The New York Giants’ latest awful performance in a season full of them makes any kind of detailed analysis something of a moot point. Still, there is some value in asking whether anyone played well in the eyes of unbiased observers, and whether the usage of personnel bodes well or poorly for certain players the rest of the way.
What do Pro Football Focus grades and snap counts tell us about why the Giants-Raiders game played out the way it did?
- Saquon Barkley (76.1) is one of the most underappreciated great players in Giants history. He is the team’s only true leader, he puts his body on the line every week, he makes great plays behind a subpar offensive line, and he never complains. Sunday, 16 rushes for 90 yards. Enjoy him while you have him.
- The offensive was a little better Sunday. It was nice to have Andrew Thomas back, although he wasn’t his usual dominant self (70.0, only 54.2 pass blocking with 2 sacks and 3 hurries surrendered, but 80.0 run blocking). Tyre Phillips (61.9, only one hurry) did a decent job taking over for Evan Neal (55.1, one sack) after the latter injured his left ankle. Justin Pugh (64.4) was poor in pass blocking (43.4) but good in run blocking (70.3). About the same can be said of John Michael Schmitz (57.6), whose subpar pass blocking (46.7) has become a fairly consistent thing (four poor pass blocking games of six played). Ben Bredson (48.6) continued his mostly poor play this season; why he started in place of Mark Glowinski remains a mystery.
- Tommy DeVito (69.3) actually played pretty well, all things considered, but take it with a grain of salt. That 75.1 passing grade must be almost totally due to what he did in garbage time (which began late in the second quarter).
- There’s not a whole lot to be said about the wide receivers either. Darius Slayton (69.1) and Wan’Dale Robinson (68.2) played all right, as did Parris Campbell (65.7), making his first non-negligible appearance on offense in some time. The main thing to say about Campbell is that he looks like a decent kickoff returner. Jalin Hyatt (48.3) graded poorly, but I felt he made a heroic effort to catch Daniel Jones’ first deep pass in-bounds. Isaiah Hodgins (46.1) is an afterthought in this year’s offense.
- The puzzling thing about the offensive line is why Bredeson started at right guard over Glowinski, the Giants’ best OL for the past couple of weeks. It was nice to have Andrew Thomas back, though he didn’t play especially well. The starters all played the entire game with the exception of Evan Neal, who hurt his left ankle and was replaced by Tyre Phillips.
- Saquon Barkley got a little more rest than usual, playing only 47 snaps after his 67 last week. Matt Breida replaced him after the game was out of hand.
- Wide receiver snaps were spread around more broadly this week, with Isaiah Hodgins seeing the field more than usual and even the forgotten Parris Campbell getting 14 snaps on offense. Why the Giants broke camp with Sterling Shepard on the roster is still a puzzle. Even in another blowout loss Shepard only saw the field for one play.
- I think we have a large enough sample now to conclude that the Giants have solved their off-ball linebacker problem, at least as far as the starters go. Micah McFadden (91.1) had another outstanding game, especially against the run, and Bobby Okereke (78.8) did as well. Isaiah Simmons (64.4) was decent in limited snaps.
- Dexter Lawrence (74.8) played fairly well but this was one of his worst games, with no pressures against a good Las Vegas offensive line. The same was true to an even greater extent for Kayvon Thibodeaux (44.4), who also had zero pressures. As a team, the Giants pressured Aidan O’Connell only four times (one hit, three hurries). An embarrassing performance. Boogie Basham (70.6) played fairly well in limited snaps, and Jihad Ward was Jihad Ward (50.7).
- Tae Banks is now being taken to the woodshed by NFL receivers. Sunday was the worst game of his rookie year (29.7): 11 targets, 6 receptions, 110 yards. Rookie Tre Tucker beat him for a 50 yard gain, Jakobi Meyers once for 24 yards. He only allowed two receptions in five targets to Davante Adams, the only bright spot of his day. Jason Pinnock (83.5) had a great game, especially in coverage. Xavier McKinney was just below PFF’s threshold for above average (69.4). He talks a great game, though.
- With the game out of hand, the Giants were able to give Dexter Lawrence some rest, with A’Shawn Robinson and Rakeem Nunez-Roches seeing more snaps than in most previous games as Wink Martindale faces life without Leonard Williams. There was some thought that Williams’ departure might make way for Jordon Riley to see the field more, but he was again an inactive and D.J. Davidson got some snaps instead.
- Kayvon Thibodeaux also got some rest yesterday, as did Jihad Ward, with Boogie Basham playing more than he has in just about any game so far. The off-ball linebacker group usage was similar to previous games with Bobby Okereke playing every down, Micah McFadden playing most downs, and Isaiah Simmons replacing him on passing downs but with fewer snaps than in recent games.
- The most notable things about the secondary were that (1) Nick McCloud played 34 snaps after Adoree’ Jackson went out with a concussion, and (2) there was some thought that rookie safety Gervarrius Owens might get some playing time with the season having gone down the drain, but he was inactive again yesterday.