LAST year… The giants went 1 – 5 in the division and 3 – 13 overall, after going 11 – 5 with a playoff appearance, the year before. The 246 points they scored were not just the lowest in the division, but the entire conference. The 388 points they surrendered were tied (with Washington) for the lowest in conference. This team was such a dumpster fire, that they fired their head coach and general manager during the season. During the playoffs the giants added new head coach Pat Shurmur, and new GM Dave Gettleman.
That was last year. Keeping in mind that the Draft will change some of this, the following is a report on how the team looks today, prior to the NFL Draft….
The Streak is over. Eli Manning’s record of consecutive starts went back to the very day he got the nod on 11/21/04. That streak was ended as a result of spite-work, from a petty, petty, SMALL man who knew he was being firedsoon. The giants are a rival, but there are some things which transcend that. Eli’s benching was plain wrong.
That having been said… A glance at his numbers will tell you that Manning has lost a major step, and maybe needs to become a mentor for a young gun. What his numbers don’t tell you, is that he was without his top two WR’s, had no run game to speak of, and his o-line was a constant patch work. Despite that, his accuracy was two points above his career average, and his QBR was only 3.1 point lower than his career average. So don’t just go by the numbers. Until he clearly can’t, Eli can still play. Good thing too, because there’s nothing behind him. (+)
The giants have needed help at this position for a while now. So of course they punted and decided to wait until round 4 of last years Draft, to grab Wayne Gallman. Gallman (surprise, surprise) played like a 4th rounder. The giants added the aging Jonathan Stewart (Panthers), but that has to be stop-gap. If the giants don’t use their #2 overall pick on a RB this year, you can expect another sub .500 season from Big Blue. (-)
The big dog in this group is Odell Beckham who’s coming off of a broken ankle. When and if he decides to play. It remains to be seen how he comes back, given that before he was injured, he was averaging a career low 12.1 per catch, had been held under 100 in each game, and lost all 4 that he played in. Sterling Shepard gives the G-Men a solid slot receiver, but he’s just that. A slot receiver. They tried to get more out of him last year, and it didn’t work. Brandon Marshall is under contract for 2018, but rumblings have it that he won’t be back. Reports of his decline were apparently true, as last year he averaged just 8.6 per catch. The big addition to this group is supposed to be Cody Latimer (Broncos).
So far he’s a second round pick with just 3 starts and 35 receptions, in 45 career games. Everyone except me predicted big things for this position last year, while I said it would crash and burn. It crashed and burned. This year starts with more questions and concerns, than a year ago (-)
Everyone LOVES Evan Engram. He’s fast, catches well, runs good routes… He’s a heck of a WR. Too bad he lines up at TE. Aren’t TE’s supposed to block for the run? When you get one who can’t, that tends to hurt the run game, right? Hey. How’d the giants look running the ball last year. Oh yeah, that’s right, they sucked. At 240 pounds Engram is a “move TE”, who’s too talented a receiver to not start. They have Rhett Ellison as the blocker, but putting him on the field means either sitting Engram, or not coming out in the 3WR formation they favor. So the giants will likely operate at a disadvantage while running the ball, for quite some time. (-)
The giants only allowed 34 sacks and 70 hits on their QB’s all year long. Those numbers would suggest that the giants did a decent job of pass protection, but nothing could be further from the truth. The QB’s spent an ungodly percentage of last year rushing throws, throwing the ball away, and throwing the ball to the other team. Add to that the team-wide 3.9 yards per carry for the run game. While injuries were a factor, there was also a lot of bad play. Particularly from LT Ereck Flowers. In an effort to improve, the giants lured in LT Nate Solder (Patriots), by backing a dump-truck full of money up to his door.
They also brought in LG Patrick Omameh (Jaguars). Omameh is getting by on the reputation of the Jags run game, and the desperation of the giants. He will need to be carried by whomever plays next to him. That’s going to be hard to do with the loss of C Weston Richburg. The pivot will now be occupied by Brett Jones, who manned it for 12 games last season, after Richburg was lost to a season ending injury. Last years liability, Flowers, is being moved from LT to RT. Sixty percent of this offensive line (LG, C RT) is a question mark at best. (-)
In a nutshell:
As it stands today, this unit doesn’t have what it takes to help the team compete for the division crown. They have an experienced, and even hand as their field general, but their offense lacks parts that can help other parts. The end result is a just pile of parts, some of which are nice, and others which you couldn’t sell as scrap. (-)
Two years ago Jason Pierr-Paul and Olivier Vernon combined for 15.5 sacks. Last year they notched 15 in a season that saw Vernon miss 4 games. The guys who filled in (mostly Kerry Wynn) were uh…less than spectacular. As long as the starters are out there, this is a solid position. However, it goes downhill fast if a back-up has to play serious minutes. Annnnd the giants traded JPP. Oh well. Maybe they’ll have a good Draft? (-)
I said last year that Jay Bromley wouldn’t be able to fill Jonathan Hankins shoes, and apparently giants brass agreed, because they put Dalvin Tomlinson out there for 16 starts. Did I mention that this team was 27th against the run? Essentially this position is Damon Harrison and just some guys. Hankins is a free agent again, so maybe the giants will try to mend fences and get him back. (-)
Due to injury and ineffectiveness, a few guys got to line up here in 2017. No one did enough in 2017 to even guarantee a roster spot in 2018. Out went guys like Johnathan Casillas and Devon Kennard, and in came guys like Thurston Armbrister (no seriously, that’s his name) and low-key move of 2018, Kareem Martin (Cardinals). Martin has the size (6’6, 272) to line up anywhere in the front seven, but will likely be limited to a DE/rush LB role due to unremarkable strength. The giants opting for a player like him however, indicates a shift in their defensive mindset. This is a position loaded with questions, and it seems incomplete right now. Expect a draft pick here. (-)
Trading for ILB Alec Ogletree (Rams) was a nice move. He’s a fluid, instinctual and aggressive player.
It would be smarter to put him at OLB where the giants need more help, but it’s hard to fault them for playing him here. B.J. Goodson and Calvin Munson split this position in 2017, and it was hard to tell who wanted it less. (+)
SS Landon Collins was made to look almost ordinary last year. There were many extenuating circumstances that led to that. One of which was the play of FS Darian Thompson who seems to neither excel against the run or the pass. In fact, he looked very similar to 2016’s starting FS, Andrew Adams. Adams was demoted in favor of Thompson, to no discernible plus or minus. (-)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Ross Cockrell were allowed to walk. Eli Apple gets the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons. Janoris Jenkins is has been solid since joining New York, but he ended last year on IR after ankle surgery. There are lots of players at this position, but no quality depth beyond the top two. For some reason, former Steeler William Gay was added, after starting 16, then 9, then 0 games, over the last three years. (-)
In a nutshell:
There are too many players on this unit who are “just guys”. Generally you don’t want more than 4 or 5 players like that on your entire roster. The giants are starting FIVE of them! (one at DT, two at LB, and one at S, and now a big ol’ question mark at DE.) This s’ugly. Just s’ugly. (-)
Brad Wing was allowed to fly the coop. That leaves the g-men with just Austin Rehkow on the roster. Rehkow was undrafted by the Bills in 2017 but didn’t make the cut. To his credit, he has some experience as a Kicker in college. However, in his current position his only NFL experience is failing to make a roster. (-)
Aldrick Rosas hit 18/25 field goals last season (72%) and 20/23 extra points (87%). This made the giants feel so confident that they ran out and signed Marshall Koehn to compete with him. Koehn’s entire career consists of one game, in which he recorded two kickoffs, kicked an extra point. Pretty safe to say that Rosas is on thin ice. (-)
WR Kalif Raymond was just plain awful in 2017. Raymond averaged 4.7 per PR, and 16.9 per KR. New addition WR Cody Latimer has KR experience, but no history of being dangerous at it, and no track record as a PR. There is nothing to fear here. (-)
In a nutshell:
As I said last year (verbatim): The giants clearly don’t think much of Special Teams and that will likely cost them not only the hidden yardage game, but some games outright next year.
Seems like some people never learn. (-)
The giants stink of decay. It’s a team loaded with average players, question marks, and head cases. Worse than that, it’s so predictable. The coaching staff was just replaced and still, it’ll be another year, of 3WR sets, RB by committee, nondescript LB’s, and no attention to Special Teams. This time without great DE play to anchor the defense. This is a 5-11 team, barring a miracle happening in the Draft.