Jan 022024
Dane Belton, New York Giants (December 31, 2023)

Dane Belton – © USA TODAY Sports


-Tyrod Taylor: 27/41 – 317 yards / 1 TD – 1 INT / 87.3 RAT

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly was the theme of this game and it all stemmed from the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of one of its quarterbacks. Taylor’s highlight reel from this game alone is enough to make his supporters create the case he can be the guy. His lowlights from this game alone are enough to prove why he’s destined for backup duty for the remainder of his career. Taylor has a confident and quick trigger to launch the ball downfield and his success there is real. Here is a fun fact you can use at the bar with your friends next time. Taylor’s first full season as a starter, 2015, he ranked 3rd in the NFL in passer rating on throws 20+ yards downfield (109.5). Who was first? Eli Manning (114.3).

His explosive plays (4 – one of which was on the ground) and the 47-yarder called back by the Daniel Bellinger hold were clear, easy-to-see differences in this offense as a whole. At the same time, the layup-misses were on full display, one of which would have given the Giants a one-point lead on the two-point conversion attempt to Saquon Barkley. Then you have to add in the the interception and fumble on 4th-and-1 (not technically a turnover, but LAR scored a touchdown three minutes later) and there you have the Jekyll & Hyde style of play Taylor brings to the table. Acceptable for a rookie or second-year player, not a veteran (unless of course you’re nothing more than a back-up).


-Saquon Barkley: 12 att – 39 yards / 3 rec – 19 yards

A very uneventful game for Barkley. He did get six targets in the passing game in addition to the failed two-point conversion attempt. He never got it going besides a 13-yard gain. His drop on a 3rd-and-9 that had a shot at moving the chains is something we have seen too often over his career. The head-scratching gaffes in the passing game are, in my opinion, one of the glaring deficiencies in his game when comparing him to a Christian McCaffrey-type. He just never got over that hump after catching 91(!) balls as a rookie in 2018.

-Barkley went into the blue tent to get his shoulder checked. Rookie Eric Gray carried the ball once for two yards and Matt Breida saw a few uneventful snaps besides allowing a pressure.


-For the second time in as many weeks, Darius Slayton caught a long touchdown on a well-thrown deep ball. This one went for 80 yards. He added 26 more yards on 3 more catches. This marks three straight weeks of 60+ yards for Slayton, just the second time of his career where we have seen a stretch like this. He hit that mark in every game from week 8-12 last year but other than that, this is the most consistent stretch of his career. The significance of his ability to win vertically (and someone actually getting it to him) is such a vital component to the health of this offense.

-Wan’Dale Robinson led the team with 6 catches, finishing second with 55 yards. Forty-four of those yards came on two plays where he created after the catch. He took these little dump off passes over the middle and immediately accelerated to fast forward, moving faster than everyone on the field. Robinson also scored on a 24-yard end-around. Combine that with the toughness he showed and the development I see in his route running and NYG can head into 2024 knowing his he is a formidable weapon.

-Jalin Hyatt caught 3 passes for 25 yards. He was targeted four times officially, not including the 47-yard grab he had that was negated by a Bellinger holding penalty. He also dropped a downfield pass. After not seeing one ball thrown his way in Week 16, at least we saw him included in the game plan. Hyatt already gives off the sense of a credible, dangerous threat to the defense because of both his speed and ability to finish. I do see that extra step or two as an underneath route runner that hinders the separation, and his presence against contact is flimsy at best.

-Gunner Olszewski returned a 94 yarder for a touchdown, the first for NYG since Dwayne Harris did so in 2015. NYG never seems to get the return game figured out consistently, but this fifth-year pro formerly of the Steelers and Patriots has something. The vision and quick burst combined with the tough-dude mentality are worth keeping around at least through next summer. He’s never been a consistent part of a pro passing game but when the opportunities have come his way, he’s done well.

-Sterling Shepard dropped his second pass in his last four targets. Tough to watch a guy fall off the cliff like this.


-The tight ends were efficient in the passing game, combining for 9 catches and 90 yards on just 11 targets. Taylor missed a wide-open Waller on the one incompletion thrown in his direction. The blocking continues to be the glaring red flag for both the veteran and second-year player. Bellinger was actually flagged for holding twice, one of which took a 47-yard gain off the board. The struggles continue across the board for him.


-The duo of John Michael Schmitz and Ben Bredeson continues to worsen. The rookie center has hit the proverbial wall that many first-year players do at this point in the season. While he did make a key block in space on the Robinson touchdown, this was about as bad as a game from a center as you will find. He allowed 6 pressures, a sack, and was penalized two times. You may think it was All-Pro Aaron Donald who undressed him all afternoon, but it was third-round rookie Kobie Turner.

-Tyre Phillips played another solid game in pass protection prior to injuring his right knee/quad area. That looked like a serious one that is almost sure to keep him out of the start of 2024. Andrew Thomas played a mostly-clean game minus one pressure and a half-sack. He threw a key block on Robinson’s touchdown where he was about 25 yards away from his starting point. Good hustle and body control. The offensive line still stinks, but what a turn it made when he came back.

-Matt Peart came in for Phillips for 23 snaps, 20 of which were pass plays. For what we have seen out of him in recent years, he played well. I look forward to watching him against PHI for a full game; it is his last shot. This could determine a huge chunk of his future with NYG and the league.

-Justin Pugh allowed 2 pressures and a half-sack in addition to a tackle for loss. He is holding on for dear life at this point.


-Matthew Stafford excels at getting the ball out in a hurry. He is calculated and smart when it comes to deciding when to hang on for that extra second or two. His 2.13 seconds average time to throw was by far the quickest of the season, as a matter of fact the quickest since Week 3 of 2015. I bring that up because Kayvon Thibodeaux had just one pressure, making just three over the last three games. He has quieted down a lot. Azeez Ojulari had 2 QB hits on heavy-blitz packages where he was either left free or with minimal blocking across from him. I still think this is a top-three need on this roster.

-Jihad Ward, the veteran of the group, appears to be getting stronger as the season winds down. He recorded a sack and added 3 tackles. His 4.5 sacks are now tied with Dexter Lawrence and builds on his career high.


-Dexter Lawrence was back near a full snap load while playing on a beat-up hamstring. He had 2 tackles, one for a loss, and 2 pressures. Stafford’s quick throws kept some of the production down. He was winning off the line for most of the game, but they slowed him down just enough.

-The veteran accessories, A’Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches, contributed with impact plays. The former ended with 5 tackles (as he continues his red-hot second half) and the latter recorded his first sack of the season. D.J. Davidson and Jordon Riley played uneventful snaps (about a dozen each) in back-up roles.


-Another big game from Bobby Okereke, the ironman. A team-high 10 tackles and 1.5 sacks. While it was not the best start of the season for him, Okereke was a home-run free agent signing. He has added a certain level of stability to the defense and there appears to be less mistakes made than when the likes of Tae Crowder was the main guy inside.

-Micah McFadden and Isaiah Simmons could not be more different when looking at their tools. One is short but physical, instinctive, and savvy against blockers. The other is tall, long, fast and explosive but lacking the IQ you want out of an inside linebacker. We saw a healthy mix of the two in this game with Simmons recording his first sack of the season and 3 tackles. More on this duo below.


-Adoree’ Jackson was the defensive version of the Tyrod Taylor roller coaster. He finished with 7 tackles, a pass break-up, and a forced fumble that NYG recovered, turning into three points. He missed 2 tackles, one of which was one of the more pathetic attempts a pro defender can put on tape. It resulted in an 80-yard gain for rookie receiver Puka Nacua. LAR scored a touchdown on the next play. The Rams went after him 11 times, making this the second time in as many weeks that the opponent threw at him over ten times. With Deonte Banks out, Jackson was the top corner on the field. But despite the expensive contract, he does not give the consistent level of play to be considered anything close to a number one.

-Nick McCloud played a season-high 62 snaps for the injured Banks. His physical brand continues to factor every time he is on the field, but he is an easy guy to beat for savvy route runners. The lack of anticipation makes him an easy target on third down and near the end zone. He allowed a touchdown and 80 percent of the passes thrown his way were completed.

-Cor’Dale Flott has had a rough second half of the season, but there are still flashes in coverage that I like. His movement was very clean. Nevertheless, the lack of presence against contact and his impact as a run defender hurt the defense in this one. He was flagged for defensive holding in the fourth quarter a play before the Rams final touchdown of the game.


-Jason Pinnock has played nearly as much as anyone this year with a fast and violent brand at safety. He injured his foot in the first half and missed the rest of the game. My guess is that will be it for him in 2023. Dane Belton came in relief and had the game of his life: 2 tackles, 2 interceptions, and a fumble recovery. The big plays somewhat overshadow the 2 missed tackles. Whether or not he can fill the Xavier McKinney role (if he leaves in FA) will be at least somewhat dependent on him avoiding those mistakes.

-McKinney finished with 7 tackles (0 misses) and allowed just one completion thrown his way. He has cleaned up his game a lot after a rough first half of the season. This is probably the biggest free agency decision the front office will make. I have been back and forth on him. Because so many teams in the NFL are looking for safety help, I have a feeling NYG will get priced out. I like McKinney. He does things on tape that do not show up in the box score weekly, but his value is not worth what he will likely get in the market.


-K Mason Crosby: 2/3 (Made 31, 32 / Missed 54 / Missed 1 XP)
-P Jamie Gillan: 5 punts / 44.4 avg – 44.4 net


-WR Darius Slayton, S Dane Belton, LB Bobby Okereke


-C John Michael Schmitz, CB Nick McCloud, OG Ben Bredeson


(1) Perhaps it is because we are used to the Rams being good. But what this team is doing with a roster that has more rookies than anyone in the NFL on their 53-man roster at the start of the year is simply stunning. I remember doing their pre- and post-draft team reports for Ourlads and couldn’t believe it. This coaching staff (not just McVay, but Raheem Morris as well) should be put on a pedestal for what they’ve done. Playoff-bound for the fifth time in seven years.

(2) Puka Nacua is arguably having the best rookie season we have ever seen when it comes to the production and where he was drafted. The FIFTH-round pick is FOURTH in the NFL in yards. Not among rookies, fourth among everyone. He is fifth in first downs. He is eighth in receptions. He is fourth in yards after catch. Stunning production for a guy everyone had a late day three / priority free agent grade on.

(3) Would you want to play the Rams in the post-season? Against a championship caliber quarterback who can still sling it, an All-Pro caliber receiver and record-setting rookie to complement him, and a pass rush that does not look great statistically, but Aaron Donald is still there and they have two rookies (Byron Young + Kobie Turner) who are blossoming fast. These guys are 4-3 on the road with wins at Seattle, Indianapolis, and a near-win at Baltimore that needed an absolutely crazy ending. In the NFC, there are only 2 teams I would hate to play against more than these guys.


(1) Can Evan Neal learn something from Tyre Phillips? I think he can. Phillips is a poor athlete and always has been. His Combine workout was one of the worst I’ve seen and Neal, while he won’t set any records athletically, is a much better mover. Phillips grades out better in pass protection though. What gives? Neal abandons his technique way too early, way too often. I think it is more of a confidence issue than anything and I hope he can watch Phillips and pick up the fact that if you do what you’re supposed to do with your feet and hands, you will not bottom out the way he does.

(2) Weeks before Isaiah Simmons was drafted, I said I would love to see him as an outside linebacker-only at some point. What he did at Clemson (which was everything) and all of the projecting we did ended up not being realistic. I’m still not sold even Martindale knows what to do with him. This is truth. He is at his best in attack mode. He is 6’4” with plus-length, and he is incredibly explosive. I don’t think he has every-down ability at a Thibodeaux-type spot, but I would love to see him be a designated pass rusher. He’s been there for just about 20 percent of his career snaps and he pressures the passer at a higher than 10 percent rate, a solid number. That is his calling card. McFadden is the kind of number two linebacker who should be getting a 30-40 percent snap share and taken off of the field in obvious passing situations. Neither should be THE guy unless they clean up the deficiencies, McFadden’s being the missed tackles (2nd most in the NFL).

(3) Here we are. The final game of the 2023 season before we go headfirst into offseason mode, arguably more active and undoubtedly more interesting than the regular season. NYG is up against a team that is falling off the track hard and fast. Even though everyone wants the better draft position (they’re top 8 no matter what), this is a game I believe could help them get over one of the roadblocks in their way, and that is beating Philly. Does it mean anything for 2024? Mathematically, nope. But this team needs to find ways to get past these guys in head-to-head matchups. Confidence is bigger in sports than many realize, and I view this as a huge game for the future of this nucleus.

Dec 312023
Jamie Gillan and Mason Crosby, New York Giants (December 31, 2023)

So Close, But Yet So Far – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants came close to upsetting the red-hot Los Angeles Rams on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium, but untimely missed throws, dropped passes, missed tackles, penalties, and missed kicks hurt the team. The Giants lost 26-25, falling to 5-11 on the season with one more game to play.

In terms of overall team stats, the Rams held slight advantages in first downs (22 to 17), total net yards (391 to 389), net yards passing (286 to 284), and time of possession (30:11 to 29:49). Both teams rushed for 105 yards. The Giants won the turnover battle 3 to 1.

The Rams received the football to start the game, gained 54 yards on 10 plays, but had their 4th-and-3 passing attempt from the New York 21-yard fall incomplete, turning the ball over on downs. The Giants went three-and-out on their first possession. The Rams then responded with an 8-play, 72-yard drive that ended with a 4-yard run for a touchdown by running back Kyren Williams. Rams 7 – Giants 0.

The Giants tied the game on their second offensive possession with a 9-play, 75-yard drive. The Giants overcame a 3rd-and-4 and 3rd-and-6 before a 24-yard end-around for the score by wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson early in the 2nd quarter.

After both teams exchanged punts, the Giants got the ball back when safety Dane Belton intercepted an overthrown pass by quarterback Mathew Stafford. However, the Giants gave the ball right back to the Rams after a failed 4th-and-1 conversion attempt at the New York 46-yard line. Eight plays later, Stafford threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to make the score 14-7.

The last 1:44 of the first half was eventful. Quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s deep pass intended for wide receiver Darius Slayton was intercepted at the Los Angeles 27-yard line. On the very next snap, Stafford completed a 16-yard pass over the middle, but cornerback Adoree’ Jackson forced a fumble that was recovered by Belton, setting up New York at the Rams’ 43-yard line. The Giants managed to gain 30 yards in the last 58 seconds to set up a 31-yard field goal as time expired. (The first attempt was blocked however the Rams were flagged with a leaping penalty).

At the half, the Rams led 14-10.

The Giants gained one first down and crossed midfield, but were forced to punt after Taylor was sacked on the team’s first drive of the second half. Then on 3rd-and-4 from the Los Angeles 18-yard line, Stafford completed a short pass to wide receiver Puka Nacua that he broke for an 80-yard gain to the New York 2-yard line. Williams scored on the next play. The Rams missed the extra point. Rams 20 – Giants 10.

After both teams exchanged punts again, the Giants overcame a 3rd-and-10 with an 11-yard completion to tight end Darren Waller. On the next snap, Taylor threw a beautiful deep pass to Slayton that was completed for an 80-yard touchdown. However, place kicker Mason Crosby missed the extra point and the Giants trailed 20-16.

Momentum continued to shift in the Giants direction as Belton intercepted his second pass on Los Angeles’ ensuing possession, setting up the Giants at the Rams’ 34-yard line. The Giants converted on 4th-and-1 at the 25-yard line, reached the 10, but were pushed back and forced to settle for a 32-yard field goal. The Giants now only trailed by one point early in the 4th quarter, 20-19.

Here is where momentum quickly shifted back to the Rams. The Giants defense allowed a quick, 3-play, 75-yard score with two chunk plays, including a 37-yard pass by Stafford and a 28-yard touchdown run by Williams. The Rams missed the extra point again, but now extended their lead to 26-19 with 12 minutes to play.

The Giants gained two first downs and reached the Los Angeles 42-yard line, but were pushed back with another sack. After an 18-yard gain on 3rd-and-19, the Giants went for it on 4th-and-1, however Taylor’s completion to wide receiver Jalin Hyatt lost a yard, turning the ball over on downs at the Rams’ 34-yard line. Both teams then exchanged punts again.

With 4:46 left to play, the Rams began another possession, gained a first down, but then Stafford was sacked on 3rd-and-7 by inside linebacker Bobby Okereke and defensive lineman Rakeem Nunez-Roches. The ensuing punt was fielded by wideout Gunner Olszewski, who broke a tackle en route to a 94-yard score. Trailing by one point, 26-25, Head Coach Brian Daboll went for two. Unfortunately, Taylor badly missed a wide open running back Saquon Barkley for what should have been an easy 2-point conversion.

The Rams got the ball back with 3:27 left to play. On 3rd-and-9, linebacker Isaiah Simmons sacked Stafford for a 10-yard loss. After the punt and a 10-yard holding penalty on cornerback Darnay Holmes, the Giants had the ball on their own 35-yard line with 1:08 left to play. Barkley dropped a pass, but Taylor then scrambled for 31 yards to the Los Angeles 34-yard line. Taylor decided to spike the ball with 43 seconds left, losing a down. Oddly, the Giants ran the ball to Barkley with no timeouts. Worse, this play lost two yards. Taylor’s 3rd-and-12 pass was incomplete. Crosby’s 54-yard field goal came up short with 30 seconds to play and the Rams ran out the clock.

Taylor finished the game 27-of-41 for 319 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also was the team’s leading rusher with 40 yards on six carries. Robinson caught six passes for 55 yards and rushed for a 24-yard touchdown. Waller had five catches for 51 yards and Slayton had four catches for 106 yards and a touchdown. Barkley was held to 39 yards on 12 carries.

Defensively, Okereke led the team with 10 tackles, 1.5 sacks, and a tackle for a loss. Simmons and linebacker Jihad Ward each had a sack and Nunez-Roches had a half-sack. Belton picked off two passes and recovered a fumble.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, placed TE Lawrence Cager (groin) on Injured Reserve and signed ILB Darrian Beavers to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. The Giants also activated (standard elevation) WR Dennis Houston and PK Mason Crosby from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were CB Deonte Banks (shoulder), WR Parris Campbell, WR Dennis Houston, OC Sean Harlow, DT Timmy Horne, OLB Benton Whitley, and S Gervarrius Owens.

RT Tyre Phillips (right knee) and S Jason Pinnock (foot) were injured in the game. It is feared that the injury to Phillips is serious. Pinnock was wearing boot in the locker room, but he said x-rays were 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 Giants.com:

The Florida Gators have hired Craig Fitzgerald to be their new director of football performance. Fitzgerald had been the Giants’ director of strength and performance since 2020 when he was hired by then head coach Joe Judge.

Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Monday.

Dec 292023
New York Giants fan (October 2, 2023)

© USA TODAY Sports

In last week’s game review, I wrote “There is a big difference between the Giants losing this game 40-6 and 20-13. I can more easily accept the latter. But another one-sided drubbing by a divisional opponent is a really tough pill to swallow.”

At halftime, the Giants were trailing 20-3, exactly on pace for a 40-6 drubbing. But a handful of plays made a statistically one-sided game close, including a fumble on a kickoff return, a pick 6, and a 69-yard touchdown pass. Despite some bad officiating, the Giants seriously threatened to send the game into overtime. In terms of the big picture, one could argue this was a good outcome. It was a competitive game, but the Giants improved their draft position.

Yet the gnawing feeling remains that there is a serious talent gap between these two teams. The Giants kept it close because of three plays, but the Eagles still proved to be the better team when taking into account every single snap. We’ll get a better read in two weeks when both these teams face each other again, with Tyrod Taylor likely playing the full game as starter.

In between, the Giants face the red-hot Los Angeles Rams. The Rams’ overall record of 8-7 is misleading. The team has won five of their last six games, with the only defeat being in overtime to the Ravens in Baltimore. One can argue that the Rams have gotten fat playing against bad teams, but they have averaged over 32 points per game in their last five games. The Giants are averaging 14 points per game.

So unless something bizarre occurs, the Giants will fall to 5-11 against a surging team fighting for a playoff spot with a quarterback playing at an elite level. The Giants’ 2023 season was over by Halloween. It’s just taking forever to officially wrap this up before one of the most important offseasons in franchise history.


  • RB Saquon Barkley (elbow – probable)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (quad – questionable)
  • TE Darren Waller (knee – probable)
  • TE Lawrence Cager (groin – doubtful)
  • OC John Michael Schmitz (shoulder – probable)
  • OG Ben Bredeson (quad – probable)
  • OG Justin Pugh (elbow – probable)
  • DL Dexter Lawrence (hamstring – probable)
  • DL A’Shawn Robinson (back – probable)
  • DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (knee – probable)
  • CB Deonte Banks (shoulder – questionable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (ankle – probable)
  • P Jamie Gillan (groin/knee – probable)

Overall, the defense of the Rams is not overly impressive. They are middle-of-the pack in yards allowed and scoring defense. However, they still have defensive tackle Aaron Donald and they like to stunt and blitz up front, the exact type of scheme that has given New York’s blockers fits. The ability of the Giants to move the ball and put points on the board will largely depend on the offensive line. That’s not encouraging.

Let’s turn to the big picture and the upcoming offseason. That’s the more interesting subject matter.

Two things appear to separate the consistently good offenses and the bad ones: quarterback and offensive line.

If you don’t have a quarterback, you’re not likely to seriously challenge for a division title, let alone a Super Bowl trophy. The Giants have invested five years and two big contracts into Daniel Jones with little to show for it. On top of that, he can’t stay healthy. Undrafted rookie Tommy DeVito’s 15-minutes may be up. He’s under contract for another year and certainly will get a chance to compete in the summer, but whether he has an NFL future in any capacity remains in question. The problem for him is he doesn’t have the longer leash provided to a draft pick. It may not be fair, but it’s the way the world works.

This brings us to Tyrod Taylor. In 2022, many felt his 2-year, $11 million contract was an indication that Taylor would be the bridge quarterback between Jones, who was on thin ice at the time, and the anticipated 1st-round quarterback taken by the team in April 2023. However, under the new coaching staff, Jones played better than expected and was rewarded with a 4-year, $160 million deal. That decision has blown up in the team’s face. The Giants now find themselves in the awkward position of perhaps having to sit a player with a $47 million cap value out of fear he may hurt himself again and lock the team into future cap trouble. Long story short, much depends on how Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll privately feel about Jones.

If Jones is on the outs, theoretically Taylor could once again become that bridge quarterback. But there are two problems. (1) Taylor’s contract is expiring and he may not even be open to returning to a team that already benched him for an undrafted rookie, and (2) Taylor simply has not been able to stay healthy in the NFL himself. It’s not impossible that the Giants and Taylor could agree to a new deal, but I would not bet on it. That all said, these last two games could change hearts and minds. Familiarity is also working in favor of a possible reunion. So these games may be more important to Taylor than anyone else on the team. He not only needs to play well, but he can’t afford to get dinged up again.

We’ve all had it with the state of the offensive line. Enough is enough. Fix the fucking line. You don’t have to be a brain surgeon to see that teams that can protect their quarterback and run the football are automatically good offenses. The reverse is also obvious. The Giants have had first hand experience with this brutal reality for 12 years. A good offensive line can make an average quarterback look good. Bad ones ruined the entire second half of Eli Manning’s career.

Evan Neal’s 2023 season was a disaster. Neal suffered a concussion in training camp that caused him to miss two valuable weeks of practice. A right ankle injury nagged him for all of October, causing him to also miss two games. When he returned in early November, he broke his left ankle, an injury which requires surgery. Neal only started seven games, missing 10, and again struggled with his balance and footwork in pass protection when he did play. Schoen says they still view him as a tackle and believe he can play. If so, they had better hire new offensive line coaches and have a legitimate fallback option.

Neal has become the bogeyman for fans, but the guard situation is just as dire. Justin Pugh is clearly not answer and should not be retained. Ben Bredeson is not an NFL starter, and is best suited for a back-up role. The lack of development of 2022 3rd-round pick Josh Ezeudu, who was forced to start five games at left tackle before missing the remaining 12 games with an injury, has been an issue as well. The regime also gambled an lost on Shane Lemieux (again) and Marcus McKethan did not develop. The situation with Mark Glowinski is just weird and he is likely done here. On top of all of this, the blocking schemes don’t appear to play to John Michael Schmitz’s strengths.

Moving forward, the Giants will have Andrew Thomas and hopefully Schmitz becomes what they hoped for when they drafted him. They can’t count on Neal, Bredeson, Ezeudu, and McKethan to be starters. They must part ways with Glowinski, Pugh, Lemieux, and Matt Peart. They cut Tyre Phillips once so it will be interesting to see if they even attempt to re-sign him. In other words, the Giants haven’t improved their OL situation at all in two seasons. Once again, they have to go back to the drawing board. It’s beyond ridiculous. Fix it.

Full disclosure, I was a hugely supportive of the Giants hiring Wink Martindale. I was a big fan of what his defenses did in Baltimore and I like his aggressive approach in an era of bend-but-don’t break schemes. I also was impressed with the smoke-and-mirrors job he did in 2022 with an undermanned and injury-riddled unit. Opponents continue to say how difficult his system is to prepare for. That all said, I am left underwhelmed this year. The Giants’ defense allowed 144 rushing yards per game in 2022. They are giving up 134 yards per game this year, which is 29th in the NFL. Perhaps I’m too locked into the past, but I was brought up in an era where if you can’t stop the run, you can’t play quality defense, and therefore you can’t win. What’s Wink’s excuse? They traded away Leonard Williams? That doesn’t explain the problems before he was traded and it’s not sufficient enough an excuse for just how bad the run defense has been.

You want to beat the Cowboys and Eagles? You have to stop the run. Period.

I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the reports, but according to my sources, Wink is indeed on the way out. I’m not sure how I feel about this. Wink did have a down year in 2023, but so did this entire coaching staff. We’ll have to pray this all works out.

What type of defense needs this team will have largely depends on who defensive coordinator will be. Will the Giants stick with a 3-4 hybrid? Will they be more of a pure 3-4? Will they consider shifting back to a 4-3? Does doing the latter even make sense with Kayvon Thibodeaux being more of a pure 3-4 outside linebacker? Whatever scheme they employ, one thing is clear, the Giants need more pass rushers. It’s the glaring talent weakness on this defense.

As for the Rams, this one could get ugly. Fans keep asking where has Thibodeaux been, but as I’ve warned for weeks now, he’s a marked man. The team has gotten one decent game from Azeez Ojulari and that’s it. Now Dexter Lawrence has been limited to half the defensive snaps due to a hamstring situation. Meanwhile, as mentioned above, the Rams are averaging 32 points per game in their past five contests. Los Angeles has the 7th-best offense in the NFL, higher than the Eagles and Chiefs. They can throw the ball and they can run it. Matthew Stafford is playing as well as anyone at quarterback and he has two studs to throw to, including Cooper Kupp and surprising rookie Puka Nacua. Deonte Banks being questionable with a shoulder injury does not help.

I’ve never seen a season where the Giants have had three kickers and a punter get hurt, but here we are. Jamie Gillan is playing hurt and that would be more of a concern if the team was still alive for a playoff spot. Meanwhile, two poor punts + big returns led directly to 14 points last week. That proved decisive in a one-score game. Thomas McGaughey should be on thin ice.

Wink Martindale on the Rams’ offense: “I think that Stafford is playing at a Hall of Fame-type level and they have gelled offensively. He’s making throws that you just sit there and go, ‘wow.’ From all different kind of arm angles, no looks, all those things you’ve heard about, you’re seeing him do it and they’re playing at a very high level. I think that the thing that (Head Coach) Sean (McVay) has done is that they’ve made a commitment to the run game and changing their offensive line this year. Now, it’s a two-headed monster that you have to deal with. So, they put you in a bind of what you want to try to do and how you’re going try to do it, but Stafford is playing unreal. I mean, he’s a great football player, but I think that he and (Ravens quarterback) Lamar (Jackson) should be up for the MVP candidate. That’s the kind of year he’s having, and they’ve scored over 30 points a game.”

In a decade plus of forgettable games and forgettable players, we find ourselves in the final stages of another season that was over by Halloween and which took forever to end. That’s a terrible place to be, but it is what it is. At this point, stealing a win would hurt the team more than it helps. If that makes me a bad fan, so be it. I hope they keep it close, but I don’t want to fall down the draft board. No one will ever remember if they upset the Rams.

Oct 192021
Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 17, 2021)

Tom Coughlin and Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports


On paper, the cross-country trip the Rams had to embark on for a Sunday 1 PM contest was an ugly one for Big Blue. The NFL-leader in offensive yards per play against the defense that had allowed the 8th most yards per play. The 6th best 3rd-down offense against the 29th-ranked 3rd-down defense. One of the top-3 pass protecting offensive lines facing off against a bottom-three pass rush. And lastly, since 2017, the 3rd-best road team vs. the worst home team in the NFL. This had ugly written all over it despite the relatively close 17-9 loss to the Rams a season ago.

The Giants began with the ball, and it was ugly from the start. Daniel Jones was sacked by Leonard Floyd, causing a fumble, just 2 days after the third-year quarterback cleared concussion protocol from a hit he took in their previous game against DAL. They pushed through the initial adversity, converting a 3rd-and-14 via a pass from Jones to the dynamic and explosive playmaker Kadarius Toney. That, along with a few chunk-gains in the running game by Devontae Booker, stepping in for the injured Saquon Barkley, brought NYG into the red zone. NYG had 1st-and-10 from the LAR 11-yard line. As expected, the worst red zone offense in the league had to settle on a 27-yard field goal and they lost Toney to a re-aggravated ankle injury. He would not return.

The Rams offense, led by potential MVP Matthew Stafford, did breach NYG territory but a 3rd-down sack by Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence pushed them back far enough to warrant a punt. NYG had the ball back deep in their own territory. The offensive line continued to get pummeled, but Jones was able to convert a 3rd down and star cornerback Jalen Ramsey was called for a hold on another 3rd down a few plays later. On a 4th-and-1 from their own 41-yard line, the NYG offense opted to go for it via a QB sneak up the middle. It was mere inches shy, which led to a turnover on downs.

Leonard Williams came up big again on a 3rd-and-5 from the NYG 35-yard line, sacking Stafford once more, pushing them out of field goal range once more. The Big Blue defense deserved a ton of credit as they game entered the 2nd quarter with the home team up, 3-0. That was the final positive state of the game for the Giants.

The next 5 offensive possessions resulted in 3 three-and-outs and 2 turnovers. Mixed in between were 3 Rams touchdowns: two passes from Stafford to Robert Woods and Cooper Kupp respectively, and a run by Darrell Henderson. As the clock neared 2:00, LAR had the ball again and you know what that means. NYG has made a habit out of allowing touchdowns over the final 2 minutes of the first half, and for the 6th time in 6 weeks, that is exactly what they did. Stafford hit Henderson up the left sideline for a 25-yard score and the fans were already heading toward the exits. LAR had a 28-3 lead at the half and they were without Toney and left tackle Andrew Thomas because of injuries.

LAR was held to a 32-yard field goal on the opening possession of the second half, but then Jones threw another interception to Taylor Rapp (his second of the game) on the ensuing drive. LAR turned that into another touchdown, as they scored their 38th straight unanswered point with just under 12 minutes left in the game. There isn’t much to say about this game from here. NYG did score a garbage touchdown via an Elijhaa Penny run for 4 yards as LAR slowly but surely took their starters off the field on both sides of the ball. NYG kept most of their starters in, minus a near-full blown personnel change along the offensive line. It was hard to watch at the end, as most of the defense started to jog through the motions, the leftover fans peppered the home team with boos, and Joe Judge joined the list of NYG coaches staring into the abyss wondering what in the hell he had gotten himself into.

NYG loses 38-11.


-Daniel Jones: 29/52 – 242 yards – 0 TD / 3 INT

Jones added 4 yards on the ground and fumbled twice, losing one. Against a defense that was middle of the pack, Jones looked overmatched. Perhaps he was. He was missing his top receiver, his running back, and then lost his left tackle and number three receiver in the first half. He appeared to be fighting an uphill battle most of the way and he just couldn’t seem to pull himself out of it. Remember, year 3 is all about evaluating whether or not Jones will be the long-term answer at quarterback. Part of that includes whether or not he performs well through adversity. Part of that includes how much he can elevate those around him greater than the sum of its parts. He failed here. There are a couple things that can be pointed at, but we must keep things simple. Jones was overmatched mentally and physically. No question.


-Devontae Booker: 12 att / 41 yards and 4 rec / 28 yards.

Booker was running well early on. He had a few chunk gains inside but because they were down so much in the second half, his role was diminished further and further. His vision and yards after contact were solid and he was successful on all of his pass-blocking responsibilities besides one miscommunication with the offensive line.

-Elijhaa Penny had 15 yards on 3 carries including a touchdown. I would like to see him in all short-yardage and goal-line situations; he remains very successful in those situations.


-Sterling Shepard: 10 rec / 76 yards

After missing a game with a hamstring injury, Shepard came back and led the team in yards and catches. 7 catches and 56 of those yards came after halftime, mostly against soft prevent defense. Shepard had 2 big drops and that is what stood out the most to me from him in this game.

-Because of the injuries to Golladay, Toney, and Slayton, we saw an increase in playing time for Dante Pettis and Collin Johnson. The former had 5 catches for 48 yards and the latter added 2 catches for 21 yards. John Ross went catch-less. 7 combined catches on 18 targets, a terrible catch percentage.

-Toney and C.J. Board were both lost with injuries, further shrinking this position group which will likely force a signing or 2. We may finally see preseason stud David Sills IV. Should Toney have been out there after missing most of practice in the week leading up? Yes. He passed pre-game protocols and the only way NYG was going to have a shot in this game was points. Toney gave NYG the best opportunity to score points at the skill position and without Barkley on the field, nobody else was close.


-It was an uneventful day for the group. Evan Engram and Kyle Rudolph combined for 4 receptions / 32 yards on 7 targets. They were both on the field at the same time for just under half the snaps because of the abundance of injuries they were going through at receiver. Kaden Smith also played about a quarter of the snaps. Rudolph’s inability to move his feet and bend his knees as a blocker makes him look like a player who aged really fast. Add him to the list of disappointments that have come here this offseason via free agency.

-Engram still lacks flow as both a route runner and receiver. There is something mental going on there and I am sticking with it.


-Andrew Thomas was clearly hobbled from his nagging foot injury that kept him out last week against DAL. He lasted just 29 snaps before leaving the game with another injury. This brought swing tackle Matt Peart into the fold. The second-year, 3rd-round draft pick allowed 2 sacks and 3 pressures. It was a bad sign for him, as the team will be examining him hard this upcoming offseason when determining how to approach the future offensive line. Clearly, he is not a fit for the left side. The issue is, neither is Nate Solder. Solder allowed 3 pressures and a sack himself, further proving something that no longer needs to be discussed. He isn’t a pro-caliber lineman anymore.

-Inside, against the top defensive lineman in the league in Aaron Donald, Will Hernandez and Matt Skura both allowed a pressure and were both flagged for a false start. They did a solid job on the positive inside runs, but neither did well on the outside zone running plays. The Rams defense is fast but where they really excel up front is with their gap discipline and ability to forecast. They were simply beating these two, and center Billy Price, to spots on the field. Price was rarely left alone in this one. He allowed 1 pressure but was solid otherwise, finishing with the top grade among the OL.


-Leonard Williams was the top player on the team in this game. Back when this was an actual game, he was on fire. He had 1.5 sacks, 2 pressures, and penetrated against the run. He finished with 7 tackles but didn’t seem very interested late in the game. I will address his post game comments below.

-Dexter Lawrence, who we’ve discussed in regard to needing to step up for this defense, also started off hot and finished with 7 tackles. He added a half-sack and was controlling multiple gaps in the running game. Lawrence isn’t an impactful player, but I think his value isn’t appreciated because of how poor the team is around him. When I watch quality football teams and defenses around the league, the outlook on a player like Lawrence is much higher. Guys like this create opportunities for others but if those others don’t make things happen and/or the team as a whole gets torched, players like Lawrence get lost in the shuffle. Simply put, a good defense that has a need inside will want Lawrence, something I will touch on later on below as well.

-Austin Johnson and Danny Shelton were doing a nice job against Rams center Brian Allen when matched up against him, but really struggled with the gap integrity when they had to move laterally. Johnson had a pressure and 6 tackles (all assists) and Shelton ended up getting injured late in the game.


-There are were moments where Tae Crowder looks overwhelmed. He is still a young player who is lacking in some key areas, but I thought he played his butt off. He led the team with 10 tackles, added a TFL, and had one pressure. He was beat in man coverage that resulted in a touchdown by Darrell Henderson. That won’t ever be a spot he should be pre-snap unless NYG is sending an all-out blitz. Poor scheming by Patrick Graham there and Stafford knew it right away.

-We saw a little bit of Carter Coughlin later in the game. Reggie Ragland is a known stout run defender, but the results aren’t good enough. I think it is time to get Coughlin more looks. He was a couple inches away from an interception and I think his versatility could make some things happen for this defense.

-Yet another quiet game from the outside linebackers. Azeez Ojulari, Lorenzo Carter, and Oshane Ximines combined for 111 snaps. LAR dropped back to throw the ball 31 times. Not one pressure. Not one. Ximines had a garbage time TFL and the starters combined for 3 tackles. They are complete non-factors.


-Adoree’ Jackson continues to put up poor performance after poor performance. What an awful signing that was a clear attempt at throwing an expensive band aid on a problem this front office did not properly forecast. He was attacked on 3rd down, allowing 3 conversions and allowed a touchdown.

-James Bradberry was solid, as he matched up against Robert Woods for most of the afternoon and kept him to a season-low 2 catches. Bradberry also broke up 2 passes.


-Xavier McKinney’s box score looks nice.. He had 3 tackles and 2 interceptions. For a defense that is starving for impact plays and for a defense that just can’t get to the passer enough, McKinney’s big plays were important to see even though they had no impact on the game. He also dropped a third interception. I want to see him finish more plays as a tackler and pursuer. He gets to where he needs to be, he plays physical and aggressive, but there is something missing. Hopefully the experience of playing at NFL speed will fix the issues because he is one young defender on this team who has a high ceiling.

-Logan Ryan had 7 tackles and continued to play hard to the end. Call me old fashioned but I appreciate and respect what he does on the field. He was beat on 3rd down and on a touchdown, but he is one of the few defenders NYG has who can be relied upon. We know what we are getting out of him week in, week out.

-Jabrill Peppers on the other hand is further weakening his odds of being on this team in the future because of poor play. Offenses are quite obviously looking to get after him on 3rd down and near the end zone. He is a huge part of the weakness this defense has at the second level and is no match for a solid receiving threat. Athletic freak, bad football player. It won’t work.


-K Graham Gano: 1/1 (Made 27)

-P Riley Dixon: 4 punts / 52.5 avg – 43.5 net


-DT Leonard Williams, S Xavier McKinney, RB Devontae Booker


-OT Matt Peart, QB Daniel Jones, LB Lorenzo Carter


(1) Did you know LAR hasn’t made a 1st round pick since 2016? Five straight drafts without a 1st rounder AND they won’t have one in the next two drafts (unless they trade FOR one). Front offices can be aggressive like this when, and only when, the foundation is firmly in place. Strength in the trenches (BOTH sides of the ball). A coaching system that elevates others on a consistent basis. And wins. NYG lacks all of the above. Until then, the idea of trading FOR players is not the right approach because the holes are too many.

(2) Are the Rams a legit contender in the NFC? You bet. That makes it 2 weeks in a row that NYG took on 2 of the 3 teams that I think the NFC will come down to. TB is the remaining conference contender they haven’t seen yet, but that time will come in 5 weeks. 82 points allowed, 31 points against. That is the margin between where NYG is and where we want them to eventually be. An average of 25+ points per game.

(3) Andrew Whitworth doesn’t get half the attention that he should. 16 seasons as a starting left tackle and soon-to-be 40 years old. I have all the respect in the world for Tom Brady and what he does at his age but I think what Whitworth is doing at a much more physically demanding position belongs in the same conversation.


(1) Leonard Williams wasn’t happy about the boo birds spraying out their distaste for the team on Sunday. Some overdone line about how he wouldn’t go boo a salesman that is performing poorly at his job. I’ve seen this before and I’ll see it again. Someone needs to tell him to focus on fixing himself and the team he plays on. While this “story” is not a big deal at all, I think it goes to show one of the major internal issues NYG is currently dealing with. A bunch of people around this organization not taking complete ownership for their part in being the worst team in the NFL over the past few years. Their players don’t perform well, their front office is missing out on the right players both in free agency and the draft, and the coaches can’t seem to stay on the same level of intellect as the rest of the league. Be a man and admit it. Part one of fixing a problem is acknowledging the problem and, in this case, every person involved in football operations that receives a paycheck from NYG is part of the problem. You’re wasting time talking about “boo’s”. You’re in New York, Mr. Williams. You’re 34-67 as a pro and the highest paid player on the team. Set the example of ownership, not finger pointing.

(2) The year is 2014. NYG is coming off 7-9 season (2013) and ranked 26th in the league in sacks. The year prior (2012), they were 22nd in sacks in a season they just missed the playoffs. And lastly, the year before that (Super Bowl winning 2011), they ranked tied for 3rd in the NFL with 48 sacks. NYG was picking 12th in the first round. Admittedly, their offense was struggling as well but this is the moment NYG went away from what was working for so long. They passed on Aaron Donald (much to my dismay), and selected Odell Beckham. Since then? Donald has earned first-team All-Pro honors 6 times. Donald has 89 sacks and 136 TFL over 116 games. Beckham has played in just 86 games with 51 touchdowns (just 16 since 2017). I am reminded of this every time I watch LAR play and it was a franchise-changing moment that few ever talk about.

(3) The NFL trade deadline is 2 weeks away. Here we are again, wondering if anyone in the league wants the trash from this roster so NYG can net an extra mid to late round pick in the next draft. A couple thoughts on this. One, you want to have good players here so one can properly gauge what is currently here. I am getting at Sterling Shepard, a player I think many will forecast in a trade market. I think his contract is too big for anyone to see great value in him. A good player, absolutely. However, when economics come into play, the value is very average. Plus, if you are going to use the rest of 2021 to evaluate Jones in regard to NYG’s future at the position, he needs to be here running routes, not Dante Pettis. Second, who on this roster is worth something to someone else? I can only see two guys that would warrant attention. They are CB James Bradberry and DT Dexter Lawrence. As I said above, Lawrence may not get the attention on a bad team, rightfully so. On a defense that has other parts (playmakers at LB and quality edge presence), Lawrence can make things happen. I wouldn’t expect anything better than a 4 or 5 for either, but those are 2 names I would look into for a trade. KC, IND, and TEN are all contenders that will be searching for defensive help.

Oct 172021

The uncompetitive New York Giants got their collective asses handed to them by the Los Angeles Rams on Sunday, losing 38-11 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the loss, the Giants fall to 1-5 on the season.

The Giants actually led 3-0 at the end of the 1st quarter, but the Rams scored 38 unanswered points, including four touchdowns in the 2nd quarter alone. New York’s lone touchdown (and 2-point conversion) came in garbage time in the 4th quarter.

Quarterback Daniel Jones turned the football over four times, including three interceptions and one fumble. Overall, the Rams won the turnover battle four to two and out-gained the Giants in first downs (22 to 21), total net yards (365 to 261), net yards rushing (131 to 60), net yards passing (234 to 201), and time of possession (32:22 to 27:38).

Offensively, besides the four turnovers, Jones completed 29-of-51 passes for 242 yards and no touchdowns. He was sacked four times and under pressure much of the game. Running back Devontae Booker was the team’s leading rusher with just 41 yards on 12 carries. Wide receiver Sterling Shepard caught 10 passes for just 76 yards and caused one of the interceptions by falling down on his route.

The defense allowed quarterback Matthew Stafford to complete 22-of-28 passes for 251 yards, four touchdowns, and one interception. The other interception was thrown by the back-up quarterback, John Wolford, in garbage time. For the sixth game in a row, the defense surrendered a touchdown right before halftime.

Video lowlights are available at Giants.com.

On Saturday, the Giants activated LB Cam Brown from Injured Reserve to the 53-man roster.

The Giants also elevated WR Dante Pettis and OT Korey Cunningham to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), WR Kenny Golladay (knee), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), OG Ben Bredeson (hand), LB Quincy Roche, and CB Josh Jackson.

WR Kadarius Toney (ankle), LT Andrew Thomas (ankle), and WR C.J. Board (broken forearm) all suffered first-half injuries and did not return. NT Danny Shelton (pectoral) left the game in the second half and did not return. OT Nate Solder (finger) was also injured, but returned to the game.

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 Giants.com:

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, this was the first 38-11 game in NFL history.

The Giants did not score a touchdown in the first three quarters for the second straight home game.

The Rams scored 28 points in the second quarter, the largest one-quarter outburst by a Giants opponent since December 19, 2010, when the Philadelphia Eagles scored 28 in the fourth quarter at MetLife Stadium.

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

Oct 152021

Abraham Lincoln

“What I’m about is an old school physical mentality. We’re going to put a product on the field that the people of this city and region are going to be proud of because this team will represent this area. We will play fast, we will play downhill, we will play aggressive. We will punch you in the nose for 60 minutes, we will play every play like it has a history and a life of its own, with a relentless, competitive attitude. We will play fundamentally sound, we will not beat ourselves. That is our mission right here… It’s a tough division, it’s a tough division and the city is full of tough people and they expect to see a program, they expect to see a product, that represents them. I’m going to do everything in my power, every day, to make sure the people of this city and this area turn on the TV or sit in the stadium seats and are proud to say that we’re their New York Giants.” ― Joe Judge (January 2020)

“The hen is the wisest of all the animal creation, because she never cackles until the egg is laid.” ― Abraham Lincoln


  • QB Daniel Jones (concussion – probable)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle – out)
  • WR Kenny Golladay (knee – out)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring – probable)
  • WR Darius Slayton (hamstring – questionable)
  • WR Kadarius Toney (ankle – questionable)
  • OT Andrew Thomas (foot – questionable)
  • OG Ben Bredeson (hand – questionable)
  • OG/OC Matt Skura (knee – probable)
  • LB Justin Hilliard (ankle – out)
  • S Logan Ryan (hip – probable)
  • S Jabrill Peppers (hamstring – probable)
  • S Nate Ebner (quad – probable)

The Mara and Tisch families and their employees have done the impossible. One decade ago, this team was widely regarded to have one of the most loyal fan bases in all of sports. New York Giants fans would fill the stadium and watch on TV no matter how bad the team was. Wellington Mara even remarked in the 1980’s that one of the biggest mistakes he made during the 1960’s and 1970’s was misjudging the loyalty of Giants fans, and had he known better, he would have not attempted the “quick fix” as much as he did and build the team through the draft instead.

I have never seen the team’s fanbase more dispassionate and disinterested. It’s palpable. The team just sucks to watch and it has been that way for 10 years. Even when the Giants were bad in previous down periods, Dan Reeves and Dave Brown could upset the championship-caliber Dallas Cowboys or Jim Fassel and Kent Graham could upset the unbeaten Denver Broncos. In other words, there was some life and spirit in even mediocre teams. Football was still fun. The Giants might not be headed to the playoffs, but they were still competitive and could beat any team on any given Sunday. Those days are long gone.

The Giants are not just 1-4, but we all know they will be 1-9 by Thanksgiving. There is no mystery, nothing to look forward to, and that’s just sad. This season was supposed to be different. I suspect the bulk of fans will soon tune the team out this season, if they haven’t done so already. There are better ways to enjoy a Sunday.

Oct 062020
Leonard Williams and James Bradberry, New York Giants (October 4, 2020)

Leonard Williams and James Bradberry – © USA TODAY Sports

Los Angeles Rams 17 – New York Giants 9


After being embarrassed by the Niners JV team at home in Week 3, the 0-3 Giants were back on the road, flying across country to play in the brand new, stunning stadium that hosts both the Los Angeles Rams and Chargers. Their opponent was the former coming in after a 2-1 start where they averaged 30 points per game. The Giants, on the other hand, came in with the last-ranked offense in the league and having not won an out-of-division road game since mid-November of 2018.

This one began right where the abysmal performance last week ended. NYG began with the ball and ran three plays: a drop, a sack, and passing play that lost 7 yards. The Rams then nickel-and-dimed their way up the field via a 12-play drive with little-to-no resistance from the Giants defense. Tight end Gerald Everett scored on a 2-yard touchdown run and the Rams had the quick lead that they never let go of.

The NYG offensive line got absolutely pummeled on the next drive, with Andrew Thomas and Kevin Zeitler being the main culprits. They punted following a 3rd-and-27 play that netted 8 yards. On the very first play of the Rams ensuing drive, Everett caught a short pass over the middle and had the ball jarred loose by the pursuing defensive tackle Anthony Johnson, which was recovered by cornerback James Bradberry. NYG began the drive on the LAR 34-yard line. They did get into the red zone but a 2-yard loss on a passing play followed by a Zeitler false start put them in 3rd-and-long on their final play of the drive for the third time in as many drives. Fortunately, because of the starting field position, NYG was still able to put 3 points on the board via a 35-yard field goal by Graham Gano.

The Rams went three-and-out on their next drive, but then so did NYG. The Giants line continued to look overmatched, allowing two straight sacks. The Rams then went on another long drive, this one 15 plays, to put up another 3 points on the board. Their running game started to take over a bit but a theme we saw from the NYG defense for the rest of the afternoon arose on this drive. The Rams got to 1st-and-goal from the 4-yard line but the following three plays netted -10 yards. They settled for a 32-yard field goal to make it 10-3. The Giants then ended the half with a quality, clock-efficient drive that saw them convert 3-out-of-3 third-down conversions. Gano put a 37 yarder through the uprights and they were down just 4 points at halftime despite gaining just 67 net yards in the first half.

As ugly as it has been this season and as much as I have a personal belief into not putting a lot of credit on moral victories, we saw something positive happen early in the second half. As NYG stopped the Rams and on their first offensive drive, a fight broke out between center Nick Gates and LAR star defensive tackle (and arguably the top defensive player in the NFL) Aaron Donald. It wasn’t a push and a shove. It wasn’t just trash talk. These two were going at it pretty aggressively. Gates, a third-year undrafted free agent who wouldn’t start on nearly any team in the league against Donald, a perennial All Pro and Defensive Player of the Year candidate. It struck some extra life into the Giants on both sides of the ball. No, there wasn’t a dramatic touchdown at the end of this drive (NYG made it to the LAR 43 and punted) but there was a different feel to both sides of the ball after that scuffle.

Two drives later, NYG made their way into the red zone but a string of positive plays was cancelled out by an illegal formation and false start penalty, respectively. They had to settle for another field goal, this one from 27, to make it a one-point game. NYG had all of the momentum and this one appeared it would come down to the field position game and which offense could come up with the big play. NYG then forced another 3-and-out but came up short on their own next offensive drive even though Wayne Gallman’s longest run of his career (26 yards) got them to midfield.

The Rams began their next drive with just under 10 minutes left, and on 3rd-and-3 from their own 45-yard line, the solid Giants defense had a break in coverage. Cooper Kupp made his way up the seam with nobody covering the deep middle. Goff found him and Kupp made his way into the end zone thanks to the miscommunication and a badly missed tackle by Bradberry. This was the big play I talked about someone needing. It was 17-9 with about 7 minutes left.

The Giants had two possessions left. They made it into LAR territory both times, but two inaccurate Jones’ throws ended both drives. The first one was on a 4th-and-11 where he air-mailed one to Golden Tate. The second one was a forced 2nd-and-5 pass with one minute left that ended up in the arms of LAR corner Darious Williams. Jones had an easy first down run in front of him but he made the wrong decision and it cost them a shot at tying it up.

NYG loses, 17-9.


Daniel Jones: 23-36 / 190 yards / 0 TD-1 INT / 65.7 RAT

Jones was once again the team leader in rushing with 45 yards (Gallman also added 45 yards). It was a brave effort for Jones, notably in the second half. He made some big plays with his legs and had NYG won this game, it would be discussed more. After a full career of watching an immobile quarterback in Eli Manning, this is a new way to gain yards for this team. Is it better? Or will it end up being better? Jones is still very late to see things and he wasn’t doing the offensive line any favors in the first half with how long he was holding onto the ball. 177 of Jones’ total yards came in the second half but we still aren’t seeing him make much happen with his arm in relation to downfield and/or big-time throws. He scrambled his way to his biggest plays which in a simple world means just as much as making plays through the air. But how sustainable is that? Quarterbacks need to be throwers first and second, and a runner third (unless your name is Lamar Jackson). Right now, Jones is overly reliant on scrambling and this team needs to hope that doesn’t become the crutch he constantly relies upon.


-Devonta Freeman and Wayne Gallman appear to be the ideal 1-2 punch this team needs to move forward with. They combined for 78 yards on 17 carries. There isn’t anything spectacular about that but Gallman had the biggest run of the day (also the second longest gain for NYG) and Freeman earned some tough yards. Freeman ran with more confidence in this game and as I said last week, I expect him to hit full stride after another game. He started to show some extra bounce and pop in the second half. I am excited to see how far he can take it.

-Dion Lewis was on the field for more snaps than Gallman but I think that has more to do with this coaching staff trusting him more in pass protection. He did have a nice 10-yard gain for a first down to convert a 3rd-and-10. In terms of upside and this team actually scoring touchdowns, however, Gallman gives them more hope.


-Golden Tate caught four passes for only 20 yards. Jones missed him badly on two occasions. Darius Slayton led the team with 48 yards but caught just 3 balls. 33 of those yards came on one play, the vast majority of which were after the catch. He was a non-factor most of the afternoon and was clearly overmatched by the LAR outside corners, Troy Hill and Jalen Ramsey. Damion Ratley added 34 yards on 3 catches and C.J. Board dropped his lone target.

-This offense is starving for more talent at wide receiver. Tate is an underneath threat only who will occasionally make a play with his feet after the catch, and Slayton has been badly exposed over the past 3 weeks.


-Evan Engram opened the game with a drop. He ended up with 35 yards on 6 catches, leading the team with 10 targets. It seems to me that every week we see Engram’s elite physical tool flash just to be disappointed by the fact that he simply he isn’t a very good football player. Perhaps he can thrive in the right scheme and situation, but it has been a maddening to follow him throughout his rookie contract. Engram also allowed a half-sack and was the reason for another TFL, even though it wasn’t his man who made the actual tackle.

-Kaden Smith added a catch for 10 yards, playing about a third of the snaps. He was flagged for a false start in the first half as well. Is Smith a better TE than Engram simply because you know what you’re getting and he will be much cheaper against the cap? He runs like has cement blocks attaches to his feet, however, and his blocking isn’t dominant or anything close to it. This really has evolved into a position of weakness.


-The first half may have been the worst offensive line showing we have seen in years, and that is really saying something. This group got pummeled and rookie Andrew Thomas was a main culprit. Thomas tied for the worst grade I’ve given to the position since I started charting the NYG offensive line. He allowed 2.5 sacks, 2 pressures, and allowed a TFL. The most alarming truth about it? It was different guys who kept beating him. Sometimes a pass rusher simply has a specific blocker’s number. Not this time. Thomas was getting beat by multiple guys as if they were taking turns against him, knowing that was the easy access point. He did play better in the second half but there is no denying the fact he just isn’t sustaining good contact.

-Sticking with the negatives, Kevin Zeitler had a negative grade. He allowed a TFL, 1 pressure, and was flagged for a false start. Four weeks in and I will go on record now saying he is now a shell of what he used to be and the end may be closer than we thought for him. He just doesn’t get the knee bend and he just doesn’t shift laterally like he used to.

-As for the positives, Nick Gates and Will Hernandez did a fine job containing Aaron Donald when they faced off against him. I’ve been vocal about Gates and his poor play that has led to the inside running game woes. I will say this, however: his level of play has improved weekly. At the end of the day, that is all you want to see from a young player who is playing a new position. Is he the answer long term? My guess is no. However, I do think he can be valuable as a versatile backup. Hernandez and right tackle Cam Fleming each allowed a pressure but were graded above average as run blockers. They also seemed to turn it up a notch after the Gates-Donald fight.


-It was a really quiet day by the edge group, the biggest weakness on this team by far. Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, and Markus Golden were on the field for a combined 72 plays. They combined for 1 pressure, 1 tackle, and 2 assists. Ouch.


-The Giants held the Rams to a season low 240 total yards and 58 rushing yards. In fact, only three teams have held the Rams that low since the start of Sean McVay’s tenure as Head Coach in 2017. The 2019 Ravens (4th-ranked NFL defense), the 2019 Niners (2nd-ranked NFL defense), and the 2018 Bears (1st-ranked NFL defense). It really was an admirable effort and it was led by Dexter Lawrence. LAR averaged 2.5 yards per carry largely because of how well he played. He had 6 tackles, 2 TFL, and a QB hit. Re-watching the game, it was clear just how dominant he was.

-Leonard Williams was active against the run, finishing with 5 tackles and he has Lawrence to thank for a few of them. Williams was neutralized as a pass rusher, however. He gave NYG nothing there in this one.

-Anthony Johnson made a big impact on the game despite only playing 13 snaps (23%). He had a sack and a forced fumble on a good hustle play that was recovered by NYG and led to their first 3 points of the day. Dalvin Tomlinson had 2 tackles, 1 TFL, and a pass deflection.


-Best game of the year so far for Kyler Fackrell. Remember, this guy had 10 sacks just two years ago. He had 4 tackles, 2 TFL, and 1 sack. He really is an ideal fit for the BUCK linebacker position, a spot that can be used as an edge defender as well as an extra inside linebacker. Really hard player to find and he fits that role like a glove. He came up with a big game after coming up short last week against SF.

-Blake Martinez continues to fly around and pile up the tackles. You know he is good when making 13 tackles, 1 for a loss, simply seems routine. Martinez made the right decision to get on a defense that has this kind of presence along the defensive line. He goes untouched often, knows when to pounce, and he is a true finisher. Watching him play just reinforces the notion that the team has been lacking at linebacker for far too long.

-Tae Crowder saw the first action of his NFL career. After Devante Downs, who has struggled, missed a tackle on the first drive, Crowder came on the field and it was easy to see how much faster he is. He had 2 tackles and was mere inches away from an interception. He out-snapped Downs 33-3. I think it is safe to say we have a new, young linebacker to watch in the coming months.


-James Bradberry had a good game in coverage and he did recover a first quarter fumble that led to 3 points for NYG. However, he missed a tackle on the 4th quarter Cooper Kupp touchdown that made it an 8-point game. In addition, he did a poor job setting the edge against the run on a couple of occasions.

-Corey Ballentine didn’t see one snap at cornerback. Ryan Lewis stepped in as the main man on the outside opposite of Bradberry and had a solid game. Like Isaac Yiadom, he gives a ton of cushion which LAR took advantage of on 3rd down a couple times. Darnay Holmes remained at nickel and had an uneventful day, but he did struggle to set the edge on 2 runs.


-Logan Ryan and Adrian Colbert played the majority of the snaps at safety. They did a nice job defending the deep ball, as Goff wanted to go downfield a few times but they locked things up right away.

-Julian Love saw a decrease in snaps and he was the likely guilty culprit on the Kupp touchdown where it was clear there was a coverage breakdown. I can’t say for sure but looking at what everyone else was doing on the defense, I think it was Love who guessed wrong.


-K Graham Gano: 3/3 (Made 35, 37, 27)

-P Riley Dixon: 5 punts / 43.2 avg / 40.0 net


-DT Dexter Lawrence, LB Kyler Fackrell, LB Blake Martinez


-OT Andrew Thomas, OG Kevin Zeitler, S Julian Love


  1. When you really break down the LAR offense, it is amazing how simple the concepts are. They really don’t do much to try and trick you and there are elements to it that are woefully predictable. It is refreshing to watch, really. It comes down to simple execution and the offensive line doing their job.
  1. If there is one weakness to this team that is going to prevent them from getting back to their 2018 form, it is that offensive line. It is an under-manned group full of average players but lacking a guy who can consistently win one on one. Even Andrew Whitworth, a likely Hall of Famer, has lost some of his juice. They’ve put a lot of mid-round draft resources into the group and they are “good enough” to get the job done and they have quality depth. However, I think they need one more stud there and it will be tough to acquire because of how much money they have tied up elsewhere.
  1. LAR has gone against the grain a bit in terms of how they are building their roster. Jared Goff has the 3rd-highest QB cap number, Aaron Donald has highest DT cap number, Jalen Ramsey has the highest CB cap number. It is great to be able to hold onto all of them but that is going to put a ton of pressure on their drafting in the coming years. That will make or break the success of this team in the next 5 years.


  1. We are 16 games into Daniel Jones career. You can’t call it “one season” because he has had 2 offseason programs with the team. If the Giants keep losing and he keeps turning the ball over, the ongoing discussion will be whether or not you give up on a quarterback if Trevor Lawrence is there for the taking. I think it is too soon to go down that path but let’s take a look at how he and Eli Manning stack up after 16 games. It may shed some light on the need for understanding patience and realizing the turmoil of this team over the past 3-4 seasons may be unfairly dampening your view on Jones himself. Remember, just wait until the end of the year to even think about what NYG will do at the position.
    • Jones: 375- 608 (61.7%) / 3,916 yds (6.4 y/a) / 26 TD – 17 INT / 21 fumbles / 82.9 RAT
    • Manning: 251-503 (50%) / 3,145 yds (6.2 y/a) / 21 TD – 18 INT / 3 fumbles / 68.7 RAT
  1. In this weeks version of, “We still have a chance…” I steer the bus down the divisional road. This is where the season really starts for NYG. I don’t think it is any secret that 7-8 wins for any team in this division will be good enough to create meaningful football in November and December. The division games are always more important but when you know nobody is going to run away with it, they are even more so. DAL has 1 win. WAS has 1 win. PHI has 1 win. Five of NYG’s next six games are against the NFC East. This is THE stretch of the season.
  1. Every year I wait four weeks before I start to put significant labels on teams. I always feel the NFL media and fans are way too knee-jerk with their reactions. Humans tend to lack confidence in expressing their own opinions, therefore causing people to exaggerate in the hopes that others will listen to them. Through four weeks, I think you can really gain a pulse on the teams and put together a credible forecast. My feeling for NYG is a young team that will give different players and different groupings a shot each week with the idea that a few will show they belong here in the coming years. Are they trying to win? Sure. However, I think Judge cares much more about this team’s long-term plans. He wants to know who can help this team in 2021. I say this because, I don’t think fans should be stressing about wins and losses as much as they have during the final years of Manning’s career. Yes, it is hard to watch at times and the “you never know” mantra lives on, but I would challenge some of you to watch the game through the different light. Look for things that will help next year (example from this game being DT Lawrence / LB Crowder / LB Martinez).
Oct 042020
Austin Johnson, New York Giants (October 4, 2020)

Austin Johnson – © USA TODAY Sports

The game was far closer than it was expected to be, but the New York Giants fell to the Los Angeles Rams 17-9 on Sunday at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California. New York is now 0-4 on the season and has only scored three touchdowns in four games, and none in the last two contests.

The Giants actually out-gained the heavily-favored Rams in first downs (19 to 15), total net yards (295 to 240), net yards rushing (136 to 58), and time of possession (33:17 to 26:43). The turnover battle was also equal as both teams turned the football over once.

The game started off on a negative note for New York as the Giants quickly went three-and-out on their first drive of the game and the Rams then responded with an impressive 12-play, 65-yard effort that culminated with a 2-yard touchdown run. The Rams were quickly up 7-0.

After gaining one first down, the Giants found themselves in a 3rd-and-27 situation after a sack/fumble and a false start penalty. They punted two plays later. However, the Giants immediately got the ball back when defensive lineman Austin Johnson forced tight end Gerald Everett to fumble after a 10-yard catch. Cornerback James Bradberry recovered the loose ball at the Los Angeles 34-yard line. The Giants could only gain 17 yards on six plays, but place kicker Graham Gano kicked a 35-yard field goal to cut the score to 7-3.

After both teams exchanged three-and-out possessions, the Rams took 15 plays to drive 47 yards to set up a 32-yard field goal to extend their lead to a touchdown again, 10-3. On this possession, the Rams converted on 3rd-and-3, 4th-and-1, and 3rd-and-2, but Johnson pushed the Rams back from the 4-yard line with an 8-yard sack.

With 3:52 to go before halftime, the Giants did drive 56 yards in 13 plays to cut the score to 10-6 on Gano’s 37-yard field goal. On this possession, the Giants converted on 3rd-and-4, 3rd-and-2, and 3rd-and-10, with the first two being completions to wide receiver Golden Tate in addition to running back Dion Lewis picking up 10 yards on rushing effort.

There was no scoring in the 3rd quarter as the Rams punted twice and the Giants once. However, the Giants did begin their final scoring drive with 5:25 left in the 3rd quarter as they drove 48 yards in 11 plays, taking over six minutes off of the clock. On this possession, the Giants converted on 4th-and-1 when quarterback Daniel Jones threw a 10-yard pass to tight end Kaden Smith. However, the Giants once gain were forced to settle for a field goal, this time from 27 yards out. The Rams now led 10-9 early in the 4th quarter.

Both teams exchanged punts. With about 7 minutes to play in the game, the Rams came up with a dagger to the heart on a big 55-yard catch-and-run touchdown pass from quarterback Jared Goff to wide receiver Cooper Kupp. To put this in perspective, the next longest play the Rams had on the day was just 16 yards. The Rams now led 17-9 with less than a quarter to play.

The Giants’ first desperate attempt to tie the game failed after picking up 44 yards on nine plays. However, Jones could not connect with Tate on 4th-and-11 from the Los Angeles 31-yard line. After a three-and-out by the Rams, the Giants got the ball back with 2:05 left in the game, down by eight points. Jones threw a 33-yard pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton to the Rams’ 47-yard line. He then scrambled for a total of 24 yards on two 2nd-and-10 scrambles. With 57 seconds left, on 2nd-and-5 from the 18-yard line, Jones tried to squeeze a sideline throw to wide receiver Damion Ratley, but cornerback Darious Williams made a diving interception at the 5-yard line to end the game. Unfortunately for Jones and the Giants, he had room to run on this play.

Jones finished 23-of-36 for 190 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He was also sacked five times, four of which occurred in the first half. Jones also rushed six times for 45 yards. Tight end Evan Engram had six catches, but for only a total of 35 yards. Running back Wayne Gallman rushed for 45 yards on six carries and running back Devonta Freeman gained 33 yards on 11 carries. Freeman also caugh four passes for 35 yards.

Defensively, the Giants held the Rams to 58 yards rushing and 182 net yards passing. Besides Austin Johnson’s sack, linebacker Kyler Fackrell also got to the quarterback. The Giants had seven tackles for losses and hit Goff five times.

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

The Giants activated WR Austin Mack from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were WR Austin Mack, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, LB Carter Coughlin, LB T.J. Brunson, and S Jabrill Peppers (ankle).

LB Oshane Ximines (shoulder), LB Kyle Fackrell (neck), and S Adrian Colbert (neck) all left the game with injuries.

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 Giants.com:

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

Oct 022020
John Mara, New York Giants (September 8, 2019)

John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports

Game Preview: New York Giants at Los Angeles Rams, October 4, 2020


John Mara is running out of scapegoats. Contrary to those who have insisted that “blind loyalty” has gotten in the way of the Giants improving the product on the field, he has actually been pretty quick to pull the trigger in recent years. Since 2016, the Giants have fired Tom Coughlin, Jerry Reese, Marc Ross, Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur, and a host of coordinators, assistant coaches, and scouts. It is expected that Dave Gettleman will be “retired” by season’s end. If anything, the New York Giants have now become the NFL’s model of instability.

Being educated does not make someone smart. I had an aunt and uncle who worked in the university system and they were among the last people you would want to make real-world decisions. John Mara holds degrees from Boston College and Fordham University. He was raised by a father who lived, breathed, and died Giants football and I have no doubt he does the same. But there is mounting evidence that John simply does not know how to run a successful NFL franchise. Consider the following:

  • When Mara decided to make a change after the 2015 NFL season, he came to the conclusion that Tom Coughlin was the sole problem. He not only retained Jerry Reese and Marc Ross, the men largely responsible for the rapidly deteriorating roster, but he too quickly promoted Ben McAdoo from offensive coordinator to head coach and retained much of Tom Coughlin’s coaching staff. There are some who say the Eagles actually goaded Mara into hiring McAdoo quickly because he feared they would poach him. Fast forward two years and it was clear that Mara had made the wrong decisions on Reese, Ross, and McAdoo. Two years wasted.
  • Mara did not even wait until the end of the 2017 before firing McAdoo and Reese. Fine. But his first inclination was to hire former team general manager Ernie Accorsi to serve as his primary consultant in the team’s general manager search. It was Accorsi who strongly recommended that Mara promote Reese to the position in 2007, beating out Dave Gettleman, who eventually left for the Carolina Panthers. The Panthers fired Gettleman in July 2017. It was no surprise to anyone that before 2017 ended, Gettleman was already hired by Mara to be the team’s next general manager. There was no real “search” for a general manager. It was probably the easiest money Accorsi ever made. In effect, Mara had hired Accorsi’s 2007 runner-up ten years later. It was also somewhat unusual that the team was picking a 66-year old man to oversee what looked to be a long-term rebuilding project. Gettleman fired Ross the very next day.
  • After interviewing a handful of extremely unimpressive coaching candidates, Mara and Gettleman decided to hire Pat Shurmur away from the Minnesota Vikings. Fast forward two years and it was clear they had made the wrong decision. Shurmur was fired at the end of December 2017. Two more years wasted.
  • All during this time period from 2016 to 2019, the Giants kept insisting that the team needed more “tweaking” than rebuilding. That in itself was alarming to many on the outside who thought otherwise.

As troubling as the developments above are, what bothered me the most is what came next. While John Mara decided that the team needed to hire its third new head coach in five years, he also felt that the now 68-year old Gettleman should be intimately involved in that decision. It made no sense. And I said so at the time. An old, soon-to-be retired general manager should not be hiring the man who his successor will be forced to work with. Especially when you consider the fact that Gettleman’s efforts to rebuild the team to that point, including the hiring of Shurmur, had been a failure.

Joe Judge may or may not be a good hire. The jury is still out. He talks a good game, but we haven’t seen any early improvement. The bigger problem right now is that when Gettleman is let go in a few months, the new general manager will be saddled with a head coach he didn’t pick. UNLESS, John Mara has already decided that Assistant General Manager Kevin Abrams is the man to replace Gettleman. That is troubling in itself as Abrams must share in the responsibility in the demise of this once-proud franchise since he’s been with the team for the last two decades. In other words, Mara has painted himself into a corner. He either has to promote Abrams or hire a new general manager who did not have role in hiring the head coach. And this could have all been avoided had Mara simply let Gettleman gracefully “retire” a year ago instead of not stupidly postponing it one year.

Let’s be blunt. Mara has made one blunder after another. These have not been little mistakes either. Keeping Reese and Ross two extra years was a mistake. Hiring McAdoo was a mistake. Hiring Accorsi as a “consultant” was a mistake. Hiring 66-year old, once second-choice Gettleman as the team’s new GM was a mistake. Hiring Shurmur was a mistake. Not “retiring” Gettleman after 2019 was a mistake. Now he has also painted himself into a corner. Tell me what the man has done right in the last decade? I’ll wait.


  • S Jabrill Peppers (ankle – out)
  • S Julian Love (knee/ankle – questionable)
  • S Adrian Colbert (quad – probable)


Barring something exceptionally bizarre, the Giants are going to fall to 0-4 on Sunday. They are double-digit underdogs to the Rams. Then we will see if they have any fight in them as they face three extremely unimpressive NFC East teams in a row.

A final note. In reading The Corner Forum, I still see that many fans simply don’t understand how bad the team’s personnel, especially on offense, is right now. Saquon Barkley was the only guy who scared other teams. Overnight, the Giants running attack went from feared (despite the state of the OL) to a joke. He was also the most dangerous receiving weapon the team had. His loss was catastrophic. Losing Sterling Shepard was also a huge blow to a now very unimpressive receiving corps. Evan Engram is just a tease. As I said last week, Daniel Jones is in a terrible position. He has very little surrounding talent and a fan base looking for scapegoats. Joe Judge and his coaching staff are also in a terrible position. They’ll be the next targets of fan ire.

Nov 082017
Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 5, 2017)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

[contentblock id=1 img=html.png]

Los Angeles Rams 51 – New York Giants 17


Two teams heading in completely opposite directions. Two teams with completely different approaches to game day. The Los Angeles Rams, armed with their new, young, hot shot head coach and a second-year quarterback who was selected #1 overall in 2016 marched into East Rutherford with the limping, aging, broken Giants organization approaching a near-low point in its history. This game had “ugly” written all over it during warm-ups.

Initially, the Giants we saw in Denver 3 weeks ago appeared to be back. They were aggressively and consistently running the ball up the middle with plenty of success. Orleans Darkwa gained 35 yards on 3 running plays, moving the Giants across midfield. However, a 3rd-and-4 that turned in a 3rd-and-9 thanks to a D.J. Fluker false start. Aaron Donald then sacked and forced Eli Manning into a fumble for the first of three NYG turnovers on the day. Spurred by a 36-yard run by Todd Gurley, it took LAR just 4 plays to score via a Jared Goff-to-Tyler Higbee 8-yard pass.

NYG was not deterred, initially anyway. They put together a quality 14-play drive that resulted in a Manning-to-Tavarres King touchdown. It was 7-7 at the end of the first quarter before the wheels started to fall off, hard.

Landon Collins, who had arguably his worst game as a pro, had his first blunder of the day after the Giants forced the Rams into 3rd-and-7. His unnecessary roughness penalty put the Rams near midfield and even though the Rams were shooting themselves in the foot via penalties, a 2nd-and-18 deep pass down the right sideline to a rookie tight end burned Collins badly, putting them at the 8-yard line. The Giants defense was able to hold them to a field goal, however.

Wayne Gallman gave the ball right back on the next drive on a 1st-and-10 run near midfield. Two Rams penalties ended up pushing the Rams back behind midfield with 3rd-and-33 staring them in the face. Then, we saw one of the most pitiful, downright disgusting plays in Giants history. A wide receiver screen to Robert Woods resulted not only in a first down, but 52-yard touchdown. The angles and effort showed by the Giants defense was that out of a JV vs…..actually Freshman team vs. Varsity practice film. This was the turning point that abruptly reminded everyone watching that that Giants 2017 season will go down as one of the most disappointing in franchise history.

The air was sucked out of the team, the fans, and the stadium. Another 3-and-out by the Giants gave the ball back to LAR on their own 29-yard line and on the second play, Goff launched a deep ball to Sammy Watkins for a 67-yard touchdown. Landon Collins, who this Rams team was obviously targeting from the beginning, was burned yet again.

The Giants went into halftime down 27-10, but might as well stayed in the locker room instead of coming out for the second half. With the stadium already emptying, the Rams made it 48-10 within the first 12 minutes of the third quarter. Watching the minutes go by was truly more difficult than watching paint dry. The Giants did score one more touchdown on a Manning-to-Engram pass but the game ended with Geno Smith at quarterback and a 51 spot put up by the surging Rams. The most points NYG has allowed at home since 1964 and it had the feel of something we will likely see again this year. Giants lose, 51-17.


  • Eli Manning: 20/36 – 220 yards – 2 TD/1 INT – 80.8 QBR. When it comes to the 2017 season, it was just about an average performance for the 14th year veteran. With the pass blocking a tad better than what it has been, Manning was able to drop back, read the defense, and throw the ball downfield. He overshot several receivers who were open and just hasn’t had the accuracy on that deep ball. His interception thrown to Trumaine Johnson was a hair late and behind his target.


  • Orleans Darkwa: 17 att/71 yards – 2 rec/8 yards. Darkwa started off on fire, surging hard through the middle of the Rams defense. The Giants were controlling the clock early thanks to his aggressive, assertive running style that was consistently breaking tackles. His usage diminished as the game wore on because of the score and once again, he dropped another pass.
  • Wayne Gallman – 9 att/41 yards. The one play that stands out from Gallman’s OK day was a 2nd quarter fumble that eventually led to a Rams touchdown. With the rain coming down hard, the ball had some slickness to it and Gallman simply didn’t keep the ball tight to his body when engaged with tacklers. Otherwise he continued to show elusiveness and vision in his limited action.


  • Sterling Shepard: 5 rec/70 yards. In his first game back from an ankle injury suffered a month ago, Shepard led the team in catches and was second on the team in targets. He continues to show value over the middle with his ability to quickly get open. He looked rusty, however, with 2 drops.
  • Tavarres King: 3 rec/33 yards – 1 TD. About 6 weeks ago, King was unemployed but because of the slew of injuries to the position, the smooth fifth year veteran is back and able to get plenty of snaps. He scored the Giants first touchdown of the day on their second drive and could have had another if it weren’t for an overthrow by Manning. He has always been an efficient route runner with the ability to get open in short areas. He isn’t overly dynamic or explosive, but he should get plenty of looks at the season wears on. This will be a huge opportunity for his career moving forward.
  • Roger Lewis: 1 rec/4 yards. Lewis has been facing some of the league’s best cornerbacks. Aqib Talib, Richard Sherman, Trumaine Johnson. A 3-week run doesn’t get much tougher than that for an NFL receiver. With that said, Lewis hasn’t been able to get even close to open and his physical presence at the point-of-attack has been very poor.


  • Evan Engram: 4 rec/70 yards – 1 TD. If I had to choose one bright spot from the entire team, it’s Engram. We already knew about his talent from what he has shown all throughout training camp and the regular season. But know we are seeing this guy is a competitor in every sense. He plays hard all the time and a guy with his physical gifts combined with that approach can do big things in this league. His long speed was too much for cornerbacks to handle and he was ripping through tackle efforts by safeties. There is a ton to get excited about with him.
  • Rhett Ellison: 2 rec/21 yards. Ellison played about 60% of the team’s plays, most of which were earlier in the game when the Giants were dominating the ground game. A player like him simply won’t make a huge impact when a team is playing catch up football. However his value as a fullback and tight end should be something that sticks to this team long term.


  • Tackles: Ereck Flowers continues his above average performance on the year overall. He allowed one TFL and was responsible for 1 pressure, even though it wasn’t an obvious 1-on-1 beat. His pass blocking actually graded out higher than his run blocking, which is rare for him. Bobby Hart continued his 2017 campaign to let the league know he can’t be a starting tackle in this league. His reaction, coordination, and hand strength is just so low-level that I’m not sure he should even be a backup in this league. He allowed a sack to Connor Barwin where he literally didn’t touch Barwin. A simple inside move was all it took and Hart couldn’t even get a hand on him. The unfortunate part about it is that as long as Justin Pugh remains sidelined with an injury, there isn’t anyone that can replace Hart. Chad Wheeler simply isn’t ready.
  • Guards/Center: The last time John Jerry faced off against Aaron Donald, Donald was a rookie and Jerry dominated from start to finish. This time, the result was the complete opposite. Jerry’s 2.47 grade was among the lowest the Giants have had this year on the OL. There were two separate plays where Donald lined up across from Jerry and went untouched into the backfield despite Jerry’s efforts to block him. It was a combination of Donald being the best in the game and Jerry simply not being in the same league. Jerry was responsible for a sack, a TFL, and 2 pressures. Brett Jones and D.J. Fluker had positive grades, as they were paving lanes and moving defenders with ease early in the game. While both are limited in the pass game, they held it together for the most part.


  • Ends: Rookie Avery Moss got the start with the injuries to Vernon, Okwara, and Wynn. The 5th-round rookie out of Youngstown State who has struggled to play against the strength of the power of the NFL to this point put in an exceptional effort. He was an impact player against the run, finishing with 6 tackles. He added 2 pressures and a pass deflection. While there is still a great need for more power and strength here, he is showing the grit, hustle, and on-field awareness that you can really work with. Jason Pierre-Paul finished with 3 tackles, 1 of which was for a loss. He didn’t make much of an impact against Andrew Whitworth in the passing game.
  • Tackles: The most consistent performers week-to-week on the team reside along the interior of the defensive line. Damon Harrison, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Jay Bromley finished with a combined 14 tackles – a very high number for the position. Tomlinson is showing more and more presence each week. His athletic ability that stems from top tier balance, body control, and agility combined with his man-strength can make him a weapon for this defense. He is one guy I enjoy watching week in, week out. He is a keeper. Damon Harrison continues to bring it each week and my hope is some of these young guys take in what he is putting out there. The immovable object is very active and fully capable of changing a game by himself. Having him here for Tomlinson is huge.


  • Another unit that is becoming depleted by injuries. Jonathan Casillas and B.J. Goodson were both out, opening the door for Curtis Grant and Calvin Munson. I’ll tell you what, when it comes to Grant, he belongs. I’m not sure I see a guy who should be starting, but his size, speed, and physical brand is a welcomed sight for this stagnant team. He still does and probably always will struggle with quick-twitch change of directions and reactions, but he played hard on Sunday. He and Munson both finished with 6 tackles a piece. Munson struggled mightily to get off blocks; they take so much out of him and the recovery speed isn’t half of what it needs to be.


  • Janoris Jenkins was suspended for the game for missing practice on Monday, the second veteran of this position group to be suspended by the team this season. The first, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, was in uniform and played a good game. His effort was top notch and he made two of the more physical tackles on the day in addition to sticking to his coverage assignments all over the field. He still has plenty in tank. Eli Apple, once again, looks the part and showed some quality coverage. However, lapses in concentration and an overall lack of effort were apparent and it’s getting really old, really fast. You don’t win with guys that have this kind of approach. He has become one of the players on this team who I think needs to go – as in trade or cut this offseason.


  • I am trying to recall a game where Landon Collins was beat this many times. As of now, I am still drawing a blank. Collins lack of long speed and overall athletic ability in coverage and in space was attacked all afternoon. His bone-headed penalty followed by being beat deep by tight ends, wide receivers, and players after the catch was about as bad as I’ve seen out of a position that the Giants have had a lot of bad performances over the past decade. Collins has earned the right to have a bad game here and there, but he needs to bounce back. And the defensive scheme needs to make sure they aren’t making him drop into deep coverage responsibilities too often. Darian Thompson and Andrew Adams played solid games respectively. Thompson is moving well in coverage with fluid hips and light feet, less hesitation. Adams could use more playing time, as he is making an impact as a tackler and force over the middle.


  • K Aldrick Rosas: 1-2 FG (made 50, missed 45). His 50 yarder had about 8-10 yards left on it, but he pushed his next attempt wide right. The rest of this season will be a tryout for him.
  • P Brad Wing: 4 Punts – 53.3 avg. Wing had a punt blocked, but it wasn’t his fault. The Rams special teams outplayed NYG in every phase from execution/spacing to hustle.
  • Return: Ed Eagen and Shane Vereen made minimal to no impact.


  • TE Evan Engram, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, DE Avery Moss


  • LB Calvin Munson, S Landon Collins, OG John Jerry


  • What a turnaround this team has made. They have always had solid personnel on defense, but a few acquisitions via free agency, trades, and the draft, along with the maturation of Jared Goff, all of the the sudden this offense is leading the league in scoring and their defense still has some dominant traits. Watch out NFC…for a long time.
  • Aaron Donald was my choice for the NYG first round pick in 2015. NYG still struck gold with Odell Beckham but there is still an interesting debate that can be had. Who would you rather have? Beckham has more impact on games when he is fully on, but is it enough to make up for some of the issues he potentially brings with the “diva-ness”? Donald has had several games where he just absolutely wrecks games, ruins them, for opposing offenses. The contract holdout was a red flag, however.
  • Are there many, if any CBs, that have the size of Trumaine Johnson in the league? There are plenty of guys with height and length, sure. But this kid looks like a safety that can shut down almost any WR in the league by himself. As LAR becomes an NFL spotlight team, expect the rest of the media and fans to catch onto him as one of the best, if not the best.


  • What the Rams have done to turnaround their franchise keeps the glass half full for NYG fans. Draft a new young quarterback for the future; hire a fresh, young voice who keeps players motivated and hungry; fix the OL with a veteran signing even if the price tag is steep; and perform well with your first few picks in the draft. The Giants can do all of this in the next year or two, no doubt. But ownership needs to be bold; they’ve been loyal enough. They need to get a new regime in here to run the show.
  • Perhaps the biggest question that needs answering is how to handle the Eli Manning situation. I think it would be in his best interest to allow a trade to a team like JAC in the offseason. Play with a defense that is among the best in the league, hand the ball off to a strong rushing attack, and make a few plays per game himself. I don’t think Manning is done entirely, much like Peyton wasn’t done when he left IND. But if things don’t look up the rest of the way, he and NYG both may be best suited with a break up.
  • The defense has been just as, if not more, disappointing in 2017. The approach for the rest of the year should be a tryout. A key eye on Apple, Casillas, Goodson, Cromartie, Thompson. All of these guys have not met expectations and while some of it is injury based, this team needs to know who these guys are and how hard they push though tough times. They need to go into the offseason knowing that these guys will always put forth top notch effort. If not, goodbye.