David Syvertsen

David Syvertsen, aka Sy'56, has worked for Ourlads Scouting LLC since 2013, starting off as a college depth chart manager and now a lead scout for one the most-sold NFL draft guides year-in, year-out. He has been scouting for over 10 years and will compile anywhere from 400-600 scouting reports per season, with that number increasing year by year. He watches and studies game films 20-25 hours per week throughout the entire year with his main focus being NFL Draft prospects.

Dec 312019
 
Share Button
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 29, 2019)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles 34 – New York  Giants 17

QUICK RECAP

Week 17 approached and NYG fans have become embarrassingly used to it meaning absolutely nothing. The most exciting part of the year for this franchise has been the offseason and this game didn’t host any implications beside the fact we were that much closer to a new head coach, the free agency period, and the NFL Draft. Arguably the darkest days in the history of the organization are here. We are living them. On a rainy Sunday, PHI came to town needing a win to lock up their NFC East title for the 9th time in 19 years.

With a depleted offense and more injuries on the way, PHI came limping into this one, to say the least. One of the most aggressive teams on 4th down in the league, PHI opted to try and set the tone early on a 4th-and-7 from the NYG 38-yard line but it was stuffed thanks to pressure from rookie Oshane Ximines. The NYG offense responded by reaching midfield being forced to punt.

The second PHI possession resulted in 3 points via a 31-yard field goal by Jake Elliott. NYG then responded with a drive that was a true microcosm of their 2019 season. On 2nd-and-4, Barkley was taken down for a 4-yard loss on a run that was intended to be between the tackles and then Daniel Jones was sacked because of a 2-man stunt by the PHI defensive front that Nate Solder and Will Hernandez looked helpless against. Three and out.

The two teams traded 6 straight scoreless drives combined. On the three NYG drives, the team gave the ball to Barkley two times for a total of -7 yards. Fortunately PHI was playing with the backups-backups on offense and their top play-maker over the past 4 weeks, Miles Sanders, was out of the game with a lower body injury. Their sloppy play kept NYG in it. The Giants were able to put 3 points on the board via a 37-yard field goal. PHI then responded with a 8-play, 75-yard, touchdown-scoring drive. Carson Wentz hit third-string tight end Josh Perkins for the 24-yard score. Perkins has 9 receptions on the year, all of them are against NYG.

There were 2 minutes left in the half and NYG had more than enough time and timeouts to try and get this game back to even. They responded with 8 plays that got them to midfield before having to punt. Barkley touched the ball one time (a 7-yard rush). PHI took their 10-3 lead into halftime.

NYG began the second half with the ball and they were able to score their first touchdown of the game. Jones hit Golden Tate in the back corner of the end zone for the 20-yard score and the game was tied up. You could feel the sigh of relief coming from Dallas, as they were handling the Redskins but needed the NYG win to secure their division title. This game was, at least, competitive. Oh have the barometers for success within this franchise changed!

That lead didn’t last long, however. The Boston Scott show reappeared just as it did Week 14 on Monday Night Football in Philly. In that game, he totaled 128 yards and a touchdown, almost all of which came in the second half. PHI scored a touchdown on their second possession of the second half on a 7-yard scamper into the end zone by Scott. The lead was 17-10. But then the big-play back from NYG struck once again, as he’s made a habit of in recent weeks. Barkley was given the first carry of the drive and took it to the house for a 68-yard score. The burst into space and runaway speed was something to marvel at. Man, what could be with this kid if they were able to constantly get him in space!

The 4th quarter opened with a PHI field goal, a NYG fumble, and then a PHI touchdown – all within the span of 2 minutes. The PHI play-makers on this drive other than Carson Wentz? Scott, Greg Ward Jr., Robert Davis, Deontay Burnett, Jordan Perkins. None of them were on the active roster until October 11.

The next two NYG drives did not pick up a first down, the second of which was a turnover on downs as a 4th-and-2 rushing attempt that took way too long to develop resulted in no gain. PHI took advantage of the blood in the water, and needed just four plays to get into the end zone again via another Scott touchdown, his third of the day.

The wind was out of the sails one last time in regard to the 2019 season, and also the Pat Shurmur era. NYG put together a few garbage drives, one of which ended in an interception.

Giants lose 34-17. The worst team in the NFL over the past three seasons (12-36).

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 28/47 – 301 yards – 1 TD/1 INT – 76.6 RAT. Jones was also charged with his 18th fumble / 11th lost fumble of the year. One could argue this one was more on the shoulders of Jon Halapio as it all started with a shotgun snap that went knee-high. Jones did re-gather possession and ended up losing it, however. Jones was inaccurate for most of the day, notably on downfield passes. He had Sterling Shepard twice and Darius Slayton once “wide” open (in NFL terms) but he just didn’t get the ball to the right spot. He was also late to see and throw on a few underneath passes where NYG was either on 3rd/4th down. Compared to what we have seen this year, it was a poor game by Jones.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 17 att / 92 yards / 1 TD – 3 rec / 25 yards. It was heading toward another horrid day for Barkley until his 68-yard touchdown run livened up the box score. While we know Barkley has been big play-dependent when it comes to his total production over his first two years, it is still amazing what he can do for an offense when the space is there. There were a handful of attempts where Barkley had defenders at his feet upon his approach to the line of scrimmage – an image we all just got sick of seeing. There is a lot of potential with this offense because of what Barkley can do and the new coach better figure it out upon arrival.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Golden Tate: 5 rec / 68 yards / 1 TD. Tate had an awful 3rd down drop early in the game but he woke up and ended strong. His touchdown catch was high-difficulty as Rasul Douglas was draped all over him and was actually called for pass interference on the play. Tate’s role on this team moving forward is interesting to me. He can’t be the #1 or even the #2 guy in the passing game. But if he can be you’re #3, you are talking about a high-ceiling attack. The issue? Nobody on this roster is head and shoulders ahead of him and it forces him into the expectation tier that he simply will not fulfill. My conclusion? Keep him here and hope for development elsewhere and/or a new face that can be a #1 or #2.

-Sterling Shepard: 5 rec / 39 yards. Shepard got a little banged up when he landed hard on his hip early in the game but he toughed it out and stayed in the game. Watching the All-22, he did pull up multiple times. Shepard was missed by Jones downfield two times and twice underneath. This could have been a huge game for him if Jones had been on. Something to chew on: Shepard has been in the league for 4 years. He is averaging 11.6 yards per catch and 4 touchdowns per season. While I don’t think the long-term contract was a bad decision, everyone needs to be on the same page that this team needs a better number one threat in the passing game. He won’t ever be that guy.

-Darius Slayton: 4 rec / 50 yards. Slayton had two opportunities deep with one of them being an underthrow and the other being Slayton just getting beat by the corner. Slayton’s rookie year is something to be pleased about, but not necessarily excited about if that makes sense. The speed and route running were effective all year but the book is out on him a bit. He really struggles to get off the jam and doesn’t play through contact well. He deserves an opportunity to be a guy here but I wouldn’t make plans around it; rather he can be the speed/deep threat accessory.

TIGHT END

-Kaden Smith: 8 rec / 98 yards. Smith led the team in targets, yards, and catches. Not bad for a 6th rounder who cut from SF. In all seriousness, Smith is one of the best finds this front office has had in awhile. While opportunity certainly created some of his production, Smith looks like a keeper. Having him as the number two guy next year while Evan Engram gets one more shot is going to be a nice roster asset.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-The left side of this line was a disaster, as the dumpster fire here just continues to intensify. Will Hernandez and Nate Solder combined for 4 pressures and a simple stunt resulted in 2 sacks where they both looked lost. They also allowed 1 TFL each. This has been an issue for 32-straight games. Lack of chemistry can no longer be blamed. I will be very disappointed if Solder is the starting left tackle in 2020. I think Hernandez will have to be the left guard another year, but the issues I had with him on my scouting report out of UTEP popped up left and right all year. Buyer beware.

-Jon Halapio had his third-worst game of the season, which is hard to believe because he played really, really poorly in 2019. This position is another no-brainer when it comes to 2020 mandatory replacements. He allowed a pressure, a sack, and 2 TFL. I should be getting OL stats from around the league from my guys and I am going to guarantee Halapio grades out as one of the worst three OCs in the league. He was pitiful. All year.

-Kevin Zeitler also struggled in this one, his second-worst game of the year. He allowed a TFL and a pressure but most glaringly just didn’t get any movement off the ball for almost the entire game. Not a good way to end the year. Nick Gates allowed a pressure but other than that, ended the game pretty cleanly. He was the top NYG OL in this one and based on what we have seen this year, he deserves to be in the discussion for an OT spot or a 6th OL spot next year, the latter being preferred. I feel much better about him than I did Chad Wheeler for what it is worth.

EDGE

-Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter didn’t get to the QB but they each finished with a pressure and a TFL, respectively. Golden has been a consistent force all year that, similar to Tate. He can’t ever be THE guy on your pass rush but would be a solid secondary weapon. The cost of bringing him back and the scheme that is implemented will have a say in that decision obviously. Carter ended the year stronger than he started, but I can’t say I am overly optimistic about him heading into the offseason.

-Oshane Ximines had a key pressure on the first drive, but was pretty quiet otherwise. My expectations were not that high for a 3rd rounder who I had graded lower. Nevertheless, I didn’t see a lot out of him that gets me excited. The Giants need a lot of help at the edge-rushing position, especially if Golden leaves. Priority B behind the offensive line.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-Dexter Lawrence surprisingly played awful upon my re-watch. He was playing high and slow and even had a few plays where he looked disinterested. After a really strong year, I didn’t like seeing him end the season with Boston Scott running untouched behind an offensive line that was 40% injured. A big part of that was on Lawrence.

-Leonard Williams continued his solid play and ending to the season. He had 5 tackles – a half sack – 1 pressure. He did miss a tackle in the first half and there are still too many plays where he is rendered ineffective by a lone blocker, though. This is going to be a big decision for David Gettleman, as he just isn’t worth anything more than $10-12 million per year in my eyes. But Gettleman already gave up a 3rd-round pick for him in a hopeless season.

-Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill both finished with 2 tackles. It’s funny how people coming into the year overrated Hill after his solid but opportunistic rookie season, yet now some are overlooking his value to the team. The NYG defensive line was really healthy all year and he happened to be the guy who didn’t get on the field much. I don’t see it as an indictment of poor play at all. The NYG DTs are solid and deep as we head into 2020.

LINEBACKER

-The best inside linebacker in the Giants home blue was David Mayo, not Alex Ogletree. I have to give Mayo credit for being a consistent hustler and blue-collar defender. He has athletic limitations and I’m not sure he is a guy I want penciled in as a starter in 2020, but he is a good guy to have on the team. He finished with 6 tackles and a half-sack. Ogletree finished with 4 tackles and was a liability in coverage. His time in NY needs to be over.

-Deone Bucannon finished with 2 tackles and a TFL where he made an extremely athletic and physical play. He has been impressive enough to warrant an opportunity at a backup job depending on the new scheme.

CORNERBACK

-Antonio Hamilton – according to the box score – had a really good game. 5 tackles and 4 pass break ups. But this is where watching the game is important. While he did make impressive plays on the ball a few times, Hamilton was burned a few times but luckily Wentz wasn’t looking his way. Also, can we stop with the taunting after you break a pass up just plays after you missed a tackle and allowed a first down while your team is losing by 10? Losing culture right there. But yes, let’s root for losses.

-Deandre Baker showed impressive coverage throughout but was burned badly on a crossing route where he simply did not recognize the route combination. That was a clear sign that he just doesn’t have it all mentally down. He was beat on that touchdown by a 3rd-string tight end. It wasn’t a speed issue, it wasn’t a ball skill issue, he just didn’t recognize.

SAFETY

Another quick glance at the box score and you will see that Michael Thomas led the team with 11 tackles and added a TFL. Solid game right? Wrong. He missed 3 tackles, was flagged twice, and was beat on three 3rd-down conversions in coverage. He was a guy who was brought in for character and special teams prowess so I can’t knock the personnel decision too bad here. But he can’t be a guy you are trotting out there for a meaningful volume of snaps.

-Antoine Bethea, another head-scratching veteran acquisition, missed 2 tackles and was completely run over by the 207-pound Scott for the final PHI touchdown. He takes bad angles and has almost no range in deep coverage. What exactly does he offer? Being a good guy can only get you so far. Hopefully NYG has a real safety tandem for the first time in years in 2020 and he won’t be a part of it.

-Julian Love was a mixed bag as we have seen in recent weeks. He had 8 tackles, 2 TFL, and 1 PD. He also missed a tackle and was getting beat, routinely, by Greg Ward, Jr. in coverage. I am optimistic with Love when it comes to his potential to impact the team. The question is, where? He played a similar safety role to Jabrill Peppers and I wouldn’t want either of them in the deep FS-type role that Bethea was playing. I think Love could do it more than I believe in Peppers, but they may need to find a nickel role for him depending on, once again, the new scheme that is coming.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 1/1 (Made 37). Real inconsistent year for Rosas and a leg needs to be signed to compete with him in camp. No doubt.

-P Riley Dixon: 6 punts / 42.8 avg / 42.3 net. For the second year in a row, Dixon statistically finishes as a top 10 punter in the league.

3 STUDS

-OT Nick Gates, RB Saquon Barkley, DT Leonard Williams

3 DUDS

-OC Jon Halapio, S Michael Thomas, DT Dexter Lawrence

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

  1. Before we go and hand the NFL Coach of Year award to the team with best record, can someone please find me a coach that did more than Doug Pederson did with this banged up PHI squad? Would Harbaugh be the #1 seed if he was without Mark Ingram, Mark Andrews, 2 starting OL, 2 starting corners, and his top 3 wide receivers? Or would Shanahan be coaching the #1 seed if he was without George Kittle, Deebo Samuel, Emmanuel Sanders, and his top 2 RBs? Pederson orchestrated 4 straight wins to end the year with 400+ total yards (first time PHI did that since 2013). All of this with the most depleted offensive roster in football.
  1. There is another feather in Pederson’s cap, but this has more to do with the winning culture that has been built from the top on down. PHI is 12-2 from week 15 on in do-or-die games (regular-season and playoffs). Winning culture is derived from avoiding losses guys. Another reason why you do not ever, ever root for losses.
  1. With all of this said, I can’t see PHI getting out of the Wild Card weekend alive. Even though they get a SEA team that has been slowly dying over the second half of the year, they are matched up favorably. I think SEA takes that game by 7+ points because their defense will be able to handle the group of backups with ease. It will be an ugly game, but I think PHI is just too beat up to defeat a quality team at this point like SEA.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. As I write this, the news of Pat Shurmur being fired is out in the open and the 3rd coaching search in 5 years is under way. Unfortunately this time of the year has become more fun than the actual season, a true sign of a losing franchise. I have 2 front runners (zero inside information, just preferences). My first is Eric Bieniemy, the OC from KC. I started to discuss him 2 years ago even though it may have been a bit early for him. I like the Andy Reid coaching tree, I like his offensive background, I like this guy’s attitude, I like his ability to relate to players but also put them in their place. My second preference is Matt Rhule, the NY local and current Baylor coach. I like his idea of building culture and sticking to tough-guy football with a dose or two of modern era tendencies.
  1. Daniel Jones. Overall this was a very solid rookie year. He earned the right to get 3 seasons (what I think every 1st rounder deserves if they show some things as a rookie) but I am not going to glorify him as the leader of the future just yet. I love the toughness. I love the sneaky athletic ability. I love the footwork and throwing mechanics. However, the turnovers are absolute killers in the NFL and setting a record for lost fumbles needs to be fixed. I also saw some arm power things that popped up during scouting and during training camp (both of which I addressed and got knocked for) during the season when it came to deep balls. He has a ways to go and I think he can be the guy, but I am not labeling him the guy yet.
  1. As much as this league has turned offensive, you have to get guys that make plays on defense. Even guys like Khalil Mack, Von Miller, Aaron Donald (none of which are in the playoffs) won’t turn a team around but every good team has guys on defense who make plays or strike fear into opposing offenses. The Giants don’t have any. Literally. None. While the offensive line needs to be addressed first and foremost, NYG needs to be aggressive with their abundance of cash in getting at least 2 play-makers. CB / EDGE / S / LB…any of those spots. Spend big, twice.
Dec 232019
 
Share Button
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (December 22, 2019)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 41 – Washington Redskins 35 (OT)

QUICK RECAP

After missing two games with an ankle injury, Daniel Jones got his first NFC East road start in Washington against the equally unimpressive 3-11 Redskins. They too were trotting out their 2019 first round quarterback, Dwayne Haskins, who got his first NFL action against the Giants all the way back in week 4. While this game obviously had zero playoff implications, this had been unofficially labeled the “Chase Young Bowl” as the two teams were lined up back-to-back in the 2020 NFL Draft order with the loser grabbing ahold of the #2 spot. More on that later.

For a game that almost nobody outside of the WAS and NYG markets cared about, it was woefully entertaining early on. Jones, on his first drive back from injury, went 3/3 and ended it with a 23-yard pitch-and-catch score to Sterling Shepard. Haskins responded with a 9-play drive of his own that ended with a scramble and short toss to undrafted rookie Steven Sims, Jr. to tie the game.

Saquon Barkley, who we saw run with different life last week in NYG’s win over MIA, took the first carry of the next drive for 8 yards. It was a positive sign considering he had rushed for 33 yards on 2 carries on the Giants’ first possession. What happened next was another feather in the cap for arguably the most talented back in the league despite a rough year. Barkley went right, made two adjustments, broke 2 tackles, and outran the entire WAS defense (in which 2 defenders had the angle) for a 67-yard score. It was the run we had been missing for most of the year. As the 2020 offseason approaches, it is something we can know, with proof, still exists in his game and that the 2019 debacle wasn’t about him.

Haskins and the dead-last ranked WAS offense marched out onto the field and responded with a smooth, simple-looking 12-play drive that ended in another score. This time, Haskins hit undrafted rookie tight end Hale Hentges for the short score. Haskins began the game 8/8 – 72 yards – 2 TD.

As the second quarter began, Jones and the NYG offense showed no signs of slowing down and made it a third straight touchdown scoring drive as he found Barkley running up the seam all by himself for the 33-yard passing score. Barkley, who I have been pounding the table for in regard to getting him out in space as a receiver, was on his way to a career game and it had that feel early on in the 2nd quarter with a lot of football left. The first five series of the game all ended in touchdowns, a first in the history of the NFL.

The game slowed down a tad as the teams traded punts on three straight possessions. The Giants got one last possession in the first half starting at their own 27-yard line with just over 2 minutes left. On 2nd-and-10, Jones was tripped up as he escaped the pocket and fell to the ground. It was a sack, however the refs were late to blow the whistle and WAS linebacker Shaun Dion Hamilton launched himself at Jones, who was on a knee, creating the first fracas of the game between the division rivals. After all was sorted out, NYG was given 15 yards and a first down. Former Giant Landon Collins was sought out by Barkley and Shepard for a dirty move in which he pulled down Kaden Smith to the ground from behind.

On the very next play, Jones hit Golden Tate for a 31-yard gain. Two plays later he threw a perfect ball to Cody Latimer in the end zone but it went right through his fingers. Jones, who has shown maturation beyond his years all season, found Latimer two plays later in front of the goal line and the 6-year vet who weighs in at 223 pounds drove his way and defenders into the end zone for the touchdown. NYG took a 28-14 lead into the half.

As has been the case for much of the year, this game was a tale of two halves. On the opening play of the second half, Haskins was sandwiched on a sack between Lorenzo Carter and Markus Golden. He was bent around awkwardly and was soon after carted off. Two plays later, Morgan Moses went down with his own injury and WAS, the most injured team in football over the past three seasons, had the look of a team that simply wanted to throw up the white flag and get out of there. Case Keenum, the week 1 starter for WAS, was back to face off against his former QB coach, Pat Shurmur. Ironically, many say Keenum’s performance in 2017 was the reason why Shurmur eventually got offered the HC job in NY.

On Keenum’s first full drive as the signal caller, WAS drove down the field and put up 7 more points for WAS. It was interesting to see the rookie WAS pass catchers against the rookie NYG defensive backs. Clear advantage went to the offense as they couldn’t seem to contain Sims who caught his second touchdown of the day.

The lone NYG second half touchdown came on an impressive 9-yard toss to rookie tight end Kaden Smith, who has been making a name for himself to say the least. The score was 35-21 at the start of the fourth quarter but WAS kept on hanging around as the NYG offense fluttered while ignoring Barkley with the lead. Riley Dixon had a punt blocked, setting WAS up at the NYG 17-yard line. Two plays later, the ageless Adrian Peterson scored a 1-yard touchdown to put him fourth on the all-time rushing touchdown list.

After another scoreless drive by NYG, WAS began their last drive of regulation from their own 1-yard line. A backup QB, 3 rookie receivers, a non-threat in the backfield, 3 backup offensive linemen, and a 3rd-string tight end on the 32nd-ranked offense in the NFL. That is whom the NYG defense was up against. 14 plays later, WAS crossed the goal line via a 1-yard run by Keenum.

NYG did have 30 seconds left and Pat Shurmur sent Aldrick Rosas out for a 62-yard field goal before changing his mind, having Jones throw a Hail Mary. His toss came up about 7 yards short and the game went into overtime.

NYG won the coin toss, obviously electing to take the ball. It was the Jones-Shepard-Barkley show as only those three touched the ball for the first 10 plays of their drive. Those 10 plays took them to the WAS 3-yard line on 3rd down. Jones then found Smith for his second score of the game and NYG took their second win in as many weeks.

NYG win 41-35.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 28/42 – 352 yards – 5 TD / 0 INT / 132.1 RAT. It was a historic day for Jones. He is only the third rookie QB in NFL history with 3+ games of 4+ TD. He set the NYG rookie passing TD record. He is the first ever rookie to pass for 350+ yards and 5 TD in the same game. He was on the money from the start and to see that after missing two games with an ankle injury puts another feather in the toughness-cap. Jones was on fire within the intermediate route tree and he spread the ball out plenty. His ball is so clean out of his hands and it adds some zip to his passes. Two negatives were (1) on five different occasions, it looked like Jones was late to see and anticipate throwing lanes, and (2) the lack of true downfield arm strength showed up on that Hail Mary attempt. Neither are a big deal but just worth noting. Excellent game for Jones on so many levels and this was a big deal for his QB maturation.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 22 att / 189 yards / 1 TD – 4 rec / 90 yards / 1 TD. We talked last week about Barkley getting 25+ touches and how much it means to this team winning. While there is more to it than that simple fact, it is amazing what this offense can look like when he is clicking. Barkley’s explosion and speed are fully back and he is back to breaking tackles nearly every time he gets the ball. Now, lets see what he looks like against a very motivated and stingy PHI defense. Career game for #26.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Golden Tate: 6 rec / 96 yards. Tate led the team with 11 targets. I have to confirm this before stating it as fact but I believe Tate has been targeted more times per game than any NYG pass catcher. I think he can be an important player for this team next year as he and Jones clearly have a connection, notably on 3rd down.

-Sterling Shepard: 6 rec / 76 yards / 1 TD. Strong day for Shepard, as he caught all 6 of his targets and came down with the big TD catch on the opening drive. The underneath-only threat to this point in his career has made a habit of making the tough catch in traffic, which I believe could lengthen his career when his young twitch/explosion starts to decrease over the years.

-Cody Latimer: 5 rec / 44 yards / 1 TD. The 5 catches were a career high for Latimer, who if you remember finished strong in 2018 week 17 vs DAL. I still think Latimer is a good player to have on the back end of a roster. He is a professional who plays strong and tough. He did drop a TD pass just two plays prior to his score.

TIGHT END

-Kaden Smith: 6 rec / 35 yards / 2 TD. Smith’s two touchdowns came after halftime and while they were big plays, his biggest impact was in the running game. Smith was a key component to Barkley going off and there is a credible discussion to be had here. Does Smith and his presence in the trenches offer more to an offense built around Barkley than Engram? I don’t lean either way right now but a case can be made for both sides.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-The best grade we have seen from Nate Solder all year. He was excellent in this one against a trio of pass rushers who have made plenty of impact this year and in the past against NYG. Mike Remmers was solid on the other side until he got hurt. In stepped the trustworthy Nick Gates, who is showing excellent versatility and assurance when it comes to NYG building a deep offensive line for 2020. It is amazing what happens to an offense when the OL is stable, particularly outside.

-Kevin Zeitler returned after missing last week and I could tell he really wanted to be out there. There was some extra pep in his step and he made some key impact blocks on the big Barkley runs.

-Will Hernandez had the lowest grade along the OL, but even that wasn’t an awful game. He was pretty average and similar to what he has been all year. He allowed a pressure and a TFL. Center Jon Halapio also allowed a TFL and a pressure. He remains overly stiff and slow out there against lateral pass rushers.

EDGE

-Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter were up against two low end tackles in the second half (after RT Moses went down) and they clearly took over. Golden finished with a half-sack and 3 pressures to go along with 5 tackles. Man, this guy made some serious money with his play in 2019. Carter had his best game of his young career. He had 4 tackles / 1.5 sacks / 5 pressures / 1 pass break up. He did it from both sides and was all over the place. While I can’t go into the offseason with confidence he can be built around, the fact he is flashing here and there is a positive sign in that he can, at least, be a solid rotational guy with elite tools.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-Leonard Williams, whether you hated or loved the trade, has been making his case to get the long-term deal that is sure to be debated here in the coming weeks. Even though it has mostly been against poor OL, Williams has been making a difference, plain and simple. He finished with 3 tackles and 2 pressures and was outstanding against the run. He was both stout and rangy, cutting off the lanes away from the intended target of the RB so there wouldn’t be any innovation that turned into big plays. You really have to zero in on him to appreciate all that he does right and his physical tools that everybody loved coming out of USC.

-Dalvin Tomlinson finished with 2 tackles, both of which were for a loss, and B.J. Hill had a sack. Dexter Lawrence had 2 tackles / 1 TFL and looks his best when lined up over the center. He is so stout but also athletic enough to reach and cut off the “B” gaps. His consistency snap to snap when it comes to leverage and hand usage still leaves a lot to be desired, though.

LINEBACKER

-Alec Ogletree tweaked his back before the game began. This opened the door for Deone Bucannon to get a season-high 76% of the snaps. He played well, finishing with 7 tackles, 1 pressure, and I am pretty sure he forced the near-fumble on Keenum at the end of the 4th quarter. Had that been a turnover at that point in the game, he could have easily been labeled the hero. Not sure where he stands on this team down the road, but he has played pretty well in his opportunities.

-David Mayo tied for the team lead in tackles with 10 and was on the field for every defensive snap.

CORNERBACK

-The young NYG corners got a little beat up in this one. Deandre Baker did have 10 tackles but that was largely a result of him being targeted often and allowing catches. He was also flagged for a pass interference that led WAS to the goal line where they scored on the very next play. He also lost outside contain on a couple occasions which we have seen too many times this year. Confidence wise, I still see Baker playing faster but he clearly isn’t there yet.

-Corey Ballentine was torched in this one. Again, I just can’t see the fit at nickel with him because he is the kind of corner that needs the sideline to use as a boundary. He allowed 2 touchdowns and was flagged on a 4th-and-goal incomplete pass because of a blatant pass interference. If he simply turned his head to locate the ball, it would have been an easy pass breakup. He has been a major weakness in his rookie year and had this been an important game, he would be getting roasted today.

-Sam Beal finished with 6 tackles and, in my opinion, looked the best in coverage all things considered. One thing I see with him too is the attention to detail on his run-defense assignments. He is almost always where he needs to be and he caused a TFL that stemmed from maintaining his outside leverage. He did go down with a neck injury late in the game but returned.

SAFETY

-Antoine Bethea made a couple nice open field tackles but also allowed a touchdown to a 4th-string, blocking tight end and missed 2 tackles on the day.

-Julian Love finished with 7 tackles but whiffed twice and was beat on 3rd down a couple of times.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 5/5 XP – 0/1 FG (Missed 57). Man I wish we could have seen him go for the 62 yarder to win the game.

-P Riley Dixon: 3 Punts / 45.0 avg / 33.8 avg. He had one called back because of a Michael Thomas hold which then turned into his next attempt getting blocked.

3 STUDS

-QB Daniel Jones, RB Saquon Barkley, EDGE Lorenzo Carter

3 DUDS

-CB Corey Ballentine, OG Will Hernandez, S Antoine Bethea

3 THOUGHTS ON WAS

  1. The positive side of things for WAS centers around their QB. I’ve seen all of Haskins’ snaps this year. He did start off poorly, there was no questioning it. However ,this first half against NYG and the previous week against a motivated PHI defense was some of the best football we have seen out of a rookie QB in the league this year. He has been on steady incline since October and a lot now comes down to hard he works in the offseason. His biggest issue? Poor footwork. His biggest positive? Accuracy.
  1. With that said, being as unbiased as I can be, I don’t think WAS is in a better position moving forward than NYG. Especially if they lose Trent Williams long term, which appears to be the case (get on that NYG). They need 2 or 3 OL, they need a RB, they need depth along the DL, and they need a corner or two. Same can be said for the amount of holes on NYG’s team but the talent they have in place is a tier under what NYG has. Plus, Dan Snyder is their owner.
  1. Landon Collins signed with WAS last offseason. The 6 year / $84 million deal was way beyond what NYG was willing to offer and as much as I liked Collins, he was never worth that. Many NYG fans are conditioned to complain when the team doesn’t sign a homegrown talent in free agency but watching him all year and watching him in this game especially confirmed that it was one of Dave Gettleman’s right decisions in letting him walk. It was fitting that he was the one that allowed the touchdown in overtime to seal the WAS loss.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. I want to address the argument that fans should be cheering for this team to lose. The desire for a higher draft pick is something of fantasy land. This is a stretch of NYG football that has unfortunately left some fans conditioned to losing and reading through mock drafts and checking for future free agents for months. It fills the void that used to be filled by winning football. But I will bring this to my grave: rooting for losses to enhance a draft position is downright foolish and goes against what you want this team to do. Yes, you may get a better player if you are picking higher in the draft but don’t fall into the trap that it will bring this team back to playoff contention. The best teams, year after year, are NOT the ones picking at the top of the draft. The best players in the NFL are NOT the ones taken at the top of the draft. Repeated winning is built on culture, not top draft picks. Culture is built via winning games, even the mislabeled “meaningless” games at the end of the year. That performance by Daniel Jones, the offensive line, the pass rush, Saquon Barkley…etc is a positive step in their respective progressions. If you are still hell-bent on this team NEEDING to pick #2 overall, go take a look at the top 10 picks over the past decade. And see if you can convince yourself that the #2 overall pick was a difference maker over the guys taken in the next 5-6 picks.
  1. There is going to be a tough decision for NYG in regard to their edge rusher hole once the offseason comes. First of all, what scheme are you playing? Second, as well as Golden played, what if a better option becomes available via free agency? I think Golden is good but I don’t think he is in the first or second tier of edge rushers. The name I keep coming back to is JAC edge rusher Yannick Ngakou. I would rather pay him tier 1 money than Golden tier 2 money, but I know a case can be made either way.
  1. Are the Giants OK at cornerback? There is young talent and we have seen Baker and Beal flash especially. However, I think there are questions with both and two guys aren’t enough for a strong secondary. I’ve seen the neglect of CB just ruin teams over the years and there will be one, maybe 2 corners in the draft with top 5 grades. You have to understand the importance of a true shutdown corner in this game and I think NYG has a strong shot at one of those guys in April.
Dec 162019
 
Share Button
Eli Manning, New York Giants (December 15, 2019)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 36 – Miami Dolphins 20

QUICK RECAP

That time of year where players and fans alike start to mail it in has arrived. We are fast approaching mid-December and despite the fact the NFC East is at its weakest in decades, the Giants are on the outside looking in. Winless in their last 9 games, NYG hosted the equally-bad Miami Dolphins in a game that could have major NFL Draft implications. Also adding some flavor to this otherwise stale game was Eli Manning potentially making his final start in front of the home crowd, or what was left of it anyway. He entered the game with a 116-117 career record and while the wins and losses aren’t a make or break on his legacy, the taste in everyone’s mouth would be a bit sweeter if he could get that ratio back to .500.

The Dolphins were led by Ryan Fitzpatrick, a 37-year old who has been aging like wine since his career began in 2005. While nobody mistakes him for Dan Marino, Fitzpatrick has made a habit in recent years of pulling off upset wins with his sneaky, slippery ways. He led the first MIA drive in to NYG territory but the December winds of North Jersey pushed kicker Jason Sanders’ attempt wide right.

The Giants’ opening drive ended in a Nate Solder allowed-sack before MIA took the ball back and marched right down the field into the red zone. Instead of trying to get the initial points on the board with a 27-yard field goal, Head Coach Brian Flores kept Sanders on the sideline this time to give the MIA offense an opportunity to convert a 4th-and-1 from the NYG 10-yard line. It was stuffed by safety Julian Love and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson for a 3-yard loss.

NYG did cross midfield for the first time but that is where the drive stalled and they had to punt it right back to MIA. They drove down the field yet again and the third time proved to be a charm. Thanks to several missed tackles by both the second and third levels of the defense, MIA found themselves in the red zone and Fitzpatrick hit DeVante Parker up the seam between Corey Ballentine and Antoine Bethea for the game’s first score.

NYG was about to go 3-and-out following an incomplete deep ball to Darius Slayton, but thanks to a pass interference by rookie Nate Brooks, NYG had the ball with a fresh set of downs at midfield. On the very next play Manning hit Golden Tate, who fought through another pass interference, tipped and bobbled the ball, and came down with it before bursting into the end zone to tie the game back up.

After a quick stop by the NYG defense, Manning got the ball back but he threw an interception to MIA linebacker Vince Biegel on a zone blitz that he simply did not recognize. MIA was able to put up three more points via a 24-yard field goal and take a 10-7 lead. A second interception from Manning kept the score there heading into halftime. The Giants were losing by 3 at home to a team that many have said is purposely tanking the 2019 season.

Halftime created a completely opposite result from what we saw just 6 nights prior in Philadelphia. They came out on fire and scored on a touchdown pass from Manning to Slayton. The momentum was back on NYG’s side after they forced a MIA 3-and-out, but Manning threw another horrific interception. There are times where a quarterback gets unlucky when an interception is added to his box score. We have seen several of those in Eli’s career where a receiver tips a ball or someone ran a wrong route. But all three of these were low-level, rookie-caliber mistakes. MIA ended up turning this one into 3 points to bring the game back within 1 point.

After forcing a stop, MIA got the ball back on their own 3-yard line. They opted to try and run outside with an undrafted, on-the-slower side running back with an untouched defender in front of him. It resulted in cornerback Sam Beal recording a tackle for loss in the end zone, netting NYG 2 more points with the ball coming back to them. It was the first safety of the season for NYG and ended up being the turning point of the game.

The Giants scored on their next two possessions via Saquon Barkley touchdowns. Barkley had a career high 28 touches. Pat Shurmur nearly faltered, by not giving him the ball enough as they tried to bleed out the clock with a lead against a bad team. But he quickly reverted to feeding him the rock behind an offensive line that was dominating the point-of-attack. The Giants scored one final touchdown on the legs of Buck Allen and MIA added one of their own on a charity score from Fitzpatrick to Parker.

Eli Manning was pulled and received a standing ovation and “Eli” cheer. If only more than a third of the stadium was full. Oh well.

Manning got his record back to .500 and NYG took the W for the first time since Week 4.

Giants win 36-20.

QUARTERBACK

-Eli Manning: 20/28 – 283 yards – 2 TD / 3 INT – 87.9 RAT. The two touchdowns really saved Manning’s supposed last start at MetLife Stadium. His three interceptions were all on him and he had a multiple misses on short passes. However, as we have grown to know well with Manning, he came up big in multiple spots and didn’t let poor plays carry over into the next series. One slight positive out of this game that the common fan won’t notice was Manning’s ability to change blocking schemes and plays at the line to set up Barkley. That’s one thing a rookie like Jones just doesn’t do yet and a veteran like Manning can do as easily as put his helmet on. It was nice to see Manning get a win and play well enough to contribute to that win in what we think will be his final start at home.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 24 att / 112 yards / 2 TD – 4 rec / 31 yards. Just over a year ago was the last time Barkley got 24 carries (12/8/18 – a Giants win). His 28 touches were the second highest of his 2-year career (29 touches on 11/18/18 – also a Giants win). Barkley looked like the elite, rare-level talent who we saw all of last year and were excited about going into 2019. He made lateral cuts that sent defenders straight to the ground without contact, his short area burst created separation from defenders at all levels, and he got into the end zone twice. Barkley was also running hard because he actually had some room to work with up front and it was such a breath of fresh air to see him produce. Don’t worry NYG fans, this is still one of the top talents in the league. Now the front office better take note what happens when they have an advantage rather than a deficit up front.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Sterling Shepard: 9 rec / 111 yards. Shepard had a bad drop and was flagged for offensive pass interference, but beyond that he was dominant over the green MIA corners. He was getting open underneath time after time and was a major weapon on 3rd down. He also had 2 key blocks that went unnoticed.

-Darius Slayton had 2 catches including a 5-yard touchdown and Golden Tate had one catch that went for a 51-yard score. They weren’t targeted a ton (7 combined) but the weather somewhat inhibited the downfield attack and Manning was clicking underneath with Shepard. Cody Latimer added a catch for 21 yards.

TIGHT END

-Kaden Smith had 3 catches for 38 yards on 3 targets. He made an impressive catch up the seam and showed some toughness after the catch. As a blocker, he graded out well but did allow a TFL.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-If only the Giants could play against the Dolphins defensive line each week. The right side of the line was dominant. Second-year undrafted free agent Nick Gates, who has seen more time at OT this season, played exceptionally well at RG. He was the top graded lineman on the team and had the second-highest grade of any OL performance from the team all year. Mike Remmers also kept things quiet next to him and NYG made an effort to run behind these two when tough yards were needed. I really hope to see more of Gates against WAS and PHI where his level of competition will be much higher.

-Nate Solder allowed a sack early and 1 pressure in the second half but otherwise played solidly. He was fooled by some twists and stunts and his balance wasn’t there to recover. Will Hernandez had the lowest grade on the OL, grading out just above average. He allowed a TFL and was flagged for a hold. He, too, looked lost on a couple run blitzes where he just didn’t see things coming fast enough.

-Jon Halapio didn’t make much of a difference. He got some decent movement off the ball which helped open up the running game.

EDGE

-Rookie Oshane Ximines out-snapped Lorenzo Carter. It wasn’t by much (34 to 32) but it is something to keep an eye on. Carter has been a disappointment this season and Ximines has flashed. He continued to do so in this one, recording a half-sack along with 2 pressures. Carter recorded 1 tackle and 1 pressure.

-Markus Golden added to his team lead in sacks with a half-sack of his own but also added 3 pressures, all in the second half. He had 3 tackles on the day and was stout against the run.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-Similar to what I opened the offensive line discussion with, if only the Giants could play against the Dolphins every week. The trio of Leonard Williams, Dalvin Tomlinson, and Dexter Lawrence owned the line of scrimmage. Tomlinson remained red hot with 3 tackles and a sack, along with a couple penetrations that caused the Dolphins running game into the waiting hands of other defenders. Williams had 3 tackles / 2 pressures / 1 forced fumble that was recovered by NYG.

-B.J. Hill and R.J. McIntosh both got involved in the action despite limited playing time. They both made a play behind the line of scrimmage, with McIntosh’s play being a sack.

LINEBACKER

-Alec Ogletree appears to have at least somewhat checked out. I remember saying this last year after this loss to the Titans. His hustle and urgency just wasn’t there and it was partially the reason why he missed 4 tackles and was flagged for a hold. He just looked sloppy and stiff. He did add a pressure and a pass break up in the second half but I see a guy who lacks both emotion and leadership from a position where they are needed. He shouldn’t be back in 2020.

-David Mayo added 6 tackles / 1 TFL. He has half the talent of Ogletree but I can’t say their production and impact combined are that far off. He plays hard and even though he was eaten up in coverage a few times. I always want a roster spot for a guy like Mayo.

-Deone Bucannon continues his tryout for NYG and the future. He made a really physical and athletic tackle near the sideline and got involved in some disruption behind the line of scrimmage. He finished with 6 tackles and was effective in coverage.

CORNERBACK

-The youth movement at corner is officially under way after the release of Janoris Jenkins, who had too much pride to simply apologize for what he said to someone on social media. Imagine if someone had used a racial slur on him and justified it by stating it was a “culture thing.”

-Sam Beal had his finest game and moment as a Giant and it was important for him, as he has been either injured or ineffective for nearly 2 seasons, and that can put a guy in danger when it comes to his roster spot. He finished with a team-high 11 tackles, the one big play being a safety. Beal isn’t an overly big guy, but he played really physical on several occasions. I think his footwork and reactions are a little behind the curve still but he was a key contributor to the NYG win.

-Deandre Baker’s play continues to move in the right direction. If he ends on this high note, we can feel good about his rookie season overall. He did allow a late touchdown on a 50/50 ball, but his technique and urgency have been notably better.

-Corey Ballentine has been getting a good amount of action at nickel. I don’t see the fit because his hips and feet just don’t change quickly and efficiently. He is a better straight line athlete, which can be used better outside. He allowed a touchdown on a seam route but he did break up a pass and finish with 3 tackles.

SAFETY

-Julian Love’s role with this team will be interesting to watch in the offseason. He finished with yet another strong game. He had 5 tackles / 2 TFL / 1 pressure / 1 pass break up. He is playing the versatile role of Jabrill Peppers with a lot of action in the box and excelling. Can he be moved back into the role of Antoine Bethea? On paper that is ideal, but I’m not sure he can produce from that spot. All of that aside, his play has been stellar.

-Antoine Bethea had 5 tackles and a pass break up but also missed 2 tackles and was late in zone coverage. I can respect the leadership he provides but I am keeping safety in my top-3 needs for this team moving forward.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas went 4/5 on extra points with no FG attempts.

-P Riley Dixon: 5 Punts / 41.8 avg / 41.8 net. Solid game on a windy day. Dixon ranks 6th in the NFL in average net per punt.

3 STUDS

-RB Saquon Barkley, OG Nick Gates, CB Sam Beal

3 DUDS

-LB Alec Ogletree, EDGE Lorenzo Carter, OG Will Hernandez

3 THOUGHTS ON MIA

  1. Back in September, everyone and their mother were completely positive that MIA was tanking the 2019 season so they could end up with the top pick of the 2020 Draft and select Tua Tagovailoa. Fast forward via real life and here we are. They are playing their butts off, no longer picking in the top 2 (most likely), and both Tua and Chase Young may not even be in the draft class. I have never believed that tanking is a thing and I still don’t. They cleared a lot of cap room, they began a new culture, and they used 2019 to find some key contributors for their future.
  1. Where does this team go now? First, I would love to know what their plans for Josh Rosen are. Part of me thinks Ryan Fitzpatrick simply beat him out and the other part of me says they are using 2019 as a rookie year for Rosen to let him sit and observe rather than run for his life behind a bottom-tier offensive line for the second year in a row. MIA has the resources to improve both the OL and DL this offseason and that is exactly where it needs to begin.
  1. Give me a guy like Brian Flores all day. He gets the most out of his players via leadership and intensity. He is a guy who can scare the kids but also work with the veterans. He knows the game exceptionally well (and we all know that is not a given for NFL head coaches). I think MIA is in really good hands.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. Even though the Giants won, the offensive-strategy bothered me as the Giants did not consistently attack newly-acquired, undrafted free agent Nate Brooks, who was playing in his first game. We have seen other teams throw at Sam Beal and Corey Ballentine and Deandre Baker over and over this year. Whenever NYG did target the receiver that Brooks was covering, it was near 100% successful. Darius Slayton beat him multiple times off the ball but they didn’t even look that way.
  1. Lets not go crazy with Nick Gates just yet. I know we are starving for good news, particularly along the offensive line, but the MIA defensive line is the worst in football. I have a couple friends who grade defensive line play around the league in a detailed manner and they have Miami ranked 32nd, with the 31st-ranked team not being close. Gates did what he had to do and he deserves the “stud” label this week but we need to see him against better competition.
  1. If Daniel Jones had a significant shoulder injury I would say he needs to be on the shelf the rest of the year. But a high-ankle sprain? He should play these next 2 weeks if he is even somewhat able. Jones has a ways to go and every week he misses is a lost opportunity for him. This is the time you want him to make the mistakes and learn from them. NYG will head into 2020 looking to win right away; thus Jones needs to get as much experience as possible. No question.
Dec 112019
 
Share Button
Darius Slayton, New York Giants (December 9, 2019)

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Eagles 23 – New York Giants 17 (OT)

QUICK RECAP

The NFC East has been abysmal in 2019 and it is surely a fair statement to label it the worst division in football. As week 14 was just one game on the NFL schedule away from being complete, not one team in the division had a winning record. DAL was in first place with a 6-7 record and PHI, with a win over the 2-10 NYG, would get to the same point. They would have to do so against Eli Manning, in for the rookie Daniel Jones because of a high ankle sprain. That fact alone actually created some hype for this game as NYG fans needed something to stimulate them after watching such poor football week after week for what seems to be the 100th year in a row. Manning confirmed in interviews leading up to the game he had no interest in being a backup and even less interest in being a coach. This was his best shot at a true showcase of his current abilities, making this his Super Bowl on a Monday Night. And we all know how he has played in those situations.

The night started off quietly for both offenses, as a total of 0 points were produced over the first five drives that took up the entire first quarter. PHI entered the game with just three wide receivers on the active game-day roster and their main leading rusher, Jordan Howard, was sidelined with a shoulder injury. NYG opened the 2nd quarter with a 3rd-and-13 from the PHI 35-yard line. Manning hit rookie Darius Slayton on a quick slant that was short of the first down marker, but a broken tackle and burst that outran the rest of the PHI secondary resulted in the first score of the night.

PHI, now without Alshon Jeffery because of a non-contact foot injury, started to finally create their own offense on the next drive. Even though Carson Wentz continued to look sloppy as he has all year, he was able to take advantage of broken NYG coverages to connect with tight end Zach Ertz for a combined 54 yards on two plays. NYG escaped a PHI touchdown on the next play thanks to a phantom holding call on PHI right guard Brandon Brooks and held them to a field goal.

The NYG offense was starting to click consistently and in multiple ways. Manning hit Slayton with an on-the-money deep ball for a 42-yard gain and Saquon Barkley was running as hard and efficiently as we have seen all season. While they shot themselves in the foot with a fumbled snap (that Barkley recovered), Aldrick Rosas re-lengthened their lead to 10-3 with a 34-yard field goal. Three straight 3-and-outs by both offenses put the ball back in NYG’s hands with under 2 minutes left starting at their own 16-yard line.

These next few plays would be the highlight of the night and maybe one of the top moments of the season for NYG. Barkley gained 15 yards on 2 carries and then Manning hit Slayton for 12 yards to bring the ball near midfield. On 3rd-and-8, Manning dropped back and lofted up one of his infamous deep balls to the young speedster Slayton, who got behind the PHI secondary. The throw was on the money yet again and it resulted in a simple, easy looking 55-yard touchdown to give the Giants a 17-3 lead as halftime was a short moment away. Manning, whose first NFL action was in this stadium back in 2004, was running downfield pumping his fists and enjoying successful football. Nothing on this night could hide the fact this team is an NFL bottom feeder over the past 5 years and this may be the worst NYG team ever. Nevertheless, it was a pleasant distraction to see Eli, host of a 10-20 record against PHI lifetime, celebrate on their turf while the Eagles were losing a game by 14 at home in a game they absolutely had to have.

NYG started the second half with the ball after nearly doubling PHI in total yards and winning the turnover battle. It was almost, quite literally, the complete opposite of what we have seen all year. We forgot what this actually felt like but something in the air suggested this wouldn’t last more than 2 quarters and that instinct was about to be proven right.

The two offenses traded short, 3-4 play drives, 5 times combined to be exact. PHI was dealing with a depleted receiver corps and NYG’s former high flying and efficient offense literally just stopped. The offensive line started to fall apart and they couldn’t get the ball to Barkley in space or Slayton, anywhere. PHI running back Miles Sanders had to leave the game with cramps and in walked Boston Scott, a 5’6”, 203-pound, 2nd-year, undrafted back with 94 career rushing yards along with 1 career catch. He was a key cog on the first PHI touchdown scoring drive that rounded out the 3rd quarter as he dashed into the end zone on a 2-yard run. NYG led 17-10 as the 4th quarter began, but after a quick possession, the ball was back in PHI’s hands.

Thanks to another 38 yards on four touches, Scott helped the PHI offense enter NYG territory. The Giants were missing tackles, blowing assignments on tight ends in coverage, and just not getting it done when rushing the passer. Thanks to a drop in the end zone by Greg Ward, PHI lined up for a 47-yard field goal but Jake Elliot pulled it left. Always nice to see him miss a field goal against NYG because that 61-yard game winner from 2017 still stings.

This was the kind of a game where having a top tier NFL running back should make winning borderline easy, if not completely so. The Giants had a touchdown-lead in the fourth quarter with under 10 minutes to play. NYG opted to call three straight pass plays. The first resulted was a sack, the second resulted in a 7-yard completion, the third resulted in an attempted flea flicker that had potential downfield. But Nate Solder couldn’t hold his block for more than 2 seconds, which forced Eli to quickly give the ball back to Barkley, who had just took the handoff and tossed it back to Manning. Play that out in your head. The play resulted in a 1-yard loss and NYG punted the ball back after taking a whopping 1:30 came off of the game clock. Pathetic.

The Eagles, not so coincidentally, went on to a 6+ minute, 14-play drive. Cornerback Sam Beal was flagged twice on 3rd down. PHI lost yet another wide receiver leaving them with just one and NYG couldn’t cover Ertz. This resulted in a game-tying touchdown pass to him, making it 17-17 with under 2 minutes. If this wasn’t a set up for one last Eli Manning career highlight, I’m not sure what was.

The Giants then went 3-and-out.

This was their 6th possession of the second half. It was their fourth 3rd-and-out and the other possessions resulted in 4 plays each, one first down each. It was a disgraceful second half performance.

PHI opted to try and use the last 1:25 of the game to go for the win. After all, they had completely dominated NYG after their adjustments were filed at halftime. They were left 1 yard short of the first down at their own 36-yard line with 45 seconds left. There was a moment of indecision: would PHI risk going for it or just punt it back to NYG and hope for overtime? Pat Shurmur didn’t realize the game was in is hands at this point. He stood there, waiting to see what PHI would do. He was unsure, unprepared, unable. 30 precious seconds ticked off and then he opted to use a timeout with 19 seconds on the clock. What a complete waste and clear sign of ineptitude.

The game went into overtime and there wasn’t a person in the stadium or at home who believed NYG would win this. After all, it had been over 30 minutes of game clock since NYG was remotely competitive. PHI needed just two plays, mainly thanks to a 25-yard run by the Darren Sproles clone with the first name Boston playing against New York. PHI slowly but surely inched their way up to the NYG 2-yard line. They were still without all but one undrafted wide receiver, but Wentz dropped back and found Ertz, the number one target, wide open and all alone in the back of the end zone for the game winning touchdown.

Giants lose 23-17.

QUARTERBACK

-Eli Manning: 15/30 – 203 yards – 2 TD / 0 INT / 94.2 QBR. Take a look at those stats and also take in that in the first half, Manning was 11/19 – 179 yards – 2 TD / 0 INT / 124.7 QBR. So for those who don’t want to do the math, he was 4/11 – 24 yards – 0 TD in the second half despite having 6 possessions. The way this game started was exactly what I was expecting to see. Manning coming out hot and on fire with a couple of lethal downfield “dimes”. Manning has a lot of pride, but it is not unreasonable to suggest that he has been a casualty of a disastrous organization the past 8 seasons. While his performance was far from flawless, he played a solid game. However, once the offensive line fell apart, it was more of the same that he has dealt with in the past. Do I think Manning can win with a good offensive line and strong supporting cast? Absolutely. He can still make the throws and he knows the game as well as anyone mentally.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 17 att / 66 yards – 3 rec / 1 yard. For such an unimpressive stat line, I came away from this game as encouraged as I have all year about Barkley. This was the hardest we have seen him run all year (despite being taken down for a 3-yard loss on his first carry). It was just a slight sigh of relief to see him live up to his abilities again. Barkley looked healthy and strong. Not calling any plays designed for him on two straight fourth quarter drives was just maddening because he was clearly playing better, and remember, YOU USED THE SECOND PICK OF THE DRAFT ON HIM!

WIDE RECEIVER

-Darius Slayton: 5 rec / 154 yards / 2 TD. All of that production was in the first half. This kid continues to make big, big plays despite the fact that the PHI secondary was bracketing him. His first touchdown was the result of a broken tackle in space, something we have seen several times now. The second was pure speed and excellent ball tracking, something we discussed about him around draft time. Slayton is really showing something this season and if I had to pick one bright spot in regard to the young players on this team, it is him. If he can shore up some little things, which I think he will, we could be looking at not just a good, but a VERY good WR. His production when considering playing time and targets is right up there with the best rookies in the class.

-Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate combined for 5 rec / 39 yards. Very underwhelming performance from two guys who this team really needed in their dismal second half.

TIGHT END

-Kaden Smith had 2 catches for 9 yards but also dropped 2 passes and allowed a TFL. He took a step backwards in this one after opening some eyes at how well he stepped in for Rhett Ellison. Scott Simonson was a non-factor and was flagged for a false start.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-In the past two years, Nate Solder has been responsible for more losses than any other player on this team. In the ultimate team game maybe that doesn’t mean much, but it does to me. What a weakness he has truly become to this entire team! He was decent in the first half (and NYG dominated) but then his true form came out in the second half where he allowed 2 sacks and 3 pressures. The Giants only threw the ball 11 times! Almost one half of the passes were impacted by his poor play. If he could have held on to his man 2 seconds longer on the flea flicker, that would have likely been a score. Just an awful, awful performance and it’s getting old writing about his poor play.

-Mike Remmers, Will Hernandez, and Kevin Zeitler all graded out above average. Remmers allowed 1 pressure. Zeitler went down with a foot injury late and it will be interesting to see if the team trots him out there in the coming weeks.

-Based on the subpar standard he sets, Jon Halapio played an OK game. However, “OK” still grades out as below average. He allowed a pressure and was flagged for a holding penalty on Barkley’s longest run of the night.

EDGE

-Really solid game from Markus Golden, maybe his best of the year. He had 4 pressures and a sack to go with 2 tackles. His run defense left a bit to be desired but this was a very solid performance for the pending free agent.

-Oshane Ximines had 2 sacks. Those were the only 2 impacts he made all night but it was a good job by him taking advantage of his limited opportunities, as he played under a third of the snaps. His lack of ability to defend the run appeared twice when he was washed out by blockers coming down from his outside shoulder, which we have seen a few times this year. However, he may have passed Lorenzo Carter on the depth chart. Carter finished with just tackle and at this point, simply just looks like a run-and-chase kind of player.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-Dalvin Tomlinson is playing the best football of his 3-year career, during the same timeframe the Giants added Leonard Williams. More on that later. He had 5 tackles, 4 pressures, and a forced fumble. This PHI interior offensive line is one of the best in football and he was winning one-on-one match-ups repeatedly.

-Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams were both impactful in very different ways. Williams started the game on fire and finished with 5 tackles, 1 TFL, and 2 pressures. He had a bonehead personal-foul penalty on a late, dirty hit to Wentz’s sternum after a pass. Lawrence had 3 tackles, 1 PD, and 1 pressure but was more disruptive than that when it came to eating blockers and taking up space.

LINEBACKERS

-Alec Ogletree finished with 9 tackles and a pressure while David Mayo added 5 tackles and recovered the fumble on Wentz’s failed 4th-and-1 QB sneak in the first half. They did a fine job overall but they had a hard time locating and filling the lanes when Boston Scott got involved.

CORNERBACK

-Have to be happy about the play of Deandre Baker albeit against a depleted wide receiver group for PHI in a game where Wentz was fleeing pressure for most of the night. He had 3 pass break ups and seemed to be very comfortable in his assignments on all levels of the defense.

-Sam Beal was this weeks whipping boy in the secondary. Corey Ballentine a few weeks ago, Grant Haley last week, Beal this week. He wasn’t targeted a lot but when he was, twice on 3rd down, he was flagged. He simply didn’t trust his footwork and recovery speed, thus got way too grabby. I am surprised they didn’t attack him more often when the game clock was dwindling. How Beal responds will be important for his future on this team.

-Janoris Jenkins played some physical football in this one. He finished with 6 tackles and a pass break up. He really stuck his head in there a few times. Props to him for adjusting his style as the players he had to cover were tight ends more so than receivers.

SAFETY

-Antoine Bethea played solid football for the second week in a row. He led the team with 13 tackles, including 1 for a loss and also broke up a pass. Fortunately for him, Greg Ward dropped a touchdown pass that would have been on him, but overall Bethea deserves credit. He stepped up hard and made two impressive tackles against a downhill running back. Nice job for a guy who lacks size.

-Julian Love continues to flash but he missed two tackles and they both stood out. He finished with an impressive 6 tackles and 1 for a loss and also showed impressive coverage. He has impressive footwork and you can see signs of his former cornerback skills.

-Michael Thomas, who played just under a third of the defensive snaps, was roasted in coverage on a couple of occasions. The standout play was the final one of the game where a miscommunication appeared to be culprit but Thomas looked to be at fault. He let the one guy you think PHI would target in key moments roam free in the end zone.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 1/1 (Made 34)

-P Riley Dixon: 9 Punts / 46.1 avg / 43.6 net. That is a REALLY good game for Dixon.

3 STUDS

-WR Darius Slayton, EDGE Markus Golden, DT Dalvin Tomlinson

3 DUDS

-OT Nate Solder, CB Sam Beal, EDGE Lorenzo Carter

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

  1. If I am PHI, I’m not getting very excited about this win and/or this team. They aren’t good, they haven’t been good all year, and the injuries are really starting to pile up. They may sneak in to the playoffs but they aren’t going anywhere. A good offense can march up and down the field with ease against them and their pass catchers are among the worst in football.
  1. What is Carson Wentz? We are in year 4 now and he looks even worse than what he showed as a rookie in 2016 after two strong seasons in between. I have to think the issues here are correctable because he has shown too many positives in the past. But it goes to show you that it is amazing how bad a QB can look when the pass catchers aren’t there and the offensive line takes a step back.
  1. Doug Pederson embarrassed the NYG coaching staff on Monday night and I am kind of glad it happened on national TV. His back and forth “punt or go for it” took advantage of Pat Shurmur and his usage of useful timeouts was just the start. The entire second half, NYG looked like they had no idea how to adjust their plan once PHI altered their approach. This is a partial dig at Shurmur, but I respect Pederson a lot and his awareness of game situations on a weekly basis is what every team needs, but most do not have.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. The Giants seemed all but locked into the #2 spot in the draft, potentially #1 or #3. I think the need for a pass rusher, a true difference maker on defense, paired with the belief that DE Chase Young is going to be there makes this approach to the offseason rather simple from a big picture perspective. The Giants need to improve in the trenches, and Young seems like the obvious choice if NYG can find a new left tackle in free agency. And I don’t care how much it costs. My early favorite: Trent Williams.
  1. The emergence of Dalvin Tomlinson over the past month-plus needs to be talked about. He has another year on his rookie deal. But how the NYG approach his situation should be impacted by whether or not they will re-sign Leonard Williams,who could cost $12+ million per year. Big picture, Tomlinson will be cheaper. But the question needs to be asked, is he playing this well because Williams is next to him or did the light go on for Tomlinson? A lot of film analysis will have to go into that but my initial thought is Tomlinson is a guy you want to keep around no matter what scheme you implement.
  1. I am indifferent on whether or not I want to see Eli Manning play the rest of the year. It doesn’t seem like Jones’ ankle injury is serious enough to shelf him for the rest of the year but there is no point in pushing him through any kind of injury. We have enough to work with moving forward and his platform is set. If Manning does play in front of the NYG crowd, I think, out of whoever actually shows up, the NYG fans need to show respect and keep the booing to a minimum.
Dec 032019
 
Share Button
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (December 1, 2019)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

Green Bay Packers 31 – New York Giants 13

QUICK RECAP

Two teams with new looks. Two teams with historical significance. Two teams that come from cold weather cities meeting in December with snow coming down hard. This had the look of a classic “Winter is Coming” NFL game that should have been as entertaining as any game on the NFL schedule. Aaron Rodgers and the Packers came to town to take on the hapless Giants trying to find their way as the last quarter of the season was in sight. After a 7-1 start, GB lost 2 of 3 as their defense started to falter and the lack of depth at receiver behind the injured Devante Adams finally caught up. They needed a game to right the ship, what better place to do it than New York? As Aaron Rodgers said in regard to NYG, “…they’ve been struggling”…if he only knew.

The Giants’ first possession ended with a 3 yard loss by Saquon Barkley on a 3rd-and-1 rushing attempt up the middle where he was hit by a defender within a half second of getting the ball. For those keeping score at home, we have now seen that exact play 1,000 times this season. GB responded with a 7-play, 72-yard touchdown scoring drive that ended with a Rodgers-to-Adams completion in the end zone at the hands of safety Antoine Bethea.

With the snow coming down hard and kicker Aldrick Rosas sitting on the struggle bus in addition to a new long snapper in place of the injured Zak DeOssie, Pat Shurmur opted to go for it on 4th-and-5 from the GB 33-yard line and they converted. Three plays later, on 3rd-and-3 from the GB 18, Jones hit Sterling Shepard downfield for a touchdown. It was a big-time, elite-level throw with pressure bearing down on him and a lot of traffic left and right. The game was tied up 7-7.

That tie lasted just a few plays, as Rodgers knew it would be an easy day with the terrible NYG secondary trying to gain their footing on a slippery surface. He hit Allen Lazard for a 37-yard score on a double route that left absolutely no hope for Antoine Bethea to recover from. It was 14-7 and it just seemed that GB would score when they wanted to.

Daniel Jones threw an interception on the next drive and it set up GB kicker Mason Crosby for an impressive, easy-looking 47-yard field goal in the snow that was still coming down hard. With the score at 17-7 GB, the Giants put together the most time-consuming drive of the game and their most time-consuming drive of the season. An 18-play, 66-yard drive ended in a successful 27-yard field goal by Rosas. NYG converted 2-of-4 3rd downs and both 4th down attempts as the old Saquon Barkley started to re-appear and Jones showed his toughness and ability to hit the tight window throws with an unstable base. They brought a 17-10 deficit into halftime.

After forcing a GB punt on the opening possession of the second half, the Giants were able to put another 3 points on the board via a 45-yard field goal by Rosas. Momentum was on their side and the defense needed to step on the throat of Rodgers and company. This is where the lack of pass rush and lack of cover-ability combined just absolutely kills the Giants defense. Rodgers, quite easily and simply, marched downfield on a 14-play drive to put another touchdown on the board. This score was a 17 yard pass to Adams even with multiple NYG defenders in the area; it seemed nobody had a shot at breaking it up. It looked like a couple dads playing against a bunch of 5-year olds.

The next two NYG possessions ended with Jones second and third interceptions, respectively. In between, Rodgers threw his 4th touchdown of the day to blocking tight end Marcedes Lewis. The score was 31-13 and even though NYG put together a couple of nice plays in their final possession against the GB prevent defense, it wasn’t even worth watching. The stadium agreed, as it was maybe 10% full at the end with most of them being the faithful Packers fans.

Giants lose, 31-13.

QUARTERBACKS

-Daniel Jones: 20/37 – 240 yards – 1 TD / 3 INT / 49.4 QBR. Jones also added 6 yards on 5 carries. He converted two 4th down rushing attempts that required some grit and power. This was the lowest QB rating we have seen out of Jones other than the Thursday night game in NE. His 3 interceptions were all very poor throws and while one can blame the weather, let’s not use that as a crutch. Good quarterbacks play very well in the snow and this was not a full on blizzard. The foot traction wasn’t that bad and there wasn’t much wind. While Jones did deal with pressure all afternoon and he was limping around a bit, this was a poor performance. The positive side of things revolve around two big time throws. His touchdown pass to Shepard was on the money with pressure bearing down on him from all angles. He also threw a great seam pass on 3rd-and-12 to Cody Latimer. It was one of those Sundays that can be labeled a “Rookie Sunday” for Jones.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 19 att / 83 yards – 3 rec / 32 yards. I was desperately hoping to see at least some improvement come from Barkley and I’m not just talking about the production. I wanted to see him run harder, push some piles, break some tackles, fall forward. He did all of those things and we saw a couple flashes of the big play ability we know he has. It wasn’t enough to call him and running game “back”, but I took his play as a positive. He had several blocking assignments and he did well for the most part. He got away with a blatant hold and did allow a pressure. Hopefully this is one of many steps in the right direction.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Sterling Shepard: 3 rec / 40 yards / 1 TD. In his second game back, Shepard caught three passes including the lone Giants’ touchdown. He looked quick and crisp as a route runner and I wish they could have gotten him the ball more often. His style of play usually produces well in conditions like what they played in.

-Darius Slayton: 6 rec / 44 yards. Slayton is proving more and more to be a guy who can pose as a threat both underneath and deep. I did notice that the GB corners were really physical with him at certain points and it impacted how he came off of the ball later in the game. The third interception where Slayton was targeted down the left sideline was a direct result of his hesitation and slowness off of the line. Still a lot to be happy about with the speedster.

TIGHT END

-Kaden Smith: 6 rec / 70 yards. Pretty busy day for the in-season pick up. Smith is making the best of a bad situation in New York but I wouldn’t get overly excited here in terms of being a long-term, every-down guy. He is a quality blocker with a significant lack of foot speed. I do like him as the underneath check-down or short-area target as his size and soft hands can make him reliable.

-Scott Simonson played about a third of the snaps Smith did and struggled as a blocker. He allowed a pressure and a TFL.

OFFENSIVE LINE

Nate Solder continues to be a turnstile and I just can’t see any reason for hope that he is going to turn it around. He allowed 5 pressures (the GB offensive line had a total of 2) and it looks like we are now seeing this really impact Jones as he drops back. There is a natural sense of over-urgency from Jones at times and he has a natural gravitation to the right side almost as if he is anticipating having to escape from the pass rusher behind him. This is what ruins young QBs.

-Mike Remmers and Will Hernandez were better, but not by much. Remmers allowed 2 pressures and was responsible for a TFL. He did make a couple things happen on two of Barkley’s bigger gains though and at least we see grit from him. Hernandez allowed the big TFL on the first drive and a pressure a couple drives later. His play leveled out from there on and he ended up with an average grade. Kevin Zeitler was solid but lacked movement at the point-of-attack.

-Jon Halapio, like Solder, continues to show he just can’t get the job done. I watch a lot of NFL football throughout the week and I can’t give you 3 names that are worse than him at center. He allowed 3 pressures and was pushed around all day. He just doesn’t move his feet, can’t stay in front of his man, and the amount of times he gets driven back off the ball multiple yards on running plays is completely embarrassing. This guy needs to be as far away from NYG in 2020 as possible.

EDGE

-Just an awful day from the pass rush department and that starts with the edge guys. Markus Golden and Lorenzo Carter each had a pressure but were awfully quiet otherwise. Golden did get in on 8 tackles, which sounds like a lot, but he was the beneficiary of the defensive line doing their job and action being funneled his way. Carter looks like he just can’t get the job done unless he beats a blocker off the edge. With the somewhat slow track, it was imperative for the pass rushers to win in small windows with their quickness, hand-work, and power. Carter didn’t have any of those weapons working for him.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-One of the better rushing attacks in the NFL when Aaron Jones runs the ball was shut down for the most part. Jones averaged a season low 1.8 yards per carry and Dexter Lawrence was the main reason. He finished with 3 tackles but did an outstanding job funneling runs to other NYG defenders. Leonard Williams also finished with 3 tackles, one of which was for a loss, and a pressure.

-Dalvin Tomlinson and B.J. Hill were solid as well. They combined for 5 tackles and we saw an uptick in playing time for Hill. Both are very solid and reliable against the run but neither have a prayer when it comes to the pass rush on a play-to-play basis.

LINEBACKER

-Alec Ogletree led the team in tackles once again, this week with 9. These next few weeks are important for him in my eyes. We have seen how much better he is than the back-ups when he was out with his lower body injuries, but his limitations in space, most notably in coverage, are well documented. More of the same with him in this game. He is limited as an every-down player, but pretty effective on action between the tackles. David Mayo added 5 tackles and 1 TFL.

CORNERBACK

-Janoris Jenkins. It is funny that my game notes from the past two weeks both included question marks next to him regarding how he doesn’t shadow the opposite team’s top target. Last week we saw Allen Robinson, CHI’s top WR by far, roast Corey Ballentine snap after snap. This week, we saw GB’s number one by far, Devante Adams, roast Grant Haley. In key moments, I don’t understand why James Bettcher has Jenkins away from where GB obviously wants to throw. Just an odd way to approach it and I side with Jenkins on his frustration. He finished with a tackle and a PD and put his head into oncoming traffic a few times.

-It appears we have a split-snap situation going on at the other corner spot between Deandre Baker and Sam Beal. I wouldn’t freak out about it regarding the first rounder Baker because this team needs to see what Beal has now that he is healthy. Baker had an opportunity to make a play on the ball early but he simply didn’t track it and looked lost. The result was a big gain as the ball nearly hit him in the head. Beal didn’t fare much better as neither seemed overly disciplined with their reads and techniques.

-Grant Haley was back on the field and Aaron Rodgers viewed it as an early Christmas present. In the second half especially, when they needed a 3rd/4th down conversion, they went directly at him and were almost always successful. Haley got beat up badly and also was flagged for a pass interference that brought GB to the 1-yard line on a drive they later scored on.

SAFETY

-The one positive I am taking away from this game, if I had to choose one, was the performance of Julian Love. With Jabrill Peppers out, Love got the start and was on the field for 97% of the snaps. He finished with 7 tackles and a forced fumble. I’m not used to seeing #24 out there and there were a couple plays where a NYG defender made a nice open-field tackle and my reaction was, “Who was that?!”…it was Love. Easy to see the difference between fast, twitchy, and effective when they are standing next to each other in relation to Bethea.

-Speaking of Bethea, he allowed two of the GB touchdowns, one short and one long. He was also flagged for a defensive hold in the end zone. I sure hope he is a major help behind the scenes because from what we have seen on film, he is no better than what we had in Curtis Riley last year, who I labeled one of the 5 worst starting safeties in the NFL.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 2/2 (Made 27,45). Nice bounce-back performance for Rosas in tough conditions. He is going to need to shine the rest of the way if he wants to keep his job.

-P Riley Dixon: 1 Punt / 47 avg / 47 net.

3 STUDS

-DT Dexter Lawrence, S Julian Love, OG Kevin Zeitler

3 DUDS

-OC Jon Halapio, OT Nate Solder, EDGE Lorenzo Carter

3 THOUGHTS ON GB

  1. GB really revamped their defense this past offseason. They cut ties with long-time fan-favorite Clay Matthews and brought in two veteran pass rushers, Preston Smith And Za’Darius Smith, for a combined $118 million over 4 years. That is a ton of cap space wrapped up into two players for a team that is also paying big-time money to a QB. Take notes, NYG. You may have a couple of big name pass rushers available in free agency this upcoming offseason and I think it is near-mandatory they get at least one.
  1. Just how good is this GB team? Can they really contend with teams like NO and SF? It comes down to Aaron Rodgers and his ability to stay at an elite level. His best days are behind him but he still can play at his highest level ever any given Sunday. The consistency isn’t there from week to week like it used to be but I know this: I would NOT want to see him in the playoffs.
  1. GB went with a never-been-head coach when they hired Matt LaFleur. There were reports early on that he and Aaron Rodgers were not seeing eye-to-eye and that he was in over his head. But it has worked out well. LaFleur hasn’t been in the league a super long time and I have to think that may play to his advantage more than anything. He is innovative and modern, especially so when you compare him to Shurmur. The league doesn’t know his tendencies, they can’t look back on decades of material. If NYG wants to go the assistant route with their next coaching search, this is a situation and result to keep in mind.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. What else is there to talk about? We are seeing the same process and result week after week. The offensive line stinks and it is holding back multiple individuals The pass rush is near non-existent and that makes life so easy for the opposing offense. The head coach looks overmatched on a weekly basis. Now that we see teams like CIN and MIA pulling off upset wins, I hope this only exemplifies just how broken this franchise is right now and Mara needs to wake up and make wholesale changes.
  1. The media and fans (including several here) have talked about the lack of innovation Shurmur has shown with play designs and calls. He usually shrugs it off, replying that the team simply needs to execute better. I understand his response and don’t disagree but everybody will get innovative at times, even the most old-school teams in the league. Shurmur opted to change the identity by trying to get cute twice in this game. A flea flicker (that had TWO guys running routes) and a timed snap-handoff to D’Mari Scott who just got added to the roster. He did this in a poor weather game where foot traction was limited at best. Come on, NOW is the time you choose to get past your stubborn ways and play with tricks? His thought process is just so puzzling and lacks sense.
  1. The closing weeks of the season will very much be about the young guys in the defensive backfield. Is Julian Love an answer at safety? Is the combination of Baker, Beal, Ballentine at corner enough to avoid putting resources into the position this offseason?
Nov 262019
 
Share Button
Julian Love, New York Giants (November 24, 2019)

Julian Love – © USA TODAY Sports

Chicago Bears 19 – New York Giants 14

QUICK RECAP

A comfortable, if not somewhat chilly and breezy day, in Chicago was on tap after the Giants bye week to face off against the underwhelming Bears. A defense that ranked 8th in the NFL paired with an offense that ranked 30th has given CHI a lack of identity to this point of the year. They came in at 4-6, losers of 4 out of their last 5. NYG was coming off of 13 days of rest with an offensive line that was fully healthy after injuries at three of five starting spots and Sterling Shepard out of the concussion protocol. This was a solid match-up on paper.

Two weeks after Saquon Barkley gained 14 yards on 13 carries against the Jets, he was tackled for a 5-yard loss on the first carry of the game. It was a quick and easy sign that despite the extra time off, nothing had changed. On the second CHI drive, they marched down the field but a drop by tight end Ben Braunecker that would have surely ended in a touchdown gave the NYG defense another life. Mitch Trubisky, who averages less yards per game than any QB in the league, threw an interception to a leaping Alec Ogletree in the end zone.

A few drives later, NYG started with the ball in Chicago’s territory. The Giants took advantage of the field position as Daniel Jones hit tight end Kaden Smith in the flat off of play-action for a 3-yard touchdown. They took the initial lead and after forcing a three-and-out on the next drive, Jabrill Peppers returned a punt 40 yards, ending at the CHI 29-yard line. After three plays that accrued a total of 5 yards, Aldrick Rosas missed the 42-yard field goal attempt as a result of Zak DeOssie rolling (literally) the snap back to Riley Dixon. The game remained 7-0. After a 13-yard punt following another three-and-out by the CHI offense, NYG began this time at the CHI 48 yard line. Rosas would soon be presented with a 43-yard attempt but instead of redeeming himself, he pulled it wide left, his fourth miss of the season. The score remained 7-0.

CHI’s offense clicked on their final drive of the half as they finally found and decided to absolutely, relentlessly attack the weak point of the NYG secondary. Corey Ballentine got picked on over and over as CHI drove inside the 10-yard line. The Giants were able to keep them out of the end zone but CHI did put up 3 points via a 26-yard field goal by Eddy Pineiro. They cut the score to 7-3 and would receive the ball to start the second half.

Rosas cemented this as the worst game of his young career as he booted the opening kickoff of the second half out of bounds, giving CHI the ball at the 40-yard line. The CHI game plan seemed to fully focus on Ballentine, as they continued to throw the ball to whomever he was trying to cover. This approach ended with a 32-yard touchdown to Robinson over Ballentine, giving CHI their first lead of the game at 10-7.

The next four offensive drives for NYG resulted in zero first downs, a sack-fumble that resulted in a turnover, and 15 total yards. The anemic performance and even worse play-calling made the Giants completely stall while the CHI offense, third-worst in the league, was able to put another 10 points on the board to lengthen their lead to 19-7 heading into the fourth quarter.

Despite all of the quality field position they had in this one, up until this point in the game, NYG couldn’t muster more than a lone score. Thus it only makes sense that on a drive that started on their on 3-yard line ended with their second touchdown. On a 4th-and-18 from the CHI 23, Jones evaded pressure and chucked it into the end zone. Somehow Golden Tate got behind the secondary and came down with the ball. NYG was all of the sudden within 5 and they quickly forced a three-and-out on the ensuing CHI drive.

Another late-game, puzzling decision arose here. On 4th-and-2 from their own 33, CHI kept their offense on the field. Nobody actually believed they would go for it, and at the last second, they took their entire unit off the field and replaced them with their punting team. The NYG defense remained on the field, no returner came on, and it resulted in a punt that rolled and rolled, resulting in a 61-yard punt that  was downed at the NYG 6-yard line. It was a brilliant move by CHI Head Coach Matt Nagy, as Pat Shurmur hopelessly looked on as if he knew he just got toyed with by a superior coach.

The Giants had one last shot to make this game a heroic 4th quarter comeback but the offensive line continued to falter and Jones couldn’t find open targets. The drive lasted 8 plays and gathered a total of 29 yards. They turned it over on downs. Would have been nice to have those 6 points lost by Rosas.

Giants lose 19-14.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 21/36 – 150 yards – 2 TD / 0 INT – 2 att / 27 yards. Jones fumbled for the 14th time and lost that fumble for the 10th time. While this one wasn’t a result of poor ball protection, this has become a major issue.  Otherwise, Jones played a solid game but had a few hiccups that luckily didn’t end in turnovers. He threw two late balls right into the hands of CHI defenders but they couldn’t close the deal. His second touchdown was a bit of a “chuck it” type play but he deserves credit for hanging in the pocket and getting rid of it nicely with trash all around him. Jones didn’t givie us any “wow” moments or throws but he played solidly as he has all year.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 17 att / 59 yards – 2 rec / 1 yard. While this wasn’t as ugly a performance as we have seen the past couple of weeks, Barkley is still lagging big time. He continues to dance around too much instead of putting his 230-pound frame close to the ground to simply pave his own path. To be honest, it is really frustrating to watch. He also dropped a pass on 3rd-down that would have ended in, at least, a first down and a 15+ yard gain. There was a play in the 3rd quarter where he caught a pass in the flat and danced his way out of bounds rather than drive over a defensive back who was on heels. Shurmur, rightfully so, was not happy with Barkley on that one.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Golden Tate: 3 rec / 33 yards / 1 TD. Tate also had a drop and one other that he should have caught albeit it was a difficult throw to deal with from Jones. Tate’s touchdown salvaged his poor day.

-Darius Slayton: 4 rec / 67 yards. The lone big play threat in this WR corps continues to impress as a route runner and after the catch. He did have another drop though.

-Sterling Shepard: 3 rec / 15 yards. First game back for Shepard since October 6 because of a second concussion. He didn’t make the great impact many were hoping for but he did gain 22 yards on a reverse run and converted a 3rd down. This offense needs more out of him moving forward, not just dinky-dunk passes.

TIGHT END

-With Evan Engram and Rhett Ellison both out, the job was left up to Scott Simonson and Kaden Smith. Smith, still somewhat newly-signed from SF, scored the first Giants touchdown on a play-action bootleg. He ended up catching another 4 short passes and Simonson got one of his own. Neither are going to scare anyone as route runners and pass catchers but they blocked the edge well, as they were asked to do a lot there.

OFFENSIVE LINE

The first half wasn’t bad for tackles Nate Solder and Mike Remmers. After all, they were up against Khalil Mack and company and on Jones’ 14 first-half drop backs, Solder allowed 1 pressure and Remmers none. However, once we got into the third quarter, Solder allowed 5 pressures and a sack that led to a fumble. He was, once again, abused and it impacted the entire passing attack. Remmers wasn’t much better, as he allowed 2 pressures but also graded out poorly as a run blocker. He kept losing ground time after time, showing absolutely no anchor.

-Kevin Zeitler and Will Hernandez were relatively quiet in a good way. They each allowed just one pressure in the fourth quarter against a CHI defensive tackle group that may be one of the most underrated in the league. They didn’t get movement in the running game and they, along with Jon Halapio, were the main culprits for a lack of interior run success. None of the offensive linemen could walk out of Chicago proud of their performance.

EDGE

-Despite a separate offsides penalty called on all three edge rushers, they played well as a group. Markus Golden recorded his 7.5 sack of the year while adding 2 TFL, one of which was in a clutch situation late in the game. Lorenzo Carter had 4 tackles, 1 TFL, a pass break up, and 1 pressure, while Oshane Ximines added a pressure and a tackle himself.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-B.J. Hill didn’t show up in the stat sheet but he was pretty active despite playing only 26% of the snaps. He had a pressure and made things happen away from the ball in terms of making the ball carrier re-direct. He is a quality guy to have coming off of the bench.

-Leonard Williams and Dalvin Tomlinson were stout and rangy against the run. Both had a pressure and Tomlinson finished with 3 tackles. His best football has been played since Williams was brought in. Speaking of Williams, one can fairly ask whether or not he is worth the draft pick they gave and/or the money he will demand in the offseason. He continues on with his “solid, but…” label. He had 1 tackle and 1 pressure in this one.

-Dexter Lawrence was borderline dominant inside against a quality CHI interior offensive line. When this kid gets off of the ball correctly and timely with the right pad level, it is comical to watch two OL not even get him to move his feet. You won’t see him make a statistical impact weekly, as he finished with just 2 tackles and 1 pressure in this one, but he was the key reason why CHI averaged just 2.5 yards per carry. Great game for him.

LINEBACKER

-Alec Ogletree came up with the biggest defensive play of the day. His interception in the end zone prevented CHI from going up 7-0 early and it was an impressive, athletic feat. He had just 2 tackles on the day but he filled lanes hard and opened things up for David Mayo. Mayo finished with 7 tackles including one for a loss and he had a nice pass breakup stemming from his physical style and heavy contact. He did get beat up underneath by backs and tight ends in coverage though.

-Solid game from Deone Bucannon, who seems to be more comfortable in this environment. He had 5 tackles despite the fact he only played a third of the snaps.

CORNERBACK

-Corey Ballentine saw a season-high 64 snaps, but that’s about the only thing his fans are going to want to talk about. Actually, he led the team with 9 tackles, another feather in the cap. But one thing I was taught a long time ago was if a cornerback has a lot of tackles, it is usually an indictment on his poor coverage. It was as clear as day as to who CHI wanted to attack in the passing game. There was a stretch from the middle of the 2nd quarter to the middle of the 3rd quarter where the CHI offense was simple: line up, find who Ballentine is covering, and pass to him. Ballentine’s footwork was atrocious. He had no balance, and he had no feel for routes and throws. In addition to all of the receptions and yardage he gave up, he was fortunate another 60-yard catch was called back because of a penalty along the offensive line. It will be interesting to see how he bounces back because you know Green Bay saw the tape.

-Janoris Jenkins played a really solid game, finishing with a couple of physical tackles and 2 pass break ups. He had a defensive holding on a 3rd-and-10 stop that led to a CHI touchdown, however. Bad timing for a mistake that didn’t need to be made.

-Deandre Baker wasn’t challenged much in coverage, but he did look solid on the few times he had to run deep with the CHI speed guy Gabriel. He finished with a TFL.

SAFETY

-A pretty quiet game for the safeties. Antoine Bethea had 3 tackles and showed quality coverage on a couple of occasions. Jabrill Peppers played a lot of linebacker in this one. He had 5 tackles and 1 TFL. He also returned a punt 40 yards and it got me thinking that it would have been nice to see him back there all year. He is so dangerous with the ball and we aren’t just talking about speed. He is powerful, strong, and aggressive. He is dealing with a hip/back injury that may end up shutting him down for the rest of the year.

-Julian Love got his first real action of the year, 55% of the snaps. He had 1 tackle and 1 interception. Love nearly came down with a second interception and I saw things in him that reminded me why I had a 1st-round grade on him last April. He reacts so well, both physically and mentally, to both where receivers are going and when the ball is thrown. We haven’t seen that from a safety yet this season. Arguably his most impressive play won’t show up on the stat sheet. On the 60-yard pass to Allen Robinson, Love was engaged with a receiver who did a nice job of blocking him. Robinson had a head full of steam and no defender in sight was there to help Love with angles or anything. Love disengaged himself from the blocker, wrapped up a full-speed Robinson, and brought him to the ground. Little things like that go a long way in my book and I hope Love earned his way into more playing time the rest of the year.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 0/2 (missed 42, 43). One can say the first miss wasn’t Rosas’ fault because the snap was so bad, but his second miss AND a kickoff out of bounds to start of the second half now leaves a questionable taste in our mouths. Is he the guy? Or did he get lucky in 2018? Kickers are the relief pitchers of football, just unbelievably volatile and hard to find.

-P Riley Dixon: 6 punts / 41.7 avg / 33.0 net.

3 STUDS

EDGE Markus Golden, DT Dexter Lawrence, S Julian Love

3 DUDS

-OT Nate Solder, K Aldrick Rosas, CB Corey Ballentine

3 THOUGHTS ON CHI

  1. I somewhat noticed this while watching the game live but upon watching it again from the All-22 angle, I respect how disciplined this defense is. Plain and simple, they do not overlook the subtle assignments. They maintain gap control. Their blitzers are well timed and accurate. They take proper angles. Their anticipation is outstanding, most notably at the second level. Yes they have a lot of talen,t but even more than that, their discipline makes a lot of positives happen.
  1. Mitch Trubisky has gone backwards. I can recall watching him early last year and thinking he is making that important jump. Even after his injury where he missed 2 games, he came back and got destroyed by the LAR defense but bounced back well. 2019 has not been friendly to him and it just looks like he isn’t seeing things. His timing is off and he isn’t sure of himself. I bring this up because I think it takes 3 years of starting in the NFL before you can make your decision on a QB. NYG QB Daniel Jones has some similarities to Trubisky and even though I think he is heading toward a higher level, it is another example we can’t say yes or no to Jones until 2021.
  1. I know many may think NYG doesn’t need any more bodies at the hybrid DT/DE spot in this defense but there is a kid on CHI I have been watching all year. Roy Robertson-Harris is going to be a RFA this offseason. Since he was an UDFA in 2015, he could come cheaply. If NYG doesn’t want to spend money on Leonard Williams, I think this kid offers a very similar skill set and I’ll even say a similar level of play for a much cheaper price. Keep that name in mind.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. Not sure if anyone else saw the interesting exchange between Barkley and Shurmur. In the 3rd quarter, Barkley caught a ball in the flat, did a little dance, then trotted out of bounds as two CHI defenders approached him. It was 2nd-and-8, NYG was down 10-7. Shurmur went at him and clearly told him to go north, put the shoulder down and get the few extra yards. Barkley may have been able to get 2-3 more yards and while it wasn’t a major deal, I think it is clear some are getting frustrated with his style. He isn’t playing like he did as a rookie. He is playing soft, and yes, I will keep talking about it until he stops.
  1. I think NYG might as well keep trotting out their young guys in the secondary for the balance of the season. I want to see Beal, Ballentine, Baker, and Love all getting more than 50% of the snaps weekly. I don’t need to see Michael Thomas anymore, I don’t need to see Grant Haley anymore, and I don’t need to see Peppers play through pain. Let’s see how these kids respond to adversity even if they get roasted.
  1. There are 5 games left to play. WAS and MIA are included in there and it’s hard not to think about where the Giants end up in the draft if they lose out and/or win one or both of those match-ups with Chase Young potentially sitting there. He is likely going to grade out higher than Myles Garrett and if there is one guy who can change the entire outlook of this team in a game where one guy almost never makes that much of a difference, it is Young. Tanking isn’t a thing but I do believe in sitting veterans and getting the young guys valuable snaps to see if they can show us something. Something I think NYG needs to consider.
Nov 122019
 
Share Button
Darius Slayton, New York Giants (November 10, 2019)

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Jets 34 – New York Giants 27

QUICK RECAP

This “battle for New York” had a lot less to do with bragging rights, a lot less to do with potential playoff spots, and more to do with where these two bottom feeders were going to land in the 2020 NFL Draft order. When this game was scheduled, this one had the look of a lot of potential. Two young QBs. The number 2 and number 3 pick from the 2018 NFL Draft, I could go on. But let’s call this for what it really was: a game that had about as much excitement surrounding it as their annual preseason match-up, a game that meant nothing for either team when it came to the 2019 playoffs.

The Giants were without Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram in addition to two starting offensive linemen, Mike Remmers and Jon Halapio. Even with that, they were the “road” favorite against a Jets team that has some of the worst football on tape in the NFL this season. They have a QB who had 10 turnovers in 5 games. They have a head coach who seems in way over his head. They have a depleted secondary and one of the worst group of pass rushers you can find. This was slated to be a win, right? Ha, come on now, these are the 2019 New York Giants you are talking about.

NYJ began the game with a 13-play, 75-yard drive touchdown scoring drive after they converted a 3rd-and-11 and also a 3rd-and-1 via an offsides penalty by Markus Golden. The Giants responded with a 3-and-out on their initial drive, with the last play being a sack allowed by Saquon Barkley (his third of the season) and fumble by Jones that did not end up as a turnover.

The Jets then scored a second touchdown in as many drives, this time making veteran leaders Alec Ogletree and Antoine Bethea appear to be stuck in mud as Jamison Crowder ran right by them and into the end zone. It is a hard sell to convince anyone they were actually stuck in mud however, because well, they were playing on turf and it hadn’t rained in a few days. No, they weren’t stuck in mud, they were simply outclassed. NYJ took a 14-0 lead in the first 13 minutes of the game. NYJ came into this game averaging 12 points PER GAME and ranked dead last in offensive yards. This was the third time in four weeks that NYG allowed two touchdowns in the 1st quarter. To be honest, that is hard to do.

Even though it was still considered early in the game, NYG had a sense of urgency on the next drive. Thanks to poor defensive back play and a couple of NYJ penalties, NYG was able to push the ball and score their first touchdown of the game, a pass from Daniel Jones to Darius Slayton. After a statement-drive on defense, NYG had the ball back at their own 39-yard line. Left tackle Nate Solder left the game with a concussion, making it now the majority of the offensive line on the sidelines. NYG was faced with a 4th-and-4 and this was a turning point in the game. Jones found Slayton on a quick slant where he showed elite-level footwork that actually caused the cornerback to fall similar to what Allen Iverson did to defenders with his crossover in the hardwood. Slayton caught the uncontested pass and then used his 4.4 speed in combination with poor pursuit angles by NYJ to make his way to the end zone for a 39-yard score. A poor snap caused the PAT attempt to turn into punter Riley Dixon chucking it into the end zone, thus the Giants remained down 1.

The half ended on a NYJ missed 54-yard field goal attempt and then Daniel Jones getting sacked on 3rd-and-4 from midfield. It was a back-and-forth half between two bad teams and the margin was a one-point deficit for NYG.

The opening drive of the second half, the drive that many coaches say is the most important of the game, lasted three plays. On 3rd-and-1, Jones was sacked by Jamal Adams at the hands of Barkley yet again but this time Adams stripped the ball and returned it for a touchdown. Another lost fumble for Jones, his league leading 10th of the year. Another allowed sack for Barkley, his fourth of the year which also leads the league for backs.

The Giants were able to take advantage of poor NYJ secondary play yet again, as they turned a wide receiver screen to Golden Tate into a 61-yard score on 3rd-and-9. If we didn’t know any better, it almost appeared both teams were putting in their best effort to lose. That notion was strengthened after the score, as Tate was called for pass interference on the 2-point attempt which forced NYG into going for the extra point. That extra point attempt was missed by Aldrick Rosas, his third miss of the year, a season after he missed just one FIELD GOAL last year.

The NYG offense stayed hot, as they put another touchdown on the board via a 15-yard pitch-and-catch to Tate. The Giants offense was hot and the momentum was clearly on their side. They lengthened their lead to 27-21 on a successful 2-point attempt to Bennie Fowler from Jones. The momentum didn’t last long, however.

The Jets put 3 points on the board on their next drive and forced NYG into a 3-and-out as the battle in the trenches was becoming more and more laughable. The Jets then got to the 1-yard line thanks to a Deandre Baker 33-yard pass interference, his second penalty of the day. Le’Veon Bell powered his way into the end zone and just like that, the lead turned into a 4-point deficit.

The NYG offense continued to sputter, punting the ball back to the 32nd-ranked offense in the league, just to see that 32nd-ranked offense in the league march downfield and put another 3 points on the board. It was 34-27 with just over 7 minutes left. The Giants offense couldn’t even think about being aggressive, as the offensive line completely fell apart and Jones could barely reach the end of his drop back before having to evade pressure. The defense did get the ball back twice via stout run defense but it didn’t matter.

Giants lose, 34-27.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 26/40 – 308 yards – 4 TD/0 INT – 121.7 QBR. Jones added 20 yards on 3 carries. When looking at the passing numbers, one could argue this was the top performance have seen out of Jones this season. He, however, did fumble 2 more times, losing one. The lost fumble resulted in a NYJ defensive score. Jones is hard to truly evaluate right now because the offensive line is so poor and the running game is non-existent. He is making all of the simple throws, and I am not undermining that. He is doing so consistently, rarely does he miss, and I would peg “simple throws” at about 80% of the NFL’s passing plays and there are QBs that struggle with them more than you think. Jones’ toughness on his 3rd-and-10 run and in the pocket against the NYJ physical front 5 stood out. A nice game for him but man, those damn fumbles.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 13 att / 1 yard – 5 rec / 20 yards. That isn’t a typo, by the way. Barkley, the supposed foundation of this offense, the 2018 Draft’s 2nd overall pick, the 2018 Rookie of the Year, accrued 1 yard on 13 carries. He had defenders at his feet the instant he touched the ball on almost every carry, he was hesitant when was able to reach the line of scrimmage, and he couldn’t break any tackles. This running game is a complete mess on every level and they tried to throw the ball in space for him one time. The result? A 22-yard gain. Barkley allowed two more sacks and a pressure. We can now rightfully say he is a liability in pass protection. Just terrible.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Darius Slayton: 10 rec / 121 yards / 2 TD. If there is one bright spot of the 2019 season, it is the Jones-to-Slayton connection. Slayton looked like a complete player out there and it is fun to see his fast-track progression. His route running made a cornerback fall on two occasions and he forced two penalties with his explosion out of his breaks. He also showed strength and presence when attacking the ball with a defender on his back twice. Excellent game from him and he looks like a keeper at this point.

-Golden Tate: 4 rec / 95 yards / 2 TD. The more I see Tate, the more I want him around. I know, easy to say after a 2-touchdown game and there are limitations to his game. But I think it is important to have a guy who can make adjustments and quick decisions on the fly. He knows the game exceptionally well, just a really good situational player who plays and thinks fast. He should never be a number one or even a number two target for a team in the passing game, but if he is your three or four, he can be big time.

TIGHT END

-Rhett Ellison: 3 Rec / 42 yards. A quiet game for Ellison, but he did have a 31-yard reception. I also wanted to note he had a few key blocks that resulted in big plays and/or touchdowns. He is really effective in space as a blocker, but not so much in the trenches.

-Kaden Smith, an UDFA who was signed off the SF practice squad, was on the field for 41 snaps to help with the blocking, but he didn’t perform well there. He allowed a TFL and a pressure. Smith graded out as one of the top run blocking TEs in the draft last year and it goes to show the jump in levels it takes to handle NFL defenders from college kids.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-I want to start with the undrafted right tackle Nick Gates, who was in for the injured Mike Remmers. If you have been reading my reports, you know that I have been down on Remmers and don’t think he belongs on the field as a starter even on a bad team. Gates, grade wise, wasn’t any worse. He is notably more athletic with more twitch and initial pop. He did allow a sack and a pressure and got pushed around as a bit in the running game, but it wasn’t anything different that what we have seen from Remmers. Let the kid play there the rest of the season.

-Nate Solder went down early with a concussion. He was replaced with Eric Smith, formerly of the Jets practice squad. He never played a snap at left tackle in practice. Smith has been here since early September and he entered the game as the backup left tackle. I repeat, this coaching staff hasn’t given him one snap at the position in any of the practices. Not one. And he was in charge of protecting the blind side of their rookie QB. Smith allowed 3 sacks, 1 TFL, and 1 pressure. Awful game and yes, he is worse than Solder.

-Inside was a mess too. Spencer Pulley, who Pat Shurmur has called a “starting center in this league” multiple times over the past two years, played awful. If there was one culprit for Barkley gaining 1 yard in this game, it was Pulley. I had a hard time believing what I was seeing when it came to how hard it was for him to maintain blocks. He allowed a TFL, a pressure, and a sack. He also forced Barkley into changing his direction in the backfield upon getting the ball multiple times. He doesn’t belong in the league.

-Guards Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler, the two best lineman on this team, didn’t have their best games. Hernandez is not progressing. He hasn’t gotten any better from his rookie season. He allowed 2 TFL and had a sack wiped off his stat sheet because of a questionable Jets holding call in the secondary. Zeitler was the only player on this line who was above average grade wise, but even he wasn’t getting a push in the running game. Too much give.

EDGE

-Solid game for Markus Golden besides his bonehead offsides penalty and one missed tackle. He finished with 4 tackles / 2 TFL / 1 sack / 2 pressures. This has been another bright spot considering what they got him for contract wise. But every sack he gets will make him more expensive to bring back.

-Youngsters Lorenzo Carter and Oshane Ximines were quiet, finishing with a combined 6 tackles but also 1 pressure and 0 plays behind the line of scrimmage. Ximines has made a few mental mistakes against the run this year but he was more disciplined and active this week.

DEFENSIVE TACKLES

-Dalvin Tomlinson seems to have more urgency and desire in his play. Maybe the Leonard Williams trade put him on notice that if he wants a long term deal from this team, he better step up. Step up he did. Tomlinson led the team with 9 tackles while adding a sack. He was all over the field, making hustle plays downfield while also being stout in short-yardage situations. This may have been the best game of his three-year career.

-Speaking of Williams, he was really disruptive. He had 3 tackles, and 5 pressures. That is the most pressures of any NYG defender in one game over the past 3 years. Now, some can say that is a good thing but a pro personnel scout I talk to on a regular basis sent me this text after the game, “Always finds a way to get there, never finds a way to finish. Been a step too slow since day one.” He is going to be a tough guy to figure out over these next 2 months because the narrative is that he oozes talent, but doesn’t seal the deal. We saw more of that in this one.

-Dexter Lawrence can be a maddening player at times. He is definitely making an impact beyond the naked eye and we are seeing more pass rush from him than anyone thought he could bring to the table, but I saw him in a couple different key short-yardage moments just get drilled off the ball. I am hoping he shows more consistency over the second half.

LINEBACKER

-Alec Ogletree had 7 tackles and a pass break up. He really looks thick and choppy out there. I’m not sure if he’s still hurt or his athletic days are simply behind him. The lack of speed and agility at LB has hurt this team more times than I can count. The game is changing and these inside guys just can’t hack it anymore. Davis Mayo added 4 tackles but remains an issue on filling lanes and reaching sidelines.

CORNERBACK

-Deandre Baker’s up-and-down, but more down, season continues. He was flagged twice, one of which was a 33-yard pass interference that put NYJ on the 1-yard line. He had a few plays where he was sticky in coverage, but I was most annoyed on a big play where he showed no urgency in pursuing the soon-to-be 32-year old Demaryius Thomas after the catch. It resulted in a big play and it was inexcusable from a kid whot has hurt this team more than helped.

-Janoris Jenkins quietly had a really good cover game and added 4 tackles.

-Good to see Sam Beal and Corey Ballentine out there. Beal only got in for 10 plays but it was the first time we’ve seen him since NYG took him in the Supplemental Draft two summers ago. Ballentine was targeted early on third down and even though the quicker slot matchups aren’t ideal for him, he didn’t allow a lot of separation and I liked how fast he reacted to the ball once in the air and after the catch.

SAFETY

-Jabrill Peppers is looking better and better each week. There may not be a guy on this team who competes as hard as him play to play, week to week. He finished with 6 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 PD, and 2 pressures. He has been a terror when they use him downhill and if this defense can get another 1 or 2 guys like him at LB, the difference would be enormous overall.

-Antoine Bethea finished with 5 tackles and a pass breakup. He also missed 2 tackles, he leads the team in that category, and was outclassed on the Crowder touchdown athletically. I just don’t see a guy with enough reaction speed and I think the game is simply too fast for him.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: No FG attempts. Rosas missed an extra point and is now 19/22 on the year. He is one of 3 kickers in the league with 3 missed extra point attempts.

-P Riley Dixon: 6 Punts / 53.5 avg / 45.5 net

3 STUDS

-QB Daniel Jones, WR Darius Slayton, S Jabrill Peppers

3 DUDS

-OC Spencer Pulley, OT Eric Smith, CB Deandre Baker

3 THOUGHTS ON NYJ

  1. I’ve seen a lot of Jets football in recent years because of the fact they are a local team and a lot of my cross-scouting coincidentally has had me get their game tapes as well. They, as of right now, are so close to the situation that NYG is in that it is almost scary. Young QB on a rookie deal. A piss-poor offensive line. Average at best pass catchers. A really good running back who can’t display even 50% of his potential. Minimal pass rush with no real difference maker there. A do-it-all safety. A young TE who has a high ceiling but has a hard time staying on field. A coach who is hard to trust. Tons of money to spend but a lack of assurance that it will be economically spent. All that and I bet these two will be picking near each other in the draft and will be targeting the same guys.
  1. The Sam Darnold vs. Saquon Barkley debate will be there for as long as those two are in the league. Giants nation was split down the middle whether or not they should take Darnold, widely considered the top QB of the 2018 class and he was available. Well here we are about a year and a half into Darnold’s career and we can agree that he has not been good. Sure, he had a solid stretch in December in no-pressure situations but he has started 19 games and has 27 turnovers. Not much more needs to be said because if he keeps that up he won’t be a starter a few years from now.
  1. I am intrigued to see what General Manager Joe Douglas does this offseason when it comes to building their roster from a pro personnel perspective. It was confirmed that, if he was going to trade star safety Jamal Adams, that DAL was going to have to give one of their top OL Zack Martin or Tyron Smith in return. I liked hearing that, as I still believe no matter what that a team absolutely has to avoid poor offensive line play and it needs to be priority A if the group ever falters. They are going to buy a free agent or two in the offseason, no question. And I think that is the best possible approach.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. You know when your own wife, who doesn’t know too much about the details of the game, makes a comment about the QB never making passes on the move unless he is scrambling for his life, that the offense may be too predictable and easy to defend. Jones has proven to be an athletic threat and he has proven he can throw on the move. Why, with this offensive line, do you constantly have Jones sitting in the pocket? It doesn’t work. And while we’re at it, why aren’t you making every effort to give Barkley the ball in space? Traffic runs aren’t working with this offense. Stubborn and lack of innovation and adjustments.
  1. The question with this defensive line is, is there enough room to keep both Tomlinson and Williams long term? Williams will likely demand a much bigger contract because even though the stats aren’t overly impressive, the analytics crowd likes him and they are becoming more and more prominent within personnel circles. I think Tomlinson has value though. I know it is easy to say after what may have been the best game of his career, but there is a lot he can do within different schemes. He is a professional. Works hard, always tries to get better. We want more guys like this around. If I had to choose one because of economics, I am going with Tomlinson.
  1. Would it make sense at some point to shut Barkley down for the rest of the year? He limps off the field every week since he has been back from the ankle injury, he now has a bum shoulder, and it looks like this situation is actually making him a worse running back? I’m not opposed to it if we see more of the same the for another 2-3 weeks.
Nov 072019
 
Share Button
Cody Latimer, New York Giants (November 4, 2019)

Cody Latimer – © USA TODAY Sports

Dallas Cowboys 37 – New York Giants 18

QUICK RECAP

A national primetime game against a division rival. Throwback all-white uniforms. A new defensive weapon acquired via trade. This was a game that generated at least some excitement in the middle of yet another failure of a season. It was hard to look past the fact this team had lost 5 in a row to Dallas and 11 of their past 15 NFC East match-ups, though. Even in the unfamiliar blue uniforms, the Cowboys entered this one as a 7-point road favorite with little fear of a broken NYG squad.

The night started off in favor of NYG, as Dak Prescott threw an interception directly to safety Antoine Bethea, his first since 2017, on the very first play of the game. The Giants began their initial offensive drive inside the DAL 8-yard line but could only muster 3 points. Essentially they were starting this game over with the Giants getting a 3-point head start. DAL quickly tied the game back up after an 11-play drive that saw chunk gains from Ezekiel Elliott and the 37-year old Jason Witten. The same Jason Witten who has been torching NYG for what seems to be fifty years. The same Jason Witten who was a Monday Night Football color analyst at this time a year ago.

After a NYG three-and-out, DAL took the ball back into NYG territory and lined up kicker Brett Maher for a 54-yard field goal attempt. The wind pushed it wide left and NYG began their drive at their own 44-yard line. Two key plays that brought NYG down inside the DAL 5-yard line were a 16-yard run by Daniel Jones and a 17-yard pass to Golden Tate that converted a 3rd-and-14 situation. It took them three plays to get the one yard needed for a score, but a Jones-to-Cody Latimer pass put NYG back in the lead. Aldrick Rosas missed the extra point, thus the score was 9-3.

The momentum stayed on the NYG side, as receiver Randall Cobb had the ball jarred loose by a violent Jabrill Peppers hit and Bethea came up with his second turnover of the game. The next drive injected more and more juice into the stadium. Tate gained 16 yards on a reverse aided by a lead block by Jones, who got lit up on the play but he contributed to the yards and there is something about toughness that gets everyone excited. Evan Engram then exploded for 15-yard gain after a short pass. A black cat then ran onto the field and caused a delay. It was about a minute or two and it created the thought that maybe this would be one of those good-luck turning points. NYG would go onto win out, get to 10-6, and into the postseason because of this black cat. That idea rapidly disappeared as Saquon Barkley had a likely big-run stopped by his own center Jon Halapio, who for some unknown reason was just standing there not blocking anybody. The two collided and went down. It was Halapio’s best hit of the season. NYG got inside the DAL 10-yard line but couldn’t punch it in, relying on 3 points again off the foot of Rosas.

The score was 12-3, but the missed opportunities created an aura of pessimism. And with that, Prescott connected with tight end Blake Jarwin for a short gain that he turned into 42-yard touchdown. This is the same Blake Jarwin who scored 3 touchdowns against NYG last December and the same Blake Jarwin who scored a touchdown against NYG week 1. He has 6 career touchdowns in his 3-year career, 5 of which are against NYG.

Momentum was slipping through the fingers of NYG and they shot themselves in the foot on the next drive with under a minute left. A drop by Darius Slayton and an interception by Jones gave the ball back to DAL. They were able to get 3 more points on the scoreboard and entered the half with a 13-12 lead.

Latimer opened the half with a kick return that gave NYG starting field position at midfield. Penalties and a sack killed any hope of starting the second half with a score, but they forced a three-and-out when DAL got the ball. The offense didn’t take advantage of it though. I talked about Daniel Jones massive fumble issue during preseason and the only thing I can say about it now is that the issue is nearing catastrophic levels. On a 3rd-and-6, Jones scrambled up the middle and had the ball jarred loose as he approached the first down marker. The fumble was recovered by safety Darian Thompson, former NYG 3rd-round pick. This was Jones’ 7th fumble of the year, tied for the league lead.

DAL turned that into 3 more points, which put their lead at 16-12. Latimer once again had a big return that brought NYG to midfield. Overall, this was the best starting field position the team has had all year from a game-perspective. However, once again, NYG was only able to create 3 points out of it despite getting inside DAL 10-yard line.

The fourth quarter began with a DAL touchdown-scoring drive. Prescott found Michael Gallup near the sideline and the explosive 2nd-year pro made Janoris Jenkins miss, as Jenkins did on the Jarwin touchdown as well, and acrobatically made his way into the end zone. 23-15 DAL at this point.

Saquon Barkley, who was quiet for most of the game, brought NYG all the way to the DAL 11-yard line with a fresh set of downs. However, three straight incomplete passes and no looks to Barkley led to, you guessed it, another field goal by Rosas. NYG was down 5 and a stop on the ensuing drive was near-mandatory. However, a shaky-at-best pass interference call on Deandre Baker on a 3rd-down incompletion kept the drive alive. Six plays later, Baker or Bethea blew his coverage assignment, leaving the DAL number one receiver Amari Cooper wide open across the middle for a big gain and touchdown. NYG was now down 12 with under 8 minutes left and most hope had left the stadium.

NYG put together one more drive with time dwindling and the DAL defense in a prevent, half-effort approach. It would have made those who bet the +7 line happy at least to see NYG get a cheap touchdown but they couldn’t even do that. From the DAL 24-yard line, Jones was sacked and had the ball knocked loose. Jourdan Lewis scooped it up and returned it for a 63-yard touchdown. Jones left the night as the lone leader in the NFL with 8 fumbles.

NYG loses, 37-18.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 26/41 – 210 yards – 1 TD / 1 INT – 74.2 QBR. Jones also added a team-high 54 yards on the ground via 6 carries. Jones lost 2 fumbles, one of which was on a passing attempt, and threw an interception. It can be debated that that interception wasn’t solely on Jones, but at the end of the day he didn’t put it where it needed to be. Jones’ fumbles are going to lose games for this franchise if he doesn’t clean it up. While it may not be a big deal right now because expectations are so low, that can be a game changer and a season changer by itself. The guy who holds the ball the most can’t be giving it away like he is right now. His toughness and athletic ability did impress and he continues to show an even-keel approach, but those fumbles will end it for him and this team if it stays this way. Clean it up.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 14 att / 28 yards – 6 rec / 67 yards. Don’t mistake the receiving line for anything impressive, one of those catches went for 65 yards. So his other 5 catches accrued 2 yards. That is actually hard to do if you think about it. As one of the biggest Barkley supporters during the 2018 draft, I will say this: Barkley is running soft and scared. Is it the fear of injury? Is it the offensive line? Is it being used to not getting to the line without defenders in his face? Or worse, is it him wanting to make it to his Zeke-contract, AKA avoid injury at all costs? I will give him credit for better blocking this week, much better, and the 65-yard gain was what this kid can do every time he touches the ball. But I want to see more grit in his game. Show it to me, kid. You haven’t accomplished that much yet.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Golden Tate: 6 rec / 42 yards – 1 rush / 16 yards. Tate caught all 6 of his targets, one of which was an incredible catch that he almost got into the end zone. I like how this guy competes and I can see why past fan bases of the teams he played on loved and hated him. Tate is who he is: a really good complimentary player but will never be THE guy. If anything, he may be best suited for the #3/#4 option on a good offense.

-Cody Latimer made a big impact and had this team scored on just a couple more touchdowns of their multiple redzone opportunities, we may be talking about him more. He caught the lone NYG touchdown and returned two kicks to midfield. His separation as a route runner has been minimal but I do think there are things you can do with him. There is a ton of straight line athletic ability and he has proven he can make the tough catch.

-Really poor night for the rookie Darius Slayton. He dropped a pass, allowed a TFL, and tracked the ball really poorly on the Jones interception. He could have been where the ball landed but he was late to turn and didn’t control his body well enough.

TIGHT END

-Evan Engram: 6 rec / 48 yards. Engram has regressed as a blocker. DAL has given him issues a few times in his young career, in particular DeMarcus Lawrence, but some of the tackles he allows are unacceptable. On a run to the opposite side, Engram’s man is coming across his face and still making the play. That isn’t a difficult assignment. Maybe TE should be elevated on the NYG needs list and Engram needs to be a wide receiver who, every now and then, starts the play on the line. Year 3 and he still stinks in there, that won’t change.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Mike Remmers continues to show he can’t play right tackle in the NFL for a team that wants to compete. He allowed 2 sacks and 2 pressures. His run blocking received a below average grade and that adds up to, if you want to call it that, his second-worst grade of the year. He is regressing. Nate Solder actually had a decent game. He did allow a sack-fumble at the end, and he did allow a pressure, but he kept the blind side relatively quiet, in particular on the deep attempts.

-Will Hernandez spent most of the night fighting the entire DAL defense. He relishes the role of personal protector and bodyguard, which is fine. It seemed to get a little over the top and I would much rather see him not allow a TFL and sack against an interior DAL defensive line that is average at best. Kevin Zeitler also allowed a sack late in the game, although he was solid otherwise.

-Center Jon Halapio didn’t get any push against a defensive line that is known for being undersized. I’m not sure why he continues to get the nod even though I am not a fan of Spencer Pulley either. He just looks slow. DAL sent a couple long-developing stunts and blitzes right up the middle and he barely even acknowledged them. His reaction time isn’t good enough. I can’t imagine this OL going into 2020 with him on the roster.

EDGE

-Lorenzo Carter and Markus Golden both had 1 TFL and 1 pressure each. Neither were able to come up big on 3rd down, which is always the time I am looking for them to step up. In fact, Golden got called for offsides on a 3rd-and-7 that moved DAL up 5 yards which they converted. Carter was rangy against the run but he was far from stout. He and rookie Oshane Ximines were getting blown off the ball and easily moved, creating some of the massive running lanes Elliott was running through.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-In his first game with NYG, Leonard Williams not only got the start but was also on the field more than both B.J. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson. He had 3 tackles and 2 pressures, including a solid hit on Prescott that was just after he threw the ball. He didn’t do much to standout and he did get washed out a couple times on big Elliott gains. The one thing I see with him that the others don’t have is the ability to create on his own. Williams can bend, run, turn, and burst better than any of the other down linemen. I can see the attraction in him. Time will tell if he can turn it into consistent production.

-B.J. Hill appears to be the odd man out when it comes to playing time. He was on the field for about a quarter of the plays. Interesting to see but I think it has more to do with his position more so than his performance. Dalvin Tomlinson was in at the nose and they have repeatedly said that is a spot they just don’t want to see Hill play.

-Dexter Lawrence already looks to be the leader of the defensive line. From a performance and emotional standpoint, he is rising and rising as the year goes. He had 2 tackles and a QB hit. I re-watched him specifically to see if he was a culprit for Elliott running wild and he played just fine, it had more to do with the linebackers (again) and inconsistent play from Tomlinson.

LINEBACKER

Alec Ogletree continues to be one of the most inconsistent players on this defense. He had 6 tackles and 1 missed attempt. But his play in coverage was tight and slow, as was David Mayo. These guys are attacked on 3rd down and neither are showing the ability to cover laterally. It is pretty easy to exploit and when a good offense needs to make something happen, they are easy targets.

-Deone Buccanon saw his playing time uptick a bit from last week, but he didn’t make much of an impact. Just one tackle and he allowed 2 receptions.

CORNERBACK

-Janoris Jenkins will take heat for the missed tackles and he should, but lets not act surprised here. His tackling has been a weak point since the day he signed with NYG. In addition, I don’t know many corners who would have been able to tackle Jarwin on that touchdown.

-Deandre Baker had a pretty typical night for a rookie. He was picked on early because of how much cushion he gave on the quick slant routes, then made a couple plays on the ball where his ball tracking and aggressiveness were on point, and then was beat deep and both mentally and physically when the game was on the line. More of the same with Baker, a kid who is trying to learn on the fly. It is easy to tell there are mental lapses that are inhibiting his physical ability.

-Corey Ballentine got the snaps at nickel and he moved really well. I like the speed he brings to the table and he has more size than Grant Haley. One of the things we can really keep an eye on in the next seven weeks is how well he can keep it together and improve, as it could cross off a need for the 2020 offseason.

SAFETY

-A quick look at the box score and one will think Antoine Bethea had a good game. Interception / fumble recovery / 9 tackles. Well, the interception was (literally) thrown right at him because Prescott didn’t know he was there, fumble recoveries are often luck-based, and the tackles don’t include his 2 misses and poor angles.

-Jabrill Peppers was a stud in this one. The up-and-down player had 12 tackles, a pass breakup, and a forced fumble. I’ll say this about Peppers, his versatility and value is overlooked because of how bad this team is. He brings a lot to the table and if this team were better elsewhere, I think many would be pointing to how much he impacts the game.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: 4/4 (Made 21, 25, 26, 29). Rosas also missed an extra point, his second of the year.

-P Riley Dixon: 3 Punts – 47.3 avg / 39.3 net

-Cody Latimer returned 6 kicks for 181 yards

3 STUDS

-S Jabrill Peppers, WR Cody Latimer, WR Golden Tate

3 DUDS

-OT Mike Remmers, WR Darius Slayton, LB David Mayo

3 THOUGHTS ON DAL

  1. It’s hard not to admire what Ezekiel Elliott brings to the table. I don’t love who he is off the field but this guy balls as well as anyone in the league. He is so dependable as a runner with the way he runs with a forward lean, falls forward, and breaks through initial contact. But what I admire most about him is how dominant he is as a blocker and how consistent he is as a pass catcher. Barkley could learn a thing or seven from really studying his game.
  1. One assistant coach in the league who doesn’t get enough publicity in regard to future head coaching gigs is the DAL assistant defensive coordinator, Kris Richard. He was on the SEA staff when they were dominating the NFC and he has the kind of persona that really gets to the players and brings out the best. All of this talk about offense and getting a fresh voice for Daniel Jones can make you overlook a guy like Richard, someone who I think can be the next Mike Tomlin.
  1. How far can DAL go? Are they in the class of the NFC discussion? Other than PHI, they haven’t beat anyone good. Their other wins are against WAS and MIA, with losses to playoff contenders NO and GB. I think they are a playoff team, but I don’t trust them against a legit opponent. I still question their pass rush and Prescott still needs to prove himself in the biggest moments.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. I don’t want to talk down on Barkley. As most of you know, I was the first and biggest supporter of drafting him early back in 2018. But I have to say the poor offensive line, the ankle injury, and his desire to score a touchdown every play is making his game a lot worse than what we saw last year. He can’t control the injury and the line, but he does need to improve his own performance. He is playing soft. There is no denying it. That can’t happen.
  1. Speaking of Barkley, how come NYG is the only team with a dynamic back like this that can’t seem to get him the ball in space? Go watch CAR, LAR, NO, MIN…and see how they get their dynamic backs the ball in several different spots on the field to maximize their talents. Barkley is at his best when there is plenty of green around him, yet the vast majority, borderline all touches, are either runs between the tackles and little dump offs/screens. Why not triangle route concepts? Why not up the seam? Why not slants from the slot? Maybe the situations make it tough, but Pat Shurmur you are an offensive-minded head coach being paid millions of dollars. Figure it out.
  1. Evan Engram is injured again. There is no denying the talent and upside he brings to the table and there are things he can do that no other tight end can. But at what point do you say he doesn’t fit the offense because of his poor blocking? At what point do you say now is the time to trade him and get back real value? He can be had at a very reasonable price because he won’t be an unrestricted free agent until 2022. Some team that runs a different offense could get a lot out of him for 2 years. I don’t like shipping out real talent like this, but guys, he hurts this offense as much as he helps it and now he can’t stay healthy? Something to ponder.
Oct 282019
 
Share Button
Darius Slayton, New York Giants (October 27, 2019)

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports

Detroit Lions 31 – New York Giants 26

QUICK RECAP

With the signs becoming more and more clear that the Giants 2019 season is a one-way street to the cellar yet again, Big Blue traveled to middle-of-the-pack Detroit just days after the Lions traded away their second best defensive back while also missing their top defensive back and starting running back. After an embarrassing loss at home against the Cardinals, NYG had to set the tone early and prove they were past it. Prove they are better than they were in 2018. Prove they are on the way up. All of that against a 2-3-1 team.

The Giants got the initial momentum with a Janoris Jenkins’ interception, his fourth of the year, from the volatile Matthew Stafford. However, as we have grown accustomed to, NYG turned it over just three plays later. The league-leader in turnovers, NYG has made this a habit we are all too familiar with. Jones was hit by an untouched blitzer who came directly up the middle, a major no-no for offensive line play, and the ball traveled backward out of his hand even though he was in a clear throwing position. Saquon Barkley didn’t seem to match the urgency going after the loose ball that former Giant Devon Kennard had. The result was a scoop-and-score for DET as the home team went up 7-0 early.

After a NYG 3-and-out, DET got the ball back and on a 3rd-and-15 from midfield, Stafford went deep to emerging big play threat Marvin Hall for a 49-yard touchdown as he got behind safety Michael Thomas. And just like that, NYG was losing by double digits in the first half for the fourth straight week and 7th time in 8 weeks.

As Daniel Jones has already proven multiple times, he was able to get this team back on track and stay unrattled. They opened the second quarter with a touchdown scoring drive, capped by a Jones-to-Darius Slayton pass. DET kicker Matt Prater missed a 53-yard attempt on the ensuing drive, giving NYG prime field position, and Jones once again connected with Slayton for the second score in as many drives. Kicker Aldrick Rosas missed the extra point, however, making the score 14-13 DET, but the momentum had clearly shifted.

The refs clearly hurt NYG with a poor call on the next drive. They forced a DET punt but David Mayo was flagged for running into the kicker. By running into the kicker, they actually meant he grazed the punter’s shoelace and thanks to an NBA-caliber flop job, the flag was thrown and DET had the ball back with a fresh set of downs at midfield. DET was able to move the ball up enough to give Prater another shot, this time from 52 yards, which he made to give DET a 17-13 halftime lead.

DET came out and scored on their opening drive in the second half. It was a 10-play drive that ended with a pass from Stafford to Kenny Golladay, one of the emerging young stars in the league. NYG was down 24-13 and if they were going to prove they had some fight, it had to be on this drive. NYG was aided by two DET penalties, one of which was on a failed 3rd-down conversion attempt that led to a Jones-to-Engram 2-yard pass for 6. With a 3-and-out forced on the next DET drive, NYG had their first real shot at taking the lead as the third quarter was closing out.

On 1st-and-10 from midfield, Jones hit Golden Tate for a 14-yard gain on a flea flicker. NYG was starting to step on the throat of DET, but the play was called back as Nate Solder, the second highest paid offensive tackle in football, was flagged for a hold. Instead of 1st-and-10 from the DET 38, it was 1st-and-20 from the NYG 38. The Giants punted three plays later.

DET took their shot at their own flea flicker/double pass-type trick play; they were able to convert it into a 41-yard touchdown. No holding on the left tackle, either. DET took a commanding 31-19 lead but there were still 12 minutes left in the game.

After a back-and-forth drive that included two sacks allowed by the second highest paid offensive tackle in football, NYG did cross into DET territory and were faced with a 4th-and-6 situation. Being down 12, they had to go for it because a long field goal would have still kept it a 2-score game. Jones was bombarded by a 7-man pass rush and threw an incomplete pass to Tate.

The defense remained stout as DET had issues getting a first down to keep the clock moving, but the Giants kept coming up short when it mattered most. Jones took two straight shots into the end zone to his man Slayton, neither of which was converted. Slayton was interfered with on the first attempt and even though the pass interference challenges almost never work, I thought it was puzzling why Pat Shurmur didn’t throw the red flag. That was a crucial play and not using the challenge was a poor decision.

NYG did get the ball back one more time, and thanks to a 25-yard pass interference penalty, they were able to get into the red zone. Jones connected with Barkley for a 4-yard touchdown, Jones’ fourth of the day. NYG got to within 5 but a failed onside-kick attempt led to a couple Stafford kneel-downs.

NYG lose 31-26.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 28/41 – 322 yards – 4 TD / 0 INT – 124.2 QBR. Jones also added 13 yards on the ground. He fumbled the ball twice, both on hits that occurred as he was throwing, one of which was returned for a touchdown. Jones has ball security issues to clean up but neither of these fumbles can be put on him, as they weren’t an issue of holding onto the ball during and after contact. Jones kept NYG in this one with several throws into tight windows. His confidence is growing every week and he is proving to be a guy who plays with no fear. He dealt with a dirty pocket most of the game and after seeing someone like Sam Darnold completely alter his approach because of pressure, it is an encouraging sign to see Jones playing with toughness in the face of adversity so often.

RUNNING BACK

-Saquon Barkley: 19 att / 64 yards – 8 rec / 79 yards / 1 TD. Barkley was just an inch away from breaking off a big play on two occasions. Even with that, Barkley gained 143 yards from scrimmage, which is above his career average. Looking at the numbers, it was a productive day. However after re-watching the game, I came away saying Barkley left some out on the field. His blocking was atrocious on two straight plays where he allowed a pressure and then a sack. There seems to be a lot of hesitation in his game right now, perhaps he isn’t fully mentally back from the ankle injury. He gets a pass because he did gut out some tough runs in the second half but as the guy this team is going to build around, he needs to, at least, make more impact without the ball as a blocker.

-Wayne Gallman, on the other hand, quietly had a solid game in limited snaps. He had a 20-yard run on a 3rd-and-26 play that put NYG in position to convert a 4th own late (which they failed). But his biggest impact came as a blocker. He really stuck his nose in there on a couple of occasions that enabled big gains.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Golden Tate: 8 rec / 85 yards. Really gutsy performance by Tate. He has turned into quite the 3rd-down weapon for Jones. He is playing tough and hard nosed as he approaches the ball and after the catch.

-It looked like it would be a big day for rookie Darius Slayton, as he caught 2 touchdowns in the second quarter on consecutive drives. Both catches were great adjustments to the ball with a corner draped all over him. Those ended up being his only 2 catches of the day, however, and he dropped an easy catch later on. Slayton also allowed a TFL and did not block well overall.

-Cody Latimer had 2 rec / 28 yards and Bennie Fowler brought in 2 rec / 21 yards. Latimer is a guy I wish got more looks because it seems he can make big-time catches in traffic when given the opportunity. He had a really nice one-handed catch in this one. Fowler was flagged for an offensive pass interference but also came up with a clutch catch.

TIGHT END

-Evan Engram: 4 rec / 40 yards / 1 TD. Not a bad day for the inconsistent, but high-ceiling Engram. He continues to flash the elite ability we know he has on all fronts as a pass catcher. Quickness, explosion after the catch, route running…etc. However his blocking received a really poor grade in this one. Many will point to the middle of the offensive line when trying to figure out why NYG had so much trouble inside, but the Engram had a really hard time sealing the edge. He allowed a TFL, and on a few occasions got squeezed to the middle which gave Barkley no wiggle room when the lanes were clogged. Really poor day in the trenches for him.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-The ugly gets uglier for Nate Solder. He completely fell apart in the second half and it had a major impact on this team’s comeback effort. It is now at the point where this offense may need to alter its approach and shift constant help in his direction. He allowed 2 sacks and 1 pressure and was flagged for a big holding penalty. His balance and footwork are very poor right now and good pass rushers eat that up with ease.

-Mike Remmers graded out average, which is better than what we have seen lately. He allowed 1 pressure but had a couple of key blocks in the running game.

-The interior got pushed around all game, as NYG just couldn’t get the inside running game going. They also were schooled by delayed inside blitzes. You are NEVER supposed to see an untouched linebacker up the middle on passing plays and it happened multiple times. Jon Halapio allowed a pressure and a TFL. In addition, any communication issues need to come back to him. Kevin Zeitler and Will Hernandez were good in pass protection for the most part, but they got minimal-to-no push in the running game.

EDGE

-Lorenzo Carter and Markus Golden both registered a sack and two TFLs, respectively. They combined for 9 tackles and both are emerging as consistent, reliable, yet limited threats. Golden has a lot of “gamer” in him, finding the ball often and making impact on contact. Carter is still very much a work in progress that gets stifled and rendered ineffective too easily, too often, but his talent is making things happen on occasion nearly every week.

-Really quiet day for Oshane Ximines, who has been struggling these past 2 weeks. We have known this for awhile – the lack of power and strength is an issue and this offseason will be huge for him.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

-Overall the trio of B.J. Hill, Dexter Lawrence, and Dalvin Tomlinson held the point-of-attack well. They were up against a group of backup running backs as DET tries to get past the injury of Kerryon Johnson. Tomlinson was the highlight of the group, finishing with 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 2 TFLs. The interior of the DET offensive line has struggled this year but their center, Frank Ragnow, is a quality player. Tomlinson schooled him with quickness and effective arm-over techniques a few times.

LINEBACKER

-Alec Ogletree had 5 tackles and made solid physical impact on a few occasions. Most importantly, he played 100% of the snaps and the play of the front seven was better because of it. A healthy Ogletree may be limited in some fashion still, but I think we got a reminder just how much better he is than the replacement players we had behind him.

-The debut of the newly-signed Deone Buccanon was lackluster. He was on the field for just 11 plays and he finished with a tackle and a missed tackle.

CORNERBACK

-Janoris Jenkins brought in his NFC-leading 4th interception of the season on the opening DET drive. The Lions avoided him much of the day afterwards, and it led to a really quiet day by Marvin Jones.

-Deandre Baker continues to impress, which is obviously stemming from an increase in confidence which is making him faster and more balanced. He was tested deep a couple of times and he stayed right on his man. While he did allow a touchdown to Kenny Golladay, he actually got a hand on that ball and I can’t fault him for it. He had really tight coverage on the route. Baker finished with a team-high 8 tackles.

-Grant Haley, a week after he made the “stud” list, was up and down in this one. He was picked on early as DET targeted him multiple times on third down and succeeded. He did remain active though and made a couple of nice tackles in space. Haley also had a sack.

SAFETY

-The big passing day for Stafford was largely a result of all three safeties getting torched downfield. All three were responsible for long touchdowns and all three had missed tackles on the day. Poor game for Antoine Bethea, Jabrill Peppers, and Michael Thomas. The one positive was a forced fumble by Peppers and recovered by Bethea, however. So those two did save face to an extent.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Aldrick Rosas: No FG attempts. Missed 1 out of 4 extra point attempts.

-P Riley Dixon: 3 punts / 45.0 avg / 43.7 net

3 STUDS

-QB Daniel Jones, DT Dalvin Tomlinson, CB Janoris Jenkins

3 DUDS

-OT Nate Solder, OC Jon Halapio, S Antoine Bethea

3 THOUGHTS ON DET

  1. During the game and during the re-watch I came away with the same thought on DET receiver Kenny Golladay. This kid is heading towards superstardom. At 6’4+ / 220+ with good speed and ball skills that are approach the elite level, he may be the next uncoverable target in the Mike Evans mold. He came from a lower level of college football, thus it took some extra time to initially develop but he is in the midst of becoming the league’s next big thing.
  1. There is often debate with Pro Football Focus and their grading system. For the most part, fans use their grades as proof when it supports their opinion and they think it is useless when it goes against their opinion. I lean towards the latter, as there is too much missing information when they grade players. I do use them for snap counts and other objective information, though. I bring this up because they have been very hard on DET linebacker Jarrad Davis. I have seen DET 4 times this year and I think he is a top 10 ILB in this league, at worst. He was a wrecking crew in this game on multiple fronts.
  1. How close is DET to contention? They have the QB. They have the CB. They have an above average OL. They have a balanced and deep pass rushing attack. They have a budding superstar at WR. There are a lot of pieces in place but I think they need more dependability at running back which has been a sore spot for years (yes RBs are important) and another piece or 2 along the interior of the offensive line.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. The trade winds are in full force now. NYG is 2-6 and all but out of this divisional race. As I type this, NYG is acquiring DT Leonard Williams for an 8-week rental to see if he fits the system and is worthy of being signed to a long-term deal. If not, they will get a compensatory pick back for him in 2021, which somewhat offsets the early 3rd they are sending to NYJ and a day three pick in 2021. Next up? I think a team will come in and offer a 3rd-round pick for Janoris Jenkins, leaving NYG with the same volume of picks they entered the week with.
  1. Of all the scouting I do weekly, and knowing I watch 8-9 NFL games each week, there is something I am beginning to notice with Saquon Barkley. He tries really hard to avoid contact and there are times that I think he does this too much. He isn’t a soft player, although it looks like the fear of injury combined with the desire for the big play, hurts his inside running at times. Rarely do you see him shoot out of a cannon and make a quick decision to drive himself into a hole and gain the extra yard or two. He doesn’t fall forward like Ezekiel Elliot does and I think it holds this offense back a tad.
  1. What to do at left tackle? I disagree with the notion that Nate Solder may be traded. I can’t see it happening because he stinks and he is really expensive. How many teams would he actually help ? Not many, especially not the teams that are winning and aiming for a playoff spot. I’m not opposed to making a change and giving one of their young guys a shot. Both Chad Slade and Nick Gates did impress during preseason and while I know they may be slight drop offs from Solder’s current level of play, it wouldn’t be much. And then there is the possibility they could actually be better, don’t forget that.
Oct 212019
 
Share Button
Michael Thomas, New York Giants (October 20, 2019)

Michael Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports

Arizona Cardinals 27 – New York Giants 21

QUICK RECAP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ARI wins, 27-21.

QUARTERBACK

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

RUNNING BACK

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

WIDE RECEIVER

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

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

TIGHT END

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

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

OFFENSIVE LINE

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

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

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

EDGE

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

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

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

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

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

LINEBACKER

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

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

CORNERBACK

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

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

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

SAFETY

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

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

SPECIAL TEAMS

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

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

-Golden Tate and Darius Slayton handled return duties.

3 STUDS

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

3 DUDS

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

3 THOUGHTS ON ARI

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

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

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