2022 Season Preview: Rebuild

It’s awful to piss away a full season as a Giants fan but that’s what we have in 2022. You can’t say we didn’t warn you. We wanted Gettleman gone after the 2019 season. We saw nothing new (and forbode more wasteful ‘toys’) after the 2020 season. By the 2021 season, we were strapped into Gettleman Part 4, who was quite possibly (through selfishness) rolling the dice in a desperate attempt to save the Giants and himself. His legacy is not only failure but an inheritance of stinking rotting flesh (aka dead cap) that has straight-jacketed Joe Schoen in 2022. But there is hope in 2023 and beyond.

Schoen is already demonstrating better judgment in one offseason than what the hobbyist amassed in 4 years. Schoen is rebuilding. He’s not trying to win now and sabotage his (AND OUR) future. He’s showing remarkable discipline. He’s not chasing players. He isn’t compromising his future cap. We loved his Day 1 picks. While we aren’t crazy about the rest of the 2022 draft, he showed good judgment with the free agents and waiver wire here at the end August. As one example, he picked up G Wyatt Davis, a young player we liked out of the 2021 draft. Unfortunately, Schoen could not protect Davis on the Practice Squad and he was signed by the Saints. At least Schoen was on the right track. He grabbed Ravens LG Tyre Phillips off of waivers from Baltimore. Yes, naturally this blog was right again in wanting a sh*t ton of Offensive Line resources drafted. Shocking (not!) that 3 of the 5 guys brought in during the offseason did not even make the roster, but we warned you when we noted that no one but Glowinski had a contract beyond 1 year. So are we surprised that OL is extremely vulnerable at LG and C? Of course not. Supporters of Schoen will come to his defense and cite preseason injuries. I rebut that by pointing out that that is precisely why I want to hit OL hardER to get out of this cycle. My kingdom for Creed Humphrey. About the only significant move Schoen was able to do in the offseason was pick up Mark Glowinski, a serviceable Guard. So it could be worse- the entire Interior OL could be Swiss cheese. Schoen and Daboll will get there. But not in 2022.

The best way to understand this Giants roster is that when they ask the question: ‘which particular unit is lacking depth/talent?’

…they should instead ask…

‘which unit isn’t lacking depth/talent?’!

The unit I like the most this season is ironically the least important unit on the entire roster- running back. I am super bullish on Saquon Barkley here in 2022. Breida and Brightwell are good depth.

Barkley is spry. He has some run blocking. And Daboll/Kafka will have a football IQ above 60, the prerequisite for getting this man touches in space. Daboll wants the ball in the air, so combined with the inconvenient facts that (1) Daniel Jones is not “the guy” (more on that later) and (2) the WR corps is a shell .. means a rather obvious solution- intentionally get Barkley the ball through the air. We’ve railed against Garrett’s garbage touches to Barkley via checkdowns in the past. Please, I’m begging, get this man involved in the passing game via purposed throws to Barkley while the LBers are retreating post snap.

Barkley should also benefit from better run blocking. He’s got the cuts back in his repertoire. I saw some road grader potential from Neal in preseason, although those were 2nd stringers he was playing against. Yet Neal is a rookie who should only get better w technique. So there’s nothing that makes me think he can’t move the DL off the line of scrimmage. Glowinski is a better run blocker than he is in the pass. So I think they may be able to get after it on the right side. That’s how you rebuild.

Is Barkley part of the future? No. I believe Schoen will be smart enough to not blow cap on RB by resigning him. If you could get Barkley for a good price (single digit millions, like 6-7M, sorry, not sorry) after a really good 2022 campaign, I’d say yes. But I’m betting he’s going to attract enough free agent interest elsewhere (despite his injury history) to make that impossible. Schoen, unlike Gettleman, will not bite. Discipline.

Cornerback is trouble. Linebacker post Martinez is deep trouble. Tight End is trouble unless R4 rookie Bellinger comes back from concussion and then remarkably ascends quickly. Left Guard is trouble.

We are going to keep the Daniel Jones discussion short. Another overdrafted QB meets reality. People inside my circle regularly ask me about Jones. My answer is simple- if you have to ask the question, the answer is no. He can’t make the throws that stretch the defense, he will never have the requisite poise in the pocket, his decisions/progressions aren’t there, and oh yah he gets hurt. But other than that, how was the play Mrs. Lincoln? He actually rates to have a much better year because Daboll and Kafka will be smarter w the scheme + Thomas/Neal will do him better on the EDGE. But he’s never going to be the man. If Wonder were writing this blog post, he’d say- tank it hard: Dung for Young. Avowed for Stroud. Or another QB.

Last year’s #1 and #2 are hurt. Toney and Ojulari need to contribute desperately in order to help this team this year. Toney was taken off the injury report (hamstring/knee) this past week, so he looks to start or at least see enough snaps vs the Titans in Week 1. Ojulari is out.

I’m reminded of Glenn Warciski’s warning about Toney out of the draft- he’s injury prone. Remember, the NFL is about ability and availability. This league is littered with past and present players who fail/ed to realize their potential because they couldn’t stay on the field. It’s still early in their careers but these two need to show us they can suit up 16 (er uh I mean 17) games consistently.

Two former 1’s and 2’s who learned this lesson and ascended were Phil Simms and Amani Toomer. Both ramped up their offseason efforts to take care of their bodies and were able to deliver on the field. Simms did it in the weight room. Toomer did it with karate and yoga. How badly do you want it? We know first hand that the spectrum of effort from high draft picks is very wide. Just because you got drafted high doesn’t guarantee anything. Toney’s gotten hit with 2 hamstring injuries before his second season begins. Your move.

A positive we haven’t mentioned is Wink Martindale. The DC understands defenses and I expect him to do more with less. It’ll be pretty hard to cover up a back 7 that (beyond McKinney and depending on Jackson’s matchup) is troubling but at least will do what he can.

2022 Prediction? 6 wins.

The good news first: The Giants have the easiest schedule in the NFL. With softer opponents, Neal/Thibs ascending, excellent health (which has thus far been the exact opposite), and better coaching/scheme we could get to 8-9. Our baseline assumption is 6-11. If injuries persist, 4-13. All I’m rooting for this season is for the development of young talent for next year. The tab that Gettleman ran up over the past 4 years has finally come due. Get rookies lots of snaps. The Giants will pay for that in 2022 with errors that will cost them games. But if they do it right, and stick to that plan, they will have found younger players with more experience who can be part of something much bigger in 2-4 years from now. Patience. Rebuild.

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