Statistics and numbers, analytics and metrics, yards and points. In today's NFL, we are bombarded with figures from every possible direction, but what does any of it mean? We have reached peak-data for football, and it's becoming increasingly difficult to determine which information is worth your attention. Several major companies will sell you their packages, and these products can cost you a pretty penny.
This is a new article aimed to outline the important numbers each week, the ones you need to pay attention to, and the reasons why. Using a host of services, Blue Data is our effort to process the vast ocean of digitized material about the New York Giants and turn it into a digestible weekly portion.
This is the second iteration of the article. It's the preseason for us here at Big Blue View too, so we're looking for feedback on how to make this better. Last week we got some great insight into what people liked and didn't like and took that on board here. We are aware that it's a little heavy on Pro Football Focus material, but that's because they're the only place with advanced preseason numbers. That balance will be adjusted once September rolls around. For now, there are new sections -- The Good, The Bad and The Downright Confusing -- to help give an indication of what you're getting before you dive in. Infographics are coming too, just not this week.
What would you like to see differently? Let us know in the comments below.
Orleans Darkwa (50)
It was another solid showing for the presumed Giants' fourth-stringer because -- for the second game in a row -- Orleans Darkwa was the most successful rusher on the field. His numbers look modest. Six runs for 25 yards against the Jaguars isn't much, but it stands out on a field of two teams with below average ground games. Darkwa has 77 yards from 15 rushing attempts so far which is commendable. However, it's only when you factor in that 50 of those 77 yards came after contact that you begin to understand the value of his game. His PFF score so far this preseason is good for ninth out of 165 possible running backs.
Ryan Nassib (4.1)
The Giants have a legitimate back-up quarterback; one that should be able to step in and play should he be required. I'm not saying Ryan Nassib is likely to push Eli Manning for playing time -- he won't, for so many reasons -- but there has been clear development in each of his three years in the league. In his first preseason, Nassib was inept. Last year, he showed promise. Now, he's delivering. PFF awarded him a 4.1 grade for his outing against the Jags; the highest of any offensive player in Week 2 (pending Sunday's games).
J.T. Thomas (2.4)
Last season, J.T. Thomas was a liability on a Jacksonville defense that specialized in liabilities. The Giants went out and gave him a three-year, $10 million contract that nobody else would be able to match without laughing. Many criticized the move, me included. On Saturday, Thomas was a pleasant slap in the face. Sure, he got a sack on the sneakily unathletic Blake Bortles, but his main contribution came in the form of rock-solid coverage. For his efforts, PFF granted him a 2.4 coverage grade. This wasn't a fluke, either. Thomas dropped back on 20 of his 40 total snaps, yet was targeted only once on a dump-off to running back Bernard Pierce that resulted in an 8-yard loss for the offense.
Eli Manning (47.4)
Eli Manning has had two truly awful performances this preseason. In last week's opener against Cincinnati, Manning had the excuse of a dreadful offensive line. That unit improved last night, but Manning remained a child among monsters. The 12th-year pro completed just four of his 14 attempted passes and dropped his accuracy (according to PFF) to a league-worst 47.4 percent among QBs who took at least 25 percent of snaps for their team. He looked this bad last preseason, and everyone chalked it up to the necessary growing pains of learning a new offense. No excuses in 2015. Manning needs a new long-term contract, and needs to show he's worth one.
Markus Kuhn (Zero)
Markus Kuhn has played 45 snaps in the last two weeks. He has not produced a single run stop. He has not pressured the quarterback even once. He is the clear-cut worst graded defensive tackle in the PFF preseason database. It was questionable that Kuhn would stick with this team when training camp opened, but now it looks like the team should move on. His -4.4 grade against the Jaguars is representative of the dismal performance. There is no argument here, and unfortunately, there's no saving grace either.
Kerry Wynn (-3.2)
Kerry Wynn was supposed to be the next great undrafted player, a guy who fought his way up through the depth charts, someone who played himself into the pass-rush rotation. It looked like Wynn -- who was coming off a good finish to his 2014 campaign -- would leap into the frame amidst some cloudiness at the position. The Giants have given him every opportunity to do that, allowing him to shift between tackle and end while playing exactly half of the defensive snaps so far, yet they haven't seen anything in terms of performance dividends. Wynn doesn't get the benefit of the doubt that comes with being a rookie or scout-teamer. He saw game action last year, and fared reasonably well, so he should be better than his -3.2 grade from Saturday. The worst part; his grade was the sum of playing poorly in all three areas. His pass rush, run defense and coverage were almost equally disappointing.
The Downright Confusing
Giants receivers (Zero)
None of the Giants top-three receivers -- Victor Cruz, Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham Jr. -- have caught a pass yet in the preseason. Cruz has been nursing a calf-strain and Randle has knee tendinitis, but surely Beckham would be expected to pose even a minor threat? It's difficult not to single out Beckham, especially considering he just earned his first negative PFF grade ever, but it's a little hard to fathom that the best receiver in the 2014 hasn't made a single mark in the stat-lines of 2015. Perhaps Manning's struggles are part of it, though, grades are judged independently so it's not just that. Something is off here. Something needs fixing. Quick.
Corey Washington (0.0)
The greatest preseason darling since Adewale Ojomo is missing. Has anyone seen the 2014 iteration of Corey Washington? I'm told he has played 45 percent of the Giants snaps so far. I'm even to believe that he caught three passes from six targets for a 25 yards. I don't buy it. I'm certain this is some kind of illusion, like a Fata Morgana or desert oasis or Donald Trump's frothy hairline. Washington shows up in the PFF numbers with a 0.0 grade. Seems about right.
Offensive Line (11)
For the second straight week, both Marshall Newhouse and Justin Pugh have had strong showings. Considering the offensive line plays like a broken subway gate -- letting defenders through without as much as a charge on their MetroCard -- it's surprising that the Giants have a tackle and a guard each ranked 11th in their respective PFF categories. Pugh was a first-round pick, and appears to be progressing well this year -- that makes sense -- but Newhouse is quite the surprise as an emergency replacement for the injured Will Beatty. So, what's bringing this line down? The answer -- for anyone with two eyes and a heartbeat -- is John Jerry. Nobody expected Jerry to excel in the run game. That was never his strength. However, his pass protection skills on Saturday can only be described as bad. I say "bad" because he doesn't even deserve a more colorful adjective. The only way I can accurately portray Jerry's -3.0 pass blocking grade is to reduce my language down to its most primitive level; Jerry was bad.