Predictability, via Ringer

A funny thing happened yesterday. I read an article about the NY Giants on Ringer by a writer named Sherman Rodgers that was so so good that I had to rush to link to it. The Ringer article is objective in both its praise of Barkley and its criticism of the Giants.

Have you ever asked why it feels like the Giants have been left behind in Offensive creativity? We used to rip Gilbride for his Neanderthal brute force approach because it was predictable. Supporters of this NY Giants blog can say that Rodgers was 6 years late or that I was six years early. Either way, Rodgers’ points are excellent. We see teams like the Rams and Saints operating at one speed while the Giants move at another. Yes, between OBJ, Barkley, Shepard, and (a healthy) Engram, the Giants can certainly  execute more efficiently with a scheme that features more balance and less tendency.

Barkley is an exceptional talent. Not many people are talking about his zero fumbles. It is starting to show up in asterisks, addendums, and parentheses (Rodgers). Let’s state it as loudly as we can to put this in perspective:

ROOKIE RUNNING BACK STATISTICS

Eric Dickerson 2212 yards
Saquon Barkley 2156 yards (projected)

Eric Dickerson 13 fumbles
Saquon Barkley 0 fumbles (projected)

If there is anything we can add to Rodgers’ article, it is that using Barkley outside the Tackles a little more will also extend his career because he will take less of a beating from 330 lb. Defensive Linemen.

OBJ is out again for the second consecutive week vs Tennessee. The Giants are small favorites. What is clear is that without OBJ’s presence, the Offense easily flows through Barkley. One Tweeter noted that it seems that the Giants want to get OBJ into the flow of the game because he’s a sulking ball hog a la Jeremy Shockey. Another Tweeter noted how Barkley is almost assured another TD this week because OBJ is inactive. Here is my take- only on the Giants can these two stars “compete” for touches. On other teams, the Offense flows with multiple talents. On the Giants, it feels like gridlock. Yes, some of this is a product of the Offensive Line. For us, it goes back to predictability and scheme. Moving Eli back under Center helps the running game (Barkley) and the play action (OBJ). Play action? Brees? Less predictability? What a concept. If Sherman Rodgers would commit to writing for the Giants as much as Brees commits to using play action, I’d happily quit blogging and just read him.

PHL 25 NYG 22

Games like these are misery. It is no secret that the team I dislike the most in the NFL is the Philadelphia Eagles. So when the team we root for is up 19-3 in the 2nd Quarter, we expect to win. Yet these are the Eagles, who seemingly own the Giants of late. We have not cashed our ticket because we understand the realities of who this Giants team is. Unfortunately those brutal facts reared their ugly head again.

I am not bothered that Jamon Brown, whom Wonder classified as “just a guy,” was undressed Sunday afternoon … because he is just a guy. He is a stop gap for Gettleman, just a guy to get us to the Draft so that we can get some people on the Offensive Line with the potential to run block and pass protect more consistently. At least I do not have to look at Omameh getting blown up or missing a stunt.

I will tell you what I am bothered by. His name is Pat Shurmur. We took off the gloves many weeks ago, ripping this guy on Twitter and on this blog. Remember the end of the first half vs Atlanta? We argued that he was not deserving of a honeymoon because he already had two years of coaching experience in Cleveland. We were warned by a Cleveland fan that he was a loser, and 11 games into his stint with the Giants, I am in agreement.

When a team racks up 346 yards in the first half and comes up empty (66 yards) in the second half, SOMETHING IS WRONG. One team made adjustments, while the other did not.

Saquon Barkley touched the ball 5 times (4 carries) in the second half. That is wrong.

Once Barkley is keyed upon, keep him in there for liberal play action. Fwiw, Drew Brees uses play action practically every snap he is not running, so given that Barkley was carving them up in the first half, use the tool. Not done. That is wrong.

The Eagles started 3 Cornerbacks, 2 of which never started a single game. CB Jalen Mills out. CB Avonte Maddux out. CB Sidney Jones out. (CB Ronald Darby and S Rodney McLeod are already on IR too, just saying.) Are you telling me that the Giants could be stopped by a replacement team? “Knowing they were struggling (with injuries) in the secondary, personally I would’ve loved to attack them. But that wasn’t in our gameplan,” said Odell Beckham Jr. after the game. That is wrong.

The Eagles could not blitz because they needed extra bodies in the secondary to help the neophyte CBs. The Giants could not exploit that. Wrong. 

At the end of the 1st half, Eli throws an INT in the end zone, throwing away at least 3 points. Fwiw, Pat Shurmur took the blame. If the shoe fits. Another wrong.

The timeout called in the 3rd Quarter on 3rd and 18.  Wait. I have the wrong play in. I may not make this conversion??????!!!!!! Who the F do you think you are? 3rd and 18???????? HELLLLLLPPPPPP!! This is completely brain dead. Spielman calls this for what it is, braindead, and of course they check it down anyway and the timeout is gone. Do you think maybe that those 35 seconds (with the additional timeout) could have been used at 0:55 instead of the 0:20 with the game over? Yet another wrong.

Odell Beckham had a cramp, needed an IV, missed a drive in Q3. Huh? He gets paid $95M to not drink enough water?

Engram injured his hamstring in warmups and did not play. What a trainwreck year.

The Giants are 3-8. If it is one thing I cannot stomach it is underachievement. Shurmur does not instill any confidence as an in-game manager. Pederson would have won with either team. It is not impossible for Shurmur to improve. Give up playcalling duties for starters so that you can have a better chance at managing the game. Maybe you won’t waste timeouts and will be able to make the adjustments that the team needs to be competitive.

Giant Musings From the Past

Guest post from Bruce R.:

Today, Monday, November 19, 2018, marks the 40th anniversary of The Miracle at the Meadowlands.  I was there.  While it was a catastrophic event at the time, in the long run it changed the New York Football Giants for the better.  For my sons, nephews, and Giants fans who were not alive then, here’s the larger story:

The next morning, the Giants fired offensive coordinator Bob Gibson who had called the play.  The next week, Morris (the old Jewish guy who sat behind us in Section 122 of Giants Stadium and came to the games with a blond in a fur coat) hired a plane to fly over the stadium with a banner that read “15 Years of Lousy Football.  We’ve Had Enough”.  Giants’ head coach John McVay got axed at the end of the season, only to go on to become the GM of the 49ers during their Super Bowl years.  His grandson Sean McVay now coaches the LA Rams 2.0. GM Andy Robustelli also got fired after the season.  After a power struggle between Wellington Mara and his nephew Tim (for whom a street is named in Jupiter, Florida) led to a stalemate in choosing a new GM, Commissioner Pete Rozelle suggested the name of George Young, a little-known Baltimore Colts executive.

 Young set about hiring a new coach.  Among the serious candidates were Stanford coach Bill Walsh, San Diego Chargers assistant coach Ray Perkins, Dallas Cowboys assistant coach Dan Reeves, Jets Offensive Coordinator John Idzik (whose son famously flopped as Jets General Manager), and Seahawks OC Jerry Rhome.  With two future Hall of Fame coaches in the mix, the Giants opted for Ray Perkins, who Young knew from his days with the Colts.  Perkins hired the Air Force Academy’s head coach, an unknown guy named Duane “Bill” Parcells, to be his linebacker coach.  Parcells quit before the season started.  After a year away from football, he returned as linebacker coach for the Patriots under Head Coach Ron Erhardt for the 1980 season.  Parcells then joined the Giants as defensive coordinator and linebacker coach.  After the 1981 season, Erhardt was fired by the Patriots.  Perkins hired him as offensive coordinator.  When Parcells became Giants’ head coach for the 1982 season, he kept Erhardt as offensive coordinator, a job Earhardt held through the first two Super Bowl wins.Perkins also hired a 27 year old special teams coach named Bill Belichick, who Young later passed over as Parcells’ successor, in favor of Ray Handley (for younger fans, think of Handley as an earlier version of Ben McAdoo).


There are several other interesting bits of trivia related to this event:

The guy who was supposed to carry the ball, Larry Csonka, had a stellar college career at Syracuse, where he played in the same backfield as wingback Tom Coughlin.   

The player who snapped the ball, Jim Clack, was acquiredalong with Ernie Pough from the Steelers for John “Holding, Number 74” Hicks, arguably the worst #1 pick in Giants’ history.  Hicks had been the 3rd pick in the 1974 draft.  In that draft, alone, the Steelers picked 4 Hall of Famers:  Mike Webster, Jack Lambert, Lynn Swann, and John Stallworth.  Clack later pled guilty to a federal drug crime. Nevertheless, his uniform number (#56) has been retired by the Giants.  Speaking of uniform numbers, 41 years later, the Giants selected an offensive tackle high in the first round (Ereck Flowers) and assigned him # 74.  That didn’t work out, either.

The football gods repaid Herman Edwards, who picked up the fumble and ran for a touchdown, by making him head coach of the woeful New York Jets and Kansas City Chiefs.  

Two guys futilely chased Edwards as he ran away from us toward the west end zone at Giants Stadium.  One was Doug Kotar (#44), who had first displayed his skill in the 1974 Jaycees Classic pre-season game at Palmer Stadium in Princeton (I was there).  The other was Gary Shirk (#87), a former World Football League player (tight end) who had attended Morehead State in Kentucky.  The Giants held the 7th pick in the 1979 NFL draft.  They hoped to pick Jack “The Throwin Samoan” Thompson from Washington State.  Sadly, he was taken by the Bengals with the 3rd pick.  The Giants were left to settle for Phil Simms from Morehead State.  Seventy-five picks later, the 49ers selected Joe Montana.  Also selected that year by the Cardinals was Jeff Rutledge from Alabama, who eventually became one of Simms’ backups for the Giants.

George Young famously said “Always hire a guy you know.”  In 1994, he hired Ernie Accorsi, who had overlapped with Young in Baltimore. Accorsi eventually succeeded Young as GM.  The Giants hired a guy he knew – Jerry Reese – as his successor.  After initial success, Reese took the Giants back to the future (that is, the 1970’s) through a parade of bad draft picks (see Ereck Flowers, above).

One last interesting tidbit.  The George Young Award is presented annually by The National Jewish Sports Hall of Fame and Museum the person, Jewish or non-Jewish, who “has best exemplified the high ideals that George Young displayed.

NYG 38 TB 35

I watched patches of the game, as I was the guest of another NFL fan (Steelers/Texans) so we flipped around watching a chunk of all 3. Since I did not watch the entire game, I’m not capable of commenting comprehensively about what took place. What I will do is remark on the things I saw.

1) The Giants Offense is functioning again. Yes, it’s (SF and now) TB. But at least there are elements to build off of. Keep throwing assets/draft picks at OL. The rest will come. (QB is another matter to be discussed at length this offseason.)

2) TB/Fitzpatrick is a turnover machine. Do not read too heavily into this win. TB racked up 510 yards from scrimmage and lost again. They had a -4 turnover ratio. You can’t win games like that. That the Giants won 38-35 is a warning that better teams will not be as charitable.

3) Saquon Barkley has 1268 yd from scrimmage in 10 games. That leaves him on pace for 2000 yards in his rookie season. It’s a passing league but you have to build your entire team/identity around him. While he is here and he is healthy, you must leverage his talents. Road Graders. More road graders.

4) I did see Engram’s big catch & run to help put the game away. If he is healthy the Giants Offense will get another dimension. This is why the OL needs the resources. Wait, didn’t I say that?

Please comment, as I probably didn’t see half the plays. 3-7 is better than 1-7.

Reminder: Nostalgia post tomorrow, Monday. Drafting post this Wednesday. Happy Thanksgiving!