This is getting to be all too familiar to Giant fans. The 2011 Super Bowl win seems like the distant past. The New York Football Giants are going to miss the Playoff Dance for the 6th time in 7 years. It is no longer a secret…..the Giants organization is in the midst of a Dark Age. The organization’s losing ways have rivaled only the Cleveland Browns in the ’10s. This has NOT been fun.
With the 2016 season looking more and more like a fluke, this team has not fielded a TRULY competitive team since the start of this decade. This once proud organization has not seen consistent losing like this since the 1964-1980 stretch. I don’t think my heart could take another eight years of inept play and inconsequential games in December.
So here we are, with Black Monday over with, the Giants look to be bringing back the same coaching staff in 2019. I am a firm believer that unless you see glaring issues in your coaching staff, the people you bring in deserve at least 2 years to turn things around. Given the shit show that Ben McAdoo and Jerry Reese left Shurmur and Gettleman with, I don’t think this regime could be fully judged off of this year’s performance alone. They should be afforded the ability to get their own players in here to run their systems properly. With the amount of turnover the roster the Giants roster has undergone this past year, it was clear how far away this regime thought this roster was from contending.
In the end, the Giants ended up with a 5-11 record. They played in several one score games and simply could not find a way to close out 4th Quarters to lock up at least 3-4 more victories. For a team that is this so bereft of talent, this might be a blessing in disguise. The Giants will now be picking 6th in the 2019 NFL Draft and will have a great opportunity to add a serious talent through the draft for a second straight year.
I know that provides little solace to all you die hard Giant fans out there that had to sit/pay to watch another losing product in 2018. There were some positives though, to go along with many negatives. Lets take a look at what went right and what went wrong, shall we?
What Went Right
- Saquon Barkley I shouldn’t have to say much more about him, but since so much went wrong this year, we all need a little ray of hope. Barkley is that hope. His a sparkling rookie campaign should end with a Rookie of the Year award had it not been for how bad the rest of the team was. He was only the 3rd rookie RB ever to eclipse the 2,000 total yards mark, joining only Edgerrin James and Eric Dickerson as the only rookies to accomplish that feat. He accounted for NINE 40+ yard plays, which joined the likes of Chris Johnson and Barry freakin’ Sanders (RB GOAT) as the only ones to accomplish that feat. He did all of this behind an below-average (that is being generous) Offensive Line and with a struggling Quarterback in a new offensive system. Barkley not only matched the unrealistic expectations we all had for him, but he somehow managed to exceed them. The sky is the limit for this guy and he will only get better with a better offensive line and quarterback to go along with him in the future.
- Odell Beckham looked to be back in typical form. He finished the season with 77 catches, 1,052 yards and 6 TDS in 12 games (also threw for 2 TDs). He was on pace to set career highs in just about every category before a cheap shot in the Eagles (shocking) game cost him the rest of the season. OBJ will have a full offseason this year to get back to form and can be counted on as a huge contributor going forward. The only thing that has to bother Giant fans is that he has now only played in one full season as a Giant. This team absolutely needs Odell to be healthy and play in all 16 games if they want to be a top offense next year. Also, for those wanting to trade OBJ, Gettleman all but confirmed that he will not be traded in his Press Conference today. So suck it up and get on board.
- The Offense seemed to find its groove once they found their identity. Their identity is a running offense focused around Barkley. The Giants scored 27, 38, 22, 30, 40, 0 (gross), 27 and 35 points in their final 8 games of the season. The last four games were without OBJ. That is REAL progress that we have seen from an offense that hasn’t put up consistent points in many years. We seem to be in good hands here with Shurmur calling plays. As for Mike Shula……..what is it you say you do here?
- The left side of the Offensive Line seems to be in pretty good shape going forward. Nate Solder started off slow, but came on very strong in the 2nd Half of the season. I feel confident with him at the Left Tackle spot moving forward. Wil Hernandez took some time to get up to NFL speed, but he also had a monster 2nd Half. The Giants found themselves a couple of keepers on that left side. The right side added Jamon Brown, who helped, but I feel that both the RG and RT spots can be upgraded. With a solid offseason to improve the right side this year, I think the Giants can field an above average Offensive Line in 2019 for the first time in almost 10 years. You read that right, I had above average and Giants offensive line in the same sentence!
- The 2019 Draft Class looks to have been a home run. The Giants found a star in Saquon Barkley with their first pick. They found a bonafide starter and possible future Pro Bowler in Wil Hernandez in the 2nd Round. Lorenzo Carter and B.J. Hill both flashed a ton of ability as 3rd rounders and look to be a big part of this defense’s revival going forward. The jury is still out on Kyle Lauletta and R.J. McIntosh, as they simply did not have enough playing time. Grant Haley was a solid undrafted rookie free agent signing and should be the teams starting nickle corner going into next year. Any time you come out of a draft with that many contributors, that is absolute a win. Jerry Reese’s draft failures are what got this team in this position, so it was nice to see Gettleman get his first draft right.
- Special Teams improved so much. The Giants have found their kicker of the future in Pro Bowler Aldrick Rosas. Kudos to Gettleman for sticking with Rosas and picking up Riley Dixon, who had an above average year at Punter. The team should feel good about these two positions moving forward.
What Went Wrong
- James Bettcher’s Defense was expected to be the Achilles Heal of this defense. They lived up to the billing. They ranked in the bottom half of the league in Yards Allowed (24th), Sacks (30th), Points Allowed (23rd), and the run defense went to complete crap when Snacks was traded. There was obviously a huge depth problem with this defense and a lot of “Square Pegs in Round Holes”, as Gettleman said in his press conference. Bettcher will get a chance to get his type of players in here next season and will get another shot to turn this around. I have faith that he will. Curtis Riley should have his own category here, but I don’t even want to give him that credit. The dude flat out STUNK. Get some athletes on this defense that can run PLEASE.
- Eli Manning did not take a huge step forward this year. While his stats looked decent on the whole (minus the TD passes), they are pretty deceiving. At this point in his career, Manning looks like an overpaid game manager. Manning had several nice games when the running game was clicking and against bad teams, but seemed to come up short against good defenses or in bad conditions. The biggest issue with Eli is his lack of mobility, which has always been an issue. Behind a bad offensive line, the problem is magnified. Eli had several flashes of brilliance, but overall, left Giant fans always wanting more. When you are getting paid $23 million a year, that can’t be the standard. He may be back next year, but it should be at a lesser dollar amount or with a lot more offensive line help. The Giants will be drafting his successor in either the 2018 or 2019 draft, and yes, it can be done naysayers. They just have to get pick the right guy (easier said than done).
- The Offensive Line got better, yes. The fact that they are listed under this category shows you how much they still need to improve. The unit is still below average, and it only got to this level by adding Jamon Brown during the Bye week while removing both Patrick Omamhe and Ereck Flowers from the team completely. Gettlemen swung and missed hard with Omamhe and that, coupled with trusting Flowers would get better at Right Tackle, were the main reasons this team did not make the playoffs. The offense as a whole performed much more admirably down the stretch, and that directly correlated with an improving OL. The Front Office is on the right track, but there is still a ton of work to do on the Right Side of this line to make it serviceable.
- Overall team depth was severely lacking. That will happen when there is as much turnover as the Giants went through this year. There was little to no serviceable depth at the WR, LB, CB, Offensive Line, and Defensive Line. This will improve with good drafting, but it is the difference between losing teams and winning teams. When injuries and fatigue inevitably set in, you need to have the next man step up. More often than not, the Giants did not have that and there was a big drop-off in talent, especially late in the season.
Clearly, went went wrong outweighed what went right for the 2018 New York Giants. Having said that, I did not see a team that quit on it’s coach and I did see improvement on the offensive side of the ball. This does not feel like the end of 2017, where all seemed lost and there was no direction with this franchise. Culture building is real and it happened in 2018 for the Giants.
I will dive into the offseason after the Super Bowl. The Giant Front Office will have a lot of decisions to make about players on their current roster. Gettleman has never been afraid to make a decision that will make fans and management unhappy, so I trust that there will be no bias in any decision that is made. The Giants will again be in position to make a franchise changing draft pick in 2019, so let us all pray Gettleman can make the right move(s) to get this team back in contention next year.
We deserve a winner Mr. Mara. Let’s make it happen!
Mr. Glass-Half-Full’s Take:
The New York Giants have a ways to go in order to be considered true contenders, but I do believe that Dave Gettleman and Pat Shurmur are the right men for the job. Call it blind faith, or my positive bullshit, but I truly think that this team is headed in the right direction.
The team will be in the same offensive and defensive systems for the 2nd year in a row next year. There will be no more wasted contract signings for the sake of leadership/culture building/teaching other players the new system. The Giants now know what they need and what they have with the current players on the roster.
I think with 2 new starters added to this offensive line and the rest of the resources spent on defense, this team could easily be looking at a 8-9 win season as is. Gettleman and Shurmur expressed the need to build the trenches for this team, and that’s what they should set out to do this offseason. If our future QB falls into our laps this offseason (looking at you Dwayne Haskins), so be it. Just do not force the move.
Hang tight Giant fans. Better times are ahead.
Dictated and Read,
Go Big Blue