I'd hate to see the Giants open yet another season 0-2. But many people act as though it would be the end of the world, or at least the end of the season.
But it doesn't have to be. The 2007 Giants, not the best Giants team ever but surely the most beloved, opened 0-2. After an 8-8 season the year before. It was not known yet whether Eli Manning was THE ONE. They opened with a loss to Dallas (they lost both Dallas games that season), and then were annihilated 35-13 at home by the Packers. In their third game they were down 17-3 to Washington at halftime. Manning had 4 interceptions in a 41-17 loss at home to Minnesota later that year. But you know the rest. They avenged the Dallas and Green Bay losses and then pulled off the greatest upset in Super Bowl history.
I don't think this team is anywhere near that one. But they don't HAVE to win tonight. To me it all depends on HOW they play, win or lose. If they do lose a close, hard-fought, well-played game to a talented team because WFT was just a little bit better, I'll be OK, IF...
- Daniel Jones has no fumbles
- The OL is not a disaster
- The defense plays like the 2020 defense did so often and not like they did last week
- Most importantly, if the offensive game plan gives us a chance to win. Joe Judge said this week at a presser that the Giants will continue to be conservative because the WFT DL is so fearsome. But it doesn't have to be that way.
Last year against this same DL, Jones completed a 50-yard bomb to Austin Mack, had a 23-yard TD pass to Darius Slayton, and threw a 16-yard TD pass down the seam to Engram. As Mark Schofield showed in an article I posted about several months ago, explosive plays do not have to be deep throws. They can be 10-14 yard "Y-cross" routes that get receivers open so they can accumulate YAC and turn quick hitters into explosive plays. There can be lots of rub routes that spring one receiver open because of traffic by 2 receivers going past each other. There can be high-low route combinations that put DBs into conflict. Mark Schofield had another great article yesterday about QBs attacking Cover-2 defenses with high-low concepts last Sunday:
The Rams ran a beautiful example of such a play on Sunday night against the Bears. Watch this clip. The whole play flows to the right, looking like a handoff, but then Stafford fakes the handoff and circles back to the left away from the play giving him plenty of time to throw. Meanwhile 2 receivers go down the right side, one shallow and one deep. If you stop the clip at :08 you can see the first one running an out pattern a few yards past the 1st-down marker. Meanwhile the second one, Van Jefferson, is going deep. Stafford can go to either one depending on how the DB breaks. The DB breaks to the shallow receiver, so he goes deep and gets 6. But if the DB breaks deep he can go to the shallow out route, WHICH IS NONETHLESS PAST THE STICKS:
Now Stafford has a cannon of an arm, but we know that Jones can throw deep. The larger point is that there are many such route combinations that give the QB 2 choices of receiver but only one read of the DB to make. Whichever receiver the DB bites on, the throw goes to the other. And whichever pass is completed, it is at a minimum a first down. This is so much more effective than the Jason Garrett concept of sending 4 guys out on stick/curl/flat routes short of the first down marker, asking at least one to beat his man, and then hoping they can escape for a few extra yards after the catch to get the first down. Each DB has only one job on those plays, and the receiver has little space to get open, so they are easy to defend and easier to prevent the first down if they allow the catch. And they are predictable. That is losing football.
I hear a lot about the injuries during training camp that left the receivers rusty and unable to develop chemistry between QB and WR. But months ago we heard a lot about Jones gathering all his receivers together to work with them for a week and develop that timing. So I do not buy the rust excuse. If there is rust, I'd rather see them try things to win and get burned by INTs, rather than effectively capitulating to the defense the way we did against Denver.
And if Kyle Rudolph still looks like a guy recovering from lisfranc surgery, TRY KADEN SMITH. You may remember Jones winning a game against WFT in 2019 with an OT TD pass to Smith.
So if we lose, we lose. The season is not over. But at least go down attacking the defense and trying to win. Please. If you do, I'll be with you even at 0-2. But more likely, we'll be 1-1.
Ahhh...now I feel better.