The New York Giants are playing a number of young players, and coach Joe Judge has proven that his mantra of trying to use everyone who dresses for a game is more than just words. Still, here are nine players the Giants should try to get more from over the season’s final nine games.
Matt Peart — I called for this one on Monday, so it should surprise no one. The Giants are 1-6 and, in my view, Cameron Fleming is just not playing well enough to justify keeping a player who could be a future offensive line building block on the bench.
Only Andrew Thomas’ struggles have masked Fleming’s issues. In the first full-time starting gig of his seven-year career, Fleming has allowed 4 sacks 20 pressures. That’s roughly half the astounding 37 pressures Thomas has allowed, but still sixth-most in the league among tackles.
Pro Football Focus grades are not, as I have said many times, the best way to definitively judge a player’s performance. The idea, though, that Fleming’s 52.9 overall grade is 56th of 57 qualifying tackles and worse than Thomas’s 58.3 is concerning.
When the Giants selected Peart in the third round he wasn’t expected to be a 2020 contributor. In his brief appearances (49 overall snaps, 26 of them in pass blocking) Peart has allowed 2 pressures (one every 13 snaps). Fleming has allowed one every 13.9 snaps and Thomas one every 7.4.
Kaden Smith — The second-year tight end has played 184 offensive snaps (26.3 per game). So, he’s been out there a good amount. He has only 10 receptions, though, after having 31 in nine games and six starts a season ago.
Smith excelled last season in the second half of the year when Evan Engram was out out of the lineup. We have complained about the way the Giants have used Engram, so it might be a big ask for Jason Garrett to figure out how to incorporate a second tight end. Other teams can do it, though, and Garrett’s teams always seemed to do that successfully in Dallas.
Smith may not be a dynamic player, but he has more to offer than the Giants have utilized thus far.
Cam Brown — The Giants have begun to incorporate the sixth-round pick from Penn State into the defensive rotation as he got 5 snaps in Week 6 and 12 snaps in Week 7. The trade of Markus Golden opens up additional edge snaps. Hopefully, a high number of those go to Brown. The Giants need to see if Brown can turn his intriguing athletic profile into production.
Shane Lemieux — The Giants have found some snaps for Peart. They have begun to find snaps for late-round pick Brown and Carter Coughlin, and were starting Tae Crowder before his hamstring injury. Yet, the fifth-round pick from Oregon has played only 2 offensive snaps all season and just 1 on special teams. Both of those offensive snaps were actually at fullback rather than his natural guard position.
Is Lemieux not ready for an increased role? It’s difficult to have cohesive offensive line play when you shuffle offensive linemen in and out. Yet, the Giants aren’t getting that, anyway, and the play of Will Hernandez and Kevin Zeitler has left a lot to be desired.
If the Giants trade Zeitler in the coming days, how they handle filling his spot at right guard will tell us a lot about where they believe Lemieux is in his development.
Tae Crowder — It’s unfortunate that Crowder landed on IR with a hamstring injury after being a hero for his game-winning scoop and score touchdown in Week 6. Crowder wasn’t fantastic in his limited time, as he is second on the team with 5 missed tackles in 146 snaps. The second inside linebacker spot next to Blake Martinez is, to say the least, unsettled and Crowder was at least intriguing enough to make you want to see more.