Jan 092024
Wan'Dale Robinson, New York Giants (January 7, 2024)

Wan’Dale Robinson – © USA TODAY Sports


-Tyrod Taylor: 23/33 – 297 yards / 1 TD – 1 INT / 98.0 RAT

Taylor added 38 rushing yards on 8 carries. It was an eventful night for the 34-year-old backup who is just months away from free agency. It was an odd game for him with his typical ups and downs that we are accustomed to watching. He made some explosive plays down the field, he threw an awful interception in the red zone, he made some Houdini escapes from pressure, he had to be peeled off the ground multiple times with short-term injuries (even to the point Tommy DeVito had to come in). One thing is for certain, whenever Taylor is on the field for extended snaps, you are going to see it all in both good and bad ways. He played a good (not great) game overall, but the standout trait I see in him (after watching him dropping back the most times he’s had in a season since 2017) is how fast he can get the ball out and set his playmakers up for success. While the ball placement is inconsistent, there is a feel to the game he shows that young quarterbacks can learn a lot from. I enjoyed watching him play this year and he will undoubtedly get another backup job in 2024 if he wants it. NYG should consider keeping him around no matter what they end up doing in the draft. I’ve seen a lot of backup QB play in 2024, Taylor is one of the top five or six in that role league-wide.


-Saquon Barkley: 18 att – 46 yards – 2 TD / 2 rec – 51 yards

Much will be made about Barkley’s future with the team as we dive into offseason mode. I will lightly touch on that at the bottom of this article. Barkley’s two touchdowns gave him his first ever back-to-back double-digit score season of his career. They got him the ball in space on both those scores and as I’ve been pounding the table for years, the results are great when he gets put in that situation. While he has never been a productive/effective bruiser even though he is 225+ pounds, he does do damage on guys when he gets some momentum in the open field. He can make them miss, but he can also pick up hidden yards after contact. I applaud the way he finished this one out and how professional he has remained since the awkward contract situation last offseason. Again, more on him below.

-Eric Gray rushed for 19 yards on 3 carries and added 9 more yards on a catch. One thing I saw in this game and all year from him on VERY limited touches was the lack of ability to make things happen after contact. There was not enough to label it an actual negative on his scouting report, but Gray played small in the few opportunities he had this year.


-Wan’Dale Robinson: 5 rec – 85 yards

What an exciting talent this kid is. All of his production came in the first half. I have to believe the effort in getting all the looks to Sterling Shepard in the second half impeded Robinson from getting his first game of over 100 yards in the passing game. He plays faster than everyone on that offense. You can show me forty times and maybe vertical routes, but Robinson plays the game so quick and explosive. Very strong end to the year for him and he is a key focal point in 2024 no matter what.

-Darius Slayton ended with 5 catches for 62 yards and a touchdown with a drop. It was his third straight game with a score, the first time we have seen that out of him since being drafted. He, too, finished the season on a high note and it looked like Tyrod Taylor got the most out of him. His game builds off the fact he can be a vertical threat. His drop rate in 2023 was a career low and he caught 66% of his targets, a career high. Now, if they can get him to be stronger in contested situations, I could see him being a viable number two.

-Sterling Shepard’s career with NYG (and maybe overall) ended with 18 yards on 3 catches along with a 6-yard run. If you get into the sentimental stuff, it was good to see the team try so hard to get him looks and one final score. He is and always has been a beloved teammate. As for the performance itself, it was a microcosm of what we know. He simply lost that explosive gear in short areas to make any substantial difference. He couldn’t do much on his own. Solid career for him, but one that did not reach the level we thought it would after a 69-catch, 8-touchdown rookie season in 2016.


-Darren Waller fought through a stinger (shoulder) but came back out and played through it. He finished with 5 catches for 45 yards. This is going to be a debatable situation among fans, but I would expect him back in 2024. This regime traded a day two pick for him and even though it was a lackluster season (his third in a row), much of it will be blamed on the situation and I bet they run it back. I understand what he can do on occasion, but I don’t see it with the 31-year-old with an alarming injury history. He lost a step or two and he hinders the running game.

-Daniel Bellinger saw some extra playing time and I thought it was one of his better blocking performances, although he did not get a single target in the passing game. If you put truth serum in this front office and coaching staff, I think they would admit to being somewhat disappointed in his year two. He did not take a step forward, and in some regards, he went backward. He will be back in 2024 without question, but I would rather it be in a depth role.


-Matt Peart got the start at right tackle. His lone start of the season was something I kept a close eye on the free agent to-be. While he did appear to tire out in the fourth quarter (understandable, he had played 60+ snaps just once since November 2021), I thought he played just fine. He allowed a pressure and was flagged for a hold. The footwork was really good, and remember, his size is a big factor. This is an interesting situation to follow, and I guarantee a new OL coach will want to work with him. He has the traits.

-The interior did not include John Michael Schmitz, who was out with a shin injury. Ben Bredeson shifted over to center played well. He allowed one pressure and a TFL. “Well” is a relative term. Bredeson has been the worst or second-worst lineman on this team and I have seen enough to say he can’t be here next season. I would rather take my chance on a day three rookie as a versatile interior backup. Mark Glowinski allowed 3 pressures and Justin Pugh added two. The coaching staff has opted to go put others in front of Glowinski throughout the year and I expect him gone next season along with Pugh. “Off the couch” was a cool story for a few weeks and I do think he helped solidify the line to a point, but he can’t hang in a starting role. Guard is a major, major need.

-Andrew Thomas was near-automatic, allowing just one pressure on a play Taylor held onto the ball too long. I walk away from 2023 believing even more so that this is a true, elite left tackle who makes the other four guys better. The OL never became “good” but when he came back, it became much more functional.


-Kayvon Thibodeaux ended the year on a high note with 3 pressures, one of which was a hit. He added 3 tackles and broke a pass up as well. There is no question he hit a wall down the stretch, but the first double-digit sack guy in a Martindale scheme ever after a quiet start to the season gives plenty of promise moving forward. The question is, can he be THE guy outside, or does NYG need to invest more there? I have not seen enough to label him as something more than I did when he came out – and that is a Harold Landry type (TEN).

-Azeez Ojulari had one of his most productive games of the season. One last shot at putting some quality stuff on tape before this Front Office makes personnel decisions. His 2 sacks were the first multi-sack game out of him since last December, and the third of his career in three years. He added 2 pressures (1 hit) and recovered a fumble. The blitz-heavy package used (especially against Hurts) freed him up a bit. There is something missing with his movement traits. The sudden re-direct seems tight and off-balanced, not what I saw in 2021, not even close.

-Jihad Ward added a sack to his career-high on the year and 4 pressures. Known for his run defense, he was a part of the crew that benefitted from all of the extra bodies Martindale sent at the PHI passers. This coaching staff likes Ward a ton but with a new scheme coming, there is a good chance he is gone.


-While it may not lead to an All-Pro spot (I can make a strong argument it should), Lawrence’s season ended strong. He had 3 pressures, 1 QB hit, and a tackle. The hamstring kept his workload down again and there were a couple plays to the outside where he did not get to that he did earlier in the year.

-Veterans A’Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches both added a pressure and a tackle, Robinson’s going for a loss. Even though NYG has some interesting young talent in backup roles along the line, Robinson is a guy I would like to see back for the right price. He may wait like he did last year, but he added some stability and versatile impact that is hard to find.

-D.J. Davidson and Jordon Riley played a handful of snaps in spot duty once again, not really making much of an impact. Riley has no variety to his pass rush plans.


-Bobby Okereke and Micah McFadden both finished with 8 tackles. Okereke, who did not miss a snap all season (and played the fourth most in football), added a sack. Depending on the new scheme, I can see this duo coming back as the starting pair next season. Okereke is obviously a no-brainer, but McFadden did make a tremendous jump from year one to year two. While there are limitations in his game and he missed a ton of tackles, this is pair who complements each other well.

-Slight late season emergence for Isaiah Simmons as he finished with 2 pressures and 2 tackles, one of which was for a loss. To echo what I said last week, this season was by far the biggest percentage of snaps Simmons played on the edge and I think this is where he needs to be. I’m not sure where it will be, but there was enough on tape this season to prove he can play in a rotational role.


-Adoree’ Jackson finished with 7 tackles and allowed 6 completions on 8 targets. He allowed a higher completion percentage and more yards per catch than any full season prior to 2023. What to do with him is debatable because while he is overpaid, quality corners are hard to find. NYG doesn’t have much beyond Deonte Banks to work with.

-Tre Hawkins is in that discussion. He allowed a touchdown on a route concept he was way too late to recognize. That was the most glaring issue I saw out of the rookie from Old Dominion, understandably so. The tools are good enough, but the mind has not caught up yet. He did play physical against the run, and I think that is a sneaky-strong ingredient to his game.

-Cor’Dale Flott and Nick McCloud both played well albeit against second stringers for the majority of the second half. McCloud did force a fumble that NYG recovered and added 3 tackles. He brings value to the table with how versatile and physical he is.


-In his final game before heading toward free agency, Xavier McKinney had what may have been his best career game. 6 tackles, 2 interceptions (on consecutive plays), and a pass break-up. We have seen multi-INT games from him in the past, but both of these plays were elite-level. One showed his range from the middle of the field with a high-point catch, and the other was an immediate post-snap read ending with an explosive burst downhill. A case can be made that McKinney is the biggest personnel question mark on this current roster, Barkley included. While the franchise tag is always an option, his market is going to be high. A lot of teams need safety help, and he may be the top one available.

-Dane Belton, a week after his own 2-interception game, was back to making impact plays for the defense. He had 6 tackles, including a sack and a TFL, in addition to a pressure. He was a free rusher on both of his impact plays as a blitzer, but the burst is where I see him as a weapon. He plays fast, but possibly too fast for his own good. He added 2 missed tackles to his season total (8).


-K Mason Crosby: 2/2 (Made 24, 21)
-Jamie Gillan: 5 Punts / 45.6 avg – 44.0 net


-S Xavier McKinney, WR Wan’Dale Robinson, OT Andrew Thomas


-OG Justin Pugh, CB Adoree’ Jackson, DT Jordon Riley


(1) If you are a believer in momentum heading into the playoffs, you have to think PHI is going to see a quick exit. The wheels have fallen off, they now have multiple injuries to deal with, and they are on the road (1-4 as away team since October 9). There is nothing attractive about the Eagles right now and the Bucs defense has allowed the 7th fewest points in the NFL.

(2) What about the future of this team? If they lose this upcoming weekend, could we see a coaching change? I would be surprised but we have to remember Nick Sirianni does not seem to be fully endorsed by the players. He is a volatile personality who was very dependent on the coordinators he lost last offseason.

(3) Wide Receiver Quez Watkins is an off-radar free agent who I am sure this team will let walk after the season. He turns 26 in June and has played four years for the team. His playing time and involvement has been sporadic with the additions of A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith who came in after he did. This is an explosive threat with elite hands and a route tree that can work all over the field. If NYG wants to add both a speed threat and potential value grab at receiver (who can play outside and slot), Watkins is a guy to look for. I always like his tape.


(1) Here we are, the end of the season. Another long one that left us wanting more after high expectations. I write this on a Monday night hours after NYG fired multiple assistant coaches including the guys that ran the defense and special teams respectively. The biggest news, in my opinion, was seeing Offensive Line Coach Bobby Johnson being shown the door. It was an absolute must after seeing a lack of development in the young guys and poor cohesion overall from a line that allowed the second most sacks in the history of the game and the most since 1986. This tells me that Brian Daboll will be on notice in 2024. New coordinators, a few new positions coaches, and a lot of new personnel needs to bring in a different result. The honeymoon of 2023 is officially over. Now let’s see what he can do in a high-pressure New York environment.

(2) I’ve opted to keep Daniel Jones out of the game reviews since his ACL injury. If I am taking my own personal bias and opinion out of it, I strongly believe this organization is going to roll with him in 2024. Just based on the history of ownership and the fact you rarely (if ever) see a contract given like the one Joe Schoen inked him to last offseason swept under the rug just six games into it, I think they’re going to use that sixth overall pick on another tool. A receiver, a pass rusher, possibly even an offensive lineman is where I think they end up going. Again, not what I think they should do, but rather what I think they will do. A day two quarterback is something I could see though.

(3) Did we just watch Saquon Barkley’s final game in a Giants uniform? I still believe he is their best player, and I don’t think his contract demands are a deal breaker. But we’ve seen the average, good, and very good versions of him and I just don’t believe it puts wins on the board. I banged the table hard for him to be drafted in 2018 and there isn’t a bigger fan of the person he is than me. I like everything about him. But keeping emotion out of this, I would rather have topflight guard come to NYG via free agency than see Barkley back on the field. It sounds harsh, but this team needs too many pieces before it spends big resources on a running back who is barely better than average with a growing list of lower body injuries.

***Thank you to Eric and the BBI Community for reading and discussing the NYG reviews. As the years go by, I’m not sure how much longer I will be able to do these. I do not take it for granted and I do know there are some others who could probably do a better job than me.

I look forward to the offseason – I will be here on occasion, but this starts a very intense 3-4 month period of draft prep. Talk soon, everybody.

Jan 072024
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (January 7, 2024)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants upset the Philadelphia Eagles 27-10 in the team’s final game of the 2023 NFL season. The Giants finished with a 6-11 record. The Giants will also hold the 6th overall pick in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft.

Emblematic of the final score, the Giants out-gained the Eagles in first downs (22 to 19), total net yards (415 to 299), net yards passing (306 to 166), and time of possession (32:57 to 27:03). The Eagles did out-rush the Giants (133 to 109). The Giants won the turnover battle (4 to 1).

The Giants and Eagles exchanged punts to start the game. New York then put together a 9-play, 67-yard drive that resulted in a 24-yard field goal by kicker Mason Crosby. Wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson jump-started this possession with a 33-yard catch-and-run from quarterback Tyrod Taylor.

The Eagles threatened on their second drive as well, gaining 57 yards. However, on 2nd-and-9 from the New York 27-yard line, cornerback Nick McCloud forced a fumble after a 9-yard catch. Linebacker Micah McFadden recovered and advanced the ball back to the 27. The Giants’ offense went three-and-out. The Eagles gained 34 yards but turned the football over on downs after quarterback Jalen Hurt’s pass on 4th-and-3 from their own 48-yard line fell incomplete.

New York’s fourth offensive possession began with a 3rd-and-1 conversion. Five plays later, on 3rd-and-11, Taylor found Robinson for a 26-yard gain down to the 2-yard line. Running back Saquon Barkley scored on the next snap and the Giants were up 10-0.

The Eagles went three-and-out, highlighted by a 14-yard sack by safety Dane Belton on 3rd-and-6. It took the Giants just six plays to score, with big passing plays to tight end Darren Waller for 23 yards and Robinson for 19 yards. Barkley scored his second rushing touchdown as the Giants were now up 17-0.

Linebacker Bobby Okereke sacked Hurts for a 12-yard loss and the Eagles went three-and-out again. New York then scored their third offensive touchdown in a row, highlighted by a 46-yard pass to Barkley on 3rd-and-2. Taylor then found wide receiver Darius Slayton for the 19-yard score.

The last 1:47 of the first half was eventful. On 3rd-and-8, Hurt’s deep pass was intercepted near the sideline by safety Xavier McKinney, who did a marvelous job of keeping his feet inbounds. The Giants went three-and-out. The Eagles pulled Hurts out of the game for Marcus Mariota, but his first pass was also intercepted by McKinney, setting up the Giants at the Philadelphia 12-yard line. Unfortunately, Taylor was intercepted on the next play when his pass was deflected by cornerback James Bradberry.

At the half, the Giants led 24-0.

The third quarter began with the Eagles gaining 33 yards before punting. In turn, the Giants netted 38 yards before also punting. Philadelphia finally got on the scoreboard after a 13-play, 66-yard drive ended with a 36-yard field goal. The Giants gained 21 yards and punted early in the fourth quarter.

The Eagles tightened the game to 27-10 with an 8-play, 81-yard drive that resulted in a 16-yard touchdown pass from Mariota to wide receiver Quez Watkins. However, the Giants responded with a 12-play, 72-yard drive that not only added a 21-yard field goal, but it took over six and a half minutes off of the clock.

With three and a half minutes left to play, linebacker Jihad Ward sacked Mariota, causing a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Azeez Ojulari at the Philadelpha 28-yard line. The Giants could not advance the ball and Crosby missed a 45-yard field goal at the 2-minute warning. The game ended at midfield with a 6-yard sack by Ojulari.

Taylor finished the game 23-of-32 for 297 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also rushed for 38 yards on eight carries. His leading targets were Robinson (5 catches for 85 yards), Slayton (5 catches for 62 yards), and Waller (5 catches for 45 yards). Barkley was held to 46 rushing yards on 18 carries, but he did score twice and caught two passes for 51 yards.

Defensively, the Giants picked off two passes (both by McKinney) and recovered two fumbles. The Giants also generated five sacks, two by Ojulari and one each by Okereke, Belton, and Ward.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, placed S Jason Pinnock (foot) on Injured Reserve and signed QB Jacob Eason and TE Tyree Jackson to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. The Giants also activated (standard elevation) OT Yodny Cajuste and PK Mason Crosby from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were OC John Michael Schmitz (shin), CB Deonte Banks (shoulder), QB Jacob Eason, WR Parris Campbell, TE Tyree Jackson, DT Timmy Horne, and OLB Benton Whitley.

WR Jalin Hyatt (hamstring) left the game in the first half and did not return. CB Nick McCloud (back) left in the second half. QB Tyrod Taylor (thumb) and TE Darren Waller (burner) were injured in the first half but returned to the game.

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

General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Monday morning.

Jan 052024
John Mara, Joe Schoen, and Brian Daboll; New York Giants (November 26, 2023)

John Mara, Joe Schoen, and Brian Daboll – © USA TODAY Sports

The end has finally come. Given preseason hopes and expectations, 2023 will likely go down as one of the most disappointing in New York Giants franchise history. The coaching staff, the quarterback, the offensive line, the weapons, the run defense, the pass rush, and special teams all came up short. In hindsight, a number of poor and odd personnel decisions were made including re-signing Daniel Jones to a long-term deal, the trade for Darren Waller, the retention of Sterling Shepard at the expense of the return game, and the entire handling of the offensive line. And once again, the injury monster that has plagued this team for more than a decade reared its ugly head.

Of all of those aforementioned issues, the most alarming was the rapid demise of the reputations of Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll. Last year at this time, Schoen was being lauded for taking tough but necessary steps to clean up the team’s salary cap mess. Daboll was receiving “Coach of the Year” honors with his entire staff being recognized for doing more with less than every other team in the NFL. Fast forward to January 2024 and the decision by Schoen and Daboll to make Daniel Jones one of the highest paid quarterbacks looks horrific and has erased the salary-cap freedom the team had created.

That is not to say there haven’t been good moves. The re-signing of Dexter Lawrence and Andrew Thomas ahead of either hitting free agency was smart. The decision to defer on Xavier McKinney and Adoree’ Jackson was wise. Same with trading away Leonard Williams for a good return and not spending wildly on outside free agents other than Bobby Okereke, who has panned out in a major way. But the Daniel Jones’ contract overshadows much of this, and he will continue to be the major point of contention on this team.

I could go on and on, but to cut to the chase, after appearing to make real progress in 2022, the teams seems to have returned to its clusterfuck ways. That makes the 2024 offseason perhaps one of the most important in team history. Are Schoen and Daboll going to turn this around? Can they at least provide a glimmer of hope again that things might be getting better? The alternative is too painful to contemplate right now.

Enter the Philadelphia Eagles, arguably Big Blue’s #1 antagonist for the past 16 years. To have a division rival own you to the tune of 26-7 since 2008 is simply pathetic. And the current regime is 0-4 against the Eagles, including a 38-7 playoff trouncing.

At the end of November, the defending NFC Champions, were once again soaring high and fielding an impressive 10-1 record. However, they have since plummeted to earth, losing four of their last five games. Their only victory during this time frame? Yup, against the New York Football Giants two weeks ago. The lowly Cardinals can beat the Eagles, but the Giants can’t.

So the Giants enter this game with fans having conflicting emotions. The Giants currently have the #5 overall pick. Their 12th loss keeps them at that spot and possibly higher, an important consideration if they indeed want to draft another quarterback. However, for all of us who hate those dirty birds, sending them into the playoffs with another embarrassing defeat would be sweet and bring a fleeting smile to our faces.


  • QB Tyrod Taylor (back – probable)
  • OC John Michael Schmitz (shin – questionable)
  • ILB Carter Coughlin (shoulder – probable)
  • CB Deonte Banks (shoulder – doubtful)
  • CB Darnay Holmes (foot – probable)
  • S Jason Pinnock (toe – out)

Some quick, general thoughts on the state of the team as we enter the offseason:

Quarterback: Point blank – the Giants have no viable starting quarterback on the roster.

I have moved from fully supporting Daniel Jones (2019-2020), to straddling the fence (2021-2022), to it’s time to move on (2023). He’s an injury-prone (one healthy season in five) quarterback who has problems throwing touchdown passes. At his best as a two-way threat in 2022, he now has two neck injuries and a torn ACL already despite being only 26 years old. In hindsight, perhaps the worst thing for this team was Daniel Jones’ performance in the playoff game against a bad Vikings defense. Too much was made of that game, and it was probably a significant factor in the franchise re-signing Jones to a $160 million deal. The playoff loss to the Eagles should have received more attention. The excuses are beyond tiresome at this point. He’s 22-36-1 as a starter. Now also factor into the equation that the ACL may prevent him from practicing in the spring and much of the summer, and if he gets hurt again, the team gets hit with another huge cap hit in 2025.

I’ve said it multiple times, I would find it incredibly foolish for this team to bank on Daniel Jones in 2024. If he’s pencilled in as the starter, I expect another losing season, more poor offense, another significant injury for Jones, and for Daboll to be fired. The alternatives? Since franchise-altering quarterbacks rarely hit free agency, the team will have to draft Jones’ replacement in April. Then Jones or some other quarterback on the roster can also serve as the bridge if the rookie isn’t ready. The financial risk to the team is if Jones gets injured. Would they be bold enough to bench him? Would the NFLPA get involved at that point? If the bridge is not Jones, then the Giants would likely sign a veteran to compete with Tommy DeVito, who may or may not have an NFL future. Could Tyrod Taylor, who will be an unrestricted free agent, re-sign with the team? Possible. But the team benched him once for DeVito already, he also can’t seem to stay healthy, and just demonstrated against the Rams the Jekyll-and-Hyde nature of his game.

But Eric, even if the Giants draft a quarterback with the first pick, the team is likely to lose and struggle offensively. Correct. But at least there will be hope. There is none with Jones at this point. If he’s named the starter, we may see empty seats at home games in September, something the team probably hasn’t experienced since the 1950s. The other option is to simply sign a veteran to compete with Jones, passing the buck until the 2025 NFL Draft. Not ideal.

Running Back: Saquon Barkley is the face of this team. Is that a good thing? I’m not so sure. During the six years he’s been with the Giants, the team has gone 33-64-1. Barkley has missed many of those games due to injury, but that has also been part of the problem. Despite being one of the team’s better talents, a case can be made that it might be better to turn the page and move on. Barkley will never be the same player as his tremendous rookie season, and for someone counting $10 million against the cap, his overall productivity isn’t eye-popping (916 rushing yards, 4.0 yards per rush average, 4 rushing touchdowns). The sixth-year veteran also continues to make questionable late-game mistakes (fumbling, dropped passes, mental lapses). Part of me says “no way” the Giants let him go; but part of me feels this is the end for Barkley with the Giants. We shall see. Regardless, here comes Round 2 of “will the Giants franchise Barkley or not?” and “is Barkley pissed?” I’ve been saying for two years now, the Giants should have traded him when his value was higher. It would have been better for Barkley too.

Wide Receiver: My current feeling is that Jalin Hyatt, Wan’Dale Robinson, and some 2024 offseason acquisition will be the starting trio in 2024. That offseason acquisition could be an expensive free agent or even a top-10 draft pick. Darius Slayton is under contract for one more season and Isaiah Hodgins will be a restricted free agent if the team tenders him. I don’t expect Parris Campbell (UFA) to be retained. The decision to keep Sterling Shepard over Jamison Crowder was mind-boggling. Sterling’s career likely ends on Sunday. Look for the team to get him at least one catch.

Tight End: My worst prediction for this team was me saying the Giants would have one of the best tight end groups in the NFL in 2023. Darren Waller was uncoverable in training camp, but when the real games counted, the old hamstring issues appeared, the big plays and touchdowns disappeared, and he missed five games. Worse, pleasant rookie surprise Daniel Bellinger took a major step back in his sophomore season. Rather than a strength, it would not be shocking to see the team completely reset at this position in the offseason. The Giants need to at least a credible blocking tight end, something Bellinger did well in college but has not done at the pro level. Lawrence Cager only caught four passes.

Offensive Line: The decade+ Achilles’ heel of the New York Football Giants. The #1 reason why the second half of Eli Manning’s career was a colossal disappointment, a strong argument can be made that it also catastrophically sabotaged the careers of Saquon Barkley (#2 pick in the draft) and Daniel Jones (#6 pick in the draft). Without a doubt, it is also a huge reason why this team has struggled not only to field a competent offense under multiple head coaches and offensive coordinators, but can’t seem to beat the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. Despite high-level free agency and NFL Draft investments over the course of multiple regimes, the unit is still a mess. The coaching staff has not developed Evan Neal, Joshua Ezeudu, and John Michael Schmitz as hoped. Mark Glowinski was a disappointing signing; he has one year left on his contract but he makes too much money and no longer starts. Ben Bredeson is best suited as a back-up; he could depart in free agency. Shane Lemieux and Matt Peart are still here for some reason and should not be retained. A desperate in-season signing, Justin Pugh should not be re-signed. Tyree Phillips just tore his quad tendon, an injury that could take a year to recover from. A new quarterback makes the most sense for this team, but nothing will really change until the team improves the offensive line. It’s beyond ridiculous at this point. The Giants have allowed a whopping 83 sacks in 2023, with one more game left to play. The next team (Jets) have given up 63.

Offensive Coaches: In what will be a common theme with the coaching staff, a promising start by Mike Kafka in 2022 went off the rails in 2023. Last season, Kafka was forced to adapt to talent-starved roster that got worse with injuries. The team completely shifted to an RPO style that fit the strengths of Daniel Jones’ game and caught opposing defenses off guard. There was also some innovation in the play-calling. The play of the quarterbacks and offensive line may have unfairly sabotaged Kafka in 2023, but it feels like he didn’t rise to the occasion. Is he on the way out? Is Brian Daboll eyeing Ken Dorsey, who was fired by the Bills in November? Nevertheless, keep one thing in mind, this is Brian Daboll’s team and Brian Daboll’s offense. Everything goes through him.

For no other reason than an attempt to salvage Evan Neal, the team also may fire OL Coach Bobby Johnson. It was announced this week that RB Coach Jeff Nixon has left for Syracuse. TE Coach Andy Bischoff’s unit did not distinguish itself.

Defensive Coaches: I’m starting here because everything that follows ultimately depends on who is coaching the defense in 2024 and what defensive style the team employs. Rumors abound that Daboll and Wink Martindale are parting ways. If true, then the defense could radically change unless Daboll decides to promote someone on Wink’s current staff. Regardless, while the defense was clearly the team’s strongest unit, it did not live up to expectations. Other than turnovers, the overall defensive team stats remained disappointing in terms of total yards allowed, rushing yards allowed, and points allowed. Even in games where the defense played well, there were key lapses that significantly contributed to defeats.

The stars of the defensive coaching unit seem to be DL Coach Andre Patterson and DB Coach Jerome Henderson. Hopefully both stick around.

Defensive Line: Dexter Lawrence is the heart and soul of the defense. Pray he stays healthy. The team will have to adjust to life without Leonard Williams. While the team has some decent veterans and young pups at the position, none of these guys are really pass rushers. Ideally the Giants find a way to retain A’Shawn Robinson, who really played well in the second half of the season. Rakeem Nunez-Roches remains under contract and Jordon Riley and D.J. Davidson flash ability.

Inside Linebackers: In a bad season, Bobby Okereke was one of the few bright spots. He started off slow but turned into a real and consistent difference-maker for the bulk of the season. Micah McFadden grabbed ahold of the other inside spot, played well for much of the season, but his missed tackles became more of an issue as the year progressed. Starter or back-up? The Giants gave up a late pick for Isaiah Simmons right before the season started. Simmons is at his best in coverage and attacking the quarterback; he’s at his worst when trying to read-and-react, play off blocks, and play the run. Does the team re-sign him? Darrian Beavers was signed to the 53-man roster last week. He is now more than a full year removed from his ACL injury.

Outside Linebackers: Kayvon Thibodeaux was making a real impact until the calendar turned to December. For whatever reason, his sacks (11.5) have slowed since then. Still, it’s been a mostly positive second year for Thibodeaux. The real problem is Azeez Ojulari’s one-promising career has completely fizzled out. He has one more year remaining on his contract and could be retained for depth, but the Giants desperately need another pass-rush threat opposite of Thibodeaux. It’s easily one of the top needs on the team and another position worthy of high-level investment. There is no depth here either with Jihad Ward, Boogie Basham, Benton Whitley, and Tomon Fox. Help!

Cornerbacks: Another bright spot is that it appears Deonte Banks is the real deal. There was the expected learning curve but his future is bright. Fellow rookie Tre Hawkins earned three starts early in the season before he was benched in favor of Adoree’ Jackson. Wink said this week the team is still very high on him. Whether or not he turns out to be a quality player significantly impacts the way this position is viewed. There is a good chance the team simply lets Adoree’ Jackson walk in free agency. He didn’t live up to his contract and was too inconsistent. Cor’Dale Flott was too up-and-down but he does flash ability. The Giants will have to make free agent decisions on Nick McCloud (RFA) and Darnay Holmes (UFA). My guess is the latter walks.

Safety: While not spectacular (except for Pinnock’s interception against Miami), the starting duo of Xavier McKinney and Jason Pinnock was steady and reliable. The big question here is can the Giants re-sign McKinney to a reasonable contract. It would not be shocking to see another team willing to spend more than the Giants. (Also keep in mind that Wink Martindale was deeply hurt by McKinney’s public criticism of the coaching staff in early November). Dane Belton has not played a lot since he was drafted two years ago, but when he plays, he seems to find the ball. He needs to become more reliable and consistent when tackling and covering however. Gervarrius Owens hardly played this year, but flashed in the summer.

Coaching Staff: Thomas McGaughey has served as assistant special teams coordinator under Tom Coughlin. He served as the primary ST coordinator under Pat Shurmur, Joe Judge, and now Brian Daboll. But his unit mostly disappointed again in 2023, highlighted by the blocked field goal in the opener that seemed to spiral everything out of control. Could Daboll be moving on from ALL three coordinators? The last time something like that happened was when Tom Coughlin replaced both his offensive and defensive coordinators in 2007.

Kickers: Graham Gano had arguably been the team’s best player from 2020-2022. But he and the coaching staff decided to allow him to play with an injured knee, which led to him missing a game-winning 35-yard field goal against the Jets, effectively ending any playoff hopes. He was then placed on IR, needing surgery. There is no word yet on his future. Comically, the Giants then went through a series of kickers, including Randy Bullock, Cade York, and Mason Crosby due to injuries hitting the position. Punter Jamie Gillan was having a strong second season until groin and knee injuries hampered him in December. The real question here is can Gano come back as effective as ever? Or do the Giants take their chance with someone like York?

Returners: The Giants once had a dedicated return specialist named Dwayne Harris (2015-2017). He scored on both punt and kickoff returns. Then the team stopped using dedicated return specialists. The touchdowns disappeared and the mistakes multiplied. The Giants signed dedicated return specialist Gunner Olszewski in early November 2023. And the Giants returned a punt for a touchdown the first time since Dwayne Harris was here. Fancy that. It’s not rocket science.

No quotes this week, but in listening to all three coordinators, it’s clear none of them are guaranteed to return.

Last week, I wrote that stealing a win would hurt the team more. But my visceral hatred of the Eagles causes me to rethink this policy.

Dec 272023
Darius Slayton, New York Giants (December 25, 2023)

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports


-Tommy DeVito: 9/16 – 55 yards / 0 TD – 0 INT / 63.3. RAT

Is the ride already over? DeVito was pulled at halftime after the team was in serious need of a new spark. There is an intimidation factor the Eagles defense plays with and for a young, inexperienced quarterback like DeVito, it works in a big way. His footwork and timing were off, he did not look like he knew where to go with the ball, and the offense looked broken. There was less swagger than what we were used to seeing and it looked like the reality of this particular quarterback situation came crashing back down to earth. Should we see him again? More on that below.

-Tyrod Taylor: 7/16 – 133 yards / 1 TD – 1 INT / 68.0 RAT

Trusty Tyrod has been a forgotten man since the undrafted local hero took over under center. How quickly this offense changed the second he was back on the field was a stark reminder what Taylor has been his entire career. A more-than capable backup who can rightfully make one wonder “what if” had he gotten an opportunity like Geno Smith did in Seattle. He made multiple tight throws including a beautifully arched deep ball to Darius Slayton for a 69-yard touchdown. The most notable differences with Taylor in the game were yards per play (6.8 vs. 3.0) and third down conversion rate (50% vs 12.5%). Those numbers are obvious, but it was the fluidity and smoothness against a defense that was constantly dropping 7+ defenders into coverage. The debate will be rampant this week, who should start in weeks 17-18?


-Saquon Barkley: 23 att – 80 yards – 1 TD / 3 rec – 4 yards

Full load for Barkley, as he played 89% of the team’s offensive snaps. A different running back (Matt Breida) was on the field for just 5 plays. We saw some gutsy power-running by the sixth-year pro who is just 19 touches shy of 1,500. Yes, 1,500 touches and we are still seeing some of the vision problems that have plagued him since 2019. Call it a lack of natural feel or a back who has been tarnished by such poor offensive line play (likely a combination of both), but Barkley left some yards on the field in this one. Watching him and a player like Christian McCaffrey in the following game strengthened the notion that it is the star back’s biggest and most defining weaknesses in his game. On the positive side, the successful 2-point conversion was solely on him and his leg drive that pushed the pile into the end zone. It was very…Jalen Hurts-like. As he enters the back nine of his career, I feel this needs to be a bigger part of his game. Use that massive lower body to push crowds, fall forward, and create success in short yardage situations.


-Darius Slayton and Wan’Dale Robinson were the only two from the group who caught passes. Slayton brought in all three targets for 90 yards, including a 69-yard touchdown where we saw that vertical speed and big-play threat that has shown up occasionally over his career. I see plays like that one and he reminds me of Marquez Valdes-Scantling (KC, formerly GB). The kind of receiver everyone wants because of flash plays and upside, but never quite gets to the level that the fantasies created. The glimpses that sporadically show up, like this one, continue to kick the can down the road rather than shutting the door and moving on. Slayton has the talent, we know. Can it be a week-in, week-out reliable source of offensive production? NYG will run it back again in 2024 but it better not prevent them from making a serious move at receiver.

-Robinson added just 16 yards on 3 catches, continuing his role of underneath, running back-receiver mixture when it comes to play calls and impact. He was thrown to 7 times including multiple times in big moments. The diminutive radius shows up in these high-traffic situations where the passer must be near-perfect with ball placement in order for Robinson to have a realistic shot at bringing it in. The few times they did throw downfield in his direction presented very little hope.

-Isaiah Hodgins and Jalin Hyatt were on the field for a combined 62 snaps but did not receive a single target.


-Darren Waller and Daniel Bellinger both played 40 snaps. Waller had 32 yards on 2 catches with a drop and Bellinger led the team with 4 catches, totaling 43 yards. Taylor underthrew Waller on a play that could have easily resulted in a touchdown, and it was solely on the shoulders of the quarterback (one of two big misses by him). That said, I have seen enough instances to label this a shortcoming on Waller when looking at the future. There are certain movement patterns where he truly shows his age. That ability to re-direct, especially coming back to the ball, is slow and tight. It has shown up multiple times where that fast-twitch athletic ability that is needed for unplanned movement will limit his ability in the future passing game. It is the biggest difference between the All-Pro version of him and what NYG has/will have. What to do with him in regard to the future is a rather easy decision in my opinion, but it won’t be the popular one.

-Bellinger continues to struggle across the board as a blocker. His lack of fast twitch was an issue against the PHI speedy linebackers and he is the one being stood up and displaced when matched up against power. The construction of this tight end group needs to change, it does not make sense for the kind of offense they’re running.


-Guard Ben Bredeson is in a freefall over the final third of the season. He allowed 5 pressures, one of which resulted in a QB hit. While he did throw key blocks on a couple of NYG’s big plays (including the Barkley touchdown run), this was a matchup nightmare with what PHI marches out there along the interior. His pressures early on clearly played a part in DeVito’s mental block in the pocket in the first half. Justin Pugh also allowed 3 pressures, one of which resulting in a hit. I’ve already noted that it appears he’s run out of steam and the advanced scouting reports in the league have caught up. I will give him credit for getting downfield to look for work. He does hustle and he has situational awareness.

-Andrew Thomas allowed a QB hit, and Tyre Phillips played clean in pass protection (with some help). The majority of the issues the line had with this matchup came from the inside, but after watching the tape again, it appeared the outside defenders gave the two tackles headaches in the running game. Quick and subtle change of direction, built low to the ground, and physical. Those are the forms of defenders who Thomas can be defeated by, and he has not yet figured out the way to combat them. Trent Williams used to be in the same boat, but he’s made big strides there. Hopefully, Thomas can do the same.

-Rookie center John Michael Schmitz was coming off arguably his worst game and I zeroed in on his performance against what most consider to be a top-five defensive line. I did not count the garbage penalty against him called toward the end of the game. Even with that, he finished with the second lowest grade on the line. He allowed a TFL and 2 pressures with too many losses as a run blocker. I do like how he competes, and I’ve been told by someone I fully trust in regard to NYG personnel that he has been a key part to the communication improvements the line has seen since the front half of the season. That is encouraging because of the position but I still reserve some worry long-term about his ability to play against speed.


-For my money, the PHI offensive tackles are the best pair in the NFL at the position. I did not expect much from Kayvon Thibodeaux or Azeez Ojulari, but I will say I still came away slightly disappointed with the lack of one-on-one wins. Thibodeaux did add a QB hit and 2 hurries to his season total and Ojulari had two hurries as well. The blitz-heavy packages aided them on those plays. Both were very ineffective against the run as well, losing control of their gaps and getting too far displaced.

-Jihad Ward split the lone sack of the day and added 2 tackles, while Tomon Fox got on the field for the first time this season. Fox rushed the passer 13 times while Thibodeaux was being moved around a bit, but did not walk away with any wins. He did set the edge against the run a couple times, something he’s always been good at.


-Dexter Lawrence played just 38 snaps, about half of the defensive snaps. For such a quiet workload compared to what are used to seeing, he had a loud game. He had 4 tackles, 2 of which went for a loss, along with a pressure. A’Shawn Robinson added 3 tackles and a pass break-up but was shutout as a pass rusher.

-Good to see Jordon Riley on the field for a season-high 35 snaps. His previous high was about half of that. He had a tackle near the line of scrimmage where he looked like a the rookie version of Lawrence. I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves with this evaluation, but the way he abused All-Pro Center Jason Kelce on the play is something we see happen to Kelce maybe a handful of times in an entire season. Heavy hands, fast bench press, excellent pad level, dense presence, and a strong finish. These flashes are very encouraging for the future of the defensive line.

-D.J. Davidson added two tackles in relief and newcomer Timmy Horne (from ATL) got his feet wet with 7 snaps. I wouldn’t mind seeing some more of him, the initial look was promising.


-Bobby Okereke led the team with 10 tackles and added both a pressure and a pass break-up. I did not count the awful delay-of-game penalty called against him at the end of the first half. That alone put three points on the board for PHI and it changed the flow of the game for the rest of the contest. Besides that, I thought he played yet another solid game and continues to be incredibly durable and reliable.

-Micah McFadden had 5 tackles and 3 misses. The last couple of weeks have not been good for him when looking at the season as a whole. I feel good about his future next to Okereke if, and only if, he can clean up the misses. Of the 52 linebackers who have played over 600 snaps this season, he leads the NFL in missed-tackle percentage. I have applauded his progress (across multiple facets) but the whiffs are hurting the defense in key moments. There are positives weekly, don’t get me wrong. He beat Kelce underneath and he accrued 2 pressures. There is growth in his game, we just need to see it be more mistake-free.

-Isaiah Simmons was active in coverage, breaking up a pass playing fast in man schemes. He made a major mental gaffe on the 3rd-and-20 conversion where he was in zone and completely lost the needed awareness of what was going on around him on a broken, long-winded play. That lack of football sense shows up the more he plays and it further explains what he has turned into after being a top ten pick.


-Deonte Banks was shadowing A.J. Brown for the first half and the All-Pro receiver caught just 1 of 3 targets for 7 yards. Banks injured a shoulder and played just over half the team’s defensive snaps. Once he was out, Brown 5 catches for 73 yards. The obvious gap between Banks and the next best corner on this team was known coming into this game, but really highlighted the second he left this matchup.

-Adoree’ Jackson came up with the defensive play of the game (and the best we’ve seen all year) with a pick six. It was the first of his career and the first interception since 2021. He made a great play on the ball with help from PHI tight end Dallas Goedert tripping over his own feet out of his break.

-We saw some extra Cor’Dale Flott and Nick McCloud following the injury to Banks and both were roasted. The gap between them and the PHI receivers is huge. Crossing routes, double routes, and simple execution within these one-on-one matchups (notably in man coverage) is a big enough gap to keep this defense from being able to compete against an offense like PHI (which even has taken a step back in 2023 compared to 2022). Flott has abruptly hit a wall this final third of the season.


-Xavier McKinney played every snap (again) and ended with 9 tackles, zero misses and a half-sack. Jason Pinnock played all but one snap and ended with 6 tackles, 3 misses. He ranks 10th among NFL safeties in missed tackles but the number is a tad overrated because of how many snaps he’s played this season. The future of these two is one of the most interesting low-key debates over the next few months. Economics are a part of this, but when looking at what they do (and what they can do in a better situation), there is a level of uniqueness and dependability most teams do not have league-wide and it changes how the defense plays.

-Dane Belton saw the field for 27 snaps, the second most of the season. When Banks went down, we saw some more of him in nickel/dime packages. He added 2 tackles and missed one. His deep coverage traits looked good on a couple of occasions where PHI went vertical with their route combos.


-K Mason Crosby: 1/1 (Made 52)
-P Jamie Gillan: 4 punts / 39.5 avg – 23.0 net


-WR Darius Slayton, S Xavier McKinney, CB Deonte Banks


-CB Cor’Dale Flott, OG Ben Bredeson, OG Justin Pugh


(1) This is not the Philadelphia of 2022. They are still head and shoulders above NYG and that is not a part of this discussion. Over the summer, I picked them to go 14-3. I overlooked (even after acknowledging) just how easy their schedule of opposing defenses was in 2022, in addition to losing an offensive coordinator who was a HUGE part of the Jalen Hurts ascent. Things are not as fluid as they were, but guess what? They’re top ten in yards per play, top ten in point, first in first downs, first in fourth-down conversion rate, second in third-down conversion rate. Not bad for an off year. I still would not want tp face them in the postseason, period.

(2) What is the kryptonite of this team? Simply put, their defense. More specifically, their corners. Not an area you want to be weak at when San Francisco and Dallas are standing in your way (at their home stadiums). NYG fans know first hand what a pass rush can do to hide slight deficiencies in the secondary. But you still need to be at a minimum on the outside and they’re not.

(3) Is it the city of Philadelphia or does it seem like an implosion is coming? Head Coach Nick Siriani does not annoy me the way he does some people, but he does seem like the kind of guy a town will turn on in a hurry and he seems like the kind of guy who flips the bird walking off the field to a flock of boo-birds. Time will tell but I don’t like what I see when adversity hits that team.


(1) This is not the first time we have talked about the DeVito vs. Taylor debate. With two games remaining, this QB controversy is as interesting as it gets for a team that has twice as many losses as they do wins. Yet, here we are. Taylor is the better and more established player, there is no denying it. DeVito makes more economic sense when looking at the future spending of this team and the resources already being pumped into the position. I’ll call out a BS on those who are just now saying this “DeVito thing was never real” after a poor half against the Eagles in Philadelphia with their backs pressed up against the wall. I’m surprised some are even trying that line right now. It is bizarre and embarrassing. I understand Taylor probably gives this team the best option to win games right now in a business of winning games, but this is about 2024 and beyond now. At least get DeVito the starts, at least give him a half of football in both games. Life will be easier paying a minimum backup salary if he can get himself to a trusted, consistent level and there is only one way to find out if he can do it. He needs to play.

(2) Now that they are mathematically eliminated from contention, we need to keep severe limits on the snaps of their key pieces who are banged up. Lawrence and Thomas are the foundations of where I want this team to build this offseason. The offensive and defensive lines need to be upgraded but if these two get dinged up over these next two weeks, the can is simply being kicked even further down the road. Not having Thomas out there is a riskier strategy because their backup OL has been so poor and it breaks the offense when he isn’t out there. But keeping Lawrence on the sideline for over half the snaps is a move worth considering.

(3) Had this been a situation where NYG was vying for a playoff spot, everyone revolving around NYG would have every right to be furious about the refs and their ineptitude. I am very slow to turn on refs and put a loss on their shoulders (and I am not putting this loss on them), but there is a difference between messing up a holding penalty or a pass interference and seeing what we saw with the Schmitz false start and/or the Okereke delay of game. Human error is part of the game and in an oddly changing world that is becoming more and more reliant on robots and AI, I believe there is value in humans making mistakes. I do not have the popular opinion on this and I am aware of that, but the last thing I want are more game stoppages and review processes. Maybe an extra set of eyes on the field or different training protocols. I agree a change is needed.

Dec 252023
Adoree' Jackson, New York Giants (December 25, 2023)

Adoree’ Jackson – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants made a game out of it, but untimely letdowns on offense, defense, and special teams plus questionable officiating led to another defeat. The Giants lost to the Eagles 33-25 at Lincoln Financial Field on Monday, falling to 5-10 on the season. The Giants were also officially eliminated from playoff contention.

The overall team stats were one-sided in favor of the Eagles. They led in first downs (28 to 14), total net yards (465 to 292), net yards rushing (170 to 106), net yards passing (295 to 186), and time of possession 34:38 to 25:22). Philadelphia was also markedly better on 3rd and 4th down conversions. The Giants did win the turnover battle two to one.

The Eagles dominated the first half. The Giants went three-and-out on their first possession and then gave up a 54-yard punt return that set the Eagles up at the New York 13-yard line. Two plays later, quarterback Jalen Hurts rushed for a 1-yard touchdown. The Giants responded with their only scoring drive of the half, a 10-play, 41-yard affair that set up a successful 52-yard field goal by place kicker Mason Crosby. Eagles 7 – Giants 3.

Philadelphia’s second possession traveled 72 yards in 18 plays, lasting over eight minutes. Nevertheless, New York’s defense held in the red zone with the Eagles settling for a 28-yard field goal early in the 2nd quarter. The Giants went three-and-out, followed by a bad punt and 12-yard return. With the Eagles starting at their own 48-yard line, it took them only three plays to score on a 36-yard touchdown pass. Eagles 17 – Giants 3.

New York gained 12 yards and punted for the third time in four possessions. The Giants’ defense then forced their first three-and-out. The offense converted on two 4th-and-1’s, but were stopped on their third 4th-and-1 effort, turning the ball over on downs at the Philadelphia 25-yard line. The Eagles added another field goal before halftime with an 11-play, 72-yard drive. However, the officials handed the Eagles this field goal opportunity. Hurts was tackled in-bounds as time expired, but the officials called a bogus delay-of-game penalty on linebacker Bobby Okereke when he jumped on the loose football.

At the half, the Eagles led 20-3. Head Coach Brian Daboll also decided to bench quarterback Tommy DeVito in favor of Tyrod Taylor at the break.

The Giants caught a break at the start of the second half as two Eagles collided on the kickoff return, causing a fumble that linebacker Isaiah Simmons recovered at the Philadelphia 14-yard line. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-3, running back Saquon Barkley scored from seven yards out to cut the score to 20-10.

The Giants’ defense forced a three-and-out. The Giants picked up a couple of first downs and crossed midfield but were forced to punt. The Eagles then began a long drive from their own 6-yard yard line, gaining 76 yards and reaching the New York 18-yard line before an illegal block penalty pushed them back 10 yards. Then on 2nd-and-20, cornerback Adoree’ Jackson intercepted Hurts at the 24-yard line and returned the pick 76 yards for a touchdown. Barkley scored on the 2-point conversion attempt and the Giants were now only down 20-18 at the end of the 3rd quarter.

Unfortunately, the Eagles responded with an 8-play, 75-yard drive that resulted a 5-yard touchdown run by running back D’Andre Swift. On this possession, the Eagles converted on 3rd-and-20. Philadelphia was up 27-18 with 11 minutes to play.

The Giants crossed midfield on the ensuing possession, reaching the Philadelphia 42-yard line. But quarterback Tyrod Taylor’s 4th-and-1 pass fell incomplete and the Giants turned the ball over on downs. The Eagles gained 32 yards in seven plays, resulting in a 44-yard field goal that extended their advantage to 30-18 with six minutes to play.

The Giants made things interesting again as it took just two plays for New York to score a touchdown. Taylor threw a 69-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Darius Slayton. Eagles 30 – Giants 25. However, the defense allowed the Eagles to take over four minutes off of the clock, gain 50 yards in nine plays, and add another field goal. With 1:10 left to play, the Eagles led 33-25.

The Eagles were flagged with roughing the passer on the first play of New York’s last desperate drive. Taylor then hit tight end Darren Waller for 12 yards on 3rd-and-10 as the Giants crossed midfield. The Giants missed an opportunity when Taylor’s deep pass to wide receiver Wan’Dale Robinson fell incomplete. On 4th-and-8 with 26 seconds left, Taylor and Waller connected again, this time for 20 yards. But Waller was hurt on the play and it took the Giants some time to spike the ball. With four seconds left, Taylor’s last pass from the 28-yard line into the end zone was intercepted.

DeVito finished the game 9-of-16 for 55 yards. Taylor was 7-of-16 for 133 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Tight end Daniel Bellinger was the leading receiver with four catches for 43 yards, although Slayton had 90 yards on three catches. Barkley carried the ball 23 times for 80 yards and a touchdown.

Defensively, the Giants only were credited with one sack, split between safety Xavier McKinney and linebacker Jihad Ward. McKinney and Okereke were each credited with 10 tackles.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Sunday, the Giants activated OT Matt Peart from Injured Reserve. To make room for Peart on the 53-man roster, the team placed RT Evan Neal (ankle) on Injured Reserve. The Giants also activated (standard elevation) OLB Tomon Fox and PK Mason Crosby from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were TE Lawrence Cager (groin), DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (knee), WR Parris Campbell, OC Sean Harlow, OLB Boogie Basham, OLB Benton Whitley, and S Gervarrius Owens.

CB Deonte Banks (shoulder) left the game in the second half and did not return.

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:

Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Tuesday.

Dec 232023

Do the New York Giants want to remain the Washington Generals? Or do they want to become gladiators?

For the past 10 years or so, the once-proud Giants have been the punching bags of the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys. Their respective fan bases have correctly pencilled in two automatic wins, their annual highlight videos peppered with big offensive and defensive plays against Big Blue. And with respect to Philadelphia, the Giants have proven to be the “get right” opponent when their season has occasionally been on the brink. The 10-4 Eagles may have lost three games in a row, but they remain tied for first place in the NFC East and are counting on two wins against the Giants to get them over the finish line.

The Washington Generals are supposed to lose every time they play the Harlem Globetrotters. It’s not even supposed to be close, with everyone laughing at the Generals along the way. In the 2000 films Gladiator, a ragtag group of slaves was supposed to serve the same purpose in the Coliseum for the Roman Emperor Commodus in a re-enactment of the Battle of Carthage. The slaves were supposed to die, to be the punching bags against opponents that were to slaughter them. In the film, the opposite occurred.

No one expects the Giants, playing with a third-string undrafted rookie quarterback, to beat the Eagles in Philadelphia on Christmas Day. But we want to see some fight. We’re tired of being humiliated by two teams in our own division. Giants’ lore is filled with bad teams playing their hearts out against top teams. But in the 100-year history of the team, those kind of games have been noticeably absent in the past decade. We don’t expect you to be victorious, but we expect you to give us a game, not something we turn off at halftime.

Entertain us. Be gladiators. For once.


  • RB Matt Breida (hamstring – probable)
  • RB Gary Brightwell (hamstring – questionable)
  • TE Darren Waller (hamstring – probable)
  • TE Lawrence Cager (groin – questionable)
  • OG Justin Pugh (calf/neck – probable)
  • RT Evan Neal (ankle – out)
  • OT Matt Peart (shoulder – probable)
  • DL Dexter Lawrence (hamstring – questionable)
  • DL A’Shawn Robinson (back – questionable)
  • DL Rakeem Nunez-Roches (knee – out)
  • ILB Carter Coughlin (neck – probable)
  • S Xavier McKinney (illness – probable)
  • P Jamie Gillan (groin – probable)

Pundits, media, and fans fall for the same trap every year. How a team plays at the beginning and middle of a season does not guarantee the same in the all-important months of December and January. Hot teams cool down. Mediocre teams start to heat up. We see it every year. At the end of November, the Eagles were 10-1 and widely considered an automatic participant in the conference championship game. Three losses in a row has shaken their confidence and the confidence others had in them only a few weeks ago. At the heart of their struggles has been a defense that has allowed 341 points this year, three more than the New York Giants. After allowing 109 points in three straight games (one win and two losses), the Eagles replaced defensive coordinator Sean Desai with Matt Patricia. The Eagles gave up fewer points (20) in their last game, but still lost.

So the Giants should have an easier time of it against Philadelphia? Not so fast. The 109 points were against three of the better offenses in the NFL – Bills, 49ers, and Cowboys. Meanwhile, after a 24-point “explosion” against the Packers, the Giants are back to having problems scoring 7 points per game. Indeed, through 14 games, the Giants only have 189 points (which includes two defensive touchdowns and field goals set up by the defense). The Giants are battling the Patriots for worst-scoring team in the NFL.

It’s no coincidence that the Giants’ offensive productivity seems intimately tied to the performance of the offensive line. When the OL plays better, everyone on offense looks better. When the OL falls apart, the offense looks putrid. The latter happened against the Saints and the team only managed six points. Say what you want about Philadelphia, but their defensive line has abused the Giants for a decade. And it’s reason #1 why Philadelphia is 25-7 against New York since 2008. Every preview I’ve written about these two teams for 10 years has said the same thing.

The Giants don’t have a quarterback. However, until this franchise successfully addresses the offensive line, nothing much is going to change. Spending high draft picks and big free agent money means nothing if you don’t bring in actual good players who you can coach up properly.

In last week’s preview, I wrote “The problem with turnovers is that you can’t count on them. They come and go, being at the whim of the football gods. My point here is we will have to see how the defense performs when the turnovers cease.” Well, we found out and the results were not pretty. After holding New Orleans to seven points in the first half, the defense was a significant factor in the game getting out of hand by allowing three straight scoring drives to start the second half. What made this worse was this was against an opponent who was missing their top wide receiver and starting right tackle. The inconsistent Derek Carr finished with a 134.8 quarterback rating, throwing only five incompletions.

My point here is that the quality defensive performances are being offset against bad ones. Regardless of what Wink Martindale says publicly, the defense doesn’t seem to be trending upwards. It’s still up and down, up and down. Like much of the entire coaching staff, Martindale has lost a lot of his luster this season. And he is 0-4 against the Cowboys and 0-3 against the Eagles since last year, with two more anticipated losses to Philadelphia on the horizon. 0-9 against your two top rivals?!

As much as Philadelphia’s defense has been under fire, their offense has slowed noticeably in December as well. Through 11 games, the Eagles were averaging 28 points per game. That’s winning football. During the 3-game losing streak, they have averaged 16 points per game. That’s losing football. (Giants average 13 points per game).

So the challenge here for Wink and his defensive players is can they play on par with the 49ers, Cowboys, and Seahawks, and keep the Eagles under 20 points? Or will the defense come up small against a better opponent once again? Yeah, I get it, New York’s offense is not helping. But sometimes you have to rise the occasion and make up for the other side of the ball. Jalen Hurts has not been playing at an MVP level in recent weeks. Stop the run and you have a chance.

The fly in the ointment is the injury situation on the defensive line. The top three linemen, Dexter Lawrence, A’Shawn Robinson, and Rakeem Nunez-Roches are all ailing. This is not a good opponent to be missing guys up front against.

Three place kickers on IR? LOL.

“Moral victories are for losers.” Probably. But in my mind, 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. The coaching staff is not inspiring right now. They look and sound defeated. I hope their public face is not the same behind closed doors.

In a nutshell, I’m not sure where this team is headed. The way the team lost to the Saints didn’t sit well with me. I don’t see the light at the end of the tunnel and that’s troubling.

Jan 242023
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (January 21, 2023)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

Thank You to Eric and thank you to BBI for giving me the opportunity to put my thoughts here on this team weekly. I’ve been doing these reviews since the start of 2017, Evan Engram’s rookie season. This was the most fun I’ve had since then.


-Daniel Jones: 15/27 – 135 yards / 0 TD – 1 INT / 53.8 RAT … 6 att / 24 yards

A week after what I considered to be the most big-time performance of his career, Jones entered Lincoln Financial Field looking for his first ever road win against the Eagles. David vs. Goliath. The odds were stacked against him no matter what angle you looked at it. Jones was tasked with elevating the team around him to create something larger than the sum of its parts. Overmatched in the trenches. Overmatched in coverage. Overmatched on the other side of the ball. All of this against a team coming off an extra week of rest. I did not have sky high expectations here. I did want to see him elevate, however. Do things that outsiders did not think he can do. NYG was one loss away from, what I consider to be, the biggest decision of their offseason and something that strongly impacts the trajectory of the franchise.

Jones folded. He did not elevate the team. He sunk. He did not derive a larger sum, it went below zero. He threw an interception in PHI territory. He fumbled in the fourth quarter after holding onto the ball too long. He did not get into the end zone. Now, none of that gets pinned on Jones alone. But the turnover down 14-0, the under throw to Darius Slayton in the third quarter on his deepest pass of the day, the wild pass to Richie James on the very next play (a third-down conversion attempt), and the inaccurate ball on 3rd-and-6 to Slayton when NYG had a little taste of momentum in the fourth quarter were lost opportunities. Were they make or breaks for his future? No. Were they even make or breaks of this game? Probably not. But the point still resonates – he had a chance to step up, he instead fell down.


-Saquon Barkley: 9 att – 61 yards / 2 att – 21 yards

-39 of Barkley’s 61 yards came on a run in the third quarter. That ended up being the drive where NYG put seven points on the board. 11 touches for the team’s best player simply were not enough. The one negative of being reliant on a running game to get your best player involved was exactly this. NYG was down 14 points before anyone took their first pee break and no matter what coaches say, it does impact the offensive approach. Barkley subtly played a solid game. 7+ yards per touch is a good number against a defense like this. He played physically, he took what the defense gave him on those inside runs, he didn’t dance around. The game got away from NYG and the PHI defense put some serious attention on him in coverage. When he can’t be, or isn’t a big part of the offense, NYG is even more limited.

-Matt Breida carried the ball four times and gained 23 yards; he also added a 19-yard catch. He scored the team’s lone touchdown. If this game ended with a different result, we would be talking highly about Breida. I liked what he brought to the table this season and I think there is more in the tank for a team can get out of him.


-I am going to start with Darius Slayton and Richie James, both soon-to-be-free agents. Slayton had one catch for four yards. He was targeted five times and was the victim of multiple bad throws by Jones. Put me in the camp of people that is simply disappointed by this guy. The talent is there, and we know he can make things happen. He’s done it. But at some point, this guy needs to be the one who steps up and makes a play. The one that picks up Jones. He hasn’t done it and remains among league-leaders in drops. Speaking of drops, James let one bounce off his hands on a play that would have been a touchdown. He ended up leading the team with 7 receptions and 51 yards, four of which went for first downs. I thought these two were going to need to step up for this offense to put up sufficient points. Neither did.

-The reason I thought Slayton and James needed to get more on the stat sheet was PHI’s plan against Isaiah Hodgins. It was obvious they would put an extra defender on him because Jones has been looking his way in key moments for a month. The problem with that, Hodgins is not the kind of athlete who can overcome it. To make it worse, Jones did not or could not get much going with anyone else. Hodgins finished with 1 catch for 3 yards.


-Lawrence Cager had a first-quarter catch for 16 yards and Daniel Bellinger caught his only pass in the fourth quarter for 3 yards. I said prior to the postseason that I thought Bellinger could have been a sneaky-strong component to the passing game. He responded in the playoffs with 3 catches for 20 yards and a touchdown. I was hoping for more, but the looks were not there. The question with him will revolve around speed and ability to get open. I like his ball skills and he is sneaky-effective after the catch. But whether this front office and coaching staff believes he can run himself open will dictate a lot about what they do at tight end this offseason. I like Bellinger, but I think there is something missing from the position group.


-Really tough assignment for this group that did seem to solidify themselves over the past few weeks. But matched up against the deepest and best overall pass rush on long rest on the road? The interior was solid enough in pass protection. Nick Gates, Jon Feliciano, and Mark Glowinski allowed 1 pressure each. My negative on them, notably Gates and Feliciano, was the lack of movement they got off the ball in the running game. Again, it was a small sample size, so I won’t come down on them too hard. But watching the contrast in these two interior OLs was eye opening to me. The gap between the NYG line and PHI line is bigger than most think.

-Outside we saw the continued trend that has been there all year. Andrew Thomas was almost lights out, Evan Neal struggled mightily. Thomas allowed 1 sack technically, but I did not record it. It was an end-around sack and Jones held on to the ball forever. Can’t use that one against him. Neal was the turnstile again. He allowed 2 sacks and 4 pressures. There is a ton of ground to make up here for the #7 overall selection in last year’s draft. I will not sugar coat it. Yes, Andrew Thomas struggled in 2020. But if you want to play the comparison game (which is not necessary), the structure of Neal’s issues looks closer to Ereck Flowers than Thomas.


-The NYG pass rush was abysmal and I initially looked at the edge defenders for that cause. It is true that neither Kayvon Thibodeaux nor Azeez Ojulari even sniffed Jalen Hurts. They were overmatched by the PHI tackles and that is the shortcoming in both of their games. They lack a power rush component and I think it is a team-issue that needs to be addressed. But I want to give a tip of the cap to Thibodeaux. In a game where they allowed 38 points and simply got owned as a group, he had 8 tackles and several of them were high level plays. His straight-line burst combined with sheer effort in pursuit was a difference maker. Ojulari, on the other hand, had just 1 tackle and lost the edge on multiple occasions. Defending a running game like PHI is so much about getting and keeping a hard edge and I thought Ojulari did poor job there. He also did not look 100%.

-Jihad Ward gave an admirable effort. He had 2 tackles and 1 TFL, but also did a lot of the necessary dirty work. If others stepped up and the defense itself did not miss so many tackles as a group, we would be singing more of Ward’s praises. I’ve said this a few times, sorry if it is repetitive. Ward’s role in the Martindale scheme is very important and not easy to fill. I do see some options in the draft, but in all reality, I’m not sure they can play as stout as Ward does against the run. On a day where I was disappointed by several of the front seven defenders against the run, Ward was a guy who kept showing up. Also, a great locker room guy. If the market ignores him like they did last offseason, I will welcome him back while they groom a rookie behind him.


-I noted before the game how much the pass rush can throw Hurts off. It was a vital component to the defensive execution, more than usual. Whether or not Martindale built off his league-high blitz rate, we needed to see a big-time performance out of both Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams. They did not rise to the occasion. Williams had one pressure and was put on ice skates against the run, finishing with two tackles. Lawrence did not get any pressure at all and while he did have 6 tackles, only two of them were near the point-of-attack. The PHI line had their way with these two.

-Ryder Anderson and Justin Ellis saw rotational snaps and will likely wind up on the PHI offensive line highlight reel. They were getting 4-5 yards of movement on these guys in all directions consistently. This defensive line is incredibly thin and will need serious attention this offseason.


-This was a two-man show. Jaylon Smith and Jarrad Davis both played 90% of the snaps. Smith led the team with 14 tackles and Davis had 5, one for a loss. Both missed one tackle each and Davis was flagged for an unfortunate personal-foul penalty that could have gone either way. Both play a very tight game. What I mean by that is they may look impressive with their straight-line speed and power, and it does make an impact when they guess correctly. But in a game full of subtle adjustments and quickness, they just don’t have it. A running game like this exposes that. They’re late and they can’t adjust. NYG enters the offseason in need of not one, but two starters at linebacker.


-Adoree’ Jackson did not look like he was at full strength. I went back and watched a half of a game from earlier in the season to confirm that. The movement out of his breaks looked less explosive and needed an extra step. He also had no power when fighting blocks. He did finish with 7 tackles, 1 for a loss. He missed a tackle and was beat for a couple of third-down conversions. The long speed was there though, as he was able to stick to A.J. Brown and Devonta Smith on deep routes. NYG can go into the offseason knowing they have a good starter here at a solid price.

-Behind him? One could make a case it is the second biggest need on the team. Nick McCloud was not tested much but when he was, he allowed a touchdown to Smith. The lack of recovery speed was apparent there. He had the angle on him and just got beat in a short window into the end zone. McCloud was also another victim of getting owned by PHI receivers when they blocked. Promising young player though who I would like to see on the depth chart next season.

-Darnay Holmes added one tackle and missed two of them. Defending the run against a team like PHI puts pressure on the nickel to fill hard and make tackles. He failed there. He was targeted three times and allowed three catches. Holmes is a little perplexing to me. He has all the talent and I think he plays with the necessary energy and physical nature. But he is the cornerback version of Jabrill Peppers to me. There just isn’t enough feel and instincts in his game and a good offense can eat that up whenever they want. Nickel corner is way down the list of team needs and Holmes is back on the final year of his rookie deal in 2023, but it is a spot worth looking into at some point this offseason for the sake of 2024.

-Fabian Moreau was not tested much in coverage and he added 2 tackles. What they do with him will dictate some of how they approach corner in the draft. On one side, you can’t trust him to cover good receivers consistently. On the other, the 28-year old is better than what a lot of other teams are using and his contract is small.


-I’ve noted and praised Julian Love all season for how versatile and impactful he has been for this defense. To keep this real, however, I have to say he had the most disappointing performance of the night. Coming into the game, he had 6 missed tackles all year (one of the best rates in the league, all positions). In this game alone, Love missed 5 tackles and allowed the biggest play of the day on the game’s opening drive. Compared to what he offered all season, Love let this defense down in a big way.

-On the flip side, Xavier McKinney made a couple of flash plays. He had 8 tackles, a sack, a forced fumble, and a pass deflection at the line. I was excited for this kid at the start of the year and I know the coaches were too. The ATV accident was an unfortunate accident that reminded us this is all a part of life. It happens. Hopefully he learned his lesson because he may be one of the most important 3 players on this defense next year.

-Tony Jefferson and Jason Pinnock played just 7 snaps a piece. Pinnock should very much be a part of this team’s future. I think they have something here and at the very least, he is a stud special teamer. Jefferson was brought in because of the familiarity to Martindale’s system. Very common practice when coaches change locations. I expect that backup box safety role to be filled by a rookie next year.


-K Graham Gano: 1/1 XP
-P Jamie Gillan: 5 punts / 43.2 avg – 43.2 net


-S Xavier McKinney, RB Matt Breida, EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux


-QB Daniel Jones, S Julian Love, OT Evan Neal


(1) Three games against the Eagles in under one month. On December 11, I wrote in the review that PHI would be the NFC representative in the Super Bowl. Fast forward to right now, I think they should be a heavy favorite over SF. And I like SF a lot. The gap between PHI and the rest of the conference has been a mile wide all season and even though SF has forgotten what it is like to lose a game, PHI matches up well and is simply better across the board.

(2) The PHI offensive line is the part of their team I am most impressed by. I think it is the best way to build a sustainable winning team. A good offensive line can make other players look better. A great offensive line can make other players look great. I am under the notion that no matter where you stand, the offensive line needs to be fed via the draft and/or free agency year after year. It is not one position. It is five. Used two first rounders on the line in recent memory? Cool. That isn’t enough if the other three spots are below average or average. Three? Not enough. Four? Maybe enough. But if you find five guys that can be considered near the top of their respective positions, your offense is going to be elite. On the Ourlads All-Pro team, PHI has the 1st-team center (Kelce), and the 2nd-team LG (Dickerson) and RT (Johnson). The other two starters are probably considered top-7 in the league at their positions. This line is one of the best I have ever seen. Their starters were brought in via the draft, every single one. 2011, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2021. Their backups? 2019, 2021, 2022, 2022. All in the draft or undrafted free agency. Feed the trenches. Draft better linemen. Then draft their backups. It will work.

(3) Now, on this loaded roster of theirs, someone has to shake free in free agency right? That is correct. DTs Hargrave and Cox are going to be FAs. DEs Graham and Quinn are going to be free agents. OC Kelce and CB Bradberry are going to be free agents. LBs White and Edwards are going to be free agents. The one guy I want NYG to take a long look at? OG Isaac Seumalo. Starting experience at both OG spots. Known for his pass protection skills. Constant movement as an inside run blocker. Would Joe Schoen bring him in even though they signed Glowinski last offseason? It could be a tall ask, but he is a rock-solid player who strengthens the starting lineup AND depth, as it would leave the revolving door they had at left guard in positions to fight for backup snaps.


(1) How do you wrap up a season’s worth of reviews? I could go on and on. My simple statement here, though, is that this needs to be considered a wildly successful season for this franchise. More wins than anyone thought they would get, even those in the building I bet. The first playoff win in a decade. A coaching staff that seems to finally be right there with some of the best in the game. A forward-thinking front office that, all things considered, touched all the right buttons with limited resources and flexibility. NYG is back on the map and even though they’re still far away from the level of PHI and SF, they’ve at least entered the church and are walking toward the front pew.

(2) The 2022 rookie class officially has their first season in the rear-view mirror. Let’s take a very quick look and assess how it turned out to this point (but remember, a draft class can only be evaluated after 3 years). I consider a successful draft one in that over 50% of the players taken contribute and meet their expectation. More specifically, over 22% of day 3 picks. Over 65% of day 2 picks. Over 85% of day one picks. I still have some digging to do on that data there, but the success rate league wide for successful picks is around those ranges. When looking only at their rookie seasons: Thibodeaux and Neal are split as it simply was not a good year for the tackle. Robinson and Ezeudu saw enough time and I would consider them hits, as they both contributed and saw starting-caliber snaps and played well enough. I think both are competing for starting jobs next season. Flott is a hit. He will be a starter or heavy rotational player in 2023. Bellinger is a hit, no question. Belton and McFadden are both hits, both day three picks that saw starting caliber snaps at points and provided solid play. Davidson, McKethan, and Beavers are N/A because of injuries. This was a home-run draft class to this point for the front office and one of the reasons I feel optimistic moving forward. I’m not sure how many people understand just how good it was.

(3) Where do we go from here? The talks start with what this team needs the most in order to get them on the next level. Their top five needs, not necessarily in any sort of strict order are:

WR: At least one, preferably two starting-caliber guys who can play the outside and provide explosive plays. They need speed, one of them needs size.

Pass Rusher: Preferably one DL, one OLB. They can’t rely on the four-man nucleus for an entire year. They need depth in case one goes down but also, they need a couple guys who can give a credible 8-12 snaps per game, at least.

Offensive Line: A starting caliber OC or OG needs to be signed or drafted. That will improve the starting group but also give them a sense of plus-depth when injuries arise.

Linebacker: Two new starters. Maybe Beavers comes back strong and takes a spot. Maybe McFadden evolves into one. But, maybe not. At least one needs to be signed or drafted with the intention of starting.

Cornerback: Jackson is a good player and good value at a position that is hard to find both. Holmes and McCloud can offer solid competition and depth at nickel. I would love to see this team draft a young outside corner with the kind of upside they view as a team’s CB1 in the near future. I’ve only started to begin deep dives on the defensive side of the draft class, but I can see this corner group is one of the deeper ones I have seen in a long, long time.


The next order of business on this team will revolve around what to do with their money. Yes, NYG does have a lot of cap space this offseason AND even more slated for next offseason (depending on what they do in the next 2 months). But QB Jones, RB Barkley, OT Thomas, and DT Lawrence are going to swallow up a ton of those funds if all are re-signed. If you had to choose one to let walk, who would it be? Not an easy decision at all but positional value will lead to the notion that Barkley is the first on the list they let out the door. Franchise tags are always possible, but they always present issues to the team environment. This will be an interesting situation to watch. Of all 32 teams, NYG is set to have one of the most fascinating offseasons in the league.

Jan 222023
Matt Breida, New York Giants (January 21, 2023)

Matt Breida – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants Cinderella season came to a crashing end in Philadelphia on Saturday night as they were crushed 38-7 by the Eagles. The Giants finished their surprising 2022 campaign with a 9-7-1 regular-season record and a 1-1 post-season record.

The overall final team statistics were almost as one-sided as the final score. The Eagles out-gained the Giants in first downs (26 to 13), total net yards (416 to 227), net yards rushing (268 to 118), net yards passing (148 to 109), and time of possession (35:43 to 24:17). The Eagles won the turnover battle 1-0 and were 4-of-5 in the red zone. Philadelphia was also an astonishing 10-of-14 (71.4 percent) on 3rd-down conversion attempts while the Giants were 1-of-3 on 4th down.

The contest was basically over by halftime. The Eagles scored touchdowns on four of their five first-half possessions while the Giants were shut out. Philadelphia’s drives:

  • 8 plays, 75 yards, touchdown,
  • 8 plays, 52 yards, touchdown.
  • 3 plays, -3 yards, punt.
  • 9 plays, 63 yards, touchdown.
  • 14 plays, 67 yards, touchdown.

Meanwhile, the Giants’ first drive ended with quarterback Daniel Jones getting sacked on 4th-and-8 at the Philadelphia 48-yard line. On the second play of their second possession, Jones was intercepted by former Giants’ cornerback James Bradberry at the Philadelphia 46-yard line. New York’s other three first-half possessions resulted in a total of 17 yards, no first downs, and three punts.

At the half, the Eagles led 28-0. The first-half stats were equally bad, with the Eagles holding huge advantages in first downs (18 to 3) and total yards (258 to 64).

The second-half of the game was pretty anti-climatic. Both teams exchanged three-and-outs to start the 3rd quarter. The Giants then drove for their only score of the game, a 10-play, 88-yard effort that ended with a direct snap to Saquon Barkley, who handed off to fellow running back Matt Breida for an 8-yard touchdown. With 6:15 left in the 3rd quarter, the Giants trailed 28-7.

The Eagles picked up two first downs and then punted on again on their second possession of the second half. New York then also picked up two first downs, but Head Coach Brian . Daboll decided to punt the ball away on 4th-and-6 from the New York 42-yard line early in the 4th quarter, down by three touchdowns.. The Eagles responded with a 15-play, 70-yard drive that lasted almost eight minutes and resulted in a 30-yard field goal. With just over five minutes in the game, New York now trailed 31-7.

The final minutes were just as ugly. The Giants did convert on 4th-and-16 from their own 17-yard line. But four plays later, they turned the ball over on downs with an incomplete pass on 4th-and-8 from their own 36-yard line. On 3rd-and-9, the Eagles broke off a 35-yard touchdown run at the 2-minute warning.

The Giants then ran the ball three times in their final five plays simply to end the game.

Jones finished the game 15-of-27 for 135 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He ran the ball six times for 24 yards, but was sacked five times. Wideout Richie James was the leading receiver with seven catches for 51 yards. No other Giant had more than 21 yards receiving. Barkley broke off a 39-yard run in the 3rd quarter, but was held to 22 yards on his other eight carries.

The defense also played a bad game, allowing an unacceptable 268 yards rushing and only stopping the Eagles four times on 14 third-down conversion attempts. The Giants only had one sack and one pass defense. Quarterback Jalen Hurts was never hit except for the one sack. The team also did not force a turnover.

On Friday, the Giants activated (standard elevation) WR Makai Polk and CB Zyon Gilbert from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster.

Inactive for the game were WR Makai Polk, OG Jack Anderson, OG Wyatt Davis, DL Henry Mondeaux, ILB Micah McFadden, CB Rodarius Williams, and CB Zyon Gilbert.

CB Cor’Dale Flott suffered a hamstring injury and did not return.

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:

Players will be available in an open locker-room setting on Sunday. General Manager Joe Schoen and Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Monday.

Jan 192023
Scut Farkus

Eagles fans are unpleasant and unlikeable.

One of two outcomes will occur late Saturday night. The New York Giants will pull off one of the biggest post-season upsets in franchise history. Or the Giants and their fans will learn just how big the talent gap is between them and a Philadelphia Eagles team that will have won all three games against them this season.

Let’s address the unpleasant reality first. The Eagles are the better team. While the Giants have some very good players, the Eagles simply have more at all levels of offense, defense, and special teams. Almost as importantly, their depth is superior. When one of their starters leaves the game, the drop off isn’t as noticeable. The Eagles finished the season 14-3, best in the NFC and tied with the Kansas City Chiefs for the best record in football. Philadelphia has the #3 offense and #2 defense in the entire NFL. That’s balanced dominance. Thus, the odds makers have appropriately favored the Eagles by more than a touchdown to handily defeat the Giants.

Giants’ fans are understandably giddy right now. Their team was not expected to win a playoff game, let alone have a winning record or make the playoffs in the first place. It appears the franchise will not have to start over again at quarterback, thus accelerating the rebuilding process. Beating the 13-4 Minnesota Vikings on their home turf felt great. However, the NFL post-season graveyard is filled with Wild Card winners getting smacked in the divisional round by superior and well-rested teams. There is a good chance reality is about to slap New York fans back into reality.


If I were a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles, I don’t think I would be feeling particularly comfortable right now. Yes, your team has owned the Giants for the better part of the past decade, including the two regular-season games this year. But the Giants are clearly ascending at the right moment. Meanwhile, the Eagles seemed to prematurely hit their stride earlier in the season. There are questions about Jalen Hurts’ shoulder. And a group of predominantly second- and third-teamers just gave Philadelphia a tougher game than anyone expected less than two weeks ago against these very same Giants on your home field. Above all, divisional opponents have a way of making games far tighter than anyone anticipates. The Giants know the Eagles. Finally, Brian Daboll, Mike Kafka, and Don Martindale are far superior than the likes of Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur, and Joe Judge. Coaching won’t be an issue. The Giants will be ready to play.

Eagle fans are busy telling themselves this game is in the bag. The Giants are merely a road bump on an inevitable Super Bowl run. They believe the Giants did them a favor by beating the Vikings as it makes their playoff path that much easier. All of this might be true. But if being a sports fan has taught me anything over the past several decades, it is there is such a thing as karma. The more convinced you are of something, the more likely the powers that be will bitch slap you back into reality. Eagle fans are unpleasant and unlikeable people who live in an unpleasant and unlikeable city. Whatever self-awareness they might have is swallowed up by their ugly inability to relate to the rest of humanity. If anyone is due a karmic kick to the groin, it’s them.

Bring it on.


  • WR Isaiah Hodgins (ankle – probable)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (quad – questionable)
  • ILB/S Landon Collins (ankle – probable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (back – probable)
  • CB Fabian Moreau (hip – probable)
  • S Julian Love (hamstring – probable)
  • S Jason Pinnock (abdomen – probable)

I have already covered the Eagles in two previous game previews. Much of this will sound like a broken record. Big picture is that while many pundits and fans love to focus on offense, defense still wins games and the Eagles have one of the best defenses in the NFL. In terms of yards allowed, only the San Fransisco 49ers are better (and only by ONE yard). If anything, the Eagles defense is underrated. They are #1 against the pass and a more pedestrian 16th against the run. Most importantly, they are #8 in scoring defense.

What happened this offseason is the Eagles built up their secondary, combined with further improvements to an already strong defensive front. Adding ex-Giant James Bradberry at cornerback and ex-Saint safety C. J. Gardner-Johnson significantly altered Philly’s defensive backfield for the better. Bradberry now teams with Darius Slay for one of the better and more-aggressive corner duos in the game. Gardner-Johnson is still tied with the league-lead in interceptions despite missing all of December with a lacerated kidney. He was just activated from IR and can fill in as a slot corner.

The Eagles did not stand pat up front either. They drafted Jordan Davis at DT with the #13 overall pick. During the season, they signed Ndamukong Suh and ex-Giant Linval Joseph. These three are the BACKUPS behind Giant-killer Fletcher Cox (7 sacks) and Javon Hargrave (11 sacks). Milton Williams (4 sacks) is no slouch either. Outside is another Giant-killer in DE Brandon Graham (11 sacks). He teams with Josh Sweat (11 sacks) and in-season pickup Robert Quinn (18.5 sacks with the Bears in 2021). To add icing on the cake, the Eagles also signed Haason Reddick (16 sacks), a player who has given the Giants fits in the past with other teams. Long story short, the Eagles lead the NFL with 70 sacks. No other team has more than 55.  (The Giants have 41 sacks with Dexter Lawrence leading the team with 7.5).

In the Eagles’ 48-22 drubbing of the Giants on December 11, just over a month ago, Daniel Jones and Tyrod Taylor were sacked seven times and officially hit 12 times. The Eagles also were credited with an extremely high 10 tackles for losses. Brandon Graham had three sacks, but the usual suspects all got into the act too, including Cox, Reddick, and Sweat. In his game review, Sy’56 wrote: “This was a match-up nightmare for the NYG offensive line. Not just from a macro-perspective (PHI DL simply being better than NYG OL), but also from a micro-perspective. The holes in the games of the NYG line – player by player – were exploited greatly by the skillset of the individuals along the PHI defensive line.”

Sy’56 then highlighted the difficulties all of the NYG offensive linemen had up front. Andrew Thomas allowed a sack. The interior of the line really struggled. Evan Neal got abused, allowing two sacks and five pressures. Four weeks later, Thomas and Glowinski sat, but Neal, Bredeson, and Gates all played. Neal struggled again. So did Bredeson.

You’ve heard me say it for years now when covering the Giants and Eagles. The Eagles have dominated the Giants in the W-L column because they have dominated the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. It’s really almost that simple. The obvious target for the ire of most Giants fans right now is Neal, but the entire line hasn’t been very good at all against the Eagles. If Thomas, Gates/Bredeson, Feliciano, Glowinski, and Neal don’t elevate their game against a very talented and very deep defensive line, the Giants are going to lose this football game.

As for the skill positions, they will not be playing the terrible Vikings’ defense this week. The Vikings can rush the passer, but they were 31st in the NFL in defending the pass. The Eagles are #1. I will say that again, the Eagles have the #1 pass defense in the entire NFL. Folks say the 49ers are tough, but they are 20th against the pass. In other words, Isaiah Hodgins, Richie James, and Darius Slayton are not going to be running as free as they did a week ago. Philly’s corners are good and aggressive, and safety Gardner-Johnson is back in the mix. The Eagles are tied 4th overall with 17 interceptions and have generated 27 overall turnovers (4th in the NFL). And the tremendous pass rush is helping everyone in coverage.

Even if the OL plays great, Daniel Jones will be under duress much of the game. There are four guys on the Eagles who have more sacks (49) than the Giants do as a team (41). There is a psychological component at work here too. When guys like Fletcher Cox and Brandon Graham see Giants uniforms, think how Lawrence Taylor and Leonard Marshall used to salivate when playing the Eagles in the 1980s. They just knew they were going to feast. Daniel Jones is going to return in 2023. He has gotten markedly better. But we’re about to find out what he is really made of on Saturday night. If he pulls this off, Jones deserves to be showered with praise.

As for the game plan, the Giants must employ the quick passing attack to get the ball out of Jones’ hands quickly. Saquon Barkley, who was battling a neck injury in the first game, must be a difference-maker. He’ll need help up front of course. The 10 tackles for losses was far too much in the original contest. Jones will have to run the ball and he’s going to take a lot of shots after carrying the ball an astounding 17 times against the Vikings. If Daboll and Kafka have any tricks up their sleeves, this would be the time to use them. The New York tight ends, both as blockers and receivers, will be on the spot. Daniel Bellinger missed much of the first game with a rib injury that he suffered during the contest.

I’ve seen posts this week where fans say, “we need to keep the tight ends in to help Neal in pass protection.” Perhaps this is the smart way to go, but I don’t think the Giants can play scared and win this game. They will have to take some chances to pull off the upset. I constantly preach not making mistakes and turning the football over, but sometimes you just have to play the game straight up and take your chances. Be aggressive. Be the hammer, not the anvil.

On December 11th, the Giants gave up 27 first downs, 437 total yards, and 253 rushing yards to the Eagles. Philadelphia was 6-of-11 (55 percent) on 3rd down and 1-of-1 (100 percent) on 4th down. The defense only had two pass defenses and did not create a turnover. Jalen Hurt had a 109.2 quarterback rating, threw two touchdowns, and rushed for 77 yards and another touchdown. Wink Martindale’s defense gave up six touchdowns, two field goals, and 48 points. It was the low point of the season for his unit.

However, some important cogs were missing that day, including Leonard Williams, Adoree’ Jackson, and Xavier McKinney. Those three were sorely missed and change the entire defense by their mere presence. Newcomers Landon Collins and Jarrad Davis weren’t yet in the picture. However, Azeez Ojulari, who may have played his best game of the season against the Eagles on December 11th, is nursing a quad injury. Fabian Moreau is also not 100 percent.

Let’s address the scary parts first. Eagles are #3 in offense in both yards and points. They are dominantly balanced on offense with top-10 rankings both running (5th) and passing (9th) the football. You constantly hear coaches around the league preach about balance; the Eagles are as balanced a team as there is. In addition, the Eagles are 4th in red-zone efficiency and 2nd in big plays (20+ yards). Before he got hurt, Jalen Hurts was playing at an MVP level at quarterback. He has two dynamic, game-breaking wideouts in A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. And just to add to the fun, Dallas Goedert is one of those tight ends who gives the Giants problems. Hurts has thrown 22 touchdowns to just six interceptions (101.6 QBR). But he can kill you with his feet too, 760 rushing yards and an incredible 13 rushing touchdowns for a quarterback. Throw in running backs Miles Sanders (1,269 yards, 11 touchdowns) and you have yourself a two-headed monster on the ground. Back-up Boston Scott has 10 career touchdowns against the Giants.

Loaded at the skill positions. But worse, loaded on the offensive line. And they get their stud right tackle, Lane Johnson, back. The man doesn’t give up sacks. But more than him, the Eagles have one of the best and deepest offensive lines in the game. They are the engine that allows for top-10 rushing and passing. The Giants are going to need the best from Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, and Jihad Ward up front. They have to play well, and play a lot of snaps. Guys like Ojulari are going to have to tough it out. Many eyes will be on the battle between Lawrence and Jason Kelce, who is an outstanding center.

Having Adoree’ Jackson and Xavier McKinney back is big and should help with A.J. Brown and DeVonta Smith. If Moreau isn’t near 100 percent, we may see more of Cor’Dale Flott. He could possibly be a bigger asset in coverage against Smith. However, the thin-framed Flott is also likely to get abused in run defense. As much as damage as the Eagles can do throwing the football, their ground game is what makes that offense hum.

The potential fly in the ointment for the Eagles is Hurts. He’s no longer on the Philadelphia injury report and he may be close to 100 percent. But he will have to prove that both mentally and physically. If Hurts is as dominant running the ball as he was pre-injury, the Eagles are very difficult to defend. But if his shoulder prevents him and play-callers from being as aggressive, that will impact the offense. The pass rush can bother Hurts too, although he is extremely elusive and difficult to tackle. In a nutshell, the pressure is on Hurts to perform. The city expects him to lead this team to glory. They are not a very forgiving fan base.

As has been widely discussed, Martindale went against his tendencies in Minnesota and did not attack as much. I don’t think he can do that in Philadelphia. He’s got to take chances and live with the outcome. The key will be to mix things up to confuse Hurts and the Eagles as much as possible. After the last game these two teams played on January 8th, Hurts said, “(Martindale) does a great job. No doubt in my mind we will learn from that and if we see them again.” Wink has to anticipate what the Eagles will do to counter what he did on January 8th. Move and counter-move. Punch and counter-punch. I would not be surprised to see Adoree’ follow Brown. If he can keep him somewhat under control (a big if), then the questions are who can limit Smith and Goedert? And defending the all-important ground attack. Easier said than done.

Attack, attack, attack. Be aggressive. Gang tackle. Knock the ball loose. Intercept the pass. Win the turnover battle.

If there was ever a time for the Giants special teams to make a statement, here it is. The Giants simply cannot afford to lose the special teams battle. Every player on the roster, including the guys who just play special teams, can make or break this game. Be smart, stick to your assignments, but make a play. A block, tackle, downed punt, return, or kick can make all of the difference in the world.

Defensive Coordinator Don “Wink” Martindale on Jalen Hurts: “Everybody’s saying he’s having an MVP season, and I agree because he can beat you with his legs. He can beat you with just being a drop-back quarterback. He can beat you with a sore shoulder. He can beat you a lot of different ways, and that’s a great challenge because there’s just a few quarterbacks that can do it that way. And you can have him dead to rights back there in the pocket, and he’s a magician. He’ll get out of it… It’s going to be a tremendous challenge.”

On paper, the Eagles should win this game. They are the better team. They are at home. They are healthy and well-rested. The last team they played was the Giants so they didn’t even have to study up too much for this contest. They view playing the Giants as Giants fans used to view playing the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1980s, an automatic win. The last time the Giants won in Philadelphia was 2013, nearly a decade ago. If these two teams, as they are presently constituted, play each other 10 times in a row, the Giants may win one of those games.

However, I can’t get over the notion that this may be that one game in ten. There is such a thing as over-confidence. There is such a thing as rustiness. There is such a thing as momentum. There is such a thing as karma. It doesn’t make sense, but I give the Giants a shot on Saturday night. They won’t be perfect. They don’t have to be. As I said before the Giants played the Patriots before Super Bowl XLII, the Giants simply need to play their game. Or as this coaching staff preaches, be smart, tough, dependable. The longer this game stays close, the more the pressure will mount on Philly’s coaches and players. What does Wink say? Pressure breaks pipes.

Be careful for what you wish for, Eagles fans.

Jan 102023
Lawrence Cager, New York Giants (January 8, 2023)

Lawrence Cager – © USA TODAY Sports


-Davis Webb: 23/40 – 168 yards / 1 TD- 0 INT / 75.8 RAT / 6 att – 41 yards / 1 TD

Such a feel-good story here for a kid drafted in the third round by NYG near the end of the Eli Manning era. The future coach has been waived five times since 2018, never started an NFL game, and had never thrown a pass in a regular-season game. That all changed as he took on the #1 seed Eagles in a game NYG was resting the majority of the entire offensive line and starting skill position players matched up against a defense that was throwing the entire starting lineup on the field. Talk about a tall order!

Webb earned the respect of everybody in this one. He was under pressure for most of the game but responded with zero turnovers and avoided taking one sack. His internal clock and escapability were the top two traits I saw out of him. Nobody is going to mistake Webb for the athlete Jones is, but he has such a good feel for when to take off and run. This game was a prime example for young QBs to see just how valuable it is to get the ball out in a hurry when an offense is overmatched. Webb took what the PHI defense gave and ended up scoring two touchdowns, one on the ground and one in the air. He may never get this opportunity again and I’m glad this lone career start went the way it did.


-Saquon Barkley stayed in sweats on the sideline, an easy decision for the staff. I don’t believe there was any debate with that one. Gary Brightwell was the biggest beneficiary, seeing a career-high 60 yards on 11 carries. He was impressive with how many tackle attempts he ripped through, gaining most of his yards after contact (47). The overall sample size is still pretty small, but this kid has shown he belongs. The burst, power, and passion he displays can be a difference maker. He has broken a tackle once every 5 touches this year. Incredibly low data, I know. But just for reference, Barkley broke one every 8 touches.

-Matt Breida gained 28 yards on 4 carries and added 7 catches for 12 yards. His explosion and speed in the open field is the best on the team and quite frankly near the best in the NFL at the position. If I had to choose one off-the-radar guy who I think can create a huge play against MIN next Sunday, it is Breida. This guy can fly.


-Kenny Golladay signed a 4-year, $72 million in 2021. It will go down as one of the worst contracts in league history when looking at dollars spent, and production posted. In the 26th game of his tenure with NYG, Golladay scored his first touchdown. It was a remarkable play that brought back the memories of his career in Detroit where he made several high-caliber, highlight-reel catches. He finished what I expect to be his final regular-season game here with 2 receptions for 30 yards.

-Isaiah Hodgins did not see the field. Darius Slayton only was in the game for three snaps. Richie James only saw snaps on special teams. That opened the door for Marcus Johnson, who led the position group with 36 yards and 3 catches. Webb missed him downfield on a broken play where PHI simply forgot about him. It would have been a 40+ yard gain, at least.


-Daniel Bellinger was a healthy inactive for this one, a sign of how much they value the rookie fourth rounder. This opened the door for Lawrence Cager, an overlooked in-season pick up who I wish had more opportunities when Bellinger was out. His receiving skillset is obvious. He led the team with 8 catches for 69 yards, showing elite ball skills on passes away from his body. There is a different level of twitch to the former wide receiver’s post-catch movement. It was his effort and power that converted a short pass on 4th-and-1 for a first down on the first NYG touchdown drive.

-Nick Vannett saw a season-high 55 snaps. He added 2 catches for 18 yards and some quality blocking on the edge.


-Evan Neal got the start at right tackle and played about half the snaps before Matt Peart relieved him. It was an ugly game for the rookie, who has piled up those performances this season. He allowed three pressures and was flagged for two false starts. I don’t want to keep repeating myself, but I want to reiterate that Neal is one of the most vital players on this team next week. His bad-caliber games can put such a restriction on the passing attack. He just does not have it right now. The losses on an island are the same every week. Big test for him.

-Tyre Phillips got the start at left tackle, while Andrew Thomas was inactive. He allowed four pressures, and all things considered, was not bad. I will not label it a victory for the third-year veteran, but his run-blocking performance did help his overall grade a bit. Matt Peart got some playing time at right tackle and appears to have the same shortcomings we have seen in the past. He was flagged for a false start and allowed a pressure. He does not even look comfortable in his stance, let alone on an island against the most underrated edge defender in the league, Haason Reddick.

-Inside we saw a mix of players, but Ben Bredeson and Jack Anderson were the two who played every snap. Their match-ups against the PHI interior defensive line is about as hard as it gets in the NFL. Both allowed two pressures and Bredeson allowed a TFL. There isn’t much to say beyond the fact there is such a big gap in talent between the PHI line and Bredeson/Anderson. Considering that, we got what we expected there, and I hate saying stuff like this, but it could have been much worse.

-Wyatt Davis got his feet wet with 26 snaps down the stretch when Nick Gates (who played well) went out, and Bredeson moved to OC. Remember, Davis was a recent third -round pick (2021). The 26 snaps were by far a career-high (he never saw more than 2 snaps in a game prior to this) and I liked his initial pop/power. He allowed 1 pressure and got movement in the running game. Definitely a guy I want to keep around.


-Azeez Ojulari, Kayvon Thibodeaux, and Jihad Ward sat the game out. It was the right call in my eyes. That also opened the door for Tomon Fox and Oshane Ximines to get a full plate of playing time. They both played all 73 defensive snaps. Fox played a better game, finishing with 4 tackles and 2 pressures, one of which led to a sack. Ximines added 2 tackles and an untouched pressure.

-There is one thing I’ve noticed in recent weeks. Ward’s role (mix of OLB + DE + DT) does not have a true backup. It is not a big deal because you can fill his role with other guys based on the situation, but I think his spot is something NYG will be attacking in the draft. I have a list of at least five guys who can do it in the upcoming class.


-So much of this defense is on the shoulders of the DT duo of Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence. I was glad to see them both inactive for this one. Ryder Anderson and Justin Ellis saw an uptick in playing time and it wasn’t pretty. Anderson did pressure Hurts twice, but he was on ice skates against the run. He was easily driven back 3-4 yards multiple times. Ellis, a much bigger body, was not driven back as much but he wasn’t stout either. Tough day for these two.

-Henry Mondeaux and Jack Heflin held their ground better. The former added 2 tackles.


-Jarrad Davis made his debut with the Giants. The former first-round pick has bounced between practice squads and backup roles on the 53-man rosters of DET and NYJ since 2017. This guy plays the high-risk, high-speed, violent brand of football that Martindale loves to use. He finished with 10 tackles, a half-sack, and a pressure. He is very linear. Meaning he can shoot downhill and make an impact, but the issue of lack of twitchy lateral adjustment is still there. Simply a guy who plays fast and strong, but not quick if that makes sense. No, I don’t think he will be a factor next week at all. I doubt he has a strong grasp of the playbook. But a fun tape to watch and maybe he turns into the next version of Jaylon Smith this upcoming offseason.

-Micah McFadden played his best game of the season on 35 snaps. He had 7 tackles, 1 sack, 1 TFL, and the most physical hits of the afternoon on both sides. He has always been instinctive and solid between the tackles, but he appeared to have extra juice in this one. Perhaps a sign he is clicking mentally? McFadden needs to be kept out of specific space situations but his impact between the tackles can be a difference against Dalvin Cook next week.

-Landon Collins didn’t play a ton but I liked seeing him in coverage against PHI tight ends and backs. He also had some QB spy roles on Hurts which did help contain him on a couple of scrambles. Should NYG find their way to PHI again in a couple weeks, he will be an important player.

-Carter Coughlin and Cam Brown played just three snaps on defense.


-Adoree’ Jackson will return from his injury in the playoffs. He joined Fabian Moreau and Darnay Holmes on the sideline for this one.

-That left second year pros Rodarius Williams and Nick McCloud along with rookie Cor’Dale Flott. I’ll start with Flott. He finished with 3 tackles and 1 PD. He missed a tackle and continues to be just a hair late on throws that head his way. I am still pleased with his movement, but I am still worried about the lack of staying power in contested situations.

-McCloud had an active game. Martindale went blitz-heavy and McCloud was one of the main weapons. Because of that, he seemed to be around the action often. He had 1.5 sacks, a pass break up at the line, and 5 tackles. He was also flagged for a dumb roughing-the-passer penalty that could have been a major blow in a playoff game. I have wondered if he is a safer bet than Holmes at nickel. Less coverage penalties, similar coverage traits. I think Martindale loves Holmes, though.

-Williams led the team with 10 tackles, largely because Hurts was throwing in his direction all night. He allowed 8 catches on a whopping 12 targets for 101 yards. It has been 6 weeks since he’s seen action, and all of the sudden, he’s covering A.J. Brown. Tough situation for him.


-Julian Love and Xavier McKinney did not play. That opened the door for Jason Pinnock, Dane Belton, and Tony Jefferson.

-Belton had the best game of the trio. He finished with 6 tackles and an end-zone interception, his second of the year. He nearly had another one that went right through his hands. This was a solid rookie season for Belton, who fought through multiple clavicle injuries and was up and down on the field. I can see the traits in Belton that lead to optimism. The physical goods are there.

-Pinnock had 4 tackles and missed one on the Boston Scott touchdown while Jefferson added 2 tackles. Pinnock just needs more experience before we really know what we have. His game gets a little out of control, but I love the speed and physical nature he brings.


-K Graham Gano: 1/1 (Made 24)
-P Jamie Gillan: 6 punts / 44.0 avg – 39.0 net


-QB Davis Webb, TE Lawrence Cager, LB Micah McFadden


-OT Evan Neal, CB Rodarius Williams, DT Justin Ellis


Not sure I am heading into the bye week with a ton of confidence right now if I am PHI. If Lane Johnson comes back from his torn adductor injury (VERY painful), he won’t be 100% or even close. Jalen Hurts looked rusty and is now heading toward another week away from football. He will start the divisional game after playing in just one game over the course of 4 weeks and he hasn’t thrown a touchdown since December 11. But has thrown three interceptions since then. The roster is stacked, no question. But I don’t view them in the same light as I have previous #1 seeds. They’ve lost a lot of steam.

Most quarterbacks are better when kept clean than when up against pressure. Obvious, I know. But the gap between a clean pocket vs. pressure is something I like to track. The margin between clean vs. pressure for Hurts is wide. Very wide. The notion was strengthened when I re-watched this tape, and it was against the backups. This may be the biggest focal point to track for PHI in the postseason.

Does Nick Sirianni deserve to be the Coach of the Year? Absolutely not. He should not even be one of the top 3 considered. This team made the playoffs last year, their schedule difficulty was average at best. Their roster is absolutely stacked on both sides of the ball. If there is anyone in that organization who deserves a league award, it is GM Howie Roseman. What he has done to engineer this squad has been remarkable from every angle.


What better week than to take an extra deep look at…NYG kicker Graham Gano. A credible statement can be made that the most underrated player on this team is the 35-year-old kicker. Who are the best 5 kickers in the game right now? Like relief pitchers, it is a moving target. But let me take a crack at it. Justin Tucker (BAL), Daniel Carlson (LV), Matt Gay (LAR), Brett Maher (DAL), and Jake Elliott (PHI). How does Gano stack up since 2020 when he joined NYG? Third in FG percentage (91.8%). Second in percentage from 50+ (80%). First in percentage from 40-49 yards (96%). Gano enters a playoff game that is projected to be a 3-point contest as one of the best kickers in the NFL over the last three years. One of the subtle reasons why I like NYG in the match-up.

I don’t feel like getting too deep into the debate surrounding the decision to sit their key players. It does not have an objective resolution and a strong case can be made for both sides. I felt they did exactly what they should have, though. The depth is not good enough to lose someone to a silly injury (see Mike Williams, LAC). Some are already banged up. And NYG has a real shot at going to MIN and winning that game. This is the first playoff game that many of these guys have ever experienced. I don’t fear rust or extra rest hurting at all for these guys. They will be as amped up as we have seen any Giants team over the past decade.

My regular-season predication for NYG was 6-11. Let’s take a quick look at why I was so wrong by 3 games. The red-zone success (7th best) was a gigantic leap from 2021 (32nd). This was Daboll’s specialty in BUF and I did not think it would be enough to make such a difference right away on this team. I was wrong. Second, I questioned just how high a level Barkley could reach after looking like a shadow of his former self against contact. His three biggest red flags from 2021 were improved. Yards after contact, touches per missed tackle, and drop percentage. That and his 18 runs of 15+ yards were the most since his rookie season (20) and more than the previous three seasons combined (15). Lastly, I was wrong about how much Martindale could do with this defensive front. NYG ranked #5 in pressure percentage, #4 in knockdown percentage, and #1 in blitz percentage. They ranked 30th, 29th, and 18th in those respective categories just a year ago. What a difference he made!

On to the playoffs! A first for me as the writer for game reviews.