Final Post of 2018

With the Giants officially eliminated, coincidence or not, I’ve decided to make this the final post of the season.

I don’t know if I will continue blogging. While I’m leaving the door open, it’s more likely than not that I won’t be returning next season to blog.

It’s been a good 12 years. I’ve learned a lot and I hope the content that my fellow contributors & I put forth helped everyone to celebrate the good seasons and understand the bad ones a little better.

The best part about the blog/Twitter has been the community of Giants fans. We care enough about each other that it makes getting through the (9 games of) losing a little easier. Maybe that’s just this streak of years… are we getting used to losing? Nah. To be fair, blogging during a stretch of 5 out of 6 years in which the team has had losing seasons has grown tiresome. We had a lot to complain about. It was frankly justified criticism… unfortunately. We never took joy in the errors. It was therapy to point out obvious mistakes. The Emperor had no clothes. By suffering a little bit together, we didn’t lose our minds. We weren’t alone in our disappointment!

The NFL has zapped our resolve. We’ve chronicled those missteps too… too many times. We would prefer to be positive. We love football. We want it to be a great sport. The one constant is always change. Change should mean improvement. I can objectively say that officiating is marginalizing play. The quest for money/growth is marginalizing play as well. The fan, as customer, will assuredly reign supreme. I’m frankly not sure if the NFL even understands that concept.

If this turns out to be our last post, I want to thank our contributors, past and present. Glenn, Paul, and Pete were with us earlier in the decade. Steve, aka Wonder has been with us from almost the beginning. Sounding board. Football savant. Passionate lover of sports. Jets fan. “Jints” fan. Talent evaluator. Not just a guy. Thanks everyone for enriching these posts.

Over the past few years we’ve posted less. When you start seasons 0-5 and 1-7, you’re not less of a fan. But you are not a masochist either. Loyalty remains. We naturally got tired of over-analyzing new pathways toward underachievement. Maybe by rebuilding the Giants will turn the corner. I’ll be on Twitter “micro blogging.” The ideas for blog posts come from there anyway. When Dickerson has 13 fumbles his rookie season and Barkley has none, who was first with that?!

Let’s get the Giants a 5th Super Bowl title. It won’t be in 2018, but I’ll still be rooting hard for them. It’s in my blood. It’s in yours too. Go Giants.

TEN 17 NYG 0

One very close and dear friend of many years emailed me last Monday after reading my post, and implored.. “Can’t you just enjoy an a** kicking of a division foe?” Well, of course we ALL enjoyed beating the Skins. But when you face Mark Sanchez, a 3rd string QB who was signed a few weeks back, what is really going on here? My job is to make sure that anyone reading this blog doesn’t get confused about what is happening to the Giants. Others were analyzing playoff chances and celebrating a turnaround. Not here. Not buying it.

After playing against Mullens, Fitzpatrick, Daniel, and Sanchez, the NY Giants came back to planet Earth today vs a normal QB. Marcus Mariota was a caretaker today. He didn’t need to be anything more. He wasn’t a rookie making errors like Mullens. He wasn’t a turnover machine like Fitzpatrick. And he certainly wasn’t a disastrous sack machine like vs Daniel (5) and Sanchez (5).

Caretaker Mariota let the rest of his team oblige. The Titans ran the ball. Mariota didn’t beat his own team with turnovers (zero) or too many sacks (only 1). The Titans controlled both Lines of Scrimmage. They stuffed the Giants Offense and limited Barkley. The Giants couldn’t make tackles and their WRs dropped too many balls.

Shurmur? Please read Saturday’s post and get Barkley outside? How many times did he have planned runs outside the Tackles today? Predictable.

Shurmur? Burning your challenges at the beginning of the game? We know what you saw. And we know why the second challenge failed. The problem is that there are literally 43 minutes left in the game that you now play without the ability to challenge. Is it really a killer that the Titans are at the 46 instead of the 37 with a first down either way?? This guy’s in-game decisions are dubious at best. Please give up playcalling and start concentrating on the game. Delegate. And manage.

Let’s be fair. Without Collins, Harrison, and OBJ, that’s asking for a lot from everyone else. What that means is that your QB has to do a good job. Eli Manning was just awful today. He made TWO horrible mistakes that killed the team.

Mistake 1. Driving down the field in a very tight 7-0 football game, it is 3rd & 20 at the Tennessee 29 yd line. Playing conditions are challenging with wind and rain. The clear play is underneath to get on the board and make it 7-3. Eli makes two rookie mistakes by not acknowledging down & distance PLUS he telegraphs in the worst moment to telegraph. Safety Kevin Byard is playing Centerfield and delivers the textbook interception. 15 years of experience and you can’t look the Safety off? I reviewed the play on my DVR during the change of possession. Eli’s neck was telescoped and frozen on the right side for a 20 yard throw. Disaster.

Mistake 2. Fumble not protecting the ball at your own 13 yd line on the following drive. Henry runs it in for a TD, 14-0. Game essentially over. NYG Underground is calling this PTSD Eli. If the shoe fits.

When we call for moving on at QB just remember these two series. No, it’s not Eli’s fault that a Jamon Brown penalty is making it 3rd & super long. But you are a veteran. Recognize the hand you’re dealt and take care of the ball.

Eli’s time has passed. If you bring him back in 2019, it better be at a significant paycut and to groom the next rookie R1 draft pick (preferably Haskins).

Back to Giants reality. 5-9. Always objective. When you want inflated hype let me know.

Predictability, via Ringer

A funny thing happened yesterday. I read an article about the NY Giants on Ringer by a writer named Sherman Rodgers that was so so good that I had to rush to link to it. The Ringer article is objective in both its praise of Barkley and its criticism of the Giants.

Have you ever asked why it feels like the Giants have been left behind in Offensive creativity? We used to rip Gilbride for his Neanderthal brute force approach because it was predictable. Supporters of this NY Giants blog can say that Rodgers was 6 years late or that I was six years early. Either way, Rodgers’ points are excellent. We see teams like the Rams and Saints operating at one speed while the Giants move at another. Yes, between OBJ, Barkley, Shepard, and (a healthy) Engram, the Giants can certainly  execute more efficiently with a scheme that features more balance and less tendency.

Barkley is an exceptional talent. Not many people are talking about his zero fumbles. It is starting to show up in asterisks, addendums, and parentheses (Rodgers). Let’s state it as loudly as we can to put this in perspective:

ROOKIE RUNNING BACK STATISTICS

Eric Dickerson 2212 yards
Saquon Barkley 2156 yards (projected)

Eric Dickerson 13 fumbles
Saquon Barkley 0 fumbles (projected)

If there is anything we can add to Rodgers’ article, it is that using Barkley outside the Tackles a little more will also extend his career because he will take less of a beating from 330 lb. Defensive Linemen.

OBJ is out again for the second consecutive week vs Tennessee. The Giants are small favorites. What is clear is that without OBJ’s presence, the Offense easily flows through Barkley. One Tweeter noted that it seems that the Giants want to get OBJ into the flow of the game because he’s a sulking ball hog a la Jeremy Shockey. Another Tweeter noted how Barkley is almost assured another TD this week because OBJ is inactive. Here is my take- only on the Giants can these two stars “compete” for touches. On other teams, the Offense flows with multiple talents. On the Giants, it feels like gridlock. Yes, some of this is a product of the Offensive Line. For us, it goes back to predictability and scheme. Moving Eli back under Center helps the running game (Barkley) and the play action (OBJ). Play action? Brees? Less predictability? What a concept. If Sherman Rodgers would commit to writing for the Giants as much as Brees commits to using play action, I’d happily quit blogging and just read him.

NYG 40 WAS 16

Here are the major takeaways from Sunday’s win over Washington:

1) Alex Smith cannot be replaced by Colt McCoy. Colt McCoy cannot be replaced by Mark Sanchez. Josh Johnson hasn’t made an NFL start in 7 years.

2) The Redskins Offense was challenged before Smith (and then McCoy) went down. It is so anemic now that they may lose the rest of their games and finish 6-10. At least Johnson is not a turnover machine like Sanchez.

3) Last Monday we alerted readers that

Mullens

Fitzpatrick

Daniel

Sanchez

were not competitive. The Giants have won 4 out of 5. Please do not get bullish.

As we explained last Monday, we’ve seen this movie before and it is not a turnaround. Freeman Barkley Pryor Tolzien. 2013. An 0-6 team rips off 4 straight.

2018. A 1-7 team rips off 4 out of 5. It’s nice to kick the Skins’ a**. But let’s not celebrate fantasies about being on track for a turnaround in 2019. There is simply too much rebuilding left to be done. Or, rebuilding to be started.

Before anyone starts thinking lofty thoughts and has visions of Giant grandeur, consider this- going into the 12th game of the season, the Giants had 14 sacks. They collected 5 vs the awfulness that was Daniel. That still left the Defense in last place in the NFL in sacks. Then enter Mark Sanchez. 5 more sacks vs the Redskins. So Daniel and Sanchez enabled the Gmen to nearly double their sack total in two weeks. Do you still think this is a turnaround? Or maybe the likes of Daniel and Sanchez were huge boons to the Giants Defense?! Please remain seated until the Captain has turned off the safety belt sign.

4) Saquon Barkley is an absolute stud. Eric Dickerson should be grateful that the Giants put up 40 and benched Barkley else he would have racked up 300 yds from scrimmage instead of the 197 yds he collected. It’s kind of hard to imagine what this guy’s going to be like with more experience and an Offensive Line. Get him some road graders. Leverage him. Oh yah, we said that. The night he was drafted. Barkley is on pace for ~2145 yds, and Dickerson’s record is 2212 yds.

Oh, one more thing. Dickerson is in the Hall of Fame. Terrific running back. I saw his entire career. Barkley’s better. Barkley can do literally anything. And (knock on wood) he doesn’t fumble. 0 fumbles his rookie year. You know how many Dickerson had in his rookie year? 13 fumbles. Yep. Barkley’s better. Already.

5) Eli had a good game. Let’s get something straight here. Eli’s game has regressed. He no longer makes fast reads, is less capable of finding the open receiver and gets swallowed up by the pass rush as soon as there is any adversity. 2018 was the first year where he has truly shown his age. The only way he’s winning another title is if he has a strong defense and a strong OL. The Giants have neither. And since efforts at turning both around quickly (i.e. via FA) has been a disaster, it is not feasible to try. REBUILD. Patience. Eli can still play QB but he makes too many mistakes. On 2nd and Goal at the 3 he gets sacked for a 14 yd loss. Those kinds of plays get magnified when you aren’t playing vs Chase Garbage Daniel or Mark Charity Sanchez. This NY Giants blog has been an ardent defender of Mr. Manning since 2007 when he turned his fortunes around vs Tampa Bay and shocked the world. We staunchly advocate his selection to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Do not call us haters when we argue he is not part of this franchise’s future. If you want him in 2019 while the franchise grooms another QB, that is fine. Unless a major turnaround happens at OL and Gettleman finds some great rookies plus one stop gap FA, Eli is not going to be able to get it done vs the best competition. Those days are gone.

6) Engram was healthy and effective today in his return from injury. John Fennelly suggested making Engram a WR next season. I think that’s brilliant on so many levels. (a) he can be that big X WR who is a mismatch vs Cornerbacks (b) he will be relieved of significant blocking duties (c) that’s one less WR to waste drafting on (d) finding a functional TE in later rounds (beyond Ellison) is not as hard to do (e) you can still use Engram to block some bigger LBers and DLmen occasionally (f) maybe he’ll get less wear & tear and this will extend his career (g) he can be an outside/downfield blocker for Barkley.

7) Kyle Lauletta got his first pro snaps. 0-5 with 1 INT. But let’s be fair. Shur-mur-** put the Offense into the Prevent, Run-Run-Pass-Kick and that’s not how you help a new kid get some experience. Gee, give him 3rd & 8, a bad OL, no Barkley and let’s see how he does passing the ball. Welcome to the NFL. Good grief. Did his play look stiff and weak? Yup. But for heaven’s sake give him a little bit to work with. How about play action when all 11 Redskins know it’s run?! Oh wait, you’re worried about killing clock when your team is up 32-40 pts? C’mon.

SUMMARY- Stop trying to hold a parade for anybody “responsible” for resurrecting the Giants at 5-8. Mullens Fitzpatrick Daniel and Sanchez had more to do with this bounce off the bottom than anything. The Giants still need to rebuild. Barkley is fabulous and needs to be leveraged. Lauletta needs more snaps this season under truer game conditions. Try Engram at WR.