Game Preview: Seattle Seahawks at New York Giants, October 22, 2017
Last Sunday night was fun. This preview is not.
This preview is going to piss off a lot of loyal New York Giants fans who understandably want to grasp onto any sliver of hope for the 2017 NFL season. Last Sunday’s huge upset of the Denver Broncos was (1) too little, too late; and (2) most likely a mirage against a team that got caught taking the Giants too lightly.
The Giants season died when they began the season 0-5. Hell, historically speaking, it died when they started 0-3. The team wasn’t ready to play the 2017 season and nothing that transpires now will change those facts. The Giants are a seriously-flawed team (in all three phases) that now has nearly-insurmountable injury issues. They have no margin for error. Unfortunately all of this will be made clear very soon to those still clinging to hope.
The danger moving forward is that ownership and management will misplace responsibility once the season is over. The offense, defense, and special teams ended this season long before the Injured Reserve list began to expand. The team once again botched its own personnel and coaching analysis (more on that below). There are structural issues that must be dealt with if this team is ever to become a CONSISTENT winner, and not one that merely threatens to make the playoffs every four or five years. One senses that the Super Bowl wins in 2007 and 2011 emboldened franchise management with a certain degree of arrogance that now seems quite misplaced. To be blunt, their shit is beginning to stink.
Many fans were upset with my comments that wins from here on out will only worsen the Giants draft position. I will never root against the Giants. It’s not in my DNA. But if we are thinking with our heads and not our hearts, this team will need to draft its next franchise quarterback in 2018. And every win between now and the end of the season will make that goal more difficult. Trading up will cost a future #1 draft pick. And I don’t agree with those who argue that winning games is more important than draft slotting (see Cedric Jones vs. Jonathan Ogden or Aaron Ross vs. Darrelle Revis).
I’m sorry to be Debbie Downer. It sucks. This is supposed to be fun and entertaining. But I’ve got to call it like I see it.
THE INJURY REPORT:
- RB Paul Perkins (ribs – out)
- WR Sterling Shepard (ankle – questionable)
- OC Weston Richburg (concussion – out)
- OG John Jerry (tooth – probable)
- DE Olivier Vernon (ankle – out)
- LB Jonathan Casillas (neck – out)
- LB Calvin Munson (quad – out)
- S Landon Collins (ankle – probable)
- LS Zak DeOssie (wrist/elbow – probable)
NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Many Giants fans are not accurately assessing last Sunday’s offensive futility. The reason is that for the first time in recent memory, the Giants actually had what appeared to be a physical ground game. The Giants not only rushed for a season-high 148 yards against the NFL’s #1 run defense, but they did it in a blunt-force fashion that made us all feel good.
But despite all of that, the Giants only accrued 16 offensive points, 12 first downs, and less than 120 yards passing. The team only converted on four 3rd-down opportunities. The defense scored and Tom Quinn’s special teams didn’t screw up – neither are common occurrences.
More than all of that, one game does not make a trend. Orleans Darkwa is still an incredibly injury-prone back and it is highly doubtful that Flowers-Jerry-Jones-Fluker-Pugh are the reincarnation of the 1990 New York Giants offensive line.
What is most troubling about all of this is that the (expletive deleted) coaching staff couldn’t figure out that Pugh was the team’s best offensive tackle. Hell, he may still be the best left tackle on the team. And perhaps Fluker should have been starting all along? (Remains to been determined, but he clearly added a much-needed degree of physicality to the OL). Why can’t management acquire good offensive linemen and why can’t this coaching staff put them in the best position to succeed? Good job at starting to figure this out after spring workouts, 10 OTAs, training camp, four preseason games, and an 0-5 start!!! (sarcasm off) What would the Giants record be right now if the Giants had simply configured their offensive line better in training camp?
More bad news? Granted the Denver Broncos secondary is one of the best in the NFL, but the Giants patchwork wide receiving corps had TWO catches last week! Two for 22 yards! Odell Beckham and Brandon Marshall (who is clearly done and was a bad signing) are not coming back. Sterling Shepard should help, but he’s not an outside threat. Teams simply are not going to be threatened by Roger Lewis and Tavarres King. I would imagine the Legion of Boom was cackling quite a bit in the film room this week.
Let’s end on a positive note. Evan Engram and Wayne Gallman look like promising young players. I’m excited to see more of them. I also am intrigued to see if the Giants can really morph their offense into a more physical ground-attack. I also suggest that Giants fans really begin to soak in the twilight period of Eli Manning’s career. He’ll be gone sooner than most of us realize, and he is still breaking League and Franchise quarterback records with each passing game. The Giants ditched Phil Simms before most of us were ready and I wouldn’t be shocked to see it happen again.
NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
Take a bow New York Giants defense! Your performance against the Denver Broncos last week was great! You held the Broncos to three points until late in the 4th quarter! And you did this short-handed without Olivier Vernon and Jonathan Casillas!
Where the (expletive deleted) was this in the past four games? What would the Giants record be right now had the defense played like this against the Lions, Bucs, Eagles, and Chargers?
Again, one game does not make a trend. Prove last Sunday was no fluke. Can we have another game like Jason Pierre-Paul and Eli Apple? Some more sacks and turnovers please? Another game where we hold onto a 4th-quarter lead?
NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
Yea! Tom Quinn’s special teams didn’t implode for one game! And Ed Eagan flashed on his lone punt return. One game does not… oh (blank) it!
FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Head Coach Ben McAdoo on how not calling the offensive plays impacted him as a coach: “It was interesting on Sunday night for the first time in a long time not calling plays, where I guess I could move around with a little more energy and vigor than I usually can. Your normal coaching personality comes out a little bit more when you don’t call the plays, simply because of thinking ahead from just a playcaller standpoint. You’re always thinking ahead from a game management standpoint, but when you remove the actual calling of the plays, it changes some things. I guess your personality comes out a little bit more on the sideline. So that was fun for me.”
THE FINAL WORD
This game will determine how much last Sunday night was a mirage or not.