Written by: Paul Burke and Glenn Warciski
Writing about the Giants is getting very tiresome and, frankly, taxing for all of us. More than anything, we would love to write about the upward trajectory, meaningful wins, player development, and optimism for the future. The sad reality is there is no signs of improvement with this team overall with the exception of a few young players.
We have sounded the alarm on this site over the course of the season but now you know the state of your franchise is in disrepair when the criticism is coming out internally. Carl Banks came out with his harsh criticism of Bettcher’s scheme as his issue with the defense. He specifically cites the breakdown in coverage and lack of personnel adjustments. Banks’ paycheck is signed by the Giants franchise. In the past he has had some jaded criticism; so it is not something new from him. His criticism certainly has some merit as the coverage breakdowns have been evident all season. Many have written it off due to the youth on the roster, specifically in the secondary. We, however, need to push back on chalking it all the defensive failures due to just the scheme. Indeed, Gettleman has his fingerprints all over this too. Who brought in all these vets and how many of them played under Bettcher’s scheme? Bethea, Bucannon and Golden all had past success with Bettcher’s scheme. They know it well and you would likely believe they would be coaching assets on the field by now. You also have a vet in Ogletree. Why were these vets so available via trade and free agent acquisition? These vets are all castoffs. We’ve witnessed vets like Ogeltree bite on coverage to lead to a wide open TEs or WRs, We’ve seen Bethea bite bad on inside route fake where the WR went to a post route, then Bucannon being tossed aside for an easy TE TD. Since Banks is an insider, we are skeptical as to why he is speaking out and being critical of the coaching staff. We believe this is a tell tale sign that the coaching regime is doomed but the absence of criticism of the personnel is covering for Mara’s eventual decision to retain Gettleman. The recent signing of Riley Dixon is yet another sign and confirmation we are stuck with old Dino Gettleman. It is remarkable that the state of this franchise is at the point where we actually agree with a gasbag like Mike Francesca. He is 100% correct that Mara needs to blow this thing up.
This leads us to what we believe is the best vision and direction for rebuilding the entire culture of the organization moving forward and not this half ass rebuild under Gettleman. Many mock drafts have cropped up over the last couple of weeks, and the consensus pick linked to the Giants, is Chase Young from Ohio State. Not so fast, this was before the Giants accumulated meaningless wins versus sub .500 competition. He is a remarkable player and of course fills a need. The issue is they have MANY needs. One player is not going to move the needle significantly from their current losing ways. We have had several impact players and it certainly didn’t move the needle with OBJ, Barkley and DJ. This team lacks talent at OT, LB, DE and more depth in the secondary. From a value standpoint and to boost a significant rebuild we are hoping for a QB needy team trading up for a major haul of picks. If done correctly and looking toward the future to avoid expiring rookie contracts at one time the picks can be traded and spread out over a 3 year period. We value both a LT and a RT given the dire need of protecting a developing controllable QB. In terms of value for rebuilding team we do not support any on of the following positions early to mid-round 1: WR, RB, DT, G, TE and SS. The core positions of a rebuild revolve around OT, DE, CB, LB and to some degree FS which are all positions of need for this organization.
Analytics has only recently slowly begun emerging as a tool in the NFL from scouting, game planning and as a tool for better in game decision-making. There are teams that have full-blown departments while others are using it passingly. We believe the Giants organization is one of the teams that use it passingly and is purely a window dressing part of the organization. The decision making from draft picks, free agent acquisitions to trades we believe confirms this. Anayltics provides a tool to set boundaries in decision making in scouting players. Bill Parcells was quoted as saying to his scouts, “If you start making exceptions you will wind up with a whole team of them.” Teams that have specific parameters on players by position provide more objective measures in evaluation. For instance you may have a specific parameter on a range the player must meet in 10-yard split time for LB, DE or OT. You may have a parameter for closing speed for an LB or S. You may have a specific production measurement for a DE or DT on rush stats versus the old method of sacks. These tools provide a mechanism to assist in trying to avoid those exceptions. There are of course those that make decision based on numbers instead of as a tool to help scouts in decision-making. There is no better evidence Gettleman abhors analytics, much less mock it, with the Leonard Williams trade. A team bereft of talent depth cannot afford to trade away draft picks for a guy who is a FA next year. A statistic that many utilize to evaluate the effectiveness of a DE is pressures (knockdowns, hurries and sacks). Leonard Williams is 59th in the league.
The other aspect of analytics is understanding value of where and what position you pick in the draft. Bill Walsh and Bill Belichick have an innate ability to see value.
Belichick has a history of dealing down in the draft, “manage the cap with balance across the roster, and strike on inefficiencies. “. Puraag Marathe was hired by Bill Walsh to do a complete analysis of historical trends and true value in the draft. His analysis came back recommending almost all the trades that Walsh conducted in previous years. He goes on to describe Belichick approach as “unemotionally understanding the value.” And maybe the value doesn’t match up in certain cases. [Walsh and Belichick] are both, with what I’ve observed with Belichick, very good at keeping that emotional distance. They stick to what they believe in. Fifteen years ago, the Patriots cut Lawyer Milloy. That’s a Pro Bowl safety, a captain, and they decided he just wasn’t worth the money they paid him. That’s the sort of stuff that Coach Walsh did.” So we question if Gettleman has a plan when you trade away valuable picks for a guy who’s metrics scream poor value. You trade up into the 1st round for a CB and trade away more valuable picks. You trade OBJ away and don’t allow for SF to counter offer what the Browns offered. You don’t even pick up the phone from QB needy teams for the #2 pick to see what value in return you would accumulate for a roster depleted of depth and talent. Heck, we even question taking DJ at #6 when the projections and the value of where you took him does not match up. The value of taking an RB at #2 screams no. See links below that confirm the point with data to back it up. It is a passing driven league. RBs compliment the passing game.
Below is an analysis of the last 5 drafts for both the Giants and the Patriots. We get Gettleman has only drafted 2 classes but we wanted to compare and contrast the trends between these 2 organizations. One that has a track record of understanding the value and inefficiencies in the draft (number of picks by Gmen vs number of picks by Patriots):
Round 1: 5 vs 4
Round 2: 4 vs 2
Round 3: 2 vs 6
Round 4: 3 vs 6
Round 5: 2 vs 4
Round 6 1 vs 3
Round 7: 1 vs 1
50% of the Pats picks are in last 2 years and 78% of Gmen are in last 2 years.
What is very telling is the major disparity between mid round picks on the Patriots roster vs the Giants. Those picks are waaaay cheaper against the cap versus going out and getting castoff vets. The area that the Patriots invest heavily in is the secondary as they lead with highest cap amount allocated for the League and Gmen were 4th lowest but I am sure with the subtraction of Jenkins that skews it.
Bottom line this Organization should have been focusing on building through the draft and especially in mid rounds were they are clearly inefficient and killing depth. In a study analyzing drafts for the offensive side the data concluded the following:
The running backs selected in the 3-7th round showed 60% (6/10) of the 3-7th round running backs had more statistically successful careers than their first and second round comparable. The same is true for the 3-7th round wide receivers. The results show that 60% of 3-7th round wide receivers posted more successful statistical careers than the first and second round sample of wide receivers.
But we have a GM who gives away mid round picks to trade up into round 1 for Baker, trade away a 5th for a castoff in Ogletree, doesn’t trade a border line pro bowl SS in Collins before deadline for a possible 3 or 4th round pick and most alarming is trading for Leonard Williams. He is doing the absolute opposite in terms of building a team through value and method. More importantly, as our friend Andy Furman at ultimatenyg.com pointed out, Gettleman’s ideology is establishing and stopping the run. This is a belief system which is doomed to fail in the 21st century pass first NFL. Without question, with a record of 9-22 over the last two seasons, it would be a grave mistake to allow Gettleman to continue as GM of the Giants.