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Film review: Giants’ WR Kenny Golladay can win in a variety of ways

Golladay’s film shows an impressive array of skills

Detroit Lions v Minnesota Vikings Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Kenny Golladay, a member of the New York Giants as of Saturday, is a vertical threat who does a great job securing deep passes. That meshes very well with Daniel Jones skill-set. According to PFF Giants on Twitter, Golladay had 628 deep yards in 2019, which ranked second in the NFL that season. Jones’ big-time career throw percentage is 39.5 percent (NFL average is 29.5 percent), and his on target percentage is 51 percent on his deep passes (NFL average is 42 percent). Let’s dive into why Golladay succeeds deep, shall we?

Vertical ability

Golladay has averaged 17.0, 15.2, 18.3, and 16.9 yards per catch in each season he’s been a professional. As I’ve stated earlier, he has deep receiving ability.

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Golladay is running a 9 route against off-man coverage in a middle-of-the-field closed look and he does a magnificent job manipulating the cornerback and beating the safety as well. He fires off the line of scrimmage and then explodes off his outside foot selling a skinny post while subsequently exploding back outside off his inside foot; this gets the corner guessing and forces his feet to be “stuck in mud.” The double-move gives the corner confidence that Golladay is staying outside with his stem. The big receiver closes width, gets up to the corner’s feet, gets his hips turned and then explodes back inside before stacking the corner and fading back outside to avoid the middle of the field safety. He then gets his eyes up, locates, and tracks the football into his grasps for a beautiful catch. This is just a work of art from Golladay.

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There’s a lot of nuance to Golladay’s route running. Here, he’s facing a jam so he attacks the inside of the cornerback, showing good physicality to fight through with his outside arm. Then, at around the 34-yard-line, he turns his torso and angles more inside - signifying a horizontal breaking route. He slightly turns his shoulders, his head, and tilts his body in that direction to further deceive. The corner stops moving vertical and starts to go horizontally and Golladay just explodes back vertical, leaving the defender in the dust. Another great manipulation by Golladay.

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The Chiefs are in a man match defense, so when the boundary receiver runs a quick curl that tells the apex defender that he has to over the flat, signifying that the boundary corner needs to assume responsibility for any vertical route to that side of the field. It’s on Golladay to bend this seam route just enough so he can get behind the linebacker dropping to depth and in front of the corner coming from the outside. He comes off the line quickly, finds the space between three defenders, and Matt Stafford fires a dart for an easy twenty-plus yard gain. Golladay is very good at catching footballs in stride and not losing a lot of momentum.

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This is a beautiful way to get off the line of scrimmage against a press alignment. Golladay starts his stem inside and starts to lean into the cornerback at around the 25-yard-line. He continues to lean up till the 20-yard line and then he breaks hard on his outside foot, creating just a bit of separation on the post. Stafford puts up a beautiful pass over the middle of the field and Golladay wins the contested catch situation for a touchdown.

Quick game

Golladay isn’t just a deep threat - he wins in quick game as well. Jason Garrett’s offense featured a lot of slant/flat and spacing concepts - probably to a fault. Golladay can win at the line of scrimmage and execute these routes wel

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The Lions are in 22 personnel and they run play-action slant/flat. Golladay is going up against a press alignment and needs to win inside. He does a good job showing some flexibility by dipping that outside shoulder and shielding himself from the jam attempt; he then subtly extends his outside arm and creates separation inside. He sticks his plant foot into the ground and makes a tough catch in traffic.

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We don’t glean too much from this video above, but I know Giants’ fans want to see Kenny Golladay run a curl. They may see a lot of it in 2021, but here he does it as a Lions’ receiver. He’s quick with turning his body back to the cornerback and he has the processing to dive for the first down.

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Here’s another quick game concept where Stafford hits his back foot and fires to the flat. Golladay does a good job selling the vertical route just long enough to break the route outside and have plenty of space away from the defender.

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This is a simple pivot route from a more inline type of position out of the slot. We’ve seen Evan Engram used on these types of concepts through 2020, or at least concepts that are similar. This is a mismatch with the linebacker, but Golladay runs this route very well. He comes off the line and chops his feet into an inside break before pivoting off his outside foot into open space. It’s very simple, but also a nice display of route running in the short parts of the field.

Catch point

Golladay uses his 6-foot-4, 214-pound, frame very well at the catch point. His body adjustment and control ability are excellent, but he also shields the catch point well from defender

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Golladay comes off the line of scrimmage nicely on this seven route; the coverage is tight, but the big receiver does a good job angling his body so the cornerback in coverage can’t play through the catch point. This is something that Golladay shows a lot in his film.

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He’s the field side No. 1 receiver against this middle-of-the-field closed defense. He runs a deep dig route and uses his body to jump up and make a tough physical contested catch. Golladay shows strong hands and only has 13 career drops.

Here’s just a different angled shot of how he is able to put himself in front of corners and use his frame to his advantage. It really helps him out in contested catch situation

Contested catch

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Golladay does a very good job winning in one on one, contested catch, situations - something that should benefit Daniel Jones greatly. Watch how he destroys the cornerback at the line of scrimmage and quickly stacks him before hitting the dig route. The throw is behind and towards the cornerback, but Golladay adjusts in a beautiful manner to haul in a tough catch through contact.

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This is a quick play-action slant against Tyrann Mathieu (32) who is planting and driving underneath on Golladay’s route. The big receiver has to jump up and make a hands catch while being hit by one of the better safeties in the league. Just like the last clip, the ball is slightly behind, but Golladay grabs and secures quickly to not allow Mathieu to force an incompletion.

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Well, this could sting a bit ... this is one of the Golladay touchdowns against the Giants in 2019 where he jumps over the top of DeAndre Baker (27) and makes an acrobatic and nimble catch while toe-tapping his way for six points. Baker shouldn’t feel bad, though, Golladay also did this:

It takes a lot of concentration and spatial awareness to make these types of catches against NFL players. Nate Burleson would be proud of that type of “toe drag swag,” as he would in the clip below.

The adjustment, control, and ability to hold onto this football through that type of contact makes me very excited to welcome Golladay as the newest member of the New York Football Giants.

Adjustment ability

We’ve seen several excellent adjustments so far, but here are a few more that should entice Giants’ fans.

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Golladay releases outside and is able to out-pace the cornerback to create separation. Golladay has long strides and is able to use them well on these vertically-based routes. He displays concentration, control, and the ability to locate the ball at its apex to secure into his frame and pick up the yardage. He just jumps in front and over the top of the cornerback to make a play for his offense

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I love how Golladay just attacks the football here with strong hands; this is a laser from Stafford and Golladay is able to adjust his body and secure the catch for a touchdown.

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This pass is purposely thrown behind Golladay because of the coverage in the middle of the field. Golladay does a great job adjusting to the quick back-shoulder throw and securing the catch on the deep dip route. He gets in and out of his 90 degrees break well and the quarterback does a good job not getting him killed with the placement of the football.

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This is a nice route adjustment from Golladay on a play-action deep curl. The big receiver decelerates into his break and has about 5 yards of separation once he turns around, but the underneath defender is at a precarious depth for the throw. Golladay continues to come back towards the quarterback to maintain his separation on the corner while flowing laterally outside as to get away from the underneath defender. It’s subtle - but it’s important. Stafford sees the adjustment and throws a completion to Golladay.

Final thoughts

The Giants finally have a big-bodied receiver that Daniel Jones can rely on. Golladay now joins a healthy Saquon Barkley, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton, Kyle Rudolph, and Evan Engram (for now) as Jones’ 2021 weapons. The newly acquired Giants’ receiver does an excellent job using his frame, is a good route runner, will win a ton of contested catch situations, and will be an excellent red zone threat for this offense. He will drastically help the vertical passing attack and be a quality receiver on quick slants and curls. This is a good addition for the Giants.

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