Posted on

New York Giants: Week One – The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Embed from Getty Images

I’d like to say the less said about that game, the better, but that wouldn’t really work when you’re writing an article about it. I guess we might as well get straight into it.

The Good

The game is over? It’s only week one? We can’t be worse this season?

All valid points, but to be fair to some of the players on the field, there are a few that do deserve slight praise.

Micah McFadden continued to tackle hard throughout the game when it looked like others were too shellshocked to get out of their own heads. According to PFF, the sophomore player finished with seven solo tackles, two assisted tackles, and four stops.

Dexter Lawrence had a quieter game than expected but did still finish the game with four pressures (two hurries and two quarterback hits), three solo tackles, one assisted tackle, and three stops. He was also the Giants highest-graded defender in both pass-rushing and run defence.

Rookie wise Tae Banks didn’t allow a reception the two times he was targeted and looked solid until his exit with cramps. Fellow rookie cornerback Tre Hawkins III also had an okay showing despite the contentious pass interference penalty that was called against him, and finally, defensive tackle Jordon Riley looked good in his limited snaps, showing off his power and speed to record a nice tackle for loss.

The Bad

Let’s start with the trio of plays that mentally stunned the Giants players into the catatonic black hole that they never seemed to be able to shake off. Firstly, it was a false start from the normally reliable Andrew Thomas that disrupted the run-heavy opening possession that saw the Giants make it to the red zone. Then rookie centre John Michael Schmitz’s snap shot out of his hand in the torrential rain, causing it to pass Daniel Jones, who recovered it for a nine-yard loss. The trio was then completed as Joshua Ezudu’s inability to choose one of two rushers on the field goal try saw Graham Gano’s kick blocked and returned for the first of many Dallas scores.

One player who definitely never recovered was Daniel Jones, who struggled for the remainder of the game, throwing two interceptions, one of which was a rebound out of Saquon Barkley’s hands into the arms of Dallas cornerback DaRon Bland, who ran it in for the pick six. There is the argument that Jones wasn’t helped by the offensive line, but even when he was finally afforded decent protection, he did nothing of note.

Defensively, it wasn’t much better either, as the Giants pass rush and run defence spluttered through the game. Wink Martindale is known for his affinity for exotic blitzes and schemes, but the Giants defence was unable to record a sack against the Cowboys for the third game in a row. This is despite the Giants attempts to get more depth at the defensive tackle position and having both Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari injury-free.

Embed from Getty Images

The Ugly

Giants fans everywhere were fed positive noise prior to the offseason as Evan Neal was shown in private coaching sessions with former Bengal Willie Anderson; however, it doesn’t seem to have fixed anything as he and fellow right-sided offensive lineman Mark Glowinski, who got a 1.0 PFF pass blocking grade, were constantly guilty of poor footwork and blocking technique.

To put it simply, it was an all-you-can eat buffet for the Cowboys defensive front, as they generated four of the five sacks, two of the three quarterback hits, and 11 of the 19 hurries via that right side alone.

What’s Next

Up next for the Giants is a trip to the West Coast to face the Joshua Dobbs-led Arizona Cardinals, who lost a narrow game to the Giants divisional rivals, the Washington Commanders.

Dobbs, who struggled against the Commanders, threw for 132 yards, was sacked three times, and had a couple of fumbles.

Posted on Leave a comment

Week 13: Rookie Standouts

Embed from Getty Images

Games going down to the wire, overtime ties, and the return of a controversial quarterback ensured that Week 13 had its surprises, but most games went the way of the betting favourites. Here are the rookies that stood out this week:

Embed from Getty Images

Daron Bland, Cornerback – Dallas Cowboys

Despite the overwhelming 54-19 score line, the Colts had kept the game within a score against the Cowboys, but when Dallas scored early in the fourth quarter to make it 28-19, the Colts imploded in dramatic fashion. Indianapolis turned the ball over four times in the space of 13 minutes, and rookie Daron Bland had a hand (literally) in two of them.

Bland, who has filled in for injured corner Anthony Brown, has been steadily improving in recent weeks, with the exception of a poor performance against the Packers in Week 10, but his performance against Indianapolis was by far his best. After spending the majority of the game in tight coverage, Bland showed almost telepathic knowledge of where the ball was going on both interceptions, finishing with two interceptions and one pass break-up while allowing only two catches for nine yards on seven targets.

Embed from Getty Images

Jalen Pitre, Safety – Houston Texans

A few weeks ago, the Texans made the decision to move Pitre to free safety, and they seem to be reaping the rewards as the rookie out of Baylor looks much more comfortable. During the game against the Cleveland Browns, he not only had one of his best games against the Browns but also broke a Houston Texans defensive record.

Pitre recorded a season-high 16 tackles against the Browns, breaking ex-Texan linebacker DeMeco Ryans record from 16 years ago of 15 tackles. Interestingly, in that game against the Raiders on the 3rd of December 2006, Ryans also had an interception, something Pitre also matched, as he picked off a pass intended for Amari Cooper by the returning Deshaun Watson, who incidentally was playing in his first game in 700 days due to injury and suspension.

Embed from Getty Images

Christian Watson, Wide Receiver – Green Bay Packers

Christian Watson received his first nomination in my condensed Week 10 rankings after an impressive four receptions for 107 yards and three touchdowns. Against the Chicago Bears, Watson was able to continue this recent success as he showcased his ability as both a receiver and a rusher, scoring a pair of touchdowns.

His first, a 14-yard pass from Aaron Rogers on fourth down with only 17 seconds left in the first half, was likely the catalyst the Packers needed to mount their comeback, and his second was a simple jet sweep that completely fooled the defence, allowing him to turn on the afterburners for a 41-yard rush. Watson now has 8 touchdowns in the last four games, giving him the distinction of sharing the record for most touchdowns scored over a four-game span with Hall of Famer Randy Moss.

Honourable Mentions

Reed Blankenship (Philadelphia Eagles), Greg Dulcich (Denver Broncos), Garrett Wilson (New York Jets), Jack Sanborn (Chicago Bears), Brian Robinson Jr (Washington Commanders),