Earlier Monday, Chris Pflum took you through some revealing analytics from Sunday’s 20-6 loss by the New York Giants to the Cleveland Browns. Now, let’s take you through the Pro Football Focus grades. Add the two together and, while neither might be considered gospel, they give you a good picture of why the Giants fell to 5-9.
PFF hates Shane Lemieux
That’s the only conclusion I can come to. For years, I though PFF just an anti-Eli Manning bias. Now that Manning is retired, it seems like PFF just beats up on Lemieux week after week.
This week, Lemieux scored a stunning 0.0 pass-blocking grade. I don’t even know how that’s possible. I went back to look at PFF’s explanation of how they grade, and it turns out that 0.0 is neither positive nor negative, it’s just the grade a player is expected to get on each play. Lemieux surrendered a hit and two hurries for three total pressures, so there had to be a couple of positive pass-blocking reps in there.
Lemieux’s 26.9 was — by far — the Giants’ worst offensive grade. Right tackle Cam Fleming checked in at 48.2. Interesting that Fleming, who allowed three pressures, played every snap while rookie Matt Peart remained chained to the bench.
Xavier McKinney, the rookie second-round pick, played 41 defensive snaps and ended up with the Giants’ highest defensive grade. McKinney, in his fourth game back from a fractured foot, scored a 70.5.
McKinney played 15 snaps at free safety, 16 in the slot, 10 in the box and one at wide cornerback. He was never directly targeted by Cleveland quarterback Baker Mayfield.
Andrew Thomas rebounds
The rookie left tackle, left on an island most of the night against the outstanding defensive end Myles Garrett, did a good job. Thomas’s overall grade was a pedestrian 58.1, but he allowed only a half-sack and one additional pressure in 35 pass-blocking snaps.
Maybe I’m in the minority, but the more I see from the 2020 No. 4 overall pick the less I worry about him.
Looking like a seventh-round pick
I wrote earlier Monday that the Browns made Carter Coughlin look like a rookie seventh-round pick. PFF agrees.
Coughlin’s 29.4 was the Giants’ lowest defensive grade. He was dinged for missing two tackles and for giving up completions all three times he was targeted in pass defense. Coughlin is a feel-good story because of how late he was drafted, but PFF grades of 30.4 and 29.4 the past two weeks show that maybe he’s not a long-term answer on the edge.
Julian Love didn’t embarrass himself
Julian Love was an outside cornerback at Notre Dame. Until Sunday night, the Giants had never used him in that role. Love has played either safety or in the slot until being forced into cornerback duty with Darnay Holmes hurt and James Bradberry on the Reserve/COVID-19 list.
Love was charged with giving up 5 completions in 6 targets, even though the Giants spent most of their time in zone coverages. Love’s passer rating against of 118.8 wasn’t great, but he didn’t surrender any big plays and didn’t embarrass himself at all.
I’m not going to jump on the “Love should be a cornerback” bandwagon. I think the way the Giants use him, taking advantage of his versatility and intelligence by moving him around, is correct.