FanPost

State of the Union (One man's opinion)

The bloom is off the rose for the 2021 New York Giants. Yesterday they played a good football team and were thoroughly dominated. There is no opportunity for equivocation regarding this loss. The Rams didn't play especially well and administered a serious beat down. Here are some opinions about the Giants franchise.

Ownership - Decision making and hirings by Mara & Tisch have certainly been flawed. They hired Gettleman believing he would be a steady hand to build and sustain a quality roster. McAdoo was promoted to modernize the offense. He wasn't a good fit and lost the locker room inn the process. Shurmer was brought in to steady the ship and turned out he was a solid OC who was in over his head as a HC. Judge came in as an old school coach from the Belichick tree to stress fundamentals and disciplined play. Mara and Tisch can't be blamed for not trying. They can be criticized for results but they don't do things on the cheap nor do they interfere in day to day operations.

There have been some posters comparing the current failures to the dispute between Tim and Wellington Mara where the NFL stepped in to arbitrate an ongoing dispute between the two men who each owned 50% of the franchise. This is not a similar situation and is simply a failure of imagination and execution.

General Manager - Dave Gettleman came in day one as if he invented the game of football, touting his resume and ability to build a successful team. He clearly works to facilitate the wishes of the coaching staff and has significant trust in his gut scouting instincts. He turned over a significant amount of the roster immediately while also indicating the team had a culture problem that he would fix. His FA signings have generally been poor. They have either underperformed (Omameh, K.Martin, Bethea), have really struggled to match performance with salary (Williams, Ryan) or both (Ogletree, Tate, Solder, Rudolph, Jackson). There have been some (Golden, Martinez, Bradberry) who have achieved success but performance has still been uneven or related to scheme. Difficult to assess Golladay at this time.

His draft classes are similarly uneven. It's becoming very likely that no member of his initial draft class will receive a 2nd contract with the Giants. The 2019 class hinges on the success of Daniel Jones. It is also possible, especially given the Giants resistance to offer 2nd contracts to IDL's, that no-one from the 2019 class will be offered a 2nd contract as well. Certainly no-one from that class has met or exceeded expectations. Andrew Thomas appears to be an ascending player but no-one else from the 2020 class has distinguished himself at all. However, it is still possible. it is still very early to evaluate the 2021 class. Early returns on Toney and Ojulari have been good but still a ways to go to really make a determination. Barkley, Hernandez, and Dexter would be the cautionary tales. The other guys from this class have barely seen the field.

Gettleman's roster construction has been a series of one-off's trying to force fit his then current (Barkley, Jones) draft crushes with prior ones (Ogletree, Williams) into a cohesive team. The result has been a very uneven team that misses the fundamental tenets that he initially featured so prominently. Hog Mollies. Even this off season, the goal was to provide support for DJ and the team chose to invest in skill positions rather than the OL. It has all been a very confusing and disorienting ride.

Head Coach - Joe Judge was hired as an old school coach who would stress fundamentals and discipline. He wanted to focus on what players could do in order to optimize their contribution. His squared jawed approach and direct style energized the fan base. The team seemed to play hard and was pointed in the right direction. An aggressive off season heightened expectations and many on this site virtually deified Judge believing he was the power behind the throne and the true decision maker.

After a disastrous 1-5 start, the winds have shifted considerably. Game management, the peculiar rotating of the OL (which seemed so clever last year), lack of discipline and fundamentals, as well as numerous other issues have brought his competency into question. His previous statements that sounded so straightforward now are viewed as jargon. He, and his staff, do not seem to have any schematic answers to try and win games. It is not enough to say the team will work hard especially when even that was being called into question yesterday. His comment that the team is going to compete for the full 60 minutes rings hollow and sounds like Schiano after his defense plowed into the Giants OL when they were in victory formation.

It is still relatively early in Judge's tenure to completely write him off but as Yogi famously said "It's getting late early". We'll find out how Judge and the team respond to the current circumstances. He's still a young coach and has the opportunity to adjust and improve. But it's not good if it's just more of the same. Really not a fan of bringing in another regime but it's looking very possible, perhaps likely, that he just wasn't ready for a HC job. There are 11 games left. He shouldn't be judged on his W-L record but the team needs to put forth a competitive effort and be viewed as a dangerous opponent in these games.

Quarterback- Daniel Jones is an NFL quality quarterback. Reasonably certain of that. The question is whether or not he is a quarterback who is capable of leading a successful team. Is he a quarterback that can lead a late game comeback? Can he put together three 1st downs to close out a tight game? We still don't know the answers to this, and until he proves otherwise, the default answer is inevitably going to be no.

He has a good arm although not a plus arm. He's fast but not an intuitive or shifty runner. His field processing speed is average at best. He's a gutsy guy for sure but even that can be seen as a negative as it seems to shelve him for a few games every year.

He works hard and is an easy guy to root for but his highs haven't been all that high and he lacks consistency. He deserves, and will receive, the rest of the year to sort things out. But if this is as good as things get, and there there is a premiere QB prospect available on draft day, i'd strongly consider making that pick. Alternatively, would bring in a solid QB like Tyrod Taylor to run the team while using draft picks to properly build the roster. Unfortunately, there can't be any half measures with DJ. They will need to decide, this year or next, to fish or cut bait.

Running Back - This is all about Saquan as the other guys are not in the long term plans. Believe that Saquan is a terrific talent and can be a difference maker. The combination of injuries and lack of fit in this scheme have been detrimental. Don't care that he is considered a high variance back and doesn't guarantee positive yards every play like Wayne Gallman. That's like having a sports car and driving it to Costco every day. Another way to look at is comparing Barkley to a WR. Davante Adams has a career catch rate of 65% That means 35% of play targeted to him gain zero yards. Understand down and distance play into this but anyone stating that should never criticize Jason Garrett again.

Unfortunately, unless Saquan remains injury free and demonstrates the production he showed in his rookie season, don't see how he fits with this Giants team.

Receivers - Have no idea what to make of Kenny Golladay. He's clearly talented and represents a physical presence at WR. But he is the 8th highest paid WR in the league and that is marginally acceptable if he plays at a 2019 level. Obviously it is a problem if he can't stay on the field. Shep is one of my all time favorite players. Always plays hard, blocks downfield and on running plays, never complains even though he is a clear slot and they moved him outside to accomodate Tate. Understand if the team moves on from him. Just hope he would be traded to a contending team with a good QB.

Toney has absolutely flashed and is much more advanced than I'd given him credit for being. Still interested in seeing him perform when the other team is focussed on him. He catching ability has been a pleasant surprise so far but still interested in his route running. He reminds me of Shockey although they have very different skill sets. Really talented but mercurial. Shockey never ran good routes but always complained that he was open. Of course he was running to open areas rather than where Eli was expecting him. Toney hasn't demonstrated this yet, so it's not really fair to say this, but am concerned that he may not have discipline running routes. Hopefully I'm wrong. He's really an electric player and has the potential to be special.

Engram is simply an enigma who won't be on the team next year. Rudolph is collecting his pension while still playing and Smith is a solid 3rd stringer.

Offensive Line - It's amazing what a train wreck this group is four years into Gettleman's tenure. Understand this group has been racked with injuries, but they are actually performing at the level most would have expected if the original starters had not been injured. It's probably a net loss from Gates to Price but not enormously so. Lemieux was a replacement level player anyway so no real drop-off there.

Thomas seems to be ascending and hope he continues to develop. Hernandez is perfectly fine if he is the 4th or 5th best starter but not performing as hoped. Peart is up and down as might be expected from a small school player who had 150 NFL snaps before this year. Solder is on a clear decline and this is almost certainly his last year with the team. The other guys all appear to be replacement level players who are deserving of a roster spot but not starter snaps.

This is a young group and the projected starters collectively had about 6,000 career snaps before the season started. By comparison, Solder had 8,000 himself. They were also on their 3rd coach in two seasons and are still dealing with this rotating nonsense. There was a lot of hubris, with both the GM and HC, associated with the OL and the results have been predictably bad. This is a group in need of a talent influx.

Defensive Line - Leonard Williams is a very good player. He is being paid as an elite player that other teams game plan around. He falls short of that level of play. Dexter is a solid player who eats blockers, is stout against the run, and is capable of pushing the pocket. But he has not yet become the player they hoped he would be when drafted. Really believe he would be more effective playing NT where he could potentially dominate. Austin Johnson has had a fine season and is proving to be a bit more than a rotational piece. Believe they really miss Tomlinson. Realize this is debatable especially given how Johnson is playing. However, Tomlinson was a real anchor for the DL. He took on double teams that kept Martinez clean and freed up both LW and Dexter. Neither guy has been as effective this year. Also, though Martinez was still making tackles, many of them were taking place 3-4 yards beyond the LOC as he was also being forced to shed blockers.

This group was the strength of the defense last year. Had both quality and depth. Not so much this year and will need to add more talent, via the draft, following this season as, given their cap situation, it may be difficult to retain A. Johnson. It is a group that will need some reinforcement.

Linebackers/Edge - Carter, X-Man, Coughlin, Crowder, Ojulari, Ragland have not distinguished themselves this year. Ojulari has a good motor and needs to see the field so he can continue to improve. None of the other guys are especially good in any aspect of the game. Still not sure why the Giants haven't tried Carter inside but might be difficult to do at this point in the season. This is a group that requires a significant influx of talent.

Secondary - Bradberry is a solid pro who plays and understands the position well. But he is very much a technician and not a physically gifted CB that can shut guys down. Believe he is a CB1 but not a top tier guy within that group. Last year was a peak season and this year not so much although he remains a good CB. Jackson is being paid CB1 money as a CB2 and has simply been disappointing. He hasn't made any impact plays and few good plays. Peppers is a mercurial player that has gaps in his game. He flashes in both good and negative ways. Ryan remains a heady player but is a full step slow at this point. He is a better version of Bethea. McKinney, despite the 2 picks yesterday has not been very good. He is inconsistent but there is still much time for him to become comfortable and improve. Julian Love is in his third season and he seems to profile as a solid and versatile reserve but one who can be exposed if on the field regularly.

The Giants do not seem to be a factor in 2021 and, given the cap situation, next year is in question as well. They need to do a clear eyed assessment of the GM, coaching staff, and roster. Don't believe Gettleman is deserving of another off season. Ideally would like to bring in his replacement now so they can perform an in season assessment. However, suspect most strong candidates are under contract. The Giants seem to e hiring guys who interview well and talk a big game. They need to take a serious and pragmatic approach to the process and not hire a tout.

Judge belongs on the hot seat. He has not not impressed beyond the initial halo effect that most new coaches receive. There is still time to adjust and demonstrate there is more to him than running laps and old school talk. But he needs to bring the best out of the team.

Guys on the roster need to be fighting for their jobs although, given the contracts, it is difficult to truly push anyone beyond their professional limits or desires. The roster is imbalanced, both in talent and salary allocation, and some painful (and controversial) decisions will be required.

It was a turbulent off season and has been a difficult football season. The ride is going to continue.


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