If you’re reading this NY Giants blog, it means you’re probably a lifer football fan. Or at this point, a Giant masochist. Either way, I’m willing to bet you watched the opening night of the NFL when the Bucs played the Cowboys. The Cowboys take the lead at 29-28 late in Q4. There’s 1:29 left. What’s going through your and EVERYONE’S mind? They’ve left too much time on the clock for Brady. He drives them down the field for a FG to win the game. Did anyone doubt that outcome?
One week later on the following Thursday night, the 0-1 NY Giants found themselves in an eerily similar situation to Dallas. Trailing by a point with 2:16 left after a brilliant INT by Bradberry, the ball was at the WAS 20 yd line, and the only remaining life possible for the opponent was the clock. Gano was money on a 37 yarder or seemingly anywhere he was kicking from. Wipe out the clock. Score 6 or 8 points. Do anything but put up a quick FG and leave Washington with Brady time. Granted, Heinicke is not Brady, but he’s been moving the ball in sustained drives all game.
Run Barkley 1 yd. Timeout.
Run Barkley 2 yds. Timeout.
3rd and 7. Time to wake up. We want the first down?! Pass incomplete. FG.
If you were any of the other 31 teams in the NFL, you couldn’t have scripted a better outcome to that series. The Giants couldn’t run the ball. Barkley couldn’t run the ball. Defend a single 3rd & 7 for a lifeline AND the extra timeout if incomplete.
This is called playing not to lose, instead of playing to win. I know. I know. The Dexter Lawrence penalty. If there is no penalty, the Giants win. But if the Giants don’t do that predictable RRPK bullsh*t while they have control, we don’t have to worry about some zebra making a questionable call. Some of you may not know that there is film that Lawrence moved AFTER the snap. OR, he was already lined up offsides. None of this had to matter if the Giants took care of business at 2:16 and didn’t sit on the ball.
In the past 4+ seasons (66 games), the Giants have exactly 4 wins of 10+ point margins (“Bill Walsh quality win.”). Bad things happen when you leave yourself open to … bad things. Losers lose. The Giants are good at losing. With Joe Judge in his second year, he needs to take responsibility for this. Garrett playcalling or not, that’s his OC. That’s his mindset. That’s his tone. Where’s the Belichick DNA there? You think BB is doing the RRPK through hobbled Barkley? Losers lose.
Jones was better. The Offensive Line was better. Instead of Jones failing to protect the ball or the OL blowing up the game, the Giants found a different way to lose.
When I’m wrong I admit it. I thought the Giants defense would be much better than 27 and 30 point offerings. And certainly not against Terry Bridgewater or Taylor Heinicke. Too much soft zone. And my thinking that between Carter, Ximines, plus Ojulari, that we’d see edge pass rush.. well that’s been mostly absent. Where are the blitz packages to intermittently disrupt the opponent’s Offense? Graham was terrific last year. After 2 games in 2021, he’s far too passive.
I’m certainly not wrong about OL depth for “2 injuries.“ It took all of 2 games to deliver injury #2 to Gates (Lemieux preseason).
0-2 start for 8 of the last 9 years. DEN and WFT are not world beaters. After the Giants beat ATL (if they lose, they’ll be rivaling for a top 4 pick with DET HOU and JAX), the tough part of the schedule begins with NO DAL LAR CAR KC LVR TB. That stretch will get ugly unless we see ALL of the following: Jones protecting the ball, OL protecting Jones, pass rush, and coaching to win.
If there’s one thing that is looking fairly certain, it’s that Gettleman is finally a goner after this season. He needs to be held accountable for this product. This is what you get when you go all-in at 1.02 on RB, when you overdraft Jones at 1.06, when you fail to rebuild the OL, when you trade up into the first round for a player with red flag work ethic, when you draft a WR… Gettleman has done some good things, but has clearly limited and failed this organization. Just like Reese, he will leave with unpaid bills and a mortgaged cap situation that has tapped out reserves.
Daniel Jones will not be afforded the luxury of a free pass by the new GM. Speaking of free passes, why is Jones not held accountable for his lack of protection of the football? In week 2 we saw how good he can be when he doesn’t put the ball in harm’s way. If it happens again abruptly, I’d bench him for a Quarter. And again shortly thereafter, I’d bench him a game. There has to be consequences for not protecting the ball.
Daniel Jones was also involved in a sideline spat with Kenny Golladay. Some say Golladay was yelling at Garrett. Defenders of Golladay point out that the advantage to his game is less separation and more jump ball. It still doesn’t leave me happy with WRs (or frankly any position) yelling at anyone on the sidelines. I get it- he cares. Are you telling me his frustration is boiling after 2 games in a Giants uniform? Are you kidding me?
Care. Frustration. Wellington Mara famously said that he didn’t mind fans booing. It was when they stopped showing up for games that it became a much bigger problem. Frankly I stopped caring in the middle of last decade, concurrent with the decline of the Offensive Line. It keeps me from getting really disappointed. There were Twitter polls in preseason showing fans looking heavily for a division win/playoffs. Percentages were anywhere from 68%-78%, which was completely out of synch with an O/U of 7 games from Vegas. I understand the fan-atic bias, but unbridled enthusiasm is reckless.
If there is a glimmer of hope, against a good WFT front 4, the Giants OL held up in the 2nd Half. At least Bredeson, Price and Hernandez seem to be preventing a jail break. Thomas has been solid. RT is a problem, but if that’s the only problem, you can scheme that. What is the next problem? Lack of depth, again. These guys need to stay healthy or else the OL woes will be front and center faster than you can say New Orleans Saints.
Win vs ATL. Then big time tests vs tough teams. We won’t stop rooting for the Giants to put it together. At least we no longer have the silly 2007 talk about starting 0-2 and dreaming about Super Bowls. 8 out of the last 9 seasons with 0-2 starts has cured us of that nonsense.