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NFL First Quarter Grade: New York Giants deserve an F

Through four games, the Giants are winless and nothing seems to be going right.

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Peter Aiken

Already we're a quarter through the 2013 NFL season. Just like in grade school, it's time to dish out first-quarter grades.

It'll be a disappointing report card for the New York Giants, a team winless through its first four games that seemingly has nothing going right at this juncture.


This is pretty obvious. If you can't win a football game in four tries, you don't deserve anything better than a failing grade.

As we'll see throughout the report card, no particular unit is shining and the team appears disheartened. The wins have been lopsided and at times embarrassing -- uncharacteristic of one of the NFL's proudest franchises.


After lowering his turnovers each of the last two seasons, Eli Manning is on track to throw 36 interceptions this year. Though the interceptions are credited to him, Manning is not solely responsible for the picks. His team has trailed in every game this season, and without the threat of a real running game he has been forced to throw -- early and often -- to try and keep the Giants in games.

Still, Manning has thrown more picks than anyone in the league. And other struggling teams have attempted more passes and have managed not to turn the ball over that often.


David Wilson's supposed breakout season got off to a shaky start, to say the least. The sophomore fumbling issues placed him right back in Tom Coughlin's doghouse, but even though he has improved his ball security issues the running game has failed to launch.

The blame falls squarely on the offensive line, because Wilson has found running lanes in recent weeks but his stats don't do it justice. Penalties have wiped away lengthy runs and touchdowns, and it's not like those holes are opening up consistently.

Wilson may have been primed for a breakout year, but it will never transpire running behind this set of linemen.


The 10th-ranked passing offense is the best thing the Giants have going right now, and fresh off his contract extension Victor Cruz is enjoying a terrific season. Cruz has tallied 425 yards and four touchdowns, so at least fantasy owners are happy with the production.

Hakeem Nicks can't throw the ball to himself, but he's still among the top-50 receivers in terms of yardage (230). Brandon Myers has replaced Martellus Bennett splendidly, already with 173 yards and a touchdown.

After receiving much praise in the offseason and after a Week 1 show, Rueben Randle's production has dwindled. Randle, like Nicks, has been quiet in the last three weeks. His play will improve as the entire offense does.


The Giants' offensive line has allowed Manning to be sacked 14 times (tied for fifth most) and hit 29 times (tied for seventh most). Only four teams have generated a lower rushing average per attempt than New York at 3.3 . And along with seven other teams, the Giants have mustered one rushing touchdown.

This past week against the Kansas City Chiefs, left tackle Will Beatty earned a -2.4 grade against Tamba Hali. Yes, the same man who earned a boatload of money this offseason. to protect Manning's blindside. According to Pro Football Focus, the whole offense has sputtered because of the line failing to win its battles.


Where is the pass rush? That's a question fans have been asking since last season and one everyone expected to be resolved with Justin Tuck and Jason Pierre-Paul healthy.

The Giants' D-line was once the heart and sole of the defense, providing a pass rush that set the tone for rest of the unit. Now, the Giants are tied with the Pittsburgh Steelers for a league-worst sack total (4). Pierre-Paul, Spencer Paysinger and Mathias Kiwanuka, who was supposed to re-energize the pass rush by returning to the end spot, each have recorded one sack so far.

Maybe JPP isn't 100 percent. Maybe Tuck just can't return to his Pro Bowl form. Or maybe it's time to turn to a youngster like Damontre Moore to generate a pass rush.


Entering the season, the biggest question was who would comprise the linebacking corps. With Dan Connor sidelined for the year and Mark Herzlich in a walking boot, the unit lacks both depth and production.

Paysinger has been the best linebacker so far, leading the team in tackles early on. But Jacquian Williams has been invisible at times. As a unit the linebackers are failing to make big plays, and suddenly letting Chase Blackburn and Michael Boley leave seems to be an even bigger mistake.


Injuries have taken a toll on the secondary. Cornerbacks Jayron Hosley, Corey Webster and Aaron Ross have been bitten by the injury bug, leaving Terrell Thomas and Trumaine McBride as the only healthy options opposite of Prince Amukamara.

Amukamara, however, has been the lone bright spot for the unit. According to Pro Football Focus, Amukamara earned a +5.3 grade against the Chiefs, not allowing a catch on four attempts in his direction and finishing the game a pick of Alex Smith.


It's really difficult to gauge the special teams unit, as Josh Brown has not had too many opportunities. Brown is 4-of-6 on the season, with two misses from beyond 30 yards. Brown has been shaky, but let's not read too much into it.

Steve Weatherford has averaged more than 47 yards per punt, and of course he's had plenty of chances to get in the game. Weatherford has surrendered two punt returns for touchdowns.

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