The New York Giants’ season is over, sadly. We have all sorts of time now to review the season, study and argue about draft scenarios, drool over potential free agents and all of that. Let’s take this opportunity to see if we can learn anything from the Week 18 Pro Football Focus grades and snap counts.
The first noteworthy thing was that there was no offensive line rotation on Sunday. Backups Will Hernandez and Matt Peart did not play a single snap. Shane Lemieux at left guard and Cam Fleming at right tackle played all 58 offensive snaps.
I don’t know if that was because the Giants didn’t want to put handling a rotation on the plate of assistant offensive line coach Ben Wilkerson as he subbed for Dave DeGuglielmo, if it was the plan because of the game’s importance, or if the Giants just liked the way Lemieux and Fleming were playing and stayed with them. I do know it’s interesting.
The highest-graded offensive player for the Giants was wide receiver Sterling Shepard 91.10. He was followed by tight end Levine Toilolo (80.3 in 19 snaps) and Dante Pettis (78.1 in 20 snaps).
Daniel Jones had a 77.8 grade. The noteworthy thing for is that, despite being officially charged with a fumble and an interception, PFF graded Jones as having ZERO turnover-worthy plays for only the fourth time this season.
There were encouraging grades from the Giants’ young offensive linemen. Center Nick Gates had an offensive line-best grade of 76.3 and did not allow a single pressure. It is, though, the work of Lemieux and rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas that really deserves attention.
Thomas compiled a 75.8 grade, his second-highest fo the season. The No. 4 overall pick did not allow a single pressure of Daniel Jones in 31 pass-blocking snaps, and his 73.7 run-blocking grade edged Gates (73.5) for best Week 17 run-blocking mark.
Lemieux, whose pass-blocking has been suspect, has his best game in that department. He allowed one hit on Jones and compiled a season-best 57.1 pass-blocking score. Still not fantastic, but evidence of progress.
I think the Giants should feel good about Gates, Lemieux and Thomas heading into 2021.
One of the weird things about PFF grades is that they don’t always match what is/was completely obvious using your eyes. Leonard Williams was absolutely dominant on Sunday, easily the best defensive player on the field for either team. Yet, Williams has the fifth-highest PFF grade of Giants’ defenders who played significant snaps. Sorry, Devante Downs. I’m not giving you real props for your 90.2 grade in 2 snaps.
Dexter Lawrence (82.8/52 snaps), Jabaal Sheard (78.4/27 snaps), Xavier McKinney (74.6/74 snaps) and Kyler Fackrell (73.5/55 snaps) all graded out better than Williams (70.4/69) snaps). Sorry, but that’s a flaw in PFF’s grading. The clear best player on the field should not grade as the fifth-best defender.
I quite honestly don’t have much more to say about the defensive grades. See them for yourself.