It is Tuesday, and you know what that means. It is time for 'Five Things I Think I Think' about the New York Giants. So, here we go.
I think Odell Beckham Jr. changes the offense. After one NFL game and four catches, former NFL coach Steve Mariucci said he thinks the Giants' rookie "is the next Percy Harvin." Whether Beckham has the versatility of the Seattle Seahawks multi-talented play-maker has yet to be seen. What really isn't debatable is that if Beckham is the kind of big-play weapon he appeared to be Sunday in his NFL debut, he changes the Giants offense.
Even as the offense gained increased efficiency during the early part of the season, the one thing that was missing was a true game-breaking deep threat. It took one incomplete third-quarter throw Sunday on which Beckham blew right past the Atlanta defense to change that perception.
"I think they [the Falcons] had to take account for it a little bit more. I think they had to understand that he is also a threat. They played us differently from then on. They played a little more of cloud coverage. A little bit more of a man underneath. They tried to bump and run us," wide receiver Victor Cruz said. "They are going to have to change some things up when he is out there on the field and that is good."
Yes, it is.
I think I am officially off JPP's case. Throughout the offseason Jason Pierre-Paul repeatedly promised that his play in 2014 would be spectacular, more like the 2011 All-Pro JPP and not the injured, average guy he was last year. A certain writer consistenly said he wished JPP would stop talking and just go prove what he can do on the field.
Well, I will be quiet now. Pierre-Paul was an absolutely unblockable monster in the second half Sunday against the Falcons. He ran over and around blockers, batted down passes, chased plays down from behind. Getting a +8.1 grade from Pro Football Focus is incredible. Pierre-Paul doesn't pile up huge sack numbers (2.5 thus far), but he is around the quarterback a fair amount and no 4-3 defensive end comes remotely close to playing the run the way he does.
Pierre-Paul's +14.4 ties him with Cameron Wake as the league's highest-graded 4-3 defensive end. Yeah, the guy is pretty special.
I think Power Rankings could become fun again. From a Giants' perspective, looking at NFL Power Rankings hasn't been much fun for quite a while now. That might be about to change. After three straight victories, MMQB's Peter King suddenly has the Giants at No. 10 in his 'Fine Fifteen.' When we summarize rankings from around the Inter-Google a bit later this morning we will see if others agree with King.
I think the Giants should just skip the kickoff return. Let's face it, they are terrible at it and -- for the most part -- only bad things happen when the Giants try to return kickoffs. Can they just petition the league to allow them to start at the 20-yard line every time? It would be an improvement. The Giants are 26th in the league with an average of 20.8 yards per kickoff return. Quintin Demps was third in the league last season with an average of 30.1 yards per return. He came into the season averaging more than 27 yards per return for his career. He is good at it, but the Giants are not. Blame Demps and Preston Parker for their costly fumbles, but not for the putrid return average. There isn't anyplace to run. Pretty much every time they bring one out you can see by the time they hit the 10-yard line that they are about to be swallowed by a horde of unblocked defenders.
I think Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's health is a concern. Rodgers-Cromartie had to keep shuffling in and out of Sunday's game against Atlanta due to ankle, and possibly hip, issues. When he is at the top of his game, which he has been most of this season, DRC is one of the best corners in the game. There is no denying that the Giants' defense is different when he has to go to the sideline. Yes, Prince Amukamara can handle No. 1 wide receivers, but there is a HUGE drop-off from Rodgers-Cromartie to Zack Bowman or whoever else comes in to spell Rodgers-Cromartie.