Sep 192023
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (September 17, 2023)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports


Daniel Jones: 26/37 – 321 yards / 2 TD – 1 INT / 103.5 RAT

Check this out. With 1:09 left in the 2nd quarter, Jones was 6/12 – 43 yards / 0 TD – 1 INT. Now go take another look at the final stat line. From that moment he went 20/25 – 278 yards / 2 TD – 0 INT. Jones also had 59 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown. You want a real-life look at a quarterback who has put a team on his shoulders to lead the best comeback this franchise has had in the modern era? This was it. We have seen the toughness Jones exudes since his rookie year. We have seen him make big time throws in the second half to all three levels. We have seen him make plays with his legs that, maybe, five other starting quarterbacks in the NFL can make. But we have never seen it all together in one half throughout a three-score comeback. This goes in the top five list of Jones’ best performances. What was so different in the second half? Three things came to mind after the two re-watches.

One, his targets stopped dropping balls. More support from the surrounding cast, which he had very little of in the first six quarters of the season, will always open the door to better potential results. The Waller/Barkley drops in the first half especially were killers. Two, Jones looked much more decisive and brave in the pocket. He abandoned the play too soon three times in the first half rather than stepping up and keeping his eyes downfield. Once he had some momentum build upon the third quarter (the long Hyatt completion was so key for that), he maneuvered the pocket with more precision and/or opted to tuck and run north. His time-to-decision was evidently faster. Three, his accuracy and timing were near-perfect. The underneath-to-intermediate throws were on the money, properly setting up his targets to allow them to move upfield right away after the completion. Jones made over a handful of big-time throws, the kind of throws everyone in the media would be pointing out if it were Joe Burrow (0-2) or Justin Herbert (0-2). Jones had the look of a winner in this one. Whatever it takes, whatever the situation. A lot went against him, and he rose up and led this team to a huge win.


-Saquon Barkley: 17 att – 63 yards – 1 TD / 6 rec – 29 yards – 1 TD

Unfortunately, Barkley on the second to last play of the game got caught between a pile of linemen and a defender coming in from the side, trapping his foot underneath a lineman while being twisted in the other direction. He will miss time, possibly a month.

As for his performance in this game, he was Robin to Jones’ Batman. A duo who came up with the big plays in key moments, the plays you pay these guys to make. The 3rd-and-9 touchdown pass was execution by both at the highest level we see in the sport. That was Mahomes-Kelce caliber, a score that very few pass catchers could make in this league. Barkley’s performance did come with a few warts. For the second straight week, he dropped a ball he should have held onto that resulted in an interception. For the second straight week, I have multiple runs where he danced/stutter stepped in the backfield while a crease was there (or about to be there) for the taking. 2nd-and-1 he turns sideways/runs backwards. These things cannot happen, and more situational awareness and better vision are needed. I’ll touch more on his replacement while injured at the bottom.

-Matt Breida had one carry for 5 yards, the play before Graham Gano’s winning-field goal. Eric Gray deserves credit for a 14-yard punt return in the fourth quarter to start the NYG possession that ended up tying the game at 28 in the fourth quarter. Both will be in for big roles just two days from now.


-I discussed how much this offense needs to generate more explosive plays from the passing game. It is near-essential for the team to take the next step. Enter Darius Slayton and Jalin Hyatt. Slayton had 3 catches for 62 yards. His completions were 29, 18, and 15 yards. Hyatt had just 2 catches, both resulting in explosive plays (one for 58 yards, one for 31 yards) and were the two longest plays of the afternoon. Slayton also had a catch in the fourth quarter where he (barely) landed out of bounds that would have been an all-time highlight had the field been a few inches wider. Jones also underthrew him in the first half on a play where he had 2-3 steps on the corner. Hyatt is the key, here. A lot to be put on a third rounder but the way he moves and 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.

-Isaiah Hodgins did not contribute much from a volume perspective, but he did come down with the game-tying touchdown on a brilliant catch that was very high-difficulty. I did charge him with a drop in the third quarter on a fade pass from Jones, but I will admit it could have gone either way. Regardless, Hodgins is going to benefit the most if teams have to start respecting the deep passing game.

-Parris Campbell added a drop and was flagged for a false start on a potentially controversial two-point conversion attempt, which valid arguments could be made both for and against. After the penalty, Daboll opted to simply go for the extra point to make it 28-21 rather than the conversion in an effort to make it 28-22. Maybe it was one of those good mistakes. Sterling Shepard had 1 catch for 4 yards. He played just 10 snaps.


-We saw some of the biggest value Waller brings to the table in the second half. He finished with 6 catches for 76 yards (5/64 were in quarters three-four). Four of those went for a first down, which led the team and tied for the league-high among tight ends in Week 2. Watching the All-22 angle and everything makes simple sense. More vertical pressure on the secondary because of Slayton + Hyatt combined with linebackers who cannot hang with Waller creates separation and space. He seems to already have a strong chemistry with Jones and I expect it to further improve in time. The two negatives were a first quarter drop (knocked out by a defender) and the fact he does seem to struggle with stride length. The hamstring/nerve issue is real, and it may inhibit some of what I thought he could offer as a seam pusher up the field.

-Uneventful game for Daniel Bellinger, who played under half the snaps as the team was very heavy on 11 personnel usage (3 WR). He had two losses as a blocker that were a result of poor initial footwork, but he did throw a key block on Barkley’s touchdown run as he lined up in the backfield.


-Here is a good sign. The days and hours leading up to the game, Joshua Ezeudu and Markus McKethan were the main talking points. With Andrew Thomas being declared out with a hamstring injury early on, Ezeudu was placed into the left tackle spot over Matt Peart. He played 508 snaps in college there, but none in the NFL and almost zero practice time. McKethan, who was Ezeudu’s teammate at North Carolina, missed all of 2022 (his rookie season) after tearing his ACL during a scrimmage in training camp last August and would be taking his first pro snaps for the benched Mark Glowinski. The best part? All that pre-game chatter about the changes and it was the last time we heard anything about them.

How did they play? Ezeudu was flagged for a false start prior to the first play and allowed a one-yard sack on the second drive that was not a bad beat. From there? Nearly flawless. McKethan allowed a half-sack and 2 pressures. He struggled with two separate blitz pickups and getting to the linebackers at the second level. But what impressed me was how he never abandoned techniques. This guy is very big and long for a guard. His 35.5” arms and 85.5”wingspan are top five in the history of the position. Seeing him long-arm guys (even with his feet in the wrong spot) got him a few extra wins. Excellent firsts for both former Tar Heels and I will touch on the OL more below.

-Center John Michael Schmitz was rock solid all game. I still see him losing too much ground on these aggressive outside zone runs but he isn’t getting beat and that is what’s most important. I also saw him make a couple instinctive moves that I only see a handful of centers make in the league. Combine that with the perfect grade in pass protection and two QB sneak successes, his grade was very good.

-Ben Bredeson took a nasty blow to the head and was quickly diagnosed with a concussion. He allowed a TFL before exiting. Mark Glowinski came off the bench to play left guard, a spot he hadn’t played since 2017 with Seattle. After allowing a TFL right away, he also provided above average play.

-Evan Neal did look better than he did in week one but was still the one guy with a negative grade up front. He allowed 2 pressures, was flagged for a hold (that wiped out a touchdown), a false start, and received a ton of help throughout the game. I did note how important that help would be for the offense, but I still can’t get behind him as a player yet. Remember, I was very high on him as a prospect, and I still believe he can be a good player. But taking my bias out, Neal still struggles in pass protection way too much.


-Kayvon Thibodeaux has a lot of eyes on him, rightfully so. He was the 5th overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. He is 0-for-2 this season on hitting just the minimum standard for what is expected of him. He had 1 pressure which resulted in a QB hit and even that was on a stunt where ARI left him unblocked up the middle. I was also disappointed on the lack of backside pursuit on the ARI outside zone runs. Two blockers in front of him pulling to the opposite side and he did not react fast enough. Now, it is possible he was playing assignment football and I do not question his effort. Thibodeaux plays hard. He simply does not always have the quick and natural football sense against the run on complex running plays. The conclusion here is that he has been a no-show through two weeks to start off the year.

-Azeez Ojulari missed the game with a soft tissue injury again (hamstring). He has now missed 11 of his last 18 games and that does not include playing under 20% of the snaps in their two playoff games last year.

-Oshane Ximines was activated and had a QB hit and a half-TFL on a play he went unblocked. He had one tackle and a missed tackle. Boogie Basham played a very quiet 13 snaps. The depth looks poor, the starters look poor. Nothing is set in stone, but that is the cold hard truth with the first 10% of the season now in the rear view mirror.


-Another week of solid rotations. Another week of solid Dexter Lawrence play. Another week of overall underwhelming group performance. Lawrence did end up shining and came up big when the team needed him the most. 4 tackles, one TFL (two separate half-TFL plays), and 3 pressures. Just another day at the office for the All-Pro. His impact on stuffing the run, even the outside runs, has been near make or break. When he gets doubled and neutralized, bad things are likely to happen. When ARI tried to single-man him, his push shrunk the creases to near-nonexistent.

-Leonard Williams added 2 pressures but finished with no tackles. I expect more out of him, to be blunt. He is getting moved too easily in the running game and he has not been getting off blocks like he did last year. He needs to find his groove after playing just 12 snaps in preseason. Lawrence is doing his part, Williams needs to step up and do his. It will impact multiple facets of the defense.

-The trio of accessories all had stretches of solid play, but they’re all limited. Hence why they are backups, I suppose. A’Shawn Robinson finished with three tackles and a half-TFL. D.J .Davidson was active in place of Jordon Riley, which I like because these two will be competing for snaps all season and that will bring the best out them respectively. He added one tackle. Rakeem Nunez-Roches struggled to make any sort of impact besides giving Williams the occasional breather. He was overwhelmed by double teams on running plays. These three guys combined for 31 pass rush snaps, and they did not accrue a single pressure. On a team that is struggling to get to the passer, it is a bigger deal in my eyes than it admittedly probably should be. Somebody needs to step up there. And it’s not like they’re doing well against the run. They’re averaging 6th-most yards per carry allowed among the 28 teams that have played two games so far.


-Add Bobby Okereke to the list of guys who looked like completely different players in the second half than the first. Almost as if the real one showed up at halftime and put on the #58 jersey before they came back out of the tunnel. He finished with 8 tackles, one for a loss. Early on, Okereke was not filling his gap hard or fast enough. But when the team needed big stops, he rose to the occasion especially in the third quarter. On the flip side, he was flagged for a pass interference that called off an interception, he was flagged for a personal foul for hitting the quarterback’s helmet, and he abandoned his gap on the Dobbs rushing touchdown. Too many killer plays for one guy, the green dot guy. But he was a big factor in the second half and it took him off the dud list.

-Micah McFadden got on that list early as well but stayed on it, unfortunately. He had four missed tackles. One of them resulted in a touchdown, one of them would have been a take down for a short loss, and another one would have resulted in a major loss. We know what he is at this point. He is effective in traffic because he is quick, low to the ground, and powerful. He is not even half as good in space and/or while moving laterally. The missed tackles need to stop, it changes drives.

-Isaiah Simmons played 13 snaps, again as expected, nine of which he dropped into coverage. He finished with 2 tackles and a pressure on a scramble. The speed showed up and made a difference in two occasions. Do I expect him to play more? Not yet. Do I expect him to take over for McFadden? Absolutely not. That isn’t his position.


-Rookie Deonte Banks played all 64 snaps, a positive considering he left Week One early with cramps. He is a work in progress, which is stating the obvious. He flashes excellent sheer talent and ability. He is physical and his coverage is borderline too grabby. He was flagged for illegal contact for the second straight week. His biggest negatives came against the run. While it is not priority A or B for a corner, Banks needs to stop missing tackles (2) and losing track of his edge responsibilities. The game is too fast to make up for a bad initial read.

-Adoree’ Jackson also missed a tackle, playing every snap. He finished with 5 tackles and allowed 4 catches on 6 targets. Most of those passes were incredibly tough assignments on quick strikes but he did come up with two big pass breakups. He looks more comfortable in coverage, but as I said a few weeks ago, his lack of presence in tackling from nickel will be an issue this defense needs to cope with.

-Rookie Tre Hawkins was not involved much on his 40 snaps. He came up with an impressive deep ball pass break up where he stayed on top of the assignment and was inches away from the interception. He, too, missed a tackle and he also made a bad read on the Marquis Brown short touchdown catch. He looked hesitant and unsure, and like Banks, the game is too fast for that. He was taken off the field on their two-corner looks, where Jackson went back to the outside.


-Xavier McKinney played all 64 snaps and Jason Pinnock missed just one play while he had a contact lens replaced. The former had 7 tackles and a pass break up. He missed a tackle and was a flagged for a questionable personal foul in the first half. It was a solid game for a guy who may be the best blitzer on the team. Pinnock led the team with 10 tackles, but also missed 3. He plays so fast that at times it is too fast for his own good. I’ll take the fast mistakes though; you can live with those. He had an interception that was called back, he had 1.5 TFL, and easily looks like the fastest reactive player on the defense. This unit is not creating turnovers but if/when they do, the two safeties will be involved. I still think they miss Julian Love (off to a tough start in SEA), but the group overall is not even close to one of the concerns defensively.

-Bobby McCain and Dane Belton combined for just 8 snaps and made no impact.


K Graham Gano: 1/1 (made 34 and a long extra point)
P Jamie Gillan: 3 punts / 37.0 avg – 37.0 net


-QB Daniel Jones, OT Joshua Ezeudu, DT Dexter Lawrence


-LB Micah McFadden, ED Kayvon Thibodeux, OT Evan Neal


1. The talk surrounding ARI, for months, has centered around tanking for the 2024 NFL Draft. This franchise has their own pick (expected to be top 5) and the Texans pick (acquired in a draft-day trade, also expected to be top 5). That is realistically going to probably land them two top 5 picks. You can even set a solid market on them being two of the top three picks. They traded away a solid OL depth / starting guard in Josh Jones right before the season (again to HOU) and they traded Simmons to NYG. They cut DeAndre Hopkins. They traded for their starting quarterback in the final week of August. Who knows what they are doing with Kyler Murray? All of this in a year where the next big thing at quarterback is likely to declare for the 2024 Draft AND there is a generational wide receiver likely to be there as well. No, I do not think this team cares about the loss yesterday.

2. About 14 months ago, quarterback Kyler Murray signed a 5-year/$230 million extension with the club. $160 million guaranteed. Can they actually move on from this deal without crippling the team’s ability to spend? In short, yes. They could move him next offseason and absorb $46.2 million in dead money. Yes, a lot of money but we have seen worse. Atlanta recently did something in that tier with Matt Ryan. They could wait until after June 1 to trade him and absorb $13 million dead cap in 2023, $33.3 million in 2025. Considering what I know about General Manager Monti Ossenfort, I think they will make the move as soon as possible. The interesting debate is how much he plays in 2023. They may not want to fall into accidental wins (Murray can still take over a game backyard football style), but they do want to increase his value to QB-hungry teams that are ready to win. This will be incredibly interesting to follow.

3. Prior to 2023, here is the list of the first draft picks this team has made since 2014: TE Trey McBride, LB Zaven Collins, LB Isaiah Simmons, QB Kyler Murray, QB Josh Rosen (I was very wrong on him too), Haason Reddick, Robert Nkemdiche, D.J. Humphries, Deone Bucannon. There is more to a draft class than the first rounder, NYG fans know that. But that many misses in that short span of a time (including 5 picks in the front half of round 1) is the quickest way to getting fired. To be frank, I am surprised some guys in that front office have held onto their jobs for that long. But with some of the things I know about the management within that organization behind the scenes, I can’t say I am surprised. Not everyone in the NFL has a job because they truly deserve it. Previous ARI front offices (and even some coaches) are prime examples of that. Better days ahead.


1. The Saquon Barkley injury is, unfortunately, something we have grown somewhat used to over the years on a season-to-season basis. The multiple serious injuries (those that cause multiple consecutive games missed) suffered to the lower body are such a killer for a back who has a game built on shiftiness and burst. Instead of harping on him and running back contracts, the better discussion centers around how to replace the production. Nobody on this roster is replacing Barkley. But the Moneyball approach is where to go in discussion; how do they replace his yards and touchdowns? It needs to be a team effort, one that is so much more doable than the previous times this has happened because of better depth. Sure, Matt Breida and Eric Gray and Gary Brightwell will get the carries, but nobody needs to be the guy. Maybe Jones gets more designed (but safe) carries. Maybe we see more dump offs to Campbell and (eventually) Wan’Dale Robinson. Maybe Gray excels where Barkley struggles (vision, feel, decision making). Maybe they get more aggressive downhill burst from Breida/Brightwell. The options are plenty and it should not crush the offense.

2. Million dollar question. What is the ideal offensive line configuration now? Let’s discuss this from the perspective that Andrew Thomas is back, and Ben Bredeson is healthy. Both may be out Thursday, though. When they’re ready to go, I think they roll with Thomas-Ezeudu-Schmitz-McKethan-Neal for the time being. Glowinski and Bredeson off the bench are above average when considering depth around the league. Peart is the gameday swing tackle, but Ezeudu is the number one backup outside. I am not going down the path of replacing Neal with Ezeudu, it’s not even a thought. I am not considering Neal to guard, it’s not even a thought. The question I have is about Ezeudu. His snaps at guard have not been very good so far, but he was great at left tackle in his pro debut. As pleased as I was with his game, let’s not forget the Arizona group of pass rushers is a strong contender for worst in the NFL. We will have a clearer picture after the game Thursday night.

3. This defense just looks terrible. While they did step up in the second half, I am considering the entire game within my evaluation. They’re one of four teams that have played 2 games as of this writing that has not forced a turnover (Dallas has forced 7 and Philadelphia has forced 6). They are the ONLY team in the league without a single sack. They’re second to last in pressure rate. What is the solution? It seems Martindale is hesitant to blitz. His rate is middle of the league right now (after leading the NFL in 2022). The blitzes on pass plays resulted in 50% completion rate against ARI. Is he afraid of leaving the young corners on a true island play to play? Is he trying to play the game of deception when everyone plans for more blitzing? The front can’t get home with four pass rushers. The results can’t be too much worse than they are right now. I suggest Martindale go back to his roots and force things to happen.

4. A 38-7 loss against the Eagles in the Divisional Playoffs. A 40-0 loss to the Cowboys week one. A 20-0 deficit to one of the worst teams in the NFL after two quarters of football. That is a 10-quarter span where this team was being outscored 98-7. That is historically bad. Not just bad; historic. This brought back a memory that many have chosen to forget. In year one of the Ben McAdoo era, NYG went 11-5 and lost a closer playoff game to the Packers. Eli Manning threw for 4,000+ yards, Landon Collins and Damon Harrison both made the All-Pro Team, and Odell Beckham finished third in the NFL in both catches and yards. Things were looking better than they had in 5 years. Fast forward to the very next season (2017), NYG started off 0-5, 1-8, and 2-13. McAdoo was fired in early December. The results on the field here in 2023 were appearing like something we have seen. Building momentum under a new Head Coach just to see it fall off a cliff. But as I, and many others, have said, this regime is different. Simply, different. I hate the “must win” label a game has in Week 2, but I will say I think this win will have a spillover impact very much like Week 1 in Tennessee did last season when NYG went for 2 instead of tying it up with an extra point. But there is more to be done, more to prove. The Giants have played some of the worst football league wide in 6 of 8 quarters. And this coaching staff called consecutive timeouts in the 4th quarter (resulting in a penalty). The short week is a big test.

Sep 172023
Graham Gano, New York Giants (September 17, 2023)

Giants celebrate game-winning field goal – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants at least temporarily saved their season with one of the most memorable comebacks in team history on Sunday, defeating the Arizona Cardinals 31-28 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona. The Giants trailed the Cardinals 20-0 at halftime and 28-7 in the third quarter. Twenty-four unanswered points propelled them to the franchise’s largest comeback since the 1940s. However, the victory may have come at a price with running back Saquon Barkley suffering a potentially significant injury to his right ankle late in the game.

Following up on their 40-0 embarrassing performance against the Dallas Cowboys last Sunday night, the Giants continued to look dreadful in the first half against the Cardinals on both offense and defense.

How bad was it?

New York’s five first-half possessions resulted in five first downs, 81 total yards, three punts, one interception, and the half ending with a sack of quarterback Daniel Jones. Meanwhile, Arizona’s five offensive possessions resulted in 16 first downs, 241 total yards, a missed field goal, two touchdowns, and two field goals. At the break, the lifeless Giants were all-but-dead, trailing 20-0.

The Giants received the football to start the second half. After a touchback on the kickoff, all it took was three plays for New York to finally get on the scoreboard for the first time this season. Jones completed a 58-yard pass to wide receiver Jalin Hyatt down to the Arizona 17-yard line. Two plays later, Jones ran around left end for a 14-yard touchdown. Cardinals 20 – Giants 7.

That momentum was short lived as four minutes later, the Cardinals extended their lead 28-7 after an 8-play, 75-yard drive ended with a 3-yard touchdown pass by quarterback Joshua Dobbs and then a 2-point conversion. It was Arizona’s fifth consecutive scoring drive of the game.

Back came the Giants with a 75-yard drive of their own, this one taking 12 plays and ending with a 1-yard touchdown run by Barkley. On this possession, Jones completed a 29-yard pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton and ran for 13 yards on 3rd-and-12. Cardinals 28 – Giants 14.

The New York defense started off a bit shaky again late in the third quarter, giving up two first downs, including a 16-yard pass play on 3rd-and-11. But the defense stiffened at the New York 44-yard line and the Cardinals punted early in the fourth quarter.

The Giants drove for their third consecutive touchdown on the next series, which travelled 80 yards in 13 plays. Jones connected with Slayton for 15 yards and tight end Darren Waller for 25 on the first two plays. Jones also gained two yards on 4th-and-1. The drive ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to Barkley on third-and-goal to make the score 28-21.

The Giants’ defense forced their first three-and-out on Arizona’s next possession and the New York offense started their fourth drive of the second half at their own 36-yard line with 7:31 to play. Jones scrambled for 15 yards on the first snap and then followed that up with a 31-yard pass to Hyatt to the Arizona 18-yard line. On 2nd-and-11, Jones connected with Waller for 13 yards to the 6-yard line. However, a touchdown run by Jones was nullified due to an offensive holding penalty on right tackle Evan Neal. After a 5-yard run by Barkley, Jones threw an 11-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins on 2nd-and-goal. The game was now tied at 28-28 with 4:25 to play.

Aided by two false start penalties on the Cardinals, the Giants’ defense forced another three-and-out and the Giants got the ball back at their own 28-yard line with 2:31 left in the game. Barkley gained 18 yards on back-to-back passing and rushing plays. Jones then hit Slayton for 18 yards and Barkley gained 16 yards on a run. The Giants were now on the Arizona 20-yard line. Barkley lost three yards and then gained two on a play where he was hurt. Running back Matt Breida picked up five yards on 3rd-and-11 to set up place kicker Graham Gano’s game-winning 34-yard field with 19 seconds left.

The Cardinals did gain 19 yards on the first play of their final possession. But they were at their own 39-yard line with nine seconds left on the clock. The game ended after two more deep incompletions.

Jones finished the game 26-of-37 for 321 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception (which was off of the hands of Barkley). He also ran the ball nine times for 59 yards. Waller caught six passes for 76 yards. Slayton had 62 yards on three catches and Hyatt 89 yards on two catches. Barkley carried the ball 17 times for 63 yards and one touchdown.

Defensively, the Giants allowed 379 yards, including 151 yards rushing. For the second game in a row, the defense had no sacks or turnovers.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants activated (standard elevation) RB Taiwan Jones and OLB Oshane Ximines from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster.

Inactive for the game were LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring), WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), OLB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring), TE Lawrence Cager, DL Jordon Riley, CB Darnay Holmes, and S Gervarrius Owens.

OG Ben Bredeson (concussion) left the game in the second half. RB Saquon Barkley potentially seriously injured his right ankle late in the game. Tellingly, Barkley did not address the media after game. X-rays were reportedly negative.

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.

Sep 152023
Dexter Lawrence, New York Giants (September 10, 2023)

Dexter Lawrence – © USA TODAY Sports

All it took was 60 minutes of atrocious football to wipe out nearly most of the trust and goodwill created by Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll during the 2022 NFL season. Understandably, fans are now back to questioning everything. Why shouldn’t they? Twelve years of shoddy football and getting embarrassed by division rivals on national television will do that.

Too harsh? Too short-sighted? Have some patience?

Fuck off.

You had an entire offseason to prepare for the opening game, against an opponent that was one of your measuring sticks for progress. And the result was 40-0? It doesn’t get worse than that. In the entire 100-year history of the sport, there have been few more embarrassing results than that. The Dallas Cowboys were literally laughing at the Giants on the sidelines. Laughing.

The entire New York Giants franchise has a lot of work to do if they are going to regain any respect and trust.


  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee – doubtful)
  • TE Darren Waller (hamstring – probable)
  • LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring – questionable)
  • OT Matt Peart (elbow – probable)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (hamstring – doubtful)
  • LB Cam Brown (ankle – probable)
  • CB Deonte Banks (calf – probable)
  • CB Cor’Dale Flott (hamstring – probable)
  • S Gervarrius Owens (hamstring – probable)
  • PK Graham Gano (ankle – probable)

In the entire offseason, the Giants made ONE significant addition to the offensive line, the drafting of John Michael Schmitz in the second round. The Giants did not draft another offensive lineman; they didn’t even sign an undrafted offensive lineman. In free agency, the team signed reserve centers J. C. Hassenauer (who is on IR) and Sean Harlow (who is on Dallas’ practice squad). The argument was made they were going to develop the young players they had here. Thus far, that plan has failed miserably. The unit that was considered the weak spot of the entire team just played one of the worst games at the position in franchise history, which is saying something given some of the offensive lines this team has fielded in the past century.

I would argue the final score wasn’t the worst thing that happened on Sunday night. It was the play of Evan Neal. If Neal wasn’t the seventh overall player taken in the draft, he would probably be benched by now. Is it a lack of agility, confidence, technique? The fact that he missed two critical weeks of training camp with a concussion? Who knows? We can only go by what we see and that ain’t pretty. So far, the “sure thing” offensive tackle in the 2022 NFL draft has been a bust. From this game on, he’s fighting to remain in the NFL.

Some legitimate excuses can be made for Neal. Only one can be made for Mark Glowinksi’s atrocious performance. Glowinski was signed in free agency last year not to be a stud, but simply to be a steadying, veteran presence at right guard. In 2022, he was a bit too up and down, not living up to his 3-year, $18 million contract as the first free agent Joe Schoen signed. On Sunday night, he was an utter disaster, playing his worst game in his solid nine-year career. What is going on? I have no idea. It’s not his age. Glowinksi is 31 years old.

The only excuse for all of these guys is just how little they played together in the summer. I think the Giants made a mistake not settling on their starting unit much earlier in camp. I also think they made a mistake not playing them more in the preseason. Let’s hope that is the case because the alternative theories are far worse to contemplate.

OK, this is the offensive preview and I’m on paragraph five and still talking about the offensive line. We all know why. If the offensive line can’t block, nothing else matters. The Giants spent much of their resources this offseason re-signing Daniel Jones and upgrading the weapons around him. The opening night result? 14 first downs. 173 total yards. 63 net passing yards. Again, 63 net passing yards.

Who is playing quarterback and who he is throwing to doesn’t matter a lick if the offensive line can’t pass block for more than one second. It just doesn’t. You can only game plan so much. Talent and execution will win the day.

Offensive Line Coach Bobby Johnson has said over and over that who plays and who doesn’t is based player performance. He repeated that line a few times this offseason. “The players make the choice for us.” It’s going to be very interesting to see what happens here if the right side of the offensive line doesn’t dramatically improve. At the same time, the injury to Andrew Thomas certainly complicates matters.

The Cardinals are not to be taken lightly on the defensive side of the football. On opening day, their defensive gave the Washington Commanders fits with six sacks, six tackles for losses, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries (including one for a defensive touchdown), and one interception. Their head coach, Jonathan Gannon, was the defensive coordinator of the Philadelphia Eagles last year. He knows how to play the Giants.

Wink Martindale and his defensive players are very fortunate that the media and fans are focusing almost exclusively on the Giants’ offensive woes this week. Because the defense laid an egg on Sunday night too. The yardage figures were subdued mainly because Dallas had fewer plays and offensive possessions than the Giants. Nevertheless, the defense allowed five scoring drives, including three rushing touchdowns. Dallas was 6-of-13 (46 percent) on third down and 1-of-2 on fourth down. The Giants had no sacks only hit the quarterback three times. They did not create a turnover.

Being down 16-0 in the first quarter had to take an emotional toll, but good defenses have to rise up. If your opponent makes a play on special teams or on defense, you need to respond in kind. Easier said than done? Sure, but that’s what good defenses do. Where was Bobby Okereke, Azeez Ojulari, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Leonard Williams, etc.? Make a play.

The Cardinals are not good on offense. Career back-up Joshua Dobbs is the starting quarterback. He’s started three games in the NFL, with two touchdowns and three interceptions. Against the Commanders, he did complete 21-of-30 passes, but for only 132 yards and no touchdowns. He was also sacked three times and fumbled three times (losing two). Arizona running backs rushed for 58 yards (receivers had more success on three carries).

In a game where the New York offense may struggle again, the Giants defense needs to dominate this game. Create turnovers and opportunities for the offense. No excuses. At least perform as well as Washington’s defense did in holding Arizona to 210 yards of offense.

At this point, Thomas McGaughey should be coaching for his job. The blocked field goal opened the flood gates and got the Giants’ best offensive player hurt. Graham Gano, the team’s best special teams player, also got his ankle rolled.

It’s time to keep score. McGaughey is 0-1 in 2023. And his press conference with the media on Thursday suggests he knows he’s on the spot.

I’m simply going to use the same quote I used last week, as it is even more appropriate this week.

Joe Schoen on the 2023 season: “We haven’t played a game yet. So, we’ll see. Again, we’re going to continue to prepare for Dallas and get ready for the season. I think I said it last year at the same press conference: it takes a few weeks into the regular season to figure out who the team is, how we’re going to react when adversity strikes, and how we’re going to handle if there’s success, or if you’re down at halftime.

“I think that showed last year against Tennessee in the second half. I didn’t know how the team was going to react coming out of halftime or if you’re playing Green Bay in London and you’re down in the second quarter, 17-3. We still have a lot to learn about this team. We’ll see when it comes to Sunday against the Cowboys, how they’re going to come together as a team and gel and how they’re going to react in those situations.”

I’ll be honest with you. I never saw 40-0 coming. I doubt Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll did either. As scary it is to think that Dallas may simply be that good, it’s even scarier to think that the Giants may be that bad. I don’t think they are, but if the offensive line does not dramatically improve, the rest of the offense and defense won’t matter. And special teams now is 0-1 with a significant role in the first loss. The Giants absolutely must end this weekend at 1-1 heading into Thursday night’s game against heavily-favored and likely-to-win San Fransisco.

The season could very much be on the line. In week two. Sad, but it is what it is.

Dec 162020
Andrew Thomas and Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 13, 2020)

Andrew Thomas and Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports


Two teams going in two completely different directions. ARI came into this week 14 match-up losers of three straight, and four of their last five. Their lone win over that stretch came at home against BUF at the hands of a last second Hail Mary. On the other hand, NYG was coming off 4 straight wins, including one over SEA the previous week. Starting quarterback Daniel Jones was back in the lineup, Blake Martinez was active after missing some practice time because of a back injury, and the overall health of the NYG squad ranked near the top of the league in a sport where attrition means everything.

The last time Jones turned the ball over was November 2 (week 8) against Tampa Bay. He then went three straight games without giving the ball to the other team (plus he missed last week’s match-up because of a hamstring injury). That is simply mentioned because the one glaring black eye to the start of Jones’ career has revolved around turning the ball over, namely fumbles. It has been getting cleaned up, NYG has been winning, and the arrow for both Jones and the franchise was pointing up. That isn’t how things began, however.

Jones was sacked by former Giant Markus Golden, who was traded by the club in October, on an untouched rush. Jones was starting his release and the timing of the hit was perfect for a forced fumble. Golden scooped up the loose ball himself and returned it to the NYG 9-yard line. The NYG defense stepped up though. They came up with 3rd and 4th down stops from the 1-yard line, keeping the score at 0-0. The NYG offense responded with a 3-and-out before punting the ball back to ARI, where Christian Kirk had a 24-yard return. ARI started their second possession from the NYG 38. This time, ARI was able to put points on the board via a 34-yard field goal by Mike Nugent.

NYG gained a combined 15 yards on their next two drives. ARI started their fourth possession of the game in NYG territory, the third time they started near midfield or better. The NYG defense remained tough though, keeping them to another 3 points. ARI was up 6-0. It was time for the sleepy offense to step up, as they didn’t want a repeat first half performance from last week where they didn’t score at all. That attempt would have to wait. Dion Lewis fumbled the ensuing kick return, giving ARI the ball at the NYG 21-yard line. For the fourth time in five possessions, ARI was starting near midfield or better and it was the third time they were inside the NYG 40. The NYG defense gave up a 15-yard run to ARI running back Kenyan Drake but got it to 3rd and Goal from the 7. Kyler Murray was pressured by multiple rushers and heaved a fade away pass toward the back of the end zone. There was one ARI tight end and three NYG defensive backs in the area but it was Dan Arnold who brought it in for the touchdown. ARI went up 13-0.

The NYG offense approached midfield for the first time but they were stopped on a 3rd-and-7 attempt where Jones did not throw to the open receiver (Lewis) for the second time in as many possessions. They were forced to punt back to ARI and Kirk once again returned it to near midfield. They had under 20 seconds left and no timeouts, but a few chunk gains got them within field goal striking distance. Nugent missed a 55-yard attempt, but it was nullified by a late false start whistle, thus creating a shot for ARI to go for a last second touchdown. With Murray and wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins on the field, this was not something to overlook. Murray ended up being pressured and scrambled his way down the field for 12 yards and was taken down. It was 13-0 at halftime and NYG was out-gained in yards 199-58.

To make matters worse, ARI began the second half with the ball. They manufactured an 11-play drive that consisted of 8 runs and 3 passes. The final run was a 1-yard touchdown by Drake. It was 20-0 and NYG was entering a do-or-die situation to keep this game reachable. Similar to last week’s game in Seattle, Wayne Gallman was featured at the start of the second half after having a quiet first two quarters. He touched the ball on the first 5 plays, gaining 35 yards. Golden Tate then came up with the big play, making a catch in traffic for a 39-yard gain that brought NYG to the 1-yard line. Dion Lewis then snuck his way into the end zone on the next play and just like that, NYG was on the board but still down 20-7.

The NYG defense forced a punt on the ensuing ARI drive, giving Jones and the offense an opportunity to take the full momentum of this game back. The response? 3-and-out. NYG had a 3rd-and-1 and the play call plus decision by Jones created a deep pass to Sterling Shepard. It fell incomplete.

Kenyan Drake fumbled two straight plays on the next drive but NYG couldn’t grab either one of them. ARI ended up putting 3 more points on the board via a 34-yard field goal by Nugent as the fourth quarter was under way. The next NYG drive netted -1 yard over three plays and they punted yet again. Punter Riley Dixon barely wore his sideline jacket in this one. The NYG defense, despite showing 23 points allowed, continued to play solid football. They forced another ARI punt after two straight plays that saw takedowns behind the line of scrimmage. The NYG offense continued to falter, however. Their next drive consisted of Jones being sacked twice and two false starts by the offensive line. NYG was forced to punt.

With about 5 minutes left, NYG started using their timeouts but ARI was able to push the ball down the field with a balanced attack. This drive netted another 3 points, this time via a 30-yard field goal by Nugent who was perfect on the day. It was 26-7 with just over 2 minutes left. Colt McCoy trotted out with the offense, as Jones was visibly limping during and after the previous drive. The final offensive play was McCoy being sacked by Haason Reddick, his career high fifth of the day, which forced a fumble that was recovered by ARI.

NYG loses 26-7.


-Daniel Jones: 11-21 / 127 yards / 0 TD – 0 INT / 70.9 RAT

Jones did not have any rushing attempts on the day. After missing a game with his hamstring injury and unsure of his status until late in the week, Jones did not look like himself in this one. I can’t imagine missing one game can make a player “rusty.” What I think happened here was simple. Jones knew he was not going to be playing with his normal arsenal of personal weaponry. Designed runs weren’t a part of the game plan and scrambling was something he had to avoid as much as possible. That, combined with a sneaky-good ARI pass defense filled with quality defensive backs and a NYG offense line that started to break down in the second half, he just seemed to have no shot. Can this be pegged on him? Not completely. However, he missed Dion Lewis on two straight 3rd-down plays that easily could have altered the trajectory of the game. He fumbled three times and even though one of them was completely not his fault, the other two showed weak ball handling. Jones looked lost in this one.


-Wayne Gallman: 12 att / 57 yards and 3 rec / 16 yards

Gallman had a really quiet first half. He did touch the ball 8 times but only gained 25 yards (3.1 yards per). We saw a different level of production in the second half for the second week in a row. He touched the ball 6 times and gained 48 yards (8 yards per). I think we are at the point now where Gallman needs to be the feature player on this offense. We need to see more early down running with him, we need to see him getting the ball on 3rd-and-short, and we need to get him the ball in the screen game. This is no longer a back who had a couple of decent games in a row. Especially if Jones is going to be limited, Gallman needs to start getting the ball 20+ times per game at the minimum.


-Darius Slayton was targeted 8 times and caught 3 passes for 31 yards. It has been a disappointing, dry run for Slayton over the past 2 months. He hasn’t scored a touchdown since October 18, he has 10 catches over the past 5 games, and he hasn’t eclipsed 100 yards since October 11. He was man-handled by the physicality of Patrick Peterson on a few occasions, both as the ball came at him and off the line. This continues to be a major issue for him.

-Sterling Shepard had 3 catches for 35 yards and Golden Tate had 1 catch for 39 yards. There aren’t many teams that have gotten less production from their wide receivers this season. More on that below.


-Evan Engram had 2 catches for 18 yards. Both of them came on the last drive of the game when Colt McCoy was under center and the game was basically all but over. He was nowhere to be found in this one.

-Kaden Smith had a catch and Levine Toilolo’s main contribution came on special teams with a couple of physical hits. Neither had a strong impact, good or bad, on the game.


-A week after Andrew Thomas put out the top performance of his rookie season, he took a significant step back. He allowed 2 sacks and 2 pressures in addition to be flagged for a false start. Before the game I was speaking with a former scout and we agreed that Reddick was a worst-case matchup for Thomas. Short, shifty, powerful, and bendy. Thomas just couldn’t seem to square Reddick up and his hands + feet were never in sync. Myles Garrett is on tap.

-The right side of Kevin Zeitler and Cameron Fleming did a nice job in the running game but both allowed a sack and a pressure each in pass protection. Rookie Matt Peart rotated in for a bit (11 snaps total) and allowed a sack. Shane Lemieux had a rough day for the second straight week. He allowed 2 pressures and a sack and Will Hernandez also allowed a sack when he rotated in. Center Nick Gates was the only offensive lineman who didn’t allow a sack on the day but he, too, did not grade out above average. Overall, this was one of the worst OL performances we have seen all year.


-Carter Coughlin led the way in this group, as his role appears to be increasing more and more. He has clearly made an impression on the coaching staff, as he has played 39%, 63%, and 81% of the defensive snaps over the past 3 games, respectively. He set a career-high 7 tackles, added a TFL, and pressured the QB two times. They are moving him all over the place and he is thriving.

-Jabaal Sheard had 2 tackles, 1 TFL, and a pressure that led to a sack. For a veteran signed in-season of the street, Sheard has played well. Cam Brown added a pressure but still hasn’t seen a consistent volume of snaps. I think this pass rush could benefit from seeing him on the field more and remember, he is not just a pass rusher. I would argue he can impact the game more as a run stuffer based on what I’ve seen this year.


-Dalvin Tomlinson had the best game of the trio that has been playing well all year. He had 3 tackles, a sack, a TFL, and 2 pressures. He was a factor all afternoon, constantly breaking through the line and forcing the offense to react to him. Really solid performance here.

-A week after Leonard Williams had his best game as a Giant, he failed to pressure the quarterback one time, a first this season. He did add 4 tackles and he maneuvered his way off blocks well against the run. When Williams struggles to impact the passing game, there just isn’t much on this defense that can fill the void.

-B.J. Hill, Austin Johnson, and Dexter Lawrence all added a pressure, respectively. Hill also added a TFL and Lawrence added 3 tackles, including a key 3rd-and-goal stop at the 1-yard line. Overall, the NYG run defense wasn’t good in this one, but these guys all did their job up front.


-We were unsure all week the status of Blake Martinez after suffering a back injury last week. He ended up playing but it was clear he was laboring out there. While he had 7 tackles, it was evident he didn’t have the same pop on contact and he looked a little slow to fill.

-Tae Crowder is evolving into a quality blitzing linebacker. He had 2 pressures and 4 tackles. David Mayo and Devante Downs didn’t play much, but when they did, they struggled. They weren’t beating blockers to the spots and it created extra room for the ARI running backs. They played less than half the snaps Crowder did.


-James Bradberry had a really solid game. He had 7 tackles and a high-difficulty pass break up in the end zone that could have easily been a touchdown. He wasn’t matched up against DeAndre Hopkins for the entire game but when he was, I thought he was the winner. Isaac Yiadom added 3 tackles and played a physical brand. He got beat in zone coverage a couple times where it didn’t look like he quite knew what was going on around him. Again, he plays way too scared of getting beat deep and it allows for a lot of action underneath to transpire.

-Rookie nickel Darnay Holmes was out with an injury, thus Logan Ryan filled that role for the majority of the game. He had 5 tackles and a near-interception pass break-up that was knocked away by Hopkins; savvy move by the veteran receiver. Ryan missed 3 tackles on the day. One of the more important players on this defense, Ryan is often a hit-or-miss player and today he missed too many times.


-With Ryan playing more nickel corner in this one, we saw rookie Xavier McKinney on the field for 38 snaps, just under 50%. He made 4 tackles and showed his superior athleticism and burst. Him flying around with Jabrill Peppers (more on him below) was fun to watch and could be a big thing in the future if the veteran stays here long term. From the All-22 tape, McKinney looked more reactionary than instinctual, which is common for a young safety in the league.

-Julian Love had 9 tackles (second most of his career) on just 57% of the snaps. I noted him a lot in this one, just playing extra fast and aggressive. He had a really nice fill on a goal-line stand and looked rangy on a couple of lateral Kenyan Drake rushing attempts. The one issue, from my perspective which doesn’t mean much I know, was the zone coverage. I won’t pretend to know how to play defensive back in the NFL, but Love was beat a few times on passes up the middle. He doesn’t seem to attach himself to receivers entering his zone, but rather stays back and just “floats” if that makes sense. The college corner is a quality athlete who doesn’t seem to have a ton of confidence in zone coverage and that is an issue for me.

-Jabrill Peppers continues his red-hot level of play. He led the team with 13 tackles, 2 TFL, and forced a fumble. He was all over the field and looks like he can be labeled as both the best linebacker and best safety on this team. He played both roles. This defense has turned a sharp corner and he may be the leading catalyst.


-K Graham Gano: No FG attempts
-Riley Dixon: 8 punts / 48.8 avg / 36.6 net


-S Jabrill Peppers, EDGE Carter Coughlin, CB James Bradberry


-QB Daniel Jones, OT Andrew Thomas, WR Darius Slayton


Haason Reddick. After watching the new NYG defense run over the first 4-6 weeks of the season, he was the name I circled when it came to 2021 NFL Free Agents to try and sign. The Kyler Fackrell role (BUCK linebacker) in this scheme needs to be effective on the outside but also transform into an extra inside linebacker in specific looks. Reddick has a lot of experience playing inside, which is where ARI predominantly played him for the first three years of his career. His 5 sacks in this game were a little overblown when it comes to how good he is, but the point remains. Fackrell is a one-year rental and Reddick can be the long-term solution for NYG. He is “multiple” in that he can credibly wear different hats for a defense, but the specialty is on the outside despite lacking traditional outside tools.

I don’t believe in ARI in its current state and I don’t believe in Kyler Murray. I’ll go on record with that and will be the first to eat my words if I end up being wrong. ARI is a gimmick offense that does have a lot of talent, absolutely. When everything clicks, they can score on anybody, yes. Murray can take over a game, yes. That, to me, is not what makes a team get in and stay in the elite tier, however. They are reliant on the uniqueness of their offense and Murray’s arsenal. Unique can work like a gem at times (remember Miami’s wildcat offense?) but NFL defenses catch on. Very few offenses and quarterbacks can stay at the top week-to-week and year-to-year. Murray just doesn’t throw the ball from the pocket like those guys and there are things in his game that I just don’t see lasting.

The one area of their team that is stand-out strong and does not get enough attention in the secondary. They’ve really hit on their draft picks over the years and even though Patrick Peterson is not what he once was, there is still plenty in the tank left. Byron Murphy, Budda Baker, Jalen Thompson, and Deionte Johnson were all drafted within the past 3 years. If NYG can build the secondary like this in the next year or two, watch out.


While the offensive shortcomings can at least be somewhat attributed to Jones, one needs to really look at what this team has at WR. Over his last 19 games, Sterling Shepard is averaging 9.7 yards per catch and has 3 touchdowns. Golden Tate has been good for 2 catches per game over his last 7 and can rarely get open by himself. Darius Slayton has not taken the step up from his impressive rookie year. Evan Engram is among the league leaders in drops since he has been in the league. This team is starving for a true outside threat and if you look at David Gettleman’s history in pro personnel both with NYG and CAR, they are going to go after someone in free agency. The following are projected to be free agents this offseason: Kenny Golladay / DET, JuJu Smith-Schuster / PIT, Allen Robinson / CHI, Corey Davis / TEN, Sammy Watkins / KC. There are a handful of lesser-tier free agents as well but I think they will go big at this spot this offseason.

We should not be surprised to see NYG lay such an egg after such a strong win in SEA last week. This is life in the NFL for a team that is “middle tier.” One week, you create hope of playoff caliber football and the ability to beat anybody. The next week, you look like a team that can’t do anything right. Big picture, everybody. This is part of growing and evolving into a team that can win games in the postseason. They are still on the right path.

Up next are the Cleveland Browns in front of a national audience. I would love to say CLE is overrated (which was my thought early in the year) but this is a legit playoff caliber team playing really good football on both sides of the ball. The greatest test will come defensively on the ground, where Nick Chubb and Kareem Hunt are the best 1-2 backfield duo in the game. In addition, they are running behind one of the top 3 offensive lines in the league this year. The NYG defense has been outstanding this year, but this will be a different kind of test.

Dec 132020
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 13, 2020)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants got their collective asses kicked by the Arizona Cardinals 26-7 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the loss, the Giants fell to 5-8 on the season.

The statistical domination was total. The Cardinals out-gained the Giants in first downs (22 to 10), total net yards (390 to 159), net yards rushing (159 to 78), net yards passing (231 to 81), and time of possession (37:52 to 22:08). The Giants also lost the turnover battle 3 to nothing.

To say the Giants’ offense struggled would be an understatement. Quarterback Daniel Jones returned to the starting lineup after missing a game due to a hamstring injury, but he clearly was not healthy. Jones only completed 11 of 21 passes for 127 yards. He was sacked six times, losing 52  yards in the process. His back-up, Colt McCoy, was also sacked twice. No-name Cardinals linebacker Hasson Reddick set a single-game franchise record with five sacks and forcing three fumbles.

The tone was set on New York’s first drive. After picking up two first downs and reaching midfield, Jones was sacked by former Giants linebacker Markus Golden on 2nd-and-10. Jones fumbled on the play and Golden recovered the football and returned it 30 yards to the New York 9-yard line. The Giants’ defense did stop the Cardinals on 4th-and-goal. That was the high point of the game for New York.

New York went three-and-out on their second drive, but the Giants’ special teams gave up a 24-yard punt return to the Giants’ 38-yard line. The Cardinals gained 22 yards in six plays to set up a 34-yard field goal. Cardinals 3 – Giants 0.

After two punts by the Giants and one by the Cardinals, Arizona extended their lead to 6-0 after driving 34 yards in 11 plays to up a 34-yard field goal. Matters got quickly worse when running back Dion Lewis fumbled on the ensuing kickoff return. The Cardinals recovered at the New York 21-yard line. Quarterback Kyler Murray threw a 7-yard touchdown pass on 3rd-and-goal to give Arizona a 13-0 advantage.

Both teams had two more possessions before intermission, but neither scored. The Cardinals continued to lead 13-0 at halftime.

Arizona received the football to start the 3rd quarter. They immediately drove 77 yards in 11 plays to go up 20-0. The Giants responded with their only scoring drive of the game. After a 39-yard pass from Jones to wide receiver Golden Tate, Lewis scored from one yard out to make it 20-7.

After that, it was all Cardinals. The Giants only gained two first downs for the rest of game, punting three more times and fumbling the ball away again on their last possession. While the Cardinals also punted twice, they added two more field goals to comfortably extend their lead to 26-7. The game was never in doubt.

Video lowlights are available on

On Friday, the New York Giants placed cornerback Madre Harper on Injured Reserve with a knee injury. To fill that roster spot, the Giants signed safety Montre Hartage from the Practice Squad.

The Giants signed Harper off of the Practice Squad of the Las Vegas Raiders in late September 2020. This year, he has played in nine games, mainly on special teams.

After spending time with the Giants in training camp, the Giants re-signed Hartage to the Practice Squad in late October 2020. He was signed to the 53-man roster in November and moved back to the Practice Squad earlier this month. Hartage originally signed with the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2019 NFL Draft.

CB Jarren Williams was activated from the Practice Squad for this game.

Inactive for the game were CB Darnay Holmes (knee), WR Dante Pettis, OT Jackson Barton, OL Kyle Murphy, DE R.J. McIntosh, and LB T.J. Brunson.

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

Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Dec 112020


There was a great disturbance in the Force last weekend. We all felt it. The New York Giants were not supposed to go into Seattle and rough up the Seahawks the way they did. There was nothing flukey about the win. The Giants were the better team on both sides of the football, even with back-up quarterback Colt McCoy facing off against MVP candidate Russell Wilson.

The Giants should have been dead at 0-5 and 1-7. They are now on a 4-game winning streak and tied for first place in the NFC East. Yes, it’s a crappy division. But the Giants have a real shot at making the playoffs if they can win two or three of their last four games. Three of those games are at home. The other is just down the road a bit Baltimore.

First up is the Arizona Cardinals, who were 5-2 in October, but have lost four of their last five games and are now 6-6. To be fair, the one win was against impressive Buffalo and their last three losses came against the respectable Seahawks, Patriots, and Rams. Nevertheless, this appears to be a game between two teams heading in opposite directions. The Giants are trying to keep momentum going and the Cardinals are trying to stop the bleeding.


  • QB Daniel Jones (hamstring – questionable)
  • OT Matt Peart (ankle – questionable)
  • LB Blake Martinez (back – questionable)
  • CB Darnay Holmes (knee – questionable)
  • CB Madre Harper (knee – out)

The big question is will Daniel Jones play? And if he does, how effective will he be and will he not re-aggravate his hamstring injury? It’s not just a matter of the injury limiting his rushing ability, but ability to throw the football forcefully with accuracy and velocity.

Colt McCoy did enough in the second half to win the game (and not lose it) last weekend, but the offense is clearly more limited with him at the helm. If he is called upon again, hopefully we’ll see a repeat performance, not making the killer mistakes and making a few clutch throws when needed. The Giants got by the then 5th-ranked Seattle offense by scoring under 20 points (again). They are tempting fate if they can’t score more than 20 against the now 5th-ranked Cardinals offense. Stating the obvious, the Giants need to score more points and take some pressure off of their own defense.

New York’s four-game “renaissance” has been sparked by two things: (1) defense and (2) the offensive line. For Giants fans who have become accustomed to shitty offensive line play for a decade, the rapid turnaround by the offensive line from a joke to clearly one of the best units in the NFL has been a revelation. Let me say that again, the New York Giants offensive line is now one of the best OL groups in the entire league. While there are the inevitable miscues by a young group still gaining chemistry and cohesion, the offensive line is simply punishing people up front.

The Giants (including fired OL coach Marc Colombo) were right about Nick Gates. If he stays healthy and grounded, he has more physical ability because of his size than renowned team centers Bart Oates and Shaun O’Hara. Gates plays with a nasty chip on his shoulder and I love it. After a very rough start, Andrew Thomas is now developing into a shut-down left tackle who mauls people in the run game. Fellow rookie Shane Lemieux brings more youth, spirit, aggressiveness, and mobility and seems to be stealing Will Hernandez’s job, despite the fact that Hernandez is still a solid player. The “old man” of the group, 30-year old Kevin Zeitler is reverting to his old solid form. The other veteran, Cam Fleming, is the weak link but with four games left to play, the Giants may not want to tinker too much with the OL down the home stretch with the playoffs on the line. Still, Matt Peart (if he can stay healthy) is pressing him.

The biggest beneficiary of the offensive line play has been Wayne Gallman, a back who seemed to be out of favor with the previous and current coaching staffs. Remember, Joe Judge and Jason Garrett didn’t turn to Gallman when Saquon Barkley went down but in-season pick up Devonta Freeman. When Freeman got hurt, they had little choice but to turn to Gallman. As has been pointed out by many, Gallman is running with a toughness greater than his more linear build would indicate. He’s showing nice patience, instincts, and elusiveness. He’s also starting to break off some big runs.

This all bodes well against an Arizona Cardinals team that is middle-of-the-pack defensively (18th) and 21st against the run, allowing 123 rushing yards per game. Statistically, the Cardinals are better against the pass than the Seahawks, but much worse against the run. The Cardinals have some talented familiar faces in the secondary, including corners Patrick Peterson and Dre Kirkpatrick. Our old friend Markus Golden is also starting at linebacker.

“This is a blitz heavy team,” said Joe Judge. “We have to be alert for a lot of movement, a lot of pressure throughout the game plan. They do a very good job of changing up on you. They’ll blitz linebackers, DBs, whoever’s involved, everyone is going to get a turn.”

Stay with what is working. Pound the rock. Wear down the Cardinals. One of the ways to really frustrate and really hurt blitzing defenses is to run the ball down their throats. All of that trickery doesn’t matter when you are lying on your ass.


Like Seattle, Arizona’s strength is clearly on the offensive side of the football. The Cardinals are 5th in the NFL in yards gained and 9th in points scored, averaging almost four touchdowns per game. With the Giants still averaging less than 20, you see the problem. The defense needs to come up big again against a quality opponent.

There has been some excellent discussions in The Corner Forum about how Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham’s scheme is relying more on size, strength, and power up front to create pass rush issues than employing the typical dominant edge rushers in a 3-4 system. That does not mean that the edge rushers aren’t making some plays, or that Graham isn’t sending inside linebackers and defensive backs on blitzes. But the chaos is starting up front with Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson, and B.J. Hill getting a push up the middle. All quarterbacks hate pressure up the middle and it is the quickest way to disrupt a passing play.

Savvy veteran Russell Wilson was clearly frustrated last weekend by the pressure up front and confused by what the team was doing in the secondary. Just as importantly, the Giants’ pass rush was disciplined. Wilson continuously spun out of trouble only to find yet another defender preventing him from escaping outside of the pocket. That same discipline will be needed against quarterback Kyler Murray.

The very first pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the undersized (only 5’10”) Murray can throw the football. But he is whirling dervish who reminds me of Bo Jackson in the old Nintendo Techmo Bowl video game…

Murray is 67 percent passer who has thrown for 22 touchdowns (against just 10 interceptions). He’s not just a runner. Literally one-third of his passing yards have gone to wideout DeAndre Hopkins (85 catches, 1,019 yards, 5 touchdowns). But he will spread the ball around to the other targets: WR Larry Fitzgerald (43 catches), RB Chase Edmonds (42 catches, 3 touchdowns), WR Christian Kirk (35 catches, 6 touchdowns), among others.

That all said, it’s his running ability that really scares defenses. Murray has rushed the ball 102 times for 665 yards (6.5 yards per carry) and an astounding 10 touchdowns. And with Murray receiving so much attention because of designed QB runs that often fool the socks off defensive players, running backs Kenyan Drake (4.3 yards per carry, 8 touchdowns) and Chase Edmonds (4.9 yards per carry) can and will hurt you. Overall, Arizona is 3rd in the NFL in rushing, averaging over 150 yards per game. The Cardinals can run it. And they can throw it. This is a very tough match-up for the Giants.

“This is a team that’s very explosive,” said Judge. “(Head Coach) Kliff (Kingsbury) does a great job in terms of scheme, using tempo, really creating match-ups for his players and letting them play to their strengths. (Murray) is obviously a dynamic player… This guy does a great job improvising on his feet, extending plays, keeping his eyes down field and making big throws. He has a rocket for an arm, and this guy can be as aggressive as he wants to because he’s very, very accurate with the ball. You put that along with the receivers he has to throw to. This is a group of weapons that’s very explosive. Offensively though, it really starts with the running game with them. Drake and Edmonds, these guys are both having good seasons. They do a very good job of getting the ball downhill at you. They have a very good zone run game. They’ll also mix up some game plan runs and pulls and gap schemes. Kliff does a good job of mixing that in with the tempo and keeping you on your toes.”

The focus must be on stopping the run and keeping Murray in the pocket. Mix and match coverages and try to confuse him in the passing game. The good news is this should be a similar game plan to what the Giants did in Seattle. The bad news is that LB Blake Martinez and CB Darnay Holmes are “questionable” for the game. The Giants need both to play.


I’m not sure what is going on with the Giants special teams all of the sudden, but a Giants team that is encumbered with an offense that struggles to score 20 points simply cannot afford to have repeated major breakdowns on special teams. New York escaped the last two games despite bad special teams play. But they are playing with fire if the don’t turn it around. It’s time to return to this being asset for us.


Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham on Kyler Murray: “Murray is true speed. When I’m talking to the players, true speed. Not fast, not quick, we’re dealing with true speed. Any mistake, it can be a touchdown at any given moment. That’s what you’re dealing with, with this guy. Whether it’s the run game or the passing game, he can get away from you and then get the ball down the field. That’s what I mean by true speed and the ability to score a touchdown at any point on the field. He’s pretty dynamic. We have a big challenge ahead of us.”


Heading into last week’s game, I figured the best the Giants could do over the course of the upcoming two games was lose to Seattle, but beat Arizona. Beating Seattle took a lot of immediate pressure off until Washington upset Pittsburgh. Despite the fact that the Giants have won four in a row and Arizona has lost three in a row, this is clearly a very dangerous game for the Giants. The Cardinals are desperate. I just can’t see New York escaping with a win unless they score more than 20 points. They can do that, but it’s been a challenge for them all year. Again, my emphasis would be running the ball. This will help control the clock and keep Arizona off of the field. But can New York stop Arizona from running the ball? This might be one of those rare games that ends before 4PM.

Oct 212019
Michael Thomas, New York Giants (October 20, 2019)

Michael Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports

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Arizona Cardinals 27 – New York Giants 21


Coming off of extra rest, coming back home, up against a rookie quarterback without his best skill position player behind him, up against a rookie head coach, up against a west coast team on a cool and rainy day. All of this with their star running back Saquon Barkley back from injury a few weeks earlier than originally projected, NYG was a near-4 point favorite against the 2-3-1 Arizona Cardinals.

As previously stated, the rain was coming down early and it remained at a steady pace for the entire game with short spurts of intensity. Any hope of this weather actually impacting Kyler Murray and the Cardinals went out the window right away. Before we could blink, it was 14-0. They scored on the opening drive via a 20-yard run by Chase Edmonds, and after a Daniel Jones interception, it took just three plays to get another 7 on the board via another 20-yard touchdown run by Edmonds. If you are wondering who Chase Edmonds is, don’t mistake him for Emmitt Smith based on this game. He is a second-year back from Fordham who, in the 24 games prior to this one, had 369 on 84 carries with 1 touchdown.

The second quarter began with ARI closing out their third drive, which can also be termed as their third scoring drive as Zane Gonzalez nailed a 47-yarder through the uprights. It was 17-0 and Jones hadn’t yet completed a pass beyond the line of scrimmage. If NYG was going to bounce back after a horrific start, it had to start at this moment, and it did.

Jones led a drive that consisted of a 20-yard run by Barkley and a 20-yard completion to Golden Tate. He lofted a ball downfield toward the end zone perfectly between layers of the defense and right into the bread basket of tight end Rhett Ellison who barreled over ARI safety Budda Baker for NYG’s first touchdown. As bad as the start to the game was, at least it was early and NYG finally showed a pulse. That pulse strengthened on the next ARI possession, as Michael Thomas blocked a punt that landed in the end zone with Elijhaa Penny landing on it just inches away from the boundary It was a special teams touchdown, exactly what NYG needed to formally get this team back in the game and within one score.

After forcing an ARI punt on the ensuing drive, NYG got the ball back on their own 20 with just under 6 minutes left in the second quarter. They were due to start the second half with the ball, so this was the opportunity to squeeze as they already had their hand on the throat of ARI. They inched their way up the field and actually got as far as the ARI 31. It was 2nd-and-4, well within Aldrick Rosas’ field goal range but the next two plays were a harsh but very real reminder that this team quite simply stinks. Barkley ran laterally and couldn’t find a lane, so he opted to run backwards and take a 6-yard loss. This was after he already turned a 2-yard loss in to an 8-yard loss earlier in the game. 2nd-and-4 became 3rd-and-10 from the ARI 37-yard line. NYG just needed a few yards to put them back in to field goal range. On an incomplete pass to Tate, right tackle Mike Remmers was flagged foe a holding penalty. It was now 3rd-and-20 from the 47. NYG ended up punting and went in to the half down 3.

NYG and ARI traded 3 and outs to begin the 3rd quarter. On the second Giants’ drive, they once again were approaching field goal territory. On a screen play design, Barkley was a bit late getting to his spot as the pass catcher and Daniel Jones held onto the ball for a hair too long, as Chandler Jones easily beat Evan Engram for the sack, jarring the ball loose which ARI recovered it. It seemed like the game was on repeat at this point, as Edmonds scored his third touchdown of the afternoon on the third play of the drive via a 22-yard run. ARI scored their second touchdown off a NYG turnover and the score was 24-14.

NYG continued to show they both still had some fight and they were able to move the ball on offense at this point. Once again they marched in to ARI territory. On a drive that consisted of a 15-yard gain on an unnecessary roughness penalty by ARI and a gutsy 4th-down catch and throw from Jones to Tate, NYG lined up for a 37-yard field goal to make it a one score game again. The ball came off right and it end up hitting the goal post, no good. NYG was still down by 10 as the 4th quarter approached.

After a stop, NYG put together their best drive of the day. It was 8 plays long with gains of 10-11-20-6-13-6-9-7, with the final play being a touchdown run by Barkley. NYG came up with yet another stop as Kyler Murray was making multiple rookie mistakes and the ARI offensive line began to falter. NYG had the ball back with over 4 minutes, down 3. On a day where they played awful on both sides of the ball, they had a real chance and were in the middle of a 21-7 run after their horrendous first quarter.

On the most important drive of the game, NYG lasted 5 plays and it consisted of 2 sacks and a lost fumble. NYG was faced with a 3rd-and-18 situation, and Pat Shurmur, who has been rightfully questioned for game management this season, opted for a draw that gained a few yards. NYG had the ball on the NYG 33, 4th-and-15. He stated he knew he was going for it on 4th down no matter what, which makes the draw play-call seem highly odd. On that 4th-and-15, NYG turned it over yet again and ARI turned it into 3 more points, making it 27-21.

NYG had the ball back, without any timeouts, starting at the NYG 12 yard line. The drive was 6 plays long and Jones was sacked twice and pressured twice. The ARI defense finished with 8 sacks on the afternoon, after averaging just over 2 sacks per game heading in to the contest.

ARI wins, 27-21.


-Daniel Jones: 22/35 – 223 yards – 1 TD/1 INT – 78.6 QBR. Jones also added 35 yards on the ground but he did fumble 3 times, 2 of which resulted in turnovers. That is where we need to start with him, as turnovers can kill a QB and we can officially call this a legitimate problem for Jones, as some of you got upset with me calling this out in preseason. Jones isn’t holding onto the ball with two hands often enough and as I said a couple months ago, NFL defenders will know that and they WILL exploit it. As a passer, Jones often had his first read taken away and he had a hard time progressing elsewhere. Combine that with poor OL play and a rather limited WR group, it just ended up being the perfect storm. Jones made a couple of gutsy, high-level passes in this one but don’t let it overshadow that he played poorly. Rookie growing pains, we call them. And hopefully they are just that, only that.


-Saquon Barkley: 18 att – 72 yards – 1 TD / 3 rec – 8 yards. It was Barkley’s first game back after missing 3+ games with an ankle injury suffered September 22. He seemed hesitant at first but he did rattle off a gain of 20 yard and also had a gain of 32 yards called back because of a hold. His speed was still there, but maybe the cutting was slightly hesitant. Barkley had a loss of 8 on a short pass and a loss of 6 on a short run. He needs to stop running backwards, period. Sure it may work out once every ten tries and NYG has themselves a highlight-reel run, but those two plays hurt the offense. Sometimes the mission isn’t to simply miss tacklers, it is t simply fall forward and take the gains ARI gives. Barkley also allowed a sack and may have been responsible for another, but it was hard to tell based on watching the all-22. I think we will see a really fired up and motivated and confident Barkley next week in Detroit now that he knows his ankle can handle it.


-Sterling Shepard was out again with a concussion, thus Golden Tate took over the primary receiver job and, after a poor effort on a early pass over the middle, played outstanding. Tate made several “tough-guy” catches in traffic in key moments. He had 6 rec / 60 yards, with each one going for a first down including two on third down and one on fourth down. He was clutch and tough.

-This is where a lack of consistency and big play ability hurt NYG. Cody Latimer, Bennie Fowler, and Darius Slayton did combine for 10 receptions but it was only for 96 yards, under 10 yards per. Fowler added a drop.


-It was a day to forget for Evan Engram. He was targeted 5 times but walked away with just 1 catch for 6 yards while dropping 2 balls. The rain may have been a precursor of what was to come but it didn’t seem to impact that many plays throughout the game. Engram has been among the league’s leaders in drops since he began his career on a per-game basis and if he is ever going to reach the ceiling we know he has, those need to stop. He also allowed a TFL and a sack.

-Rhett Ellison of all people came up with the biggest play of the game, a 28-yard touchdown catch. His blocking was above average in this one, but he did allow a TFL and a pressure. He made some key blocks later on, however, on big plays including the Barkley touchdown.


-Before I get into these guys individually, I have to say this group has been a woeful disappointment as a whole. It is the best group we’ve had up front in a few years, but that isn’t saying much and I still the line stinks. I can’t really think of another way to put it. It all starts outside.

-Nate Solder is proving he wasn’t, he isn’t, and he won’t be the answer at left tackle. The contract is monstrous and I have to believe he is here for at least another season and that is a tough one to swallow. He allowed 2 sacks (the first of which was more on Jones), 2 pressures, 1 TFL, and was called for a hold. Can we have one, just one game where he makes it all four quarters without a negative play? Mike Remmers was actually a bit worse if you can believe it. It’s great Greg Olsen thinks he was a good teammate in 2015 and all, but this guy is only playing because there is nothing on the roster behind him. Again. Remmers allowed a season-high for all OL on this team, 3 sacks along with 3 pressures and was called for a hold on a 32-yard Barkley run that would have put NYG close to the end zone. This was a Bobby Hart-caliber game from the guy Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur just had to have.

-The play inside wasn’t much better, but they had better moments here and there. Will Hernandez and Jon Halapio both allowed a pressure and Hernandez was flagged for a hold. Kevin Zeitler was off the radar in this one, earning the highest OL grade on the team for the 5th time in 7 weeks.


Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter both had pretty active days against the lackluster ARI tackles. Also keep in mind that ARI only threw the ball 21 times plus the 6 passing plays that resulted in a Murray scramble. There weren’t a ton of looks for these guys when it came to traditional passing but they still impacted the game. Carter had 3 tackles and 2 pressures along with a pass break up. He did get flagged for a personal foul as he dove on top of Murray who was giving himself up – dumb penalty that led to an ARI touchdown. He also had a hard time defending the run. Golden added 2 pressures and 5 tackles, but also missed 2 tackles, one of which was on a play that ARI scored a touchdown on.

-When looking, and re-looking at the ARI touchdown runs, a few things went wrong for NYG obviously but the play of Oshane Ximines stands out the most. He was obliterated at the point-of-attack twice, just completely washed out and he didn’t have the power to either get off of the block or anchor his position. He had 1 pressure in this one.


-If there is a quiet concern I have that I don’t see anyone else talking about, it is the defensive line and their lack of ability to create. It can be hard to measure the quality of B.J. Hill, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Dexter Lawrence because a lot of their value is dirty work, stuff you don’t see in box scores. But these guys, against a below average offensive line, played terrible as a group yesterday. The lateral movement wasn’t there and they weren’t getting off of blocks. Too many gaping holes and that wasn’t just on them, but part of the blame goes there.

-I found interesting that B.J. Hill and Olsen Pierre basically split snaps with each other. Was that an indictment on Hill? Was it more based on this week’s game plan and match-ups? Hill has been better than his numbers suggest but Pierre did have an active game. He was twitchy and around the action often, finishing with one of NYG’s 2 sacks. Certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward.


-Alec Ogletee was the lone bright spot of the group, finishing with 8 tackles / 1 TFL. He was the one guy on this entire defense who was playing a physical brand, knocking back blockers and actually making an impact on tackles. He was around the ball often and didn’t have any misses.

-David Mayo was credited with a sack on a group effort and also had a pass break up. Beyond that, I was disappointed with his play. He was slow to fill lanes and it resulted in two of Edmonds’ three touchdowns. The hesitation and lack of quick speed in his game was a perfect match for what ARI was trying to do on offense. He was a target in zone coverage as well.


-Grant Haley has been on the wrong side of these evaluations all season but I have to tip my cap here, he played his butt off. He made several plays behind the line of scrimmage that, had he not, would have resulted in big plays. He finished with 7 tackles and 1 TFL in addition to forcing action three other times that led to TFL or no-gain plays.

-Deandre Baker had 4 tackles and a deep pass break up. He seems more confident in his reads and assignments, but I’m not so sure he is going to be a productive run defender. He clearly chose not to fill a gap on two occasions and while I understand a lot of corners do that in today’s NFL, I still hate to see it.

-Janoris Jenkins wasn’t challenged much but the one time he was, he got flagged for a downfield pass interference. The flag was challenged by Shurmur and even though the call was upheld, I don’t think it was a penalty.


-Don’t be fooled by the box score, as Antoine Bethea and Jabrill Peppers combined for 17 tackles / 1 TFL / 1 PD. Both played poorly with an extra spotlight on Bethea, who keeps taking poor angles to the action and his lack of speed makes it impossible for him to make up for it. Peppers was a victim of others getting washed out directly into his path a few times, but he too missed a couple tackles and was beat on 3rd down a couple times. Very poor game for these guys.

-Michael Thomas had a productive game, recording 4 tackles, 1 TFL, and a blocked punt that resulted in a touchdown for NYG.


-K Aldrick Rosas: 0/1 (Missed 37)

-P Riley Dixon: 3 punts / 37.3 avg – 36.3 net

-Golden Tate and Darius Slayton handled return duties.


-WR Golden Tate, CB Grant Haley, LB Alec Ogletree


-OT Mike Remmers, TE Evan Engram, S Antoine Bethea


  1. Put me in the group that didn’t think it would work for Kingsbury in the NFL. But after 7 games, I have to give him a lot of credit here especially considering they went winless over the first 4 weeks. Now I won’t crown them in any regard just yet, as the combined record of the three teams that beat are 3-18 but I do think they are out of the basement in the league. Kingsbury is a creative mind and isn’t afraid to improvise to keep the defense guessing. He has made adjustments each week and even though not all have worked out, one can easily note the difference between an offensive mind that can be a hybrid rather than one that has a hard time changing.
  1. In regard to Kyler Murray, I have seen 5 of his games this year and I am not yet convinced it is going to work out for him. He has a hard time seeing things mentally, and physically all the talk about his height was credible. From the All-22 tape, it is evident he just can’t clearly locate defenders and receivers over the line. His game is very dependent, maybe too much so, on running around and I have never liked that in QBs. Too much risk. I will admit he is a very tough guy to defend, though.
  1. How far is this team from legitimate contention? Well let’s not even talk about this season. I think the NFC West is the best division in football and ARI can’t hang with any of the three teams above them. They have a really tough schedule from here on out and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them with a 5-10-1 record at the end of the year. I do think they are a step ahead of NYG when it comes to personnel but their offensive line needs work and their best defenders are on the wrong side of 30 next season. Not ideal timing considering the strength of the division, but I expect them to be one of the more aggressive teams in the 2020 offseason.


  1. Did Dave Gettleman get fooled by NE? Nate Solder was signed to a long-term, monstrous contract prior to 2018 and almost all of us were happy with it. I think most fans don’t truly know about guys on other teams, thus the assumption that anyone who started for NE for a long time should be good enough, no? Fans can have the out, but Gettleman cannot. He has been nothing short of terrible since the day he began playing for NYG and I think it’s an indictment on the Pro Personnel staff for not seeing these issues and being fooled by the fact that Tom Brady makes blockers look way better than they are. It is one of the special traits to his game. That signing alone can really hold this team back for multiple years.
  1. I think we can officially put Pat Shurmur on the hot seat. I went back and looked at my game reviews from 2018 and a lot of problems I see now are what we talked about last year. Lack of innovation. Lack of ability to get the ball in the hands of key players. Lack of offensive line blocking adjustments. I do think the camaraderie and overall hustle/passion is better than what we have seen in recent years, but I never go into a week thinking Shurmur gives NYG the coaching edge. While two seasons may not be a fair amount of time for a coach that has weak personnel, now is the time to do it (by now I mean end of 2019). Let Daniel Jones grow up with a new voice, don’t change things on him 2-3 years from now.
  1. At what point does NYG start getting active on the trade market? Are there pieces on this roster that other teams want? Does it send a bad message to the team? They have one more week. Janoris Jenkins is the only piece that I can see getting anything better than a 4th-round pick. The Saints and Seahawks are two teams I would be targeting with him.
Oct 202019
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (October 20, 2019)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

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The New York Giants saw their season all but officially slip away on Sunday by losing 27-21 to the Arizona Cardinals at a rainy MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The Giants are now 2-5 on the season, losing their last three games.

The Giants sleepwalked through the first quarter and quickly found themselves in a 17-0 hole at the start of the second quarter. The Cardinals drove 75 yards in 13 plays on their opening drive, converting on a 4th-and-3 at the Giants’ 35-yard line, and finishing up with a 20-yard touchdown run by running back Chase Edmonds. The Giants then gave the ball right back to the Cardinals on quarterback Daniel Jones’ interception into double coverage, returning the ball to the Giants’ 32-yard line. Three plays later, Edmonds scored his second 20-yard touchdown run. New York went three-and-out on their second drive and the Cardinals gained 54 yards in nine plays to set up a successful 47-yard field goal.

Down by 17, the Giants quickly got back into the game. First, New York drove 79 yards in just four plays, including a 20-yard run by running back Saquon Barkley, a 20-yard reception by wide receiver Golden Tate, and then a 28-yard touchdown pass from Jones to tight end Rhett Ellison.

The Cardinals muffed the ensuing kickoff and began their drive at the 14-yard line. On 3rd-and-5, quarterback Kyle Murray was sacked by defensive lineman Olsen Pierre for a 15-yard loss. Arizona attempted to punt out of the endzone, but safety Michael Thomas came clean up the middle and blocked a punt that running back Elijhaa Penny recovered in the endzone for a touchdown. All of the sudden, the game had tightened to 17-14.

Both teams had long drives before halftime, but neither got close enough to attempt a field goal. At the half, the Cardinals continued to lead by three points, 17-14.

Both teams exchanged three-and-outs to start the third quarter. On New York’s second possession of the half, the Giants reached the Arizona 37-yard line. But on 2nd-and-8, Daniel Jones was sacked for a 12-yard loss, losing the ball to Arizona in the process near midfield. Three plays later, Edmonds scored his third touchdown of the day, this time from 22 yards out. The Cardinals were now up 24-14.

The Giants responded with a 12-play, 49-yard drive that included a 4th-and-6 conversion on a 15-yard pass from Jones to Tate. Unfortunately, the possession ended with a missed 37-yard field goal by place kicker Aldrick Rosas as the third quarter was closing out.

New York got the ball back with just under 13 minutes left to play and tightened the game again with an 8-play, 82-yard drive. Barkley scored from seven yards out to cut the score to 24-21 with just over eight minutes left.

The Cardinals gained one first down but then were forced to punt. The Giants were only down by three points with 4:23 left on the clock. However, a porous offensive line that allowed eight Cardinals’ sacks on the day, could not protect Jones. Head Coach Pat Shurmur oddly called a running play on 3rd-and-18, and followed that up with a 4th-and-15 pass attempt that resulted in another strip-sack fumble recovery at the New York 17-yard line. The Cardinals settled for a 35-yard field goal with just over two minutes left in the game.

The Giants had one final shot to win the game. But nothing went right. Wideout Darius Slayton only reached the 12-yard line on the kickoff return. Jones was sacked two more times and the game ended with a 4th-and-29 incompletion.

Against what had been the NFL’s 30th-ranked defense, the Giants only gained 263 net yards and scored 14 offensive points. The Giants were 4-of-12 on third down and 1-of-3 on fourth down. Jones completed 22-of-35 passes for 223 yards, with one touchdown and one interception. He was also sacked eight times (hit 12 times), losing 67 yards and fumbling three times in the process (two of which were recovered by the Cardinals). In addition to the sacks, Cardinals also had seven tackles for losses. Tate was the leading receiver, with six catches for 80 yards. No other receiver had more than 35 yards. Barkley carried the ball 18 times for 72 yards and a touchdown.

The defense “only” allowed 245 net yards, including 89 net yards passing. But the Cardinals rushed for 156 yards and had three easy 20+ yard touchdown runs by Edmonds. The Giants did not force a turnover on defense. Olsen and linebacker David Mayo had the only sacks for the Giants.

Video highlights are available at

WR Sterling Shepard (concussion), CB Corey Ballentine (concussion), QB Alex Tanney, TE Garrett Dickerson, OT Eric Smith, OT/OG Chad Slade, and LB Chris Peace were inactive.

LB Lorenzo Carter injured his ankle but returned to the game.

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

Head Coach Pat Shurmur and select players will address the media on Monday. The players are off on Tuesday and return to practice on Wednesday.

Oct 182019
Evan Engram, New York Giants (September 29, 2019)

Evan Engram – © USA TODAY Sports

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Game Preview: Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants, October 20, 2019


If there is any remote possibility that the New York Giants make the 2019 season about more than the development of rookie quarterback Daniel Jones, then Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals is a must-win. The Giants currently stand at 2-4 (1-1 in the NFC East), one game behind the 3-3 Dallas Cowboys and 3-3 Philadelphia Eagles. If the Giants can get to 3-4, they will still be very much in the hunt. However, if the Giants lose to the 2-3-1 Cardinals and fall to 2-5, then the season will probably be all but officially over in terms of playoff possibilities.

Brewing in the background is growing fan discontent with Pat Shurmur, who continues to make questionable in-game decisions. While it is difficult to see the Giants parting ways with their third coach in five years, especially given his “quarterback whisperer” relationship with Daniel Jones, the franchise must decide if Shurmur is capable of becoming a winning head coach. This is a big game for Pat Shurmur too.


  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle)
  • RB Wayne Gallman (concussion)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (concussion – out)
  • TE Evan Engram (knee)
  • DL Olsen Pierre (concussion)
  • CB Corey Ballentine (concussion – out)


Predictably, Daniel Jones is experiencing a rough patch after a hot start. This was exacerbated by facing two of the League’s top defenses (Patriots and Vikings) without his best weapons. While the ups and downs will continue, what we want to see are more ups than downs and increasing consistency. Jones seems to have the right attitude:

Looking back on the month, kind of up and down. I’ve been inconsistent overall. I’ve been good and been bad. I think there are certainly a lot of things to learn. When you look at the scheme or some of the decisions, some of my habits or bad habits, I think there are a lot of things to learn. So, I’ll kind of separate those problems, (and) those individual issues and try to improve. But also, just getting more comfortable and getting more accustomed to what we are doing. I think I’ll continue to learn and grow, but I’ve certainly had the opportunity to learn a lot this month… I think in the pocket, making sure I’m keeping two hands on the ball. When I’m running, securing the ball. I think that’s part of it. Just making good decisions. I think being aggressive when the opportunity is there, and not when it’s smart not to be aggressive. Just kind of managing that, understanding those situations, and learning from them.

What Daniel Jones said above is exactly what this learning process is all about. And he seems to understand the process. It’s not fun and can be painful, but he is not running away from the challenge. When this season is over, Daniel Jones will have four preseason games and 14 regular season games to go back and study and learn from. He is getting first-hand experience about the speed and complexity of pro defenses, when to take chances, and when not to. But also keep in mind that player development is not always linear. There will be dips.

Think of  how Eli Manning developed. He was atrocious at times during his rookie season, but provided a ray of hope with his comeback win against the Cowboys in the 2004 season finale. Then in 2005, he led his team to a division title, upsetting the Denver Broncos in memorable fashion. But Eli really didn’t “arrive” until the 2007 playoffs, with three and a half years of starting experience under his belt. Same story with Phil Simms, who was despised by half the fan base from 1979 until he finally rid himself of the bulk of those critics in January 1987, when he was 31 years old!

The good news for Jones is he will have Saquon Barkley, Wayne Gallman, and Evan Engram back. But Sterling Shepard is still out. Nevertheless, as long as the offensive line does a reasonable job, Jones should be able to do some damage against the Arizona Cardinals’ 30th-ranked defense. This will be a nice change for the Giants’ offense after facing the Cowboys (9th), Bills (3rd), Vikings (5th), and Patriots (1st). All four New York Giants’ losses came against those teams, as New York scored a total of 55 points (13.75 points per game, which included a defensive score). On the other hand, the Giants’ two wins came against the Buccaneers (22nd) and Redskins (26th), as New York scored a total of 56 points (or one more point than the other four games).

The Cardinals have not been able to stop the run or the pass. However, outside linebackers Chandler Jones (4.5 sacks) and Terrell Suggs (4 sacks) can rush the passer. And the Cardinals get back All-Pro cornerback Patrick Peterson this Sunday after he missed the first six games due to an NFL suspension.

Many eyes will be on Saquon Barkley. Is he truly healthy enough to play? How much of an issue will the ankle be? He’s a difference-maker as a runner and receiver if he is good to go.


The Giants’ defense is coming off of their best effort of the season, but one game does not make a trend. And while the defense was much better against the Patriots, the team still gave up 27 first downs and 427 yards of offense. The Cardinals play fastbreak football, spreading teams out with four-WR packages, which opens things up for their super-athletic, but diminutive, rookie quarterback, Kyler Murray, as a runner and passer. After struggling early, Arizona’s offense has played much better the past two games. Moreover, the Cardinals’ quarterback and receivers are eyeing New York’s 31st-ranked pass defense, being very familiar with ex-Cardinal Antoine Bethea.

Aside from Murray, who was the first player taken in the draft. The Cardinals still have dangerous weapons. Running back David Johnson is a threat running and catching the football (2nd on the team in receptions with 30, including three receiving touchdowns). Wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald is still productive, leading the team with 35 catches.

Murray has thrown for over 300 yards in three of his six starts, completing over 64 percent of his passes. He also has rushed for 238 yards, averaging over 6 yards per carry. Historically speaking, these type of mobile quarterbacks have always given the Giants fits. The Cardinals employ the read-option with designed running plays specifically for Murray.

Not to sound like a broken record, but the defense is showing some signs of improvement because the defensive line and edge rushers are playing better. Markus Golden is starting to look like the guy he was in 2016 before he tore up his knee. Dexter Lawrence is really coming on and pushing the pocket. Much now depends on the ability and consistency of inside players such as Alec Ogletree, David Mayo, Jabrill Peppers, and Antoine Bethea. The middle of the defense continues to be the area that burns this team. When they play better, it shows up immediately on the field.

The game plan is fairly obvious. Contain Murray, maintain disciplined rush lanes, even if it negatively affects the pass rush. The secondary will be stressed by the multiple WR sets combined with Murray’s ability to keep plays alive. There will be times when the linebacker or defensive back will have to make an instant judgment as to whether or not to stick to his man in coverage or come up and chase Murray. That’s a dangerous situation.


With Corey Ballentine out, either Darius Slayton or Cody Latimer will be returning kickoffs. Riley Dixon’s punting has become erratic again.


Defensive Coordinator on David Mayo and Jabrill Peppers: “I love what David Mayo has done, I really do. He’s come and worked his tail off. David’s another guy that loves the game. This guy really loves the game, he’s tough, he’s physical. It’s not shade on anybody that’s on our roster anywhere. What it allows us to do is put another DB on the field. I think just going back to what I believe, the more spread they get, the more space the game becomes, the more second level players you want to try and get on the field. I think Jabrill, we know he can do just about anything. It’s just us doing a good job managing the situations and the things we put him in so he can play fast and we don’t slow him down.”


This is a must-win game for the Giants if the team wants to keep any playoff hopes alive. What will be interesting to watch is if the offense can get back on track and score more than 20-24 points, and see if the defense can build upon their last performance. This is an unusual opponent and the Cardinals’ offense is quite capable of embarrassing this defense.

Dec 272017

Olivier Vernon, New York Giants (December 24, 2017)

Olivier Vernon – © USA TODAY Sports

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Arizona Cardinals 23 – New York Giants 0


  • Eli Manning: 27/45 – 263 yards – 0 TD/2 INT. Manning also lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown. It was a rough day for Manning, as his 57.9 QB rating was his second lowest of the year. Manning’s footwork and release points were just simply off for the majority of the game. The NFL’s best defense over the past 2 months appeared to be in his head more than it should have been, as he was sidestepping pressure that wasn’t always there and rushing throws that he didn’t need to. His accuracy was an issue for almost the entire game.


  • Wayne Gallman: 10 att/18 yards – 6 rec/44 yards. There weren’t enough opportunities for Gallman to find his groove. They were playing from behind for the majority of the game and the fast, physical defensive front was too much for the Giants OL to handle. Seeing him take big hits week after week and getting right back up is a good sign. He has plenty of toughness and with another couple of years of NFL weight training, he can be our guy. His movement and vision are very good.
  • Orleans Darkwa: 6 att/10 yards. Darkwa didn’t have any luck against this defensive front, either. Darkwa has really disappeared in the second half of the season. He hasn’t averaged over 3 yards per carry since November 19 against the Chiefs. Bad hands, bad vision, won’t create much on his own.


  • Sterling Shepard: 5 rec/45 yards. Also had a drop on a poorly thrown, but catchable 3rd-down pass from Manning. After a career game last week, Shepard didn’t factor much before aggravating a neck injury that forced him to miss most of the 4th quarter. They tried sending him deep on a couple of occasions, but him and Manning just couldn’t connect. And Shepard isn’t a deep separation guy, doesn’t have that next gear.
  • Roger Lewis: 4 rec/40 yards. Lewis was the most targeted receiver of the day, getting 11 looks from Manning. He responded with his worst performance of the season. He had 3 drops and ran poor routes, struggling to gain separation on simple routes. Lewis is catching the ball with his body too often and has proven that despite more opportunity in 2017, he is a #5 WR at best. He did not take a jump up that totem pole this season.


  • Rhett Ellison: 4 rec/60 yards. With Engram going down early with a rib injury, Ellison saw a spike in playing time and targets. In my end of year review, I will discuss Ellison as one of the most underused players on this team. He responds well to his targets percentage wise as much as any pass catcher on this team and he has a way of always finding extra yards.
  • Jerrell Adams: 4 rec/31 yards. Adams also saw a spike in playing time and caught all of his targets. Adams is a slow-twitch athlete who doesn’t dominate as a blocker the way he should, but he has done well in his limited opportunities as well. The tight end position appears to be set for the next few years.
  • Evan Engram: 1 rec/12 yards. Went down with a rib injury early, sat out the rest of the game and will likely sit next week. Capped an outstanding rookie season.


  • Tackles: Ereck Flowers went backwards, especially in the 2nd half. He had a terrible series, allowing 1 pressure and 2 holds within one drive. He had 2 other pressures in addition, struggling to stick with stunts and late movement. His game seemed off in comparison to what we have seen over the past 3 months. He needs to finish strong, because that LT spot is far from securely his. Bobby Hart allowed 2 pressures and a sack. Not much needs to be said here; he is not a starting caliber OL in this league and I’m not sure he backup caliber, either.
  • Interior: Brett Jones had another below average performance, as did Jon Halapio. They were unable to hold the point-of-attack or lock on to their respective defenders. John Jerry allowed a TFL and 1 pressure, but graded out as the top OL in this game with a mark right at the average point. He isn’t a guy who played bad enough to lose his job but he also isn’t a guy who played well enough to keep it heading in to the 2018 offseason.


  • Tackles: Damon Harrison continued his All-Pro caliber play. I don’t spend much time even looking at the Pro Bowl rosters, but I will say it again, there is not a better DT in the NFL. He had 2 TFL, 2 pressures, and continued to make plays sideline to sideline. His impact within the tackle box is as dominant as any player in the league at their respective position. Dalvin Tomlinson was quiet, but also effective at controlling the inside gaps. Jay Bromley did record a TFL, but he led the DL in negative plays mainly from him getting pushed back 2+ yards multiple times.
  • Ends: A very solid performance from the starting duo. One thing that can be tough to do is take the previous disappointments and not let them impact the current evaluation. Jason Pierre-Paul has been the most underperforming player on this 2017 team, but he was very disruptive in this game. Blowing up tight ends and tackles at the point-of-attack and finishing with 4 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 pressures. Olivier Vernon added a sack/fumble of his own along with a pressure and 3 tackles.


  • Kelvin Sheppard led the team with 9 tackles. More of the same with him, solid play between the tackles with a lot of physical presence behind his hits, but anything in to space and he gets exposed badly.
  • This was the first extended look I got at the newly signed Ray-Ray Armstrong. He played 40% of the team’s snaps and flashed some of the athleticism and power this LB corps has lacked for a long time. He still doesn’t look like a natural linebacker out there, showing hesitation on his reads and too many recovery steps.


  • Ross Cockrell continues to show he deserves a long term spot on this team, meaning he needs to be on this team in 2018. He brought in 2 interceptions, both of which he showed excellent body control and ball skills, 1 of which was in the end zone. This will be one of the major positives that comes out of the 2017 season; he has played exceptionally well and has steadily improved with the more playing time he got.
  • Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie has impressed me. Not necessarily in that his level of play has been what it used to, although he has been more than solid, but in his constant hustle, leadership and effort. After his suspension earlier in the year, I thought this was going to end ugly in NY for him, but he plays as hard as anyone on this team.
  • Brandon Dixon went through some growing pains in this one, being outclassed by Larry Fitzgerald on multiple occasions. Outclassed to the point that on double routes, Dixon couldn’t stay within 4-5 yards of him. He allowed a touchdown to Fitzgerald and John Brown.


  • After one of his most physical tackles of the year, Landon Collins went down with a broken arm which will end his season. He had a good, but far from great, season. Collins needs to be used carefully, because there is a lot he simply cannot do in coverage.
  • Andrew Adams received more playing time via the Collins injury, and he did not respond well. The sixth sense I talk about when looking at safeties is something he just doesn’t have. Far too many times he is dropping into zone coverage unaware of who and what is around him. He also missed 2 tackles. Darian Thompson had 4 tackles and picked up deep routes well, although he wasn’t challenged much.


  • Aldrick Rosas: 0/1. Rosas missed his lone opportunity of the day, a 33-yard attempt that sailed wide left.
  • Brad Wing: 6 Punts – 43.8 avg – 39.0 net. Wing suffered an ankle injury on an uncalled roughing the kicker penalty.


  • DT Damon Harrison, CB Ross Cockrell, DE Jason Pierre-Paul


  • OC Brett Jones, WR Roger Lewis, OG Jon Halapio


  • This team is built to win a lot of games right now, if only they had an accomplished QB who can stay on the field and throw the ball down field with success. Yes, Eli Manning would be an ideal fit for that team while they groom a long-term answer. The defense is top 5 in the NFL and is loaded with young talent who will be around for the next few years. If Manning doesn’t shake free, this would be an ideal landing spot for Kirk Cousins.
  • Larry Fitzgerald is not a veteran WR who should hang it up. He is one of the top WRs in the game and I place him right under the Jones/Brown/Beckham tier. How he runs routes, catches the ball with his hands, and controls his body is something every young WR should study. He does everything at a high level and continues to work hard to improve, not just sustain, his skill set. He has multiple years left, no doubt.
  • Bruce Arians has always been one of my favorite coaches since his days as an OC in Pittsburgh. He has a sense of realness to him, but still a guy who grown men playing in the NFL will fear. He is a guy who I would take in NY right now if he were to ever get out of ARI. He gets the most out of his players, especially QBs.


  • These games are painful and there are certain players you can’t get a fair evaluation on. Manning played poorly, made some mistakes a veteran like him should not make. But can we consider who he is throwing the ball to? And the line that is blocking in front of him? I wouldn’t call them excuses, but it has to be considered when trying to figure out if he should still be the guy moving forward. I am on record as saying that I think this team can still win with Manning but that doesn’t mean I would look past QB at #2 overall.
  • The Landon Collins/Eli Apple saga is going too far now. Collins shouldn’t be saying what he is saying to the media, the whole cancer comment was a bit too much. At this point, with how public the team’s distaste for Apple is, the trade value couldn’t be lower. So with that said, they may be forced in to keeping him another year and hoping he grows up and/or gets stimulated with the new coaching staff.
  • At this point, there is still a possibility 1 or 2 OT’s can be in the running for the #2 overall pick. Has Ereck Flowers proven he deserves to be the guy there? Or do you take his skill set and move it to RT and draft Connor Williams (Texas) or Brian O’Neill (Pittsburgh)? If Manning is going to play out this contract, the OL may have to become priority A and B this offseason and if a new shiny rookie can hack it at LT, Pugh comes back strong, and Flowers sustains this level of play at RT, we have something to work with – something much better than what we have seen in recent years. At this point, anything is and should be considered possible.