Where Are the Giants?

The Giants fought back vs Carolina to take the lead, only to lose on a 63 yd FG. Four days later they got throttled by their divisional nemesis down the NJ Turnpike. Going from 1-3 to 1-5 and (effectively) ending their season is a pretty raw and violent upheaval. It’s a lot to process in 4 days.

At 1-5, the Giants have the worst record in the NFL. (There are 5 teams who are 1-4.) When new GM Dave Gettleman made Nate Solder the highest paid OT in the NFL, that was not rebuilding. When QB was not taken at #2 overall and you put your present & near future in the hands of Eli Manning, that was not rebuilding. That was win now. And the Giants aren’t winning now.

This NY Giants blog is here to be objective at all times so that we can have a community of fans who are partisan yet honest about the team they root for. When we first got started, some called us haters. Over the years, people understood the balance between support and realism. It’s with that backdrop that we remind everyone what we said and when we said it:

1) Wonder and I both said “QB or trade down.” It was rebuild. If you don’t like QB in 2018 with so many to choose from, let someone else pay up and allow your franchise to at least collect a slew of high draft picks in order to reset the franchise. After the damage that Reese did (we wanted him gone in 2015, two years before he was shown the door), everyone is in FULL agreement that the drafting needed a reload. What better way to do that than trade down from 2 overall? We loved Barkley as the #1 overall ranked player on our board…. THE PROBLEM IS THAT WE COULDN’T AFFORD SUCH A LUXURY. Saquon Barkley is such a class act. He’ll be the face of this franchise (assuming health) for many years. Without a supporting cast he is Barry Sanders. He is a luxury that the Giants cannot afford.

2) Wonder is a Jets fan. So he knows (and detests) the Patriots as well as anyone. He thought paying record money for Nate Solder was ill-advised. The day of the signing he said Solder would likely only last 2 years out of the 4 year deal, and only 3 if his questionable health trajectory held up. He said Solder would be ok in year 1 and mediocre in year 2. And he said that Solder was vulnerable to the speed rush right now. Everyone wanted Solder when Norwell was lost. It was the key to winning now. Everyone said the Giants “had” to sign him. Everyone but Wonder. When Solder got beaten badly by Michael Bennett on a speed rush in Q1, creating a sack + fumble at the 1 yard line, it was a 14-3 deficit and lights out shortly thereafter. Solder is getting old out there. The Solder acquisition is “win now” because the cost in 2020 and 2021 will make it that much harder on the GM to field a competitive team when (in theory) other young talent has been assembled.

3) I predicted 7-9. Wonder predicted 6-10. The Giants needed to rebuild but were hearing none of it. We believed the Giants would be underdogs in the first 7 games and would be staring at at best 3-4, maybe likely 2-5. Thankfully ATL has had a lot of troubles (notably on Defense, allowing 32 pts/game, 1-4), else this next game would be a sure loss and 1-6. At this point, a 4-12 or 5-11 season would not seem so unrealistic. Chicago and Tampa Bay were tallied as wins before the season started and now that is very much in doubt.

4) For those of you on Twitter, do yourself a favor and search “@UltimateNYG rebuild” . It is literally filled with dozens of reminders, acutely in 2013, 2016 and 2018 to rebuild. One step back to go two steps forward.

The 2019 draft is the Giants future. Barkley, Hernandez, Carter and Hill look like a very solid draft class to start a turnaround. But the Giants need quantity, not just quality.

Eli has slipped a lot this year. It used to be that if Eli had one excellent skill, it was understanding/reading a Defense and finding the matchup/area to throw to. In 2018 that has gone to hell in a hand basket. The decisions are slower. The decisions are poorer. Much poorer. Yes, the OL has made his job difficult. But this season Eli Manning is just lost back there. Maybe he misses his TE outlet in Engram. He threw to a 3rd string TE twice and it was a disaster. He has had open receivers he either didn’t find or didn’t connect with. While every QB is allowed to miss finding an open WR, in the Giants case it is happening too often for it to be just the OL. Eli must bear some of the criticism.

It’s time to look at Lauletta more closely here in 2018 to see if the Giants hit Lau-Lotto. Activate him. Play him in Q4. And then start him assuming the season is mathematically over. I’m comfortable starting him this week but it may be that the coaches don’t think he’s ready. Get him ready. It starts w practice snaps.

Let’s look at the whole roster. Where do the Giants need to draft? Better yet, where do they NOT need to draft??!! …

LG

RB

WR(2)

TE

DT

LB(1)

SS

CB(2?)

So basically they need to draft another ~12 starters. Yes, they need 4 new Offensive Linemen. Is there anything more stark than seeing ALL the skill players (WR-WR-RB-TE) and chaos everywhere else?

I’m sure I will get some blowback for this- trade OBJ for some draft picks. The (lack of) architecture of this team demands it. And OBJ’s latest frustration means he’s not going to be the good citizen in a rebuild anyway. So you might as well get the OL directly or indirectly through him and rebuild the franchise around Barkley. Remember that when you get close to a title, Wide Receivers are always available on a 1-2 year loan.

In the 1970’s-early 1980’s a frustrated fan held up a sign: welcome to the 18th year of the Giants 5 yr rebuilding program. Today it is: welcome to the 7th year of ‘win now’ denial. The Reese gambit in 2016 where he blew out in Free Agency to sign Jenkins Vernon & Harrison while re-signing JPP was a mixed blessing. Jenkins and Harrison have been fixtures but JPP was given insane money and OV has been oft-injured. That talent injection led to the single season of success in the last 7 years. Unfortunately it also exposed how badly the Giants needed a reset. Assuming the Giants finish with another Top 4 draft pick, they need to DRAFT A QB OR TRADE DOWN. Stop trying to win immediately. Fans will show up for Barkley. Patiently build around him. It’s the Barkley Ultimatum. Spend a year or two retooling the roster and playing young players. It’s not happening every March like fans want it to happen. It’s going to take multiple April’s and time.

One thought on “Where Are the Giants?

  1. Thank you Andy – a voice of reason among the “angry mob” of Giants media, commentors, etc. What you say makes total sense. My prediction for this year was 8-8 at best. Looking at the first seven games, I was thinking they would be doing great to be 3-4 but 2-5 was more likely. So I don’t think it is so catastrophic that the Giants are 1-5 like a lot of the media and fans, or at not that unexpected.

    I too thought trading down was the best move last draft. I must say though – Barkley is one heck of a chess piece to build a team around. The trouble is, Reese’s draft have turned out to be so bad that there is no structure left to speak of. I hope they can rebuild it soon enough not to waste Barkley’s best years.

    I think one thing that can save this mess is if Lauletta is a viable starter so that the Giants don’t have to draft a QB next year. If they are drafting near the top, then trading down would be ideal. One thing Gettleman has shown to do well so far, is draft good players. He had a great draft (2 starters from round 3 – first time Giants have had a starter out of round 3 in a long time!).

    My hope is that we see an upward progression in this team the rest of the way. I am not expecting many wins but if they can at least look competent and competitive, it would “right the ship” and give me more confidence in Shurmur’s coaching.

    Also, as a bonus, I would love to see Eli go out on some kind of positive note. It doesn’t look like it is going to happen, but I am hoping. He has been great for this franchise (think of the dark years after Simms…..). They have to see what they have in Lauletta this year though. Hopefully those 2 scenarios can work together.

    Liked by 1 person

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