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June 28, 2022

10 reasons the Giants will be a dumpster fire this season

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062722JohnMara2 Danielle Parhizkaran/USA TODAY NETWORK

John Mara sneers disapprovingly at a touchdown dance, worrying that the young player's rebellious spirit will shake up the populace.

This week, all week long, we're taking a negative look at each of the teams in the NFC East, in detail. On Monday we roasted the Dallas Cowboys. Today we'll poke fun at the New York Giants.

To note, we will not be talking about the positives of any of the Eagles' NFC East rivals, because, well, that's no fun. This will be 100 percent vitriolic. And yes, we'll get to the Eagles as well at the end of the series.

1) The Giants are a laughingstock and their owner doesn't know what he's doing

If you think I'm not going to make fun of the 2021 Giants because they hired a new head coach and general manager, you are sorely mistaken. Hilarious things happened with this disgraceful team last season, and they need to be laughed at. So let's review the highlights (or lowlights if you're a Giants fan) in chronological order:

Training camp: Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett had this odd interaction with the media.

It's hard to say if he was demanding to be called "coach," or if he was giving reporters a lesson in manners by urging them to respond after he said that it was good to see them. Either way, what a weirdo talking that way to grown men and women.

Week 1: Joe Judge set the tone for what was to come in the Giants' 2021 season, when he challenged a non-challengeable play. 

He thought a Broncos receiver stepped out of bounds before getting into the end zone, except he clearly scored and it probably took the NFL all of 2 seconds to confirm the TD. The officials ignored Judge's complaints from the sideline, so Judge threw his challenge flag as the Broncos were attempting the PAT, because he's a gigantic crybaby who was unhappy that he didn't get to have his say before the officials moved the game forward.

The PAT was good, but you could hear whistles on the TV feed during the kick, because they reacted to Judge throwing the flag.

Initially, the referee announced that you can't challenge a scoring play because they're automatically reviewed, etc., but then they also had to discuss whether the PAT had to be re-kicked. It seemed that they ultimately decided (without actually saying so), "No, screw that crybaby. He's not going to benefit here by forcing a re-kick." So the PAT just counted even though referees were blowing their whistles during the play. Lol. It's kinda slow and boring, but you can watch the whole thing here:

Week 2: In a primetime game on Thursday night, Washington missed a field goal at the end of regulation, giving the Giants a win. Oops, but no wait, Dexter Lawrence jumped offsides, giving the then Football Team another chance for the win. On the second attempt, they didn't miss. It was an instant "piss the game away" classic.

Some Giants homers tried to push the idea that Lawrence didn't jump offsides. He did.

Lawrence also tried to claim that he felt he didn't jump early, though his attempt to stop moving forward in the video above proves otherwise. Whatever. Who cares.

Anyway, many made the point at the time that Judge's messaging throughout his entire Giants' coaching tenure was that his team was going to be all about discipline, and in the first two weeks of the season he temper tantrum-challenged a non-challengeable play and one of his players jumped offsides on a game-deciding field goal attempt.

Side note: Kenny Golladay was caught by cameras yelling at Jason Garrett during this game.

Week 3: After the Falcons kicked a game-winning field goal to beat the Giants, there was a loud bang in the hallway of the press box. Apparently owner John Mara had kicked a couple of trash cans. 

Ryan Dunleavy of the New York Post snapped a picture of them. The side-by-side combatant pictures of the frowny-faced Mara and the fallen trash cans — as if they are celebrities who were dating but are now going through a rough breakup — is Pulitzer worthy.

Seriously, that's my favorite image of the 2021 season.

Week 14: Prior to a home game against the Cowboys, the Giants, who were 4-9 at the time, announced that its fans would be treated to "Fan Appreciation Day." Oh? How would they be appreciated? 

With a free medium Pepsi!

Except, when some fans tried to get their medium Pepsi, they were told that only the season ticket account holder could collect on the medium Pepsi offer, not just anyone with a ticket. In other words, if you owned several season tickets, under one account, you only got one free medium Pepsi.

Week 17: Then there was Judge's press conference rant after a Week 17 loss to the Bears, during which he said the Giants "ain't some clown show organization," in addition to making up some nonsense about players around the league begging to play for him:

I have some advice here for anyone of you reading this, not just Joe Judge and the Giants: Whether you think you’re involved in a clown show or not, never actually say out loud, “This ain't some clown show.” It will only make others suspect that a clown show is afoot.

Week 18: And finally, in his coup de grace against Washington, Judge had the offense run QB sneaks on second and third downs from inside their own five yard line. Here's the second sneak:

I love that there was a clear false start by Devontae Booker on that play, and the officials just ignored it because who cares. After the game, Zack Rosenblatt asked Judge about the sneaks.

Did you listen? "We wanted to give ourselves room for the punt," he said. "We did that. We gave ourselves room for the punt." 🤣🤣🤣

Free idea for any enterprising Giants fans: You know how Eagles fans wear "PHILLY SPECIAL" t-shirts with X's and O's of the play call? Like this?


You should make your own "ROOM FOR THE PUNT" t-shirts. A mockup: 


That idea, my friends, is on the house.

Since 2017, the Giants are tied for the worst record in the NFL with the New York Jets, at 22-59 (0.272), with a point total differential of -530. Judge is gone, and so is Dave Gettleman, way later than he should have been. But before Judge, there was Pat Shurmur, who was an even worse head coaching hire, and before Shurmur there was Ben McAdoo. Since 2016, Mara has hired four head coaches or general managers and they've all been outright disasters.

Giants fans are already sold on new GM Joe Schoen and new head coach Brian Daboll, just as most were once upon a time with Gettleman, McAdoo, Shurmur, and Judge.

In the NFC East, Mara is overshadowed by the reprehensible Dan Snyder and the attention-seeking Jerry Jones, and so his badness has flown under the radar. He's probably best known for spearheading the NFL's extremely unpopular emphasis on eliminating taunting. He's responsible for calls like this:

He should probably also be getting more scrutiny for fielding the worst team in the NFL the last half decade.

Oh man, I still have nine to go? 

2) Was Brian Daboll the best coaching candidate for this job?

Daboll has been credited with helping develop Josh Allen from an uber-talented but raw prospect into the elite quarterback he has become. He has also coordinated an offense that has finished with the following rankings since he became the Bills' OC in 2018:

Bills O under Daboll DVOA - offense DVOA - pass DVOA - run 
2018 31 31 29 
2019 21 20 19 
2020 22 
2021 10 13 

As you can see, there's tangible improvement. Part of that has been the stable coaching staff that has been in place in Buffalo, but probably the bigger reason is that they have gotten much better players over that span.

Daboll has also had three short stints as the offensive coordinator of three other teams in a span of four years:

 Brian Daboll other OC jobsDVOA - offense DVOA - pass DVOA - run 
2009 - Browns 24 29 13 
2010 - Browns 21 22 16 
2011 - Dolphins 20 18 28 
2012 - Chiefs 31 32 23 

Those four teams went a combined 18-46. The quarterbacks who started for Daboll during those years were Brady Quinn, Derek Anderson, Colt McCoy, Jake Delhomme, Seneca Wallace, Matt Moore, Chad Henne and Matt Cassel.

Daboll had success with the ultra-talented quarterback in Allen (though it took some time). He did not have success with the less talented quarterbacks that he has worked with. So I guess that raises the question, "Are Daniel Jones and the Giants' offense more like Josh Allen and the Bills' offenses, or closer to the other quarterbacks and the offenses Daboll coached at his other stops?" That's for you to decide, but I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that Buffalo's good players are the biggest reason Buffalo is good.

In many ways, Daboll is like two of the Giants' last three failed coaching hires, in that they were considered quarterback gurus. Ben McAdoo was Aaron Rodgers' quarterbacks coach before the Giants hired him as their offensive coordinator, and once in the building, he was reportedly thought of as "a young Andy Reid." Shurmur's biggest selling point to the Giants in 2018 was that he coaxed a great season out of journeyman Case Keenum in Minnesota in 2017.

Daboll is also kinda-sorta the Giants' second consecutive "Bill Belichick hire," after they whiffed on Judge. Daboll got his start in the pros under Belichick in 2000 as a defensive assistant and coached in New England for a total of 12 years.

So, you know, there are parallels. Of course, Daboll was chosen over former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who somehow led the Dolphins to a 24-25 record over the last three seasons despite being dealt an often-dreadful roster. His aggressive defensive scheme often confused and battered opposing quarterbacks and helped serve as something of an equalizer against more talented teams. He was a surprise firing at the end of Miami's 2021 season.

Thinking he had a real chance for the Giants' head coaching job prior to an interview, Flores received a text from Belichick, who congratulated him on earning the Giants' job, except, uhhhhh, boomer Belichick got his Brians confused, and thought he was texting Daboll.


Flores subsequently sued the NFL, the Giants (for allegedly setting up a sham interview), the Dolphins (for a litany of offenses), the Broncos (again, alleged sham interview), and later the Texans (dropped from consideration for a coaching job because of the lawsuit). If you're into all that legal mumbo jumbo, it's all here.

Maybe Daboll will be a good head coach. It's impossible to predict. But to me, it's smells a lot like the "same old same old."

3) They don't have good players

The Giants haven't had a player make First-Team All-Pro since 2016. 

In the last three seasons, they have only had two players make the Pro Bowl:

  1. James Bradberry, 2020
  2. Evan Engram, 2020

Good Lord, how did Engram get in? Anyway, both of those guys are on other teams now. Of the players still on the Giants' roster, they only have four Pro Bowl appearances among them.

Golladay, Williams, and Gano all made their Pro Bowls while playing for other teams.

I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that the worst team in the league over the last five years doesn't have many players to be celebrated.

4) The Giants don't think much of Daniel Jones anymore

Daniel Jones showed some promise early in 2021. In his first four games he completed 66.7 percent of his passes, he averaged almost 300 passing yards per game, he averaged 8.2 yards per pass attempt, and he ran for 188 yards and 2 TDs.

Over his last seven games before he was lost for the season with a neck injury, he, uh, wasn't able to keep up that level of play.

 Daniel Jones, 2021Comp-Att (%) Yards (YPA) TD-INT Rating 
First 4 games 96-144 (66.7%) 1184 (8.2) 4-1 98.3 
Last 7 games 136-217 (62.7%) 1244 (5.3) 6-6 75.9 

Some of those INTs were egregiously bad. Like this: 

Or this: 

Or this: 

Or this: 

Lol, who was that last one even intended for? His center?

In January, Mara said the Giants have done everything possible to screw Jones up, which is certainly true. Whether the Giants truly think he can play is another story. They obviously have their doubts, as they did not exercise his fifth-year option, an obvious but telling decision.

5) The wide receivers are underachievers

The Giants had some downright sad production from their wide receivers in 2021:

 Giants WRsRec Yards TD 
Kenny Golladay 37 521 
Kadarius Toney 39 420 
Sterling Shepard 36 366 
Darius Slayton 26 339 
John Ross 11 224 
Collin Johnson 11 105 
Dante Pettis 10 87 
C.J. Board 51 
Pharoah Cooper 33 
David Sills 17 
TOTAL 180 2163 

In fairness, they had Jones, Mike Glennon and Jake Fromm throwing to them, and they had Joe Judge calling QB sneaks in second and third down from inside their own five yard line.

Still, if you combined the Giants' 10 receivers into one mega-receiver, combining all of its stats, it would have ranked 40th in the NFL in receiving touchdowns, and would have only out-gained Cooper Kupp by 216 yards.

Last offseason, the Giants signed Golladay to a four-year deal worth $72 million, and $40 million guaranteed. At the time, that contract tied him with the Chiefs' Tyreek Hill and the Browns' Odell Beckham Jr. as the sixth-highest paid wide receivers (based on AAV) in the NFL. The Giants gave Golladay that contract even after an injury-riddled 2020 season in which he had 20 catches for 338 yards and two TDs. Yes, I know, Gettleman is gone.

Toney had a monster game against the Cowboys, catching 10 passes for 189 yards, before getting ejected for throwing a punch:

For one week Giants fans had reason to be interested in a promising young player. It was short-lived, as Toney had 19 catches for 139 yards (7.3 YPC) the entire rest of the season. He then skipped voluntary workouts in April.

6) How about at tight end? Anyone there to take some of the pressure off of the receivers?

Pro Bowl tight end 😂  Evan Engram left for Jacksonville. While he was often a drop machine, he was still the best tight end the Giants had. So who's left?

Well, the Giants drafted Daniel Bellinger out of San Diego State in the fourth round. Otherwise, they have Ricky Seals-Jones and someone named Jordan Akins. Does that do anything for anyone?

7) The cornerbacks have very little experience

Adoree Jackson is a fine as a starting cornerback, though I'm not sure he's a true CB1 that you can count on to mirror each opposing team's best receiver. Jackson aside, all of the Giants' other cornerbacks have a combined 14 career NFL starts. None of them individually have more than 4 career starts.

Also, who is starting at safety opposing Xavier McKinney? Julian Love? Rookie fourth-round pick Dane Belton? 😬

8) The offensive line still probably won't be good

Giants fans are PUMPED that their offensive line is finally fixed after the Giants added Evan Neal and Joshua Ezeudu in the draft, as well as Jon Feliciano and Mark Glowinski in free agency. The offensive line is projected to look like this in 2022:

Andrew Thomas Joshua Ezeudu Jon Feliciano Mark Glowinski Evan Neal 

Settle down, guy/gals. The line is better (hard to get much worse), but it has a ways to go. 

Glowinski scored a three-year deal worth $18.3 million this offseason. While I understand the desire to fix the offensive line immediately, I'd be looking for players who can grow with the team as it begins its journey back from rock bottom. I would not be signing a 30-year-old like Glowinski, who may or may not even be a great short-term fix, much less a long-term solution.

Feliciano, meanwhile, formerly played for Daboll in Buffalo, so I get wanting a center who already knows the offense, but again we're talking about a 30-year-old Band-Aid here.

As for the rookies, Neal may very well become a stud. We'll see. He could also struggle as a rookie, as Thomas did. Ezeudu will have to win the starting job in camp, and if he does, again, we'll see.

But the one thing that is certain is that the Giants will have almost no continuity whatsoever along their line, which is a pretty big deal in the NFL.

9) I guess we should mention Saquon Barkley

It sucks that Barkley will probably never be the same runner that he was as a rookie, because he was so fun to watch:

The unfortunate reality is that after returning from a torn ACL suffered early in the 2020 season, thus having ample time to recover, Barkley averaged just 3.7 yards per carry and 6.4 yards per reception in 2021.

10) There are so many other really bad teams

Wait, why is that a bad thing? Well, for the Giants' future beyond the 2022 season, it's not great. There are only two acceptable outcomes for the Giants in 2022:

  1. If they're somehow good 😂
  2. If they're like 3-14 and they land the first or second overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft.

If they improve this season and they're merely "regular bad" as opposed to the laughingstock embarrassment they were in 2021, they may not be in a position to land a top quarterback in 2023.

The Giants aren't the only really bad team out there. You also have the Bears, Falcons, Panthers, Seahawks, Lions, Texans, Jets, and arguments could be made for others. They're all strong contenders for high draft picks.

There are also currently five teams with two first-round picks in 2023. They are, in order of 2022 draft positioning:

  1. Lions
  2. Texans
  3. Seahawks
  4. Dolphins
  5. Eagles

Every one of those teams could have a need for a quarterback next offseason, and will have maneuverability to trade up.

Teams that have enough talent to at least be mediocre without an ideal quarterback are thought to be in "NFL purgatory." Somehow, even with having the worst record in the NFL over the last five years combined, the Giants have picked higher than fourth overall just once during that span (and they took a running back, lol). They could be picking outside the top five or so again in 2023 even if they're awful. That's not purgatory. The Giants wish they were in purgatory. They're in more of an "NFL Extended Stay Hell."

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