Cardinals 25 - Giants 14
In a word: “Disappointing”. The Giants are not going to outplay many teams this year, but when they do they can’t lose the game.
The Giants did themselves in with dropped balls, turnovers, bad special teams, bad penalties and a one-minute sequence where they allowed a long punt return for a touchdown, and then fumbled away the ensuing kickoff.
Trying to be optimistic, Eli Manning showed he was not washed up. He threw very few bad passes all night and actually had some time to throw. If not for the drops, his stats would have been very good. He threw 2 TD passes. Of his two interceptions, once was meaningless in final seconds and one was a little fluky when it hit a helmet and bounced off. The running game however has still not gotten in shape.
Even more surprising to this column is that column favorite, rookie Andre Williams has shown very little. Tight End, thought to be a trouble spot, has been a bright spot with the unexpected development of Larry Donnell. For the second week in a row he led the team in catches and is quickly becoming a favorite target of Manning. Cruz on the other hand is being exposed for what he really is, a #2 receiver who thrives when Hakeem Nicks is being double covered, but not when he is in the position of a #1 receiver with attention from the opposing defense.
On defense, Damontre Moore got double the plays, and applied some pressure, but was overwhelmed by the size of the Cardinal LT. JPP played a great game against the run, and finished with 1.5 sacks. However his pass pressure is still not back to 2012 levels. At least one sack was through very good fortune.
Jonathan Hankins was a monster in the middle. The Cards run game did ok, but it was all on the outside. Hankins clogs the middle quite well. The LB play has not been great. Rookie Devon Kennard needs to get back. Beason got reinjured but was playing great before that. Paysinger should probably be seeing more playing time.
The secondary played reasonably well yesterday as well, but did allow too many third and long completions.
Unlike in the Lions game, the Giants looked like an NFL team that could compete at this level. Next week’s opponent, the Texans, will be interesting, as they look more like the 2012 version than the 2013 version.
As expected the Giants looked awful last night. Their offense could not run or pass the ball. Eli once again did not take care of the ball. Mostly the offensive line got pushed around making it impossible to do much on offense. On paper the defense didn’t do much better, but I have more confidence in the defense. The Giants did a nice job of shutting down the run, and many of the successful Lions pass plays were on broken plays when a scrambling Stafford found a late breaking receiver.
While they really miss Will Hill, there is still hope for the defense. The pass rush needs to improve. To that point I found it shocking that Damontre Moore got so little playing time. It was like he was put in the dog house after the first quarter. I wonder if there is a story behind that. JPP played the run well, but didn’t get much of a pass rush. He just doesn’t have that same burst from a couple of years ago. On another note his hypochondriac thing is getting old. He goes down to the ground waiting for the medical trainers once a game. Jon Hankins played well, as expected, and Rolle was all over the place. Jacquian Williams didn’t impress, and neither did McClain. I wonder if Paysinger may be better than Williams (I’d give it another game or two), and would love to see the rookie Kennard take over for McClain.
While Andre Williams didn’t fare too well, he didn’t have much of an opportunity. He did blow one play where he was supposed to run into the flat for a pass and he stayed too close to the middle, forcing Manning to throw it away. Still, Jennings was the very definition of mediocrity and Williams needs to get more playing time. His potential is meaningfully higher. In general, it is obvious this is not a playoff team, and the Giants should not wait any longer. They need to start playing the younger guys now.
The Giants have had a horrific pre-season. Their 5-0 record was deceiving as the starters continually got destroyed. The offense in particular was non-existent as was the pass rush on defense.
Since the pre-season started, they lost their best athlete on offense (David Wilson to injury /retirement), their best athlete on defense (Will Hill – drug related, cut), their top offensive signee to short term injury (Geoff Schwartz), their expected comeback player of the year (Chris Snee to injury / retirement), their #1 Draft Pick (Odell Beckham) has not been healthy, and their former # 1 receiver Hakeem Nicks looked dominant against the Giants in a pre-season game. Ironically, this new faster paced offense, where you get the ball to a receiver short and let him run after the catch, would have been a great for his skills. The offensive line, a liability last year, may actually be worse. It’s hard to be optimistic about this team.
Having said that, here is what could go right:
Andre Williams looks legit. I know they brought in Jennings as their “Bell cow” but I am hoping /expecting Williams to be their feature back by the end of the year. On defense, Damontre Moore continues to show progress, and I can see him being a dominant lineman. If those two are allowed to contribute, it could help significantly. Beason is coming back from his pre-season injury shoring up the defense. Much is then riding on JPP becoming anything close to his 2011 form. He didn’t show much in preseason, but his opportunities were limited and he claims to be fully healthy (and in a contract year). The pass defense looks improved with good secondary signees.
Overall, I expect the defense to be above average and the offense to be bad. It could get better as the season goes on as they learn the offense and Schwartz comes back from injury, but a year from now we will be reading about whether the Giants should be keeping Manning and if so at what price. There is no way he gets another $20m a year contract.
I was thinking it was an 8-8 team prior to the pre-season. As mentioned above, much went wrong.
Some of it permanent, and some just surprised me (how bad Manning has looked).
This is a 4-12 quality team with a very easy schedule, so they will win 6 games.
Ari has been an avid Giants fan since 1979. He attends many home games and has attended the Giants last 2 Superbowl victories. This blog will talk about anything related to the New York Giants. Ari also blogs about the New York Knicks, at http://www.ariglassknicksblog.com