FanPost

(Current) State of the Union

The Giants season to date has exceeded the expectations of most fans. After a terrific start, many fans modified their expectations as the Giants appeared to be a serious contender to make the playoffs. A combination of factors (injuries, more difficult schedule, opponents game planning better) have made the path to the playoffs more daunting. The following is one man's opinion on the current state of the Giants.

Front Office

Joe Schoen was given a difficult hand when he accepted the position as General Manager. The roster was operating with a talent deficit, the payroll was in shambles as the salary base was top heavy with guys who were very solid players but being paid as if they were top quality players, and there was almost no opportunity to bring in FA reinforcements.

The top FA signing was RG Mark Glowinski who has been a disappointment. Fabian Moreau has played at above replacement level and others (Richie James, Jaylon Smith, J. Ward) have played at a hold the fort, replacement level. Given the situation, there wasn't much more that could have been accomplished. His best trait in this area has probably been restraint and that is no small accomplishment.

It is too early to truly evaluate his draft but it seems that he largely stayed true to his board with the only possible exception being Robinson in the 2nd round. Even then, Robinson seems to minimally be a capable player they he and Daboll truly valued as part of the offensive scheme.

Schoen deserves credit for not trying to be a hero and his future drafts and cap management will determine his effectiveness as a GM.

Coaching

Daboll is a much better coach than his predecessor. The team is better schematically, the sideline is generally run in an efficient, professional manner. He seems to take accountability. It's still early in his tenure but he would appear to have the potential to be a very good HC.

However, he is not without flaws. Assigning Adoree Jackson punt return duties was a clear mistake at the outset. He's not an especially big guy, he has an injury history, he plays almost every snap defensively, and he hadn't returned a punt since 2019. He's also leaned very heavily on Barkley, Dexter and L. Williams. Barkley currently accounts for 46% of all Giants offensive touches and that # jumps to 60% if you remove DJ's RPO runs. Both Dexter and LW have played 84% of defensive snaps which is a career high for both and a significant increase for Dexter. It's important to win individual games but also important to remember it's a long season. The NFL is both a parity and attrition league and it is a difficult balance for coaches.

Other teams are now game planning effectively for the Giants and it will be interesting to see if the coaching staff can develop some wrinkles during the hiatus between Thanksgiving and the Washington game especially since there may be some reinforcements available.

Daboll and his staff have done a commendable job with the roster and, much like Schoen, it remains to be seen if they can sustain an upward trajectory. It is a professional group, with good experience, and although there will still be some bumps in the road, believe they will be successful in building a contending team.

Quarterback

Daniel Jones is no longer an enigma but there is also no certainty about his ceiling as a QB. Believe the offensive unit sees him as their leader, he plays with courage and tenacity, has exceptional ball handling skills, and he has an NFL caliber arm. We've seen him run the offense through Saquan and he's demonstrated that he is an asset running the ball. The unanswered questions are his ability to take control of a game passing the ball as well as rising to the moment in big games. He doesn't have much to work with as all the Giants receivers (less Golladay) combine for a career total of 4,200 yards. Slayton accounts for half that total. Even so, would like to see Kafka give DJ the chance to use the entire field. It's a losing strategy for the Giants to embrace a pass first strategy, but would like to see them employ some play action and take a few shots down the field.

DJ has capably closed out some games this year and also has some game winning drives to his credit. They are not bravado gunslinger efforts but believe they demonstrate the moments are not too big for him. The upcoming six games will provide some opportunities for him to make some big plays with his arm. Believe he has a good future in this league and the Giants could do much worse than having him as their QB. The word always used is elite and DJ does not possess elite talent. But the most important word is win and believe he can be a consistently winning QB.

Running Back

Saquan is almost the opposite of DJ. There is no question that he is an elite talent. The issues surrounding him were his toughness, durability (in this case same as DJ), potential loss of skill because of injury, and acute questions about his skill set. He lacked vision, was high variance, and could be easily replaced by another back as the running back position was considered fungible and largely interchangeable.

He answered most of these questions and it has been clear that he has been the hub of the wheel for the Giants offense. He's grinded when necessary, he has become a good pass blocker, he remains a big play threat. All opponents game plan for him and the Giants offense runs through him. Brightwell had a 15 yard run last week when the Giants went with a 2 RB set. DJ faked giving the ball to Saquan and all but one Cowboy defender bit. It was a clever variation of the runs DJ has previously executed and show the respect given SB's talent. His receiving has faltered a bit recently but believe he is a hard worker, and has the requisite skills, to correct that issue.

The remaining question about Saquan is his durability and hopefully the extended period between games will give him some time to get some bounce in his legs and rest his shoulder. Barkley currently has 259 touches and Brieda trails with 42 and Brightwell with 11. That is too wide a discrepancy. It doesn't need to be a binary choice between using Saquan as a below or having a running back committee. Mentioned earlier that SB has accounted for 46% of Giants touches this season. He has played 82% of the snaps. That means he touches the ball 57% of the time when he is on the field. That is a heavy, and probably unsustainable, workload and not a model for a diverse offense.

As with DJ, it will be interesting to see how the Giants choose to proceed with Barkley. The FA class for RB's is pretty stacked so that will certainly be a factor in any discussions.

Wide Receivers

Darius Slayton has demonstrated that he is an NFL caliber receiver. He is probably similar to Mario Manningham but is playing with Richie James et. al. and not Nicks/Cruz. He'll find work after this season and will make up for the monies lost to keep his roster spot this year.

Robinson is a skillful player and reminds me a bit of Shep when he was a rookie. He's skillful and plays with heart. Remains to be seen how he recovers from his ACL tear and the impact he'll have.

Don't know what to make of Golladay. Deterioration of skills, lingering injuries, bad fit, lack of determination. There are a variety of potential reasons for his lack of contribution.

Shep is one of my favorite Giants. Should he make the decision to continue his career, hope he remains a Giant. Should he hang them up, hope they find a spot for him on the staff.

The rest of the guys may or may not be on NFL rosters next season.

Tight Ends

Bellinger looks like a solid player in the Kevin Boss mode. Probably at the upper end of the group. He knows his job and performs it well. Glad to see he is recovering and truly hope he doesn't suffer any lingering effects. Most importantly, because he seems like a good kid and he is also a good football player.

Myarick, Hudson, and Cager are all stopgap measures and may or may not be playing next year.

Offensive Line

Andrew Thomis is a talented, skillful, lunch bucket LT who also happens to be a good teammate. The Giants should make signing him a priority this off season.

Continuing recent tradition, there has been a parade of guys playing LG this season. The results have not been good but there have have been some encouraging signs from Ezeudu and Bredeson. Ezeudu is a powerful man who currently doesn't have consistent refinement in his game. But he does seem to be athletic enough to develop the skills. Bredeson doesn't really do anything that stands out. He reminds me of a lower case Justin Pugh. Lemieux is a full case study. Don't know that I've ever seen a player, certainly not an O-lineman, with a more paltry resume that somehow has the confidence of any coaching staff. Much less two.

Nick Gates is a wonderful story of absolute grit and determination. Don't know how he is on the field, much less playing, much less starting. Really hope they are monitoring him as he is taking on a significant workload. He's always going to say he can go so the medical staff really needs to pay close attention. Feliciano is a stopgap who gives good effort.

Glowinski is a journeyman who is being paid low end starter money in the hopes that he will be solid. He's been a disappointment and seems to get pushed around.

Believe Evan Neal is going to be a fine player. He has demonstrated ability, is developing skill, and seems to have a strong work ethic. Believe he will show improvement in the remaining games and will become a steady force in future years. Don't know what to say about Matt Peart. He certainly looks the part of an OT. Hopefully will get some snaps this season and come to camp next year prepared to compete.

Defensive Line

Dexter Lawrence has been brilliant this season. Always believed he could be a dominant force if moved inside where he was closer to the QB and collapse the pocket rather than simply pushing it. Even though the Giants have executed the 5th year option, it may make sense to consider signing him to a longer term deal. That provides more financial flexibility and also removes the potential for free agency. Under any circumstances, they need to get he and LW some help on the DL. The guys currently there just aren't cutting it. Other teams are averaging 5.2 YPC which is poor. Dalvin Tomlinson is a FA after this season and would love to see a reunion as well as additional reinforcements.

Leonard Williams is, and has been, a rock solid player for the Giants. Plays hard and well every snap of every game. He's paid like a game wrecker although he is not that caliber of player. However, he is a foundational type player and the Giants need to plan now on replacing him as next year is the last year on his contract and they are already on the hook for a $6M void year in 2024.

The other guys are JAG similar to the WR room.

Edge

Thibs can play. He is athletic, disciplined, and has a great motor. He's not out of the box great. like LT was, but he will develop into a dynamic player that will be a force. Believe Wink has purposefully trimmed his sails, rather than just cutting him loose, in order for him to develop into a complete player. Suspect his apprenticeship is almost complete and, with Ojulari returning, the Giants are going to become very aggressive defensively.

Ojulari is still largely an unknown factor. He played well last year although probably not as well as his raw stats would indicate. But he is talented and hope his contribution will be equal to his ability.

Jihad Ward is an energetic player who makes the occasional play and is usually close enough to ultimately participate in the play.

Elerson Smith has played 11 snaps all season. Not sure what is going on there. Tomon Fox has played 231 snaps and offers good effort and hustle.

ILB

This is not a strong group and it's possible none of them will be on an NFL roster next season.

CB

Adoree Jackson is a very good player and I owe him an apology. He's been solid in coverage against everyone they've played and is a willing and good tackler. Saw him as a more limited CB who would probably work best in the slot or against secondary receivers as well as being a pedestrian tackler. I was wrong and he is a complete player. He's not close to being Jalen Ramsay good but he is very good.

Fabian Moreau made a strong contribution this year. Initially saw him as similar to Ross Cockrell but he has surpassed that level of play. He's done a real nice job and wish we had that caliber of play from IDL's and ILB's.

Darnay Holmes reminds me of Grant Haley. The spirit is willing but he doesn't have the extra gear or play recognition to make up for his physical limitations.

Flott is a young guy who is nothing more than a projection at this time. Hopeful that his frame fills out and the FO was correct drafting him. Williams and Robinson have both flashed at various times but have also experienced really bad luck. Believe Robinson in particular may become a contributor but both guys have some talent. McCloud is an interesting guy as well. He's stepped in and, while it hasn't been close to perfect, he's stuck his nose in there and competed.

Safeties

McKinney has not really progressed this year. Suspect that is largely because playing Safety in this defense is fairly complex and he has taken on a lot of responsibility. He is a good player but not the catalyst I was hoping for on the back end. However, believe that potential still exists once he becomes entirely comfortable with the scheme. The vacation mishap was just that and view that as a dumb mistake by a young man and not a bad sign.

Love is a solid pro and strikes me a a younger version of Logan Ryan. Makes plays, doesn't make mistakes. Tackles the guys in front of him and doesn't let guys catch balls behind him. Will take a dozen guys like him every day.

Belton has been very uneven during his rookie year. Not sure if he is a step behind processing what is going on or just a step slow. Hoping it is the former.

Kickers

Gano is in the top tier of NFL place-kickers.

Gillan is too much of a high wire act for me. Great haircut and nickname but way to inconsistent. Much prefer boring Jeff Feagles.

Those are my thoughts on the 2022 New York Giants thus far. They have certainly exceeded my expectations and believe they are pointed in the right direction. They've shown they belong on the field with good teams and that is a big step in the right direction. Playoffs would be a bonus but, as the 2016 Giants demonstrated, that is a fleeting success. Prefer a model that is geared towards long term, sustained success and don't want to mortgage that future through overexertion of young, cornerstone players.

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