Nov 142023
Tyre Phillips, New York Giants (November 12, 2023)

Tyre Phillips – © USA TODAY Sports


-Tommy DeVito: 14-27 / 86 yards / 2 TD – 1 INT

The first career start for Tommy DeVito was his third game with extensive playing time. Even though the numbers look ugly, I can say there is progress with each one of these games. And this is the first time he prepared all week as the starter. Early on, as expected, there appeared to be a lack of rhythm and feel. He missed a couple of easy throws to the flat (equivalent to a layup in basketball or a routine ground ball for a shortstop in baseball) and then evaded non-existent pressure in the pocket, which in turn created pressure. DeVito got to show off his arm a few times and while there was an underthrow deep to Jalin Hyatt that resulted in an interception, he proved he can sling it well to the outside. DeVito can make the throws, he can create with his legs, and there is a toughness about him. With that said, it is glaringly obvious he is in over his head now and offers little chance at leading this team to a win against a quality opponent. It is worth noting that both of his touchdown passes, the second one specifically, were well-placed balls with tempo and touch. Remember, a win here would be DeVito cementing himself as a capable backup for the future.


-Saquon Barkley: 13 att – 66 yards / 1 rec – -5 yards

Another gutsy performance by Barkley who had minimal-to-no space to run through for most of the game. For the second straight week, he averaged over 5 yards per carry. That is the first time we have seen that since weeks 16/17 of 2019. They took him off the field late in the game as it got out of hand and there was no point in exposing him to more injury. Barkley was the victim of a couple poor throws by DeVito as well.

-Matt Breida and Jashaun Corbin got a couple looks late in the game but there was not anything noteworthy. Corbin did catch all three of his targets for 12 yards.


-Darius Slayton led the receiver group with 3 catches and 21 yards. There appeared to be some drama with him on the sideline and at the time of this writing, I’m not sure what happened. There is not much worth commenting on. But after a game where I simply don’t have much for you from an evaluation and analysis perspective, let me say this, the players are frustrated too. This does not even seem like competitive football at times. The offense can barely function and at any given point, it is understandable and even acceptable to see a player lose his cool on the sidelines. This happens more often than people think (on every sideline) but media coverage can sway viewers into thinking a certain way as they look for intra-game storylines in a matchup that offers very little to watch between the lines. That’s all.

-Sterling Shepard caught one pass for a two-yard touchdown. We do not know when he will catch his final touchdown in a Giants uniform and this could have easily been it.

-Wan’Dale Robinson had two catches for 6 yards and Paris Campbell had one catch for 6 yards. They also handed the ball off to Robinson once and even though it ended as a no-gain, it left me wanting to see more of him in this kind of offense. Robinson can be a key part to the team moving forward but we need to see the scheme force-feed him a bit more. Get his experience level up, let him show which plays he can make and which he cannot, and allow the coaches to gain chemistry with the skill set.

-Speaking of breeding experience for the sake of potential future gains, Jalin Hyatt had just one target again. It is the fifth time he has had 1 or less targets in a game. He is being thrown to, on average, once every 21 pass plays. He was underthrown, again. Hyatt almost seems too fast for the NYG quarterbacks no matter who is back there. The effortless burst and always-available next gear is fun to watch but there is much more to chew off here than what we have seen.


-Darren Waller was placed on Injured Reserve after suffering a hamstring injury before facing his former team last week. Daniel Bellinger and Lawrence Cager will see an uptick in playing time and snaps. Even though we have not seen much improvement in year two for Bellinger as a blocker, this set up will likely result in some increased effectiveness in the trenches. He led the team with 34 yards on 2 catches and Cager scored the first NYG touchdown on a 10-yard pitch and catch. His burst and agility showed up and reminded us what he can do in open space. A definite weapon for the Giants to try and use in the coming weeks.

-Tyree Jackson, a former quarterback, saw his first snaps with the Giants and was primarily in there to block.


-Andrew Thomas started at left tackle in consecutive games for the first time since the playoff loss in Philadelphia last January. He pitched a shutout, albeit on 32 out of 57 snaps because of an injured ankle. The positive is that he came back in after the injury and did not look too different than pre-injury. Signs point to him coming back and that means we do not need to watch more of Justin Pugh at left tackle. Thomas also made a couple of key blocks on running plays when they got him moving laterally.

-Pugh essentially split his snaps between left guard and tackle. He allowed 3 pressures and a QB hit and got tossed around in the running game. Pugh and rookie center John Michael Schmitz were displaced by Dallas defenders for most of the game, lacking anchor and balance. Schmitz spends too much time on the ground and the reaction speed looks labored. There are some Evan Neal traits here (no, I am not comparing the level of play to Neal) in that his ability to recover his body control when initially lost is concerning. It will be high up on the list of skills he needs to work on.

-The right side consisted of Ben Bredeson and Tyre Phillips. They both allowed 4 pressures and the latter allowed two sacks, the former allowing one. Bredeson was the bigger disappointment here and it caused issues with DeVito, who already seemed jittery in the pocket early on, as his pressures were right in the face of the undrafted rookie. Phillips at least made a positive impact as a run blocker on some of Barkley’s better runs while Bredeson just did not seem to compete.


-Kayvon Thibodeaux played just 40 snaps before leaving the game with a concussion. On those 40 snaps he did not register a single tackle or pressure. In three out of four games against Dallas, Thibodeaux has one pressure. One of the best performances of his career also came in a matchup against DAL in November of 2022 where he had 9 pressures as he abused Tyler Smith as a rookie (now their left guard).

-Azeez Ojulari returned from his ankle injury he suffered Week 5 in Miami. He played just 17 snaps but did show up a few times. He came up with a big 4th-and-1 stop and had 2 pressures. One of the few positives to keep an eye on in the coming weeks will be when he and Thibodeaux play together. We have not seen it much over the past year and a half.

-Boogie Basham saw an uptick in playing time and Jihad Ward continued his presence as the stout edge setter. Both missed a tackle and Ward added a QB hit, Basham added 4 tackles. For guys who are going to be near non-factors against the pass, I think they need better run game prowess than what they offer.


-Dexter Lawrence had one hurry and one QB hit as a pass rusher. This is the first time we have seen two consecutive “quiet” games out of the sure-thing All Pro. I thought his run defense was exceptional on two fronts, however. He created a logjam inside on multiple occasions that resulted in stops (wins for the defense) and made yet another impressive tackle on the move near the sideline. Do not underestimate how special that ability is from the A-Gap.

-I thought D.J. Davidson flashed late in the game where his snaps saw an uptick. He had 2 pressures and 2 tackles. He has shown a knack for getting to the passer via a strong bull rush. A’Shawn Robinson added 2 pressures and 2 tackles. He gets turned too often in the running game and it hurt the Giants in short-yardage situations. The high pad level has something to do with that. I also see a conditioning shortcoming when he is on the field for longer spurts. He had this issue in Los Angeles as well.

-Rakeem Nunez-Roches played 35 snaps for the second straight week. He made 3 tackles but was a non-factor on 17 pass rush attempts.


-Bobby Okereke and Micah McFadden were solid for most of the afternoon despite DAL averaging over 5 yards per carry. Okereke finished with 11 tackles and a QB hit. McFadden added 6 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 pressure. Both are seeing the game well, much better than early in the year. I am going to mark them as a positive to this team moving forward which is important. Not having Leonard Williams up front is a problem, however, especially for McFadden. He is getting out-angled by offensive linemen and that is a result of the downgrade up front.

-Isaiah Simmons is a third-down defender and special teamer who remains more athlete than football player. NYG did not give up much for him but I would be lying if I said I was not disappointed by the lack of impact.


-Deonte Banks is inching toward the league lead in flags. He needs to learn to play with and trust his feet. The movement traits are all there. He knows it and we know it. It is easy to see. But when a player gets this grabby it is a sign he lacks the confidence in his ability to make the right reads. That is where he resides right now and good receivers/quarterbacks know how to take advantage of it with lots of double routes and late breaks. This will be the approach with him until he proves he can be better.

-Cor’Dale Flott and Darnay Holmes both picked off Prescott. Flott left the game early with a shoulder injury, opening the door for a lot of different players to try and slow down the Dallas secondary. Simply put, they were burned badly. CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks combined for 20 catches / 324 yards / 2 TDs.

-Nick McCloud allowed 5 catches on 6 targets, Tre Hawkins allowed a 41-yard touchdown where he struggled to locate the ball, Holmes gave up 128 yards on 8 targets. No matter who the Giants threw out there, it was ugly. And the Dallas first stringers did not even play the entire game.


-With the instability at corner (and Adoree’ Jackson being out to begin with) we saw more multiple safety packages. Xavier McKinney and Jason Pinnock were still the mainstays, combining for 19 tackles. McKinney performed better in coverage and Pinnock missed two tackles.

-Dane Belton and Bobby McCain saw most of their snaps in the second half. McCain allowed a touchdown but also broke up a pass while Belton allowed a 28-yard reception on the one pass he was targeted on. He also added a pressure. McCain has surprisingly seen very little action this year, as I thought he would take on the hybrid Julian Love role. Belton is still the guy I want to see more of down the stretch because I want to have a better grasp of what he is. There is talent here but he does not show the proper feel. That could simply be an experience thing.


-K Randy Bullock: 1/1 (Made 40)
-P Jamie Gillan: 7 punts / 50.0 avg – 45.9 net


-OT Andrew Thomas, DT Dexter Lawrence, CB Cor’Dale Flott


-OG Ben Bredeson, CB Darnay Holmes, Nick McCloud


1. Is Dallas as good as some want to believe? I have leaned on point differential when looking at season-long success and evaluation. It is not the only marker, but it does break ties in my head. Dallas is +104 nine games into the season. That is third best in the NFL. But look at these wins they have. 40-point win over NYG, 20 point win over NYJ, 35 point win over NE, 3 point win over LAC, 23 point win over LAR, 32 point win over NYG. Their losses? 12-point loss vs. ARI. 32-point loss vs. SF, 5-point loss vs. PHI. It does not take much analysis to realize they’re head and shoulders above the worst teams in the NFL, but I still have a hard time accepting they are in the same tier with the best the NFL has to offer.

2. DeMarcus Lawrence is playing some of the best football of his career. The 31-year-old is turning into another Cameron Jordan-type player on the back half of his career. Early on he evolved into a double-digit sack guy and league leader in pressures. While his pure pass-rush effectiveness might be a tad less, it is still well above average, and his run defense has turned into an elite trait for an edge defender. This is something all young edge guys should be watching, Thibodeaux included. His power, strength, and techniques have constantly improved, and he is now an every-down threat, one who can line up all over the defensive line.

3. The one area this offense needs to improve the most is in the red zone. This is where they miss Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore and running back Ezekiel Elliot the most. Their offensive line is more than good enough, and their weapons are too. The play calling and execution are not. If they want to win multiple games in January, those hidden points are going to be the deciding factor.


1. Something to keep an eye on I the coming two months of football. How much does Dexter Lawrence and Kayvon Thibodeaux need another big defensive line performer to do their jobs at a high level effectively? Lawrence is playing at better defensive tackle than everyone in the NFL now. Nine weeks in, I can say that with confidence. Thibodeaux is up and down, understandably so with what has been going on around him and the skill set he currently possesses. But since the trade of Williams to Seattle, we can make the case they have been a bit quiet in the passing game compared to where they were. I like Jordon Riley and I like D.J. Davidson, but I am not sold they are the kind of player who will line up next to Lawrence rather than behind him. If we see a quiet Lawrence + Williams duo the rest of the way, another inside pass rusher needs to be a priority in the offseason.

2. At some point we need to start seeing more of Tre Hawkins and Jordon Riley. If/when Gervarrius Owens is up to speed and fully healthy, he needs to be in that group as well. While the Giants offense needs to be the primary focus next offseason, we cannot overlook a defense that has allowed the 4th-most points in the league, 2nd-most yards per attempt in the passing game, and 4th-most yards per rush. I think many are overlooking how bad this defense really is simply because they were solid against the Jets, Commanders, and Bills. And NYG needs a strong grasp on what these guys are.

3. I’ll honest and transparent here. This game review was hard to do. Re-watching that twice from different angles was hard to do. It feels like I am not breaking down professional football right now. But when it comes down to what I am supposed to do for Eric and BBI, I suck it up and do the job the best I can. There is still a lot of football to break down and there are certain players to keep an extra close eye on regarding the future. What disappoints me now is watching how some (not all) members of the media and some (not all) members of the NYG organization cannot seem to maintain integrity and respect for the people that provide the money that allow them to work in football for a living. Made up stories. Trashing a player for spending time with his family. Lame attempts late on a Monday night to act in a condescending manner to fans on X. Yes, all are signs of a losing franchise (an all-time losing team and run of losing teams) but the character of some of these guys can be tough to look past. Break the game down, agree of disagree respectfully, keep the other stuff out. You know who you are, too.

Nov 122023

The Dallas Cowboys obliterated the New York Giants 49-17 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas on Sunday. The Cowboys swept the Giants for the third season in a row and sixth time in the last seven seasons. Dallas outscored New York 89-17 in their two games this year. The Giants are now 2-8.

The game was not as close as the lopsided final score, as the Cowboys led 28-0 at halftime and 42-7 late in the third quarter. The overall final team statistics tell the story:

  • First downs. Cowboys 32. Giants 16.
  • Third-down efficiency. Cowboys 6-of-12. Giants 0-of-12.
  • Total net yards. Cowboys 640. Giants 172.
  • Average gain per offensive play. Cowboys 8.3. Giants 3.1.
  • Net yards passing. Cowboys 472. Giants 61.
  • Time of possession. Cowboys 37:21. Giants 22:39.

At halftime, the Giants only had one first down and 27 yards while the Cowboys had 20 and 368 yards. Dallas also had ten plays of 21 or more yards in the game.

Quarterback Dak Prescott completed 26-of-35 passes for 404 yards and four touchdowns. He also ran for another score for a total of five touchdowns on the day. His back-up, Cooper Rush, completed 7-of-9 throws for 68 yards and another score. Both Dallas quarterbacks were picked off once.

Quarterback Tommy DeVito finished the game 14-of-27 for 86 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. No Giants player had more than three catches. Running back Saquon Barkley carried the ball 13 times for 66 yards.

Other than the two interceptions, the defense was humiliated, allowing over 600 yards of total offense and seven touchdowns. It was the second-most yards in Cowboys’ history. The team did not sack any Cowboys’ quarterback for the fourth time in two seasons. Two receivers – CeeDee Lamb and Brandin Cooks – combined for 324 receiving yards alone. The Cowboys also rushed for 168 yards.

GAME VIDEO LOWLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants activated OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle) to the 53-man roster from Injured Reserve. The Giants also activated (standard elevation) TE Tyree Jackson and PK Randy Bullock from the Practice Squad.

Inactive for the game were RB Deon Jackson (concussion), RT Evan Neal (ankle), OG Mark Glowinski (personal matter), CB Adoree’ Jackson (concussion), DL Jordon Riley, S Gervarrius Owens, and PK Cade York.

LT Andrew Thomas (knee) left the game, but returned. WR Jalin Hyatt (concussion), OLB Kayvon Thibodeaux (concussion), CB Deonte Banks (ankle), CB Cor’Dale Flott (shoulder) left the game 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

  • Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video)
  • QB Tommy DeVito (Video)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (Video)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (Video)
  • LT Andrew Thomas (Video)
  • OG Justin Pugh (Video)

Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Nov 102023

Thank you sir… may I have another?

Once again, a part of the site that is supposed to be dedicated to analyzing specific games has turned into a running commentary on the season. But at this point, I see no reason to get into X’s and O’s for a team basically playing out the string.

For fans, this is a really bad situation. It’s not like there are only two or three games left to play. There are eight, which is half the schedule. And with little to play for other than pride, and factoring in the remaining opponents and the situation at quarterback, many anticipate the losses to continue to pile up. The Giants could be looking at a disastrous 2-15, 3-14, or 4-13 type season. With each loss, the emotional toll will build. More and more fans will advocate for another complete overhaul simply for cathartic purposes.

And there’s the rub. Each time a general manager or head coach is fired, the rebuilding clock gets set back to zero. I’ve tried to make this point for years but I still don’t think many fans completely accept this principle. If the Giants fire their fourth coach in a row after two seasons, we’re talking about Dan Snyder level of turnover/incompetence. On the other hand, if you don’t have the right general manager and head coach, you’re not going to get better either.

John Mara has hired three general managers (Jerry Reese, David Gettleman, Joe Schoen) and four head coaches (Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur, Joe Judge, Brian Daboll). It’s not a great batting average. If you start over, there is absolutely no guarantee the next duo is going to be better than Schoen and Daboll. On the flip side, do you trust them to get the quarterback right when they just gave Daniel Jones a 4-year, $160 million contract? In their defense, are two drafts and one legitimate free agent period enough time to rebuild what was a horrific roster? Back and forth…argument and counter-argument.

It boils down to this. The Giants are going to finish the season with a horrible record. They may not win another game. Bill Parcells would have a hard time winning another game with a rookie undrafted quarterback. The Cowboys will complete the sweep on Sunday. The Eagles will embarrass the Giants two more times. If you think that is on Schoen and Daboll, you’ll want them gone. If you think the roster is the issue, you’re more inclined to give them more time. My gut tells me Mara has already made the decision to bring both back. I don’t think Daboll is stupid enough to melt down like Judge and force Mara’s hand.


  • RB Jashaun Corbin (hamstring – questionable)
  • RB Deon Jackson (concussion – out)
  • WR Parris Campbell (hamstring – questionable)
  • LT Andrew Thomas (hamstring – probable)
  • RT Evan Neal (ankle – out)
  • OG Justin Pugh (ankle – probable)
  • OG Mark Glowinski (personal matter – questionable)
  • OLB Azeez Ojulari (ankle – questionable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (concussion – out)
  • S Dane Belton (back – probable)

This is how bad it is:

  • Total yards per game: 268.9 – dead last in the NFL
  • Passing yards per game: 155.0 – dead last in the NFL
  • Points per game: 11.2 – dead last in the NFL (no one else is close)

Coaching? Perhaps. But Brian Daboll has been in this league a long time. I still contend it’s been a combination of countless offensive line issues and lineups, injuries to the most important players, and poor quarterback play. Whatever the reason, you can’t win these numbers. The Giants might not score 200 points this year.

I don’t buy the argument that Schoen and Daboll were smart for the way Daniel Jones’ contract situation was handled. No, Schoen and Daboll would have been smart to slap a 1-year franchise tag on Jones. They gambled that Jones was more likely to keep playing like he did down the stretch in 2022. They lost that huge gamble. It was the worst move of an offseason that otherwise looked pretty strong (good draft, decent free agent period, re-signing players like Andrew Thomas and Dexter Lawrence and passing on guys like Leonard Williams, Adoree’ Jackson, and Xavier McKinney). But because it was the quarterback position and because it involved $160 million, it was a big miss. Regardless of who the GM or HC are, the Giants are stuck with Jones for one more year, either as a lame duck starter or expensive clipboard holder. It will be an uncomfortable situation for all parties.

The final kick in the nads for Jones will be if Tommy DeVito shows any signs of life in the final eight games. No, I’m not talking about him being an answer at quarterback, but simply if the offense begins to generate more than 11 points per game. Jones finished 2023 with two touchdowns. If DeVito throws one more TD, he ties Jones in that department (he’s already tied him with rushing TDs with one). Through nine games, the three New York Giants quarterbacks have thrown five touchdown passes. FIVE. It makes one long for the days of Dave Brown.

Regardless, everyone is coming to the realization that the Daniel Jones era is about over. Two neck injuries and an ACL tear for a quarterback who does his best work on the run is simply the exclamation point. Hopefully, common sense prevails over warm, fuzzy feelings by Mara for Jones.

2023 was also a disaster for Evan Neal, who never seemed to get into a groove due to alternating poor play and injury issues. He’s out again now with an injury that may sideline him much of the remainder of the season. When Neal did show some small signs of improvement, he got hurt. Like Jones, the Giants simply cannot afford to assume Neal will be part of the solution in 2023. They have to have bring in a legitimate insurance policy, either in free agency or the draft. The disappointment is so great that the offensive line coach may have to be fairly or unfairly scapegoated.

As for the game, the dead last Giants offense will be facing the NFL’s third-ranked defense. Oh boy.

Status report:

  • Total yards allowed per game: 338.3 – 21st in the NFL
  • Passing yards allowed per game: 211.2 – 11th in the NFL
  • Rushing yards allowed per game: 127.1 – 25th in the NFL
  • Points allowed per game: 24.1 – 24th in the NFL

The defense started off slow, improved markedly in weeks 6-8, and then regressed last week. It hasn’t been helped by an anemic offense and shoddy special teams play. The kick to the groin was going 1-2 during a three-week span where the defense gave up a total of 34 points (11 points per game), effectively ending the season. Then they saw one of their most respected defensive leaders and effective two-way players traded away.

Moving forward, the defense simply has to accept the situation for what it is, do its job to the best of its ability, and not complain. You deal with the chips dealt to you. And the players will be judged and evaluated on the effort and performance they give. The last eight games are not just about 2023, but 2024. Xavier McKinney may have already dug his own grave.

Losing Williams hurt the pass rush. It makes it easier for teams to deal with Dexter Lawrence and Kavyon Thibodeaux. The Giants may get Azeez Olulari back, but he has to prove he can stay on the field and be an effective two-way player.

As for Dallas, again, this looks like trouble. The Cowboys are 10th in the NFL in yards per game and third in scoring. They are averaging 27.5 points per contest and will be facing a team that scores less than half that mark. Yikes.

The Giants are so bad on offense that they didn’t even get to test one of their two new kickers last week. Here comes the Cowboys, whose blocked field goal in Week 1 was the catalyst for New York’s downward spiral.

As a lifelong New York Giants fan, I can never root against the team. When they lose, I’m in a bad mood. When they win, I’m happy. But I cannot move past the notion that the higher their first pick is in the draft, the more likely the team will be able to select their preferred solution at quarterback. I appreciate the counter-argument and agree with it… that the only way to build a winning culture is to win. But New York is in quarterback hell right now. Until they fix that, they aren’t a serious football team. The Giants have painted me into a position where if they win, I’m not sure it is a good thing. And that’s a bad place to be.

Sep 122023
New York Giants (September 10, 2023)

© USA TODAY Sports


Daniel Jones: 15/28 – 104 yards / 0 TD – 2 INT / 32.4 RAT

Jones also ran the ball 13 times and gained 43 yards on the ground. He fumbled twice, neither of which were recovered by DAL. It was a night to forget for too many reasons to count. Part of the expectation after signing the 4 year / $160 Million contract this offseason includes him playing better and creating more with what he is given. Jones was under pressure the entire night, he dealt with poor snaps in the shotgun that threw off timing and ball security, and it was wet. Add that to the fact he played against one of the top defenses in football and it all adds up to facing a wall. How did Jones respond to that wall? Did he scale it? Did he at least put a dent in it? No, he did not. The first interception was not on him, as Saquon Barkley should have held on to that ball. The second interception? The near-third? All on Jones and the play where he was running out of bounds and threw it back into traffic where more DAL defenders than NYG targets were, on first down, was about as bad as it gets. We saw Bryce Young and CJ Stroud and Anthony Richardson make those mistakes in their rookie debuts. Jones, a fifth year-veteran and $40 million quarterback absolutely cannot make that mistake.

A shutout cannot be solely placed on Jones’ shoulders. There are multiple components that led to one of the worst Week 1 losses the NFL has ever seen. But 0 points? Missed throws? Bad decisions? The same bad decisions he needs to be past by now? There are lot of people in this organization that need to look themselves in the mirror. Jones is, without question, one of them. Poor performance and not halfway up to par for a $40 million QB.


Saquon Barkley: 12 att – 51 yards / 3 rec – 12 yards

Barkley was charged with a drop (that turned into a Jones interception / pick six for the defense). It could have been charged a fumble. Either way, a major blow to the offense and team overall as it put seven points on the board for Dallas. Beyond that, Barkley looked solid early on pushing piles and putting his shoulder down. The issue I have is what he left on the field. I watched the game from the end zone and he had three different runs where the cutback lane was there, and he did not take it. The best-vision backs can anticipate those lanes, the good-vision backs can react to those lanes. The poor-vision backs never see it. Barkley went 0-for-3 there.

-Matt Breida added 9 yards on 2 carries and Gary Brightwell saw time late when things were out of hand, gaining 5 yards on his lone carry.


-It was a tough game to evaluate the wide receiver play between the weather and the time available in the passing game. Most of the Jones drop backs did not even allow the receivers to get into their routes. Darius Slayton had 3 rec / 15 yards, Paris Campbell had one catch for 2 yards and a drop, and Isaiah Hodgins had 1 catch for 24 yards that resulted in a lost fumble. Those were the receivers who played the most. As much as we discuss better targets in the arsenal for Jones and the offense, it still looks like an underwhelming group, does it not?

-Jalin Hyatt had one target in his debut, a poor throw by Jones but it should have been brought in by the rookie. He dropped a ball that hit both his hands and that was the last we saw of him. The league is already fearful of the speed. DAL corner Trevon Diggs was providing a lot of space underneath on routes when he was on Hyatt to protect from getting beat over the top. Unfortunately, Hyatt’s true impact will only be felt when the line does its job.


-Darren Waller: 3 rec – 36 yards

-Waller led the team in yards and targets, playing just over half the snaps. He was on a pitch count because of an aggravated hamstring, something to monitor. This is not the first time. He made two nice hand-grabs on balls away from his body. On the opening drive, Waller was going to be targeted on the 3rd-and-2 false start by Andrew Thomas. It was set up well for an easy touchdown. They are doing a lot to get him open underneath and over the middle. The few times he lined up with his hand in the dirt and was asked to block did not go well. He was the reason NYG failed a 3rd-and-2 conversion attempt on a Jones outside run. That isn’t why he is here, but for this offense to remain efficient with two tight ends on the field in the running game, he needs to show more there.

-Daniel Bellinger played almost two-thirds of the team’s offensive snaps, most on the team for the position. He did not receive a single target and graded poorly as a blocker. He allowed a sack to Demarcus Lawrence on a play where he was tossed to the ground as if he were a 180-pound receiver, a complete non-factor. There was talk about his strength gains among many in the media because they saw a picture with his shirt sleeve rolled up and his bicep looked big. It does not work that way. Bellinger’s power in the trenches was a problem. He did not look effective in that role at all.

-Lawrence Cager got a few snaps toward the end of the game and brought in 2 catches for 17 yards.


-Tough to figure out where to start. The newly signed Andrew Thomas pulled his hamstring early (on the blocked field goal) and gutted out 53 snaps the rest of the game. He was clearly playing through a lot of pain and at the time of this writing, we are waiting on MRI results. Regarding the game itself, Thomas was not the reliable force that he was in 2022. The 3rd-and-2 false start was one of the biggest plays of the night. He was also flagged for hold that got declined and he allowed 3 pressures, one of which caused a sack, and a half-TFL. I applaud and respect the effort, but the performance itself was not up to par. Unfortunately, 65% of Thomas is better than 100% of anyone else they can put in at left tackle.

-Ben Bredeson and rookie John Michael Schmitz both played all 70 snaps, and both graded out well below average. Bredeson allowed a pressure and a TFL. He was also flagged for a holding penalty. While he is the top left guard on this team, he has too many snaps where he looks like he is better suited for the interior backup role. The lack of bend and adjustment speed are issues against a fast defense like this. He looks the part in the running game, and he gets movement off the ball, but I am concerned about any potential progress he can make as a pass blocker. Schmitz is a step behind the power component to pro tackles. He wound up getting pushed back 3-4 yards on plays he needed to get lateral. It completely threw off the vital timing variables to the outside zone NYG likes to use. He, too, was better in the power game going downhill.

-Now, we move on the right side. The combination of Mark Glowinski and Evan Neal in this game was the worst one-side performances I have seen, possibly ever, in my personal history of watching the Giants. Glowinski allowed 3 sacks (and had another called off by a penalty) and 4 pressures. The 31-year old was signed last year to give the team a solid, yet unspectacular, veteran presence who at least had a high floor. There is a hole in the floor. His knee bend was not there, and he is not a very big, powerful guy. He can’t afford to play with poor bend. Another game like that and he should be put on the bench. Absolutely atrocious game and clearly unacceptable.

-As for Evan Neal. I’ve been vocal about him being the most important player on offense not named Daniel Jones. NYG was dead last in the league in explosive passing plays in 2022. Chicago was better. Houston was better. Improved pieces are in place but if Evan Neal cannot be trusted to maintain pass protection for 3 seconds, maybe even 4, they will be near or at the bottom again. Week 1 was a nightmare result of the biggest variable in this discussion. 5 pressures, 2 sacks, and 1 TFL for the 7th overall pick of the 2022 NFL Draft. No injuries to lean on for an excuse. No new positions. No new schemes. No new coaching. Just bad football by a player who will run out of excuses by November if he keeps this up. Don’t ask about a move to guard right now. The question is how long he can hold on to a starting role if he does not improve. Year 2, you’re on notice.

-We saw backups Matt Peart and Joshua Ezeudu get on the field late. Peart played 4 snaps before getting injured and Ezeudu saw 14 snaps at left tackle, a position he played in college. Ezeudu’s biggest gaffe was the missed block that led to the blocked field goal. The ONE thing you cannot do as the outside blocker is allow an untouched defender go through inside. That’s exactly what he did, and the result was, well you know.


-Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari combined for 74 snaps, 36 of which were rushing the passer. There was not one pressure accrued from them. Thibodeaux added 4 tackles and played some solid run defense, but Ojulari did not factor there. The concern I have with the 5th overall pick from the 2022 NFL Draft, Thibodeaux, is the lack of power in his game. I discussed this during training camp last summer, I brought it up again during the season, and it is still worry number one. His anchor and sheer strength are a notch below average. You have almost no chance at being a big-time pass rusher without a power element to your game. Look around the league and you will see what I mean.

-Newly acquired Boogie Basham saw most of his snaps late in the game. He, too, did not apply any pressure and added just one tackle. He and Jihad Ward, the one edge defender who did get a pressure (literally one), are the same player. Stout and strong, but slow and limited.


-Dexter Lawrence began his year where he left off in January. The best player on this defense was a bright spot, finishing with 4 tackles and 4 pressures, 2 of which were QB hits. Leonard Williams added a pressure and 2 tackles. Something to keep an eye on is the snap share. Lawrence played 64% of the snaps, Williams 55%. While this game is not the best gauge for what to expect, I do foresee this being closer to the norm than what we saw in 2022 where they were playing 80-90% of the snaps week in, week out.

-The rotational pieces all showed what they can do, albeit lacking some consistency against the run. Jordon Riley had a TFL on an impressive play usually reserved for Lawrence. I continue to be impressed with his play at his size. Veterans Rakeem Nunez-Roches and A’Shawn Robinson both gathered 3 tackles. Robinson looked rustier than anything after not playing a single snap in preseason. Although it is hard to be optimistic about anything right now, the Giants defensive front can still be viewed as a strong unit, and they showed enough against DAL.


-During preseason, I discussed how big of a difference I felt Bobby Okereke can make for the Martindale scheme. While he was not close to the biggest issue in this loss, like what I said about expectations that are now on Daniel Jones because of the contract, a similar argument can be made about Okereke. He found himself on the wrong side of the blocks way too often. He had 5 tackles, and he did force a fumble on a downfield play (recovered by DAL), but re-watching the tape showed late movement and awareness. We can chalk it up to a new scheme and new surroundings, but he cannot have many more performances like that.

-Micah McFadden, on the other hand, came to play. He had 10 tackles, the team lead, one of which went for a loss and one coming on special teams. The inside linebacker spot next to Okereke has been a topic of discussion and McFadden tightened his choke hold on it.

-Potential difference maker Isaiah Simmons played exactly the amount I have projected he would. I said 15-20 snaps per game, he played 15 snaps. He rushed the passer on 6, he dropped into coverage on 5, and defended the run on 4. He finished with 1 tackle and looked good in coverage. He covers a ton of ground in a hurry.


-For the first time since 2008, a team opened week one with two rookies starting at outside corner. How did Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins fare in their debuts? They were the two players on the defense that were flagged. Hawkins twice, one of which was a pass interference on a 3rd-and-12 stop that resulted in a 37-yard gain for the Dallas offense. He did finish with 7 tackles and showed a physical brand, which will be a difference maker, but his coverage looked grabby and unsure. Banks looked crisper and more confident with his technique and ability to read routes, but left the game early with cramps.

-Adoree’ Jackson’s debut as a starting nickel had mixed results. He was the biggest culprit on the longest play of the game, a 49-yard gain on a play where Jackson did not feel the unofficial pick coming and ended on the ground in man coverage against the Cowboys best receiver, a place you never want to be. Jackson’s ability is a solid, not great, fit for nickel. However, there are elements you have to deal with, such as traffic like he saw on that play, that he does not have a ton of experience with.

-Nick McCloud saw some action after Banks went down and Darnay Holmes played just 4 snaps. Neither made anything notable happen.


-Another bright spot can be the play of Xavier McKinney. He was on the field for all 58 snaps with 4 tackles and 2 pass breakups. He also showed some very smart play with chips on receivers that were crossing his face while he was moving downhill. I don’t see that often when watching safeties. It stems from incredible on-field IQ and fast reaction times. Jason Pinnock also played all 58 snaps, finishing with 5 tackles and a missed tackle.

-Dane Belton was the only other safety to play, and he was on the field for just 6 plays. He lost the edge on Tony Pollard’s second touchdown creating a walk-in.


-K Graham Gano: 0/1 (Missed 36)
-P Jamie Gillan: 3 Punts / 53.3 avg – 47.7 net


-S Xavier McKinney, LB Micah McFadden, DT Dexter Lawrence


-OG Mark Glowinski, OT Evan Neal, OLB Azeez Ojulari


1. What made this Dallas defense so dominant? It is never one answer, it is never one player. But if you want the start of something that is too long-winded to write here, here you go. The speed and power of their front seven with Micah Parsons looking like he is on a different level than a year ago (which is potentially very bad news) is where I start. They did not do anything overly complex up front. Some stunts and twists, some blitzing, some alignment changes for #11. But it was not anything extreme, it was something we see often across multiple defenses. They simply beat NYG blockers to spots over and over. And the few times those blockers engaged resulted in physical beat downs. Tough to compete with a defense that is both faster and stronger than you, plain and simple.

2. Part of my reason for my Dallas skepticism has centered around how reliant their defense and team overall has been on the turnover margin. They are +25 over the past two seasons. The second highest league wide? +15. Fifth highest? +9. A three-year run at this pace of 10+ per year would be historic. One game in, they’re +4. If they are indeed this level of elite, my 8-9 projection will likely be one of my biggest misses. And I hate to say it, but their speed and the fact they have the game’s top defensive player opens the door to that turnover number.

3. Where is the Achilles’ heel on this offense? We know the defense will be very good. In the NFC, the door is open to the point if you are dominant in one element, you can be merely average in the other and you’re in the postseason. Dak Prescott is what he is (and that is good enough). CeeDee Lamb now has a credible number two in Brandin Cooks. Tony Pollard is a potential star. I see the offensive line and Mike McCarthy holding the keys. Tyron Smith is still good, but he missed 15 games in 2020, 6 in 2021, and 16 in 2022. Their depth is an unknown. With Kellen Moore in Los Angeles now, McCarthy needs to prove he can avoid silly game management mistakes and not run Pollard into the ground, a guy who has never been an every down player.


1. My yearly reminder: Week 1 does not matter as much as you think it does. I would say the same thing if the Giants were on the opposite side of this debacle. The objective value of a week one loss is the same as a week 18 loss that prevents a team from making the playoffs, yes. But to change the perceived trajectory of a team based on one game, especially so early in the year, is foolish. Cincinnati isn’t doing it. Kansas City isn’t doing it. Different tiers of teams, I know. But the point remains that this 40-point loss counts the same as an overtime loss. I would rather see this week one than in week eight. Plus, I think this opens the door to learning what this entire roster and coaching staff have under the hood deep inside when they take the field in Arizona next week.

2. We can sit here and talk badly about the players, deservedly so. They got trounced all three phases from start to finish in embarrassing fashion. They will need to acknowledge and own it until they are on the field against the Cardinals. But what about the coaching staff? I am always hesitant to point the finger at coaching unless I know the facts of what is going on inside the building. Even with that, it is hard to walk away from this without putting at least some of the blame on the coaches. Daboll, Kafka, Martindale, McGaughey were disassembled on national TV. They were THE difference last year. But this is the NFL and innovation only lasts so long. Dallas had the response and speed ready for the bootlegs. They knew how to keep Prescott clean blitz or no blitz, and they simply had their players ready. Coaches, step it up. Success last year means absolutely nothing. Your last two games were against division rivals Philadelphia and Dallas. The combined score was 78-7.

3. The biggest issue, once again, is the offensive line. Captain Obvious. Do you make a move right away? What is the move? The answer partially resides in the Andrew Thomas MRI report. If he is out, are they relying on Matt Peart? Is he even healthy? What is plan C? Joshua Ezeudu? What if he needs to step in at right guard for Glowinski? The constants appear to be Neal at RT (you are not moving him this year), Schmitz at OC, and Bredeson at LG. If a move is coming, it will be Bredeson to RG and Ezeudu inserted into left guard after an underwhelming preseason. But as I said above, we will find an objective answer what is inside these players and I want Glowinski to be a part of that. No knee jerk reactions from me. I want the same five out there (pending the Thomas injury) to see what these guys are all about. They play the San Francisco front in 10 days, too.

Sep 112023
Daniel Jones, New York Giants (September 10, 2023)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

The New York Giants were completely and utterly embarrassed by the Dallas Cowboys 40-0 on Sunday night at MetLife Stadium. The Giants begin the season 0-1 and in last place in the NFC East.

The scoreboard was telling, but so were the overall game stats. Despite running 66 offensive plays, the Giants were held to 14 first downs and 171 total net yards, including only 63 net yards passing.

The Giants received the football to start the game and had their best offensive possession of the night, moving from their own 25-yard line to the Dallas 8-yard. However, on 3rd-and-2, a false start on left tackle Andrew Thomas and a bad snap by center John Michael Schmitz pushed New York back to the 21-yard line. Place kicker Graham Gano’s 45-yard field goal attempt was blocked and returned for a touchdown. The Cowboys missed the extra point. It was all downhill for the Giants after that.

After the Giants went three-and-out on their second possession, the Cowboys responded with a 9-play, 72-yard drive that resulted in a 21-yard field goal to make the score 9-0. On the third play of New York’s third possession, a pass from quarterback Daniel Jones went off of the hands of running back Saquon Barkley after contact from a defender. It was intercepted and returned 22 yards for a defensive score. The Cowboys were now up 16-0.

The Giants went three-and-out again near the end of the first quarter. Dallas responded with another field goal drive, this time moving 60 yards in 11 plays to make it 19-0.  On the very next offensive snap by the Giants, Jones was intercepted at the New York 38-yard line. Five plays later, the Cowboys pretty much ended the game with a 2-yard rushing touchdown that made the score 26-0.

The Giants gained 57 yards on their sixth possession of the half, but the drive ended with a missed 36-yard field goal. After a three-and-out by the Cowboys, the half ended appropriately with Daniel Jones being sacked.

If the 26-0 halftime deficit wasn’t dreary enough, Dallas made it worse by marching down the field (10 plays, 75 yards) for a touchdown on their opening drive of the third quarter. 33-0. The Giants gained one first down before Jones was sacked twice more and the team was forced to punt. After a Dallas punt, the Giants gained 30 yards and then turned the football over on downs at midfield as the third quarter ended.

The Cowboys opened the fourth quarter with their final touchdown drive of the night, an 8-play, 50-yard affair that resulted with another rushing score. On New York’s very next offensive snap, wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins fumbled the ball away after a 24-yard catch. Dallas mercifully went three-and-out. Then came a ridiculous 10-play drive by the Giants that picked up three first downs but only netted 19 yards due to penalties and sacks. The Giants turned turned over the ball on downs again. The game ended with a whimper three minutes later.

The Giants’ 12 offensive possessions resulted in:

  • a blocked field goal for a touchdown
  • two interceptions, one resulting in a touchdown
  • a fumble
  • two turnovers on downs
  • a missed field goal
  • three punts
  • the end of the half and the end of the game

Jones, who was harassed much of the night, finished the game 15-of-28 for 104 yards, no touchdowns, and two interceptions. He was sacked seven times, losing 47 yards, and hit 12 times. No Giant had more than three catches or 36 receiving yards. Barkley rushed 12 times for 51 yards and Jones rushed 13 times for 43 yards.

The defense allowed five scoring drives, including three rushing touchdowns. Dallas was 6-of-13 (46 percent) on third down and 1-of-2 on fourth down. The Giants had no sacks only hit the quarterback three times. They did not create a turnover.

GAME VIDEO LOWLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants activated (standard elevation) RB Taiwan Jones from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster.

Inactive for the game were WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee), DL D.J. Davidson (knee), LB Cam Brown (ankle), CB Cor’Dale Flott (hamstring), S Gervarrius Owens (hamstring), and OL Shane Lemieux.

CB Deonte Banks left the game with cramps. LT Andrew Thomas injured his hamstring on the blocked field goal and eventually departed the contest. He will have an MRI to determine the severity of the injury. PK Graham Gano took a cleat to his calf and underwent x-rays after 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

ESPN is reported on Saturday that the Giants have re-structured the contracts of defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence and inside linebacker Bobby Okereke. Both moves converted 2023 base salary into signing bonuses, creating a total of $1.55 million in additional cap space.

Head Coach Brian Daboll will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Sep 082023
Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants (September 26, 2022)

Kayvon Thibodeaux – © USA TODAY Sports

There are a number of different and somewhat competing storylines to this game, and to be honest, to this season. Last season, the New York Giants shocked everyone by finishing the regular-season 9-7-1. At the same time, they somewhat predictably finished 1-4-1 in the NFC East. Even the Washington Commanders did something the Giants could not do, that is, beat the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys.

Everyone knows the deal. The Eagles and Cowboys have absolutely owned the Giants for the past decade. It’s beyond embarrassing at this point. And it’s the primary reason that most pundits don’t expect the Giants to be serious contenders in 2023. Teams that don’t have a winning record in their own division have a hard time competing for a playoff spot. If you go back through my game previews for the past 10 years, they probably pretty much say the same thing. To be honest, I’m bored and tired of writing about it.


On paper, the 2023 New York Giants are a vastly different team than the superbly-coached, talent-starved, injury-riddled, over-achieving squad of 2022. And not many pundits seem to be grasping that reality. Yes, every team experiences change each and every season in today’s NFL. But the year-over-year changes are startling for a team that won a playoff game in January. In Week 3, the Cooper Rush led Cowboys embarrassingly defeated the Giants at MetLife 23-16. On offense that day, aside from Sterling Shepard (who tore his ACL in the game), the other starting receivers were David Sills and Richie James. Rookie Daniel Bellinger was the starting tight end. Two months later on Thanksgiving, in the second game that Dallas also won (28-20), Lawrence Cager was starting at tight end with Bellinger out with an eye injury. The offensive line was also a mess with Tyre Phillips starting at right tackle, 4th-string Jack Anderson starting at left guard, starting center Jon Feliciano out, and Andrew Thomas playing sick and with a bad foot.

Fast forward to Week 1 of this season, on opening night, Daniel Jones will now be surrounded by Saquon Barkley, Darren Waller, Daniel Bellinger, Parris Campbell, Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt, and Sterling Shepard at the skill positions. Aside from the obvious qualitative and quantitative upgrade in overall talent, the one noticeable factor is the offensive team is much faster.

The changes on defense are even more obvious. Injuries ravaged all three levels of a defensive team that already had talent issues. In Week 3, Leonard Williams was out. Both Kayvon Thibodeaux (knee) and Azeez Ojulari (calf) were playing hurt. Justin Ellis and Nick Williams started on the defensive line. Austin Calitro and Tae Crowder were the inside linebackers. Starting corner Aaron Robinson was out with an appendicitis and Cor’Dale Flott started outside. On Thanksgiving, both starting cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Fabian Moreau were out, as was safety Xavier McKinney. Jaylon Smith started at inside linebacker, with Oshane Ximines playing outside. Flott started again outside along with Nick McCloud.

Fast forward to Sunday night. Finally, Dexter Lawrence, Leonard Williams, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Adoree’ Jackson, and Xavier McKinney will all be on the field together healthy. More than that, they will now be joined by A’Shawn Robinson, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Bobby Okereke, Isaiah Simmons, Deonte Banks, Tre Hawkins, and emerging Jason Pinnock and Daniel Belton. Quality, quantity, and speed.

But here’s the crux…

While there is a core of returning building blocks, this team has vastly changed. And on paper, it has done so for the better. But there are so many new and important component parts that we don’t know they will react TOGETHER under the crucible of NFC East warfare. The Cowboys know who they are. The Giants don’t. And since the starters rarely played in the preseason, we simply don’t know what the final product will look like. And how it looks in September will likely be much different than what it looks like in November and December as the new component parts cohesively come together. This is a very young football team (second youngest in the NFL according to Joe Schoen). And we must remember they are still trying to catch up with the Cowboys and Eagles.

If you’ve noticed, Joe Schoen, Brian Daboll, and the coordinators have talked about how this is a new season and the past doesn’t matter. I think this is more than coach speak. There is quiet confidence about the 2023 New York Giants. But there is also the fear of the great unknown. We’re all about to discover what this team is made of.


  • RB Gary Brightwell (knee – probable)
  • TE Darren Waller (hamstring – questionable)
  • WR Wan’Dale Robinson (knee – doubtful)
  • TE Lawrence Cager (ankle – probable)
  • DL D.J. Davidson (knee – questionable)
  • LB Cam Brown (ankle – questionable)
  • CB Cor’Dale Flott (hamstring – doubtful)
  • S Gervarrius Owens (hamstring – doubtful)

There are so many storylines here… too many to adequately elaborate on without frightening the reader away due to article length. But here are some of my more pressing thoughts:

  • Daniel Jones seems like a different guy this offseason. Confident and sure of himself. He’s in the second year of this offense, a rarity for him. He has the faith of a franchise that gave him $160 million in the offseason. He is surrounded with the most talented team he has had in his life, most notably the ultimate security blanket in Darren Waller. While he dramatically cut down on turnovers in 2022 and became a serious threat as a rusher, Jones must start making more plays down the field and throwing more touchdown passes.
  • It is undeniable that the quality and quantity of receiving weapons has dramatically improved since last season. Darren Waller is one of the top tight ends in football. Daniel Bellinger will be even better than his surprising rookie season. Along with Waller, Parris Campbell and Jalin Hyatt significantly make this a faster team. They can go the distance anytime they touch the football. So can Saquon Barkley and Darius Slayton. This is a big deal for a team that was dead last in passing plays 20 yards or over with just 28. However, we as fans don’t know how this will all flesh out. “I’d say each week’s going to get a little bit different,” said Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka. “This week’s kind of in that same boat, kind of mix in our guys and make sure we’re giving them the stuff that they’re good at and then we’ll try to maximize on their strengths as much as we possibly can.”
  • While the obvious choice for the biggest beneficiary of this talent upgrade is Daniel Jones, a close second has to be Saquon Barkley, who has been somewhat of the forgotten man this summer. Indeed, much respect for Saquon for being the team player and not raising a big stink this summer by avoiding the holdout and keeping his head down and just doing his job. That’s what you want in a player and teammate. That all said, Saquon must have a burning passion inside of him right now. He feels disrespected. Combine that desire with the inability of teams now to focus completely on stopping Barkley as a runner and receiver. They now have to contend with Waller, Campbell, Hyatt, etc. Barkley in space is a dangerous thing. And the spaces should be there in 2023.
  • Finally, the elephant in the room is the state of the offensive line. For 10 years, Philadelphia, Dallas, and Washington has been better up front. Andrew Thomas is a stud. There will be growing pains with John Michael Schmitz, but he looks to have the goods. The other three spots are still question marks. And this division is loaded with some of the best defensive fronts in the game.

Enter a very talented and well-coached Dallas Cowboys defensive team. I believe I saw it stated that no team in the NFL faces a tougher schedule in terms of the defenses it faces than the Giants. Last season, the Cowboys were 12th in yards allowed and 5th in points allowed. They were 8th against the pass and 22nd against the run. Dallas’ pass defense got even stingier with the offseason acquisition of cornerback Stephon Gilmore. Their defensive coordinator has been in high demand as a head-coaching prospect the past couple of seasons, including interest from the Giants.

If you look back at the two games against Dallas last season, the one stat that sticks out is this: the Cowboys sacked Daniel Jones eight times. Equally damning is they officially hit Jones 19 times. The Giants were far more successful running the football in the earlier game, gaining 167 yards with both Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones doing the bulk of the damage. However, on Thanksgiving, Barkley and Jones were held to a paltry 53 yards on the ground. Tellingly, in both games, the Giants were only 3-of-11 on 3rd down. Turnovers were not an issue as the only one came at the very end of the second game. In the passing game, in Week 3, starting wideouts David Sills and Richie James combined for six catches for 56 yards. Shepard had 49 yards on five catches before he collapsed with an ACL injury. Jones didn’t throw a touchdown pass in the game. In Week 12, Darius Slayton demonstrated his frustrating inconsistency. He came down with a superb 44-yard catch but only caught two more passes on five other targets. James was the “leading” receiver with five catches for 41 yards.

I review all of that to identify the difficulties as well as present the new opportunities. Yes, the Cowboys are loaded with defensive talent at all three levels. They controlled the line of scrimmage against the Giants and never felt threatened by the New York’s passing game. However, the Giants protected the football and stayed in both games. Now Dallas has to contend with both Darren Waller and Daniel Bellinger at tight end; Saquon Barkley at running back; and Parris Campbell, Isaiah Hodgins, Darius Slayton, Jalin Hyatt, and Sterling Shepard at wide receiver.

It’s time to take the training wheels off of Daniel Jones. Recent history suggests the Giants should run more than they should pass against this Dallas defense, especially given their fierce pass rush and excellent defensive backfield. However, I think this Giants team has been built to take what the opposing defense gives them. If Dallas loads up against Barkley, throw the football. If they back off, run the football. Daboll and Kafka will keep Dallas guessing with play-action, misdirection, RPOs, gadget plays, etc. I would not call for many deep drops, not with their rush against our offensive line. Move Jones around. Quick passes to the tight ends, Barkley, and the wideouts. Bing, bing, bing. Similar to how we saw the Giants’ first team offense play on their one drive in the preseason. Don’t let them breathe. Stay out of 3rd-and-long. There are different ways to create space and big plays without throwing bombs. My spidey sense says the deep shots to Hyatt against the Jets was a feint, but hey, if they want to play with fire and crowd the line against him, good luck.

Up front, this issue is not just physical, but mental. The Cowboys love to run stunts and games to confuse offensive lines. This has been the Achilles’ heel for the New York offensive line. Evan Neal’s lone bad snap in the preseason came on a stunt. And inside, the constant experimentation at both guard spots obviously came at the expense of developing OL cohesion and chemistry. Dallas knows this.

I do hope Andrew Thomas remembers Micah Parsons taunting him on Twitter after the game last season. I do hope Neal remembers how DeMarcus Lawrence humiliated him for three sacks. I hope the guys up front have pride and are looking for some payback.

I still suspect the majority of the Giants’ fanbase doesn’t recognize the many issues Wink Martindale had to deal with last year. Injuries on the defensive line, at edge, at inside linebacker, at corner, and at safety ravaged his defense. He only had one corner who he could fully trust, Adoree’ Jackson, and he was lost for much of the second half of the season. Same with his best safety, Xavier McKinney. His best outside pass rusher, Azeez Ojulari, hardly played at all. Kayvon Thibodeaux was slowed by a preseason knee injury. Leonard Williams was hurt much of the year and it showed. There were revolving doors at corner and inside linebacker all season. The point here is the defense was never a fully intact unit and Martindale had the feel of a guy trying to plug multiple leaks in a decaying dam.

That all said, the pressure is on Martindale to elevate New York’s 25th ranked defense that was also 27th against the run. To be blunt, the Giants had the worst defense in the NFC East. He knows how to do it. His defenses in Baltimore were always top notch in run defense. And Joe Schoen gave him a lot of new toys to play with, including Bobby Okereke, Isaiah Simmons, Boogie Basham, A’Shawn Robinson, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Jordon Riley, Deonte Banks, Tre Hawkins, Bobby McCain, and Gervarrius Owens. Combine these newcomers with now healthy Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Adoree’ Jackson, Xavier McKinney, and Jason Pinnock.

“I like where we are at defensively and I am excited where we are going,” said Martindale this week. “It’s going to be fun to watch… I think that the biggest thing you will see is the difference in our speed and as soon as we can catch the execution up with the speed, like I said, it’s going to be fun for you guys to watch and for our city to watch.”

Their opponent has a lot of familiar faces, but the style may be changing in a noticeable fashion. Gone is offensive coordinator Kellen Moore, who was made a scapegoat despite Dallas’ #1 ranked offense two years ago (and 11th last in 2022). Head Coach Mike McCarthy now takes over play-calling duties. If history is any guide, the Cowboys are about to become more pass happy with a West Coast offensive feel. That could be good news for a Giants’ defense that gave up roughly 170 yards on the ground in both games (345 total) to Dallas last season.

In the offensive review above, I highlighted how the Giants allowed eight sacks and 19 quarterback hits on Daniel Jones. On the flips side, the Giants did not sack either Cooper Rush or Dak Prescott once. Rush was only hit twice while Prescott was hit nine times. The main target for both quarterbacks was CeeDee Lamb, who caught a total of 14 passes for 193 yards and a touchdown. In the first game, Adoree’ Jackson had issues covering him, and it’s likely that the Jackson-Lamb match-up will continue with both playing in the slot much of the game (Lamb also plays outside). Tony Pollard rushed for 8.1 yards per carry in the first game with Ezekiel Elliott (who is now with the Patriots) leading the way in the second game, averaging 5.8 yards per carry. Those are simply embarrassing numbers.

Weird stat… Giants only had six interceptions as a team in 2022. However, they got two of them in one game on Thanksgiving against Prescott. Cowboys’ tight ends continued to haunt the Giants as Dalton Schultz had two touchdowns on Thanksgiving. He’s now with the Houston Texans.

Why have the Cowboys owned the Giants for a decade? Same reason the Eagles have. Both teams have owned the trenches. To turn that around, Leonard Williams, Dexter Lawrence, A’Shawn Robinson, Rakeem Nunez-Roches, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Azeez Ojulari, Bobby Okereke, and Micah McFadden/Isaiah Simmons have to live up to expectations. Getting no sacks and allowing 170 rushing yards per game won’t get it done. Possibly helping New York is that left guard Tyler Smith (hamstring) and left tackle Tyron Smith (ankle) are both dealing with injuries.

With McCarthy calling the plays now, don’t automatically assume Dallas will begin the game running the football. Any head coach will want to test a rookie cornerback. And the Giants have two starting. Look for both to be tested early and often. Wink loves both Deonte Banks and Tre Hawkins but even he admits, “You know there is going to be hiccups, we all know. That’s being a rookie.” So look for Dak to take some shots with Lamb, Michael Gallup, and Brandin Cooks (offseason addition) early. How well the rookies weather the storm could determine the fate of the game.

To help them out, the Giants’ pass rush has to be better than it was against the Cowboys last season. Thibodeaux did have a big game on Thanksgiving, abusing Tyler Smith with nine pressures and forcing him to hold. Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams need to translate their strong summer into the the real games. The two new inside linebackers – Bobby Okereke and Isaiah Simmons – need to be factors against the run and the pass. Both should do better in coverage against those pesky Dallas tight ends.

Wink feels like he has his guys now. He freely admits that they will better down the road with more experience playing together. They have to survive the early hiccups, but Wink is still going to bring it. “Pressure breaks pipes.” Hopefully guys like Xavier McKinney and Jason Pinnock can be the beneficiaries of that pressure. Six interceptions in one season is pathetic. It’s time to rectify that.

The fanbase doesn’t have a lot of faith in New York’s special teams. Part of the reason has been the absolute refusal of a number of coaching staffs to acquire a dedicated punt and kickoff returner. “Coach of the Year” Brian Daboll’s lone blemish was his curious decision to have his best corner return punts last year, and it cost the team. Now a rookie who only returned nine punts in college, Eric Gray, has unofficially been designated as the primary punt and kickoff returner. Will this end up hurting the franchise once again?

Joe Schoen on the 2023 season: “We haven’t played a game yet. So, we’ll see. Again, we’re going to continue to prepare for Dallas and get ready for the season. I think I said it last year at the same press conference: it takes a few weeks into the regular season to figure out who the team is, how we’re going to react when adversity strikes, and how we’re going to handle if there’s success, or if you’re down at halftime.

“I think that showed last year against Tennessee in the second half. I didn’t know how the team was going to react coming out of halftime or if you’re playing Green Bay in London and you’re down in the second quarter, 17-3. We still have a lot to learn about this team. We’ll see when it comes to Sunday against the Cowboys, how they’re going to come together as a team and gel and how they’re going to react in those situations.”

Mike Kafka’s media sessions are usually pretty boring. But he did drop one nugget this week that I think was spot on. “There’s things that you look at on tape that they did last year and not really 100% sure of what they’re going to this year so you put in your base rules, and you put in your schemes you think you’re going to attack, then at the end of the day, it’s how fast can we adjust when they present it.” (Emphasis mine).

I’ve harped on this for years. There are only so many drives per game. Often times, there are games where teams will only have four possessions per half. Mike McCarthy and Dan Quinn are going to present things to surprise the Giants. Brian Daboll, Mike Kafka, and Wink Martindale are going do the same. How well and how quickly each coaching staff adjusts will be decisive. I have a ton of respect for Dan Quinn. Not so much for McCarthy. I like our coaches in this situation. I’m also not sure if Dallas truly recognizes how much faster the Giants got on offense and defense this offseason. The Giants are a far different animal.

Nov 262022
Saquon Barkley, New York Giants (November 24, 2022)

Saquon Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports


One of the metrics I use in coach evaluation is how well a team plays the second time around. These are almost always divisional foes but when post-season match-ups come into play, I look at them as well. While Brian Daboll was not the Head Coach in BUF, I did take a look at how their team (and offense) fared in their respective repeat matchups year-to-year:

2018 (on a 6-10 team): 1-2 and +13 in points
2019 (on a 10-6 team): 1-2 and +2 in points
2020 (on a 13-3 team): 3-1 and +29 in points
2021 (on a 11-6 team): 4-1 and +8 in points

The Thanksgiving Day match-up in DAL marked the first time in Daboll’s Head Coach tenure they would face off against a repeat opponent. They lost to the Cooper Rush-led Cowboys Week 3 by a score of 23-16. A game where NYG had a lead in the second half, but had it taken out of their grasp because the defense did not step up when they were needed.

The initial NYG drive stalled at midfield before opting to punt on 4th-and-3 from the DAL 48-yard line. The initial DAL drive stalled on their own 40-yard line, but they kept their offense on the field on 4th-and-2. Ezekiel Elliott was stuffed by a group of defenders led by Jaylon Smith, the Cowboys 2016 second rounder who was starting against his former team for the first time. NYG was primed to strike first blood. Daniel Jones hit Isaiah Hodgins for a 24-yard touchdown, but it was called back after right tackle Tyre Phillips was flagged for illegally blocking downfield. Jones then threw two incomplete passes, the second of which was flagged for intentional grounding, pushing NYG way back into deep field goal range. Fortunately, Graham Gano sent the 57-yarder through the uprights to give NYG the initial lead.

Dak Prescott, coming off his best game of the season in Minnesota, gave NYG the ball back with an interception that landed in the hands of Rodarius Williams. The NYG offense responded with a three-and-out as the DAL defensive front, a top-five group league-wide, was easily controlling the point-of-attack. Seven of DAL’s next eleven snaps were running plays and it landed them in the end zone via an Elliott 6-yard run on the first play of the second quarter. NYG then borrowed a page from that book, running the ball on seven-of-nine plays which also ended in a touchdown, this one by Saquon Barkley on a one-yarder. NYG had the lead at 10-7.

After trading three-and-outs, DAL put together a lengthy drive that was heading toward the red zone. Prescott tried to fit one in to CeeDee Lamb but a deflection by Darnay Holmes ended up in Julian Love’s hands for the second interception of the half, matching their 2022 season total coming into this game. A sloppy final two minutes, including two penalties by DAL and one by NYG and an interception that was nullified by one of those DAL penalties eventually led to a 47-yard field goal by Gano to lengthen their lead to 6 as halftime approached.

The DAL offense was a different animal in the second half. They started off with a 14-play drive that consisted of four third-down conversions. One of them was with a lot of help from the refs on a phantom defensive holding called on Holmes. The fourth conversion was a 3rd-and-15 touchdown pass to tight end Dalton Schultz. It put DAL up by one and wiped out over half of the third quarter clock.

The NYG offense stalled near midfield again. This time it was 4th-and-1 from their own 45-yard line. Daboll pushed the urgency, with 4:11 left in the third quarter, and kept the offense on the field. Offensive Coordinator Mike Kafka called a great play, giving Jones an open look at Saquon Barkley who was all alone in the flat. A catch would have resulted in a first down and much more. Jones misfired, the ball fell to the ground, and Prescott took over on the NYG side of the field. Six plays later, Prescott connected with Schultz for another touchdown and DAL was up by eight.

Midfield continued to be a black hole for the NYG offense. They just could not get past it. Barkley couldn’t get going, the entire NYG offensive line (including Andrew Thomas) was taking turns getting beat, and the DAL train was heating up. For the third straight drive, DAL put a touchdown on the board, this time via a 2-yard run by tight end Peyton Hendershot. They were up 28-13 with under 9 minutes remaining. NYG down, by two touchdowns plus a two-point conversion, with an offense that had been averaging 18 points per game since their win in Jacksonville October 23rd.

They did end up getting into DAL territory on their next drive. There were two problems, however. They never quite went into hurry-up mode (11 plays netted 38 yards and took off 5:41 of game clock) and the final sequence went 10-yard sack, false start penalty, 16-yard gain, incomplete pass. DAL took the ball back and ran the ball over and over to get NYG to rid themselves of their timeouts. NYG did end up scoring a garbage-time touchdown with just :08 remaining on a pass from Jones to Richie James. At the very least, NYG bettors left the game happy. The onsides kick did not work and NYG dropped their 11th game to the Cowboys in their last 12 attempts.


-Daniel Jones: 21/35 – 228 yards / 1 TD – 0 INT / 88.8 RAT

The mistakes Jones made in this do not show up on the stat sheet. It was a poor start where he held onto the ball on plays where they left specific pass rushers unblocked. The illegal shift + intentional grounding that nearly pushed them out of field goal range were avoidable. The 4th-and-1 miss to Barkley was the turning point of the game. He was fortunate to not have an interception on his stat line at the end of the first half on penalty that had nothing to do with the play. And lastly, I felt he did not tuck and run on two instances where he should have. Both resulted in stops for the DAL defense. This game won’t be put on Jones but there is no denying just a couple of better plays by him would have easily altered the trajectory of the game. And the looks were there, he simply did not come through.


-Saquon Barkley: 11 att – 39 yards / 4 rec – 13 yards

For the second straight week, Barkley was contained, and it was a mix of quality defense and a scaled back version of Barkley. Is he hurt? I don’t know. If I had to money on it, I would say he is not hurt. He was not coming off the field dramatically in pain like we have seen him do in the past. He was not grimacing after hits. Mentally, Barkley looks hesitant. NYG missed out on two likely third-down conversions because of that hesitancy. On an offense like this and considering the player he is, that is a huge deal.

-The best running back play we saw in this game was from Gary Brightwell. He gained 31 yards on 5 carries and added another 18 yards on 2 catches. This was the most we have seen him touch the ball over his two seasons in the league and the results were excellent. He’s earned more touches in this offense that is searching everywhere for production. Matt Breida added 15 yards on 3 touches, 1 catch and 2 carries.


-Darius Slayton came up with the offensive play of the day. A game-long 44-yard catch that set NYG up for their first touchdown that put them up early. He was targeted 5 other times, catching 2 of them for 19 yards. Earlier in the game I made a negative note on his ball skills when it came to fighting through contact while maintaining body control down the field. In fairness, his 44-yarder was a big-time play on the ball. It is the up-and-down play by Slayton that causes evaluators to pull their hair out. The good is there, the consistency is not.

-Richie James had 5 catches for 41 yards and a touchdown. Almost all of that came in the second half. Isaiah Hodgins caught 3 passes for 31 yards and had a touchdown taken off the board by an offensive line penalty. Kenny Golladay did not get thrown to at all, nor did Marcus Johnson. They saw a combined 26 snaps.


-A better game from this group as a whole than what they put out there last week. Lawrence Cager, Chris Myarick, and Tanner Hudson all caught one pass each (for 23-20-10 yards respectively). Cager and Myarick were responsible for 2 of the 3 biggest plays in the passing game. Hudson did not see any blocking snaps, but both Cager and Myarick held their own against the physical DAL front.


-On paper, this had the potential to be an ugly game for the Giants offensive line. DAL came into this one leading the NFL in sacks and top-three in every important pass rush metric. NYG was missing their starting right tackle and were on a fourth-string left guard. To make matters worse, left tackle Andrew Thomas was battling illness and appeared to be limping a bit on that bad foot of his. He paid the price against All Pro linebacker Micah Parsons, allowing 2 sacks, 1 pressure, and 0.5 TFL. Jack Anderson, the fourth-stringer noted above, allowed 2 pressures and a sack and was flagged for a false start.

-Center Nick Gates graded out as the top lineman, which isn’t saying much. His hands were heavy and accurate. I don’t see a ton of movement off the line against defensive tackles and he did struggle to get his hips in the hole a few times. I chalk that up to the lower body still working its way back.

-The right side was responsible for four pressures (2 each by Mark Glowinski and Tyre Phillips). Glowinksi also allowed a 0.5 TFL and Phillips was called for a crucial penalty that came from him aimlessly working his way downfield for no reason on a passing play. I liked what I saw out of him as a run blocker though and I wonder if there is any thought on him returning to guard when Neal comes back. Not as a starter, but as an immediate backup if needed.


-The top individual pass rush performances of this season previously belonged to Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams. Those performances now sit behind rookie Kayvon Thibodeaux’s dominance he put on display in this game. 9 pressures, 1 caused hold, 1 caused TFL. This was the best combination of get off, pad level, and power we have seen out of him. He absolutely abused fellow rookie Tyler Smith on the left side all game and proved to be a menace both the inside as a blitzing linebacker and on the left side the defensive line. He did miss 2 tackles, one of which was a sack, but this is exactly what we want to see from Thibodeaux at this point. The most impressive part of his stat line is the fact he did so on just 26 pass rush snaps. In another year or two, after he continues to figure his craft out at the professional level and improve his power game, a few of those will turn into sacks.

-Jihad Ward finished with 2 pressures and 1 TFL. I like him so much more when he is in the tight spaces. His power game and feel for blockers is top notch.

-Oshane Ximines lost the edge twice on big runs in the first quarter. He also missed a tackle and did not impact the game as a pass rusher.


-Leonard Williams was back to his dominant ways. He had 6 tackles, 3 TFL, and 1 pressure. His closing speed on lateral runs is such an overlooked component to his game. He reaches guys that 95% of the league’s interior linemen cannot. The negative in his game, which has been around for years, showed up a few times in this one. He does not anchor well against runs right at him. He also missed 2 tackles.

-Dexter Lawrence had 5 tackles and a pressure. He seemed to be off his game in this one. Nothing drastic, but I caught him walking gingerly and grimacing a few times throughout and he looked out of gas on a few others. Henry Mondeaux added 3 tackles and a pressure. He offers much more than Justin Ellis, who finished with 1 tackle, when it comes to playing sudden and showing some range once off the initial contact of a blocker.


-Jaylon Smith was playing some spirited football in his first start against the team that drafted and signed him to a long-term deal. He led the team with 10 tackles, adding 1 TFL and a big 4th-down stop early in the game. His downhill explosion is still there and even though the lateness + lateral movement issues hurt from time to time, he has been a quality player for this defense.

-Micah McFadden was on the field for a career-high 48 snaps. After a poor game last week against DET, I saw more urgency with his reads, and he finished better. He had 4 tackles and 2 TFL with 1 missed tackle. The movement in coverage looked much better when looking at the All-22. He was rarely targeted, but he did his job when working the intermediate level of the route tree.


-We had a little bit of a coming out party for Rodarius Williams. I discussed him a bit after the DET game noting how often he was getting beat in his first action of the season. He responded with 2 pass break-ups and an interception, the first of his career. He did not allow a reception either (although he was flagged for a pass interference). There were quite a few people excited about Williams after the 2021 preseason, remember. Now that he is in the mix, he looks the part.

-Nick McCloud had 8 tackles without any misses. I like him in the middle of the field. He is a physical player and gets the ball carrier down at a near-perfect rate. He allowed a touchdown in coverage. Rookie Cor’Dale Flott allowed 3 completions on all 3 times he was targeted. His lack of power presence is a concern against a receiver with any kind of size. Michael Gallup tossed him around a couple times. His play speed is excellent, though.

-Darnay Holmes was flagged three times, one of which was a poor call. The issue here is Holmes has the reputation of being too grabby in coverage. He built that as a rookie in 2020 and it hasn’t gotten anything but worse. He now has 7 penalties on the year and teams know it. He also allowed 3 catches for 58 yards, being outclassed by Lamb. He did deflect a pass that ended up being an interception.


-Julian Love tied for the team lead with 10 tackles. He added two impact plays as well, a TFL and an interception. This is exactly what this team needs from Love. Be the safety net on the back end who makes tackles in space and create big plays for the defense. He did both.

-Jason Pinnock played every snap. This is valuable experience for him. He had 8 tackles, but he also missed one and allowed a touchdown in coverage. More up-and-down play for him.


-K Graham Gano: 2/2 (Made 57, 47)
-P Jamie Gillan: 4 Punts / 48.3 avg – 38.3 avg


-CB Rodarius Williams, EDGE Kayvon Thibodeaux, S Julian Love


-CB Darnay Holmes, OT Andrew Thomas, RB Saquon Barkley


After the Week 3 loss in September, I asked how far do I see this version of Dallas going? “We have every reason to believe they will contend not only for the division, but for the conference. The defense has the upside of being special and if that offense can elevate their game just one or two levels, they have the “goods.” Here we are at the end of November, and I only feel stronger about that notion. DAL is one of three teams I can see going to the Super Bowl. The difference between this team and the previous few years is the defense. They can be lights out against anyone.

There is a good chance that was Ezekiel Elliott’s final game against NYG in a Cowboys uniform. DAL has made a habit out of restructuring his contract in recent offseasons, pushing money into future years. They did not do so this past offseason. To me, that, and the emergence of Tony Pollard who is simply a better player right now, will pave the way for them cutting him loose in a few months. 12 games, 1108 total yards, 10 TDs vs NYG.

I will be intrigued to see where Tyler Smith, their 2022 first round pick, ends up on the offensive line. He was going to be the left guard until Tyron Smith went down but shifted over and has played at a solid level for most of the year. He’s allowed 4 sacks and is second in the league with 10 penalties. This was a major issue at Tulsa as well. I think Smith’s run blocking is already on the elite level but I don’t see the upside in pass protection. I think he ends up at OG in the future.


Two losses in five days can sting a bit more and the injuries on both sides of the ball were accelerated by the Thursday game. The positive is now schedule-based. NYG gets 10 days of rest prior to a home match-up against the Commanders, who play Sunday against ATL. With multiple players on the brink of returning (OT Evan Neal, TE Daniel Bellinger, OL Ben Bredeson), the timing of this mini-bye week is crucial. Especially considering WAS will be one of the teams NYG is contending with for a playoff spot.

The Barkley tape is the elephant in the room that everyone can see. He is not running as hard. He is showing hesitancy. And this is an offense that did not have any margin to work with. Barkley is the most important player on this offense and probably the team. If he does not play to his ability (whether it is physical or mental) – the entire scope changes. Look what happened when Brightwell came in and ran hard. I discussed this a few times last year. There was not, and is not, a bigger Barkley guy out there than me. But if the hardness in his game is back and forth, it will make for an easy decision this upcoming offseason.

One of the questions people will ask about Daniel Jones and his future with NYG will revolve around upside. Just how good can he actually be? Best case scenario, what is he? We just watched Dak Prescott throw two interceptions in the first half. He was hit just as much if not more than Jones was throughout the game. Nothing mattered. He comes out in the second half and played some of the best QB I have seen all year from around the league. The numbers did not pop off the page, but it was the complexity of his throws and how precise they were. I do not see that in Jones. Both right now and in the future.

Nov 242022
Julian Love, New York Giants (November 24, 2022)

Julian Love – © USA TODAY Sports

An undermanned New York Giants team played a gutty first half against the Dallas Cowboys, but were overwhelmed by three straight second-half touchdowns. The Giants lost 28-20 on Thanksgiving and fell to 7-4 on the season.

Aside from the scoreboard, the Cowboys also held team statistical advantages in first downs (26 to 21), total net yards (430 to 300), net yards rushing (169 to 90), net yards passing (261 to 210), and time of possession (34:09 to 25:51). A big difference was the Cowboys were 7-of-11 on 3rd down (63.6 percent) while the Giants were just 3-of-11 (27.3%) and 0-of-2 on 4th down. New York did win the turnover battle two to zero.

The Giants received the football to start the game, gained 20 yards on the first play, but then were forced to punt. The Cowboys picked up one first down on their first possession and decided to go for it on 4th-and-2 from their own 40-yard line. Running back Ezekiel Elliott was stuffed by linebacker Jaylon Smith, turning the ball over on downs. Quarterback Daniel Jones threw a 23-yard pass to tight end Chris Myarick. After a sack, a 24-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Isaiah Hodgins was nullified due to tackle Tyre Phillips being illegally downfield. Two incomplete passes and an intentional grounding penalty led to the Giants settling for a 57-yard field goal by Graham Gano.

The Cowboys crossed midfield on their second possession, but quarterback Dak Prescott was intercepted by cornerback Rodarius Williams at the New York 30-yard line. The Giants went three-and-out. The ensuing Dallas drive went 93 yards in 11 plays, lasting over six minutes, and resulted in Elliott scoring from six yards out. Cowboys 7 – Giants 3 early in the 2nd quarter.

The Giants responded with their own touchdown as New York drove 75 yards in nine plays. The Giants benefited from a defensive holding penalty on 3rd-and-2. The big play was then a 44-yard strike from Jones to wide receiver Darius Slayton down to the 1-yard line. Two plays later, running back Saquon Barkley scored from one yard out. Giants 10 – Cowboys 7.

After both teams exchanged three-and-outs, Dallas drove into Giants territory. But at the 2-minute warning, a Prescott pass was deflected by cornerback Darnay Holmes and intercepted by Julian Love. He returned the ball 17 yards to the New York 27-yard line. With 1:50 left on the clock, the Giants gained 44 yards in eight plays to set up a 47-yard field goal as time expired.

At the half, the Giants led 13-7.

The Cowboys imposed their will on the Giants with three straight touchdown drives after the break. Dallas drove 75 yards in 14 plays, 44 yards in six plays, and 80 yards in 10 plays as Dallas went up 28-13 with nine minutes left in the game.

Meanwhile, a key turning point for the Giants offensively came on their first possession of the second half after the Cowboys had regained the lead 14-13. Facing a 4th-and-1 from their own 45-yard line, Jones threw an errant short pass to Barkley, who dropped what would have been a first down. Dallas then proceeded to score their second touchdown of the half on the short field. The Giants gained a couple of first downs on their second drive and then punted the ball away early in the 4th quarter. That’s when Dallas drove for their third touchdown of the half.

Trailing by 15 points with less than nine minutes to play, the Giants reached the Cowboys 39-yard line by then turned the football over on downs with 3:12 left to play. The Cowboys drove to the New York 28-yard line but missed a 46-yard field goal. With 1:13 left on the clock, the Giants scored a garbage-time touchdown by driving 64 yards in seven plays with wide receiver Richie James catching a 1-yard touchdown. The Cowboys recovered the onside kick with seven seconds left.

Jones finished the game 21-of-35 for 228 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. His leading receiver was James who caught five passes for 41 yards and a touchdown. Barkley was held to just 39 yards on 11 carries.

The Giants did force two turnovers, but they also gave up over 430 yards of offense. The team generated no sacks although outside linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux was credited with five quarterback hits. The Giants also had six tackles for losses.

GAME VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS are available on YouTube.

On Saturday, the Giants signed OL Devery Hamilton and S Trenton Thompson to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. To make room for these two players, the Giants waived ILB Austin Calitro and OLB Quincy Roche.

The Giants activated (standard elevations) OL Korey Cunningham and S Terrell Burgess from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster on the same day.

Inactive for the game were TE Daniel Bellinger (eye), OC Jon Feliciano (neck), OG Josh Ezeudu (neck), OG Shane Lemieux (toe), RT Evan Neal (knee/illness), CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee), and CB Fabian Moreau (oblique).

CB Cor’Dale Flott left the game with a concussion and did not return.

Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Brian Daboll and the following players are available at

  • Head Coach Brian Daboll (Video)
  • QB Daniel Jones (Video)
  • RB Saquon Barkley (Video)
  • OLB Jihad Ward (Video)
  • CB Darnay Holmes (Video)
  • S Julian Love (Video)

Head Coach Brian Daboll and select players will address the media by conference call on Friday.

Nov 232022

Just last week, fans of the New York Football Giants were contemplating an 8-2 record, the return of number of previously injured players, the possible acquisition of Odell Beckham, and dare we say it, a possible run at the NFC East title. A few days later, many of these same fans are questioning if the team will win another game this year and see beating the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving as an equivalent challenge as beating the 18-0 New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.

Dear Giants fans,
Get a grip.
Signed, BBI Management

Professional football is a multi-billion dollar entertainment industry in which each year 32 franchises compete for a shiny trophy. Aside from geographical location, these 32 franchises differentiate themselves from each other by the color of the clothes they wear. Distinct from MLB and the NBA, these teams operate on a relative even playing field with a hard salary cap. Every team has good players and coaches. Because of this, it’s virtually impossible for any one team to dominate the league.

The Giants entered 2022 with their third general manager and fourth head coach in six years after enduring a decade-long’s worth of mismanagement. Botched drafts and free agent signing periods left the franchise with a roster devoid of talent, players accustomed to losing, and a very poor salary-cap position. Most fans were thrilled that ownership reached outside of the organization and hired a new GM and HC who be on the same page and work together to eradicate the rot and build a new foundation. Most of these fans knew this would take time, especially since many believed the quarterback on the team was not part of the answer moving forward.

The offseason was a dizzying affair. Players such as Evan Engram, Kyle Rudolph, Will Hernandez, Lorenzo Carter, Jabrill Peppers, James Bradberry, Logan Ryan, and Riley Dixon, among many others, were let go. Almost 40 free agents and 11 draft picks were added to the training camp roster. Changes were made in the front office both before and after the draft. Many fans and pundits assumed the Giants, blessed with an easier schedule, would win somewhere around 4-6 games. How gloomy were the prognostications? There was a lot of talk of Daniel Jones probably being benched at some point for Tyrod Taylor.

Then something weird happened. The Giants beat AFC’s #1 seed on their turf on opening day. And they did so in dramatic style, coming back from a 13-0 halftime deficit and winning with a daring 2-point conversion. Over the course of the next eight games, the Giants would surprisingly win six of them, often coming from behind in the 4th quarter to pull off the upset. Even with one of the best records in football, the Giants were considered the underdogs in almost every game. The pinnacle of the first half of the season was the back-to-back dramatic victories over the Packers in London and the Ravens.

The weird part was all of this was happening with a completely revamped roster of unfamiliar names, many of whom were let go by other teams and would have trouble finding work on any other roster. Players who were counted on to make a big difference did not, such as Kadarius Toney, Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, Aaron Robinson, and Azeez Ojulari. Injuries also affected the play and availability of Leonard Williams, Kayvon Thibodeaux, Evan Neal, Shane Lemieux, Daniel Bellinger, among others. The team was left scrambling in-season for waiver-wire pick-ups, guys signed off of the street and practice squads. Although it wasn’t pretty, the team was still winning despite being hampered with the worst set of receivers and tight ends in the league and a number of castoffs on the defensive side of the ball.

The Giants were winning because they were well coached, and the new coaching staff was getting the best out of players who many had discounted, such as Dexter Lawrence, Adoree’ Jackson, Julian Love, Daniel Jones, and Oshane Ximines as just a few examples. Others came out of nowhere to play significant roles such as Jihad Ward and Fabian Moreau. It wasn’t easy. Players kept getting hurt and the front office and coaching staff had to keep juggling the roster, limited by little cap room. At times, the Giants didn’t even keep 53 players on the roster.

Tactically, the staff recognized the limitations of the roster. Passing-attack gurus Brian Daboll and Mike Kafka transitioned to a run-first ground game, designed to minimize mistakes and keep the team alive in games against opponents with equal or better talent. The defense gave up yardage, but stood tall on third down and inside the red zone. And for whatever reason, this team started to believe it could and would win in the 4th quarter. Opponents simply could not kill the Giants. They hung around, they hung around, they hung around… and finally somehow pulled off the win.

Something else different began to happen. Giants’ fans began complaining that the wins were too ugly. After each win, there were more discussion threads on what went wrong rather than what went right. It quickly began to dawn on me that Giants fans who were worn down by a decade worth of losing were developing unrealistic expectations about what this team was and could be as it is currently formulated. The other red flag was the insistence by the bulk of the fan base that the addition of just one wide receiver would change everything for plodding offensive football team and somehow turn them into a legitimate Super Bowl contender. Whoa! What?

Karma began to change over the bye week. Xavier McKinney got stupid, crushed his hand on vacation, and sabotaged the entire defense. He was one of the few players on this team the Giants could ill-afford to lose. His absence had a domino effect. The Giants also started to do something they had not done, and that was kill themselves with turnovers. Richie James fumbled twice on punt returns against the Seahawks. The team turned the ball over three more times against the Lions. Brian Daboll got stupid and put Adoree’ Jackson on punt returns and paid the price. Now the other player in the secondary the Giants simply could not afford to lose may be gone for the bulk of the rest of the season. Worse, the Giants came out of last week’s game needing a MASH unit. Wan’Dale Robinson had his career game to date and then tore his ACL, leaving a bad unit even worse. The other starting cornerback, Moreau, who was filling in for Aaron Robinson, got hurt. Five offensive line showed up on the injury list and two safeties. A really thin team to start with just got dangerously thin.

This where Giants fans have gotten stupid. Not all of you. The smart ones are nodding your head at what I wrote and are off the hook. I’m scolding those of you who say such things as (and yes, these have been posted this week):

  • Brian Daboll lost this team when he yelled at them.
  • We will learn this Thursday if this coaching staff is any good.
  • The team needs to make a number of changes in Week 12 to take the offense and defense in new directions.

But what mostly bothers me are posts that scream (paraphrasing), “If this team doesn’t win and perform to my expectations, then the individuals responsible are horrible human beings and must be vilified until they make me feel better.” Or the “please tell me it’s going to be OK” posts. What are we? Eight year olds? I don’t know what is going on, but some of you guys need a good slap in the face and dose of reality.

This is flawed, rebuilding football team. It underwent major changes this past offseason. It will undergo major changes this upcoming offseason. The 7-3 start has been great, and hopefully they still have a few wins in them to keep things entertaining. But the unexpected winning has now created unrealistic expectations. A thin team that wins with the slightest margins of error is not likely to experience sustained success. And this is especially true when that thin team loses its most important players. “But…but…but..” No buts, that’s just the way it is. Teams with stronger rosters will prevail in the end. Survival of the fittest.

So this is a word of advice to those of you who are getting really upset: It’s a game. It’s supposed to be something fun for you to enjoy. It would be nice to win, but it’s not the end of the world if your team loses. The Giants appear to be heading in the right direction with a GM and coach on the same page. Regardless of how it ends, this year turned out better than expected. You’d probably feel better if the team’s W-L record was better after the bye than before it, but it’s not likely to work out that way.


  • WR Richie James (knee – questionable)
  • TE Daniel Bellinger (eye – out)
  • OC Jon Feliciano (neck – out)
  • OG Josh Ezeudu (neck – out)
  • OG Shane Lemieux (toe – out)
  • OT Andrew Thomas (illness – questionable)
  • OT Evan Neal (knee/illness – out)
  • OT Tyre Phillips (neck – questionable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (knee – out)
  • CB Fabian Moreau (oblique – out)
  • S Dane Belton (clavicle – questionable)
  • S Jason Pinnock (jaw – questionable)

The Giants are huge underdogs against Dallas and for good reason. The Cowboys are coming off of their most impressive win of the season. The Giants are coming off their most disappointing loss of the season. Worse, the Giants somehow managed to end up a more physically-damaged team after the bye week. The secondary, offensive line, and wide receiving corps are a mess with injuries. Barring a big upset, the results are not going to aid your post-Turkey digestive process. If you can’t handle that, pretend the team isn’t playing and enjoy the time with your family.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sep 282022
Kayvon Thibodeaux, New York Giants (September 26, 2022)

Kayvon Thibodeaux – © USA TODAY Sports


The Giants entered Week 3 undefeated for the first time since 2016. To provide context, that’s when they faced off against Kirk Cousins and the Redskins with leading rusher Matt Jones (retired 4 years ago) and top receivers DeSean Jackson (currently a FA) and Pierre Garçon (retired 3 years ago). Point is, this was a lifetime ago and the NYG faithful showed up to the stadium in team’s first ever “white out” amped and ready to rock as their team, in throwback all-whites, took on the 1-1 Dallas Cowboys in their road-blues that still, after all these years, just never look right.

Dallas came into the game with one of the most banged up offenses in football. They were without starting quarterback Dak Prescott, starting left tackle Tyron Smith, starting left guard Connor McGovern, starting receivers James Washington and Michael Gallup, and starting tight end Dalton Schultz. NYG came into this one relatively healthy, as outside linebackers Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari were on the field for the first time this season but without Leonard Williams. Advantage NYG.

Thanks to a holding penalty by third string left guard Matt Farniok, the DAL opening drive stalled near midfield. Once again, NYG was aided by a DAL penalty, this one defensive holding by linebacker Anthony Barr on third down which gave the NYG offense new life. A drive loaded with play-action and creative play design landed them in field goal range. Graham Gano came onto the field for a 47-yarder, but it was blocked by Dorance Armstrong who found a hole on the right side in the middle of the line, a theme of the night.

DAL put up the first three points of the game via a 26-yard field goal despite two more of their own penalties. NYG responded with three points as the game was now in the second quarter. Tony Pollard, the game’s leading rusher, broke off a 46-yard run on the next drive, landing them inside the NYG 20. The NYG defense held them to three points, however. That was where the score stayed for the rest of the first half. NYG did gain momentum on their two-minute drive at the end of the second quarter but another questionable offensive pass interference (this one called on Sterling Shepard) cancelled a play that would have landed NYG in field goal range. For the third straight week, NYG went into the half with under seven points.

The offensive line clearly did not come out of the locker room with a solution to getting absolutely man-handled by the DAL front. Had it not been for a questionable illegal contact penalty on corner Jourdan Lewis, NYG would have been three-and-out. Instead, the offensive line and offense overall got a second chance. The pass rush pressure remained constant, but Daniel Jones accrued 30 yards on two separate scrambles. Nevertheless, he was sacked twice and center Jon Feliciano was flagged for being illegally downfield on a 14-yard screen pass to Saquon Barkley. They settled on a 51-yard field goal attempt that Gano nailed through the uprights.

For the first time of the night, the Martindale defense forced a three-and-out against the DAL offense that was missing their starting quarterback, left tackle, left guard, two receivers, and tight end. More Jones scrambling and more creative play design landed NYG in DAL territory. Desperately in need of an explosive play, Barkley broke off an incredible 36-yard run that gave NYG their first and only touchdown of the night. It also gave NYG their first and only lead of the night.

It was time for Martindale and the NYG defense to contribute their side of winning football. They had played solidly to this point with minor hiccups here and there. Here we were in the back half of the third quarter and DAL had just 6 points and hadn’t scored a touchdown. DAL faced almost no resistance as they put together a nine-play drive, all of which gained yards. Ezekiel Elliott scored a one-yard touchdown (his 10th in 11 games vs NYG) to tie the game up at 13 as the fourth quarter began. NYG’s next drive stalled at midfield and DAL scored their second touchdown in as many drives via a one-handed catch by CeeDee Lamb. In a matter of nine minutes of game clock, the game went from 13-6 NYG to 20-13 DAL.

DAL padded their lead to ten via a 44-yard field goal with just over six minutes remaining. NYG was forced into pass-only situations as they needed chunk gains to have a shot at tying it up before the end of regulation. Jones faced more pressure than ever before in his career, and that is saying a lot. Somehow, they managed to get into field-goal range (with the help of a facemask penalty called on corner Kelvin Joseph) and Gano came through again on a 51-yarder.

Down seven, NYG was now in the phase of the game where they had to get a stop and call a timeout. Thankfully a bonehead play by the DAL offense, a failed third-down conversion that ended with tight end Jake Ferguson going out of bounds, stopped the clock at 1:52 as NYG was without a timeout. NYG had one more shot, albeit starting from their own 9-yard line. On the fourth play, after an Evan Neal false start, Jones was intercepted by 2021 All-Pro corner Trevon Diggs (who dropped an earlier INT) after David Sills fell out of his break. To add insult to injury, Sterling Shepard went down with a non-contact lower body injury and was carted off the field.

NYG loses, 23-16.


-Daniel Jones: 20/37 – 196 yards / 0 TD – 1 INT / 57.9 RAT

Jones also added 79 yards on just 9 carries (8.8 per). He was under duress the entire night against a formidable DAL pass rush and behind a leaky offensive line, especially the right side. It can be very hard to accurately evaluate a performance like this one. Listen to any quarterback talk about Jones and they will tell you it is almost impossible to play a normal version of the position in that kind of environment. If anything, I actually put this game in the “positive pile” when thinking about where his status will reside in January. Jones made a few tough throws, he had receivers drop multiple balls, and the DAL secondary was on point. Jones’ scrambling was 90% of the Giants offensive success. His accuracy was there, the juice on the ball was there, and his decision-making was there. Unfortunately, he is throwing to JV receivers behind a freshman-team offensive line.


-Saquon Barkley: 14 att – 81 yards – 1 TD / 4 rec – 45 yards

18 touches for the team’s best player by a country mile, in a tight game where NYG had a second-half lead and where the passing game simply was not working. More on that awful note down below. Barkley’s touchdown run was about as nice a play as you are going to see in this league. The vision, the quick adjustment, the jump cut, and the breakaway speed can be such a downright lethal combination. If NYG wants their best shot at winning games, his touches need to be north of 20 at a bare minimum week in, week out and probably closer to 30. There is no debating it. He is ready and he is the one guy who changes the feeling of the entire offense when he gets the ball.

-Matt Breida has one carry for 3 yards on a 3rd-and-1 conversion. He did not see a ton of action but did allow 2 pressures in the fourth quarter in a pass protection role. The coaching staff needs to keep that weakness in his game in mind moving forward when Barkley comes off the field.


-I am going to start it off with Sterling Shepard. The 7th-year veteran led the team with 5 catches and 49 yards in what I expect to be his final game in a Giants uniform. He tore his ACL simply jogging up the field on the final offensive play of the game. Not sure if I have ever seen anything like that before. No cutting. No contact. No sudden burst. Just a light jog and he went down. I don’t want to kick the 29-year old while he’s down, but it was a poor night for a guy who is viewed as a leader on the ship that is being turned around. He had two drops and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct that led to a 15-yard swing in field position in the second half of a tie game. Fortunately for him, Barkley worked his magic and scored the team’s lone touchdown a few plays later. It was a bonehead mistake by a player that knows better. I like what Shepard had brought to the field and locker room over the years and I loved him out of Oklahoma in 2016. But he never quite got over the hump we were hoping he would. Sad to see him go out that way.

-Richie James and David Sills, starting receivers on an NFL football team, combined for 6 receptions for 56 yards. James also gained 4 yards on a carry. I don’t have much to report here. They were man-handled in coverage. The DAL secondary is better than most people know and these two just had no business trying to separate from them.

-Earlier in the week, Kenny Golladay (the highest paid player on the team) said, “I should be playing regardless.” I thought to myself and tweeted out, “Regardless of what?” Regardless of not being able to get open? Regardless of running routes like he has cinderblocks tied to his ankles? Regardless of last being a factor in this league three years ago? He had two shots at coming up with a big play in this game. He got his hands on the ball both times and both times the ball hit the ground. The second time, a fourth-quarter blatant drop was about as bad as you are going to see at the worst possible time. Regardless of anything, Golladay should continue to be forced to prove he deserves playing time. Nothing is free, go earn it.


-Daniel Bellinger caught 4 passes for 40 yards. He was a key focal point early in the game, going 3 rec / 34 yards in the first half. I was encouraged by his ball skills and quickness turning up the field. He has a sudden element to his game with the ball in his hands. Paired with his size and we are looking at someone who can turn into a focal point of the passing game soon. His blocking is still a work in progress. He gets in position, but the staying power isn’t there yet. Another thing he absolutely needs to improve is his chip blocking. He whiffed or made minimal impact several times and it hurt the pass protection in a big way.

-Chris Myarick allowed a sack and 2 pressures. He was brought into the game to help with pass protection, but did the opposite. Very poor showing for a guy who makes zero impact as a playmaker.


-Evan Neal had a rookie performance similar to what we saw out of Andrew Thomas on October 22, 2020 (Thomas’ rookie year). Neal ended this one with 3 sacks, 3 pressures, 1 false start, and a half-TFL. He was overmatched, plain and simple. The game looks a bit too fast for Neal right now. He was getting beat to his outside over and over, as that right foot just wasn’t getting off the ground and up the edge. He had a productive night in the running game and there were some solid recovery plays, but there is no disputing the fact he got crushed. These are called growing pains. And the thing I will be looking for will be his response in the coming weeks.

-Speaking of Thomas, he was near-perfect again. I noted just one pressure and that is hard to believe considering how much Jones was running away from blue jerseys all night. His run blocking was dominant as well. Just tremendous movement off the ball. The combination of twitch and power he plays with reminds me a lot of a young Tyron Smith.

-The interior was torched all night. Again, Jones just had no pocket to step up into, and because of that, he needed to evade laterally. When that happens, all hell breaks loose in pass protection. The lack of stability up front compounds the issue. Mark Glowinksi allowed 4 pressures. Ben Bredeson allowed 1 pressure and had a holding penalty cancelled by an intentional-grounding throw by Jones. He was also on the losing end of many battles in the running game. And Jon Feliciano allowed a TFL, a pressure, and was flagged for illegally blocking downfield on a 14-yard gain by Barkley. He also had a sack cancelled by a DAL penalty in the defensive backfield. Awful performance by this trio, just awful. Bredeson also was at fault for the blocked field goal in the first quarter.


-The much anticipated return and debut of #5 overall pick Kayvon Thibodeaux was a bit scaled back as they restricted his playing time due to the knee. It was an underwhelming performance. He had 1 pass break up and a pressure (unblocked). He also lost the edge on two DAL runs to the outside. Thibodeaux looked hesitant. He didn’t have a power game on contact and the get off rivaled what we see out of Oshane Ximines.

-Azeez Ojulari made his 2022 debut a well. He was just as quiet, finishing with just 1 tackle and was shut out as a pass rusher in his 30 snaps. Ximines had 2 pressures (1 from the outside and 1 from the inside) while Jihad Ward had 6 tackles along with a pass break up.


-Leonard Williams missing a game due to injury for the first time in his career was deeply felt along the front. NYG allowed 178 yards on 28 carries to the Dallas dual-threat backfield and there was just one pressure by the group that included a lineman actually beating a blocker. That was by Dexter Lawrence, who also added 5 tackles and was a force inside. The likes of Nick Williams, Justin Ellis, and Henry Mondeaux lacked gap integrity for most of the night. They failed to come up big in key short yardage situations and the linebackers behind them just could not make up for it.

-D.J. Davidson played 12 snaps, one of which he jumped offsides on a 3rd-and-1.


-We saw a little more linebacker action against the run-heavy attack. Micah McFadden and Austin Calitro saw 30 and 13 snaps, respectively. The former, McFadden, had 3 tackles and 2 pressures, one of which he was untouched. He missed one tackle. McFadden has some all-or-nothing to his game. He is a bit of a risk taker and while I think that fits in well with this defense, I’m not sure his pure athleticism and recovery speed can handle that style play.

-Tae Crowder had 5 tackles and led the team with 4 missed tackles, a horrible number for a number one inside linebacker in a game where the defense was trounced in the running game. He showed poor effort on the Elliot touchdown where he didn’t even ponder trying to wrap up one of the best tackle-breakers in the league. He just ran into him and hoped it would work. Poor game by him.


-After an impressive first 2 weeks, we saw the ugly in Adoree’ Jackson. He was beat several times, including once for a touchdown that, in all honesty, he couldn’t do anything about as it was a brilliant throw and catch. But besides that, he was beat downfield by Lamb, allowed 7 catches total, and missed a tackle.

-Cor’Dale Flott did get the starting nod but I don’t think the staff trusts him yet, not for 60 minutes anyway. Fabian Moreau out-snapped him 39 to 19. Flott had a bad missed tackle and I saw more contact-based issues in coverage. He doesn’t look ready for the strength and power of the NFL game. His contact is light and easy to get by.

-Darnay Holmes had a quiet game. He wasn’t challenged much and had just one tackle. He was beat twice in the running game where he had outside responsibility. He also got away with two separate, blatant defensive-holding penalties as he continues to play too dependently on his hands.


-Xavier McKinney was the one star of the game defensively. He had impressive back-to-back plays where he recorded a TFL (the only one of the game for NYG) and then broke up a deep ball to CeeDee Lamb where he ran with him step for step and tracked the pass exceptionally well.

-Julian Love led the team with 14 tackles and added a pressure. The jack-of-all-trades didn’t miss one tackle and was often the last line of defense against an offense that could have easily had a few more explosive plays. Dane Belton saw just 11 snaps and looked overwhelmed in coverage a couple times. The game is moving a bit too fast for him right now.


-K Graham Gano 3/4 (Made 42, 51, 51, had one blocked)
-P Jamie Gillian: 3 punts / 45.0 avg – 35.7 net


-S Xavier McKinney, OT Andrew Thomas, RB Saquon Barkley


-OT Evan Neal, WR Sterling Shepard, LB Tae Crowder


1. Say what you want about a division rival and the shortcomings of Mike McCarthy and the Super Bowl drought. This team deserves a ton of respect for how well they’ve played without their starting quarterback, multiple pieces along the OL after losing 2 starters to free agency, and three main targets in the passing game. This is a sign of a winning team. They find ways to win, even though they’re missing a chunk of strong personnel, rather than just making a ton of excuses and complaints.

2. How far can DAL go? Let’s assume they eventually get their OL back together later in the year when Smith is ready. Let’s assume they get the likes of Michael Gallup, James Washington, and Dalton Schultz back in the next month. And let’s assume they get full-strength Dak Prescott back before Halloween. We have every reason to believe they will contend not only for the division, but the conference. Their defense has the upside of being special and if that offense can elevate their game just one or two levels, they have the goods.

3. How did DAL get here? Did you see the graphic that ESPN put up? They lead the NFL in players on the current roster that they drafted. I noticed this when maintaining their depth chart for Ourlads. While the number can be fluid based on practice squad / IR spots – I have 37 out of 53 players taken in the draft by this team. You can add in a few undrafted free agents as well. For reference, 24 of the currents Giants 53 were drafted (8 of those were from this past year alone). Jerry Jones is on the wrong end of jokes sometimes (he got fleeced in the Amari Cooper trade) but there is no disputing the fact this team knows how to draft. I’ve felt this way since I started really tracking the draft deeply in 2004.


1. I took this game as a reminder. A reminder that the team itself is not very good and they’re not ready for a long winning streak. They are competitive and I do think they’re heading in the right direction. I don’t say that with a moral victory kind of tone. I firmly believe it is the truth. The change can be felt and they’re on the move upward. But bad teams find ways to lose games. In the fourth quarter, NYG was down 20-13. On 2nd-and-8, Shepard drops a ball that would have been a deep completion. Then they get flagged for a delay-of-game penalty. Then Golladay drops a perfectly placed ball on 3rd-and-13 that had a shot at gaining the first down. That is the kind of drive at the most important point of game that losing teams put together. It’s not completely out of their system yet.

2. We can continue to harp on the shortcomings of the offense. That is fair. But I am more concerned with the defense. After keeping DAL down for most of the game with some help from the refs, Martindale’s defense allowed 17 points on just over 9 minutes of game clock on three straight drives when the team needed them most. 10 guys were on the field for the Elliott touchdown (inexcusable by both players and coaches). They didn’t record one sack. They barely even touched Rush against a beat-up OL. They were tossed around in the running game. They forced zero turnovers. And DAL gained more yards in this game than the previous two respectively. You may not see it by looking at points allowed, but this was a horrific defensive performance as a result of being outplayed and out-coached.

3. What can we hope to see from this team moving forward? They have a third-straight home game coming up and it is against the Bears, a team I projected to finish with one of the worst three records in football. Both of their wins were unimpressive and their loss in Green Bay Week 2 was about as ugly as you will see in today’s NFL. This is a bad football team and especially bad on offense. The offensive line, the quarterback, the pass catchers. I am looking forward to how this regime bounces back from a loss, something we haven’t seen yet. I hope this offensive coaching staff realizes that tight games need to center around Barkley. He is way too good, and the rest of the skill positions are way too bad for him not be fed the ball over and over. I also believe this OL can perform better with that approach as well.