The first half of the New York Giants season is (finally) over and the team is limping in to their Week 9 bye.
They dropped yet another winnable game, falling to 1-7 on the season after losing to the Washington Redskins at home. As we have seen too many times this year, the Giants’ defense played more than well enough to win, holding Washington to just 20 points, 13 for most of the game, but the offense could not capitalize on any opportunity.
There was plenty of bad, but there were a few bright spots to be found in the Giants’ mess.
Hill, Goodson, and Carter made the most of their opportunities
With Damon Harrison on the Detroit Lions and Alec Ogletree injured, those snaps had to go somewhere. The recipients were rookie DT B.J. Hill and LB B.J. Goodson, and the two made good use of their opportunities.
Goodson has been a starter alongside Ogletree, but he has been the linebacker taken off the field in nickel situations. In this case, Goodson stayed on the field and was constantly around the ball. He played “okay” dropping in coverage — not great, but probably better than some thought he might given his reputation as a downhill linebacker. But it was going downhill was where Goodson shined. He was consistently around the ball in the run game, making several plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Hill made his presence felt throughout the game in both the running game and as a pass rusher. Washington has a great interior offensive line, and Hill was routinely forcing his way in to the backfield. Damon Harrison is still the best nose tackle in the business, but the combination of Hill and Tomlinson are why the Giants could trade him.
Lorenzo Carter saw a definite uptick in snaps played as the Giants sought to use his athleticism to improve their pass rush. Carter didn’t get any sacks this game, but he was a constant presence in the Washington backfield and pressured Alex Smith several times. The rookie still has a way to go to harness his physical abilities, but the upside is evident.
Quadree Henderson is a keeper
It took three tries for the Giants to get Quadree Henderson on their team and on the field. They showed an interest in him prior to the 2018 NFL draft, sending their special teams coordinator to Pittsburgh’s pro day, as well as hosting him for a pre-draft visit, but didn’t sign him as an undrafted free agent. They had him in for another workout after final cutdowns, but didn’t sign him then, either. The Giants finally signed him to their practice squad early in October, and he has made plays as a returner since being signed to the 53-man roster.
In a season where bright spots and silver linings are few and far between, Henderson’s emergence as a returner is one of them.
The offensive line can always get worse
The offensive line was broken and bad in 2017, there was no arguing that it needed attention and an infusion of talent in the 2018 offseason. But somehow the offensive line is worse than last year, and has been trending downward. Eli Manning was sacked seven (7) times Sunday afternoon, bringing his season total up to 31, which ties the total from all of 2017. In fact, Manning has already been sacked more than all but two seasons (2017 and 2013) in his whole career — he is on pace to be sacked 62 times.
Some of those sacks are on Manning, such as the final one where he needed to throw the ball away, but there has still been far too much pressure allowed for any QB to function consistently.
Meanwhile, the Giants’ running game continues to be nearly nonexistent, with Saquon Barkley picking up just 38 yards on 13 carries (2.8 yards per carry). The Giants offensive line is ranked dead last in run blocking, and the team has little to show on the ground when Barkley isn’t making a spectacular play.
The Giants’ offensive line was bad to start the season and has only been getting worse.
The Giants would be crazy to trade Odell Beckham Jr.
Jay Glazer of Fox Sports reported shortly before the game Sunday that teams were making trade offers for Beckham. The report also said that the Giants were going to “pump the breaks” and “hold off for now” on moving Beckham.
Based on what he has done in his career, and especially in a bad, broken offense these past two weeks, the Giants would be crazy to consider moving him any time in the conceivable future. Yes, he is making a lot of money, but he is worth every penny. So far this season he has 61 catches for 785 yards, 16 for 279 in the last two weeks. Beckham is one of the three best receivers in the NFL, the team is better with him than without, and when they do move on to another quarterback, he will be better with Beckham than without.