The New York Giants return to work this week to play out the string in a season that was lost long ago. At 2-9 and already eliminated from the playoffs what could there possibly be to watch over the final fives games.
Here are a few thoughts.
Avoiding their worst 16-game season ever
The worst 16-game season in franchise history was a 3-12-1 record in 1983, Bill Parcells’ first season as head coach. The Giants need two wins over their final fives games to avoid matching, or exceeding, that level of ineptitude. They might have a chance, since the only team on their remaining schedule that currently has a winning record is the 10-1 Philadelphia Eagles. The Oakland Raiders, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins and Arizona Cardinals are all 5-6.
Fewest points ever?
The fewest points the Giants have scored in a 16-game season is 237, when Ray Perkins was a first-year head coach and Phil Simms a rookie quarterback. The Giants have 172 points after 11 games, an average of 15.6 points per game. They need 65 points over the final fives games to reach 237, an average of 13.0 per game. Considering that the Giants have gotten only 15 points from their offense the past two weeks it’s far from certain they can avoid this ignominious piece of history.
The Eli Apple saga
The New York Post reported over the weekend that the second-year cornerback nearly left the Giants’ facility twice because he was upset by harsh criticism from coaches and teammates of his effort against the San Francisco 49ers.
Here are the two plays that appear to be in question. It’s virtually impossible to watch these and say Apple gave a professional effort on either play.
Re-watched the 49ers game and believe this is the first play mentioned in the Post report about Apple's lack of effort: pic.twitter.com/GNk78XlXN9— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) November 27, 2017
This is the second play and it's far worse: pic.twitter.com/Ai6GQQET3Y— Dan Duggan (@DDuggan21) November 27, 2017
On the first, he runs out of bounds rather than trying to make a play as C.J. Beathard scores. On the second, he makes no attempt to block the punt gunner. What really bugs me here is punt returner Ed Eagan got cut after this game, likely for his inability to generate return yards. In my eyes, Apple’s lack of effort then contributed to Eagan losing his job. Maybe you don’t like the coach or believe you aren’t being treated fairly, but your actions (or inactions) impact your teammates.
The Giants will need Apple over the final five games. Cornerback Donte Deayon is gone for the year with a broken forearm, and Janoris Jenkins might be following him with an ankle injury. Whatever the true reason is for Apple being inactive the past two games, the Giants have to play him now.
Let’s see what he gives them.
How Evan Engram finishes the season
The 2017 first-round has shown promise and professionalism in his rookie season. He has struggled the past two weeks, though, with only four catches for 27 yards on 13 targets. He has dropped a few easily catchable balls. Engram is a big part of the solution to fixing the Giants’ offense going forward. Let’s see if he can finish the season on a positive note.
The Giants are almost certain to be picking in the top five in the 2018 NFL Draft. Whether or not rookie Davis Webb gets some playing time before the year ends, quarterback will have to be in the discussion with a pick that high and a 36-year-old starter at the position.
Baker Mayfield? Sam Darnold? Lamar Jackson? Josh Rosen? They are all in the debate for the top quarterback(s) at this point. All carry question marks. It will be fascinating to see how that picture sorts itself out between now and the draft.