Other than Solder’s sacks, there is no way we could have scripted Daniel Jones’s debut any better. He’s got poise, accuracy, solid mechanics, versatility, and he’s a fighter. It’s a rebuilding year because the Defense is awful. Nonetheless, the Giants have a QB. Enjoy the win. Don’t you dare complain about the turnovers. We saw nice rookie plays/contributions from Ximines, Lawrenceville, Slayton and Connelly. And a QB named Jones.
The wait is over. 2019 Football is here!
Everyone wants to know what to expect this season from the NY Giants. We have quoted Steve Young, who said that “September is the new preseason.” The NFL in 2019 is a league where starters are rested through the preseason ever more frequently. Saquon Barkley did not play a single snap in 4 preseason games! While we understand the mission is to safeguard versus injury/extend the player’s shelf life, we also must admit that there are more unknowns. September is about shedding the rust and giving clarity on which teams are real for October through December.
Are the Giants a real team? No, they are not. If you think they are, run to the nearest Sports Book because they are giving money away with an Over of 6 wins. It is a sobering reminder of what is taking place to this franchise in 2019… they are rebuilding. The roster has 5 new starters on Offense and 6 new starters on Defense. Some of the transplants, like Zeitler and Peppers, will be fine. It is others (..rookies) that will get tested by fire. We were very high on Dexter Lawrence out of the Draft, but even we would expect the rookie Nose Tackle to get swallowed up on Sunday vs guys like Martin and Frederick. Please do not judge this kid harshly for at least the first 8 games, if not the whole year. That position is in the trenches and is a meat grinder.
So who are the players we will be watching to measure the team’s chances at success this season? There are 4 of them I will be watching closely:
- WLB Lorenzo Carter. The word is that Carter can really blossom in his second season. How about explode?! The Giants Defense is a project. The Secondary is going to have massive growing pains. The LBers are inconsistent at best. If Carter can notch 10+ sacks this year (he had 4 in limited snaps last year) he will do his part to keep the team competitive and allow other players to see easier matchups.
- SLB Markus Golden. Right now Golden is behind Martin on the depth chart. That is a negative. We need the old Golden pre ACL injury to come back and be a force in the pass rush. It is a lottery ticket, but then you can see why the Giants are at 6 Wins for the O/U.
- RT Mike Remmers. Remmers is another injury patch job from Minnesota. Shurmur knows him. The Giants need Remmers to be healthy and serviceable. Otherwise he will be the weakest link on the OL. His backup is Chad Slade. Good luck with that.
- TE Evan Engram. My confidence in Engram to stay healthy for 16 games is about as high as … that Over/Under line. So what’s it gonna be, Evan? As a first round draft pick, if you can’t play you can’t help this team. To date, Engram has had ability, but not consistent availability. The Giants had a mini-renaissance at the end of last season when Engram started. In the last 4 games of the season (post OBJ injury), Engram saw half of his season’s output in terms of completions and yardage. The Giants need him to line up wide and present opposing Defenses with a deep threat. They need him for all 16 games.
Can Carter explode? Can Golden return to form and rush the passer? Can Remmers stay healthy and remain serviceable? Can Engram contribute meaningfully for 16 games? I do not know the answers to these questions. If you do, please tell us! Maybe after the first 3 games we will get a better sense of these answers.
What is the bullish argument? If the answer to 3 or all 4 questions is yes, that will be indicative of a good year. The Over should coast. If we get a 0 or a 1, bet the Under.
It is important not to get too bearish on this season. The Giants play against Washington twice, Miami, Buffalo, NY Jets, Tampa Bay, Arizona and Detroit. All 8 of those games are up for grabs. Keep in mind that those teams are looking at playing against the Giants as a “Win” too. Ugliness is in the eye of the beholder.
Last season the O/U was 8 wins. I predicted 7-9. Wonder was at 6-10. They finished at 5-11. This year I predict 7-9 again and Wonder is at 6-10. Don’t get too bullish because they are rebuilding. Don’t get too bearish because the schedule is very weak. Go Giants. Rebuilding means getting a lot of young players to develop. 2020 looks pretty good. 2019 can look good as a stepping stone if the Defense gets its footing and the OL controls the line of scrimmage.
I will not be doing weekly recaps this season. Find me on Twitter.
Usually during preseason I watch a number of young players, because you get to see who flashes. This year, I frankly could care less about almost everyone on the field except Daniel Jones.
It is a QB-driven league. If you are set at QB, you can compete. If you don’t have a QB, the rest of the team simply does not matter. The days of a Trent Dilfer winning the Super Bowl are long gone. In today’s pass-happy NFL, if you do not have a QB, you are screwed.
Enter Daniel Jones. You will recall that in April we stated that the Giants “overdrafted” Jones. That was based on an evaluation of college film, and the risk vs reward at that time. Jones’s transformation from college to what we are seeing in the first two preseason games is noteworthy.
“Daniel Jones has improved dramatically since when I watched his Senior year college film,” says Wonder, this site’s Draft Analyst. “He is playing at a much higher level.”
In absolute terms:
Jones is showing understanding of the field, how to run an offense, great accuracy, and good touch.
In relative terms:
Even from Week 1 of preseason to Week 2 of preseason, there is more zip on the ball.
Wonder continues. “Jones’s footwork is much better than in college. As an example, he is pointing his foot to where he is throwing. He is using the lower half of his body, stepping into his throws and using his legs to throw the ball.
“He is not throwing off his back foot, which not only affects the strength of the throw but also its accuracy. His dropbacks are much smoother, much better than in college.
“It is pretty obvious to me that he has been working with someone to get better, and it shows. There is no comparison between his college tape and the pro tape.”
A comparison of the first TD vs the Jets and the touchdown to TJ Jones vs the Bears is night and day to Wonder. He did not like the first TD pass because it was a ball that could have been caught by both the receiver and the defender. Contrast that with the TJ Jones ball, which had perfect touch, where only the Giants receiver could have caught it. There was another pass to Cody Latimer which was also placed perfectly. Latimer used his 6′ 3″ height to get that. The defender had no chance.
“Right now, I give Jones a 9.5 out of 10. The only thing we haven’t seen is the deep ball, which I believe showed Jones to have less than capable NFL arm strength. At this point it really does not matter significantly because of everything else he has shown. He can work to improve his arm strength as well.
“Jones is showing so much poise. He found secondary receivers properly, the way you are supposed to do it, methodically, not rushed or harried. He was calm and not ruffled by the fumbles, which are a non-event. Completely correctable.
“My guy Darnold is set to explode this season if he can get an OL. He looks great but lacks help. As good as Darnold is right now, Jones is ahead of where Darnold was last year in preseason. Darnold was not nearly as advanced, so Daniel Jones can be very very good.”
One last thing that sums up Wonder’s bullishness on Jones… “I was amazed at the amount of progress from the end of college to now. It shows how much he has worked and studied. This is indicative to me of his maturity, because the willingness to work to improve is key in being a successful professional athlete.”
When should we see Jones come in to help the Giants? Wonder is a believer that you do not throw a guy to the wolves. He prefers that the Giants ease him in sometime this season if their record falls behind, like vs the Jets Game 10 or Packers Game 12. As long as the Giants and Eli are doing fine, he’d prefer Jones keep learning from Eli this season and just ask Eli questions about what he saw on certain plays so that he can continue to learn from the veteran without getting throttled by blitzes.
The Giants may have a franchise QB. It is only 2 preseason games, but Daniel Jones has made significant progress.
Not blogging regularly has its advantages. This way, the stories come into your lap. The latest is Odell Beckham Jr.
Of course if you want to keep up with our NY Giants thoughts, you can always follow us on Twitter. It was there that we made more than a few comments over the past few months about the OBJ trade. The constant chirping of OBJ forces my hand once again- there is just too much smoke here, so we need to blog about this fire.
I know what some of you are thinking… who cares about him… he’s not a Giant anymore, so let’s move on. That would be true, but OBJ has not moved on. There is too much here. Plus, some of the fallout in the wake of his departure still plays into who the teams is and where it is headed.
Let’s review some of the major OBJ events:
1) August 2018- OBJ signs $95M 5 year contract
2) October 2018- OBJ does ESPN interview, throws Eli and the Offense under the bus, questions teammates heart, energy
3) December 2018- OBJ goes down with hamstring injury, misses the last 3 games
4) February 2019- Jay Glazer predicts the NY Giants will trade OBJ
5) March 2019- NY Giants trade OBJ to the Cleveland Browns
So what is new here? OBJ keeps talking, and his latest set of comments pulled me off the NY Giants blog sidelines.
“I just felt with the Giants I was just stuck at a place that wasn’t working for me anymore,” Beckham said. “I felt like I wasn’t going to be able to reach my full potential there. Mentally, physically, spiritually, everything I felt capable of doing, I just couldn’t see it happening there. So I think allowing me to be in an environment where I can be myself and give it a different approach, I feel like my football will benefit. I’m just excited about being able to play football again and not have to deal with all the other stuff and politics that came with my previous role.”
Feel free to accuse me of reading into this a bit too much, but this is where I went off.. when he says he was stuck at a place that wasn’t working for him anymore, this is an admission that he played a role in his own exit. That is the way I read this. OBJ was unhappy and he was ready to move on. I know some of you will think that he is just fitting the new situation around the old material. Feel free to do that. But I am pretty sure that that is the incorrect take here. I will explain why.
First, we have that linked interview with ESPN in October where OBJ expresses his dissatisfaction with his 1-3 team/mates. He expresses his frustration with a limited vertical passing attack. We have chronicled on Twitter and here on this blog how Eli’s skills fell significantly in 2018.
Second, the injury. On a May 13th podcast, Glenn Warciski of UndergroundNYG posited the possibility of Beckham having sat himself out due to injury, given his past history of having done so. While it is speculation, it would certainly be plausible, especially given what Beckham just said.
Third, Jay Glazer. This is a crucial item. Glazer KNEW the Giants were moving Odell Beckham Jr. When he was interviewed in March immediately following the news, he talked about his track record for these prognostications, indicating that his information is air tight when making these kinds of calls. This means the Giants were set in their minds that they were trading OBJ, and it was just a matter of finding the partner (enough compensation not to get completely ripped off) and fit (an AFC team).
So why were the Giants set in their minds to move OBJ? The only really significant things that happened between OBJ’s new contract and the Glazer prediction were the ESPN Interview and the injury. Granted there could have been a 3rd item we do not know about either. It stands to reason that things happened between October and December which soured the Giants on their star WR. Could it have been that one ESPN interview? Possible, but for there to be so much resolve to make the move, it was likely more than just that. This means either something happened with the injury or something else happened to make the Giants close the door on this chapter.
And now we have the quote from OBJ a couple of days ago. The Giants weren’t working for OBJ anymore. Maybe OBJ demanded a trade. Maybe he forced the Giants hand with the injury. OBJ wanted out and he got out. The Giants took a financial hit. They did not get full value for him the trade. They got ripped apart for signing & then trading him a season later. The Giants moved OBJ, knowing they were going to get a black eye. For heaven’s sake, even Mara’s grandchildren took their grandfather to task for trading their favorite player. The Giants were not doing this trade unless they really needed to move on. They really needed to move on.
We have been critical of Gettleman for more than a few moves since taking over as GM (Patrick Omameh, not resigning Collins last year when he could have). Here with OBJ, it seems like all of the pieces of the puzzle are adding up to the WR wanting out and getting out. Gettleman was not a total dope for signing and then trading him. One way or another, OBJ forced Gettleman’s hand.
Separately, note how selfish Beckham’s remarks are. I felt. I was stuck. Working for me. I felt. My potential. I felt capable. I couldn’t. My football. Of course each one of us serves themselves in their job for their employer. We know that the best employees are the ones who put the employer’s interests along side (or even ahead) of their own interests. Frustration or not, that quote reads what he says, that Odell Beckham no longer trusted the team or its teammates and put himself first at some point between October and December. The main takeaway for Giants fans is that I believe it is a mistake to put this separation on the Giants. Odell wanted out and he got out.
The Giants move forward. They drafted QB Daniel Jones, the likely successor to Eli Manning. In the 2018 Draft we argued to take a QB or trade down at 1.02. The Giants did neither, taking Saquon Barkley. I will say once again that QB was the right move at that juncture, even knowing how much we thought of Barkley (#1 on our Draft Board). I suspect that Odell Beckham may have been demoralized by another season with a subpar QB. Eli’s skills faded further in 2018 without the Giants helping OBJ (with a new QB) to help the team win. Yes, I do believe that if the Giants drafted Darnold, that OBJ would be a NY Giant right now. We argued Barkley was a luxury for a team that had too many other needs. Given what OBJ said, and then how he forced himself out of town, the payment for that luxury was made.