Game Preview: Washington Redskins at New York Giants, September 29, 2019
As long as he stays healthy, for the remainder of the 2019 season, Daniel Jones remains the storyline.
The first returns could not have been better. In his first NFL start, Daniel Jones earned “NFC Player of the Week” honors for his dramatic 18-point come-from-behind performance that included four touchdowns. The production was impressive, but so was the poise. Jones was under constant pressure and duress, and yet it never seemed to faze him. Now pundits and fans who condemned the pick have gone to the other extreme. It’s not a good look for a group of people who should know better than to make such bold statements based on four preseason games and one regular-season game.
The next desired step for Daniel Jones is obvious: consistency. He doesn’t have to look like a superstar every week, but upper echelon quarterbacks are the ones who deliver consistent production and minimize mistakes on a weekly basis. Again, keep in mind that Daniel Jones is a 22-year old kid who is still brand new to the NFL. He’s going to have bad moments and bad games. But if Jones looks anything like he did last week for the bulk of the remaining 13 games on the schedule, then the Giants may have found something truly special. Only time will tell.
THE INJURY REPORT:
- RB Saquon Barkley (ankle – out)
- WR Cody Latimer (concussion)
- WR Bennie Fowler (hamstring)
- DE Olsen Pierre (knee)
- LB Alec Ogletree (hamstring – out)
- LB Tae Davis (concussion – out)
- LB Lorenzo Carter (elbow)
NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Daniel Jones is in a bit of a tough spot. Without Saquon Barkley, the Giants ground game may have disappeared. Teams are not going to take Wayne Gallman seriously unless he starts hurting them. And to date, Gallman has not demonstrated starting-caliber ability. Gallman carried the ball 51 times last year. He has seven carries in three games this year. His back-ups are a fullback with 40 career rushing attempts and a player just signed off of the Practice Squad with no regular-season rushing attempts. Last week, Jones was New York’s leading rusher with 24 yards.
Worse for Jones, both veteran offensive tackles – Nate Solder and Mike Remmers – looked like crap last week. Solder is one of the highest paid offensive linemen in the history of football, but he’s been a liability, not an asset. He allowed three sacks against Tampa Bay. While Remmers has been an improvement over Chad Wheeler, the negative plays have been noticeable too. Yeah, the Washington Redskins are 0-3. But they have a decent front seven on defense with very good edge rushers in Ryan Kerrigan (who has a history of killing the Giants) and rookie Montez Sweat (who a lot of Giants fans wanted to draft). The three down linemen (Jonathan Allen, Daron Payne, and Matt Ioannidis) are underrated no-names. This group saw what the Buccaneers did last week and are licking their chops.
The first two games for the Redskins pretty much started the same. Washington looked very competitive early on against the Eagles and Cowboys until the roof fell in. The Bears game got out of hand in the second quarter. The warning sign here is the Redskins were not clearly out-classed by their division rivals, the two teams considered the best in the division.
That all said, statistically, the Redskins have not been good on defense. They rank 26th overall and have had issues against both the run and the pass. The Giants can make hay against the back seven of the Redskins defense. Cody Latimer returns this week and should combine with Evan Engram, Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton to present problems for Washington if the offensive line can give Jones time. The wild card here is Gallman. Can he keep the Redskins’ defense honest? The added area of interest is Landon Collins – who has yet to make many plays for Washington – now playing for the Redskins against his former team.
NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The narrative that the Giants’ defense played better in the second half of the Tampa Bay game doesn’t hold much water with me. For one, teams with 18 point leads tend to lay off of the gas. More importantly, with the game on the line, the defense folded like a cheap suit. Two plays, 66 yards and the Buccaneers were at the 9-yard line and should have won the game. I can’t stand the NYG defense right now. They are 31st in the NFL, including being dead last against the pass and 23rd against the run. If anything, this defense was supposed to be stout against the run. It’s not. And every week, a new leak springs in the secondary. They don’t look particularly well-coached either.
Washington’s offensive line was supposed to be terrible this year. Yet like their defense, they have looked physical and strong at times and should not be under-estimated. Against the Eagles in the opener, they owned the line of scrimmage for much of the first half of the game. The stats don’t reflect it (Washington is near dead last in rushing), but Adrian Peterson can still run the football behind a line that can get some push. (Our old friend Ereck Flowers is playing left guard for Washington).
Case Keenum is coming off a bad game against the Bears (2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions, 2 lost fumbles). Nevertheless, he was composed and productive against the Eagles and Cowboys (5 touchdowns, no interceptions, no fumbles). Keenum can carve up this Giants’ secondary, throwing to impressive rookie wideout Terry McLaurin, who already has three touchdowns on the season (Note: McLaurin did not practice on Friday due to a hamstring injury). Keenum, who Pat Shurmur coached in Minnesota, spreads the ball around to his wideouts, backs, and tight ends. He may not have prototype physical tools, but he can read a defense and find the open man.
Exacerbating the defensive issues for New York are the injury issues. Middle linebackers Alec Ogletree and Tae Davis are out. Rookie Ryan Connelly remains the starter inside, but back-up linebacker David Mayo will likely split time with an extra safety such as Michael Thomas with the Giants possibly playing more 5-defensive back packages.
Some questions percolating in my head: was Deandre Baker really better last week or did the Buccaneers simply choose to attack Janoris Jenkins? Did the Giants misevaluate Jabrill Peppers? (Like Collins, he hasn’t made any plays). Should the team bench Antoine Bethea? Can Markus Golden, Lorenzo Carter, and Oshane Ximines continue to show progress as edge rushers? Is James Bettcher the right man for the job?
NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
New York punt coverage has been a joy to watch, bringing back fond memories of Larry Flowers and Reyna Thompson.
FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Head Coach Pat Shurmur on the Redskins’ offense: “They still commit to trying to run the football. That’s where it starts for them.”
THE FINAL WORD:
For the foreseeable future, Daniel Jones will have to carry this team. No defense. No running game. Shaky offensive line. Sound familiar? That’s lot of pressure on a 22-year old rookie.