The impact of Covid on the NFL has been significant. Posting within Covid has been resisted here because the general information vacuum is much larger. We would already be finished with two preseason games by now, but have none. Instead we get to comment on a good play in scrimmage by a random player. Jumping to conclusions without at least seeing some contact in preseason games makes no sense. Even with preseason it’s a fool’s errand. Trivia question- In 2008 the Detroit Lions went 0-16. What was their preseason record? Yes it was 4-0. So all you want to do is look for individual performances, and we don’t even have that this year.
This season is one large question mark. September will be scrimmage and October will be rounding into form. There simply is no substitute for live action. Since football injuries are such a huge concern for coaches, they’ll forego the contact as much as possible. Fans are thus left with guessing and extrapolation. Noise.
With that qualification, we’ll make some observations that we think are correct but admit are part conjecture. At least we’re warning you of the greater chance for error in what is here.
Judge vs Shurmur. Judge’s words have everyone excited. His actions are clearly sourced from the Parcells-Belichick tree. The failure of the past 2 years can be sourced to Shurmur and Gettleman. More on Gettleman later.
Shurmur is a stark reminder of the difference between a (good) coordinator and a (bad) head coach. There were 3 things that disappointed me greatly last year. 1. Daniel Jones’ ball protection. 2. Will Hernandez’s run blocking. 3. Lorenzo Carter’s disappearing act. My sense was that all three things listed were addressable and correctable. This was palpable underachievement. I believe that Judge has the ability to fix at least one, possibly two, and hopefully all three things. Just imagine where the Giants can be with those added improvements?!
Gettleman made a lot of moves in 2018 which said “win now.” I don’t want to rehash them. This year he went for youth and depth at Offensive Line, which showed more patience and deliberate focus on the future than rushing for high priced Free Agents (“B” players at “A” prices) right now. The team still lacks a pass rusher. Markus Golden compromises pocket integrity in order to get sacks, so the team still lacks the true consistent ability to get to the QB. That’s ok. It’s a genuine rebuild, where the team will ideally get that player in the 2021 Draft. This path is more robust. It comes with a more lasting payoff.
Addition by Subtraction. We tweeted about this when the news hit that Nate Solder would be opting out due to Covid. I genuinely hope this does not come off as being callous. I’m sure Solder is doing what is right by his family.
Solder sitting out is a big win for the Giants. The Giants are in a rebuild. You may as well get Andrew Thomas started at Left Tackle as soon as possible. I wasn’t happy about Thomas taking Right Tackle and switching once Solder was done. Thomas is the future. Solder is the past. Onward.
The opportunity of 2020. Fans are trying to envision a way to go 9-7 and make the playoffs. They are hopeful that Judge will put the discipline back into the team. They are hopeful that position coaches like Marc Columbo will turn around the OL. They want tangible results in the won-loss column. I am as well, BUT NOT IN 2020. Manage your expectations. The opportunity of 2020 is getting snaps and experience for this younger roster. This season will be a success if Covid doesn’t interrupt the opportunity of the Giants to get these young players to learn the new system, to communicate with one another and PLAY in the NFL. If we get a 12-14 game season where the Giants players are competitive by the end of the season, that will be a successful year. As modest as those goals are for 2020, the following season the expectations from this NY Giants blogger will rise considerably. I’m excited about the 2020* asterisk paying off big in 2021.