Giants-Cowboys: 7 things we learned in awful 20-13 loss

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by liny195 » Fri Dec 07, 2018 4:47 am

to Dallas All those good feelings the New York Giants had throughout the spring and summer are down the drain.All the talk about Pat Shurmur’s ability to build relationships with players. The talk about how well the Giants worked through the spring and summer. The optimism about their potentially explosive offense. Their rebuilt offensive line. The idea that James Bettcher and his attacking defense were going to dictate terms and make life miserable for opposing offenses.All gone.The Giants are 0-2 after Sunday’s disheartening — and brutal for Eli Manning — 20-13 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. A game that wasn’t nearly as close as the score indicated.We have beaten you over the head with the math for days now. Teams that start a season 0-2 in the NFL make the playoffs roughly 11 percent of the time. Thus B.J. Goodson Jersey , the Giants are already staring down the barrel of potentially missing the playoffs for the sixth time in seven years.As I wrote on Sunday morning, that is an eventuality that would call into question everything about the way the Giants approached this season. They are in win-now mode, but so far they aren’t winning. Let’s look at some of the things we learned.The offensive line is a disasterStunts. Blitzes. Four-man rushes. The Giants offensive line couldn’t handle any of it. The combination of Patrick Omameh and Ereck Flowers is a hot mess on the right side. Center Jon Halapio left the game with a massive air cast on his right leg and his season probably over. The big question heading into the season was whether or not the revamped offensive line would be better, or just different than the one the Giants field last season. Right now, the answer isn’t a good one. The Giants aren’t properly picking up blitzes. They aren’t handling stunts. Eli Manning got sacked 6 times, hit 8 more and was largely reduced to dumping the ball off to Saquon Barkley (14 catches, 16 targets). It hasn’t been that the Giants can’t block. It’s that they can’t seem to figure out who they are supposed to block.The much-maligned Flowers did fine with his individual blocking. He and Omameh, though, can’t seem to figure out how to pass off stunts — and teams are taking major advantage.The Giants have emphasized patience with an offensive line that had four new starters and Flowers playing a new position. They are, though, running out of time to figure it out. If, that is, it isn’t already too late.Manning can still take a hitHis 37-year-old body took far too many of them Sunday night. He won’t last the season taking shots like this:Manning even ran quarterback sneaks for two fourth-down conversions. The NBC broadcast said he hadn’t run one of those since 2010.Manning will get destroyed by some for the number of checkdowns he threw. I mean, 16 targets for Saquon Barkley is ridiculous. And yes , while he was running for his life he probably didn’t locate an open receiver or two. Between the pass rush and the way Dallas defended the Giants receivers, though, the checkdown was often all he had.3-13 here we come?Toward the end of Sunday night’s loss, Kim Jones of NFL Network tweeted this about the Giants:Giants fans shouldn’t want to think about that. Through two games, though, the Giants haven’t shown many signs of being very good.The offensive line has been a sieve. The Giants are averaging 14.0 points per game and haven’t even come close to being able to utilize the talented skill position players they have. Without Olivier Vernon they have no pass rush. Is another 3-13 season in the cards? Lord, let’s hope not. Right now, though, the Giants haven’t shown much of anything to feel optimistic about.They can’t defend the read optionWhen New England backup quarterback Danny Etling took a read option 86 yards for a touchdown you could laugh it off with the thought that the defenders on the field at the time probably weren’t making the team anyway.Well, no more laughing. The Giants haven’t got a clue how to defend the read option.Blake Bortles of the Jacksonville Jaguars took one 41 yards last week.Sunday night, daca Prescott ran the play over and over. And found huge patches of daylight nearly every time. He ended up with 7 carries for 45 yards. The Giants face the Houston Texans next Sunday. That means DeShaun Watson. Think he won’t be salivating when he watches the Giants’ futility against running quarterbacks?The Giants need a new centerIt is hard not to feel awful for Halapio. The guy has bounced from team to team since being a sixth-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2014. He even did two stints in the now-defunct Fall Experimental Football League (FXFL) to keep his career alive. The action he saw with the Giants last season was the first in his NFL career. This season marked the first time he opened an NFL season as a starter. Halapio was carted off Sunday night with a full length air cast covering his right leg. No announcement was made, but his season is almost certainly over.Who will play center now?Veteran John Greco took over during the game. Third-year man Stephen Pulley and undrafted free agent rookie Evan Brown have both been inactive the first two games. Pulley started all 16 games at center for the Los Angeles Chargers a year ago. You have to think he might eventually find himself starting for the Giants.Yes, Odell will return puntsPat Shurmur said all along that he would consider using Odell Beckham Jr. as a punt returner. In the third quarter that became a reality. With the Giants trailing 13-3 and needing some type of spark, Beckham was called upon. He only netted 3 yards on his only return of the game Ray-Ray Armstrong Jersey , but I would think that was a sign of things to come. We will see him there again.Saquon the security blanketIn the past the complaint most often heard about the Giants’ offense was that it was too Beckham-centric. Well, not Sunday. Saquon Barkley caught an insane 14 passes on 16 targets. He also ran the ball 11 times. He touched the ball on 25 of 68 offensive plays.Obviously, Barkley is a nice security blanket. The Giants, though, can’t live on checkdowns to Barkley. New York Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles. Two teams, and fan bases, that largely don’t like each other. With a game between the NFC East rivals looming Thursday, let’s venture into enemy territory and learn some things about the Eagles. Brandon Lee Gowton of Bleeding Green Nation answers our 5 questions.Ed: What is your assessment of the Eagles thus far? I thought they would win this division in a cakewalk, and they still might, but I’m surprised to see them at 2-3.Brandon: It’s safe to say the reigning Super Bowl champs have been a disappointment through the first five games of the season. This has been a team that just can’t stop shooting themselves in the foot. Take their most recent loss to the Vikings for example. After finally starting to string a promising drive together, Lane Johnson allows Carson Wentz to get strip-sacked and Linval Joseph recovers for a touchdown. Then they get another drive going and actually move into the red zone but Jay Ajayi fumbles at the 5-yard line. The Eagles recover a fumble at the Vikings’ 30-yard line with a chance to take the lead and then proceed to knock themselves out of scoring range by taking an illegal formation penalty followed by a grounding call. Mistakes are always going to happen during the game but it feels like the Eagles continue to make theirs at the worst times. Part of the reason the Eagles haven’t been able to get out of their own way is they have a number of position groups that are underperforming. The offensive line is arguably the biggest disappointment in this regard. After having one of the best lines in the league last season, Philly’s front is suddenly struggling to protect Carson Wentz. The third-year quarterback has been sacked 12 times and hit 27 times during his first three games back from ACL injury. I certainly don’t need to lecture Giants fans on the importance of offensive line play.Jim Schwartz’s defense isn’t off the hook, either. The Eagles’ secondary has been far too leaky. Philadelphia ranks 26th in big-play rate allowed. In the Eagles’ past two games, opposing quarterbacks have combined for 60/80 (75% completion) Janoris Jenkins Jersey , 645 yards (8.1 average), 4 TD, 1 INT, and a 98.8 passer rating. Put simply, the Eagles just aren’t playing like a good team right now.Ed: How much are they hurt by the loss of Jay Ajayi, and if the Eagles are indeed interested in a LeSean McCoy reunion is that something you would be in favor of?Brandon: Losing Jay Ajayi is significant because he’s the Eagles’ most talented running back, when healthy. The problem is he hasn’t been healthy this year. Prior to tearing his ACL, he suffered a fractured bone in his back during Week 2. I don’t know how he managed to play through both that AND a torn ACL against the Vikings, but that just goes to show you he’s one tough dude.Ajayi is the Eagles’ leading rusher this season with 184 carries and three touchdowns on 45 attempts. He hasn’t been Philly’s most efficient ball-carrier, though. Surprisingly, fourth-string running back Wendell Smallwood leads the team in rush average at 6.0. In addition to his 150 yards on 25 carries, he’s logged 10 receptions for 96 yards and one score. He’s far from an elite back but he deserves some credit for stepping up.With Smallwood playing well and Corey Clement returning, I’m not ready to flat out panic about the Eagles’ running back situation. Those guys can be at least solid behind an Eagles offensive line that’s struggled in pass protection but has looked good while run blocking. But there’s certainly a lot of room to improve and getting a top weapon like Le’Veon Bell or LeSean McCoy would be really nice right now. The Eagles’ offense rank 28th in big-play rate. They need more play-makers.From a football standpoint, I think McCoy could make sense for the Eagles depending on the cost. From a personal standpoint Kerry Wynn Jersey , I don’t love the idea of rooting on McCoy given all the off-field stuff that’s going on with him.Ed: Where do you think the Eagles have a clear advantage in this game?Brandon: Well, in theory the Eagles’ defensive line should be able to get to Eli Manning. The Giants’ offensive line ranks 24th overall by Pro Football Focus. Football Outsiders, meanwhile, has New York ranked 31st in run blocking and 26th in adjusted sack rate. It seems like the Giants should struggle against an Eagles pass rush that’s generating the highest percent of plays where the opposing quarterback has been under pressure (57%), per PFF. The Eagles could very well make life difficult on Eli Manning and force him into some bad throws and/or sacks.Ed: Where do you think the Giants could have an advantage?Brandon: On the other hand, the Eagles’ pass rush didn’t really faze the Giants last year. Manning had two of his best games of the season against Philly. The Giants were able to get the ball out quick and it felt like the Eagles couldn’t stop the same slant route that the Giants were running over and over. The Giants should even be more difficult to defend now that Odell Beckham Jr. is back. You can be Pat Shurmur will try to get OBJ matched up against Eagles starting cornerback Jalen Mills, who has struggled this season. During last year’s Week 3 Eagles-Giants game, Mills was targeted a whopping 21 TIMES. New York saw a weakness and they tried to exploit it. It wouldn’t surprise me to see them go after Mills again this year.Ed: If you could have one player off the Giants roster for the Eagles NOT named Saquon Barkley or Odell Beckham, who would you take?Brandon: I’ll take Landon Collins. The Eagles are dangerously thin at safety right now with Rodney McLeod out for the season and veteran backup Corey Graham now dealing with a hamstring issue. Philadelphia’s three healthy safeties include: Malcolm Jenkins, Avonte Maddox, and Deiondre’ Hall. Jenkins is obviously a great player. Maddox isn’t even a real safety. The rookie cornerback never played on the back end of the defense until two weeks ago. The Eagles acquired Hall during final cuts and he hasn’t seen any defensive playing time despite the fact Philly is depleted at safety. Collins would fill the Eagles’ biggest need. I also considered Damon Harrison because he’s dominant and the Eagles are getting nothing out of their defensive tackles not named Fletcher Cox. Sterling Shepard would also help an Eagles wide receiving corps that’s not giving the team a ton right now.
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by velirr » Fri Jul 12, 2019 6:31 pm

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