It wouldn’t really be accurate to say that the New York Giants had a quarterback controversy this week. Instead, it’s probably better to describe it as a “Quarterback Question” following their loss to the Philadelphia Eagles — and it was a brief one at that.
The Giants’ quarterback question was prompted when Tommy DeVito, the defacto starter, was benched at halftime in the Giants’ Christmas day game against the Eagles in favor of Tyrod Taylor. The Giants very nearly pulled off the stunning upset with Taylor, and the question was promptly answered when Brian Daboll named Taylor their starter on Wednesday.
But did Daboll make the right call? We asked Giants fans that question this week, and they do favor Taylor as the starter. The margin isn’t overwhelming, however, and Taylor won the poll 54%-46%.
Personally, I tend to agree with Daboll and the 54% of fans.
Taylor is a (much) more experienced quarterback who has the whole offense opened to him. He obviously has his warts, but the offense simply functions better with Taylor at the helm — at least in a small sample size.
Taylor gives the Giants the best chance to win, but he also gives the coaching staff and front office the best chance to evaluate the rest of the roster. There’s a school of thought that the quarterback is a capstone, the piece you acquire once the rest of the roster is set. Instead, I prefer to think of the quarterback as the foundation, the position and player on whom the rest of the roster relies.
- The quarterback delivering the ball on time, on target, and with good placement helps the receivers. Understanding route concepts and quickly diagnosing the defense allows plays to function as designed. Receivers are able to run routes with confidence, without having to adjust to under or over-thrown passes, or contort for awkwardly placed balls. They also get fewer contested catches and more opportunities for yards after the catch.
- A passing game to be respected influences the defense to play lighter personnel groups and boxes, defend more of the field, and allows the running back to be more consistently productive.
- Better quarterback play even helps out the offensive line and pass protection. Without getting deep into the weeds, we saw that against the Eagles with DeVito and Taylor.
Per ProFootballFocus, DeVito was pressured on 47.1 percent of his dropbacks. He averaged 3.4 yards per attempt, and per NFL NextGenStats, he averaged 1.1 intended air yards and his average completion was -0.3 yards behind the line of scrimmage.
Taylor was pressured on 38.9 percent of his dropbacks and averaged 8.3 yards per attempt. Taylor also averaged 15.7 intended air yards and his average completion came 12.5 yards downfield.
- A better functioning offense tends to put more points on the board, leading to more pressure on the opposing offense to respond. That can take them out of their comfort zone and lead to opportunities for your own defense — either for sacks or turnovers.
Starting Taylor over DeVito does deny the Giants opportunities to evaluate DeVito, but it could give them a better evaluation of the team as a whole.
Flipping over to our weekly fan confidence poll, Giants fans are losing confidence that the team is heading in the right direction.
A drop in confidence is to be expected after an unexpectedly tough loss to a division rival. Confidence was at a season-high after the win over Green Bay, but has since plummeted following the losses to the New Orleans Saints and the Eagles. It’s interesting that confidence rose sharply during the four-game stretch from weeks 5 to 8, when the Giants lost three of four. However, we did see a similar plunge following the unexpected loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. We’ll have to see how fan confidence fares over the remaining two weeks of the season.
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