More Than Half Full

The Giants should have gotten embarrassed yesterday. They did not. I love these kind of losses. They are such a harbinger of good things to come.

The litany of injuries the Giants had to overcome were too numerous to list. Just know that IOL, LB, WR, CB, TE and S were all impaired. If the Gmen would have gotten crushed, you couldn’t fault them. Yet they competed and played very well considering new players had no time to practice on a short week.

I admit that I have not held out much hope for the return of Shane Lemieux and Nick Gates. Correct on Lemieux. But Gates was very good.

Kayvon Thibodeaux had his best game as a Giant.

Reports are that Bellinger is nearly fully recovered from eye surgery, with his double vision nearly all gone. I won’t breathe a sigh of relief until he’s 100% and playing. Yet he’s practicing and his return to the team will be a huge boost to them making the playoffs. Just as importantly, Bellinger’s return means a 10 year staple TE nabbed in Round 4.

McKinney and Neal may be able to return next game. Neither made the trip to Dallas.

So many young players are getting valuable experience and playing time. They’ll play next year as roster players/backups/or those competing for starting jobs.

The Giants will evaluate a new surface for MET Life stadium. There is only room for improvement! Less injuries!

People are trashing Kafka for his playcalls. Regular readers of this NY Giants blog know I am typically critical of many Giants playcallers. Yet with Kafka I am going to defend him on many levels. He doesn’t have the personnel. This limits what he can do. The precipitous “decline” in the offense took place coincident with Bellinger’s departure from the active roster. Bellinger is an excellent blocker and a sound receiving option. His presence enables Kafka to use so many more run and pass plays effectively. Opposing defenses have much more trouble diagnosing what the Giants will do when he’s lined up.

Summary: injuries are temporary (assuming they can be addressed). Daboll and Schoen are building something permanent. It’s frankly remarkable and noteworthy that this team in Week 12 was able to be competitive. Where is this team going to be when it no longer has Gettleman’s parting (salary cap + dead cap) gifts, is healthier, deeper, and re-upped on requisite talent? We see an extremely competitive franchise that has been rebuilt in a single season.

OBJ, Part 26

The Giants are not bringing OBJ back.

He’s 30 years old.

He has 2 ACL tears. He’s oft injured.

Schoen’s (albeit limited) track record demonstrates discipline. Ask yourself- if Schoen didn’t do anything at the trade deadline, why is he going to do something here with OBJ? The Giants were far healthier and now their trajectory has them in jeopardy of not making the playoffs (let alone competing for a title). You make this move if you have resources AND you have viability for a title. The Giants have neither.

OBJ will want plenty of money. Schoen needs to keep as much money as he can to re-sign Jones and others. We don’t think re-signing Barkley is the correct path for the Giants (and the player either, who will get more money elsewhere), yet the same profligate armchair GMs who advocate paying up for a RB (twice) are also the ones who want OBJ back. I’ll bet they cheered the Golladay and Tate moves too.

This is a rebuild.

OH, AND OBJ BURNED BRIDGES ON HIS WAY OUT.

Re/read this and know that OBJ forced his way out. Mara will provide this datapoint to Schoen.

There is one narrow window where it can happen- it’s a longshot. OBJ has to agree on a cheap, short (1 year) contract which is incentive-laden. He also needs to pass his physical with flying colors and demonstrate he’s ready to help immediately. This is because the only part of my calculus would be that Schoen & Daboll want Jones to have a stand-in for his contract dress rehearsal. That’s a lot of ifs. When OBJ sees the Giants undressed by Dallas on Thanksgiving he’ll just be using the Giants as a stalking horse.

The OBJ ship sailed a long time ago. Fans want to transport themselves back to the magic of 2014-2015 when the sky was the limit. Right now, the cap is the limit, and Schoen is fighting for every dollar next year. He’s got too many more important mouths to feed. Barring a dirt cheap inventive-laden contract, it’s not happening… it’s not happening.

Still a Rebuild

I started writing a long post which only had a short message. It’s been a great season. The coaches have done a great job. But there’s only so much they can do when player after player get hurt. Next man up is great. What happens when it’s next water boy up? Was it enough that McKinney was lost for s few games due to an ATV accident during the bye. The only serious coaching mistake was putting Adoree Jackson on punt returns. I still haven’t recovered from Aug 1998 when Sehorn went down. This is “only” an MCL sprain. Wan’Dale Robinson and 3 more got hurt too. All of this doesn’t really matter because the Giants were moving along in a rebuilding year anyway. I’ll tell you what matters.

Daniel Bellinger.

Reports surfaced about 2 weeks after surgery that he has double vision. If it clears up, great. If not, his career is in jeopardy. So wish him, and the Giants, for a 100% recovery. He is a round 4 gem.

NY Jets Check-in

The football world lifted their collective heads with a surprised double-take last weekend when the NY Jets beat the Buffalo Bills. What is going on? Despite being ravaged by injuries this season, the Jets are 6-3 and they are not going away. Beating one of the 3 elite teams in the NFL will get you some respect. Quickly. The Jets won last Sunday with Defense. But there is a bigger story developing here. It’s the rookies.

In the NFL of past generations, rookies were seen but not heard. In today’s NFL, cap dynamics force teams to get as much mileage out of cheap rookie contracts as they possibly can. This means that rookies see playing time because that is the best way to lever their value. Get those rookies snaps. Give them the opportunity to start games faster than otherwise. Winning with rookies is a Super Bowl recipe. Giants fans know that 2007 does not happen without that special draft class.

The Jets are not winning the Super Bowl this year. But their rookie class is special. It is supercharging their season. Readers of this NY Giants blog were given the first look into how good this Jets class could be immediately after the draft.

So who did well for the entire Draft, soup to nuts, Day 1, 2 and 3 together? The answer might shock you.

The NY Jets.

“As strange and unusual as it is for me to say this, my team, the lovable loser NY Jets, had the #1 Draft in the NFL this year.”

Wonder / UltimateNYG’s Draft Analyst/ APRIL 30, 2022

Wonder recaps the Jets Draft picks now through midseason. Get ready for hyperbole.

1) 1.03 CB Sauce Gardner– already All Pro, the best rookie CB I’ve ever seen, for sure. If Cromartie and Revis had a baby, and he was already mature, it would be Gardner. Speed and incredible length. Phenomenal hips, as smooth as silk. Already doing things as a rookie that veterans don’t do.

2) 1.10 WR Garrett Wilson– fast, polished, smooth. Catches everything. Adjusts body to throws. Already projected to Pro Bowl when Zach Wilson learns how to throw the ball deep.

3) 1.26 EDGE Jermaine Johnson– power and speed, back from injury, haven’t seen enough to give two thumbs up… yet. Flashing big time. Sweet sack of Josh Allen. That doesn’t happen to rookies.

4) 2.36 RB Breece Hall– omg what a loss to see the ACL tear, would’ve been OROY. Now his career is in jeopardy. Would have been the best Jets RB in history. If Breece Hall is healthy, this Jets draft is the second best draft ever next to the Steelers legendary 1974 draft. (While not technically a member of the ‘draft’ class, Donnie Shell was a UFA who was the 5th member of the Steelers 1974 class to go to the Hall of Fame.) How crazy would it have been for a single team to have both the OROY AND the DROY (Gardner) in the same class?!

5) 3.101 TE Jeremy Ruckert– willing blocker, great hands, runs good routes, we shall see.

6) 4.111 RT Max Mitchell – already a starting RT, thrown into the fire, held his own, very impressive. Hurt, but will be back after bye week.

7) 4.126 DT Michael Clemons – May be better than Jermaine Johnson. Unlimited potential. Speed. Size. Power. Needs refinement/learning curve. But already doing big things. When was the last time you saw a guy who’s 6’5” 270 come off the edge and block a punt?