It’s that time again. Time to reach inside my brain and pull out “Five things I think I think” about the New York Giants. Let’s get down to business.
Ereck Flowers needs help, not a seat
Mentioning the name Ereck Flowers is like lighting a torch on the Internet. The venom comes from everywhere. He sucks. He’s a bust. He’s gotta be benched. That’s the clean version of what you hear. Never mind that he is still a 22-year-old kid, or that after selecting him ninth overall in the 2015 NFL Draft his success remains a critical piece of the future puzzle for the Giants.
I understand all the screaming about Flowers’ technique issues. I understand the frustration when he fails to get his hands on a pass rusher, drops his head and Eli Manning gets crushed. Thing is, right now the Giants do not have a better option.
Will Beatty? You might want to see him, but the Giants’ coaching staff obviously does not. They have seen him every day in practice for months, and are apparently unimpressed. If they thought he could play, they would have found a spot for him by now. Marshall Newhouse? Do you really want that? Justin Pugh? Why take a terrific guard and turn him into a so-so tackle? Besides, Flowers hasn’t practiced at right tackle or guard. I have said it before, you can’t completely reconfigure your offensive line now. Where Flowers should ultimately play is a decision the Giants need to make in the offseason.
What they need to do right now is give the kid some help. Leave a tight end on his side to take away the edge rush from a defensive end. Better yet, occasionally replace the tight end with an extra offensive lineman like Brett Jones or Beatty, and play him to Flowers’ left. Dallas with the reputed best offensive line in the league, used an extra offensive lineman on 11 snaps Sunday night. Why can’t the Giants do that? Yes, it removes a potential pass receiver, but it provides the quarterback with some comfort.
Brad Wing deserves some credit
I missed a “Kudos” in my post on Monday morning. I’m blamng that on having only three hours of sleep thanks to the SNF game. Anyway, Giants’ punter Brad Wing deserves praise for his work Sunday. Wing punted nine times, had five punts downed inside the 20-yard line, two of those inside the 5-yard line, gave up only three return yards and had a net average of 42.9 yards per punt. Dallas’s average starting field position was its own 21-yard line. In 15 possessions, they started outside their own 30-yard line only four times. The Giants’ average field position was their own 37-yard line.
Wing has been solid all season for the Giants. He is 10th in the league with a net average of 41.0, tied for eight with eight punts inside the 10-yard line and tied for eighth with 24 punts inside the 20-yard line.
There may have been progress on offense
Head coach Ben McAdoo insisted Sunday night and again on Monday that he saw progress from the offense during a 10-7 victory over Dallas.
“I like the rush attempts and we need to keep pounding the ball, we need to keep stacking the rush attempts,” McAdoo said. “ To be able to stack the rush attempts on top of each other and find a way to win the game, 10-0, in the second-half was encouraging.”
On its face, “encouraging” seems like the wrong word when the Giants were one flash of Odell Beckham Jr. brilliance away from failing to score a touchdown.
McAdoo, though, might be right.
- For the first time this season, the Giants ran the ball more times than they passes it (33-28).
- For only the third time this season, the Giants led their opponent in time of possession. They have won all three of those games.
- The Giants had drives of eight, 11 and nine plays. Dallas had only one drive lasting more than seven plays.
There are still far too many self-inflicted wounds. Drops, turnovers, poor decisions by Eli Manning, untimely penalties. I think, though, that if you go beyond the poitnts and really look at the numbers there is a glimmer of hope.
Steve Spagnuolo won’t be on the carousel
It is the time of year when the coaching carousel begins to heat up. Jeff Fisher is already out as coach of the Los Angeles Rams. Gus Bradley (Jacksonville Jaguars) and Rex Ryan (Buffalo Bills) are probably out. There will almost certainly be others.
Coordinators from good teams are always considered candidates for the head-coaching vacancies that come along. Despite the outstanding play of his group, though, I do not believe Giants’ defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will be on anyone’s short list during the upcoming hiring cycle.
That isn’t because I don’t believe Spagnuolo is a terrific coach. He is. I have always maintained that if you give Spagnuolo talent to work with he knows what to do with it. He’s creative, aggressive and can build top-notch defenses.
The problem for Spags is this is the first time he has been associated with success since he left the Giants in 2008. There was a disastrous three-year run as head coach in St. Louis. There was an awful year with the New Orleans Saints where the defense was historically bad. There was 2015 with the Giants, where he coordinated the worst defense in the league.
Spags still has a desire to be a head coach again, he told us that much way back in the spring. He may get that chance again. I just think he is going to need more than one successful season in order to get the opportunity.
JPP should get props
Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul can’t help the Giants on the field right now. That doesn’t mean he isn’t going to try and find some way to help his teammates. Pierre-Paul was a presence on the Giant sideline Sunday night. He gave the final on-field pre-game pep talk. Teammates aid they were inspired by a video Pierre-Paul made prior to the game.
There have been times in the past when Pierre-Paul seemed self-absorbed, like he wanted to just play and not lead. To his credit, that doesn’t seem to be the case any longer.