The Giants have gotten off to an exceptionally disappointing start, especially in the face of high expectations. With so much talent filling the roster, it’s all the more glaring that the team is 0-2. With each loss equally embarrassing in different ways, let’s take a look at what’s going wrong, the negative outlook, and the positive outlook.
Giants vs Broncos
This game was the first concern for the discerning eye of any Giants fan. It wasn’t that they lost, it was how they lost. The Giants got completely and totally outcoached. Pat Shurmur came in with a strong offensive game plan, executed it, and Patrick Graham was totally unable to get off the field. The Broncos were able to dominate the time of possession and prevent the Giants’ offense from having any real opportunity to get going. Considering how excited the entire fanbase was to see Patrick Graham’s second year, this was deeply concerning.
Giants vs WFT
After a shaky week one, Giants fans turned to their yearly punching bag, the Washington Football Team. While the team who shall not be named certainly boasts a lot of talent, they had shown no signs of invincibility in their week 1 loss to the Chargers. Combined with the fact that Daniel Jones always plays his best football against the gold-and-burgundy brigade, there was good reason for optimism going into week 2.
While there were some positives to take away from the matchup, they were far outweighed by the negatives. The defense once again failed to reach any sort of consistency and looked terrible in execution. As is the theme of the season so far, the failure to finish plays, series, and drives ran rampant throughout the night. Once again, more upsetting than the loss was how it came to pass. Complete sloppiness and careless mistakes. Penalties, drops and missed tackles. Does that remind you of anything? It’s exactly what Joe Judge promised to eliminate. Remember how Patrick Graham was supposed to take this defense to another level now that he had the talent to be aggressive? Nope–soft coverage, zone calls and a complete lack of pressure on the quarterback.
It seems like the only coach living up to his narrative was Jason Garrett, and that’s not a good thing. Garrett lived up to expectations with his trademark comebacks, short route combinations, misuse of receivers, and completely spineless situational playcalling. For a perfect example look no further than the 3 play “drive” directly after a game-changing interception by James Bradberry. All Washington had to do was sustain a drive (which they’d been doing all night), and they’d secure the victory. But Bradberry, who had spent his evening getting roasted by Terry McLaurin, made an incredible play and got the Giants the ball back in an excellent position.
With the football already deep in Washington territory and a relative eternity still on the clock, Jason Garrett called two run plays up the gut, and a low percentage slant on 3rd and forever.
This is terrible for so many reasons. The offense had finally found its groove all night with the electric play of Daniel Jones. He’d been slinging the ball, roasting Washington’s vaunted defense on the ground, and playing with complete control from the pocket. Saquon Barkley, on the other hand, is clearly not yet close to 100% and had been totally absent since the first quarter. Jason Garrett chose to run two consecutive plays right through the interior of the offensive line (which had been struggling all night), and then call a conservative slant that opened a window before the first down line.
I understand that he was playing for the field goal and I disagree with the strategy of that, but that’s not even the worst of it. For the love of Lombardi, at least call something with a chance to make a first down and extend the drive. Clock is absolutely everything in this situation. While you need to guard against turnovers, you can still call safe plays while not completely conceding the drive. Less than three minutes of the game ago, Washington’s offense scored in two plays on the Giants defense.
They could’ve called a screen, given Kenny Golladay an opportunity outside on a fade, or run an RPO. But no, Garrett gave away the drive, kicked the field goal, and gave Washington a free chance at the win. Unlike the Giants, they took it. Now some have called this “playing not to lose” instead of “playing to win”. I disagree. I think this is playing to lose, plain and simple. Football is an aggressive game. If you can’t live up to your reputation as an aggressive team on either side of the ball, you will not win.
Early Season Diagnosis
The Giants still have loads of talent all over this roster and seem to have found a capable quarterback. They have weapons, the offensive line has been performing adequately and the tank’s full. All they need is somebody to wake the hell up and step on the gas. At this point, the season can really only go one of two ways. Either the coaching staff will wake up, get the team in line and back on track, or they won’t. If they don’t, expect another miserable season and some serious sledgehammering in February and March. If they do, we may still have something to be excited about.