The New York Giants are officially on a losing streak with their third straight loss.
As they have done all too often this season, the Giants flashed the talent to be serious contenders in the NFC, but missed opportunities, failures to execute, and mental mistakes cost them a winnable game.
What can we tale away from this latest loss? Was it all bad?
Offensive Tackles Are Struggling, Badly
Eli Manning was off for the second straight week. Last week he was under siege up the middle from Linval Joseph and the Vikings’ blitz packages. This week, tackles Ereck Flowers and Bobby Hart struggled — and largely failed — to give Manning anything like protection or time to throw.
Flowers hand-use seemed to take a step backwards, dropping down by his hips and rarely leaving his sides. Hart struggled with the Packers’ linebackers off the edge, too, often getting crossed up by speed or put on roller-skates by power. The result was an almost non-existent run game and Manning’s mechanics degrading even in the absence of pressure.
They can only solve one of these problems at a time, but it might be time to take a look at Will Beatty at right tackle.
(The Giants won’t take Flowers off the field, and moving him to right tackle would likely only exacerbate his struggles.)
Janoris Jenkins Is Worth The Money
The contracts to which the Giants signed Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, and Janoris Jenkins have been topics of discussion in every broadcast so far this year.
— To be honest, it’s long since gotten old —
At the time, the contract to raise the most eyebrows was the one given to Janoris Jenkins. Well, tonight Janoris Jenkins proved that he is worth the money. He came up with the Giants’ first two defensive turnovers of the year and played very good coverage, regardless of his assignment. With Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple both suffering injuries, Jenkins continued to blanket his receiver as he has all season and was almost the sole reason why the Giants were in the game at the end.
Follow The Bouncing Ball
For the first time this season, the Giants won the turnover battle. Eli Manning fumbled once after Flowers gave up a sack while Jenkins came up with a pair of interceptions off of Aaron Rodgers.
They still missed opportunities to dominate the turnover battle. For every interception Jenkins made, he had another bounce off and fall harmlessly to the ground. His first opportunity to pick of Rodgers glanced off his hands. His fourth slipped through his fingers and bounced off his pads. Undrafted rookie Andrew Adams had a potential fifth interception slip through his hands. Finally linebacker Kelvin Sheppard was practically handed the fooball only to drop it, sealing the game for the Packers.
That being said, the defense didn’t lose this game. Their effort is to be commended.
Keenan Robinson Should Start at MLB
The Giants’ nickel linebacker had a great game.
He made plays all over the field and provided coverage in the second level that the Giants lacked since Micheal Boley left, including a great pass defensed on tight end Richard Rodgers in the end zone. If he isn’t the starting middle linebacker, it isn’t his play holding him back.
Steve Spagnuolo’s defense is heavily dependent on communication, particularly from the MIKE linebacker spot, so maybe that is what is keeping Kelvin Sheppard on the field?
Rookies Are Contributing
Eli Apple looks like a legitimate starting corer, no mean feat for a rookie. Sterling Shepard has been a starter and contributor since he stepped on the field. Darian Thompson is looking more and more like a linchpin for the defense. Paul Perkins is exciting almost every time he touches the ball.
Now we can add Jerrell Adams, who came up with a couple big catches to keep the offense on the field.
Andrew Adams, the UDFA from UConn seems to be settling in well at free safety and made a couple nice plays (despite dropping the interception). Rodgers picked on Michael Hunter early in coverage, but the undrafted corner from Oklahoma State rallied and improved as the game wore on.
The Giants’ record is deflating and the team’s play is frustrating, but could the Giants ask anything more from the 2016 rookie class?
(Besides health for their first and third round picks, that is.)
The Giants Can’t Capitalize
The Giants had opportunities to take command all game long. We already covered their missed turnovers. On the other side of the ball they had several chances to ignite their sputtering offense with big plays. Each time, however, the ball was just out of the receivers’ reach. Just wide of Sterling Shepard and Odell Beckham, just off the finger tips of Will Tye.
The Giants aren’t executing on offense, but they also aren’t taking advantage when opportunities present themselves.
Can’t Complain About The Defense
Despite an injured secondary that featured far more Leon Hall, Trevin Wade, and former practice squadder and UDFA rookie Michael Hunter than the Giants could have possibly wanted to see, the Giants still held the Packers to just 23 points. Jenkins played a fantastic game, as did Landon Collins and Keenan Robinson.
The defensive line didn’t register any sacks — hey, Rodgers is a tough guy to bring down. A few times the Giants forced him to run, but couldn’t quite get home before he threw the ball away.
But they were eventually able to shake loose their blockers and get pressure on Rodgers (which contributed to both of Jenkins touchdown), and frustrate the Packers’ offense late in the game.
Beckham Gave Us Something To Smile About
Much was made of Odell Beckham’s behavior on the sidelines the last two weeks, especially hitting the kicking net with his helmet out of frustration in Week 3.
After his first touchdown of the season? Well, Beckham let us know there were no hard feelings.
Surprise Of The Night - Lack Of Offense
Through Week 5 of the 2017 season the New York Giants offense has been, well ... Offensive.
The Giants have had one of the most dangerous offenses in the league in McAdoo’s first two years as its architect. Despite having less talent, the Giants fielded a top 10 offense in 2014 and 2015.
For some reason the offense is just off. Early in the season I thought it might be the lack of playing time together in pre-season. But by week 5, lack of time together is not the problem. Are they trying to do too much? Is their preparation flawed? There are mental mistakes, carelessness, bad penalties, and miscommunications all over the offense. Whatever the reason, the Giants offense has been an exercise in futility.
They have too much talent to play this badly, but they are. It’s a problem that needs to be fixed, but the Giants might have run out of time.