I already pontificated today on the futures of GM Dave Gettleman and coach Pat Shurmur. There are some other New York Giants-related thoughts rattling around inside my brain, though, so here are some quick hits as we move toward Sunday’s game against the Miami Dolphins.
Don’t look now, but much-maligned rookie cornerback Deandre Baker has played very well the past two weeks. Baker (87.6) was by far the Giants’ top-graded defender against the Philadelphia Eagles, per Pro Football Focus. He has allowed just two completions for 32 yards in 10 targets over the past two games. Extend that to three weeks, it’s two completions in 12 targets. In Week 14, only three cornerbacks who played at least 30 coverage snaps had a better passer rating against than Baker’s 39.6. Perhaps it’s premature to think he won’t end up justifying GM Dave Gettleman’s decision to give up two draft picks to move up and select him at No. 30 in the draft.
It is hard to envision the Giants, no matter who is making the decision, picking up the fifth-year option on tight end Evan Engram this offseason. The 2017 first-round pick (23rd overall) is a wonderfully talented receiver, but the best ability is availability and Engram has not been able to stay on the field in his three NFL seasons. Engram has now missed four games this season and has played in just 34 of 45 possible games with the Giants. He has never made it through a 16-game season. Engram is a solid citizen and you would love for him to be part or the Giants’ core going forward, but you simply can’t spend big money on a guy who keeps missing games and seems to be in a permanent state of rehab.
The game-winning (losing for the Giants) irks me. We hear over and over about how young the Giants are. Well, this one can’t be blamed on the kids. The three players involved in that coverage were Deone Bucannon (6 years in the NFL), Alec Ogletree (7 years) and Michael Thomas (6 years). Ogletree said this week on WFAN that the Giants had not seen this formation/play on film from the Eagles and thus weren’t prepared for it. But, c’mon! You have 19 years of experience involved there. Surely, you can figure out that you have to cover Ertz, the only legitimate receiver the Eagles had left. Besides, if you’re that confused call a timeout. Sorry, no excuse for that level of poor play and communication from a trio of veteran players.
All I’m going to say about Todd McShay calling for the Giants to use their first overall pick on a quarterback is that it’s just silly. It’s not going to happen. McShay didn’t think the Giants should have drafted Jones, and he won’t let it go.
I promised myself that I wouldn’t turn this little brain dump into a Shurmur or Dave Gettleman bashing session. But, how on earth can Saquon Barkley have totaled only 1 yard, ONE STINKING YARD, receiving in two of the past three weeks? Here at Big Blue View we have been calling for the Giants to do a better job of involving Barkley, one of the game’s best pass-catching running backs, in the passing attack. Yet, the Giants seem to be doing the opposite. Barkley is average 4.1 catches and 29.2 yards receiving per game.
The two comparable players to Barkley are Christian McCaffrey and Alvin Kamara. McCaffrey is averaging 6.6 catches and 55.8 yards receiving per game. Kamara sits at 6.2 catches and 42.0 yards per game.
Shurmur, an offensive coach, should be embarrassed that he can’t figure out how to properly use the most talented player on his football team.
The Dolphins are what the Giants should be, an improving football team. After an 0-7 start, Miami has gone 3-3 in its last six games. The Dolphins are 3.5-point underdogs to the Giants at MetLife Stadium. Can you honestly, though, say you are confident the Giants can win this game? I can’t.