Dec 282021
 
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Jake Fromm, New York Giants (December 26, 2021)

Jake Fromm – © USA TODAY Sports

QUICK RECAP

“The most wonderful time of the year” had a different feel to it in 2021. The surge in Covid-19 cases continues to explode both within the league and in society itself. The impact it has had on everyday life over the past couple of weeks for many reminded us just how fragile the situation itself is. Sports have become an important escape for many. A time period, whether it be a 3-hour game or a full afternoon, to mentally escape the stresses created from this seemingly never-ending pandemic was what many had to look forward to. A classic NFC East matchup between the Giants and Eagles was on tap. Philadelphia was on the playoff bubble, sitting with a 7-7 record and winners of 4 of their last 5. The only loss within that stretch? November 28 vs. NYG. The Giants were all but mathematically eliminated from playoff contention, coming in at 4-10 with their last road win being October 3 at New Orleans. This game only added to the stress of life.

Jake Fromm got the nod at starting quarterback for the first time in the NFL. The hope was that a new face under center could help create a spark in what many consider to be the worst offense in the NFL. It certainly couldn’t be any worse, right? The first quarter was marred with poor offensive football. Both offenses gained one total first down each on the game’s first 6 combined possessions. Fromm last took on PHI starting quarterback Jalen Hurts in the 2018 National Championship. Boy have things changed for those two when it comes to their status regarding football.

NYG broke the scoreless tie via a 54-yard field goal by Graham Gano. Most of the offensive production on the drive came from running backs Saquon Barkley and Devontae Booker in addition to receiver Kadarius Toney, who saw the field for the first time since November 22. PHI kicker Jake Elliott missed a 41-yard attempt on the ensuing drive but did hit a 22-yarder after NYG went 3-and-out. The game was tied at 3 as the we headed into halftime with the two offenses combined for 225 yards, two thirds of which belonged to PHI.

Fromm was intercepted on the second play of the second half and that play spurred one of the ugliest in-game stretches of football this franchise has ever seen in an era of Giants football that is arguably the worst this franchise has ever seen. Boston Scott scored on a 3-yard touchdown run because a NYG vs PHI matchup doesn’t exist without him crossing the goal line. It was his 12th career touchdown, 8th against Big Blue in 3 years.

Fromm and NYG went 3-and-out again before PHI padded the lead with a 37-yard field goal by Elliott. Head Coach Joe Judge then opted to return Fromm to the bench to re-insert Mike Glennon. That confirmed that NYG did not have the next Tony Romo in Fromm. So close. Glennon went on to lead yet another 3-and-out drive before PHI scored yet another touchdown on a pass from Hurts to rookie Devonta Smith to bring the score to 20-3 as the game entered the 4th quarter. The first two possessions of that 4th quarter resulted in two more PHI touchdowns. One was a pass from Hurts to right tackle Lane Johnson right before a pick-6 that Glennon threw to PHI linebacker Alex Singleton. 34-3 with 10:19 left after NYG went up 3-0 in the 2nd quarter.

NYG then went on a meaningless 17-play drive that consisted of two third-down conversions and two fourth-down conversions. It ended with a touchdown pass from Glennon to Evan Engram. Perhaps it wasn’t so meaningless for those in their fantasy football playoffs but then again if you were relying on any Giants for your fantasy football matchups, you likely didn’t make the playoffs. The two teams traded scoreless possessions from there and this game couldn’t end soon enough. This season can’t end soon enough.

NYG loses 34-10.

QUARTERBACKS

-Jake Fromm: 6/17 – 25 yards / 0 TD – 1 INT / 19.5 RAT

-“Not ideal” for Fromm’s first career NFL start according to him. That is putting it kindly. To be blunt, Fromm looked like he didn’t belong on the field. For a quarterback who does not have tremendous arm talent, everything else needs to be near-flawless. Fromm’s accuracy was poor, the blocking in front of him was poor, and his ability to process the defense was poor. There was nothing positive to take from his performance.

-Mike Glennon essentially played the second half and went 17/27 for 93 yards and 1 TD / 1 INT. The one contrast I see between the two is arm strength and overall zip on the ball. Neither were particularly accurate, but Glennon throws a much better ball than Fromm and it isn’t close.

RUNNING BACKS

-Saquon Barkley was outproduced by Devontae Booker again. Barkley gained 28 yards on 16 touches, Booker 46 yards on 10 touches. The offensive line didn’t do them any favors as both, Barkley more so, was being contacted by defenders behind the line of scrimmage. Just an ugly overall game for the backfield that didn’t move the needle in either direction regarding the team’s future vision here.

WIDE RECEIVERS

-9 receptions for 62 yards. No, not by one player. That is the stat line for the entire wide receiver group. DeVonta Smith, a rookie for PHI, had 5 receptions for 80 yards.

-Kadarius Toney was back on the field and saw about half of the snaps. He ended with 4 catches and 28 yards. His balance wasn’t keeping up with his agility, as he looked rusty. On the PHI defensive touchdown, he didn’t finish his route and it gave Singleton that window to get his hands on the ball. The one issue with a receiver that is so intent on what he does after the catch is exactly what happened. He needs to remember: Get the ball first then make your move(s).

-Kenny Golladay didn’t bring in any catches until Glennon came in. With a quarterback like Fromm, one that is so limited when it comes to arm power and likely hesitant to throw into traffic, expecting Golladay to get looks was unlikely. He didn’t get to make many plays on the ball.

-Darius Slayton and David Sills each had 1 catch for a total of 12 yards.

TIGHT END

-Evan Engram’s production also ticked upward after Glennon came back in. He had 3 catches from him for 19 yards including the team’s lone touchdown. Engram also added a drop to his season’s total.

-Kyle Rudolph was only on the field for a season-low 17 snaps. Interesting approach here for a team that couldn’t get the ball to receivers and on a team with an offensive line that was clearly overmatched.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-The PHI front is not a good matchup for NYG porous offensive line. In all honesty, we can say that about most lines NYG faces off against, but I didn’t think the NYG offense had a shot in this game for that reason.

-Nobody finished with a positive grade. Andrew Thomas was the closest. He allowed a pressure, a TFL, and was flagged for a false start. Derek Barnett, a free agent this upcoming offseason, won the 1 on 1 battle between the 2 over and over.

-Matt Peart suffered what appeared to be a serious knee injury on the third drive. He had allowed 2 pressures on the first 2 drives, clearly overmatched by Josh Sweat. His movement and stiffness were so poor. Korey Cunningham came in and played 88% of the snaps and it was clear to me he is the better player than Peart. I don’t want to beat a guy while he’s down, but that may be the last time we see Peart starting a game for NYG. His improvement and development have been non-existent since being drafted. If anything, he’s gone backward.

-Inside was a mess. Matt Skura allowed 4 pressures and a TFL while Billy Price and Will Hernandez allowed a pressure and TFL each. The running game was overwhelmed by how crowded it got between the tackles. Not only do they lack push, but they were being driven back 1-2 yards at least on inside runs. You just cannot move the ball in that scenario. Wes Martin relieved Skura in the second half and offered more of the same, except he held his ground against the bull rush a bit better.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-Another week where I felt the defensive line got trounced in the running game. Dexter Lawrence continues to be an enigma to me. He finished with 3 pressures but was poor against the run. More on him below.

-Leonard Williams finished with 5 tackles, 1 pressure, and 1 PD. I am curious what this franchise plans on doing with him. Obviously, he is here long term, and I am more than fine with it. He is a unique player who can take over games, one of the top 5 DTs in the game. However, there are certain roles he just doesn’t excel in and one of them is 2-gapping the running game. Good blockers simply take him where he wants to go, and it opens massive running lanes. It is discouraging to say the least.

-The trio of Austin Johnson, Raymond Johnson, and David Moa did not offer much against the pass. They combined for 4 tackles and 0 pressures. Moa shows some grit inside but both he and Johnson were overwhelmed by the power run blocking of PHI.

LINEBACKERS

-Another impressive day for Lorenzo Carter, who is making a late season surge. He finished with 3 tackles, 1 sack, and 3 pressures. He also forced a fumble that PHI ended up recovering. He has that twitch and explosion back. Can one make the argument that he is now far enough removed from his Achilles’ injury to show what he truly is athletically? Yes. How much does that weigh regarding his future? That will be the point of interesting and hopefully respectful debate.

-Rookie outside linebackers Azeez Ojulari and Elerson Smith also flashed. Encouraging signs from a longtime sore spot on this defense. Ojulari finished with 3 tackles, 1 TFL, and 1 pressure. He made a couple of nice inside moves that I hadn’t seen yet. One of the focal points I have down for him heading into the offseason is more variety with his inside game. Good to see progress from him in this area right now. Smith only saw 13 snaps, but I saw exactly what I wanted to see on the play he got a pressure. Inside move with late bend and a tight-angled turn.

-Tae Crowder hasn’t been getting the best reviews from me this season and rightfully so. But what I like is just how hard he plays, start to finish. He is one physical dude but one who I hope is a backup next season, not a starter. He and Jaylon Smith were the main reasons why we see the NYG defensive backs making so many tackles. Just too late and not effective enough filling the gaps.

CORNERBACKS

-James Bradberry and Jarren Williams handled nearly all of the snaps at outside corner. They excelled early on showing tight coverage, but it wavered in the second half. They were getting burned up and down, left, and right. Bradberry was inches away from an interception.

SAFETY

-The trio of Julian Love, Logan Ryan, and Xavier McKinney was very busy. In fact, they were the 3 leading tacklers, combining for 15 of them. Love missed 2, McKinney missed 1. These guys are all over the field and when watching the All-22, it’s hard not to be impressed amidst such an unimpressive team overall. The general feel of this team is so poor, but I strongly believe they are a couple pass rushers and perhaps a linebacker away from being a very good group overall. Not an easy order but at the same time, not an impossible task. This safety trio is one of the best 5 in the NFL and I mean it. They can be built around and where NYG sits in the draft should be able to net one of those pieces.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Graham Gano: 1/1 (Made 54)
-P Riley Dixon: 8 Punts / 36.8 avg – 28.0 net

3 STUDS

-OLB Lorenzo Carter, S Logan Ryan, OLB Azeez Ojulari

3 DUDS

-QB Jake Fromm, OG Matt Skura, WR Kadarius Toney

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

(1) Can PHI be the random wildcard team that gets hot at the right time and surges through the playoffs? When I think about Jalen Hurts being the QB, my initial answer is no. But when I think about how important offensive/defensive line play can impact the game, I think yes. The trench-combination this team has could be one of the best 3 or 4 in the NFL right now. Some of their young players are peaking at the right time and Fletcher Cox is one of the best 5 DTs in the game. After all, they are the number one rushing team in the league.

(2) PHI rookie DT Milton Williams is a name to watch in the future. The 3rd round pick came in a little undersized for inside play (6’3/284) but PHI has found a nice role for him, and he has been contributing since Week 1. I think my grade (mid- to late-day 3) was way off. We are going to hear his name more and more in the coming years. That kind of body type is always hard to project because they are very scheme and role dependent. There are a handful of these guys in the 2022 class who I think can be difference makers in a similar way. I hope NYG can get their hands on one of them in the middle rounds.

(3) Wide receiver DeVonta Smith was a very sought-after prospect by many of us heading into the 2021 Draft, myself included. PHI leap-frogged NYG in a trade with DAL and took him. I remember having that pit-in-the-stomach feeling knowing we would see him twice a year for a long time. How has his rookie year been? He hasn’t missed a game. He’s played 86% of the snaps. He is by far the team’s #1 WR across every metric. Only Jaylen Waddle and Ja’Marr Chase are ahead of him among rookies. The team hasn’t used his strengths consistently enough when it comes to deep routes but when they do, he has shined. He has the look of a Justin Jefferson type weapon if the QB play gets elevated.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

(1) Dexter Lawrence, as noted above, is a tough player to truly figure out. Remember when he came into the league it was all about his size, presence, and sneaky athletic ability that we liked. A Linval Joseph-type with the upside of a Haloti Ngata. Simply put, he hasn’t gotten over the hump. Nice player? Sure. His pass rush is the one thing that has made somewhat of a difference here. However, the lack of consistent run stuffing has been a frustrating watch. Part of it is how he is used but I question him even if they move him to a true NT role. If there is one player on this roster who is marketable in an offseason trade, it is Lawrence. If he can be used to help build the OL or pass rush in any way, I pull that trigger.

(2) I just got done watching Miami play against New Orleans on Monday Night Football. While I think they are still a year away from credible AFC contention, I try to take some things away from the Dolphins in regard to building from the basement of the NFL in a competitive market. I’ve discussed their OL approach (it worked but it took years of patience with developing rookies). I’ve discussed their spending on defense with a quarterback on a rookie deal. But what can NYG do at WR when looking at MIA? I have a feeling that this won’t be taken well, but with one of those top 10 picks I think NYG should look hard at WR. I’m not sure the value will be there, but if it is, WR needs to be a consideration in addition to the OL. NYG needs to score more points and I’m not confident their skill position guys have the horses to do so despite how many resources that the team has already spent on the position.

(3) I am 36 years old. I began following this team in the mid-90’s and started to really follow this team closely in the early 2000’s. Then I got into professional scouting about a decade later, amping it up around 2014-2015. Not as long as some of you, I know. That said, this is by far the lowest of the low my eyes have seen. Forget about the record (which is horrific) since that Odell Beckham boat picture. I am talking about the simple quality of football and ability to compete. This is the lowest of the low. Completing passes to the flat seems like a chore. Blocking defenders at the point-of-attack seems impossible. Putting a consistent pass rush on the opposing quarterback never happens. We see as many drops and miscues and missed assignments as any team in the league. What exactly are we looking for from a head coach when evaluating him? Forget the pressers after games, almost all of them are worthless. I am talking about on-field evaluation. What are we actually looking for? A coach needs to be a problem solver and culture builder. Almost 2 years in, tell me what problems have been solved and which culture has been built? I’ll be waiting for that answer.

Dec 262021
 
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Clown World

PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 34 – NEW YORK GIANTS 10…
There is bad. And then there is really, really, really awful. And that’s what the New York Football Giants were in their 34-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Giants utterly embarrassed themselves with their comically pathetic play in a game that was often painful to watch because of the ineptitude of both teams. New York is now 4-11 on the season and getting worse with each passing week. It’s also becoming increasingly clear that the franchise has no idea what they are doing. Welcome to Clown World.

Officially, the Giants were eliminated from playoff contention.

The Giants started Jake Fromm at quarterback. A few weeks ago, he was on the Practice Squad of the Buffalo Bills. Now we know why. Behind a poor offensive line, Fromm struggled with his decision-making and accuracy. He finished the game 6-of-17 for 25 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. He was also sacked twice.

The Giants had six offensive possessions in the first half, including two that started with outstanding field position at their own 41 and 49 yard lines. Five of these resulted in a total of three first downs and five punts. Their only scoring drive came at the of the 1st quarter and beginning of the 2nd quarter when the Giants “drove” 39 yards in 11 plays. This resulted in a 54-yard field goal and their only lead of the game, 3-0.

Meanwhile, Philadelphia struggled on offense in the first half as well. Poor offensive execution by the Eagles and solid first-half defense by the Giants resulted in only two first downs and four straight punts by Philadelphia to start the game. The Eagles began moving the ball in the 2nd quarter. One 9-play, 53-yard drive ended with a missed 41-yard field goal. That was followed up by a 7-play, 56-yard drive that ended with a successful 22-yard field goal at the 2-minute warning.

At the break, the game was tied 3-3.

The roof collapsed in the 3rd and early 4th quarters. What had been an ugly 3-3 game quickly turned into a 34-3 embarrassment for the Giants. Counting their field goal in the first half, the Eagles scored 34 unanswered points. At one point in the 3rd quarter, the Giants had more punts (8) than first downs (7) in the game.

Fromm was benched in the 3rd quarter after two more possessions, the first ending with a bad interception . He was replaced by Mike Glennon, who was benched by the team this week after his dreadful performance against Dallas Cowboys and his 0-3 record as a starter in place of the injured Daniel Jones. Glennon wasn’t much better. His first two drives resulted in one first and two punts. He then threw an interceptions that was returned returned 29 yards for a touchdown and the 34-3 advantage.

The combination of incredibly poor offense, highlighted by two terrible interceptions, and atrocious punting by Riley Dixon helped to cause the defensive collapse. Fromm’s interception put the ball on the New York 21-yard line to start the 3rd quarter. Five plays later, the Eagles scored a touchdown that made the game 10-3.

After another three-and-out with Fromm at the helm, Dixon’s poor punt traveled just 33 yards and was returned 39 yards to the New York 21-yard line again. Four plays later, the Eagles settled for a 37-yard field goal. 13-3.

In came Glennon. Three-and-out. A 31-yard punt by Dixon set up the Eagles at their 43-yard line. Five plays later, quarterback Jalen Hurts threw a 4-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-goal. 20-3.

Glennon picked up one first down and the Giants punted again. This time only 36 yards by Dixon. The defense had largely given up by this point as Philadelphia drove 75 yards in 10 plays to take a 27-3 lead on Hurts’ touchdown pass to a wide-open offensive lineman. Then came the pick-6 making it 34-3 with about 10 minutes left in the game.

Glennon “led” the Giants on a garbage-time, 17-play, 75-yard drive that took 6:29 off of the clock and ended with a 9-yard touchdown pass to tight end Evan Engram. The onside kick failed. Each team had the ball once more in the final four minutes, but neither scored.

Offensively, the Giants finished with 15 first downs, seven of which came after the score was 34-3. 102 yards of the team’s 192 yards came on these last two meaningless drives as well. In other words, the Giants had 90 yards of offense before the score was 34-3. Glennon finished 17-of-27 for 93 yards, one touchdown, and a pick-6. No receiving target had more than four catches of 28 yards. Running Back Saquon Barkley carried the ball 15 times for 32 yards (2.1 yards per carry average).

Defensively, while New York started strong, they weakened as the game progressed. The Giants only gave up 17 first downs, but they missed chances at a number of turnovers and did allow 324 yards of offense and three second-half touchdowns.

On special teams, Dixon was dreadful.

Video lowlights are available at Giants.com.

ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Saturday, the Giants activated LB Cam Brown and CB Aaron Robinson from the Reserve/COVID-19 List to the 53-man roster. The team also activated S Natrell Jamerson from the Reserve/COVID-19 List to the Practice Squad.

NT Danny Shelton and OT Nate Solder were placed on the Reserve/COVID-19 List.

In addition, the team activated WR David Sills, OL Isaiah Wilson, DL David Moa, and CB Darqueze Dennard from the Practice Squad as COVID-19 replacements.

The Giants terminated the Practice Squad contract of LB Omari Cobb.

Missing the game due to COVID-19 were WR John Ross, OT Nate Solder, NT Danny Shelton, CB Adoree’ Jackson, and CB Keion Crossen.

Inactive for the game were RB Gary Brightwell (neck), WR Collin Johnson (hamstring), OG Ben Bredeson (ankle), and LB Oshane Ximines.

RT Matt Peart left the game with a left knee injury in the first half and did not return. FB Cullen Gillaspia and CB Jarren Williams also left the game in the second half with undisclosed injuries.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum at Giants.com:

  • Head Coach Joe Judge (Video)
  • QB Jake Fromm (Video)
  • QB Mike Glennon (Video)
  • RB Devontae Booker (Video)
  • LB Lorenzo Carter (Video)
  • S Julian Love (Video)

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Dec 242021
 
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THE STORYLINE:
It feels like everyone is piling on the New York Football Giants right now. They are, and deservedly so. The team is a mess and no one except those fans blinded by an absurdly high level of team loyalty refuses to accept this fact. What it boils down to is this: despite multiple coaching and dramatic personnel changes, the team simply is not getting better. You have to be blind, stupid, or have an agenda in order to not see it.

Enter the Philadelphia Eagles, the team that was supposed to be pulling up the rear in the NFC East in 2021. The Eagles are not good, as indicated by the fact that they are one of the few teams the Giants beat this season. They started off 2-5. But since then, the team has gone an impressive 5-2 and is now 7-7 and all-alone in second place in the division. That is where the Giants were supposed to be this year. Getting better. Offering hope for the future. That didn’t happen.

The Eagles are 12th in offensive yards gained. The Giants are 27th. The Eagles are averaging 26 points a game. The Giants are averaging 17. The Eagles are 10th in defense. The Giants are 25th. The Eagles are experiencing all of this with a rookie head coach (Nick Sirianni) and a 2nd-round quarterback drafted last year (Jalen Hurts).

But it’s not just the Eagles, Dallas is clearly the class of the division and looks like they will remain very competitive for the foreseeable future because of how well they have been drafting. The Washington Football team is well-coached and remains a tough team because it is strong up front on both sides of the ball.

The Giants are not closing the gap on these teams. Worse, they seem to be falling further behind. And don’t blame the injuries or COVID or any other pathetic excuse. As New York enters the 2022 offseason, it appears there are very few areas where the team has to be satisfied with, and that includes ownership, management, and coaching.

I want to finish by addressing the coaching issue since I’m already on record about the incompetence of ownership and management. I would’t be sounding so pessimistic if I came out of this season feeling good about the coaching staff. I did last year at this time, but I don’t anymore. I can’t recall one game in 2021 where I thought we clearly out-coached our opponent. At the top, Joe Judge’s in-game management has been questionable at best. You’d be hard-pressed to find any Giants fan who thinks the offensive side of coaching staff is innovative (plus the Giants have already fired one offensive coordinator this year). The defense started the season poorly, got better, but has been-and-down for the most part. Most troubling is the way this staff gets out-coached in the last two minutes of the first half of EVERY game. The Giants have achieved what should be impossible, being out-scored 65-0 in these situations. Indeed, a couple of times in recent weeks, the Giants’ offense has had the ball in plus territory with 90 seconds left on the clock. And not only does the offense not score, but the opponent still manages to put points on the board. And again, the Giants hired a special teams coordinator to be their head coach, but the special teams never really stands out either. WTF? The thing that is also making me feel queasy are that Judge’s press conferences are becoming long-winded messes. You would think he would have learned from Bill Belichick in this area.

In the Super Bowl era, the two greatest head coaches the Giants have had were Bill Parcells and Tom Coughlin. But even these two were under heavy criticism before they won NFL Championships. (Coughlin was also heavily attacked after 2011). The Giants also had coaches such as Ray Perkins, Dan Reeves, and Jim Fassel who were far less loved. But there were moments where their NYG teams really shined and fans felt optimistic about the future. Perkins and Reeves surprisingly took teams to the playoffs. Jim Fassel had three playoff teams, including one that went to the Super Bowl. Hell, Fassel’s teams used to own the Eagles, winning nine in a row at one point (more on that below). There were many games where fans felt that we had out-coached the opponent (just ask Redskins fans how Dan Reeves used to torment them with the halfback pass from Dave Meggett).

Let’s hope the coaching staff finishes up on a high note. The Eagles, Bears, and WFT are not world-beaters. These last three games will be very telling.

THE INJURY REPORT:
*It is not likely that any of the Reserve/COVID-19 List players will play on Sunday.

  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle)
  • RB Gary Brightwell (neck – out)
  • FB Cullen Gillaspia (shin)
  • *WR John Ross (Reserve/COVID-19)
  • WR Kadarius Toney (oblique/COVID ramp up – questionable)
  • WR Collins Johnson (hamstring – out)
  • TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle)
  • OT Andrew Thomas (ankle)
  • OG Ben Bredeson (ankle – out)
  • NT Austin Johnson (foot – questionable)
  • DL Leonard Williams (triceps)
  • *LB Cam Brown (Reserve/COVID-19)
  • LB Oshane Ximines (COVID ramp up – questionable)
  • *CB Adoree’ Jackson (Reserve/COVID-19)
  • * Aaron Robinson (Reserve/COVID-19)
  • *CB Keion Crossen (Reserve/COVID-19)
  • S J.R. Reed (COVID ramp up – questionable)

THE FINAL WORD:
Given that it is Christmas, I wanted to end on a positive note and remind Giants fans that there was a time when this team played meaningful football games against the Philadelphia Eagles in December and January. If anything, just watch the first couple of minutes of the following…

Nov 302021
 
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Tae Crowder, New York Giants (November 28, 2021)

Tae Crowder – © USA TODAY Sports

QUICK RECAP

The 5-5 PHI Eagles, winners of 3 of their past 4, traveled up the turnpike to take on a 3-7 Giants team that hadn’t won since November 7. The division foes split their matchups against one another in 2020, both have a very unsure quarterback situation, and both can’t seem to get over the hump into credible NFC playoff contention. PHI and NYG are both removed from the basement tier of the NFL, but they also both have had a hard time putting together consistent performances on either sides of the ball. PHI entered the game on the NFC playoff bubble, while NYG was on a downward slope on a short week after getting dismantled by Tampa Bay the previous Monday night.

Without receivers Kadarius Toney and Sterling Shepard in addition to tight end Kyle Rudolph, the NYG offense yet again came out less than full strength. It began with a 3-and-out, but PHI responded with the same. NYG’s second drive with new play caller Freddie Kitchens (who took over after the Jason Garrett firing) resulted in 3 points. In just two short drives, one could easily notice a key difference in the Giants’ offense. They were using more pre-snap motion, a common and well-known shortcoming in the Garrett-era. Graham Gano ended the drive with a 35-yard field goal.

PHI got into NYG territory on their next drive. On the first play in the red zone, a 3rd-and-5 from the NYG 20, Jalen Hurts threw an interception over the middle to Darnay Holmes. 11 games into the 2021 season and NYG has forced at least one turnover in all of them. It was Holmes’ second interception of his young career. NYG was not able to convert the turnover into points, as Gano missed a 51-yard field goal attempt. Hurts followed that with 2 more incomplete passes, leading to another PHI 3-and-out.

Saquon Barkley opened the next NYG drive with a 32-yard run. The passing game gained 23 yards combined on the following 2 plays and NYG’s momentum was in full swing. After a Devontae Booker 6-yard run, NYG was 1st-and-10 from the PHI 26. But the ugliness of this offense reared its head yet again. A 1-yard loss on a Barkley run, a holding penalty on Andrew Thomas, a 3-yard loss on a Barkley run, and an incomplete pass to Evan Engram brought out the NYG punt unit. Another scoring opportunity down the drain.

PHI started with the ball on their own 7-yard line. They used 14 plays, just one of which was a 3rd down, to reach the NYG 1 yard line. With :08 left in the half, Hurts threw his second red-zone interception of the half into the hands of linebacker Tae Crowder. That, along with 2 holding penalties by center Nate Herbig (in for the injured Jason Kelce) put NYG on the other side of end-of-half debacles for a change. PHI went into the half scoreless much thanks to their own doing.

The PHI running game began the second half with 35 yards on 3 carries. From there, Hurts threw two poor incomplete passes with PHI just needing 2 yards for a first down. They turned it over on downs, giving NYG their first possession of the second half just 9 yards away from midfield. Jones looked crisp and sure on the drive and for the first time, NYG got inside the PHI 10-yard line. The last-ranked red zone offense in the league has been, in my opinion, the biggest issue with this offense. More than the leaky offensive line, more than the banged-up skill positions, more than the up-and-down quarterback performances. Playoff teams put points on the board when they get inside the 20. Super Bowl contenders score touchdowns the majority of their red-zone trips. NYG hasn’t been doing either at an even above average rate since 2014. That was Odell Beckham’s rookie year (arguably his best season of his career).

Thanks to a 3rd-down pass interference penalty on PHI corner Steven Nelson, NYG had a fresh set of downs from the PHI 1. 1st down play-action has been a huge benefit for this offense and that is where they turned to here. Tight end Chris Myarick, who was cut by Miami in August and signed to the NYG practice squad in September, caught a pass in the end zone after nearly dropping it to the turf. The ball missed the ground by mere inches but nonetheless, NYG had the 10-0 lead.

On the second play of the next PHI drive, Hurts tried to throw the ball downfield to Jalen Reagor. Budding star safety Xavier McKinney broke on the ball, clearly had the best track to it from the beginning, and intercepted his 5th pass of the season. He is tied for third in the NFL and for the most by a safety in that department. The PHI offense looked helpless. NYG could not capitalize, however, as their initial offensive play after the turnover was a whopping 13-yard loss on a reverse rushing attempt by Darius Slayton.

With Hurts unable to get anything going with his arm, PHI almost exclusively went with the running game. As the contest entered the 4th quarter, PHI gained all 66 yards of their drive on the ground. Hurts threw the ball once, the opening play of the drive which fell incomplete. Boston Scott ran it in for a 1-yard touchdown. Scott now has 11 career touchdowns, 7 of which have come against NYG.

The lead was just 3 points. NYG went 3-and-out and PHI had the ball back. If it wasn’t known already, this one was going to come down to NYG’s defensive performance. They had to play all 4 quarters here, not just a half. Their lone sack of the day came at the right time on a 3rd-and-4 from midfield. PHI opted to punt, giving NYG the ball back at their own 9-yard line with just over 10 minutes left.

NYG’s best drive of the game ensued. 12 plays, 7:22 of game clock, and 3 points via a 39-yard field goal by Gano was the end result. Jones completed all 6 of his initial passes on this drive, using 4 different receivers and showing precise accuracy. These were key moments, some of these throws were into tight windows, and it was when the plays counted most. Jones did throw an incomplete on the final 3rd-and-7 prior to the field goal.

PHI got the ball back twice in the closing three minutes. That first drive ended in a Scott fumble, caused by Dexter Lawrence and recovered by Julian Love. The final drive did bring them within striking distance of a game-winning touchdown. Two plays resulted in drops by 2020 first rounder Jalen Reagor, the second one being on 4th-and-10 which led to an NYG kneel down the play after.

NYG wins 13-7.

QUARTERBACK

Daniel Jones: 19/30 – 202 yards / 1 TD – 0 INT / 94.0 RAT

Jones also added 30 yards on 9 rushing attempts. Make no mistake about it, this was another horrid offensive day for the Giants when taking a step back and looking at the big picture. 264 yards of offense, 4.6 yards per play are bottom of the barrel. There were a few things that went wrong, but I think Jones was one of the main reasons this team won. Was it a standout performance? No. But he went 11/16 in the 2nd half and a near-essential 6/7 on the final drive that resulted in points to put NYG up by more than a field goal. He made a few tough throws and stood in the pocket strong, showing awareness and toughness with quality footwork.

RUNNING BACK

Saquon Barkley: 13 att – 40 yards / 4 rec – 13 yards

32 of Barkley’s 40 rushing yards came on one play. That one play is similar to why bad golfers always keep going back for another round. That one play, that one drive off the tee, somehow makes it easy to forget that pretty much every other play (or swing) was a disaster. I stand strong on the observation that his running style has changed, he has more stiffness in his lower half than I’ve ever seen since 2018, and there is too much mental hesitation that causes a lack of vision. That said, he was contacted behind the line of scrimmage on 6 of his 13 carries, 3 of which were untouched by a blocker. You can’t succeed in that environment. We still don’t know what #26 is.

WIDE RECEIVER

-No Shepard, no Toney yet again. Shepard has missed six games this year; Toney has missed two (and two of Toney’s other nine games included less than six  snaps in each). Combined, they have played under half of the team’s offensive snaps.

-Kenny Golladay led the team with 7 targets. He ended the day with 50 yards on 3 catches, all of which resulted in a 1st down. The team took 2 shots into the zone at him. Both were low-success rate, fade-type passes. I would love for NYG to get more creative with him in the red zone. Simply lofting the ball in the air and hoping he can end up on the right end of a 50/50 ball rarely works. Inside the 5, it is actually one of the lowest-success rate plays, historically speaking.

-John Ross and Darius Slayton, the two deep threats, combined for 5 catches / 68 yards. Just over 13 yards per clip which is not considered deep, at all. The issue here is the offensive line cannot be trusted to have these two run deep routes. That part of the route tree takes time to progress to and because of that, we aren’t seeing what these guys can actually offer with their skill sets.

TIGHT END

-Chris Myarick had one career target coming into this game. He doubled that number, catching both on similar play-action plays where he had to sell the idea he was staying in to block. Both receptions were huge plays and one resulted in a touchdown. They combined for just 11 yards, but both were huge plays.

-Evan Engram had 3 catches for 37 yards and a drop. Both tight ends allowed a TFL in the running game when they were matched up against defensive ends.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-Excellent bounce back performance by Will Hernandez, a game after the worst performance of his career in Tampa Bay. It was quietly a dominant grade, as I had zero negative notes on him. Not one.

-Matt Skura and Billy Price were beat up inside. Both are poor athletes and the PHI front seven exposed their limitations. Skura allowed 2 pressures, Price allowed one. The biggest red flag was their lack of push in the running game. They were stood up and/or driven back in the power game and they (Price especially) could not reach their gap assignments on outside zone runs. It is such a deterrent to the running game.

-Andrew Thomas allowed a pressure and was flagged for a hold. He did allow a sack late, but I did not dock him on my personal bookkeeping because it was a play where Jones opted to take that sack to keep the clock moving. Another positive game grade for the second-year tackle.

-Nate Solder had the worst grade of the group. He allowed 2 pressures and 2 TFL. More on this below but to sum it up, I don’t think anybody thinks Solder can play anymore. And that is a bigger indictment on Peart than it is Solder.

DEFENSIVE LINE

-Leonard Williams led the way with 4 tackles and 4 pressures. An active game for him even though he couldn’t seal the deal as a pass rusher. He hasn’t had a sack since 11/1 vs KC.

-Dexter Lawrence may be one of the more volatile players on the team. He needs to get to, and stay at, nose tackle. His lack of range showed up against the PHI outside zone running game. He also wasn’t much of a presence as a pass rusher. Lawrence did record 1 pressure and his forced fumble was an enormous play. But one can make the case that the bad is outweighing the good this season and I think at least a part of it is the fact he is out of position.

-Austin Johnson added 4 tackles and split the lone sack on the day with Julian Love. Danny Shelton was on the field for just 9 snaps and didn’t do much. He was out of position on the Darnay Holmes interception return, which led to the cornerback taking a huge hit that could have been avoided. Not a smart player and I am pretty sure that is why Bill Belichick got rid of him.

LINEBACKER

-Again, the biggest culprit in PHI’s running game success revolved around this group. They averaged 6.3 yards per carry and the success was spread out among pretty much everyone who carried the ball. In fact, if I am a PHI fan, I am most perturbed by PHI not running it even more than they did, and their ratio was basically a 50/50 split! That doesn’t happen much anymore.

-Tae Crowder had 6 tackles and an interception and Reggie Ragland had 5 tackles with a TFL. Doesn’t look like a bad day in the box score but the All-22 tape says otherwise.

-Lorenzo Carter was back on the field after missing a few games. He split duties with Quincy Roche but saw slightly more playing time. Had 1 tackle and 1 pressure. His presence when it came to setting the edge was much better than Roche, who really struggled in that department and made no impact as a pass rusher. Azeez Ojulari added 5 tackles and was active in pursuit. Things are clicking a bit better with him mentally and even though the pass-rush impact hasn’t been there in a few weeks, I am seeing encouraging signs there. I bet he has a big game soon.

CORNERBACK

-Adoree’ Jackson was lost early in the 2nd quarter with a quad injury. The story here is that it opened the door for more playing time for rookie Aaron Robinson. In my opinion, playing corner as a rookie in the NFL is one of the most difficult tasks in football. Robinson responded in a big way. He had 6 tackles, 2 PD (1 of which on 4th down), and added a pressure. He was all over the field and looked sticky short and intermediate. Now, he was the beneficiary of poor WR play from PHI on 2 occasions and he did get beat on 3rd down twice, but this was a highly-encouraging performance for a corner that, remember, NYG traded up for.

-Darnay Holmes stepped up as well. He had an interception in the red zone and provided quality deep coverage against both Devonta Smith and Jalen Reagor, both credible deep threats. I like how he showed he can play the outside and even though there are, and likely always will be, slight skill-set issues in coverage, I continue to admire the way he plays when it comes to his aggression and physical nature.

-James Bradberry had a quiet game. 3 tackles and was rarely targeted, allowing just 2 short completions.

SAFETY

-Xavier McKinney is the budding star, not just on this team, but in the entire league at the safety position. Watching the All-22 tape further confirmed my notion on him. He is making reads earlier than most, he is baiting quarterbacks already, and the burst to the ball is something to see. Get excited about him, NYG fans. This is real.

-Logan Ryan was out with Covid again, and Julian Love stepped in without letting the defense skip a beat. While the talent level may not be overly noteworthy, this kid is savvy and smart. When you want to teach how important gap-assignment football is, Love’s tape can be used as an example. He is where he needs to be at all times and he creates plays from it. He had 4 tackles, a half-sack, a PD, and a fumble recovery. His versatility is such a key part to the defense as a whole.

-J.R. Reed had 5 tackles and looked more comfortable in his second sizable chunk of action with NYG. He made a key stop at the goal line.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Graham Gano: 2/3 (Made 35, 39; missed 51)
-P Riley Dixon: 5 punts / 39.2 avg – 35.6 net. Terrible game for him.

3 STUDS

-S Xavier McKinney, DT Leonard Williams, OG Will Hernandez

3 DUDS

-OT Nate Solder, OG Matt Skura, LB Reggie Ragland

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

(1) I labeled Jalen Hurts a career backup when he came out. He is a dangerous player because of how much he can do with his legs and there is indeed arm talent, but my notes on him centered around a lack of true feel in the pocket and very inconsistent accuracy. Hurts has only started 16 games and what he had to work with down the stretch last season was as bad as it gets. The jury is still out. Even though there are flashes, and he does have talent, I don’t see him being a guy to build around in a passing league. Ideal backup who can still win games if the #1 guy goes down, but nothing more. Carson Wentz looks good in Indy, by the way.

(2) Another draft blunder by Eagles GM Howie Roseman? Wide receiver Jalen Reagor was drafted 1 slot ahead of Justin Jefferson. How on earth did that happen? They weren’t close in my eyes. I had Jefferson stacked at #5 on the position stack and even that was probably too low. I had Reagor at #13. What a whiff that was! Reagor impressed during workouts with speed and jumping, but his tape was pretty poor all things considered when looking at 1st-round grades. His 2 drops were awful, yes. But his routes and ball tracking were even worse. This was on tape at TCU for all to see, too.

(3) Let’s not count these guys out. We’ve seen the song and dance before. They do have a couple of quality wins as of late (@ DEN, NO) and an attractive schedule coming up. But the one thing that makes me hesitate to nail their coffin shut is how effective they are on both sides of the ball when it comes to the running game. They’re 2nd in yards-per-carry and they’re 6th in yards-per-carry allowed. That fares well in December/January. I also think their pass rush can take over games when they’re clicking.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

(1) How is Matt Peart not playing? He clearly presents more upside than Nate Solder. I say that because there is no upside with Solder. He cannot beat NFL defenders on any sort of consistent basis, and this is known across the entire league. I have a different angle here. I don’t think it is on the coaching staff, I think it is solely on Peart. He hasn’t proven enough in practice, he may not know assignments, and I don’t think he has the edge that the staff wants. I have some background on Peart and I will just say that he doesn’t have a burning desire to go in there and compete. That shows up eventually, it cannot be hidden. I think that is why we are seeing Solder instead.

(2) Let’s collectively tip our cap to the defense for getting right. PHI averaged 34.5 points over the previous 4 games. They scored 44 at DET, 24 vs LAC, 40 vs NO, and 30 @DEN. Holding a team under 10 points in the NFL is incredibly rare and to do it against an offense that came in red hot is even more impressive. Starting with the win vs CAR on October 24, NYG is averaging 15.2 points allowed per game. The best defense in the NFL allows 15.8 per game on the year. Imagine what could be if this team gets a credible pass rusher or two!

(3) NYG has another game coming up against a team that is hot. Miami started off 1-7, much thanks to a defense that wasn’t forcing turnovers at the rate they were in 2020 and a quarterback injury situation that caused a ton of disruption to the offensive flow. Lastly, they have the worst OL in football. However, they have now won 4 in a row. They have plenty of momentum, and Tua Tagovailoa is playing smart, efficient quarterback. 3 of the 4 wins in a row were against HOU, NYJ, and CAR. While that is almost as easy as it gets, they’re playing with more confidence. But NYG needs to separate themselves from teams like this. MIA is not bottom of the barrel, but they aren’t a good team either. The NYG defense won’t have any excuse here. They need to keep them under 17 points, no question. And time for these NYG skill players to get on the field and step up.

Nov 282021
 
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Aaron Robinson, New York Giants (November 28, 2021)

Defensive backs react to Jalen Reagor’s dropped game-winning touchdown

NEW YORK GIANTS 13 – PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 7…
The New York Giants prevailed in an ugly 13-7 win over Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. With the victory, the Giants improved their overall record to 4-7.

The Eagles out-gained the Giants in first downs (19 to 17), total net yards (332 to 264), and net yards rushing (208 to 70). The Giants held advantages in net passing yards (194 to 124), time of possession (32:02 to 27:58), and most importantly, forced turnovers (4-0). Yet despite the huge turnover margin, New York only sealed the win when Eagles wideout Jalen Reagor dropped two game-winning touchdown passes on Philadelphia’s final, desperate drive.

Both teams exchanged three-and-outs to start the game. New York moved the ball 47 yards on 11 plays on their second drive, setting up a 35-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. Philadelphia too moved the ball their second drive, gaining 54 yards and reaching the New York 20-yard line. However, on 3rd-and-5, cornerback Darnay Holmes intercepted quarterback Jalen Hurts at the 5-yard line, ending the scoring threat.

After picking up 47 yards on eight plays, the Giants’ attempt to extend their 3-0 lead failed when Gano missed a 51-yard yard field goal. Both teams then exchanged punts again.

Philadelphia’s final drive of the half began at their own 7-yard line and reached the New York 1-yard line after 14 plays. On the 15th play, facing 3rd-and-goal, Hurts was chased out of the pocket and he threw a pass towards the end zone that was intercepted by linebacker Tae Crowder at the goal line. Crowder returned the ball nine yards before fumbling it out-of-bounds with no time on the clock.

At the half, the Giants led 3-0.

The Eagles received the ball to start the second half. After gaining 35 yards on their first three plays, the drive stalled at the New York 40-yard line. Philadelphia went for it on 4th-and-2, but Hurts’ pass fell incomplete with cornerback Aaron Robinson in coverage. The Giants followed this up with their only touchdown of the game as New York drove 59 yards in 10 plays. On 1st-and-goal from the 1-yard line, quarterback Daniel Jones found tight end Chris Myarick for the score, despite the ball coming close to touching the ground as Myarick bobbled the catch. It was Myarick’s first career reception. Giants were now up 10-0.

It got worse for the Eagles on their second possession. On 1st-and-18 from the 9-yard line, Hurts’ deep pass intended for Reagor was intercepted by safety Xavier McKinney at the New York 46-yard line. Unfortunately, the Giants’ offense failed miserably to take advantage of the field position, as the unit actually lost 14 yards, forcing a punt.

Momentum then switched in Philadelphia’s favor as they easily drove 66 yards in 10 plays for a touchdown. After an incomplete pass to start this possession, the next nine plays were all runs with Giant-killer running back Boston Scott scoring to cut the score to 13-7 early in the 4th quarter.

Both teams exchanged punts again. Starting at their own 9-yard line with 10:16 left in the game, the Giants managed to put together a 12-play, 70-yard drive that took 7:22 off of the clock. Unfortunately, the drive resulted in a field goal rather than a touchdown as New York’s red zone woes continued. With just under three minutes to play, the Giants were up 13-7.

Starting at their own 30-yard line, the Eagles gained 21 yards on their first three plays. On 1st-and-10 from the New York 49-yard line, Scott picked up four yards on a run to the right. However, pursuing defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence forced a fumble that was recovered by defensive back Julian Love at the 37-yard line.

The Giants had the ball with just 1:34 left in the game. The Eagles had all three of their timeouts so New York needed one first down to seal the win. The Giants netted no yards on their first two plays. On 3rd-and-10, Jones was sacked for an 8-yard loss. Worse, punter Riley Dixon only managed a 39-yard punt that was returned nine yards. Unbelievably, the Eagles had the ball back at their own 41-yard line with 1:11 left on the clock. The Giants had only burned 23 seconds off of the clock and the Eagles were nearly back right where they had started before turning the ball over.

After picking up 21 yards on two passing plays, Hurts threw a perfect deep pass down the left sideline to Reagor that should have resulted in a 38-yard game-winning touchdown against rookie corner Aaron Robinson (who also looked like he interfered on the play but wasn’t called for it). However, Reagor dropped the the ball, as did Love, who should have intercepted it off of the deflection. Hurts then completed an 11-yard pass to the New York 27-yard line with 38 seconds left in the game. After spiking the ball to stop the clock, Hurts’ next two passes were contested and fell incomplete. On 4th-and-10, with 25 seconds left, Hurts, with far too much time, threw another deep pass that could have resulted in the game-winning touchdown, but Reagor dropped the ball near the 1-yard line. Eagles turned the ball over on downs. Game over.

Jones finished the game 19-of-30 for 202 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. None of his targets caught more than four passes or accrued more than 50 yards. Running back Saquon Barkley had a 32-yard run in the game but his 12 other carries only picked up eight yards.

Defensively, the Giants allowed over 200 yards rushing to the #1 rushing team in the NFL. Hurts was held to 129 yards passing, but he did rush the ball 77 yards on eight carries. Aside from the four forced turnovers (three interceptions, one fumble recovery), the Giants only had one sack, shared between Love and nose tackle Austin Johnson. Hurts was only officially hit three times. However, the Giants were credited with 10 pass defenses.

Video highlights are available at Giants.com.

ROSTER MOVES, PRACTICE SQUAD ACTIVATIONS, INACTIVES, AND INJURY REPORT…
On Thursday, the Giants signed TE Deon Yelder to the Practice Squad. The 26-year old, 6’4”, 255-pound Yelder was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent by the New Orleans Saints after the 2018 NFL Draft. Yelder has spent time with the Saints (2018), Kansas City Chiefs (2018–2021), Washington Football Team (2021), Tennessee Titans (2021), and Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2021). Yelder has played in 29 regular-season games with two starts. He has 11 career receptions for 86 yards.

On Saturday, the Giants elevated S Steven Parker to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad. In addition, WR/returner Pharoh Cooper was activated from the Practice Squad as a COVID-19 replacement for S Logan Ryan (Reserve/COVID-19 List).

Inactive for the game were FB Cullen Gillaspia (calf), WR Kadarius Toney (quad), WR Sterling Shepard (quad), TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle), TE Kaden Smith (knee), and OG/OC Wes Martin.

CB Adoree’ Jackson (quad), CB Darnay Holmes (chest), and LB Trent Harris (ankle) left the game with injuries.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

POST-GAME NOTES…
The Giants won their third consecutive home game for the first time since they won their last six games in MetLife in 2016. The Giants are 3-3 at home. They have matched their home victory total for the entire 2020 season.

The Giants are 4-0 in division home games under Joe Judge.

The Giants have won two consecutive games against the Eagles after suffering losses in the previous eight meetings.

The Giants have a takeaway in each of their first 11 games for the first time since 2005.

The Giants committed a season-low two accepted penalties for just 15 yards.

Daniel Jones did not throw an interception for the seventh time in 11 games.

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Nov 262021
 
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THE STORYLINE:
It’s becoming increasingly clear that the New York Giants are simply a chronically mismanaged organization. My “game previews” annually touch upon this as the number of successive losing seasons mount. Even the usually optimistic Sy’56 is losing patience. The end of his last game review was about as harsh a criticism as you will see from him:

The NYG organization has been all about saving face and public perception. The press conferences try to convince those who listen that things are under control and there is a plan in place. It is clear to me that this team does not have a plan beyond basic football. They don’t know how to draft, they don’t know how to manage the cap, they don’t know how to play 2-minute offense and defense, they don’t know what to do in the red zone, they don’t know how to manage timeouts. You can preach fundamentals all you want, and you can say one-liners about being a teaching-based coaching staff. Sounds very Belichick-y. That helps during the spring and summer months where results are subjective. However, the mismanagement always rears its ugly head during the fall and this is the problem that starts from the top.

All of this negativity is not due to the team losing to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Bucs are one of the best teams in football. The Giants are one of the worst. The frustration is mounting and mounting because the team – one again – does not seem to be getting any better. Draft pick after draft pick, high-priced free agent after high-priced free agent, coaching change after coaching change… the team simply is not getting any better.

What struck me about Sy’56’s comments is something that has been bothering me for quite some time, but he nailed it. The top officials from this team put on a good act. They say the right things. But unfortunately, they do the wrong things. If Super Bowl trophies were awarded for being good at public relations, the Giants would be in the middle of a 10-year dynastic run.

So be prepared for John Mara’s end-of-year press conference where he tells fans he is just as frustrated as the fans and changes will be made. (You can already hear the Boston College harrumph). Dave Gettleman, who appears to have made two catastrophically-bad top-6 draft selections in 2018 and 2019, will most likely be put out to pasture, temporarily mollifying many fans. As for used-car salesman Joe Judge, much depends on the final seven games. Right now, it’s not looking good for Joe.

THE INJURY REPORT:

  • RB Saquon Barkley (ankle – questionable)
  • FB Cullen Gillaspia (calf – out)
  • WR Kadarius Toney (quad – doubtful)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (quad – out)
  • WR John Ross (quad – questionable)
  • TE Kyle Rudolph (ankle – doubtful)
  • TE Kaden Smith (knee – out)
  • LB Lorenzo Carter (ankle – probable)
  • CB Adoree’ Jackson (quad – probable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE:
Jason Garrett was fired. Not during the bye week when it made more sense, but on a short-week after playing on Monday night football. Perfect move for a dysfunctional franchise.

The removal of Garrett is a huge red flag because it means one of two things. Either Joe Judge botched one of the most important head coaching decisions he had, or as some have long speculated, Garrett was imposed on Judge by John Mara. Either way, it’s not good. And reading between the lines, based what was and was not said in both Judge’s Monday night post-game press conference and Garrett’s Tuesday farewell statement, it appears there was no love lost between Judge and Garrett. Combine that with last years odd drama surrounding the in-season firing of Offensive Line Coach Marc Colombo, who Garrett brought over from Dallas and either Judge or Mara signed off on. I’m starting to suspect that Mara did in fact meddle with decisions that should have been left to Judge. If Mara felt he needed an insurance policy for Judge, then he never should have hired the man in the first place.

More good news. When a team blows the #2 pick in the draft, it’s a disaster. When a team blows the #6 pick in the draft, it’s a disaster. When a team does both and one of those picks is a “franchise” quarterback, it’s beyond a disaster. Thank you Dave Gettleman. You’ve sealed your legacy by putting the final nails in the coffin that Jerry Reese began to build. Don’t forget, however, that John Mara hired Dave Gettleman. And he decided to retain him after Pat Shurmur failed and before hiring Joe Judge.

So where are we now? The 3-7 Giants are in last place in the NFC East. They are not dead, but they are on life support. Joe Judge, who must know his neck is on the chopping block, fired his offensive coordinator on a short week before facing a team that has owned the Giants for years. This reeks of desperation. Good luck Freddie Kitchens! The offensive line is still a mess. Daniel Jones isn’t getting better. Saquon Barkley is just a big name who falls over himself. The injury-prone Sterling Shepard is out again, joined this week by the injury-prone Kadarius Toney. If Judge, Kitchens, Jones, Barkley, etc. put up 30 points against the Eagles and win the game, we’ll all be thrilled. But who in their right mind truly expects that?

NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE:
The luckiest man in New York this past week was Patrick Graham. The drama surrounding Jason Garrett completely overshadowed the utterly miserable performance by Graham against Tampa Bay. Remember, Graham’s defense looked like crap for the first six games of the year, being a major reason why the team started 1-5. His defense improved over the course of the next three games as the Giants “rebounded” with a 2-1 record. Against a Bucs’ offense that mightily struggled Washington, Graham’s unit allowed 400 yards of offense and six scoring drives. Tom Brady got to come out of the game early.

We went through something similar with Graham last year. The difference being that an admittedly undermanned defense started off poorly and made improvements in the second half of the year as the Giants shockingly finished as a top-10 defense. In the second year of his system, with free agent and draft additions, this was supposed to be a consistently good defense, anchored by the defensive line and secondary. Now it seems like a crapshoot as to what kind of defense will show up on a week-to-week basis. Sy’56 contends it is because New York’s defenders have no firm, systemic identity. I don’t know what the reason is. All I know is it is not working the way it was envisioned. I like Graham and want him to succeed. He appears to be a very smart and humble man who really cares. I think losing really bothers him. But he’s got to get this figured out or he’s going to be out of a job in January.

NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS:
The death knell for Judge is if his team starts losing games because of special teams. With the buzzards circling, you almost kind of expect it.

FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH:
Former Offensive Coordinator Jason Garrett on Head Coach Joe Judge: (Deafening silence)

THE FINAL WORD:
I expected the Giants to lose to the Bucs. But I thought it would be a close game and that the arrow would still be pointing up after the miserable 1-5 start. The Giants weren’t even competitive.

For the Giants to make a serious run, they were going to have to sweep the Eagles and beat Washington after the bye. That all seems unlikely now. The wheels appear to be coming off.

What seems more likely is a Philadelphia Eagles team that was supposed to be the worst in the division will once again humiliate the Giants, in the process also wrecking Michael Strahan’s jersey retirement ceremony with thousands of mocking Eagles fans in the stands.

But hey, at least John Mara will tell us how upset he is in January. So we have that to look forward to.

Nov 172020
 
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Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (November 15, 2020)

Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants 27 – Philadelphia Eagles 17

QUICK RECAP

Just 24 days prior to this game, NYG and PHI faced off on Thursday night in Philadelphia. Because of the miserable state of the NFC East, it was a game that could have set NYG up for an eventual first-place destination. It was a hard-fought loss that seemed very winnable. Since that 1-point loss, NYG lost by 2 to Tampa Bay and won by 3 against Washington. PHI on the other hand beat Dallas by 14 before heading into a much-needed bye week that would help accelerate the recovery of their extended and impactful injury situation. PHI, coming off a 2-week rest, had tackle Jason Peters, running back Miles Sanders, tight end Dallas Goedert, wide receiver Alshon Jeffery, and wide receiver Jalen Reagor in uniform, none of whom were on the field when these two teams last met.

The Giants offense has been stellar in the first quarter since October 11. In fact, they entered the game with a 5-game streak of scoring touchdowns in the first 15:00 of game clock. That streak continued in this one, as Daniel Jones ran for a 36-yard score on a designed run that was perfectly blocked and executed. After allowing a 40-yard field goal to PHI kicker Jake Elliott, NYG put together a 13-play drive that ended in a Wayne Gallman touchdown run. The Giants were faced with a 4th-and-1 at the start of the 2nd quarter and they altered the personnel at the last second to confuse the PHI defense and put them on their heels. They then quick-snapped it and Gallman hurdled over the pile at the line of scrimmage for the score. NYG had an early 14-3 lead.

The two offenses traded scoreless possessions but following the NYG 3-and-out, punter Riley Dixon booted a 71-yard punt to pin PHI inside their own 10-yard line. PHI then made it to midfield before punting and pinning NYG inside their own 5-yard line. NYG then followed suit, making it to midfield as well before punting and pinning PHI at their own 11. The special teams were performing at an admirable level as the score remained 14-3 heading into halftime, as both defenses were able to level out and find their footing.

The Giants defense had allowed 48 combined points in the second half of the last three games, an average of 16 points. Their struggles there have been a key culprit in finding themselves on the wrong side of close games. That trend continued as PHI scored on a 56-yard touchdown run by Boston Scott on their opening possession of the 3rd quarter. Scott entered this contest with 5 career touchdowns in 21 career games, 4 of which were against NYG. Wayne Gallman responded with a touchdown run of his own, however, as the NYG offense featured two straight downfield throws to Sterling Shepard and Golden Tate that netted a combined 65 yards. NYG maintained their double-digit lead but that disappeared again as PHI put together another touchdown drive, this one capped off by a 5-yard Corey Clement run. PHI, after successfully executing a 2-point conversion on their previous touchdown, opted to go for another 2 points despite being down by 4. They failed this time, as Leonard Williams got the unrecorded sack on Carson Wentz, the most sacked QB in football, to keep the game at 21-17.

The NYG offense stalled. They went 3-and-out on two consecutive drives, but PHI could not capitalize. Their sloppy play up front and the Wentz accuracy issues that have plagued him all year long continued to surface. NYG lengthened their lead to 7 via a 35-yard field goal before stopping the PHI offense again for the third straight time, this one ending in a James Bradberry 4th-and-10 pass deflection that gave NYG the ball with a touchdown-lead and under 5 minutes left. A surprise 40-yard pass to Darius Slayton put NYG into field goal range where Mr. Automatic kicker Graham Gano hit his 20th consecutive attempt, this one from 44 yards. NYG had a 10-point lead and the PHI offense just couldn’t make it a game. NYG beat Philadelphia for the first time since 2016.

NYG wins 27-17.

QUARTERBACK

-Daniel Jones: 21/28 – 244 yards / 0 TD – 0 INT / 100.0 RAT

Jones added a team high 64 rushing yards on 9 carries, including a 34-yard touchdown run on the first drive. Jones also had a second touchdown taken off the board by an Andrew Thomas holding penalty. For the first time in his career, Jones has now gone 2 straight games without turning the ball over. Not coincidentally, NYG is 2-0 in those games and they are 3-0 in the games since last year in games he kept the “0” next to his name in the turnover column. Jones sprinkled the ball in all over the route tree with accuracy and precision. He also spread the ball out and did a nice job of taking what the defense gave him. Heading into the bye week, Jones is no-doubt trending in the right direction.

RUNNING BACK

Wayne Gallman: 18 att / 53 yards / 2 TD and 1 rec / 7 yards

Throughout the recent surge in quality play from NYG as a whole, it may be Gallman who has been the biggest surprise and biggest beneficiary. He has been playing at, by far, the highest level of his career. While the numbers aren’t going to jump off the screen, Gallman’s aggressive downhill style and nose for yards after contact have been a huge part of this offense. He rushed for 37 yards on 7 carries in the first half when NYG’s offense was really clicking. This is the fourth straight game in which Gallman has scored a touchdown. Brandon Jacobs was the last NYG running back to do that, all the way back in 2010. He had 3 touchdowns in 38 games heading into this season. Just an outstanding job by the fourth-year back who will be a free agent this winter.

-Alfred Morris continues to be the number two guy in the backfield right now. He added 28 yards on 7 carries, adding some hard-nosed, blue-collar pile pushing. Dion Lewis had 17 yards on one catch and was flagged for a holding penalty.

WIDE RECEIVER

-Darius Slayton: 5 rec / 93 yards.

Slayton went down with an injury on the second offensive NYG play and missed some time but was back in the 2nd quarter. He caught those 5 passes on just 7 targets, as Darius Slay was on him most of the afternoon. His 40-yard catch was a high-level ball skill reception that came at a huge moment.

-Sterling Shepard finished with 6 catches on 6 targets for 47 yards. He made a huge downfield grab in the third quarter. The rest of his receptions were dinky-dunk passes. Golden Tate, a week after being benched for a week, came back and caught 2 passes for 44 yards including a huge grab in which he displayed outstanding ball skills.

-Austin Mack had 1 catch for 9 yards on his lone target. The catch was a brilliant reach-back, hands-only catch on a poor throw by Jones. Mack also had a key block on the Jones TD run and showed some serious physical play at a few different moments. He is an intense player who is making the best of his limited opportunities.

TIGHT END

-Evan Engram was targeted just three times, He caught 2 passes for 15 yards, one of which was an excellent hands-grab on a ball that was thrown away from his body. Perhaps his most impressive play on a ball was on the incomplete pass where he jumped and turned his body, snared it with one hand, and came down with it albeit out of bounds.

-Kaden Smith added 2 catches for 12 yards and came up with 2 key blocks, one of which was on the Daniel Jones touchdown run.

OFFENSIVE LINE

-I was really impressed with this group, for the most part. The interior had a really strong first half, run game in particular. Rookie Shane Lemieux got the start over Will Hernandez even though Hernandez was back after missing two games on the Covid-19 List. He allowed 1.5 sacks, as he continues to struggle with his anchor as a pass blocker. But his quickness and initial pop as a run blocker has been a difference maker. The speed out of his stance in translated well into power. His smarts and understanding of the game have been a breath of fresh air. In addition, Kevin Zeitler is looking much better than he did earlier in the year. His lateral movement has been crisper, and he is getting quality movement with his punch. He suffered a concussion and was replaced by Hernandez late in the game.

-Nick Gates had a rough day in pass protection, allowing 2 pressures and 1 sack. With that said, the sack was allowed on a Hail Mary play at the end of the first half. He wasn’t challenged much one-on-one, but when he was, he looked late. As a run blocker, he continues to be an absolute boss. The NYG blocking scheme is pulling their guards laterally often and that can only be done if the center is effectively blocking back side, which Gates is doing. His run blocking has been a huge difference maker in the run-game surge we have seen over the past 5 weeks.

-Andrew Thomas had a solid day. He allowed just one pressure but did allow a half-sack on the first drive. One could make the argument that Jones held onto the ball for too long on that play. Thomas’ most notable gaffe was on a touchdown run by Jones that was called back because of his holding penalty. While he is normally grading out very well as a run blocker, Thomas sometimes fails to sustain quality contact in space with his feet under him and his chest up. Nevertheless, his arrow continues to point up.

-Cameron Fleming’s arrow is still pointing down, steeply. He allowed 3 pressures and graded below average in the running game. I think with the bye week here, it is time to insert Matt Peart as the starter on the right side.

EDGE

-NYG got some impact out of Trent Harris, who finished with 3 tackles, a half-sack, and 1 pressure. He played about half of the defensive snaps and while we shouldn’t get too excited about this, he showed the most athletic “juice” off the edge of anyone we have seen since Lorenzo Carter went down.

-Kyler Fackrell had a poor game. He finished with 2 tackles and a pressure, but he was a key culprit for the struggles NYG had against the run. He didn’t get off blocks and he whiffed on Miles Sanders two times.

DT

-Leonard Williams, who unfairly gets put into the discussion surrounding NYG’s disappointing roster simply because he was acquired via trade for 2 middle round draft picks, had one of his best games since becoming a Giant. He had 2 tackles, 5 pressures, and a sack on a PHI 2-point conversion attempt, which does not show up in the box score. He was getting in on the action away from the point of attack, he was in Wentz’s face all day, and he made it easier on the edge rushers. His one mistake was a silly roughing the passer penalty where it was a blatant, unnecessary take down right in front of the ref that will get called every single time.

-The rest of the NYG defensive interior shined against the pass along with Williams. Dexter Lawrence had 2 tackles, 1 sack, and 3 pressures. Dalvin Tomlinson finished with a tackle and a pressure. If these three can stay in the NYG uniform for another few years and this front office gets their hands on a high-end edge presence, watch out.

-The one issue NYG had up front was against the run. The three PHI running backs ran for 153 yards on just 19 carries. I think more of the blame was on the linebackers but these guys up front did struggle a bit against the zone blocking scheme by just not getting off of the linemen quickly enough.

LB

-Blake Martinez, the NFL’s leader in tackles, had a season-low 4 tackles. PHI attacked him pretty hard in the running game with lone blockers who had a clear path to him. It was evident he was game-planned around.

-Devante Downs and David Mayo combined for 8 tackles and 1 TFL, as they rotated at the other ILB spot. In the box score, that looks like a productive day, but I thought they didn’t fill the running lanes fast enough. They were slow to the meeting point and it resulted in PHI creating better space and angles for the cutback runs. Neither factored in coverage.

CB

-James Bradberry had a big day without causing a turnover. Often, those who want to evaluate cornerback play are too obsessed with interceptions. If you watched this game with the All-22 tape, you would see just how well Bradberry blanketed the PHI receivers. He did have 2 pass break ups, one was on 3rd down and the other was on 4th down. They were both high-level plays on the ball.

-Isaac Yiadom added a pass break up and 3 tackles. He played really hard, aggressive, and physical on the edge. It did result in 2 missed tackles, however. Yiadom stuck with the PHI speedster Jalen Reagor on two occasions downfield where it did appear Wentz wanted to go that way, neither of which he did.

-Darnay Holmes had a tackle and a missed tackle, but his biggest issue was a pass interference penalty called on a 3rd down stop. He is getting too grabby with his hands and needs to do a better job trusting his feet. He is athletic enough on all fronts.

S

-Jabrill Peppers is on a nice hot streak right now. His versatility is shining, as he finished with a team high 7 tackles in addition to 2 TFL, 1 pressure, and a half-sack. Peppers came up with a high-level tackle on 4th down to seal the win. He also came up big as a punt returner, averaging 12 yards per on 4 attempts that really helped win the field position game.

-Julian Love had 3 tackles and was rangy. He was physical and didn’t let any ball carriers shake free of his wrap up. Logan Ryan added 6 tackles and a pressure as he continues to thrive in this versatile, multi-faceted defensive back role.

SPECIAL TEAMS

-K Graham Gano: 2/2 (Made 35, 44). Gano hit his 20th straight attempt, tying a franchise record. He was signed through 2023 following the game.

-Riley Dixon: 4 Punts / 53.3 avg / 53.3 net. All four punts landed inside the 20.

3 STUDS

-DT Leonard Williams, QB Daniel Jones, CB James Bradberry

3 DUDS

-OT Cameron Fleming, LB Kyler Fackrell, LB Devante Downs

3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

  1. In 2 games, PHI scored 39 points against NYG. 26 of them came in the second half, with just 13 coming in the first half. That is a clear sign that the coaching staff can do a good job of regrouping at halftime and coming out with an altered approach in the second half. I’ve said it before and I will say it again, this coaching staff is a good barometer for Joe Judge’s staff to match up against in the future.
  1. I’ve debated with a few people here over the years (healthy and respectful debate, it is possible!) surrounding the importance of linebackers in today’s NFL. While I think the value of pass rushers and cornerbacks remains stronger, a front office that neglects linebackers almost always gets burned. PHI’s linebackers were exposed several times when I watched the All-22 and it led to a lot of NYG’s offense success. Their linebackers who saw a lot of time in this game were two second-year undrafted free agents, and a 2017 3rd-round pick who was acquired via trade from ATL for a safety who has been off and on the practice squad in SF and a 7th-round draft pick. They are really weak at the second level and it has been a huge miss by that front office.
  1. If I was a betting man, the NFC East race will come down to PHI and NYG. One could make the argument that PHI has a tougher schedule from here on out, but not by much. And the Eagles do have the current standings advantage. PHI is battle tested and remember, they were do or die for 4 straight weeks last year with a very injured roster and they went 4-0 to seal it. That kind of experience and culture does mean something.

3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

  1. The late injury to Kevin Zeitler and seeing Will Hernandez come into the game led me to thinking about next year and beyond. This offensive line took a turn for the better in mid-October. They still aren’t quite there and still have ugly stretches. However, compared to the last 3-4 years and the first month of 2020, they are a much more productive group. Looking around the league, one should assume your offensive line is going to take at least 1-2 serious injuries at some point in a given season. Seeing Zeitler go out and Hernandez come in got me thinking how this group needs to be addressed in the coming offseason. I can see NYG going after a top-notch guard (Joe Thuney from NE for example) in free agency and possibly even drafting another day 2 offensive lineman who has some inside-out versatility (Rashawn Slater from Northwestern for example). One may say this is too much overload with other issues on the roster. I won’t agree. Make no mistake, much of the recent “surge” in quality play is a direct result of the offensive line improving. Keep that group strong and deep, don’t forget the latter. I would have no issue signing a Thuney-type and drafting a Slater-type while also keeping Zeitler and Nate Solder on the roster as backups for another season.
  1. Are we happy about all of the designed runs from Daniel Jones? Part of me says it is absolutely vital for this offense to move down the field. After all, he leads the team with 384 yards on the ground, he is averaging 7.8 yards per carry, and he is slightly changing how defenses play him along the first 2 levels. The other part of me says that he needs to take less hits if he is going to last for the long term. I am all about the designed run, but I think both he and Jason Garrett need to look ahead now that defenses will start keying in on him and will try to knock him into yesterday. At some point, it will no longer be a surprise and NFL defenders will be able to gear up with anticipation.
  1. Big picture, the Giants offense is still the weak point of this team. They rank 31st in both points and yards. The good news? All but their week 16 opponent (BAL) rank in the bottom half of the league in points allowed and/or yards allowed. That’s right, 5 of their 6 remaining opponents can be scored on at an easier-than-average rate. Their defense will face a stiffer test (especially against ARI and SEA) but if this NYG offensive trend continues, they have a shot. That emotional loss in PHI on a Thursday night is what currently keeps them out of first place. They’re that close.
Nov 152020
 
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Daniel Jones, New York Giants (November 15, 2020)

Daniel Jones – © USA TODAY Sports

NEW YORK GIANTS 27 – PHILADELPHIA EAGLES 17…
The New York Giants soundly defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 27-17 on Sunday afternoon at MetLife Stadium. Yes, you read that correctly. After losing 13 of the last 14 and seven in a row to Philadelphia, the Giants actually beat them for a change. Remarkably, the 3-7 Giants are now in second place in the NFC East behind the 3-5-1 Eagles.

Statistically, the game was pretty even. Neither team turned the football over. The one stat that did stick out is the Giants held the Eagles to 0-of-9 on 3rd-down conversion opportunities.

The Giants received the football to start the game and immediately went up 7-0 with an 8-play, 85-yard drive that culminated with a 34-yard touchdown run by quarterback Daniel Jones. The Eagles responded with a their only scoring drive of the first half, driving 53 yards in 12 plays to set up a 40-yard field goal. Giants 7 – Eagles 3.

New York ate up the rest of the 1st quarter with a 13-play, 75-yard drive that took six and a half minutes off of the clock. The possession ended with a 2-yard touchdown run by running back Wayne Gallman on 4th-and-1 on the first play of the 2nd quarter. Giant 14 – Eagles 3.

Neither team scored for the remainder of the first half. The Eagles punted three times. The Giants punted twice and had their final possession end with a sack on 4th-and-14 with four seconds left near mid-field. The Giants led 14-3 at the break.

Philadelphia immediately tightened the game with their first possession in the 3rd quarter. The Eagles drove 84 yards in five plays, culminating with a 56-yard touchdown run by running back Boston Scott. The Eagles also converted on their 2-point conversion attempt, cutting the score to 14-11.

The Giants impressively responded with a touchdown drive of their own, gaining 75 yards in six plays. Jones threw a 27-yard pass to wide receiver Sterling Shepard and followed that up with a 38-yard completion to wideout Golden Tate. Gallman finished the drive with a 1-yard touchdown run on 3rd-and-goal. Giants 21 – Eagles 11.

Not to be outdone, Philadelphia scored again with an 8-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 5-yard touchdown run by running back Corey Clement. This time the Eagles’ 2-point conversion attempt failed and the Giants led 21-17.

Both teams then each punted the ball away twice. After a 20-yard punt return by Jabrill Peppers, the Giants began a drive a the Eagles’ 41-yard line with 11 minutes left to play. New York gained 24 yards in six plays to set up a 35-yard field goal by place kicker Graham Gano. The Giants now led 24-17.

The Eagles then drove from their own 25-yard line to the New York 36-yard line. But the drive ended with one run for no gain and three straight incompletions. Philadelphia turned the ball over on downs with just under five minutes to play. New York then gained 38 yards on six plays, the key play being a 40-yard strike from Jones to wide receiver Darius Slayton. This set up Gano’s 44-yard field goal. The Giants now led 27-17 with just over three minutes to play.

Philadelphia gained one first down on their final possession before turning the football over on downs. The Giants then ran out the clock to preserve the win.

Jones completed 21-of-28 passes for 244 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions. He also led the team in rushing, carrying the ball nine times for 64 yards and a touchdown. Jones’ leading targets were Shepard (6 catches for 47 yards) and Slayton (5 catches for 93 yards). Gallman rushed the ball 18 times for 53 yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, the Giants did not force a turnover. They held the Eagles to a field goal in the first half, but allowed two back-to-back touchdown drives in the 3rd quarter. However, Philly’s last two drives ended with turnovers on downs. New York also forced five punts. The Giants sacked quarterback Carson Wentz three times and hit him 13 other times. Defensive end Leonard Williams had five quarterback hits.

Video highlights are available on Giants.com.

INACTIVES AND INJURY REPORT…
Inactive for the game were WR Dante Pettis, OL Kyle Murphy, OT Jackson Barton, DE R.J. McIntosh, and LB T.J. Brunson.

Right guard Kevin Zeitler left the game in the 4th quarter with a concussion.

POST-GAME REACTION…
Transcripts and video clips of post-game media sessions with Head Coach Joe Judge and the following players are available in The Corner Forum and at Giants.com:

WHAT’S UP NEXT…
Head Coach Joe Judge and select players will address the media by conference call on Monday.

Nov 132020
 
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Game Preview: Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, November 15, 2020

THE STORYLINE

Are you Red or are you Andy Dufresne?

Red: “Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”

Andy: “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”

The Giants have lost 13 of their last 14 games against the Eagles, including the last seven in a row. This has gone well beyond which team is more talented at any point in time. It’s clearly mental. Look no further than the last time these two teams met. The Giants were up by 11 points with six minutes to play. And they still lost. The defense broke and with a chance to ice the game, Evan Engram dropped the ball.

Two bad football teams play each other on Sunday. One believes they will win. The other does not. What the X’s and O’s say at this point is immaterial.

THE INJURY REPORT

  • RB Devonta Freeman (ankle/hamstring – out)
  • WR Sterling Shepard (toe/hip)
  • WR Golden Tate (knee – questionable)
  • TE Kaden Smith (concussion)
  • CB Isaac Yiadom (calf – questionable)

NEW YORK GIANTS ON OFFENSE

    As we near the bye week and then the final six game stretch run, I think we can start to look at the big picture and what the Giants accomplished and failed to accomplish in 2020.

    Without spring mini-camps and OTAs, no preseason, and a limited summer training camp, it was always going to be a challenge for a new coaching staff with massive roster turnover to have this team primed and ready by the time the regular-season started. Worse, and catastrophically, the Giants lost their best player on the team early. We can debate the reasons why, but the Giants have a bottom tier offense that struggles to put 20 points on the board every week in a league where scoring doesn’t seem to be a problem.

    Regardless of the reasons, Daniel Jones has not progressed as hoped or expected. He was better last week simply because he didn’t lose the game. He teases with the “wow” plays and there is still a good chance that he develops into a very good quarterback. But stating the obvious, he has to string together games where he does more to win the game than lose it. One game does not make a trend. Can he build upon his “success” from last week?

    Before the season, I talked about how it would be interesting to watch the dynamic between Golden Tate and the coaching staff since Tate has a history of wearing out his welcome. I think it’s clear that Tate is on his way out, leaving the Giants with major question marks at wide receiver heading into 2021. Darius Slayton is not a #1 receiver. Sterling Shepard is at best an injury-prone slot receiver who doesn’t stretch the field. Austin Mack may not even be in the NFL next year.

    The Giants carried four tight ends this year and there was talk and hope of Jason Garrett and Freddie Kitchens getting the best out of Evan Engram and Kaden Smith as receivers, and of Levine Toilolo and Eric Tomlinson being huge blocking assets. It didn’t happen. Engram is who he is… a coach killer. I expected more from Smith but it just never happened. The two big guys have also been disappointments.

    Once Saquon Barkley went down, the entire picture changed on offense. I warned everyone about this. The team has done an admirable job of picking up guys off of the street and at least presenting some sort of a running game, culminating in last week’s season-high performance. But it’s doubtful that Devonta Freeman, Alfred Morris, and Dion Lewis will even be on the roster in 2021. The good news is Wayne Gallman is showing some signs of life as a capable back-up.

    Which brings us to the one emerging positive from 2020 on the offensive side of the ball: the line. While the specific components did not take the path that I expected, the line as a whole progressed as I predicted: very rough start with real chemistry and cohesion starting to develop by mid-season. I should have taken into account the murderers’ row of defensive fronts the Giants faced this year. I also did not expect Kevin Zeitler to fall off a cliff like he has. But Nick Gates has played far better than expected. Andrew Thomas has been far shakier than anticipated, but he is improving and the Giants now have three rookies to team with Gates as the foundation of what looks to be a promising offensive line for years to come. There will be still ugly moments. The very good Giants offensive lines of the past did not become what they were in one season.

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON DEFENSE

    This side of the ball has been steadier than the offense, but it also has major talent deficiencies that cannot be addressed in one offseason. The Giants botched the rebuild in the secondary with their terrible 2019 draft. And we all have harped on the problems at edge rusher.

    The good news is the Giants appear to have the horses up front on the defensive line. And assuming that Tae Crowder can build upon his fast start, the Giants have a nice complementary combo at inside linebacker with tackling-machine Blake Martinez and the athletic Tae Crowder. The loss of Lorenzo Carter was a major blow outside, however. He will be coming off of a major injury and had yet to prove himself regardless. The Giants have not been able to evaluate Oshane Ximines either due to his injury. The Giants need a difference-making pass rusher in the worst way. Those are extremely hard to come by.

    Thankfully the Giants not only made the right call on Blake Martinez in free agency, but also James Bradberry. Can you imagine the state of the defense without these two guys? Darnay Holmes is developing at nickel corner, but the rest of the corner situation is a joke. The Giants don’t need one new corner, they need two or three. The 2019 draft really screwed the team here. Worse, Julian Love hasn’t worked out at safety either. Xavier McKinney is going to miss most or all of his rookie season. Will Logan Ryan want to re-sign with a rebuilding club? Jabrill Peppers keeps alternating between good and bad play.

    Sy’56 already talked about it. The Giants defense allowed three straight scoring drives against an anemic Washington offense in the second half before Alex Smith threw two horrible interceptions. The good news is the defense finally made plays late in the game to seal the deal. The bad news is they almost collapsed again.

    NEW YORK GIANTS ON SPECIAL TEAMS

    Graham Gano has been a godsend. I was skeptical about him, but boy was I wrong. He’s the MVP of the team.

    FROM THE COACH’S MOUTH

    Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham on his reaction to losing the first game against the Eagles: “Each game is so different. I consider myself a teacher, first and foremost. I happen to teach football. I think like any teacher, whether you’re a kindergarten teacher or a professor, you’re trying to do your best job so your students can learn. You want to see them have success. To see them fight so hard, to give up that lead. Usually what happens, as a coach, obviously I didn’t get the right calls in there. I failed them. If I’m being honest with you, I was just disappointed in letting them down personally, that’s just me. In that moment of honesty, that’s where I was at, we have to figure this out. For me right there, it was more I look at these guys as I’m a teacher than as a coach. I felt bad I let them down and I had to figure out a way to make sure they can taste success and get the reward of all their hard work. They’re working really hard for Joe. I felt bad. They’re working hard for Joe, working hard for all of us, and we didn’t come away with the win. The beauty of this and division opponents is you get to play them twice. We got them this week, not that the last game has anything to do with this week. We got another shot at them. Looking forward to the opportunity to go out there and compete against them. Hopefully, we do enough to put ourselves in that position again to have a chance to win the game.”

    THE FINAL WORD

    Without trying to sound insulting, some of the “we are turning it around” reactions to the Giants win over Washington were comical. We went through the EXACT same thing less than a month ago after the Giants beat Washington and before they played the Eagles. And yet fans keep falling into the same trap, especially after wins against that team in Maryland.

    Can the Giants build upon last week’s success and beat the Eagles on Sunday? Sure. The Eagles are a losing football team with their own Jekyll and Hyde quarterback. But history says no. Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me 13 times…

    At the end of Shawshank, Andy proved to Red that hope was indeed a good thing. I’m not there yet.

    Oct 252020
     
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    Wayne Gallman, New York Giants (October 22, 2020)

    Wayne Gallman – © USA TODAY Sports

    Philadelphia Eagles 22 – New York Giants 21

    QUICK RECAP

    Over the past decade, there haven’t been many team-to-team match-ups that are as one-sided as NYG vs PHI. To say the Eagles have had the Giants’ number would be an understatement worthy of laughter. No matter who the quarterbacks are, no matter who the head coaches are, NYG has been seeing PHI in their nightmares. In fact, the last time the Giants beat the Donovan McNabb-led Eagles in consecutive match-ups was 2008. Brandon Jacobs led the team in rushing, Kevin Boss led the team in receiving, Antonio Pierce led the team in tackles, Corey Webster led the team in pass break ups, and Eli Manning was 27 years old. A lifetime ago. Despite that history and the fact that NYG came into this Thursday Night game with a 1-5 record, there was some hope and extra energy. The NFC East was crumbling, and the Giants were coming off a win against Washington. Had they won this one, they had a credible shot at being tied for first place in the division by the end of week 7. This had a “big-game” feel to it and the Eagles entered the night as arguably the most banged-up team in the NFL.

    The aggressive Eagles’ offense had their downfield weapon and Giants killer, DeSean Jackson, back in the lineup. They went to him on the first two plays of the game as they marched down the field. They converted a 4th-and-1 attempt en route, as PHI leads the league in 4th-down attempts since Doug Pederson became their head coach in 2016. Carson Wentz powered his way into the end zone on a 1-yard run to put the home team up early.

    The first blunder of the night occurred as the NYG punt team came onto the field following their initial offensive drive. They kept the offense on the field for 4th-and-3 before making the switch to punt at the last moment. PHI was scrambling as they tried to hurry and get their punt return team on the field as the defense darted off. They left the NYG gunner, Corey Ballentine, uncovered. He was, literally, all by himself with nobody between him and the first down marker. Punter Riley Dixon noticed, somehow Ballentine didn’t. The ball was snapped, and Dixon had no choice but to boot the ball back to PHI. An enormous missed opportunity! Winning teams capitalize on mistakes made by opponents. It is one of the simplest, basic, and everlasting components to the game. NYG isn’t there yet.

    PHI went 3-and-out on the next drive and thanks to a 14-yard punt return, NYG began with the ball at the PHI 39. If you have paid attention to Jason Garrett’s tendencies while with DAL, this is a part of the field he loves to get aggressive on first down. On the first play, Jones threw a dime just over the head of the Eagles’ defender into the hands of Golden Tate, who made a strong catch and broke the tackle to easily jog into the end zone. NYG tied it up. The lead didn’t last long, as PHI used an inch-by-inch, foot-by-foot approach with the screen game being featured numerous times to put up another 3 points via a 31-yard field goal by Jake Elliott.

    Daniel Jones got the Giants to midfield on the next drive, as the game plan was clearly heavy on getting the ball to Evan Engram. They were handing the ball off to him and they were throwing to him often in the passing game. On this 8-play drive, Engram was targeted four times, possibly one too many. PHI showed an aggressive double inside gap blitz on 3rd-and-7 and Jones took the shotgun snap and wanted to get rid of it in a hurry. He rifled the ball to Engram, with maybe too much juice on it, and Engram was slow to get his head around and just couldn’t grab the ball in time. It deflected off his hands and was intercepted by Jalen Mills. Turnover number 9 on the year for the second-year quarterback.

    PHI failed to take advantage of the interception, as Carson Wentz threw one back to NYG on an ill-timed decision. James Bradberry came down with his third interception of the season and his second in as many games. Only two players in the league have more interceptions than Bradberry, a fantastic free agent signing for this team and maybe one of the best in the NFL this past offseason.

    The two offenses traded possessions before NYG had one more shot with just under a minute left in the first half starting at their own 35. On Dion Lewis’ first touch of the game, he fumbled and gave PHI the ball at the 42. The third turnover in 5 drives reminded everyone watching what exactly the NFC East was in 2020. PHI got the ball close enough to take three shots at the end zone but had to settle on a 29-yard field goal attempt. Elliott lined up and missed it. An ugly second quarter was over with PHI up 10-7.

    The two teams traded 4 straight three-and-outs to start the second half. NYG then started to take over. Daniel Jones dashed 80 yards before getting tripped by the turf. He was heading toward the end zone but lost his balance and fell. They ended up scoring a touchdown on a 1-yard Wayne Gallman run so this can now be laughed at. Even the best athletes in the world have the occasional slip up but NYG needed 4 plays and a PHI pass interference to get the 8 yards needed for the score. Had they not punched it in, this would have been the poster-play that sums up current state of the Giants organization.

    NYG stopped PHI two more times as the Eagles offense was stalling. Already up 4, NYG put together a 15-play drive that began at the PHI 3-yard line after PHI failed on a 4th-and-goal attempt. PHI helped out with a 3rd-down pass interference and a too-late challenge by Pederson that would have went in their favor. Jones ended up hitting Sterling Shepard on a zip-line 2-yard pass to put NYG up 21-10 with just over 6 minutes left against an offense that looked completely broken. They were without multiple receivers, their starting running back, multiple offensive linemen, and their top two tight ends. It then took just over 1:30 for PHI to score a touchdown, a 3-yard pass to Greg Ward. A failed two-point conversion attempt maintained the NYG lead at 21-16, however. PHI would need a defensive stop and a touchdown in the final 5 minutes to win this one.

    NYG gained 27 yards on their first three plays, all Gallman runs. On 3rd-and-7, Jones dropped back and threw one downfield to Engram. Many have been banging the table for more downfield passes to the gifted Engram, one of the top athletes in the NFL at the position and the most-targeted pass catcher of the night. They had the match-up and space they wanted. The throw was on the money. Engram reached out his arms and hands but dropped it. The clock stopped, it was 4th down, and NYG had to punt.

    PHI needed 71 yards with just over 2:00 left. They got 53 of those yards on three plays using their third string tight end and backup running back. They were inside the NYG 10-yard line just like that. A face mask penalty pushed PHI back to the 18-yard line which may have ended up hurting the NYG defense more because they struggled to defend space. On the next play, Wentz hit Boston Scott on a top shelf throw just over the hands of Jabrill Peppers. PHI was up 22-21. They failed the two-point conversion attempt again, as NYG continued to defend short spaces well, and there was 40 seconds left but NYG didn’t have a timeout.

    NYG got the ball to their own 32 on the first play but Will Hernandez was called for a hold. Instead of 2nd-and-3 from the 32, it was 1st-and-25 from the 15 and they had used 6 seconds. Two plays later Jones was sacked for the third time on the night and fumbled, giving the ball back to PHI. His third lost fumble of the season and 10th turnover.

    NYG loses 22-21.

    QUARTERBACK

    -Daniel Jones: 20-30 / 187 yards / 2 TD-1 INT / 91.9 RAT

    Jones added 92 yards on 4 carries, including 80 of them on one run that will be on blooper reels for years to come. He also added a lost fumble on the final NYG offensive play. Another game, another performance where we saw some really good things and some really bad things. The Jones apologists will say that Engram should have caught the pass that was intercepted and the fumble at the end of the game didn’t matter because there was little to no chance of them advancing the ball far enough for a game-winning field goal attempt. The haters will simply add them to his massive career turnover total. This is the deal; the pass on that interception had too much on it because Jones thought pressure was coming before it was actually coming. I do think Engram could have turned his head sooner but very few, if any, players are catching that ball. I keep saying we need to see Jones make improvements with his ball security. The fumble at the end of the game, albeit it did not directly lose NYG the game, further strengthens this is an enormous problem that can prevent NYG from winning when the roster is better. He made a few nice throws, he made some athletic plays, but he isn’t putting it all together yet.

    RUNNING BACK

    -Wayne Gallman: 10 att / 34 yards / 1 TD and 5 rec / 20 yards

    Devonta Freeman suffered an ankle injury and Gallman was the one who took over in the backfield. All 10 of his carries were from the 3rd quarter on. Gallman’s stat line isn’t overly impressive but he was a big part of the NYG offensive “surge.” He ran the ball really well and gained several yards after contact. He has been a better back than advertised despite limited opportunities and unfortunate team circumstances. With Dion Lewis’ fumble and overall lack of impact here, I expect Gallman to get more and more touches in future games.

    WIDE RECEIVER

    -Sterling Shepard: 6 rec / 59 yards / 1 TD

    It was Shepard’s first game back since Week 2 on September 20th. He looked quick and shifty from the slot and came up with a few key grabs, including a 2-yard touchdown in the 4th quarter that put NYG up by 11. It is easy to forget the gap between Shepard and his replacements until you see him back out on the field after missing a few games. He is a really explosive short-route runner who can consistently gain separation. While he is limited and can now be labeled an injury prone player, he is a key piece to this offense moving forward.

    -Golden Tate had just 1 catch, which was a 39-yard touchdown. It was an impressive play on the ball but don’t let it cloud the fact he went the rest of the game without an impact. Not what you want from a starting outside receiver who has the third-highest cap number on the team. Speaking of no impact, Darius Slayton finished with 2 catches for 23 yards on 4 targets. PHI corner Darius Slay handled him well for the majority of the night.

    TIGHT END

    Evan Engram: 6 rec / 46 yards and 2 att / 3 yards

    It was clear that Jason Garrett wanted to make Engram the key focus of this game. He led the team with 9 targets and the Giants continue to try to get him the ball in space via outside runs. It is hard to ignore Engram’s potential impact with his size/speed/explosion combination that very few have. However, his greatest weakness in the passing game from day one has been his inconsistent hands. He had 7 drops as a rookie and it appears to have become a mental block. This was not an issue in college, I scouted him thoroughly. He has 5 drops this year, and it is near a point where you almost have to give up on him because of it. Pass catchers can be slower than ideal, you can work around it. Pass catchers can be shorter than ideal, you can work around it. However, if you don’t catch the ball consistently you cannot be focal point in a good offense. End of discussion.

    OFFENSIVE LINE

    -We have seen some shaky performances from Andrew Thomas and this one may have been the worst. We can only hope that this is the low point of his rookie year. He allowed 2 sacks, 3 pressures, and a TFL. The league is attacking his inside shoulder on a weekly basis, and he needs to clean that up right now. The quickest route to the QB from the edge position is through the inside shoulder of the tackle. You have to protect that first, then protect the edge. He is over setting and playing too top heavy. He has a lot of work to do on his pass protection.

    -Will Hernandez had a tough game against a really tough match-up. He allowed a TFL and a pressure and was also flagged for a hold on the final drive that really stung because of how ill-timed it was. Lateral movement just doesn’t come natural for him. Kevin Zeitler finished with his top grade of the season, which isn’t saying much. However, it was encouraging to see him play well on short rest against a tough opponent. He did allow a TFL, though.

    -Cameron Fleming allowed a TFL and a sack. Not much to say here other than I still think his days are numbered as a starter. I do wonder if there is a trade market for him out there. There are a few contenders that are really thin at tackle and I did hear there was a long list of suitors who wanted him as their swing tackle prior to signing with NYG.

    -Center Nick Gates was really good in this game. He has been evolving weekly and may be the best lineman on this team at the current moment. This was against a really tough PHI interior defensive line. He is the one guy who is constantly chasing the action downfield looking for a defender to pick off. Love the hustle and love the production he had in this one.

    EDGE

    -Kyler Fackrell is now in this position group as opposed to the linebackers. It looks like he has made the full time move to the outside. He had 3 tackles and 2 pressures to go along with 1 missed tackle. His ability to move inside and out is really special and rare, to be honest. There really aren’t many players in the league who can handle that kind of back-and-forth move. While we aren’t talking about an elite talent, his role is really important and hard to find. When looking at the draft prospects, I am constantly trying to find a credible skill set comparable to this and it doesn’t come around often.

    -Markus Golden had a 1 sack and 1 pressure and was promptly traded to ARI the day after. Even though NYG could not afford to lose any more EDGE talent, Golden wasn’t an ideal fit and he won’t be a long-term fix. I am actually impressed that NYG netted a 6th round pick for him. The Cardinals really needed talent at that spot with the loss of Chandler Jones, though.

    -Cam Brown played a career high 12 snaps and didn’t make an impact but his movement and size stand out. With the Golden trade now in the rear-view mirror, expect him to start seeing more and more snaps. That will be fun to watch.

    DEFENSIVE TACKLE

    -One thing that has bothered me is how often this group gets blown up. I think Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham is sending them on a lot of designed slants, and depending on what the play call is, they get completely washed out. The Eagles offensive line was playing multiple practice squad-caliber guys and they still held their own against a NYG line that is supposed to be the strong point of this team. The match-up just didn’t swing in the Giants’ direction the way I was expecting.

    -Leonard Williams finished with the top grade among the DL with 2 pressures and 1 tackle. He caused a lot of re-directing in the PHI running game. Dalvin Tomlinson had 3 tackles and a pressure in addition to a pass break up. He had a bad missed tackle however and was completely pushed down the field twice that opened up big running lanes. Dexter Lawrence had a tackle, a sack, and a pressure. B.J. Hill had 3 tackles and a sack that was negated by a NYG penalty. Lastly, Austin Johnson had 1 pressure and 1 tackle.

    LINEBACKER

    -Mr. Reliable Blake Martinez led the team in tackles yet again, this time with 9. He also added 2 pressures and a pass break up. Don’t take his play for granted simply because it happens every week. He is playing at such a high level.

    -Devante Downs got the start even though David Mayo was back. He finished with 5 tackles and a pressure that led to an intentional grounding penalty early in the game. For a guy who has struggled so far this year, it was his best performance. Mayo was on the field for just 10% of the defensive snaps and finished with 2 tackles, 1 of which was on special teams. I think this job will belong to Downs for the time being.

    CORNERBACK

    -This group struggled overall. James Bradberry did haul in his 3rd interception of the season on a nicely played ball in the end zone. I was actually curious to see if he could handle DeSean Jackson because of the shifty speed he brings to the table. Bradberry excels against bigger receivers who don’t get in and out of breaks as well. Jackson did catch passes of 12 and 9 yards on the first drive of the game, but was held pretty quiet after that until injured. Bradberry did miss a tackle and was flagged for a pass interference on the PHI game winning drive.

    -For the second week in a row, Ryan Lewis was torched down the field late in the game. He also got flagged for an illegal contact penalty. Teams will now test him more and more down the field.

    -Corey Ballentine allowed a 3rd-and-10 conversion early on. He played under 20% of the snaps and I think he needs to start getting phased out of this defense. He just isn’t playing well and he doesn’t seem to mentally grasp the speed of this game. Speaking of mental gaffes, the mistake of not realizing he was uncovered on the NYG punt was an enormous missed opportunity that could have really changed the complexion of this game. Ballentine was also responsible for a 15-yard illegal hit penalty on the punt before the game-winning drive by PHI.

    -Madre Harper, an undrafted rookie from the Raiders, saw a lot of playing time late and was promptly torched by the PHI passing game. In addition, he was flagged twice.

    SAFETY

    -Logan Ryan had a really solid game, as it looks like he played more safety than corner in this one. He had 2 pressures and a pass break up in the end zone. His biggest mistake, however, was a holding penalty on 3rd-and-goal from the 5-yard line on the final PHI drive. It gave them new life and two plays later they scored the game-winning touchdown. Awful timing on what was really his lone glaring mistake.

    -Jabrill Peppers has minimal football sense. First of all, he fair caught two punts where he had 10+ yards of open space in front of him. Secondly, his man coverage of Boston Scott on the game- winning touchdown throw was atrocious. He came too hard downhill, knowing he didn’t have any help behind him against a back who accelerates quickly in a situation where you knew PHI was going to take a shot at the end zone. Talent at safety is useless if you don’t fully understand game situations. He did have 6 tackles and a sack.

    -Julian Love had 7 tackles and a pass break up. Solid game for him where he read the action well and flowed in the right direction consistently.

    SPECIAL TEAMS

    -K Graham Gano didn’t attempt a field goal. He apparently strained a quad on a kickoff, and it would have been a struggle for him to go for a long game-winning field goal had NYG gotten far enough up the field on their final drive.

    -P Riley Dixon: 6 punts / 44.2 avg / 42.0 net

    3 STUDS

    -LB Blake Martinez, OC Nick Gates, RB Wayne Gallman

    3 DUDS

    -OT Andrew Thomas, TE Evan Engram, CB Corey Ballentine

    3 THOUGHTS ON PHI

    1. Carson Wentz has become a completely different QB over these past two seasons, not in a good way. One can understand his happy feet in the pocket because of the poor OL play and lack of receiver-talent, but his poor decision-making should be alarming. He is trying to do too much and making throws that can’t be excused even by his biggest supporters. He leads the NFL in turnovers. They’re stuck with him for a while and they better pray this is a short-term speed bump.
    1. I respect the PHI coaching staff as much as any in the league. Their awful 2-point conversions play calls aside, these guys adjust to the game situation as well as anyone. They have been ravaged on offense with injuries two straight seasons. They don’t make it look pretty, but they get the job done.
    1. PHI is now the front runner of the division, no doubt. As they start to get some guys back on offense, I think they will be set up nicely to get to the 8-9 win mark, which we know won’t be touched by anyone else in the NFC Least. I wouldn’t want to play them in the playoffs, either. Their pass rush is top 3 in the league and they have a lot of guys who know how to win.

    3 CLOSING THOUGHTS

    1. Speaking of “knowing how to win,” that is the biggest component this young NYG team needs to acquire in the coming months. I think it is an overused line by the media at times, but when a team is making the most amount of mistakes late in the game (drops, penalties, allowed sacks, etc.), that is a sign of pressing and getting mentally defeated by the moment. Eli Manning played his best football late in games. Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora and Michael Strahan came up big late in games. While the team needs to continue to add better personnel, these players need to step up when the game is on the line consistently. They won’t go anywhere worth getting excited about until that happens.
    1. Last week, I discussed how this would be a big test for this team in regard to the future. A short week, a big game that meant a lot to the divisional standings, and response to coming off a win. It went so well for 3 and two-thirds of a quarter. Their defense was coming up big, notably in the second half, and their offense was adjusting well and turning opportunities into touchdowns. Ultimately, they failed the tests. Is this something we will keep on seeing? Or will they adjust and grow from the experience and end up being on the other side of this next time?
    1. Joe Judge emphasized getting smart, sound players during his initial interviews after being hired. He did this moreso than most coaches and their cliché lines. After 7 games, I can see what he means more than ever. If Corey Ballentine, Cameron Fleming, and Jabrill Peppers had higher on field IQ, this team may have 3 wins. If Evan Engram had mental toughness, this team may have another win. If this offensive line handled stunts and twists more naturally, this team may have another win. I know the “if” department doesn’t get anyone anywhere. However, when scouting players for the upcoming draft, that is something I am really going to key in on. NYG will be placing more value on it than ever.