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 052023

The New York Giants were badly defeated 30-6 by the Las Vegas Raiders on Sunday at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada. The Giants fell to 2-7 on the season.

However, the bigger story for the franchise is what is feared to be a season-ending ACL injury to quarterback Daniel Jones’ right knee. Jones was injured on the first play of the 2nd quarter when his knee buckled without contact. An MRI will determine the actual severity of the injury.

The Giants were not performing well in the game before the injury, trailing 7-0. New York went three-and-out on their first drive and turned the ball over on downs on a failed 4th-and-1 at the Las Vegas 34-yard line on their second possession. Meanwhile, the Raiders easily drove for a touchdown on a 6-play, 67-yard effort on their first possession before going three-and-out on their second possession.

It was on New York’s third drive that began late in the 1st quarter where Jones got hurt. After crossing midfield, Jones moved away from pressure on 2nd-and-17 and had his knee buckle underneath him without contact for what officially become a 10-yard sack. He was replaced by Tommy DeVito, with the team punting one play later.

After the Raiders and Giants exchanged punts, Las Vegas drove 65 yards in eight plays to extend their lead to 14-0 with just over five minutes to go before halftime. The Giants crossed midfield on the ensuing possession after a 26-yard run by halfback Saquon Barkley. On the very next snap, DeVito’s deep pass to wide receiver Jalin Hyatt was underthrown, intercepted at the goal line, and returned 40 yards. It took the Raiders just four plays to travel 60 yards and go up 21-0.

The situation got worse when DeVito’s very next pass went off the hands of wideout Darius Slayton and was picked off by the Raiders again, setting up Las Vegas on the Giants’ 25-yard line. The Raiders were forced to settle for a 24-yard field goal, but at the break, the game was already over with Las Vegas ahead 24-0.

The Raiders extended their lead on their first possession of the second half, driving 47 yards in 14 plays to set up 46-yard field goal. Raiders 27 – Giants 0. After exchanging three-and-outs, the Giants finally managed to get on the scoreboard with a drive that began with five minutes left in the 3rd quarter. New York gained 84 yards in 11 plays with DeVito throwing a 9-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson early in the 4th quarter. The 2-point conversion attempt failed and the Giants trailed 27-6.

The rest of the 4th quarter was pretty uneventful. The Raiders punted twice more and added another field goal while the Giants turned the football over on downs on three straight possessions. The Raiders took it easy on the Giants at the end, running the ball on 4th-and-4 from the New York 34-yard line.

The final stats were oddly equal. Both teams gained 15 first downs. The Raiders out-gained the Giants in total yards 334 to 227, with rushing yards practically the same (125 for the Raiders and 123 for the Giants). However, the Giants turned the football over twice and allowed eight sacks. The Raiders had no turnovers or allowed sacks.

DeVito finished 15-of-20 for 175 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Jones as 4-of-9 for 25 yards. Barkley carried the ball 16 times for 90 yards. New York’s defense only had one hit on the quarterback and only two pass defenses.

GAME VIDEO LOWLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants placed QB Tyrod Taylor (ribs) and TE Darren Waller (hamstring) on Injured Reserve. The team also signed TE Lawrence Cager to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad.

The Giants activated (standard elevation) OLB Justin Hollins and PK Randy Bullock from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were RB Jashaun Corbin (hamstring), OT Joshua Miles, OL Sean Harlow, DL Jordon Riley, S Gervarrius Owens, and PK Cade York.

QB Daniel Jones (knee), CB Adoree’ Jackson (concussion), and RT Evan Neal (ankle) left the game with injuries.

Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at

  • Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video)
  • QB Tommy DeVito (Video)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (Video)
  • LB Andrew Thomas (Video)
  • RT Evan Neal (Video)
  • DL Dexter Lawrence (Video)

Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

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 292023
Graham Gano, New York Giants (October 29, 2023)

Graham Gano reacts to missed 35-yard field goal – © USA TODAY Sports

In an incredibly ugly football game, the New York Giants snatched defeat from the jaws of victory, losing 10-7 in overtime to the New York Jets. The Giants also lost another quarterback with Tyrod Taylor leaving the game with a rib injury that required him to go to the hospital. At 2-6, any playoff aspirations are all but officially over.

A combination of a very strong New York Jets’ defense, bad weather, and the Giants having to play an undrafted rookie at quarterback for most of the game led to a horrific Giants’ offensive performance. Even before Taylor left the game, however, the offense was dreadful. The Giants were held to 70 total yards of offense, including -9 passing yards. Five of the team’s 12 first downs were due to penalties on the Jets. The Giants had 17 offensive possessions. Thirteen of them resulted in punts. Two resulted in missed field goals, which was the difference in the game.

The Giants’ only points in the first half were completely set up by the defense. On the Jets’ first possession, outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaxu sacked quarterback Zach Wilson on 3rd-and-5. Wilson fumbled and the loose ball was recovered by outside linebacker Jihad Ward. The Giants had the ball at the Jets’ 19-yard line, but were forced to settle for a 31-yard field goal and an early 3-0 lead.

Meanwhile, the Giants’ defense was playing very well in the elements against a beat-up Jets’ offensive line and the shaky Wilson. The Jets had 10 first-half possessions, seven ending with punts and two ending with fumbles. The Jets were held to five first downs and were 0-of-8 on third-down conversion attempts. However, there was one very costly breakdown when running back Breece Hall caught a short pass and weaved his way for a 50-yard touchdown after some terrible tackling attempts.

There were also two missed opportunities for the Giants’ offense in the second quarter. Place kicker Graham Gano missed a 47-yard field goal early in the quarter after Head Coach Brian Daboll passed on going for it on 4th-and-1. Then with 2:28 left before halftime, inside linebacker Micah McFadden recovered a fumble at the Jets’ 41-yard line. Despite gaining six yards on first down, the Giants ended up losing four yards on this possession and punting.

At the half, the Jets led 7-3. Combined, the Giants and Jets were 0-of-18 on third down with 15 punts.

Aided by two unnecessary roughness penalties by the Jets’ defense, the Giants took the lead on their first drive of the third quarter. Running back Saquon Barkley picked up 40 yards on his first two carries of the drive. The Jets were flagged with one of the roughness penalties after a 2nd-and-10 incompletion by Tommy DeVito. Barkley picked up six yards on 3rd-and-6. Then came the other penalty which kept the drive alive after the Giants were stopped on 3rd-and-10. Three plays later, DeVito ran for a 6-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-goal.

Most of the rest of the second half was the Jets struggling to generate any offense against the Giants’ defense and the Giants’ coaching staff not putting DeVito in position to lose the game. The Jets punted the ball four consecutive times, gaining just two first downs. The Giants also punted the ball four consecutive times after the touchdown, gaining four first downs.

Then came the pivotal moments that would decide the game. With 2:19 left in the game, Thibodeaux sacked Wilson for a 10-yard loss. Three plays later, on 4th-and-10, Thibodeaux got to Wilson again, this time for a 15-yard loss. With 1:26 left in the game, the Giants had the ball at the Jets’ 26-yard line. Barkley gained nine yards on three plays, moving the ball to the 17-yard line. On 4th-and-1, Daboll decided to have Graham kick the 35-yard field goal. He missed.

Nevertheless, the Giants were still up 10-7. The Jets had the ball at their own 25-yard line with just 24 seconds left. The defense could not hold. Wilson completed back-to-back 29-yard passes. He spiked the ball with one second left. The 35-yard field goal was good with no time left on the clock.

In overtime, the Giants won the toss and received the ball first. Predictably, the Giants went three-and-out, actually losing 11 yards. The Jets began their first drive of overtime at their own 39-yard line. They gained 46 yards in six plays, converting on 3rd-and-10 with an 11-yard completion. The real killer came on 3rd-and-5. Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson was flagged for a 30-yard pass interference penalty down to the 15-yard line. The Jets immediately kicked the game-winning 33-yard field goal. Despite being tipped by defensive lineman Leonard Williams, the kick was good.

Taylor was 4-of-7 for eight yards, being sacked twice. DeVito was 2-of-7 for -1 yard, also being sacked twice. The leading receiver was Barkley who caught three passes for zero yards. No other player had more than one catch or four yards. Barkley carried the ball 36 times for 128 yards.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 12 first downs and 251 yards of offense. They held the Jets to 2-of-15 on 3rd down and 0-of-1 on 4th down. The defense recovered two fumbles and was credited with four sacks, one by nose tackle Dexter Lawrence and three by Thibodeaux. However, the three long pass plays, including the two in overtime, dampened the performance.

On special teams, the usually very reliable Gano cost the Giants the game with his two missed field goals.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants placed RB Gary Brightwell (hamstring) on Injured Reserve and signed WR/Returner Gunner Olszewski to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. The Giants also activated (standard elevation) QB Tommy DeVito and OLB Oshane Ximines from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were QB Daniel Jones (neck), LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring), RT Evan Neal (ankle), RB Deon Jackson, DL Jordon Riley, S Bobby McCain, and S Gervarrius Owens.

QB Tyrod Taylor (ribs) and TE Darren Waller (hamstring) left the game in the first half and did not return. Taylor was taken to the hospital and will remain overnight for further observation.

Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at

Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.

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.

Oct 242023
Tyrod Taylor, New York Giants (October 22, 2023)

Tyrod Taylor – © USA TODAY Sports


-Tyrod Taylor: 18/29 – 279 yards / 2 TD – 0 INT / 116.9 RAT / 25 rushing yards

Taylor started for the second straight week as Daniel Jones remains out with a neck injury. Once again, he was playing behind an offensive line missing multiple starters, with Justin Pugh playing left tackle, and another starter who was signed off someone else’s practice squad just days prior (Tyre Phillips). The line was overmatched by the Washington defensive line that features four first round picks, all of which have met expectations over the years of someone drafted that high. On paper, this did not look good. Taylor responded with the best game of his career since 2017, a 26-16 win over Trevor Siemian-led Denver in Week 3.

Taylor has a couple of standout traits in his game as a 34-year old, 13th-year veteran. His release is lightning quick. Some quarterbacks have it, some do not. Taylor can make his decision and get it out in such a sudden kind of way. The second trait I like centers around decision making. While the offensive line has stabilized a bit, do not make the mistake of thinking that group has turned things around. Taylor getting the ball out in a hurry hid some major matchup losses up front. Watching from the All-22 angle shows how often he threw guys open. He was not waiting for them to get open, he knew the coverage, where the leverage was, and got that ball out with great anticipation. There were several high-level throws that made me go back and watch them again. I am impressed with Taylor. He is 1-1, and about 2 inches away from 2-0.


-Saquon Barkley: 21 att – 77 yards / 3 rec – 41 yards – 1 TD

Barkley’s stat line is solid, but nothing special. But this was one of the most impressive and influential performances we have seen out of him over the last dozen games. Barkley hyperextend his elbow in the first quarter. That is not a serious injury, but it does impede strength. The pulling muscles (bicep/forearm) are compromised. Not an ideal situation for a running back and it did end up leading to a lost fumble in the fourth quarter. But Barkley toughed this one out. He was constantly lowering his shoulder, constantly picking up some extra yards, and constantly breaking tackles. The touchdown followed a short pass in which he created most of the yards himself. Barkley, playing for a contract, pushed through a lot of discomfort, ran behind a bad offensive line, and was a key reason to this win even though he almost fumbled it away.

-Matt Breida played just 11 snaps, gaining just 9 yards on 4 touches. Rookie Eric Gray saw an early exit after muffing another punt and getting bent backward on his ankle as he got hit. More on that below but here is a hint. That experiment needs a new answer.


-We have been discussing this for weeks. Here is a blurb from my Week 2 review in Arizona, the other win this year. “Hyatt is the key, here. A lot to be put on a third rounder but the way he moves and the way he is tracking the ball and how fast he can easily get over the top can change how defenses work the short to intermediate routes. Hyatt looks ready for more.” After that comment, Hyatt had a total of two passes thrown his way in three games (all losses with one offensive touchdown combined). Then? A near-upset win in Buffalo and this win against Washington which included 9 targets, totaling 96 yards. Hyatt is not just important; he is vital to NYG’s offensive success. Whomever plays quarterback needs to lean on that, hard. A 42-yard catch and a 33-yard catch. Both led to scoring opportunities (Gano missed a field goal / Barkley fumbled). He changes this team the more he gets involved.

-The rest of the receiver group combined for 60 yards on 5 catches. Isaiah Hodgins, Wan’Dale Robinson, Darius Slayton, and Sterling Shepard. The ball was properly spread out (only Hodgins had more than one catch), and there were no drops. I will touch on Shepard and his attempts at returning punts below, but it was ugly.


-Darren Waller: 7 rec – 98 yards – 1 TD

Waller led the team in targets, catches, and yards. He is turning a corner after a slow start that centered around a sore hamstring. He had two grabs, one of which was his first touchdown as a Giant, where he displayed elite receiver-caliber ball skills. Do not underestimate how rare it for a player this size to turn his body in the air and pluck the ball with strong, accurate hands. He did this in traffic and in high-pressure situations. The blocking impact was a negative in standout fashion again, however.

-Speaking of poor blocking, Daniel Bellinger was abused up front. Having him help on a few select passing plays did help (although he did allow a sack), but he got messed up in the running game. Multiple times his missed assignment or sheer loss prevented Barkley from bursting through the initial traffic. His impact as a receiver is going to be limited with Waller on the roster, plain and simple. He needs to improve up front if this offense is going to work, plain and simple.


-Justin Pugh returned to tackle. Remember, that was his college and early pro career position, but not recently. He was matched up against Chase Young and took a beating in pass protection. He allowed 4 pressures and 2 sacks (1 of which was called off by a WAS penalty) and was also flagged for a hold. Pugh was a factor, however, as a run blocker. They moved him around often on outside zone runs where he pulled across the line and found work. He had key blocks on multiple positive runs. Tyre Phillips, signed off the PHI practice squad, manned the right tackle spot. He was the beneficiary of Taylor getting the ball out in a hurry a few times. He allowed a sack and a pressure, but the sack could easily be written off by the coaching staff if I saw it correctly. The blocking scheme on that play was clearly about cutting off the inside rush lane and simply stiff-arming the edge defender outside because the pass was supposed to be out quickly. Sterling Shepard fell, causing Taylor to hold onto the ball, and Phillips’ man went in for the easy sack. Overall, Phillips played arguably the best right tackle we have seen to this point all season but no, there is no controversy if Neal is healthy enough to play next week.

-Inside we saw the ship steadied, most notably in the passing game. Positive grades for both Ben Bredeson at center and Mark Glowinski at right guard were heavily engineered by their pass protection performances. Glowinski allowed just 1 pressure and Bredeson was clean.

-Markus McKethan saw a position change. He played left guard for the first time of his career. He did not play there even in college. I am curious to hear more about that decision but even though he finished with a negative grade overall, he played better than previous weeks. Young players take time to develop and there is at least some optimism that the shift to the left side (which likely had more to do with Glowinski playing his more natural right guard spot) will show us a different version of him. He allowed a TFL and 2 pressures on plays where he lost initially. Whiffs, oversetting, and inaccurate hands get him into positions where he just cannot athletically recover.


-Kayvon Thibodeaux made an impact in two different ways, one of which obvious and the other not so much. He split three different sacks (1.5 total for him individually) and added 2 other pressures. He had a tackle and was credited for a pass break up (a gift-wrapped ball he should have caught and returned for a touchdown). A solid, productive game on a day where the Giants held to their opponent to just 7 points. The other impressive component here was the fact he played all but one snap. The injury to Azeez Ojulari and lack of options they have beyond him put this on the 2022 fifth overall pick. The 68 snaps were the third most of his career and watching the one-on-one wins against Washington left tackle Charles Leno, Jr. changed how they ran their passing game and protections up front. This defense and team needed Thibodeaux to step up, and he did.

-Jihad Ward saw another uptick in playing time for the third straight week. He added one tackle and one pressure. He and backup Boogie Basham did not stand out in any way, but they both set the edge for the entire game against the run. Physical and consistent. That helped funnel things inside where the defensive tackles and linebackers were dominating.


-Dexter Lawrence did it again. Please do not overlook how good these performances are simply because of how often he is doing it. This is what an All-Pro looks like. Former Giant and fan favorite Nick Gates was taken to school by Lawrence. He had 6 tackles, 2 sacks, and 3 pressures. More impressive than that was what he did on the Leonard Williams sack in the first quarter. They stunted the two and three guys tried to block Lawrence, two of which ended up on their backs, and Williams ended with the 3rd-down sack, forcing a punt.

-Speaking of Williams, as I mentioned, he had a 3rd-down sack and 2 pressures in addition to 2 tackles. Solid game up front for a guy who has been a tad quiet this season. His biggest play, however, was a blocked field goal early in the 4th quarter in a 14-7 game. Had he not gotten his hand on that, the entire tone of that last quarter would have been different. Huge play in an unlikely moment by the team’s most expensive player.

-Rakeem Nunez-Roches and A’Shawn Robinson were the two most-used backups inside. They both added a pressure and Robinson had 3 tackles. I’ve said this before, but I like the options this depth chart gives them to prevent too much of a workload for Lawrence and Williams.


-A game after one of the best single-game performances I have seen from a Giants linebacker, Bobby Okereke led the team with 11 tackles and a pass break up. Micah McFadden added a half-sack and a pressure along with 5 tackles. Between the two of them, they rushed the passer 17 times. Individually, they both blitzed the same number of times. I was surprised to see Washington not attack these two in coverage when the opportunities were there.

-Isaiah Simmons brings versatility to the table. In this game we saw him line up at outside linebacker a season-high 24 times, as snaps were needed for the injured Ojulari. In all games combined prior to this one, he lined up at outside linebacker 22 times. So, he more than doubled that alignment position. He added one pressure (a key play in the fourth quarter) and 3 tackles. A QB spy/hybrid pass rusher is the best spot for him.


-The Deonte Banks surge continues. The rookie intercepted the first pass of his career in the second quarter. Two plays later, Barkley scored the second touchdown and New York took a 14-0 lead. A turnover and an explosive play and a touchdown all within three snaps? It seemed like for six weeks the Giants couldn’t squeeze out any of those over the course of an entire game. The Banks play spurred everything. Banks got into it with Terry McLaurin early on and it may have come back to bite him a little in the second half. He was also flagged for a hold. But Banks made a big play and it can hide other issues. The other thing that I liked was how well he prevented yards after the catch. It means he is close, it means he can recover. Those are two basic, but must-have traits for the position.

-Adoree’ Jackson missed the game with a neck injury. This opened the door back up for rookie Tre Hawkins, who played a career-high 59 snaps. He and nickel Cor’Dale Flott both played a solid game against Jahan Dotson and Curtis Samuel. The two averaged about 7 yards per catch. Like Banks, these two did an excellent job at minimizing what happened after the catch. They combined for 10 tackles and Hawkins came up with a 3rd-down pass break-up.


-Yet another week, yet another game with both Xavier McKinney and Jason Pinnock on the field for every snap. Pinnock was a bit more active, finishing with 8 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 sack where he went untouched. His play speed stands out. McKinney added 4 tackles. More importantly, the two of them did not miss a single tackle for the fourth-straight week. They combined for 9 missed tackles over the first three weeks. Since then? Zero. McKinney was flagged for a bogus penalty that I did not dock him for. It was a poor judgement call by the ref.


-K Graham Gano: 0/1 (missed 42)
-P Jamie Gillan: 8 punts / 49.4 avg – 45.3 net

Gillan is quietly having a strong year. He leads the league in fair catches and is third in net average.


-DT Dexter Lawrence, DT Leonard Williams, OG Mark Glowinski


-TE Daniel Bellinger, OT Justin Pugh, WR Sterling Shepard


1. It is hard to be a believer in Sam Howell. From my 2021 scouting report summary: “He had very little integrity and feel in the pocket…He also played in a very simple offense even for college standards…Howell does not look like a pro to me…” Now, I will say this kid deserves more time to develop, as he’s started just 8 games to this point. But when looking at the college evaluation and watching his tape over those 8 starts, the optimism cannot be high. He is making this offensive line look worse than it is, he is not fully maximizing the weapons at his disposal. Washington not pursuing a different route at quarterback this past offseason puzzled me then and it puzzles me now.

2. Terry McLaurin is a very good receiver, and I would assume most people agree. But do we have any idea how good he is? Here are the quarterbacks he has caught passes from: Case Keenum, Dwayne Haskins, Colt McCoy, Alex Smith (post injury), Kyle Allen, Taylor Heinicke, Garrett Gilbert, Ryan Fitzpatrick (1 quarter), Carson Wentz, Sam Howell. Talk about a rough lineup that never gets over the hump. McLaurin is just another example of a guy we often see in sports over the years. Someone who has the ceiling of being elite but never gets even close because of the situation around him. He really can’t be cut or traded because of cap reasons until after 2024 and at that point he will be entering his age-30 season.

3. Chase Young or Montez Sweat? Who are you taking? Both of the Washington defensive ends are free agents next spring. Both are former first rounders. Young has the better pedigree. Remember when many fans were upset in 2019 when NYG won two of their final three games, pushing them out of reach for Young in the following draft? Unfortunately, NYG had to choose eventual All-Pro Andrew Thomas that year while Young has missed 24 out of 57 games. Example #1,000 why getting too happy or too upset draft weekend can make one look foolish. Sweat, on the other hand, has missed just 7 out of 73 games and is a top-10 edge defender in the NFL who very few talk about. Young’s upside was and probably still is higher. He is playing some of the best football of his career right now, but that injury history needs to be considered when paying someone a long and expensive second contract.


1. A team that needs to scrape by to win games must ensure their special teams are on point. It can undoubtedly be the difference in multiple close matchups. Kicker Graham Gano is trustworthy, and Jamie Gillan is quietly having the best season of his career. Kick returners simply do not matter much. However, the punt returner can still be incredibly influential in either direction. New York has dropped the ball here, literally, and figuratively. The Eric Gray experiment is odd. He did not do it once in 2022 with Oklahoma and had minimal experience in that role at Tennessee. Shepard had never returned a punt (college or NFL) prior to this past Sunday. The blunder with Adoree’ Jackson last year still stands out. This needs to be figured out even if it means another off-the-couch signing. They got lucky their issues there did not cost them the game.

2. Winning this game was important. The first reason being obvious. They were 1-5 and they’ve created a minuscule margin for error from here on out. Two, the easier stretch of their schedule is here with a bunch of teams hovering around .500 coming up. A couple more games like this and yes, they’re back in the playoff hunt. Don’t believe me? Go look for yourself. They’re still in it and the reinforcements are coming.

3. This was a clean game by NYG. There were fewer missed tackles. There were fewer miscommunications along the offensive line. There were no drops. There were fewer penalties. They were dominant defensively on third down. They averaged just under 10 yards per pass attempt. Football is complex on many levels, but the results are usually rather simple. Avoid mistakes and you win almost every time. There will never be a mistake free player or team or game, but this team can compete like they did last year if those avoidable issues (listed above) are in the rear-view mirror. Whatever changes the coaches made in their preparation last week worked.

Oct 222023
Deonte Banks, New York Giants (October 22, 2023)

Deonte Banks – © USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t pretty, but the New York Giants won their second game of the season by defeating the Washington Commanders 14-7 at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. The Giants snapped a four-game losing streak and are now 2-5 (1-1 in the NFC East).

The Giants were without starting quarterback Daniel Jones (neck) for the second game in a row, as well as three starting offensive linemen, including both offensive tackles. Cornerback Adoree’ Jackson (neck) also missed the game.

The contest should not have been as close as it was. Two fumbles and a dropped interception turned what should have been a blowout by the Giants into a nail-biter that was decided by a goal line stand at the end of the games.

The Giants out-gained the Commanders in first downs (16 to 14), total net yards (356 to 273), net yards rushing (106 to 76), and net yards passing (250 to 176). New York also held Washington to 1-of-15 (6.7 percent) on 3rd down. Washington won the time-of-possession battle (31:14 to 28:46) and turnover battle (2 to 1).

The two teams combined for 17 first-half offensive possessions. Washington’s eight possessions resulted in 46 yards, two first downs, seven punts, and an interception by cornerback Deonte Banks. Quarterback Sam Howell was also sacked five times, doubling New York’s league-low sack total entering the game.

Meanwhile, the Giants started off slowly with a three-and-out on their initial possession. They followed that up with a 9-play, 66-yard drive that ended with a missed 42-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. Their third possession resulted in another three-and-out.

The Giants scored an offensive touchdown for the first time in the first half of game this year on their fourth possession. New York drove 88 yards in eight plays, as the team overcame a red-zone holding penalty, and quarterback Tyrod Taylor threw a 15-yard strike to tight end on 3rd-and-goal. The Giants led 7-0 early in the 2nd quarter.

The Giants’ fifth offensive possession resulted in their third three-and-out. But after Banks picked off Howell, the offense responded with their second and last scoring drive of the game. It took two plays, the first a 16-yard throw to Waller and the second a 32-yard catch-and-run by running back Saquon Barkley for the touchdown. With just under nine minutes to play in the first half, the Giants led 14-0.

The Giants could have put the game away had outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux held onto a pass thrown right to him. It should have been an easy defensive score, giving the Giants a 21-0 lead. Instead, both offenses sputtered for the remainder of the first half.

At the break, the Giants still led 14-0.

Washington received the ball to start the second half and promptly went three-and-out again. However, New York’s punt return woes now came to the forefront. Running back Eric Gray had muffed a punt (recovered by the Giants) early in the game and had left the contest with a calf injury. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard, who was now returning punts, muffed the Washington punt. It was recovered by the Commanders at the New York 21-yard line. Six plays later, including a 4th-and-1 conversion, running back Brian Robinson scored from four yards out to cut the score to 14-7 early in the 3rd quarter.

Neither team’s offense did much for the remainder of the quarter. Three New York possessions resulted in one first down and three punts. Two Washington possessions resulted in one first down and two punts.

However, the Commanders threatened to tie the game late in the 3rd quarter and early into the 4th quarter. They drove 81 yards in eight plays, reaching the red zone. There the Giants’ defense held and Washington’s 27-yard field goal attempt was blocked by defensive lineman Leonard Williams. The score remained 14-7 with 13:23 left to play.

The Giants’ offense responded with what looked like game-clinching drive. New York took 5:37 off of the clock and gained 72 yards in 10 plays. However, on 1st-and-goal from the 10-yard line, Barkley fumbled the ball away at the 8-yard line, giving Washington the chance they needed to tie or win the game with 7:46 left on the clock.

In a nearly 7-minute long possession, the Commanders gained 85 yards and six first downs in 17 plays, including another 4th-and-1 conversion. With a minute left in the game, Howell’s 4th-and-5 pass to wide receiver Jahan Dotson was dropped, sealing the victory for the Giants.

Taylor finished the game 18-of-29 for 279 yards, two touchdowns, and no interceptions. He was sacked four times and rushed for 25 yards on eight carries. His leading receiver was Waller, who caught seven passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. Wideout Jalin Hyatt caught two passes for 75 yards. Barkley carried the ball 21 times for 77 yards and caught three passes for 41 yards and a touchdown.

The Giants’ defense came into the game with five sacks, but got to Howell six times, including sacks by defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (2), Thibodeaux (1.5), Williams (1), safety Jason Pinnock (1), and linebacker Micah McFadden (0.5).

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants activated QB Tommy DeVito and OL Jalen Mayfield from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were QB Daniel Jones (neck), LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring), RT Evan Neal (ankle), OC John Michael Schmitz (shoulder), OT Matt Peart (shoulder), CB Adoree’ Jackson (neck), and DL Jordon Riley.

Running backs Eric Gray (calf) and Gary Brightwell (hamstring) left the game in the first half. RB Saquon Barkley hyperextended his left elbow in the first half but remained in the game.

Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at

Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Oct 202023
John Mara, New York Giants (September 17, 2023)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

There was a pretty big seismic change in the NFC East this year when Dan Snyder sold the Washington Redskins / Football Team / Commanders. For over two decades, Snyder oversaw the demise of the once-proud franchise. How unstable did Washington become? While Snyder’s teams managed six playoff appearances since 1999, Snyder also had 10 different head coaches during his reign. The overall impression left in the minds of fans from New York, Philadelphia, and Dallas was that as long as Snyder owned the team, Washington would never be a truly serious threat in the division.

Publicly, John Mara and Steve Tisch do not engender the same creepiness of Snyder and Jerry Jones (Cowboys). But there is a danger that Mara and Tisch will now be viewed as the division’s new Dan Snyder in terms of sheer incompetence. Jeff Lurie in Philadelphia operates one of the NFL’s premier franchises. Despite all of Jones’ warts, the Cowboys usually are in playoff contention. Notably, both teams have absolutely owned the Giants for the better part of a decade. Now with Synder gone, a solid defense, and a new quarterback who is turning some heads, the Commanders appear on the upswing. They are already two games ahead of the Giants in the standings. If the Giants lose on Sunday, there is a very good chance they will finish dead last in the NFC East and be viewed as the division’s new punching bag for all three rivals.

Are Mara and Tisch the new Dan Snyder of the NFC East?


  • QB Daniel Jones (neck – questionable)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle – probable)
  • RB Gary Brightwell (ankle – probable)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee – probable)
  • OL Andrew Thomas (hamstring – out)
  • OL Evan Neal (ankle – questionable)
  • OL OL John Michael Schmitz (shoulder – out)
  • OL Mark Glowinski (quad/ankle – probable)
  • OL Matt Peart (shoulder – out)
  • DL D.J. Davidson (knee – probable)
  • CB Tre Hawkins (knee – probable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (neck – questionable)
  • CB Cor’Dale Flott (ankle/shoulder – probable)
  • PK Graham Gano (knee – probable)

Personally, I’ve been on the fence with Daniel Jones for the last few years. I have not been willing to commit to either side of whether he is a bust or a victim of circumstance. Despite the turnovers, his rookie season was promising. But it was offset by a lack of progress and disappointing play in 2020 and 2021. Last year, under the tutelage of the new coaching staff, it appeared Jones had turned the corner and might turn into a halfway decent quarterback. A fan base that once booed him now cheered him. Most of that goodwill has evaporated again. Fans are back arguing that he is a bust or a victim of circumstance. Complicating matters further is that Jones now has suffered his second neck injury in three seasons. He may miss his second game in a row.

Is Jones a dud or a tragic figure? Valid arguments can be made for either point of view. However, after this week, there will only be 10 games left in the NYG season. Unless Jones returns soon and then lights it up in the last 10 games, can this franchise operate under the assumption that they have a quarterback? I don’t think so. And I’m pretty darn sure Jones isn’t going to go on a 10-game run where he erases all doubt. What I’m suggesting is that this may be Jones’ final season with the team. Ownership and management gambled and lost with Jones. They’ll have to eat what’s left of the contract and move on. If they don’t, they are simply prolonging the inevitable. Jones isn’t performing. And he’s damaged goods, a running quarterback with a bad neck. Tyrod Taylor is one good performance away from sealing Jones’ fate. If Taylor fails, it reinforces the impression that the team has no quarterback.

The Giants entered the 2023 season with nine offensive linemen on the roster, most of whom are now hurt and have missed games. This week, they have made seven transactions involving the offensive line. Two were placed on IR. Three were signed off of Practice Squads. And that doesn’t even count Justin Pugh, who was signed off of his couch a couple of weeks ago. If it wasn’t so painful, it would be comical. The only positive one can say at this point is that despite massive patchwork job, the experience level has actually increased and thus, in the short-term, there might not be as many mental breakdowns and free rushers.

Regardless, this does not bode well for an offense that still has not scored a first-half touchdown, and scored touchdowns in only two of six games. The Commanders have a talented defensive front that can get after the quarterback. That said, statistically speaking, Washington’s defense has had issues, both against the run and the pass. But the patchwork offensive line has to give the quarterback, Jalin Hyatt, and Saquon Barkley time and room to operate. It’s really that simple.

In my preview last week, I talked about the defense trending in the right direction. It certainly did that against the Buffalo Bills, holding a prolific offense scoreless in the first half. However, the two long touchdown drives in the second half of the game put a damper on the performance. It showed that the defense still has a lot of room for improvement. Yes, holding a team to 14 points should be enough, but sometimes situations demand more. Last week was one of those situations.

The way I view this defense now is more about getting a good read on 2024. There are some players – given their salary situation vis a vis their overall performance – who I do not expect to be here next year. That includes Leonard Williams and Adoree’ Jackson. Don’t be shocked to see someone get traded before the Halloween trade deadline. Injury history and age will likely weed out others such Azeez Ojulari and Jihad Ward. There are players whose contracts expire, such as A’Shawn Robinson, Isaiah Simmons, and Xavier McKinney. The last player mentioned – McKinney – has not played poorly. But if he expects to get paid, he needs to make more plays on the football.

The good news here is that management was smart enough to hold off decisions on guys like Williams, Jackson, and McKinney. Previous management would have prematurely extended these contracts. The team will now have more flexibility moving forward. There is some decent youth to build around. The glaring issue is finding more edge rushers, especially with Ojulari flaming out and Kayvon Thibodeaux not providing a consistent impact. The Giants will also have to replace Leonard Williams with a decent starter.

As for this game with Washington, it’s the usual suspects with one major exception. The go-to guys to watch are still WR Terry McLaurin, RB Brian Robinson, and TE Logan Thomas. There are others at receiver and back-up running back who can make some noise. The big change is at quarterback where second-year Sam Howell looks like a 5th-round steal. Howell will hold onto the ball too long, but he’s a gunslinger who is not afraid to take chances. This could work to New York’s advantage if the secondary does a good enough job disguising its coverages and confusing Howell. But don’t underestimate him. Commanders fans are very excited about their quarterback situation.

For lack of a better description, management and coaching on the Giants have somehow lost their mojo this year. There are a number examples, including how the depth chart was handled at wide receiver. For most teams, the 5th and 6th wideouts are special teams players. Sterling Shepard is not that and yet he hasn’t played much on offense either. Meanwhile, Jamison Crowder, who flashed at wide receiver at times in the summer, was let go despite his return experience. Last week, Crowder earned “Special Teams Player of the Week” honors for his 61-yard punt return. To be blunt, keeping Shepard and letting go of Crowder made no sense given how little Shepard has been used.

Why do I get the feeling that Crowder is going to be a problem on Sunday?

I’m not posting a quote this week. Instead, just a friendly word of advice. Brian Daboll, at least publicly, has understandably appeared a bit shell-shocked and beaten down this year. 2023 has obviously been a disaster. But he’s got to pick himself and the team up and just say “fuck it” at this point. The rest of this season is more about 2024 than 2023. Embrace the challenge and do the best you can with a positive attitude. Find “your guys” and ride with them.

As strange as it sounds, had the Giants been able to pull off the upset in Buffalo (and they should have won that game), they still had a shot at stabilizing this situation with a win against the Commanders. Now this game will likely determine just how deep the abyss is. A loss here and the Giants may be looking at a top-5 pick in the upcoming draft. Given the questions at quarterback, that might not be a bad thing.

Oct 172023
Bobby Okereke, New York Giants (October 15, 2023)

Bobby Okereke – © USA TODAY Sports


-Tyrod Taylor: 24/36 – 200 yards / 0 TD – 0 INT / 80.8 RAT

Taylor added 24 yards on 5 carries. The 180th pick (round 6) from Virginia Tech was drafted by the Ravens in 2011. He was later signed by Buffalo in 2015. At the time, Buffalo was ready to give up on 2013 first rounder E.J. Manuel and they had traded for New England backup Matt Cassel to add more intra-squad competition. Taylor won the job in preseason, earned a Pro Bowl nod, and was re-signed to a 5-year deal the following offseason. He was their guy. Taylor had an up-and-down three-year stint with team, but did lead them to 22-20 record over three seasons as the starter, including a playoff birth in 2017 before being let go as new management settled in.

This was Taylor’s first game back in Buffalo as the starter. The 34-year-old arrived as a Giant playing behind the league’s worst offensive line against a team that was top five defensively up front. A 15.5-point underdog. All these chips stacked against him, and I admire how well he played. He did not turn it over, he got it out on time, he knew where to go with the ball and when, and he took some shots downfield. The bar was not set high for Taylor, a guy I have always thought deserved another shot at a starting job. But there is no question his mental gaffe of checking to a run with :14 left and no timeouts from the BUF-1 yard line was a game-altering mistake. Experience or no experience, starter or backup, that was a juvenile error. I walked away with a positive vibe when it comes to Taylor, and Daniel Jones should learn a thing or two from him, but that mistake left a cloud over his performance.


-Saquon Barkley: 24 att – 93 yards / 4 rec – 5 yards

After missing weeks three through five games with an ankle injury, Barkley was back on the field after a week of uncertainty. I expected him to be eased back in, but as I said last week, this offense absolutely needs to be run-heavy. Even more run-heavy than you think. He was not eased back in. Barkley played 60 out of 77 snaps, which comes out to 78% and that is right where his career average is on a per game basis. He had 24 out of the team’s 29 rushing attempts from the backfield. He’s touched that number in one game just five times over his pro career. Barkley ran hard, put his head down, stayed decisive, and create a lot on his own. This was the hungry version of 26 that we have seen sporadically, and it makes everything else better. Without looking too far into the future and getting ahead of ourselves, this is the version of Barkley this team needs to be competitive. The one negative was an allowed sack in pass protection.

-Matt Breida and Eric Gray added 15 yards on 5 carries and nothing in the passing game.


-Subtly, this has been a tough group to study and write about over the first third of the season. The offense is broken, making it tough for them to get consistent looks. The most talented player, Jalin Hyatt, is rarely even looked at in the passing game; the offensive minds spent too much time force feeding Parris Campbell; and Daniel Jones has struggled to get them clean looks when the rare opportunities were there. In this game, their top three of Darius Slayton, Wan’Dale Robinson, and Hyatt combined for 18 targets, 15 catches, and 152 yards.

-Hyatt being involved (and the play-calling going run-heavy) made this offense feel different. While his box score stats do not jump off the screen, just the mere fact they were trying to go his way and he did come down with a 43-yard gain (called back by a bogus penalty on Evan Neal) changed how Buffalo played the receivers. Add in a 31-yard gain to Slayton and another shot downfield to him later (that he dropped), we now have proof this offense can make explosive plays happen in the passing game. Hopefully Jones took that in.

-Robinson is picking up steam. He was targeted 8 times, catching all 8. In fact, he has caught 22 of 25 targets this season. Out of the 95 receivers in the NFL with 14+ targets, Robinson has the highest catch percentage. While it is not anything to go crazy about (his 3.4 average depth of target ranks 93rd), I like how reliable he is becoming for an offense that will need a guy to be a 3rd-and-manageable weapon to keep moving the chains. His game is getting cleaner weekly.


-Darren Waller caught 5 passes for 42 yards, 3 of which went for a first down. He was targeted on the final two plays of the game. The original plan of this offense was going to be very much about Waller and the impact he had on the passing game in the red zone. I liked the play call, I liked the ball placement, I liked the effort to go up and get it. He was clearly held by BUF nickel Taron Johnson and it prevented him from another few inches on his leap toward the ball. That could have and should have been his first touchdown of the season. Waller had a positive impact on the passing game but was a huge liability in the running game. He allowed 2 TFL and was constantly blown up by linebackers and defensive linemen. This is a tricky situation if NYG stays run-heavy. While I have seen worse from some of the receiving threats at the position in the trenches, Waller will be a major speed bump to the offensive progress if he is asked to block often.

-Daniel Bellinger played 41 snaps and was not looked at in the passing game. He was average as a run blocker, but they did use him for pass blocking support, and he did well in that role.


-In a comedy of errors, the offensive line hits kept on coming soon after the start of the game. Justin Pugh, “signed off the couch” as he put it, was the starting left guard and Josh Ezeudu started another game at left tackle as Andrew Thomas remains out with a hamstring injury. On the tenth offensive play of the game for NYG, Ezeudu went out with a toe injury and Pugh was now playing left tackle against future Hall of Famer Von Miller. He allowed 2 sacks and was flagged for 2 false starts. In a normal situation, Pugh would be on a fast track to the Dud List. But considering the circumstances, I’m not going to come down on a guy who likely was not supposed to see the field for another week or two, and certainly not left tackle (a spot he played 5 snaps at in 2021, and zero between then and 2015). It was fun watching the Giants’ 2013 first round pick. Physically, it is easy to tell he is a shell of what he was (an average offensive lineman). However, the know-how and quickness in his feet combined with accurate hands show what the basics can do for an offensive lineman. Hold the horses on considering him a savior to the offensive line; he is still going to see his fair share of losses up front. But tip of the cap to him and he feels safer than a Jalen Mayfield, Markus McKethan-type.

-The team helped Evan Neal out by rolling away from him, getting the ball out fast, and providing help. While he did have a few wins on an island, there are still too many whiffs and too many instances of poor footwork. He allowed 3 TFL on plays where he needed to be faster laterally and/or to the second level. His best snaps were straight ahead run blocking where spacing was not as hard to manage. Overall, still a negative game grade and this is not including the phantom illegal blocking downfield penalty he was called for.

-Mark Glowinski ended positive, as he played both guard spots. Ben Bredeson finished with an average grade. They each allowed one TFL and one pressure. The negatives for them occurred on second-level blocks. They were both slow off the defensive lineman to peel up to the second level and BUF linebacker Terrel Bernard ran right by them multiple times. In relation to what we have seen this season, however, they were not bad.

-Markus McKethan lost his starting job to Pugh. However, following the injury to Ezeudu, he played nearly every snap. NYG did have more success running right than left and McKethan was a part of that. Like Neal, he is effective when run blocking because he can move guys off the ball and create some space. He allowed 2 pressures and graded out below average overall.


-Kayvon Thibodeaux finished with 4 pressures, which led the team, and just 1 tackle. He had a missed tackle, which would have been a sack. Nearly all his pass rush wins were initial victories that stem from his get off and outside rushing ability. Once stonewalled, he had a hard time breaking free from contact.

-Jihad Ward played 41 snaps, second most of this season, as Azeez Ojulari was out with an ankle injury. He had 2 tackles and 1 pressure. Fellow ex-Buffalo Bill Boogie Basham had another quiet, ineffective night on 9 snaps.


-The Dexter Lawrence / Leonard Williams duo has not yet been what we saw last season, but both played 80+% of the defensive snaps for the first time in 2023. Williams was more active against the run, finishing with 6 tackles while Lawrence played more into the block-eater and pass rusher roles. He had 3 pressures. Both were flagged for personal fouls on a fight in the third quarter that I will discuss below.

-The backup trio Rakeem Nunez-Roches, A’Shawn Robinson, and rookie Jordon Riley saw limited snaps and we did not see much other than assists from any of them. Nunez-Roches saw the most snaps and had two plays where he was stout and slippery against the BUF double team. His upside is not high, but I do like the energy and attitude he brings.


-Bobby Okereke is on a hot streak. He has been on a steady ascent for three weeks with his best performance as a Giant coming in this game. He led the team with 11 tackles, 2 TFL, and 2 PD. He also forced a fumble that Micah McFadden recovered and tipped a pass that McFadden intercepted. He is making high-difficulty tackles in space and he also delivered a violent downhill blow to BUF running back Damien Harris that sent him to the hospital with a neck injury. I never, ever want to see a player taken off the field on a stretcher and I am glad to report it looks like everything checked out. But the impact Okereke made in this game was all over the field and as elite as you are going to find in this game. McFadden finished second with 7 tackles and added 2 pressures in addition to the two turnovers. Excellent and impactful game by these two.

-Isaiah Simmons saw his playing time regress to the mean (11 snaps vs. 54 a week ago). He spied Josh Allen, one of the best scrambling quarterbacks in the game, a couple of times and added 1 tackle, 1 pressure.


-Rookie first rounder Deonte Banks is an ascending player. I track all rookies for Ourlads and he is playing the best among rookies at the position over the past two weeks (now that Christian Gonzalez is on IR). His coverage against Stefon Diggs showed elite movement and improved feel. He still gets a little grabby, as he was flagged for illegal contact (it was declined), but the route anticipation and trust in his speed has come a long way. He looks like best corner on this team already.

-Another young corner who is showing encouraging signs is Cor’Dale Flott. There were a couple of negative plays but when looking at him from snap to snap from the slot, he gives this team the best shot to defend passes. His movement is clean and crisp, but he is late to find the ball at times and he is good for a missed tackle each week (he had one in the game). Nevertheless, the combination of him and Banks looks positive when projecting long term.

-Adoree’ Jackson was also flagged (yes, all three corners were) and missed some time with a neck injury. He did come back on the field though. His reliability in coverage seems to be dropping. He allowed all 4 targets thrown his way to be completed for 63 yards and he missed a tackle. He is trending in the wrong direction.


-Jason Pinnock and Xavier McKinney played every snap once again. If nothing else, these two are consistent and available this season when it comes to staying on the field. It is rare to see a starting safety duo six games into a season not miss a single snap, which they have done. They combined for 10 tackles (more importantly zero misses), 1 pressure, and just one reception allowed. McKinney was close on a couple of errant Allen passes. I smell a big play from him coming.

-Dane Belton played 14 snaps and left the game early with an injury. He allowed 2 of 3 targets in his direction to be completed and he finished with 2 tackles. He was mistake-free against the run in contrast to his multiple blunders last week in Miami.


-K Graham Gano: 3/3 (Made 29, 43, 29)
-P Jamie Gillan: 4 punts / 50.2 avg – 49.8 net


-LB Bobby Okereke, CB Deonte Banks, WR Wan’Dale Robinson


-CB Adoree’ Jackson, DL Jihad Ward, TE Darren Waller


1. The Bills are an extremely volatile team. It should not surprise anyone because their quarterback is an extremely volatile player. He near single-handedly lost them the game in Week 1 against the Jets and we have seen this several time before out of him. In such a jam-packed AFC, they can beat anyone any given Sunday, but it seems so unlikely they will be able to string a bunch of positive performances together. Last year, they barely beat a Dolphins team in the postseason (by 3 points) with rookie 7th rounder Skylar Thompson playing quarterback. Allen turned the ball over three times in that game. They lost a week later by 17 at home to CIN in Allen’s lowest QB rating game of his career. Their defense had one of the most epic collapses in NFL history the year prior at Kansas City that ended their season. Buffalo is a good squad, but I do not trust them or their quarterback.

2. Defensive Tackle Ed Oliver is one of the most volatile players in the league. The ninth overall pick from the 2019 Draft flashes dominant performances every year. But when looking at the week-to-week, season-to-season contribution, he is very up-and-down. My scouting report on him coming out of Houston in 2019 read “…one of the more polarizing prospects in the class…I have never seen a DT move like him…won’t be able to handle NFL linemen…needs to improve his staying power and stay at home defense…” The Bills signed him to a big, 4-year extension this past offseason and I thought it was a terrible move considering they’re no longer in the cheap-quarterback tier. This team will need to spend on the offensive and defensive lines soon, but the money tied up into Oliver is going to make that a struggle. There is a reason why BUF can be run on up the middle. It’s him.

3. What is the barometer for coaching success in today’s NFL? Consistent production? Or a Super Bowl win? Or a Super Bowl appearance? How long does one get? Giants fans would likely sign on for a Sean McDermott run. He took over in 2017. Since then, they’ve won 70 games (third best), made the playoffs five times (missed once), and finished first place in the division three times. They’re extremely balanced offensively / defensively and they’re dominant at home (40-16). All of that and yet I do not see a team that can rise above their volatile play. Would BUF ever consider a move at head coach? It seems wild and I know the grass is not always greener on the other side, but their window is going to shrink yearly now that they’re paying a quarterback. I do think it is a fair question. Is McDermott the guy who will bring a Lombardi Trophy to Buffalo? Does it matter? I think it does.


1. Daniel Jones had a front row seat to Taylor’s return to Buffalo. What did I see that Jones can try and learn from? Two things stand out. Taylor was MUCH better at getting the ball out. There was no hesitation, no fear in his game. Jones, on multiple occasions since that win in ARI, failed to do this consistently. Taylor was playing against a top-tier pass rush matched up against horrid offensive line, too. The OL did play a notch better than in previous weeks, but they were still getting beat almost every snap. We did not hear about it nearly as much and that was a result of who was playing quarterback. Two, Taylor keeping eyes downfield and throwing it deep (even on broken plays) changed the perception of the offensive threats. It did create explosive plays. It did soften the safeties against the run. It did keep some aggression by the defense at bay. Jones is the starter and should be the starter. But Taylor did a couple things better than what I have seen from Jones this season. Time to step up.

2. On one play, Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, and Kayvon Thibodeaux all received personal fouls for their involvement in a fight against a trio of Buffalo offensive players. All penalties were offset, thus no negative result ensued. I think there is a time and place for actions like this. I also think certain players have more allowance for actions like this. Last year I spoke about the nucleus of this defense being those three (and Ojulari). And I’ll tell you what, I applaud all three for their action in that situation. They chose the right time and place, it was a result of Thibodeaux taking a late hit. BUF scored two plays later, though. They also scored on their next offensive drive. NYG held this team to 0 points through three quarters. The fight happened, BUF then scored 14 points in just over 10 minutes of game clock. I am all about a personal foul to show you have a teammate’s back. But the next step is to prevent the other team from getting the last laugh and stuffing it back in their face with a real game-altering result. Another sign this defense just isn’t there.

3. The rough patch of this schedule is over. Seven of their next eight games are against teams either .500 or worse. While that looks easier (as of now) on paper than what they’ve been up against over the first 6 weeks, it is no cake walk. And these are playoff contenders that view their matchup against NYG as an “easy” win. NYG put themselves in a tough spot by going 1-5 and this next stretch needs to produce at least five wins for them to enter the end of the year with a shot at contention. I’m not in the “fold your cards, start trading everyone” mode right now. But this start has made the middle third of their schedule a stretch where they have no margin for error. And it starts at home against the team Daniel Jones has had a ton of success against, if he plays.