Piece by Johnny Thrash, Giants Fan.
New York Giants: A spluttering start to the season
It couldn’t be that bad again could it? When you realise that Matthew Stafford, and his Detroit Lions, didn’t have to try and bring back a 4th quarter deficit, I did have to shudder a bit. Detroit hadn’t needed to bring out their party piece against the Giants, they were comfy long before the time they usually kick into gear. This Monday night the New York Giants took on Detroit Lions at MetLife Stadium, and Detroit left as one of only three unbeaten NFC teams in week 2, whilst the Giants start a season that began with some promise at 0-2, and looking like a playoff place in a competitive conference may be beyond them if this carries on.
The same weaknesses were expected this year, such as the total lack of a running game, no plan B should one game soon, Eli not get back up after being hit by a rushing defender, but the impressive defence remained intact, whilst some additions to the receivers seemed like it could give the team the additional 1% that McAdoo had spoken about before the season started. I’m not sure many of the other Giants fans, although cautious, had expected the deficiencies to be so prevalent in the O-Line. It’s nothing new to mention Eli throwing Interceptions as well, even if last year it was less common than had been in recent years.
For the Giants, the main concern is a spluttering offence, where Flowers in particular, but the left side of the O-Line as a whole, was exposed time and time again, and left Eli Manning being sacked 5 times in the game. Eli was under pressure for over 30% of his passes from the pocket. Is Eli holding onto the ball too long, well yes he is, McAdoo agrees, but whilst the receivers are struggling, and no dependable run game, Eli is seemingly desperate to make lemonade out of some off-ripe lemons. Is the Detroit defence particularly good, well they’re good but not elite, but it’s not like they need to be really?
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The first week loss had been blamed by some on the absence of Odell Beckham Jr, who returned in a minor capacity this week, catching 4 catches for a modest 36 yards. Beckham Jr’s first week absence allowed some excuses for a non-performing offence, but his return before being fully fit did not provide Eli with the weapons required to score more than 20 points for the first time in the last 8 games, even when he was able to get the ball out before being smashed by the Detroit defence. Yes, the Tight End could be used as a blocker to help with this, but when the rest of the offence is struggling, it is too restricting.
It’s not just the fact that Beckham is missing that is costing the Giants. Not only is Beckham looking week-to-week with his ankle injury, but Brandon Marshall has had a quiet start, with his one reception equalling his efforts from the week before against Dallas, and the drop that lead to the Agnew Punt Return is going to be one of those that is shown for a while. Hopefully it’s not going to ruin his Giants career before it’s even started, but it is a couple of performances that is going to take some coming back from. At 33 though, and in the sunset of his career, time is not something that Marshall has a lot of sadly, but he’s still talented, and will get used to the playbook.
Beyond those two, Sterling Shepard, although not bad, is liable to a dropped catch or two, while the running game continues to be poor, or non-existent, with Shane Vereen leading the ground game with only 28 yards. In a weekend of some pretty poor running performances that may not sound too bad, but this is very much the norm. Paul Perkins is not going to be the answer to the run game, but when the O-Line is currently misfiring, Adrian Peterson in his peak would struggle to get much more than we are currently getting. If you happen to have a Giants running back in your Fantasy team…get on the waivers now!!
McAdoo has since come out and put the pressure on Eli, calling the quarterback play sloppy, as well as taking the responsibility on himself. It’s not just Eli that McAdoo is criticising, but himself, the whole offence and the special teams.
On the positive side, Evan Engram scored his maiden career TD, with the rookie Tight End scoring on his second start. We have not had a convincing Tight End in New York for a while, so to see him scoring early is a positive. Despite his protestations that the penalty after the Touchdown was ‘bullcrap’, his citing for unsportsmanlike behaviour (he grabbed his crotch, which despite the rules being relaxed is still not a smart thing to do) made it easier for Stafford to lead a charge from the 45 yard line, so he’ll need to think smartly more next time he is receiving in the End Zone.
As well, albeit searching for positives here, neither the Cowboys or Washington in NFC East have been particularly impressive so far, but a Week 3 match up against the Philadelphia Eagles already feels like a must-win game.
The season is only two games old, so it is not time to throw in the towel on the season, but if the offence carries on like it is currently performing then it won’t be long before we are playing for merely pride.