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

Wan’Dale Robinson – © USA TODAY Sports


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

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


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

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

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


-Wan’Dale Robinson: 5 rec – 85 yards

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the half, the Giants led 24-0.

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

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

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

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

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

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dane Belton – © USA TODAY Sports


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

At the half, the Rams led 14-10.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

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

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

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

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

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

Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Monday.

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

© USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Darius Slayton – © USA TODAY Sports


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

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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Adoree’ Jackson – © USA TODAY Sports

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

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

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

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

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

Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media on Tuesday.

Dec 232023

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

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

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

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

Entertain us. Be gladiators. For once.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Three place kickers on IR? LOL.

“Moral victories are for losers.” Probably. But in my mind, there is a big difference between the Giants losing this game 40-6 and 20-13. I can more easily accept the latter. But another one-sided drubbing by a divisional opponent is a really tough pill to swallow. The coaching staff is not inspiring right now. They look and sound defeated. I hope their public face is not the same behind closed doors.

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

Dec 192023
Tommy DeVito, New York Giants (December 17, 2023)

Tommy DeVito – © USA TODAY Sports


Tommy DeVito: 20/34 – 177 yards / 0 TD – 0 INT / 72.8 RAT

DeVito added 36 yards on 4 carries, making it the fourth straight game he gained over 195 total yards. That is a first for Giants quarterbacks this season and a first since December 4th of 2022. He was under constant pressure from start to finish, taking 7 sacks on the day with multiple big shots. He also took a hit on a rushing attempt that put him into an in-game concussion check. As for his performance, we saw more negatives than positives. His deep vertical passing was short, he was flagged for intentional grounding, and he made some poor pocket-movement decisions against pressure. The high he and his agent have been on over the past few weeks was due to come crashing down, and that it did. DeVito did flash with both his arm and legs at times. He showed toughness, he made a few nice throws over the middle to crowded spots, and he went another full game without turning it over. The quarterback debate still does not exist in my eyes. Keep the DeVito show going through the balance of the season with Tyrod Taylor, who did see a few snaps at the end of the first half, in the backup role.


Saquon Barkley: 9 att – 14 yards / 2 rec – 23 yards

Barkley’s 14 yards were the lowest since Week 5 of 2021. He never got going against a run defense that came into the game ranked sixth worst in the NFL on a per-rush basis. The offensive line was beat off the ball the entire afternoon. His 17-yard catch on the first drive was the team’s fifth longest play of the day but by far the most impressive. It was a one-handed catch with a defender draped all over him near the boundary. It was the biggest play of the drive that led to their first points and only lead of the day.

-Matt Breida gained 21 yards on 5 touches and dropped a pass. Eric Gray got back on the field and gained 6 yards on 3 catches. It will be interesting to watch how this team distributes the carries between Breida and Gray if they want to start shelving Barkley a bit. I would like to see more of the latter.


-Darius Slayton led the team with 63 yards on 4 catches but 3 of those catches and 58 of those yards came on the final drive of the game with under five minutes left and the Saints playing prevent defense. He was a non-factor most of the afternoon.

-Wan’Dale Robinson also had 4 catches, gaining just 25 yards. He has caught 4 or more passes in 8 of 11 games this season. I’ve discussed his role and the importance to the offense in the future, as there is a level of sudden quickness and pop he brings to the table that nobody else has. Over the last four games, he has 17 catches, 9 of which have gone for a first down. He also has 3 carries, one of which went for a first down. Looking at this offensive personnel and overall situation and I am coming away with the notion that Robinson is the best “third down threat” this team has. I do not care about touchdowns or explosive plays from him as much as I do about moving the chains through his skill set. That is where they need to build and even further strengthen his role.

-Jalin Hyatt was thrown to three times, and he finished without a catch. He dropped one and had a hard time playing through contact twice. That will be the number one factor he needs to try and fix in the offseason. Some physical strength gains will help but he needs to become better at getting off press coverage. He is not slippery enough. If not, he will be an all or nothing contributor-type week to week.


-Darren Waller was back in uniform after missing a few games with a nagging hamstring injury. He added 40 yards on 4 catches, 29 of which came on one play where he made a tough grab and broke a tackle into the open field. He got mauled as a blocker against the physical NO front, but he has a different level of movement and ball skills from the slot. I do not think his 2024 roster spot is locked in because of the economics, but when he is on, Waller is the top threat in this passing game on a team starving for more threats.

-Daniel Bellinger still saw most of the snaps at tight end. He finished with 2 catches for 13 yards and allowed a pressure in pass protection. The glaring negative I have on him as a receiver is how lethargic he is post-catch. He never has been overly nimble or lethargic but the evaluator in me needs to see more urgency and fluidity upfield post-catch. His lack of ability to do so prevented an extra yard from being gained on a 3rd-and-9 pass, forcing NYG to punt. It was a notable shortcoming on his end that a quality starting tight end needs to overcome, even if he is not the best athlete. Those hidden yards I have discussed in the past add up. And some tight ends do this at such a high level. If you don’t, you better be a big-time blocker and he is not.


-The tackles both had above average games considering what their expectations are. Andrew Thomas allowed just one pressure, one that had more to do with DeVito than Thomas. Tyre Phillips was solid for most of the game but started to fall apart in the second half, mainly in the fourth quarter. He allowed two separate half-sacks and a pressure, in addition to finishing with a below average grade as a run blocker.

-Inside, Ben Bredeson allowed 2 pressures and a TFL. Another week of him getting almost no push in the in the running game, too. Unfortunately, he was the best interior blocker this team had against NO.

-Justin Pugh was overmatched from start to finish and he is up there with one of the worst performances we have seen from an NYG offensive lineman this season, and that is saying something. He allowed 2 sacks, 2 half-sacks, 2 pressures, and he was flagged for a false start. While he did help steady the ship and there truly are no better options on this roster (maybe Glowinski?), he looks like his tank is on “E”. No anchor, no displacing defenders with his hands, and no adjustment speed on stunts. Speaking of massive struggle with stunts, we saw the ugly side of rookie center John Michael Schmitz. The game got off to a rough start with two bad run game stuffs on the first two drives, one of which is the recurring problem with him getting pushed back on the outside zone runs. He allowed a sack and two half-sacks as NO Defensive Coordinator Joe Woods played games with the NYG interior all afternoon. Stunts, twists, delayed blitzes…etc. He threw the entire toolbox at Schmitz and it worked. Hopefully this is a learning experience for the rookie that he can build from because the athletic shortcomings won’t see a ton of improvement.


-Earlier in the week I commented in a thread in The Corner Forum about what NYG should be looking at with their likely top-10 draft slot. Quarterback is an option and most important – but another pass rusher is desperately needed. Kayvon Thibodeaux, who is very quickly becoming a known weapon around the league, was invisible. It is hard to blame him with the number of double teams and chip blocks he dealt with. Azeez Ojulari had one pressure on the day, and it was on a play he went unblocked. Both were ok, but not great, against the run.

-Jihad Ward and Benton Whitley were nearly non-existent. Ward did his usual gap controlling with an inability to shed his man and Whitley overshot his angle a couple times. Overall, the four NYG edge rushers had 62 shots at getting to the passer and Ojulari’s one (untouched) is the only pressure that made Carr think twice.


-Dexter Lawrence was held without a pressure for just the second time since the start of 2022. While the looks weren’t as plentiful (17 pass rushes vs. his average of 25 per game), he was double teamed on nearly every snap. Derek Carr got it out in a hurry as well.

-A’Shawn Robinson benefitted from the attention on the two main NYG front defenders. He finished with 8 tackles for the second straight week as he continues his outstanding play. Robinson has put together a lot of solid tape to warrant a contract from someone in 2024. He too did not register a single pressure.

-The Jordon Riley vs. DJ Davidson “battle” (if you will) is interesting to watch. They fill the same role and give similar results, but the route in which they get there is very different. Riley looked better in this matchup, finishing with 2 tackles away from the starting point. He shows better movement traits and just-as heavy contact as Davidson. Rakeem Nunez-Roches finished with 3 tackles and two misses.


-Bobby Okereke and Micah McFadden did not make any standout plays, something that happened during the three-game winning streak. Whether it was a tackle for a loss, turnover, or QB pressure (Okereke had one which he went untouched), neither made any of those happen in big moments. McFadden added to his too-high missed tackles number with another two in this game and was fooled badly on a play-action pass that resulted in a touchdown.

-Isaiah Simmons had one pressure on 6 pass rush attempts as they are trying to get him to the passer from a couple of different angles. He added 2 tackles.


-Very poor game by Adoree’ Jackson, who allowed all 4 targets to be completed for 74 yards (a perfect 158.3 rating for Carr when throwing his way) and was penalized for a holding penalty on a third down stop.

-In my eyes, Deonte Banks is firmly the best corner on this team. He did allow one big play and he added a missed tackle, but his coverage is looking cleaner by the week.

-The same cannot be said for Cor’Dale Flott. He allowed a touchdown on a missed assignment in zone coverage, an area of weakness he has shown in the limited time we have seen him. He has hit a little snag in his progression as the team’s future nickel, which is a spot I think will need to be addressed at some point this offseason, preferably in the draft.


-Jason Pinnock had a game of peaks and valleys. He was disruptive in multiple forms, registering the lone sack of the day, making multiple run stuffs with speed and power, and had an incredibly athletic pass break-up. He was also flagged for a pass interference in the end zone on a bad decision that lacked situational awareness. NO scored six on the next play. He also missed a tackle and overshot his pursuit angle twice. I like Pinnock a lot and when it comes to economics, he is one of the most efficient contracts on the roster, but it comes with some extra ups and downs to his game.

-Xavier McKinney did not make much happen from a big-play perspective but he did finish with 4 tackles and good coverage. Dane Belton and Nick McCould saw a few snaps in relief / spot duty.


-K Randy Bullock: 1/1 (made 56) and was injured on the ensuing kickoff
-P Jamie Gillan: 5 punts / 47.6 avg – 40.6 net) and made a 40 yard field goal


-DT A’Shawn Robinson, TE Darren Waller, OT Andrew Thomas


-OG Justin Pugh, OC John Michael Schmitz, CB Adoree’ Jackson


(1) NYG needs to avoid a mistake that the NO front office made this past offseason. They did not do a deep-enough dive on the running back they wanted to sign to pair with Alvin Kamara. Jamaal Williams led the NFL (by a wide margin) in rushing touchdowns with 17 in 2022. He had 13 over his 5-year career prior to that. The team already had the highest or second-highest contract on the books at the position in the league. They were playing a risky game at wide receiver and along the offensive live, respectively. And Derek Carr limited the ceiling of this offense to begin with. While Williams did not break the bank and Kamara began the season suspended, it looks like a wasted resource as he is producing less than he ever has. All because he was in the most favorable RB situation in the NFL last season with a dynamite OL.

(2) Trevor Penning was the team’s second first-round pick in 2022 (#19 overall) and this is going to be a very interesting case study. He has 6 starts on his resume and every one of his snaps have been at left tackle. The original plan was for him to take over for Terron Armstead after he left for Miami. A couple of injuries and some slow development has kept him out of the starting lineup despite multiple injuries to both tackle spots. Andrus Peat, their starting left guard who formerly failed at tackle, was moved back outside. Landon Young, a 2021 sixth rounder who has never put together a good stretch of football was inserted on the right side. Penning will see some blocking tight end duties along with special teams. The team, however, is insisting he is the left tackle of the future. He is a top 1% athlete (size, power, athletic ability) for the position, and he has the mentality. But waiting until year 3 on a five-year rookie deal to use him at an extremely important position while also taking their left guard out of the picture? Does not seem right. Time will tell next summer.

(3) The NFC South is a dumpster fire yet again. NO is the best team but the margin between them and the Bucs is very small. Even Atlanta can hang (they have beaten both ATL and NO). What the Saints have is a defense, and defense travels in December-January. If you’re asking me which team can pull off a crazy upset, especially at home, it is these guys. Their offense is still top-half overall despite no namers all over the place and shaky quarterback play.


(1) It was fun while it lasted. Just kidding, kinda. NYG put together three wins and played some exciting football. Maybe some were wondering “…what if.” No fault of your own if you did. It has been a long decade-plus and any sense of exciting football can get you feeling like our little ones do about the upcoming holiday. Fantasy or real. These final three games are all about evaluation. Do we really know what DeVito is? Can he lock in the cheap-backup QB option? Does he deserve to be more? How does Schmitz respond to such a poor game and has the league found the hole in his armor? Will Banks continue to improve weekly? And where does the NYG receiver group stand heading into the offseason with Robinson and Hyatt? If they can be a plus-2/3 duo, NYG can pull an aggressive trigger.

(2) When I reflect on this roster and the future, I will catch myself in a problem I think some General Managers get twisted in. You look at team and convince yourself the bones of the structure are there. The franchise left tackle. The dominant defensive lineman with a hopefully-ascending star to complement. A corner who appears to have the goods and an offensive playmaker who is still feared around the league. But then, BAM – a game like this. A reminder how many pieces it truly takes to build a credible contender that will be competitive year after year. Complacency with good but not good enough is a major issue around the league. I encourage everyone to try and watch teams like BAL, SF, DAL, PHI, even KC still. The level of “better than good” on both sides of the ball, and notably in the trenches, is head and shoulders above NYG. To some, I am stating the obvious and I know that. And I haven’t even brought up the quarterback. But as many get into draft and free agency talk – remember you should view this as another two offseasons of building the roster before NYG is even in the discussion. Don’t only look at right now. Don’t only look at 2024.

(3) Two of the these next three games are against the Eagles. The offense is what it is, and I expect many changes to that side of the ball between now and the start of 2024. But defensively? This is the group. This is the nucleus. While we will see a few new faces and perhaps a starter or two elsewhere, the majority of this defense will be tasked with slowing down Jalen Hurts and the 2024 Eagles offense. I want to see Wink Martindale try some concepts and strategy that he can carry over into the future. I believe he will (and should) be back. This team needs to figure out the division rival Eagles. They put up 108 points in 3 games against Martindale last year. When I break things down to its simplest form when it comes to where NYG needs to go from here, it starts with beating the teams in the NFC East. These two games coming up, starting with Christmas afternoon, are enormous opportunities for Martindale especially to try and figure the puzzle out. Take some risks, let’s see what happens.