Category Archives: Giants

Feast to Famine

The “experts” will break this down later tonight, but I feel like day 2 of the Giants draft was a huge hit and a huge miss.

A defensive tackle in round 2 was a smart pick. The fact that his closest comparison is Hankins, makes it even better. No matter what you think, the Giants took a guy who could fill the last spot in their defensive starting lineup.

A QB in round 3 was incredibly stupid. Davis Webb may turn into Eli Manning, but that isn’t the point. This draft should have been about maximizing Eli Manning’s chances to win another Super Bowl. Webb doesn’t do that and you have to wonder if he will ever develop into a pro QB.

But again, even if he turns into Eli, this represents the worst way to maximize Eli’s last years. Nothing short of another Super Bowl win excuses this pick.

Check A Box

The “experts” were predictable in their reviews of the Giants draft pick, Evan Engram. Some loved it, some hated it. Some yelled that they didn’t do enough and should have traded up. To me it is all noise. The Giants needed a tight end, and they took one. He may turn out to be good, he may turn out to be bad, but they did exactly what they should have done, and that is all that matters.

As to the argument that they should have traded up to grab “X”, I hate it. Nobody aces the draft year in and out. The only way to ensure you do better in the draft than someone else is to have more chances (ie picks). If you trade up, you lose picks, so the only reason I can think to do so is for a franchise-altering player. The Giants did it in 2004 and got Eli, nice move. They did it in 2013 and got Ryan Nassib, not a nice move. It’s a crapshoot, and you are far, far better off trading down that up. Bill Belichick gets this, and he has done pretty well with it.

So, what’s on tap for tonight? Two picks and with Tight End crossed off, the Giants probably split them between offense and defense. Running Back is an idea as is someone who could play tackle. On the defensive side, something for the interior of the line or a linebacker would be nice.

The NFL is Oblivious

Thr NFL will announce the 2017 schedule tonight, but thanks to more leaks than the Titanic, you can find your team’s schedule online already. One date stands out for the Giants, Thanksgiving at Washington.

Some people are bothered by Native American nicknames for sports teams some are not. I personally avoid using them for the reason that they cause a portion of the population offense. I understand why people may not agree with that, but I hope the insensitivity of scheduling a Washington home game on Thanksgiving needs no explanation.

The NFL doesn’t care. Roger Goodell seems to have zero empathy for victims of domestic violence, victims of brain trauma, and Native Americans who object to a racist trademark. At what point do we, the fans supporting this enterprise, vote with our wallets?

Right Place/Wrong Team

The Giants making the playoffs after a four-year absence is a wonderful thing. The problem is, they are running into the worst possible first round matchup they could have drawn.

Yes, they have beaten Green Bay in Green Bay before in the playoffs. In fact, the last two Super Bowl victories went through Green Bay. And yes, in both of those seasons they lost to Green Bay in the regular season, just like they did this year. But tell me, what does that have to do with the 2016 Giants? There are five players still on the entire roster from the 2011 team, and one of them, JPP, is not playing Sunday. Eli Manning looks a lot more like the 2007 version of himself than the 2011 version and Green Bay is the hottest team in the league right now, winning six-straight to make the playoffs.

I’m not saying the Giants can’t win. They can, but they will need a lot of things to break their way. They will need to fluster Aaron Rodgers, no easy task. They will need to hold up in their protection of Manning, again no easy task. They will need to run the ball in very cold conditions, something they haven’t shown a consistent ability to do. Add it all up, and I don’t see the Giants walking away with a win on Sunday, no matter what “history” says will happen.

Hopefully, I am wrong.

That Was Ugly

The Giants played a clunker last night, one that should calm all the best team in the NFC talk for awhile. The good news is, they are almost guaranteed to make the playoffs. In fact, it would be quite an upset if they didn’t.

Do I sound too confident? I don’t mean to, but consider what has to happen for the Giants to miss the playoffs.

1- They need to lose to Washington next week. Win and they are in.

2- The Packers beat Minnesota this week and Detroit next week.

3- Detroit beats Dallas Monday and then loses to Green Bay.

4- Tampa beats New Orleans and then Carolina.

5- The Falcons need to beat Carolina and New Orleans.

In that scenario, the Giants end up in a three-way tie for the wild card and lose on tiebreakers. Again, every one of those things, a total of 9 different outcomes, needs to happen or the Giants make the playoffs. The way things have gone the past few years around here you would be crazy not to think there is a chance, but it is a pretty small one. So relax, enjoy Christmas weekend and get enjoy the nine days off before the next game. We have all earned it.

 

Vereen Is Done

Shane Vereen is now really out for the season. He missed nine weeks, came back and lasted parts of two games. Tough year for him. Ryan Nassib is also out for the season with an elbow injury. I would assume, that this will be the end of Nassib’s career in blue as he is a free agent after the season and I would guess that the Giants might draft Eli’s replacement this offseason.

The Nassib injury is of no concern, if he was playing the Giants were in trouble, but Vereen’s injury could be a problem. They can’t run the ball, so using Vereen’s receiving ability gave them the option to try short swing passes instead of running.  Since none of their other running backs have shown the ability to catch the ball, that option is dead. If you are a NFL team looking to defend the Giants, I would force them to try to run the ball as much as possible. Unless Paul Perkins can develop at a quicker pace, I wouldn’t expect much success.

The critical injury is to Janoris Jenkins, who isn’t practicing. The Giants head to Philly on Thursday and while Jenkins may play, he would probably be limited. Apple and DRC have been very good this year, but Jenkins may be the best corner in the league right now. He simply shuts down the opposition’s best receiver. The Giants have an interesting dilemma with him. Do they rush him back this week if it could aggravate his injury? Or do they let him rest, knowing that a win in either of their last two games gets them into the playoffs? (And yes, I am not expecting a NFC East title because I don’t think Dallas loses their final 2 and that is the only way it could happen.)

It’s a tough call because as much as you want to win Thursday and get into the playoffs, you do have the fallback of the following Sunday in Washington plus the fact that Tampa and Green Bay would need to both win out for the Giants to be eliminated. We’ll see what happens under the lights Thursday.

Now Comes The Hard Part

Give the Giants credit. They are 8-3, winners of six-straight. We can point out a lot of flaws, but they are doing something right, and it isn’t just a fortuitous schedule. The problem is, the schedule turns really ugly now.

The final five games are brutal: @Pitt, Dallas (Sunday Night Football), Detroit, @Philly (Thursday Night Football), @Washington. When I picked games before the season started, I had the Giants sitting currently at 7-4, and finishing 1-4 to go 8-8. I still think a 1-4 finish might be all they manage. I don’t see them beating Pittsburgh or Dallas. Detroit looks really good recently. Washington will be problematic. They could and really should beat Philly even on the road.

That would leave them at 9-7 which might get them into the playoffs, but would also leave them with little momentum and a probable first round exit. A good team has to come out of this stretch at 10-6 or better. Are the Giants that kind of team? I still say no, but this is the reason you play the games.

Not Buying It

Yes, the Giants are 6-3. And yes, I think they might be 8-3 in two weeks. But no, I’m not ready to say this is anything more than a mediocre team.

Start with some stats. The Giants are a minus-8 in the takeaway/giveaway department. They have scored two fewer points than they have allowed. They are 24th in yards gained and 15th in yards allowed. Does anything strike you as above-average there?

They can’t run the ball, ranked 31st in the league at that. They can’t pressure the QB, ranked 30th in sacks. And they don’t convert 3rd downs very often, ranked 25th in that. The one thing they do really well is protect Eli, allowing the second-fewest sacks in the league.

Yet they are 6-3 and would be a playoff team if the season ended today.  And as I mentioned earlier, with a home game this week against Chicago, and a road game the next week in Cleveland, 8-3 is a distinct possibility.

The problem is, after that they could crash and burn to 8-8. Look at the schedule. Home against Dallas, road game in Pittsburgh, home against Detroit, finish on the road in Washington and Philly. They might be favored in the Detroit game, but as of right now, that’s going to be it.

So enjoy this. Admire the standings for th next few weeks. The pain is coming. This is a 4-4 team at best masquerading as a playoff team. It won’t last.

Predicting The Giants Season

Ok, here I go, a game-by-game guess at how the Giants end up.

Game 1- @Dallas- Two weeks ago, I would have said loss, but that was before Romo got hurt, and a rookie QB stepped in. Add in a rookie RB and I think the Giants will play enough defense to win this game.

Game 2- New Orleans- While I would bet less points are scored than last time, I don’t think the Giants can beat Drew Brees.

Game 3- Washington- Giants win this one, go to 2-1 and then the pain comes.

Game 4- @Vikings- Could have been the same situation as Week 1, but the Vikings brought in Bradford, who beat the Giants twice last year. Make it three-straight.

Game 5- @Green Bay- Not even close to winning this one.

Game 6- Ravens- I think these two teams are about equal, so I give it to the home team Giants to get back to .500.

Game 7- @Rams (London)- I think the Giants can win this and will to enter their bye week at 4-3

Game 8- Philly- They can beat these guys and will.

Game 9-Bengals- Nope, they can’t beat these guys.

Game 10- Bears- Back to the win column.

Game 11- @Cleveland- Closer than it should be, but another win to get to 7-4.

Game 12- @Pittsburgh- Not even close, a big loss.

Game 13- Dallas- Romo’s probably back or the rookie has thrived. Either way, the Giants lose this at home.

Game 14- Lions- I think Detroit could be a really good team this year, chalk it up as a loss.

Game 15- @Philly- This team is a mess and I think they win this.

Game 16- @Washington- I think they lose this to finish 8-8. The crazy thing is 8-8 could win the NFC East, especially if the Giants are 4-2 in the division as I predicted.

For comparison sake, I had them at 6-10 last year which was dead right and means I will be dead wrong this year.

 

Catching Up

Sorry to have been away during a big week in New York sports, but I don’t set the school vacation calendar!

Anyway, I watched the Rangers’ season end from 30,000 feet thanks to Jet Blue and the Giants draft thanks to ESPN on the ground. Some thoughts on both follow.

For the Rangers the really discouraging part is that Lundqvist looked terrible for most of the series. That could be a sign he is acting his age (34) and if that is so, the Rangers are in a lot of trouble.  This team is built around Lundqvist and any slippage on his part dooms them to mediocrity.

But even if it isn’t a function of age, what do the Rangers do then? Do they double down (or quadruple down I guess at this point) and try for one last cup run? Or do they make the more sensible choice and rebuild? And if they choose to rebuild, what does that look like? This is a team with a lot of talent locked up into the future and very little talent in the pipeline. Rebuilding could take a few years, but trying for one last run could dig the hole even deeper. Not an easy choice.

******

I think all of the draft grades assigned to the Giants are meaningless because this is a team that won’t compete for a Super Bowl next year without an amazing amount of luck. If you accept that assessment you can accurately judge this draft. If you don’t, it is a big failure.

Apple in the first round is a pick that will marginally improve this team, but could help enormously down the road. In the best case, Apple is the 3rd corner this year. That’s it, so he isn’t going to improve the team dramatically. But, if the Giants are right about him, he takes the job from DRC in 2017 and stars from there.

Shepard could be a great #2 receiver and the perfect complement to OBJ. That’s a great second round pick. Thompson in the third round fills a void at free safety and could become the ball hawk this secondary needs.

Goodson, Perkins, and Adams add depth, but not in the places the 2016 Giants necessarily need. Goodson will be a great addition to the linebacking corp, but the other two are “luxury” picks, which is weird for a team coming off a losing season. However, if Perkins is the RB scouts think he is and Adams is the TE scouts think he is, they have two huge weapons for the future.

But, there are still HUGE questions for this team going forward. What is the right side of the offensive line? Where is the depth on the defensive line? There are no clear cut answers to those questions at this point and that means we have no idea how the 2016 season will unfold.