The New York Giants are four games into the 2023 season and the early returns are not good. They have played 16 quarters of football and only two have been acceptable. Following is a summary/opinion of the current state of the team.
Joe Schoen is a very cautious and unyielding financial steward. Fairly certain about that. However, it's difficult to evaluate how effective he is at other parts of the job. Upon being hired by the Giants, he chose to cut ties with FA's and not make any offers to retain them. Hernandez, Engram, Bradberry, Ryan, Carter, Peppers, Austin Johnson. He made the decision to clean house and that is not atypical although some of the players would be a clear upgrade over current starters and not expensive options.
It's also early to determine how good he is at talent evaluation and drafting. Believe virtually all the players he's drafted have an incomplete grade at this time. There are no clear standouts or absolute busts yet. The next offseason, free agency and drafting, will add more context to his abilities as a GM.
Brian Daboll and his staff did a fine job last year. Many posters commented how important it was to have good coaching. We are seeing that again this year as the coaching, both preparation and in game, seem to have faltered. Poor fundamentals (especially tackling), only seven padded practices in training camp, virtually no starter snaps in preseason, poor special team play, difficulty with in game substitutions.
Bobby Johnson has gotten a great deal of heat from BBV posters. But was it his decision to continually rotate O-lineman through camp? Did he make the call to retain Matt Peart and then not play him when Thomas was injured and instead move a Guard over to an unfamiliar position? Did he make the decision to not have a backup Center on the roster? Is Lemieux his guy? This seems an awful lot like blaming Marc Columbo because no-one wanted to point the finger at Judge.
Wink is also getting some heat. He has his own style schematically and don't want to challenge that but the poor tackling is unacceptable. Still believe he is a good coach who is working to improve the unit.
Daboll got off to a great start last season by successfully going for the 2 point conversion against the Titans during Week 1. That created a lot of good will and the team really responded. The vibe last night was significantly different. Jones largely ignoring Daboll when walking off the field after the pick 6. Daboll dismissively tossing the tablet after talking with Jones on the bench. The team needs to regains its composure and equilibrium and start playing better football. They will be outmanned during the next two weeks, on the road, but need to play with heart and better effort. That starts with the HC.
Daniel Jones is an NFL quality QB. He has skill and plays with heart and poise. We've seen flashes of high end play but nothing sustainable. It's his 5th season and we still don't know what his ceiling is although it appears that he may be losing confidence. He was a turnover machine during his rookie season and wasn't ready for the speed of the NFL game. Both Garrett and Daboll have tried to simplify and slow the game down for him. But there are times when he looks like an interception averse robot playing QB. He can't pull the trigger on anything but a very safe throw and would sooner pull the ball down and run rather than make the throw. There are times when he look like a leader out there, playing with confidence and stepping into his throws. Last night was the opposite of the QB that played the 2nd half against Arizona. He is typically not an easy guy to read as he keeps his emotions in check. But the look in his eyes last night was hollow and not his usual focus. That needs to get fixed this week.
Saquan Barkley is a terrific player. He is strong in all facets of the game. It's clear that other teams just don't resect or fear the Giants offense when he is not playing. But football is not basketball where a single player can fully dominate. And, Barkley is more Scottie Pippen than Michael Jordan. Barkley is a cornerstone player in this offense but not a force multiplier. There are just too many issues with the offensive line. It appears that he is destined to have an "if only" footnote to his career. It may make sense for the Giants to trade him if they can get a Day 2 pick. It's a white flag but so is a game plan when you throw only two passes that travel more than 10 yards in an entire game.
Matt Breida is a solid pro. He was terrific in pass protection last night and plays the game hard and well. Gary Brightwell is fine for a series or two. Don't know about Eric Gray but he should never, ever return another punt in his life. Have no idea what Daboll was thinking. It's like they pulled a guy out of the stands that won a radio contest.
Don't know what to say. They have combined for 48 catches, 458 yards and 1 touchdown in four games. The goal was to have guys who could get separation and stress the field horizontally. It appears to be a complete failure of imagination and execution.
Waller was going to be a playmaker who could challenge opponents, create havoc in the secondary and be the coveted "matchup nightmare". He could not be covered in camp. If the Giants played in a 7v7 league in shorts, they would be champions. Unfortunately Waller, while still a good player, is not the Kellen Winslow player the Giants were hoping for. The leg injuries seem to have taken a toll and, because of issues with the O-line, he is being asked to block more than anticipated.
Bellinger is a good, Kevin Boss type TE, who is a solid, but limited contributor.
Here is a the Offensive Line group:
Andrew Thomas - Top tier player who is unfortunately injured. However, much like Barkley and Dexter, there is only so much that he can influence the outcome of a game. He needs better mates on the line.
Ben Bredeson - Solid workmanlike player who is also versatile. Unfortunately, he is also the backup Center, so two positions are weakened if he needs to move over.
JMS - Rookie Center who is having a predictable season. Expectations were probably a bit high for a rookie joining such a modest group.
Marcus McKethan - Effectively a rookie (5th round) who missed his 1st year because of injury. He is predictably struggling.
Evan Neal - Unfortunately the poster boy for people who are unhappy with the offensive line. Powerful man who appears heavy legged and still working on the nuances of the NFL game. Personally like him because he is a hard working kid who doesn't make excuses and seems to have the right mentality.
Joshua Ezeudu - LG who has been pressing into action at LT and seems to be in over his head.
Matt Peart - Swing tackle that the coaches don't seem to trust playing. Not sure why he is on the roster.
Mark Glowinski - Former starter who had a dreadful game against Dallas. Stated after the game that he wished he'd gotten more reps in the preseason and has been largely buried on the bench unless there are injuries.
Maybe the young players will benefit from getting experience but it's a hard lesson, especially for Daniel Jones.
Dexter Lawrence is a great player. Unfortunately, the big guys don't age well and his peak will probably be short. At worst, he will still be an effective player against the run but his best days are wasted on this team.
Leonard Williams has had a fine career but was never a game changing player and appears (at least to me) to be in decline. Valuable guy to have in a rotation but no opponent is game planning around him.
Robinson, Nacho, Davidson are all interchangeable parts who make occasional plays but there is a significant drop off when they replace Dexter and LW.
Thibs is a very talented player. He has yet to demonstrate that he is a consistently good player. He has given no indication that he is a game changing player. Would like to see him play well, against a good OT, for an entire game. Doesn't need to dominate, just need to make his presence consistently known.
Ojulari is a cipher to me. Just don't really notice him on the field. Last night was his 1st game back, and he missed much of last year because of injury, but would like to see him really assert himself in some fashion.
Ward and Basham don't seem to contribute anything.
Okereke has largely been a disappointment. He makes a lot of tackles but reminds me of Jacquian Williams who also made a lot of tackles. Unfortunately most were downfield. Okereke does have good burst but doesn't seem to perform well in traffic and his tackling is spotty. No comment at this time on his coverage skills.
MsFadden is a effort guy who seems to have good instincts. But he is pretty slow and once he commits, he's either going to make the play or take himself completely out of the play. He's a good guy to have on the team but you don't want him to take too many snaps.
Simmons is a really fast guy who can run people down but seems to have trouble shedding blockers and appears to operate best on the periphery of the play. That's not the definition of a playmaker.
Banks shows up every week and does his job. He's not especially skillful at it yet but he's not bad and is trending in the right direction. Believe he will work out although Miami will be quite a test.
Hawkins should be serving an apprenticeship rather than starting. He's talented but was being portrayed as a prodigy during camp. Believe his struggles could get worse as the season progresses.
Jackson is playing out of position and it shows. Give him credit for being a good teammate, especially in a contract year, but he is not good playing in the slot.
Holmes is a grabby pass defender and solid tackler. Don't know about Flott.
The next two weeks might really expose this group as both the Dolphins and Bills will aggressively attack.
McKinney is another guy who has been a disappointment. Thought he really played well against Dallas but not so the last few games. Don't see him showing a lot of range or making plays. Either in run support or pass defense.
Pinnock doesn't seem to see the field well enough to play Safety. Maybe he needs more time to adjust from playing Corner. But he takes terrible angles, plays too aggressively and either shoulder tackles or runs himself out of the play.
Gano is rock solid.
The Giants placed a bet on Gillan and it seems to be paying off.
In general ST play has not been good.
The Giants have been brutal this year and there is plenty of blame to go around. Daboll and his staff have seemed to taken a step back or the league has caught on but the Giants have been outclassed in every possible way on the field.
However, believe it's important to stay the course unless the wheels completely come off, While this has been difficult to watch, it's important to demonstrate some patience. There are a lot of ways to build a successful team but constantly changing approach is a clear way to fail.