Philadelphia Preview

Everyone suffers from a condition called selective memory. It is the in/ability to remember certain things but (conveniently?) forget others. Many Giants fans have selective memory about the miracles (beyond the helmet catch, of course) that were required to win Super Bowls XLII and XLVI. In the Divisional Playoff in the XLII run, Dallas was the #1 Seed and they beat the Giants both times during the regular season. One of the lesser known details that is either not remembered or simply not well known is that in Q3 of that playoff game, DAL Left Tackle Flozell Adams got hurt. The entire game changed after that happened. Osi Umenyiora was all of a sudden able to pressure Romo and the distinct edge that Dallas had evaporated. What is easy to remember- the Gmen won the Super Bowl that year. What is not as easy to remember- the Gmen received some BIG LUCK from Adams’ injury. It is this blogger’s opinion that the Giants simply lose that game without Adams leaving the game.

Am I trying to diminish XLII? HELL NO!! Luck (variance) simply has more to do with a season’s outcome than we would like to admit. Luck works both ways. There were years where bad luck (variance) killed a Giants season… the bs pass interference call right before Flipper Anderson killed 1989. Plaxico 2008. Hey, if Gilbride adjusted in 2008 or if the Offensive Coordinator of Dallas adjusted to the loss of Adams by helping with Umenyiora quickly, the outcomes can still change. Making in-game adjustments is hard.

In previewing the PHL-NYG game, I think back to the parallels of Adams 15 years ago. Divisional foe. TD+ underdog. Playing the #1 seed. Beaten twice. Getting hot for the playoffs. Completely disrespected. Giants QB finding his way in the Wild Card round. It is a tough ask to pull out a win, but this is why they play the game. I suspect the Giants will need a piece of luck, be it some help from the referee, a lucky bounce or two, (Toomer having) two defenders bump into one another, or perhaps a recurrence of an injury to a PHL player that changes the dynamic as it did with Flozell Adams. No, we are not rooting for a PHL player to get hurt, but merely instead illustrate that the Giants will probably need some help to get past this team.

The Giants are not the same Giants team that got their doors blown off in the first game (a 48-22 drubbing). Many things have changed since then.

First: the Giants were without McKinney and Jackson, two of the best players on Defense. Versus a team as deep as the Eagles, the Secondary was spread paper thin with Jason Pinnock, Zyon Gilbert, and Tony Jefferson together getting meaningful playing time. The result was a cascade of bad coverage. Both Smith and Brown got easy TDs in the first matchup, which I do not think will be there this time with Jackson and McKinney both back as defenders.

Second: the Giants offense in no way resembles the one that the Eagles saw in that first contest. To quote Dan Schneier, the offense used to run through Barkley and now the offense runs through Jones. Or as I would say it- Jones has the ball in his hands on first down, not Barkley. It’s a far more robust attack. It is the way a 2020’s NFL Offense needs to become in order to win a championship. No, I am not saying the Giants are ready right now to win a title, but what I am saying is that this transformation over the past month is what gives the Giants a way of being more competitive at the right time. People are shorting the Giants. Even I dismissed the Giants playoff chances (probably a number of times this year) because the Offense was not ready for primetime. An offense that runs through the QB is ready for primetime.

Third: Daniel Jones continues to accelerate his play. He seemingly has more confidence every week and has gone from game manager to playmaker. His play this past weekend was elite. Elite QBs make a difference. They make good decisions and they make great plays.

Fourth: Isaiah Hodgins has come out of LITERALLY nowhere to become an X WR. We have chronicled his rise on this blog and told his story. Yet he keeps getting better and better. Things like this do not magically happen to franchises where they manufacture a WR out of thin air. Yet this is pretty much what happened to the Giants in 2022. It is why there is so much optimism in Giants Nation. We know this. No one else really knows who Hodgins is.

Those 4 things should make the game a lot more competitive. The point spread reflects this, at 7.5. The Giants gained a little respect. Jones gained a lot of respect.

Can the Giants win? Yes. Will they win? They need to play near perfect and get some breaks. Consider that the Vikings were the #31 pass defense. The Eagles are #1. Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Minnesota anymore. Bradberry (remember him? ugh), Gardner-Johnson, and Slay lead a tough unit. Reddick, Quinn and Cox lead a tough DL. Edwards is also in the mix. On Offense, you have Kelce and Johnson as 1st team All Pro and AJ Brown and Jalen Hurts as 2nd team All Pro. Of course personal accolades do not make a championship team, but the Eagles are loaded.

I don’t like statistics like #1 or #31 ranked, preferring top 25% and bottom 25%. Here’s the thing about a top 25% defense- they’ll stress your efforts. To quote Mike Tyson again: everybody’s got a plan until they get punched in the mouth. Daniel Jones was elite vs a bottom 25% defense. Against a top 25% defense is he punched in the mouth and does he get forced into more mistakes? Jones keeps improving so he may be up to the task. We have to be fair to him and recognize that a tough defense will give Jones fewer choices and make it harder for him to look as good as he was in Minnesota. In more tangible terms, it was one thing for Slayton and Hodgins to get these wide open looks, but the CBs and Safeties of the Eagles will not be as passive or magnanimous. They will have to earn more and Jones will have to continue to be accurate.

Lane Johnson is coming back from a groin injury. He will need surgery after the season but will play through it. What if it flares up during the game? “Lane Johnson is the second most important player on the Eagles’ roster,” explains Wonder, the UltimateNYG Draft analyst. “Assuming he plays, the Eagles are too deep and should beat the Giants.” What about the Giants resurgence making it a competitive game? Wonder respects the transformation of Daniel Jones greatly this season but explains that the Eagles defense is a different animal from the Vikings. “Jones is not going to get easy open WRs the way he did vs the Vikings. Slay and Bradberry are excellent corners, and Gardner-Johnson is back from injury, which will stiffen up their defense. Plus, the Vikings pass rush was Hunter. The Eagles pass rush is everybody.”

This is where we go back to Flozell. Hurts did not look so good in his comeback. He rates to be better after 2 weeks off. What if Lane Johnson is not 100%, or needs to come out? Expect him to play the entire game. The Giants need Ojulari to play (“day to day”) and for Thibodeaux to test Johnson. The mere fact that Johnson will need surgery after the end of the season tells us he cannot be 100%. That’s what needs to be the Giants path to a win.

Let’s talk about Hassan Reddick. Reddick, like Hunter, has a speed move around the EDGE to get to the QB. This blog discussed with such disappointment how Peart got beat at the end of the 2nd Quarter by Reddick (at that time with Arizona), and then how Jones allowed himself to get sack stripped. Those days are thankfully long gone. Jones, whether it is just him or probably through good coaching, is now stepping into the B gap on that speed rush from the right side. Hunter sells out. Reddick sells out. One of the reasons why Michael Strahan is such a legend is that he never sold out on his pass rush. He always was mindful of pocket contain. One of my favorite plays of all time which I have discussed before but need to retell here is in the game before the Dallas playoff game in 2007 vs Tampa Bay, Strahan is rushing the QB perhaps slightly wide, and Jeff Garcia steps into the B gap but Strahan knows his responsibility to maintain pocket integrity in his rush and he quickly goes back to his right and stops Garcia before that mobile QB can have any ideas of running wild. Strahan, yes Strahan, forced Tampa Bay to punt, and the Giants won that game. Minnesota, on the other hand, could not get off the field because Hunter could not do what Strahan did. Reddick does not do that either. His pass rush says- my number one job is to get to the QB, often at all costs. Reddick has added a cutback move where he can spin and go back toward the B gap, but it is not like Strahan where he is minding pocket contain. The difference for the Eagles is that they also have interior linemen like Graham and Cox who can clean up inside. So when Jones squeezes out, those defenders may very well be there to stop the gap. If I am the Eagles coaching staff, it is easy to watch the film and alert these players to what is happening. The Vikings, for their part, got help from a LBer who filled that gap, and Jones was no longer running wild in the second half. The point here is that Giants fans should not expect easy low hanging fruit, but if Reddick sells out, make him pay.

Jason Kelce is 35 years old. He probably benefitted from the rest as much as anyone. It is shame for Giants fans that Kelce should be ready for the 25 year old menace named Dexter Lawrence. Lawrence may get some pressures, but he rates to not rack up consistent pressure like he did versus Minnesota. Versus Minnesota he got 8 pressures. Versus PHI on Dec 11, he got 1. The Giants simply will not win when their best player generates 1 pressure. We need a lot more from Lawrence. If Martindale can scheme Lawrence to go against RG Seumalo and waste Kelce, all the better. Unfortunately this is simply a bad matchup for Lawrence because Kelce rates to neutralize the Giants best disruptor. I would like to believe that he will do more this game. It is going to take everything from Lawrence to make it happen.

There is one area where the Giants have a distinct edge. It’s the coaching staff. In 2008 the Giants were the #1 seed and lost to PHL because they were outcoached. If Kafka can gameplan an ascending Jones, and Martindale can lean on Jackson and McKinney, it makes the game more even. There is a lot for the new January Giants to do that they could not do in December. This game is a big ask. The coaches have to find a way. They have found a way all season. I trust them to not only gameplan properly but also to make the in-game adjustments to give the Giants a chance.

The two players I’ll be watching are Hurts and Johnson. If both are fine, it’s going to be hard to beat PHL.. not impossible, but very hard. Like in the Dallas playoff game of the 2007 season, play them tough, keep it close, and seize on a moment when something breaks your way. The Giants need to play their “A” game. Shock the world. I give the Giants a chance to win, but not a big chance. The oddsmakers imply the Giants have a 24% chance of winning. I think that is about right. The Giants rate to win 1 out of 4 times they play this game. Make this the 1. Play this team competitively, make them earn everything, stay in the game, make the in-game adjustments, and seize on that lucky break. That is the recipe for pulling out a victory.

NYG 31 MIN 24

Giants fans put a run on the supply of blood pressure medications in area pharmacies. Is it safe yet to open my eyes?! I can only speak for myself, but it feels like I aged a few years from that game. But it was worth every second of it!!!! THE FREAKING NY GIANTS ARE HEADED TO THE DIVISIONAL ROUND!!

So let’s review Sunday morning’s blog post and see how we did in the game preview:
▪️variance in football
▪️Giants will win
▪️Run the B gap when Hunter goes wide on the speed rush to help out Evan Neal
▪️Dexter Lawrence all day long vs Bradbury to wear him down for the 4th Quarter
▪️worried about Hockenson
▪️not worried about the Giants Offense

So how did that look? Let’s review. (1) The variance in this game was nuts. Who was that **** ****** ref who called Stud Dexter Freaking Lawrence for ************** unnecessary roughness when he completely and cleanly tackled Cousins before and while he was throwing the ball??????!!!!!!! The potential implications of that call could have been huge. *15 yards *Fresh set of downs *Nervous breakdowns across the greater NY metropolitan area. (4) Note how Dexter Lawrence at the end of the game was taking Bradbury to school, pushing him into Cousins nearly every snap. In my opinion, it was Sexy Dexy who was the big difference maker on those last two Defensive possessions when the Giants needed it most. He wore down Bradbury and there was no answer. Frankly the Vikings needed to double Lawrence, they didn’t, and it cost them. (2) The Giants won. More on that later. (3) In the first half, it was all B gap. Hunter sells out on Neal wide. Jones has the B gap between Right Guard and Right Tackle. He either steps up and finds the open Receiver or he tucks the ball down and runs. He did both to perfection. The runs destroyed the Vikings until the second half when (they adjusted and moved) a LBer moved in to close the B gap and Hunter stopped going wide, which helped Neal on pass rush too and gave Jones more time. (5) Hockenson was again a menace. 10 receptions for 129 yards. Martindale picked his poison and said I gotta control that nightmare Jefferson (22 yards in the final 53 minutes) so I bend and don’t break. I wasn’t particularly pleased that Thibodeaux was held on one of those TD scores, which changes that to a FG from a TD. (6) “This NY Giants Offense is much better (than the previous matchup).” That might be the understatement of the year.

Let’s talk about the Giants Offense. They were spectacular. Daniel Jones was spectacular. Isaiah Hodgins was spectacular. Frankly every receiver was outstanding. Even Slayton, with that one drop, played well. Barkley and Breida were so clutch. The coaches used Barkley well and Barkley delivered huge catches, huge YAC, huge runs, huge TDs. Bellinger isn’t a rookie anymore (besides that huge penalty that cost the Gmen 4 points).

Daniel Jones looked like an elite QB today. If that’s the future then let’s go. If he gets better protection and better WRs it’s going to be incredible. He needs that, if only to stop running and putting himself in harm’s way. Was there any pass Jones didn’t make?! There was a key defensive batted (deflected) ball on 2nd & 7 and that (great play) is the only thing that stopped him. I don’t know how to offer any stronger superlatives for Jones. It was a completely masterful performance. Every pass, every run, every throwaway. Of course the coaches have catalyzed this transformation but Jones is the one who must do it all on the field, and boy did he do it all on the field. I haven’t seen that kind of QB play since Eli Manning in 2011, which coincidentally or not, was the last time the Gmen won a playoff game.

The Giants defense was run over at times today…. Ok, for a chunk of the game. But McKinney Thibodeaux and Lawrence made some great plays. I was pissed at Holmes for not finishing a gang tackle which created 4th and inches instead of 4th and 2. But on the next series he dropped Cook on a flare for a 4 yard loss. Nothing gets me more excited than watching Thibodeaux chase down a ball carrier after a reception in the flat. Love that effort.

And then there’s Lawrence. The big man has been elite all season, dollar for dollar the best player at his position on the entire Giants roster. He was a disruptive force again routinely. Lawrence’s season on the interior DL is without question the best I’ve witnessed in all my many decades as a Giants fan. And I don’t think it’s close. He saved the Giants. We might still be watching in OT if not for him.

Special shout out to a guy who wasn’t on the roster until November, and two months later he racks up 8 catches, 105 yds, and 1 TD. Isaiah Hodgins, take a bow. You are filling big shoes as an X WR, and you did it with an ankle injury. Not only is Hodgins making big grabs, he’s sure-handed, knows where the sticks are, gets separation, and gets his toes in bounds. He’s money. He’s going to get paid nice money. We already talked about what a great job Schoen and Daboll did to snag him off waivers. Now it’s time for Hodgins to get the kudos for killing it. It’s NFL prime time and Hodgins just keeps playing bigger and bigger.

The Giants are the only road team which came out of Sat/Sun Wild card with a win. The coaching was great. I have 2 friends who I watched the game with who are witnesses to my rants about passing on 1st down in this game. The passing game set up the run game. This is why the team is different now than it was through the first 14 games.

Cajones to go for it on 4th down on your 45 yd line. I wanted that. Olsen wanted it. Daboll wanted it. Jones got the sneak. The drive failed on Slayton’s drop 3 plays later but the Giants pinned them at the 12 yard line. Plus the Viking had to burn all 3 timeouts after the 4th down conversion, which effectively is like another possession. We’re seeing it more and more- the sneak, rb handoff, or the reception that needs the hard yard… AND THEN A PLAYER COMES FROM BEHIND AND PUSHES HIM FURTHER. Vannett and then Barkley pushed Jones an extra yard on that 4th & 1 to leave no doubt of a stupid (variance!) ref spot.

Next is Philly. Be careful what you wish for, Philly fans, you just might get your doormat Giants matchup next week that you wanted. If you are paying attention, the Giants aren’t the team you walloped a month ago.

Let’s enjoy this win. Onto the Linc.

Vikes Preview

There is always a lot of variance in football. We do not know how the ball will bounce. With that qualifier stated, I believe the Giants can and will win the game today.

The Giants made many mistakes in the first matchup. They turned the ball over. Jones threw a pick. Bellinger fumbled a converted reception for a turnover. And still, they lost on a last second 61 yard FG.

The Giants are a better team since that game. The Vikings are not. That’s why I think the edge is with the Giants.

In today’s NFL, improvements from week to week are more important than ever. Back in the day (before Free Agency), the continuity of a roster was much greater, so the incremental pieces from one year to the next weren’t as significant. Rookies didn’t play that much either compared to today. Preseason went from 6 games down to 4, then 4 with less starters playing, to now 3 with starters not seeing much ball at all. ITS VITAL TO IMPROVE EVERY WEEK. A team needs to be much better by the end of the season. The Giants are much better. Jones is much better. The players have made significant strides. Rookies, and other players who had limited experience, are no longer rookies. This NY Giants offense is much better.

… and it will need to be much better to win this game.

Before Super Bowl XLII, Osi Umenyiora came to Michael Strahan, looked him straight in the eyes, and with paramount seriousness said- you and I need to get to Brady or we are not winning this game. This is how I see this game as well. Yes, Martindale blitzes the most in the NFL (42% of plays). But with Lawrence, Williams, Thib and Ojulari all starting, these 4 guys need to get to Cousins WITHOUT as much blitzing. Of course I know Wink is going to dial up his blitzes as sure as the day is long. Yet, I’d prefer he not have to, in order to get to Cousins with more help against Hockenson and Osborn. Hockenson is a TE, and we have no LBers. Collins will probably get some assignments on him. Hockenson lit us up last game. His YAC isn’t great but he pulls the ball down, moves the sticks, and greases that offense. Osborn is the 3rd receiving option that needs to be managed.

Jefferson needs to be doubled, because no one on the planet can guard him single. (Maybe Sauce? Did you know Sauce Gardner gave up zero TDs this season?!) Adoree Jackson is back but it’s his first game so I’m not expecting him to be in peak form (or significant snaps). He’ll help, but he’ll need help too. The pass rush, whether with 4 players or with more, helps contain the big play. Martindale knows that his bend-don’t break philosophy means he can’t let Cousins sit back and find Jefferson or Thielen on deep pass plays.

The help in containing big plays has to come from the big guys up front. They need to get to Cousins on their own. If they do, I believe that will be enough to win the game.

Part of the reason why I believe the Giants win with a pass rush is that I’m oddly not that worried about the Offense. I believe in Jones and I believe in Kafka to put the Giants in a position to make plays. The Giants offense is arguably in the best place it’s been all season. Ironically, despite the loss of Shepard, Toney and Robinson, the offense has enough. I was admittedly disappointed to hear that Hodgins was moved to questionable with an ankle but he’ll play. Slayton, James, Hodgins, Bellinger and Barkley are enough to get it done.

In Philadelphia last week we saw Golladay snag his first TD vs first stringer Slay. His craft is the jump ball. I’m sure Daboll and Kafka are thinking they can help themselves in the red zone with this tool. It was cool to see Golladay’s teammates rally around him. He’s obviously well liked. Wouldn’t it be nice to have another tool develop just in time for some playoff fireworks?!

The Vikings have some issues on their Offensive line. Center Garrett Bradbury was one of the guys we liked out of the 2019 Draft. He’s been hurt (back injury) but he returns today. I put Lawrence over Center and make Bradbury deal with that menace. All. Day. Long. Yah, you can mix it up a little but I want to wear Bradbury down. We’re gonna win this game in Q4 because Lawrence beats Bradbury in Q4. The Vikes have no one behind Bradbury, as their second stringer is out for the rest of the season. Add that RT O’Neil is gone (biggest loss) and this Giants DL must make them pay.

Speaking about getting paid, Danielle Hunter had 2 sacks, beating Evan Neal regularly on the wide rush. Neal has improved since that game. He must do better than his first game vs the Vikes. If I’m Kafka, I slow Hunter down with design plays to punish Hunter for this wide sellout, running Jones through the B gap or releasing a RB/TE through there on a delay. This will help Neal, who has yet to show me the consistent footwork/technique in handling the wide speed rush. Frankly, other than handling (limiting) that nightmare Jefferson, Neal is really the only other significant game changing variable. If Kafka can help Neal and slow down Hunter with those design plays, maybe a chip or two etc, the Offense should be fine.

This postseason is gravy! Of course I want to win and I predict one as well, but I’m also thrilled to be here in a rebuilding year. Schoen and Daboll have been terrific. It’s a renaissance for this franchise. Let’s be greedy today, but part and parcel, I’m just as grateful about the future of this franchise.

A Comparison of 2016 and 2022

It was a tremendous achievement for this 2022 NY Giants team to make the playoffs in a rebuilding year. It still is a rebuilding year. That the Giants were somehow competitive despite so many obstacles in their way is a harbinger of the legacy that this franchise will inherit in coming years. You have heard it a number of times by now… “The Giants are making their first playoff appearance in 6 years.” The comparison to 2016 could not be any more stark. It really is no comparison at all. Let’s have a closer look.

2016 was Jerry Reese’s ultimatum year. Coughlin was gone. Reese had overseen the corrosion of the franchise (which we chronicled in many blog posts over that period). He had a directive to fix it fast- and the wallet opened up in a way Giants fans had never seen before. Olivier Vernon. Snacks Harrison. Janoris Jenkins. Unfortunately it ended with a one and done in not only an abbreviated playoff appearance but also a failed 2017 season.

2022 was a direct contrast to 2016, 2018 and 2021. Joe Schoen, the new GM, took the cap pain with discipline. If 2016 was profligate, 2022 was thrifty. The NY Giants have more flexibility in 2023 and 2024 while the 2017 and 2018 Giants were left hamstrung.

After 2017, the coach was gone. The GM was gone. Going into 2023, Daboll is Coach of the Year, if not in name. Schoen has done it right and is firmly in control of a budding franchise on the rise.

In 2016, the Offense finished the season running on fumes. In 2022, The Offense has found its franchise QB and has overachieved despite lacking any true starters at Wide Receiver (and multiple positions on the OL).

Dave Gettleman has left the NY Giants with at least a few key players. For the first time since 2012 (TEN YEARS!) the GMen finally have an Offensive Lineman going to the Pro Bowl. Andrew Thomas is the first OLman since Chris Snee to get that nod. For Thomas’s part, he is All Pro in our eyes, whether he gets that elite honor in name or not. This is significant. 2016’s Offensive Line was trouble; 2022 is headed in the right direction. If Evan Neal can continue to improve, the Giants could have bookend Tackles, which solidifies EDGE protection for Jones.

2016 vs 2022. McAdoo vs Daboll. No comparison. Some will point out that McAdoo was firmly in control in 2016, yet in 2017 McAdoo had already lost the respect of players and the locker room.

  • 2016 Built for Today 2022 Built for Tomorrow
  • 2016 Leveraged Cap 2022 Disciplined Cap
  • 2016 No Offensive Line 2022 All Pro Left Tackle
  • 2016 QB Sunset 2022 QB with a Future
  • 2016 Head Coach? 2022 Head Coach!
  • 2016 Free Agent Players 2022 Rookies and Youth
  • 2016 Desperate GM 2022 Patient GM
  • 2016 Import Players 2022 Develop Players

Player Development in 2022 is huge. Dan Schneier of the Big Blue Banter podcast is this blogger’s first source for film breakdown. I have a day job and frankly do not even have all the time to listen to 1.5 – 2 hour breakdowns of the offense AND defense (3-4 hours!) each week. Yet I listen to Dan and Nick Falato as much as I can. I am going repaste their Twitter thread of the breakdown of Daniel Jones’s player development this year:

Most of the Daboll COTY talk focuses on his roster maximization. Gettleman left him with more than 25% of his cap allocated to players off the roster or not playing. AND he burned multiple 1st-round picks (Baker, Toney). But I want to focus on his actual coaching. The key to Daboll’s success has been his (w/ help of Kafka/Tierney) development of DJ. We’ll get to that. But his decision in Week 1 to go for the win (2-pt conversion call) was momentous. The #Giants hadn’t had a winning record at any point since 2016 before that W.

Daboll’s development w/ DJ stands tallest. It starts w/ Daboll’s recognition of DJ’s biggest weakness on tape and his solution for it. What did he recognize? In the past systems, DJ had a tendency to sit in the pocket and lock into reads, often waiting for a WR to get open. This tendency led to sacks, forced fumbles, late throws that got tipped and at times intercepted and not a lot of successful plays. So the first thing Daboll did was hammer home: if you don’t like what you see, check the B gap and if it’s open take it (as a runner).

As @BenjaminSolak did a great job pointing out earlier, EPA on “scrambles (non-designed runs)” is higher than just about anything else. So Daboll took away the long waiting periods in the pocket that led to sacks & turnovers and morphed them into scramble runs. That’s not all. There was a focus in camp on drills that required DJ to move his feet, leave the pocket & keep his eyes down the field. The latter is key here. It’s impossible to watch DJ film this year and not notice a massive jump in his ability to create plays off platform with his ARM.

The biggest difference is that DJ is now keeping his eyes down field the entire time on the move + not moving at 100%. He patiently moves out of the pocket (mostly right, he’s righty), keeps his eyes downfield and allows things to develop. And it’s no coincidence that #Giants WRs have developed a plan now for when DJ is on the move. Darius Slayton talked about this w Art Stapleton. Each WR has his own plan for scramble plays and DJ and his WRs are perfectly in sync with this plan. That hasn’t been the case at any point from 2019-2021 under two diff coaches. It showed up almost immediately under Daboll. Those are the main areas Daboll has developed DJ but not the only ones so here are a few more…

– Less burping the baby (Andy here, patting the ball, inefficient waste of time in delivery) (specifically as of late)
– Better footwork (he used to have a drifting issue in the pocket under pressure, now he steps through and either runs or flows right)
– Faster eyes post snap (DJ confirming the safety & second level defenders)

Overall, the job Daboll and staff have done revamping a QB’s game in Year 4 is in a lot of ways unprecedented. The improvement he helped DJ make w/ pocket manipulation and off script play success are enough alone for me, but taking this #Giants roster to the playoffs is it.

If you enjoyed this thread, please consider checking out the Big Blue Banter #Giants podcast and YouTube show. You’ll find Xs and Os film based analysis from myself and

@nickfalato Link:


… Needed to promote Dan’s link to his podcast in return for quoting that fantastic thread on Jones’s development here in 2022. It is not just Jones, obviously. I just love what Andre Patterson has done with helping Dexter Lawrence get to the next level this season. Back in 2019, our Draft Analyst loved Dexter Lawrence out of the Draft:

Immovable object. Will be special in the NFL. The quintessential NT. Ran a 5.00 weighing 340 lbs. Unbelievably quick for someone of that size. Great footwork and agility. Despite size, can push pocket and rush the passer up the middle.  If you run a 3-4 and have trouble stopping the run, this is your guy. Will immediately change the feel of your whole defense. No telling his potential if he hits weight room, loses 20 lbs, and gets experience with his hands. If the Giants can trade for Rosen, take White at 1.06 and Lawrence at 1.17, it will instantly change their team. Comparison: Bigger, stronger and faster than Haloti Ngata.

Wonder 2019 NFL Draft Board

Note how Wonder wanted Lawrence under the Nose in the 1-technique. This is where Peterson is (pardon the pun) leveraging Lawrence. Dan Schneier talks incessantly about the hidden value of Lawrence in his SNAP COUNT NUMBERS. The quickness for his size is not supposed to come with that many snap counts, but this is what you get for this special player. Note also that Dan’s #1 need for the team is… LINEBACKER. And look what Wonder tagged for at 1.06- LB Devin White. As it turned out, the Bucs took White at 1.05. If the Giants can pick up a good LBer in the 2023 draft, there will be plenty of music being made between that player and the effects of Lawrence in the interior DL.

One other player I want to single out in player development in 2022 is Isaiah Hodgins. The Giants picked this guy up off of WAIVERS in November. While it certainly helps that Hodgins was from the same system in Buffalo, he plugged right in and delivered 350 yards in 8 games plus 4 TDs. All for the low price of $800K/yr. Golladay cost $18M/yr and somehow has managed to deliver 0 TDs. Buy or develop? Once again, Dan leaves us with little doubt-

The Giants were NEVER in a situation at the trade deadline to consider buying. Do you know who obtains value for buying? A team that thinks that extra piece (whether replacing an injured player or otherwise) will give them a difference-maker for WINNING a Super Bowl. This is not about becoming a viable playoff team, which by itself was no certainty for the Giants in October. This is a rebuilding year. The Giants still have holes in plenty of places, too many to name (see other posts this season). They are not one hole-filling away. Yet they are building for the future with a guy like Hodgins who can be a good WR on your roster. This is why 2022 is so different, and so special. It is a gateway to bigger things in 2023+. What a contrast from the 2016 spending spree. No comparison.