Written by: Peter Scott Furman and Glenn Warciski
On a night in which the Giants were celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the Super Bowl 42 Champions, the 2017 Giants stunk up Met Life Stadium. In a forgettable performance, the putrid Giants lost to the Lions 24 – 10 on Monday Night Football. To some fans, this is shocking because there was hype in the offseason about the Giants being Super Bowl contenders, but with the last two weeks of inept play, the Giants find themselves at 0-2 with their playoff season on the line this week in Philadelphia. So what the heck is going on?
If you follow the New York Giants Underground, we have been dubious about the Giants improving this season. We did NOT understand the thinking of the Giants brain trust around making no personnel improvements with the offensive line. If you bought into the bullcrap espoused by some reporters following the team, i.e. Paul Dotino, the Giants offensive line would improve. We did not buy it. As a matter of fact, we have been spot on in our analysis of this Giants team for quite some time, especially in regard to embattled left tackle Ereck “I cannot block” Flowers. Back in 2015, the Giants selected Flowers in the first round (overall 9th player selected in the draft). Pete on Flowers:
Interestingly, when I wrote my thoughts and analysis on offensive linemen, Flowers did not pique my interest. He was not even an after thought. So here are my thoughts on Flowers. Miami was a fair team but not great on either side of the ball. Some people love Ereck but I don’t. Flowers is a big guy and the Giants sent the whole crew to his day! He is NOT a dominant player per his performance. He IS a huge man who someone will draft but NOT me, especially not at Nine. I think there are a few guys better in this draft which we have discussed.
Three years later, Flowers is the player Pete thought he would be: a bust. Instead of being the linchpin on this offensive line, Flowers is the weakest link. It is so upsetting and embarrassing watching this guy attempt to play. It is not just Flowers, though. We have to take into account the offensive line coach Mike Solari. In his two years with the Giants, Solari has not done anything to get the most out of this first-round pick. In addition to Solari not doing his job by making Flowers better, head coach Ben McAdoo shares the blame as well. Why did McAdoo leave Flowers vulnerable the entire night? Why did Flowers did not receive any help? We did not see any type of line sliding of the offensive linemen.
McAdoo doesn’t see the big picture. Look what Belichick did to improve his offensive line. For example, when the Patriots offensive line was struggling, Dante Scarnecchia was re-hired by Belichik in 2016. The year prior, their offensive line struggled, and he acutely addressed it by talking Scarnecchia out of retirement. Scarnecchia simplified the assignments and put their young linemen in positions to succeed while leveraging their talent.
It appears that Solari doesn’t get this, and neither does McAdoo. They need to simplify this for a struggling offensive line in addition to getting them help on the edges with chips by the TEs. McAdoo may be trying to be the smartest guy in the room instead of just getting down to basics. Again, it seems he is another in a long line of genius OCs who failed to make the transition to HC. If he fails to adjust in the next couple of weeks, he will be headed elsewhere, back to being a position coach or OC.
With the lack of a running game (the Giants have gained 97 yards total rushing in their first two games), the offense looks like a Giants’ offense from the late 1970s. Yes, the Giants of the 1977 (12 points per game average) and 1978 (16 points per game average), respectively. This was a low point in Giants history, which culminated the following year with the Fumble Game. After that catastrophic ending, the Giants as an organization were so incompetent, it forced then-commissioner Pete Rozelle to intervene to get the franchise on the right track.
Over the last 19 games, this Giants offense under McAdoo’s command has an adjusted average of 17 points per game. Note: we adjusted the points to reflect points scored by the offense only. Through the first two games this season, the Giants have scored OBJ’s jersey number 13. Yes, 13 points scored in the first two games is the team’s fewest since 1947.
Right now, the Giants do not have an offense. They cannot not block, catch or run the football. On top of that, the Giants have an aging quarterback in Eli Manning who cannot carry this team. There is no quick fix for this dire offensive situation. The 2017 Giants may go down as one of the worst teams in franchise history.
During training camp, we felt the Giants had two defensive concerns:
1. Would rookie DT Dalvin Tomlinson or Jay Bromley be able to replace departed starter Jonathan Hankins?
2. We were the only ones who knew the Giants secondary would be susceptible in giving up deep passes. We thought the Eagles and Packers exploited this weakness mainly because both teams have quarterbacks who can sling the ball downfield.
To address the first concern: yes. The Giants are missing Hankins. They have given up over 100 yards rushing in each of their first two games. (Dallas gained 129 yards and the Lions 138 yards.) Snacks Harrison is missing his better half, the Giants are not stopping the run and the defense cannot get off the field. They are currently at 50% in allowing 3rd down coversions. This puts them at 4th worst in the NFL. On the other hand, the Giants defense was third best in this category last year, so not being able to stop the run has made this projected top-five defense ordinary.
Concern number two: the deep pass. The Giants pass defense kept Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford in check. Stafford threw for 122 yards, but one deep pass was complete for 27 yards, which resulted in a touchdown. Guess who gave up the touchdown? Giants cornerback Eli “Baked” Apple was the culprit and the weak link in the Giants’ secondary. He had Lions WR Marvin Jones covered; however, Apple did not make a play on the ball. Like Flowers, Pete nailed the Eli Apple selection. Apple was the Giants first round pick in the 2016 draft (selected 10th overall).
After careful thought, here is my take on the Eli Apple selection:
This has Steve Spagnuolo’s approval being that Reese screwed up. As we have stated, the Giants are so devoid of talent on the defensive side of the ball. This pick is something Spags can develop into a better player at the NFL level. We know that “Spags” likes to use his d.b.’s to pressure the opponents offense, and Apple CAN tackle, not cover which is one of the worst wastes of a number 10 overall pick I ever witnessed!
Here is more:
Against the Cowboys, Prescott and the Cowboys’ offense targeted Apple frequently to fuel several long drives, targeting him 12 times – five more than the next Giants defender – for 10 completions, 123 yards and a touchdown, according to Pro Football Focus. There was even one drive on which Prescott completed three straight passes on Apple.
This bolsters Pete’s assessment of Apple. He has difficulty in coverage.
OBJ: The Giants should have NOT played Beckham. If the Giants risk further injury to him, it is tantamount to a deranged organization. We were outraged to see him on the field at less than 100%. The Giants risked an entire season, not to mention the man’s career, by playing him too soon. Needless to say, he was not even a factor in the game.
Giants rookie TE Evan Engram scored a touchdown, which happened to be the Giants’ first of the year. He also had a chance of making another touchdown grab, but he could not corral the pass from Manning. It appeared he was more focused on being hit than on the football. He may have been concussed on this play. Speaking of being hit, Engram did not participate in Wednesday practice because he suffered a concussion on Monday night.
As of this writing, the Giants have NOT made any changes to their coaching staff or acquired any offensive linemen. The Lions racked up FIVE sacks versus the Giants. Unfortunately for the Giants offensive line, the Eagles have much more formidable defense than the Lions. Be prepared for double-digit sacks on Sunday.