It’s not been a good start to the 2020 season for the New York Football Giants, falling 0-2 on the season, and yesterday losing their most important piece to an ACL injury that will likely end his season. So with Saquon down, what comes next for New York?
When you’re a young quarterback, a work horse, reliable running back is your absolute best friend in the NFL. When you have a guy you can depend on, to keep his legs churning, and earn you a first down, and some yards after contact, the pressure on the quarterback is significantly reduced. And that is exactly what Saquon has been for Daniel Jones since he landed with the Giants.
As a rookie, Saquon Barkley set three franchise records with the Giants. Most rushing touchdowns (11), most rushing yards (1,307) and most total touchdowns (15). The offensive rookie of the year has quickly become the identity of the Giants team, but that’s all about to change. Yikes.
The worst possible sight
Nobody ever wants to see injuries in the NFL, especially when it’s one of the superstars. You tune into the Chiefs to watch Mahomes and Hill and Kelce, the Cardinals for Kyler, Bucs for Brady, Packers for Rodgers, Jets for…
The point is, you want to see these guys play and perform well, leaping over dudes and making crazy catches, throwing bombs down the field. So whenever a star of the league gets hurt it’s a real shame, and yesterday was absolutely relentless in the injury department. Drew Lock, Jimmy G, Nick Bosa, Davante Adams, Malik Hooker, rookie Cam Akers, Courtland Sutton, some elite talent, all down and didn’t return to the game. But the most impactful loss for me, is Saquon Barkley for the season. Drew Lock will miss a few weeks with a shoulder issue, and Jimmy G probably around the same time, with a high ankle sprain. Obviously as quarterbacks their impact is powerful, but they’ll be back. Losing Saquon Barkley for the season with a torn ACL puts the Giants in trouble.
Life without him?
With Barkley out, the Giants will have to look to Dion Lewis. Yesterday Lewis managed 20 yards and a touchdown on 10 carries, which at 2 yards per carry isn’t going to cut it, especially for a struggling offence. Behind Lewis they’ve only got Wayne Gallman, who since being drafted in 2017, has slowly become less and less involved.
The team is currently dead last in the NFL running the ball (52 yards per game). Yes behind the Jets and Adam Gase, who notoriously hates running the ball in general. So when they’re playing like total shit, and you’re still behind them in rushing yards per game, you’re in trouble.
The Giants have ex Falcons running back Devonta Freeman coming in for a work out, immediately addressing the key concern for their offence, and hopefully between him and Dion Lewis they can fill the void left by the teams superstar.
The addition of Jason Garrett as OC looked like a really great hire in New York, and certainly gives them some experience to try and get the best out of Daniel Jones, who’s looked okay, but decision making is somewhat questionable at times, and accuracy hasn’t been ideal.
On top of their struggles, they’ve also turned the ball over 4 times in 2 games, with three interceptions and a fumble.
I will say this, the Giants have played both the Steelers and the Bears, who have top tier defensive lines and pass rush. So maybe the sample size is a little thin, and somewhat bias, but right now, it’s looking a little bleak. Having no run game applies even more pressure to Daniel Jones, who’s trying to work with a mediocre receiving core, outside of Evan Engram, and a brand new offensive coordinator and scheme.
What can the Giants hope for now?
Development of young talent and a good spot in this years draft.
Andrew Thomas has been plugged straight in at left tackle as we all expected he would, so he’s going to get a tonne of reps protecting his new quarterbacks blindside. He was the highest graded player on the offensive line in week 1, against a notorious Steelers rush, however had a poor outing yesterday against the Bears. Time will tell if he is to be the long term solution for the Giants. Evan Engram is a long term piece who they will want to keep hold of, and Darius Slayton seems to be making a name for himself as a target for Danny Dimes. The 5th round draft pick from the 2019 draft had 740 yards and 8 touchdowns in his rookie season, and started off this year with another 2 on opening night.
Outside of that, it’s a little bleak. They’ve got some horrible contracts, namely Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard, who are costing the Giants about $20 million dollars combined in each of the next three seasons. Golden Tate is a good receiver, and produced for the Lions don’t get me wrong. But signing a 30 year old receiver to a four year, 37.5 million dollar contract is a horrible decision. Shepard hasn’t earned his money for me either, and then don’t get me started on the money Nate Solder is about to make. In a heavily backloaded contract, i’d expect the Giants to rip that one up and cut their losses at the end of this season, before Solder makes 16 million dollars in 2021, and 20 the year after. Mega yikes like just what are you doing?
They overpaid James Bradberry massively, and Blake Martinez is decent but also now making a fairly hefty dent in the salary cap.
It’s a real mess
It just doesn’t look like they’re close to figuring it out. Their roster gives me a headache it’s such a mess. I like the defensive line, and Evan Engram, a couple of young pieces in Hernandez and Thomas on the offensive line, and of course Barkley. But outside of that, a whole bunch of average free agents, a lack of depth, and with Daniel Jones in year two already, some clarity needs to appear as to what they’re actually trying to do. The Giants look like they’re a long way off being a playoff team, and even further away from being a super bowl contender. You can check on their depth chart yourself…
They’ve had their misfortunes, and I feel for them in a way. Deandre Baker being cut from the team means a waste of a first round draft pick, especially when they traded back up to get him. Then losing this years second round pick Xavier McKinney before the season to a broken foot makes things worse. But I guess it’s not all grey skies, they did add Logan Ryan in a late free agency swoop. But he’s only going to be a plaster over a cannonball wound.
With the 49ers, Rams and Cowboys coming up next, it could easily be an 0-5 start for the Giants. Their only saving grace is that Nick Mullens will play for the 9ers, but it won’t be pretty if Daniel Jones can’t beat him.
They need corners, linebackers, receivers, and another tackle.
The Giants will have a top 10 draft pick again this year, and need to add a difference maker to their offence. I maintain they shouldn’t have traded Odell, and Ja’Marr Chase would be a suitable replacement if they can get him. They’ve only got six picks currently, after trading their 5th rounder to the Jets, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see them try and off load some dead weight to accumulate one or two more. The clock is ticking for the Giants, and they need to get it figured out before it comes to decision time on Daniel Jones, otherwise they’re going to be right back to where they started.
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