Shame on me. Shame on me for thinking things were actually going to be different without my eyes seeing it first. I had blind faith. Call it a Mr. Glass-Half-Full flaw. I thought that adding, what looks to be, a surefire Top 5 running back to the OBJ/Shepard/Engram trio would simply make this offense better than average (best case Top 5). I thought that a totally reconfigured offensive line would, at worst, be better than last year’s abomination. Nate Solder and Will Hernandez would at least help Eli’s blindside and they could scheme around the right side……I thought.
Welp. We are two games into the 2018 season with a new offensive-minded Head Coach, a new Offensive Coordinator, and a new Offensive Line Coach, but we have the same old SHIT problem. Somehow, the O-Line has managed to regress. After facing one of the better defensive lines in the NFL in the Jacksonville Jaguars, the offensive line looked much worse for wear and absolutely crapped the bed against a good, but not great Dallas Cowboys front. This quote from our big money Left Tackle Nate Solder pretty much sums it up:
“They blitzed, they ran stunts, they rushed four. They did a number of things and we didn’t pick up any of it.”
Which leads me to my next question for the new Giant Offensive Line coach, Hal Hunter…..
Enough about the Offensive Line, which seems to be getting worse by the day and now has lost their starting Center Jon Halapio for the season. Eli Manning had a bad game. Yes, the 6 sacks he had to take were definitely part of why he played so bad. At the same time, Eli was clearly looking at the pass rush instead of looking down the field on many occasions. Shit, how can you blame the guy? Given the lack of protection he has received over the better part of the past decade, I would be hearing footsteps too. The thing is, those footsteps? They are very real.
Eli looks as skittish and as uncomfortable as I have seen him since his rookie year. I thought there was a chance that the newly configured line would be, at worst, just a little better than last year. It is evident that the Giants, as an organization, have ZERO clue how to build a line to support their immobile Quarterback. Barring some magic gelling and mind melting of the offensive line, I just don’t see how anybody that is not fleet of foot can succeed behind that line.
When Eli had time, he rushed throws, or couldn’t find anyone open. The Cowboys played their safeties deep and took away any and all deep plays. The Cowboys front seven dominated the Giants at the point of attack and they were able to contain Saquon Barkley EASILY in the run game. THAT is how bad the Giants offensive line was, the Cowboys were daring the Giants to run with a Top 5-10 RB, and the Giants were simply incapable of doing it. Barkley was hit close to ten times behind the line of scrimmage.
When Eli was able to throw the ball, 9 times out of 10 it was a dump-off pass that traveled 5 yards or fewer. Our All-World RB caught FOURTEEN passes for 80 yards. Most of those 80 yards we’re all because of Barkley’s insane ability to make so many would-be tacklers miss. Odell Beckham was rendered useless, as there was just no time to make anything happen down the field. Evan Engram had himself a nice bounce back game, which was one of the few positive takeaways from this game.
Lackluster game from the defense. They came in with a game plan of taking away Ezekiel Elliott and making Dak Prescott beat them. Good gameplan, right Landon Collins?
On the first drive of the game, Janoris Jenkins totally misses jamming Tavon Austin at the line of scrimmage and gets roasted for a deep bomb that set the tone for the whole game. Curtis Riley did his part by taking a horrible angle and not helping save a touchdown. Prescott was generally kept in check for the rest of the game, but he made throws when he needed to to keep the chains moving. Part of the reason for that was the absolute lack of pass rush. The Giants defense needs Olivier Vernon back in the WORST way. Prescott was sacked a whole ZERO times.
For those keeping score at home, the Dallas Cowboys, with 3 new starters on their offensive line allowed 0 sacks and less than a handful of pressures. The New York Giants allowed Eli Manning to get sacked 6 times along with countless other pressures (they were literally countless to me watching at home. I lost track after eleventy).
The run defense didn’t REALLY stop Zeke, but they didn’t let him go off either. The Cowboys simply put it into cruise control for most of the 2nd half because they really didn’t need to do much. The Giants offense was, again, totally inept. Kareem Martin (a big offseason acquisition for the Giants), looked absolutely clueless on how to defend the RPO. He guessed wrong at least 3-4 times, and when he guessed right, he was juked out of his shoes by Prescott. Our former All-Pro safety Landon Collins, who was yapping his mouth about making Prescott beat the Giants, made zero impact plays. If this guy is looking to get paid big money next offseason, he is going about it in the WRONG way. The guy has not made an impact on a game since 2016. WAKE UP LANDON.
If this is the last Giants/Cowboys prime time game I see for several years, I would be perfectly okay with that. Enough making me stay up to 11-12 at night to watch the Giants suck. The Giants have not done ANYTHING in the past 7 years to warrant national attention.
Mr. Glass-Half-Full take:
I just don’t know where this team goes from here. This combination of horrific Offensive Line play and Manning’s lack of mobility is disastrous. I tried to look past it after the drafted Barkley and reconfigured their whole line, but it’s evident right now that this combo simply CANNOT work.
I want to have faith here people. Being the positive person I am, I am hoping that with more time and better communication, this offensive line has nowhere to go but up. Ereck Flowers, who I have previously SHREDDED, actually played pretty decently. They just gotta figure this shit out, and they gotta figured it out fast.
With the Texans, Saints, Panthers, Eagles, and Falcons coming up next, you have to be SOME kind of optimist to think the Giants can get out of their first 7 games at anything better than 2-5. We Giant fans need to see SOME glimmer of hope soon, before we are staring at another Top 5 pick in 2019 and we are saying goodbye to Eli Manning and hello to our Quarterback of the Future.
I don’t want to be having these conversations 2 games into the season, but after 3-13 last year, and 5 out of the last 6 years starting out 0-2, I can’t help but feel a little Glass-Half-Emptyish.
Get back to the drawing boards gentleman. Show some pride and put up a battle against Houston. Please keep Eli alive, as the man has a family and is the father of two children! 0-2 doesn’t mean the season is over, but it’s getting late early. The Texans have yet to hit their stride, so maybe we can catch them at the right time and get this first W.
I will leave you with these final last words from Dan Katz aka Big Cat from Barstool.
Couldn’t have said it better myself big guy.
Go Big Blue.