It’s a QB-driven League

In 2013, when the Giants were garbage, we tried to cut through the noise, explain that a 4-6 team was rotting and that their last 4 wins after an 0-6 start were not real. In a QB-driven league, the Giants had just faced 4 Schtick dreck QBs:

1) Josh Freeman, who wasn’t on the roster a week before playing

2) Matt Barkley, the backup to backups

3) Terrelle Pryor, who was not only playing with a sprained MCL, he also left the position to play WR

4) Scott Tolzien, another backup to backups

Was it a complete surprise that the Giants won these 4 games, and then proceeded to go 7-9 en route to more woes while their GM was in denial? The next season started 3-9. Hmmm what a pattern.

2013 started 0-6

2014 started 3-9

2015 finished 1-6

2017 started 1-8

2018 started 1-7

So let’s talk about this latest “turnaround” where this team has won 3 of the last 4. It’s another mirage. Is it good to learn how to win games? Yes, but let’s not fool ourselves.

The Giants beat a backup QB, the 2-7 Niners with Mullens in his 2nd career start.

The Giants beat 3-6 TB, where turnover machine QB Ryan Fitzpatrick had to be benched.

The Giants lost to Carson Wentz, whose team is practically in intensive care, suiting up CBs with zero playing time.

And the finale of the 4 game exhibition… where the Giants faced backup Chase Daniel, whose epic demonstration of incompetence made us ask aloud on Twitter how much he was paid to throw the game.

In this stretch of 4 games, the Giants at least were able to blitzkrieg the opponents, right? Uh, no. Win on last possession by 4, win by 3, blow a 16 pt lead, and win by 3.

So now the Giants play against Colt McCoy in the next game. Pardon me for assigning another asterisk. (UPDATE: Double asterisk, another backup’s backup… McCoy hurt in Q2 Monday night, Giants to face Mark Sanchez if injury prevents him from playing next weekend. UPDATE2: Fractured Fibula. Sanchez doesn’t know the playbook and he faces the Giants next.)

You are your record. 4-8. Sure, they could have won a couple more games. And they could have also gotten throttled by Garoppolo and Trubisky.

It’s a QB-driven league. You beat bad QBs like the Tolziens and Daniels. You lose to good ones. Eli Manning is done. The OL needs to be rebuilt. The Defense has many needs.

We all love our team, the NY Giants. Let’s celebrate beating an 8-3 team any way we can. But let’s also be honest and objective about its many problems. If we don’t do that, we go right back to 2013, where the denial began.

Rebuild.

NYG 30 CHI 27 OT

How does a 3-8 team beat an 8-3 team?

1) Play against a team who has Chase Daniel as its backup.

2) Daniel starts.

3) Daniel throws a pick 6 to Ogletree.

4) Daniel underthrows a wide open TD and instead provides a pick INT #2 to Ogletree.

5) Have Barkley the magician manufacture 22 yards at the end of H1 on 3rd & 23 leading to ….

6) Rosas knocks down a 57 yarder.

7) Use OBJ on a flea flicker to throw a 50 yd TD to an uncovered Russell Shepard.

8) Fail three times at goal line and have OBJ get lost in the wash on a 4th down TD across the entire Defensive unit.

9) Despite Shurmur being a moron and not running the ball on 3rd & 8 at the CHI 30, and despite Eli being a moron/rookie and taking a 9 yd sack preventing a FG winning the game, the Bears cough up the ball at their 13 yd line on the next possession so that the Giants hold on with the sealed score. Oh wait. Give up 10 pts via an onside kick.

10) Play against Chase Daniel (again, for effect).

11) Have Daniel fumble a snap.

12) Have Daniel fumble a snap (this time not for effect, happened twice in OT).

Smoke and mirrors does not do this win justice. A non-garbage QB guides the Bears to an easy victory. The Giants outplayed the Bears when it counted and deserved the W. Do not misunderstand the message- this was a nice win. If the Giants would have found a way to lose it would have be an epic implosion. Thank goodness they hung on.

4-8. Rebuild.

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.

Draft Architecture

The oracle of Berra once said:

If you don’t know where you are going, you’ll end up someplace else.

He also gave us this nugget:

You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.

What is the Giants plan? When it comes to the Draft, the Patriots have a plan. Over the last 10 drafts they have AVERAGED 9 selections. It is important to understand, because right now everyone is doing cartwheels that the Giants have amassed 10 picks for 2019. This is the biggest draft for the Giants in 16 years. Let that sink in.. the Giants have a haul that is one more pick than what the Patriots average each year.

Gettleman may have screwed up Free Agency and he may have gone the wrong direction with star Saquon Barkley, but at least Gettleman is doing some good things in the draft.

How do you get more draft picks? There are typically three ways:

(1) You trade down.

(2) You do less in Free Agency.

(3) You trade away veterans.

That’s it. Jerry Reese traded up, he was busy in Free Agency and he rarely traded away veterans. Along with poor draft choices, that systematically gutted the team of youthful draft restocking.

The decision to sign Patrick Omameh ($5.6M for 8 games) was a costly Free Agency blunder. Because of the losses of Pugh + Richburg, cutting Omameh in midseason allows the Giants to get a compensatory draft pick they would have otherwise lost by formula. Good. You need those draft picks.

Just ask the Patriots.

They stopped bidding for Solder when the price got too high and they’ll take more draft compensation instead. In the 2019 draft, they’ll get more from this mechanism than anyone, tying the Rams with TWO 3rd Round picks. That’s a lot. Quality too. The Patriots haven’t been killing it with great selections but the sheer quantity helps them continually rebuild their roster without missing a step. That’s good architecture. That’s a plan.

In the past 10 drafts (Gettleman inherited the 2018 setup from Reese with 6 picks), the Giants have averaged 7 picks. That’s what the NFL gives you. So the Gmen managed to gain a net of zero selections, as whatever compensatory picks they gained was lost from trading up and never trading down. That’s pretty hard to do. Even more telling, as the Giants scrambled in later years, they only averaged 6 picks per year THE LAST FOUR YEARS. Is it any wonder that the Giants are threadbare? Reese missed on too many picks and he didn’t even give himself enough bullets to miss.

Juxtapose this- the last 4 seasons the Patriots are shooting 1.5X more often for players in the Draft than the Giants. That’s a structural disadvantage. With Gettleman’s 10 picks in 2019, the Giants are hopefully on a new path with a new plan. Respect the Draft. Rebuild.