The first game of the New York Giants 2018 season is in the books. It wasn’t a pretty game, and considering it was a loss, it didn’t leave a particularly pleasant taste in the mouth.
There were many things the GIants need to work on in this week of practice, but the team showed some positive signs as well. This was also our first chance to get a look at Pat Shurmur’s and James Bettcher’s schemes for the offense and defense.
Let’s dive in to the snap counts and some of the statistics to see what we can learn about the Giants as they head into Week 2.
The Giants played a total of 71 plays on offense, and managed to hold a slight advantage in time of possession — 30:29 to 29:31 for Jacksonville.
In our first look at the Giants’ offense with both Odell Beckham Jr. and Saquon Barkley, we got a good idea of the personnel grouping which Pat Shurmur wants to make the core of his offense.
Odell Beckham played 68 of the 71 possible offensive snaps in his first game since breaking his ankle in week five of the 2017 season. Beckham was obviously the focus of the Giants’ passing attack, being targeted 15 times, catching 11 for 111 yards.
Beckham was used all across the offensive formation, to threaten every level of the Jaguars’ defense, from the backfield to the third level.
Meanwhile, TE Evan Engram played 64 snaps (5 targets, 2 catches, 18 yards), WR Sterling Shepard played 61 snaps (7 targets, 5 catches, 48 yards).
Saquon Barkley was clearly the team’s workhorse running back, playing 55 of 71 snaps (77 percent), running for 106 yards (and a touchdown) on 18 carries, adding 2 receptions for 22 yards on 6 targets.
Barkley finished Sunday as one of the league’s most efficient runners. He averaged just 3.47 yards behind the line of scrimmage (sixth-fewest so far in Week 1). Thanks to his 68 yard run, Barkley finished with the league’s second most yards and the highest yards per carry total so far.
Embarrassingly for the offensive line, Barkley only faced 8 or more defenders in the box on 27.78 percent of runs, and he only averaged 2 yards per carry outside of his big run.
Beyond those four players, the Giants rotated the final spot as they moved between 11, 12, and 21 personnel groupings. The Giants used third receiver Cody Latimer on 47 snaps (66 percent), TE Rhett Ellison on 29 snaps (41 percent), FB Shane Smith on 5 snaps, and TE Scott Simonson on 4 snaps.
Interestingly, Ellison proved to be the Giants’ most effective option for exploiting the Jaguars’ coverages, averaging a full six yards of separation. Beckham was second, averaging 4.71 yards of separation — league average was 2.75 yards of separation.
On defense, defensive backs Landon Collins and Eli Apple, as well as linebacker Alec Ogletree, led the way by playing all of the defense’s 63 snaps. Both DBs had strong games, with Collins notching 5 total tackles and a pass defensed, while Apple had 3 tackles and 2 passes defensed.
Janoris Jenkins was close behind with 62 snaps, as were FS Curtis Riley and EDGE Kareem Martin, each with 61 snaps. Jenkins might have had the best day of the Giants’ defenders, with 7 total tackles, 2 passes defensed, and his spectacular tip-toe interception (nearly two interceptions).
On the defensive line, Dalvin Tomlinson and Damon Harrison did the bulk of the work, with 46 and 45 snaps, respectively. And despite being credited with the start, rookie linebacker Lorenzo Carter played just 24 snaps, while veteran Connor Barwin played 41 snaps (65 percent).
The Giants’ most effective pass rusher, Kerry Wynn, only played 20 snaps. But in those 20 snaps, he got 3 total tackles and half a sack. Per Next Gen Stats, Wynn was also the Giants pass rusher to finish his rushes closer than league-average, coming to within an average of 4.41 yards (4.49 is league average).
B.W. Webb was the only cornerback to play besides Apple and Jenkins, totaling 34 snaps (54 percent). Likewise, linebackers B.J. Goodson and Ray-Ray Armstrong played 33 and 30 snaps, respectively.