What the Giants must improve if they want to show they are more than a mirage

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There were six then.

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And the giants are among them.

This teaser, back on Labor Day, is likely to have fans groaning for another season riding in the non-contender lane. To ask which specific club would the Giants expect to be in game two in a season, possibly a resounding response: Are the teams looking for their first win?

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General Manager Joe Schoen and coach Brian Dabol may have begun to sense potential and build a promising vision for the future, but both also noted that this is a situation in which the process is going to trump production. . This is going to take time, he warned.

But maybe not as much as one expected.

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The Giants are one of six teams with a perfect 2–0 record, joining some expected fast starts (Bills, Buccaneers, Chiefs) and some unexpected ones (Dolphins, Eagles). The Giants would love to be judged by the company they keep.

This situation brings to mind the words of the franchise’s vice-chancellor, Wellington Mara, on January 14, 2001. Their Giants were a two-point underdog that day, but lost 41–0 to the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game. With the Giants Stadium crowd still whipping into a frenzy for the trophy presentation after the game, Mara stepped on the microphone and gave a lot of speeches,

“This team was referred to in the National Football League as the worst team ever to take the lead on home turf. And today, in our field of painted clay, we proved that we’ve won the NFC Championship so far. Worst team ever. In two weeks, we’re going to try to be the worst team ever to win the Super Bowl.”

General Manager Joe Shoen and coach Brian Dabol said this season will be judged more on process than production.
Charles Weinzelberg/New York Post

Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Two weeks later at Super Bowl XXXV in Tampa, the “worst team” theme hit very close to home for the Giants after a 34–7 loss to the Ravens.

This season is not that, of course. The Giants are, in fact, 2-0 for the first time in seven seasons, but that shouldn’t entertain the illusion that they’ll be able to hang out with the big boys as the leaves begin to fall. It is not unreasonable to declare that they are the 2-0 worst team in the league.

That doesn’t mean that this surprising debut won’t have potential value in helping Dabol set a strong foundation for the future. And although there’s really nothing not to like about this group, the rooster doesn’t have the necessary quality to live in the rarefied air.

There can be no better example than watching the passing games of six undefeated teams. Tom Brady is, naturally, part of the pack. So are the young and brightest talents Patrick Mahomes and Josh Allen. Top-5 draft pick Tua Tagovailoa is finally coming into gear with the Dolphins, and leads the NFL with 739 passing yards. And Jalen Hirts is proving skeptics wrong in her second year in Philly, developing into a legitimate pass-run threat.

And there’s Daniel Jones.

The figures tell the rest of the story.

The Giants average 20 points per game, pretty smack-dab in the middle of the league (15th of 32). His 318 net passing yards per game ranks 31st.

Yes, Jones eased the stretch in wins at the Titans in Nashville (21-20) and the Giants in the home opener (19-16). And he has three touchdown passes and one interception, while with a passer rating of 99.4, the eighth-best in the NFL. But he is ESPN’s QBR. 28th in An adjusted total quarterback rating that considers the strength of opposing defenses faced by the quarterback.

    Legendary quarterback Daniel Jones (8) went under pressure in the third quarter.
Daniel Jones has given the Giants a decent start, but some of his stats suggest that his productivity is the result of poor defense play.
bill costroun

To be fair, Jones’ primary targets were Richie James, Sterling Shepard and David Sills, who are troubling. Even more worrying is that two games, Kadarius Toni and Kenny Gollade, were non-factors. Tony played seven shots in the opener. Goladay played two scenes in Week 2. Dabol’s spouses are a big part of their culture, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But getting the most out of the best players is also a skill, and the rookie head coach needs to get more out of Tony and Gollade to rise from the bottom of the pile.

Goladay has been in some kind of funk since training camp. He is being paid $13 million this season and calculates $21.2 million against the salary cap. This can go one of two ways for him: either he grows out of it and his play time increases, or he slips into the notoriety of becoming a healthy scratcher on game days.

It’s also possible that something else is at work here. After recovering from a hip injury with the Lions in 2020 and dealing with multiple leg problems last season with the Giants, 28-year-old Goladay may be physically limited.

After a disappointing rookie season, Tony seems more mature and respected when he’s sitting at his locker. That’s all well and good, but the Giants need to look great on the field after spending a first-round pick on him a year ago.

Whatever the reason, Dabol has so far shown no confidence in Golladay and Tony as they would have received most of the photos if he did.

New York Giants Kadarius Tony runs with the ball during the first half of an NFL football game against the Carolina Panthers on Sunday, September 18, 2022 in East Rutherford, NJ.
Kadarius has been a non-factor in the passing game of the Tony Giants, with two catches on three goals in the first two games.
AP

So far, the ongoing game has picked up the slack. The Giants rank fifth in the NFL with 170.5 yards rushing per game (which bodes well for Saxon Barkley in his contract year). But with teams like the Browns, Eagles, Lions and 49ers ahead of the giants in the team race, it suggests that the top running teams aren’t always the top teams.

Jones, of course, is also in his contract year, as this new regime opted out of his fifth year. Marching orders for the quarterback begin with a game win, and Jones has two games 2–0. His offensive line is clearly not impenetrable, but it has improved. Barkley is healthy and strong. So far, Jones has done more to lose them than to win games. But the receivers need to take it, especially Tony. Going forward, the pitch-and-catch aspect of the offense will have to get a whole lot better.

serving notice

In a strange quirk of the schedule, the Giants face the Eagles, a team not in their own division, during Week 14 until December 11. They then face their opponent again four weeks later to close out the season.

Out of mind does not mean being out of mind.

The Eagles put on a show in their 24-7 beatdown of the Vikings on Monday night, and joined the Giants over the NFC East. A case can be made that the Giants might be able to hang on to the division race with the Cowboys losing quarterback Dak Prescott for a while and the Commander plunging into mediocrity again.

Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Harts (1) passes the ball against the Minnesota Vikings during the first quarter at Lincoln Financial Field.
The development of Jalen Harts into a quarterback who can damage the defense in the air as well as on the ground could change the NFC East hierarchy.
USA TODAY SPORTS

However, the way the Hearts played in Week 2 could be a warning shot that the Eagles are the team to beat. He completed 84 percent of his passes for 333 yards and a touchdown and ran for two more TDs. His legs and athletic ability were never in question in his first two NFL seasons. If his hand and decision making is going to be a big advantage in Year 3, the Eagles don’t have too many holes.

“He’s put in a lot of work,” said Eagles coach Nick Siriani. ,[The game is] slowing down. But it must be right? — at this point. He is in his process ahead, and we are talking about getting better every day and he lives. He is one of our captains, one of our leaders, and he lives up to the principle of getting better every day. So you’re seeing big improvements. It’s because of the type of person and the type of player he is

asked and answered

Here are two questions that have popped up recently that we’ll try to answer as accurately as possible:

Looks like the defensive backfield is playing well. Has anyone surprised you back there?

We all suspected Safari was solid, and probably a lot better than that. Xavier McKinney and Julian Love haven’t disappointed yet. We also suspected that No. 2 cornerback and slot corner might be an area of ​​concern, and, in game two, this remains the case, although Darne Holmes has shown signs that he could handle the job as a nickel back. – As long as he stops holding a penalty late in the game.

New York Giants cornerback Adori Jackson (22) breaks a pass to Carolina Panthers wide receiver DJ Moore (2) and nearly intercepts it during the first half when the New York Giants beat the Carolina Panthers Sunday, September 18, 2022 at Citi Field had played in.  In East Rutherford, NJ.
After a lackluster first season with the Giants, Adori’s pass has become nearly impossible against Jackson, allowing one catch in two games.
Robert Sabo

A player who has been excellent is a player who should be excellent: Adori Jackson. He’s CB1, but he entered a season beset with questions about whether he could fill that role. Well, he hasn’t missed a single snap in two games and his pace has shined through several times. What has been surprising is how aggressive Jackson has been, especially in his dealings at run support. He was never known for it when he played for Titans or played in his Giants debut last year. Maybe it’s the Wink Martindale effect. The new defensive coordinator demands physical play from everyone on the field, and Jackson obliges. He dropped one catch against the Titans and did not drop a single catch against the Panthers. Quite good.

Will the defense look dramatically different when Kayvan Thibodaux and Aziz Oljuari return from injuries?

Thibodaux (knee) has a chance to play against the Cowboys on Monday night. It looks like the ozulari (calf) is at least a week away. The Giants are eager to field these two young outside linebackers. Martindale has done a decent job of putting pressure on the opposing quarterback, but he needs real edge rushers to win over the line of scrimmage and drop pockets more quickly than he’s been able to do the first two games.

New York Giants linebacker Jihad Ward #55 shouts during the first half against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on September 11, 2022 in Nashville, Tennessee.
When Kyvan Thibodaux returns from injury, Jihad Ward’s job leading the Giants’ run defense should be made a bit easier.
Getty Images

At this point, there are only a few players who are every-snap or almost-every-snap players on defense: Love, McKinney, Jackson and defensive end Jihad Ward. The return of Thibodox should reduce Ward’s workload. Martindale loves Ward from his time with the Ravens, and Ward is an excellent run defender who can set the lead. Thibodaux’s return will also help cover for the absence of defensive lineman Leonard Williams (Knee), who appears to be out for at least a few weeks. Still, it’s important to remember that Thibodaux is a rookie and there will be a learning curve. Don’t expect a sack parade from day one. But he was also the No. 5 overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and the Giants believe he could be a difference-maker in the form of a pass rusher.

Credit: nypost.com /

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