The New York Giants have two games to play in 2017, and a whole host of decisions to make for 2018. Here are five thoughts on the Giants as the season winds to its excruciating conclusion.
Why the Marc Ross freakout?
When the Giants announced on Monday that they had interviewed Vice President of Player Evaluation Marc Ross for their vacant general manager position there were some in the Giants’ fan base who absolutely freaked out.
There were several comments akin to this one:
Marc Ross is being interviewed?
Isn’t he one of the people who should be fired?
Posted by YAFan
There were these from Twitter:
Oh please god no.....— Winnipeg Giant (@Wpg_Giant) December 18, 2017
I just don’t get the over reaction. Did anyone really expect the Giants not to interview Ross? He’s been with the organization for 11 years as the top personnel guy under Jerry Reese. He has interviewed for at least 10 other general manager vacancies around the league. He would like the job. The Giants can only interview in-house candidates or those not working for other NFL teams right now. If you want to be cynical, interviewing Ross takes care of the Rooney rule requirement to interview a minority candidate.
Of course Ross got an interview. Once Reese was fired, he was always going to get an interview. It doesn’t mean he is getting the job. It doesn’t mean he won’t, either. Those I have been in contact with, though, don’t see Ross as a serious candidate. It just means the process of finding the new GM is officially underway.
Please shut down Landon Collins
Giants’ safety Landon Collins should not play any more this season. Collins, dealing with an ankle injury he suffered Week 14 against the Dallas Cowboys, probably shouldn’t have been on the field Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles. Watching him test his injured left ankle before the game it was obvious he was gimpy.
He convinced strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman and the medical staff to let him play, however. He ended up playing just 18 snaps before hobbling off the field and not returning.
I love Collins’ desire to play. If the Giants were fighting for a playoff spot I’d want him on the field for whatever limited number of snaps he could give them. His passion, his leadership, his ability all help the defense. Even if he’s limited physically.
At 2-12, though, what’s the point? Why keep playing, keep re-aggravating it, keep making it so that full recovery from whatever this injury is will take longer?
The Giants need to shut Collins down, let him get healthy and let him begin his offseason preparations for 2018. They should probably do the same with B.J. Goodson, too.
Free Avery Moss!
Let’s forget about why quarterback Davis Webb isn’t playing for just a minute. What about getting some meaningful playing time for defensive end Avery Moss, the team’s fifth-round pick?
The Giants keep talking about backing off on the workloads of Olivier Vernon and Jason Pierre-Paul. Then the games are played and they basically never leave the field. Vernon played 65 of 68 snaps Sunday against the Eagles and Pierre-Paul played 64.
Moss played three. He has played only 14 snaps over the past three games and 26 over the past four games. From Weeks 5 through 10 Moss never played less than 25 snaps in any game.
It seems to me that with the Giants at 2-12 and Pierre-Paul wearing a club after another injury to his mangled hand — and not playing very well — Moss’s time should be going up. Not down.
The 2017 draft class
Reese is gone, and years worth of questionable personnel moves by his regime is part of what got the Giants into this mess and got him fired. Right now, though, it’s hard to look at the Giants’ 2017 NFL Draft class and not think the Giants got some really good players out of it.
Evan Engram is a terrific talent. Yes, 62 percent of those who voted in our recent poll think offensive tackle Ryan Ramczyk would have been a better choice. It’s hard to deny how good Engram is, though, and how good he could be in a better offensive scheme with a healthy Odell Beckham Jr.
Dalvin Tomlinson and Wayne Gallman look like good players. Moss might be a useful defensive end. Chained to the inactive list or not, Webb might yet the quarterback of the future.
So, we might end up looking back at Reese’s final Giants draft class as a really good one.
The catch rule
This one isn’t Giants-specific, but in the wake of the Jesse James play in the Pittsburgh Steelers-New England Patriots game Sunday night I have found myself in some ongoing Twitter debates about the catch rule.
Look, by rule the correct call was made in that game. As it was in Week 3 when Sterling Shepard was denied a touchdown against the Eagles when he failed to control the ball all the way to the ground despite not losing it until he was five yards out of bounds.
My issue is the rule itself. A runner has only to touch the pylon with the ball or get it to cross the plane of the goal line. Nothing else matters. A receiver has to get the ball into the end zone, get his feet or a body part down, then possess the ball all the way to the ground. Whether he is in or out of bounds. I just find that messy.
Bill Barnwell of ESPN this week offered three options for modifying the catch rule. This is the one I like:
The Calvin Johnson rule, so called for taking a touchdown away from one of the league's star wide receivers in Week 1 of the 2010 season, simply doesn't work. It leaves too much up for interpretation and offers little clarity into what receivers actually need to do to ensure a touchdown. James' catch fell short because he failed to, as Corrente described, "survive the ground." The ball moved slightly as James hit the ground, but independent of the rulebook, it's clear that James caught the ball, only for it to budge slightly as he leaned forward to try to push ahead of the plane.
To improve matters, let's get rid of the surviving the ground rule and stop taking away touchdown catches for balls that narrowly drop slightly after a player's established contact. Runners can score touchdowns just by flashing the ball over the plane of the goal line, but receivers currently need to complete their catch to the ground to become runners and qualify for touchdowns. Under our rule change, a player becomes a runner as soon as he catches the ball and gets two feet (or one knee or elbow or cheek, as Damiere Byrd exhibited Sunday) inbounds.
My view is that something that happens out of bounds (as in Shepard’s case) or after receiver had crossed the plane of the goal line in bounds with clear control of the ball (the same standard used for a runner) nothing else should matter.
Feel free to debate the catch rule or offer your own suggestions.