the veteran presence of Mark Glowinski, Ben Bredeson, and Justin Pugh rather than the greenhorns who had been out there previously. It looks like Justin Pugh will start at left tackle again, where he has struggled. Tyre Phillips may start over Evan Neal one more game. Expect issues on the outside. John Michael Schmitz may be back, which likely will cause Ben Bredeson to shift back to guard with Mark Glowinski.

Given the Jets’ own offensive issues, the game has the feeling of the classic mantra “the team that makes the fewest mistakes will win.” Both offenses don’t put a lot of points on the board (Jets averaging just under 20 points per game). The Jets’ defense has also thrived off of turnovers (4th in the NFL will 13 takeaways). This will probably be one of those games that the better part of valor may simply not to take too many risks and punt the ball. Field position will be important, suggesting it might not be wise to take a lot of 4th-down chances. Don’t pass up sure points either when in field goal range.

Oddly, the Jets (135.2 yards per game allowed) have only been slightly better in run defense than the Giants (137.3). It suggests the team should stick with Saquon Barkley running the ball with an occasional chance for Tyrod Taylor (the risk with the latter is if Taylor gets hurt, the Giants are screwed). Continued use of the quick, short passing game with an occasional deep shot to Jalin Hyatt and Darius Slayton should also continue. The Hyatt-Sauce Gardner match-up was a fun one in the preseason.

Let’s turn to the elephant in the room. Regardless of what Brian Daboll says publicly, there is a quarterback controversy. Sometimes quarterback controversies involve two good quarterbacks (see the Phil Simms/Jeff Hostetler knockdown fights by fans in 1991 and 1992). Most of the time when there is a quarterback controversy, it’s an indication that the team really doesn’t have a quarterback. Last week I talked about Jones only having 10 games left to change public (and perhaps organizational) opinion on him. With Jones out again, we’re down to nine games and counting. And as I wrote last week, “Tyrod Taylor is one good performance away from sealing Jones’ fate.” Taylor may not be lighting it up, but there has been no noticeable downturn in quarterback production with him playing. In fact, some have argued the opposite. Throw in a $40 million contract and questions about a potentially career-affecting neck injury and we’re in a far different place than we were just two months ago.

There are three sides to the quarterback situation. Apologists for Daniel Jones. Those who think Daniel Jones kills puppies. And those still sitting on the fence. Regardless of your particular category, one cannot ignore the reality of the situation. The Giants cannot go into 2024 assuming Jones can be the quarterback for this team. The neck injury and any further games missed only exacerbate the situation. If Taylor can get this team to start scoring more points, support for Jones will dwindle, perhaps even in the locker room. You might not like it, but that’s where we’re at. The problem long term is Taylor is an undersized, injury-prone, 34-year old quarterback. Unless we’re looking at another Geno Smith situation, the Giants are going to have to draft quarterback in the first round of the 2024 NFL Draft.

The Jets game is huge, but there are bigger issues now at play from an organizational perspective.

The defense continues to trend in the right direction. Much of this is due to young players gaining experience as well as improved tackling by the linebackers and defensive backs. It also helps when the quality of your opponent decreases. Regardless, the glaring hole that can’t be fixed until the offseason is another edge rusher, a task made more difficult now by the team needing another quarterback.

Look, you don’t have to be a brain surgeon to break down this game. The Jets would be a serious Super Bowl contender if it were not for three things: (1) they don’t have a quarterback, (2) their offensive line stinks, and (3) questions about the maturity level of the head coach. Assuming the NYG offense is going to struggle gain, particularly against the NYJ defense, it is obvious that the pressure will be on the NYG defense to respond in kind against a suspect NYJ offense. The ability or inability to create turnovers will also prove decisive.

When you have a suspect quarterback and offensive line, a good running back, and are facing a team that has struggled to defend the run, the game plan for both sides becomes obvious. The Jets will want to run the ball; the Giants will want to stop the run. Whichever side prevails will most likely win the ball game. The Giants want to get Zach Wilson into long down-and-distance situations and attempt to confuse him like they did with Sam Howell last week. The Jets will want to keep Wilson and their offensive line out of these situations.

The two main threats are wide receiver Garrett Wilson and running back Breece Hall. Big time match-up here for Deonte Banks against Wilson.

Sy’56 pointed this out in his game review, but Jamie Gillan is quietly becoming one of the better punters in the NFL. He’s currently third in the NFL in net average (45.3 yards).  Meanwhile, Graham Gano, who has been battling a knee issue, missed a 42 yarder last week. They need a strong game from him.

All eyes will be on the punt returner. Eric Gray is on IR. Sterling Shepard muffed a return last week that could have cost the game. Newcomer Gunner Olszewski may be elevated from the Practice Squad. However, he has eight career fumbles on punt and kickoff returns.

Wink Martindale on the Jets: “The biggest challenge that we’re going to have is that running back (Breece Hall) because he’s special.”

The Giants have painted themselves into a corner. Three of the next four games are “must win” games or the season is likely over. While the team is playing better, critical players are still out with injury or affected by injury. This includes Thomas, Schmitz, Barkley, and Waller. Opinions vary on the losses of Jones, Neal, and Ojulari. There is a big difference between 2-6 and 3-5, especially when you consider the latter would mean a 2-game winning streak. Tell me who wins the turnover battle and I can make a pretty good prediction on who wins this game.