Grading The New York Giants After Four Games

Jonathan Goff has played well for the Giants in the first four games, and his grades from Pro Football Focus confirm that. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The New York Giants are a quarter of the way through their NFL season, and stand at a pedestrian 2-2. Could be better, could be worse.

I looked at the Giants as a whole Thursday over at SB Nation New York. Check that out if you haven't done so already. Today, let's look at individual performances through the first four games of the season. In general, we all have an idea who we think has been good, and who we think has not. For some clarification, we will of course turn to the grades supplied by the hard-working folks at Pro Football Focus.

Before we start, a quick note about PFF. If you are not familiar with how PFF rates players, each player is graded on a scale ranging from +2 to -2 for every play he is on the field. There is, of course, some subjectivity and I always caution you take the numbers as a guide, not as gospel. The grades, however, are a good indicator of who is playing well and who isn't.

So let's get started.

I will break this down into offense, defense and special teams.

Offense

Through four games the Giants player with the best offensive grades is probably going to stun you. Right tackle Kareem McKenzie, a guy many of you have been begging the Giants to get rid of for a couple of seasons, has a +7.1 grade thru four games. McKenzie did have those two unforgivable unsportsmanlike conduct penalties against Tennessee, but otherwise has played well. The 10-year veteran is still a dominating run blocker, as evidenced by his +6.0 on run plays. Right now, only three tackles in the league grade out better than McKenzie.

The worst offensive player among Giants who play a significant number of downs? I bet you can guess this one. Left tackle David Diehl has a -11.5 rating, including a -9.7 in pass blocking. According to PFF, Diehl has given up five sacks, five quarterback hits and 10 pressures. The only tackles who grade lower are Denver's Zane Beadles and San Diego's Brandyn Dombrowski.

Other notable offensive numbers:

  • Quarterback Eli Manning is +6.9. A good number, but it places him just 15th in the league.
  • Ahmad Bradshaw is +5.2. A lot of that is his running, but he is also a surprising +3.4 as a pass blocker.
  • Chris Snee grades out at +4.6, which places him sixth in the league among guards.
  • Rich Seubert is playing better than I thought he could, and has a grade of +3.0 thus far.
  • Hakeem Nicks has a +2.5, the best grade of the Giants wide receivers.
  • Smith Smith has a -1.2, which is surprising. I wonder what the PFF analysts see that they don't like.
  • I have been harping on the futility of the Giants using Madison Hedgecock, and his -8.6 grade bears out how badly he has been playing. Only Tennessee's Ahmard Hall (-10.4) grades worse among fullbacks. Houston's Vonta Leach, who the Giants will see Sunday and who they tried to sign a few years ago, has a league-best mark of +5.7.

Defense

So much for the Giants not having any linebackers who can play. The best two grades from PFF for Giants defenders belong to Keith Bulluck (+7.0) and Jonathan Goff (+6.5). Michael Boley is +1.1.

The worst Giant defender thus far? Aaron Ross, and it isn't even close. Ross has a -4.1 score, and he is the only defender other than Bruce Johnson (-0.4) to have a negative grade. I would guess teams have figured out that Ross is the guy to target in the secondary.

Among defensive lineman, Barry Cofield is +5.7, Chris Canty +5.1, Justin Tuck +3.9 and Osi Umenyiora is also +3.9.

In the secondary, Terrell Thomas is +5.5, Antrel Rolle +2.8, Corey Webster +2.4, Kenny Phillips + 1.9 and Deon Grant +1.7.

In limited snaps (just 53 in four games) No. 1 pick Jason Pierre-Paul is +0.4.

So, a lot to feel good about on the defensive side of the ball.

Special Teams

You would suspect these numbers would be ugly, and they are.

  • Matt Dodge is -3.5, and only two punters are worse. One of those, Washington's Josh Bidwell, is being replaced this week.
  • Lawrence Tynes has been better on kickoffs, this season, but still ranks -2.9. I think, though, that is largely due to poor coverage costing the Giants field position.
  • Darius Reynaud is -2.5 combined on kickoff and punt returns. That is worst in the NFL, according to PFF.
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