Happy 2019 football season to my nonexistent readers! 🙂
I can’t believe we’re celebrating 100 years of the beautiful game. It seems surreal – almost as surreal as the critics blaming Eli Manning for the state of the New York Football Giants (again), but I guess that’s just how things are now.
So let’s get into it, shall we?
The Giants have gone 0-2 to start the season, which is disheartning to we fans, but also not the end of the world, contrary to popular opinion. We’re not a sinking ship that is the Miami Dolphins, although we could trend that way if management doesn’t get their s**t together, and benches Eli for his rookie clone, Daniel Jones. We’ve showed signs of hope these past two weeks, and improvement between weeks one and two. And I, personally, don’t believe this current record is nothing the Giants can’t recover from heading into week three. It’ll take a few changes here and there, mostly on defense, but it’s about time New York became a team that fixed its ailments as they arise, rather than upon season conclusion.
But before I touch on the reparations I’d willingly chat with Dave Gettleman about, let’s start with the blaringly obvious non-issue that is Eli Manning.
For all the fools out there who are blaming yet another subpar kickoff to season on this poor guy, I ask you this: how is it his fault?
No seriously, I’d love to know how Eli has singlehandedly ensured the team starts 0-2; because I’m pretty sure he’s combined for 556 yards in two games, complete with two TDs and two interceptions, one of which is still, in my opinion, one of the worst ways to count an interception against any quarterback. Need I remind you that Eli is playing with an entirely shredded receiving core?
Sterling Shepard, out with concussion.
Golden Tate, suspended because he had the audacity to attempt procreation with his wife.
Corey Coleman with a torn ACL.
And now Cody Lattimer, out with a concussion thanks to the Bills cheap helmet-to-helmet shot that literally had him blacked out on the field, but of course wasn’t a penalty against Buffalo’s defense.
So, who the hell is he supposed to throw to? TJ Jones? Never heard of him until yesterday, when Eli tossed him a touchdown pass at the back of the end zone. Is it really the most logical thing to bench a veteran quarterback, in favor of a rookie, in the midst of an injury brigade?
Even without all of his primary receivers, Eli has managed to stay somewhat composed in the Giants semblance of a pocket; he’s even turned on the wheels when needed and become a little more comfortable staying on his toes this season – because he’s had the time. Time in the pocket in football is a luxury indeed, for any quarterback. For Eli, it is absolutely essential, as we all already know he’s not particularly mobile. But since he hasn’t had to be this season, the offense looks improved, despite the injuries. I have very few complaints with the Giants o-line, which is a massive turnaround from last year when Eli was running for his life at every snap of the football.
Saquon Barkley is as ferocious as ever, trucking defenses with ease, and Evan Engram has stepped up in his role as tight end/slot receiver. The offense has gelled, and will continue to do so, so long as the defense can make sure we’re not constantly playing catchup.
Which has been the case of these combined two first games. And Daniel Jones can’t fix that.
Now, we all know the Giants offloaded most of their once-indispensable purchases. Remember when they dropped $206 million of guys like Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Landon Collins? All those guys are gone now. In fact, the only remainder from that massive defensive purchase is Janoris Jenkins. Our defense now looks as Swiss cheesy as our o-line used to – equally as full of holes that opposing offenses hang out in with ease. Against Dallas, we had zero pass rush and no sense of direction in our linebackers. Granted, the Cowboys o-line has been notorious for its impenetrability. But the Giants showed some improvement against Buffalo, getting to Josh Allen twice and almost forcing a turnover or two.
My father will tell you that none of this is favorable and we can’t expect a rookie defense to come together and be the Big Blue of old. But I still feel the hope that Pat Shurmur has enough of a hold on the locker room to get his guys to push for success. After all, if he could do it last year, midseason, with the offensive line, why not again for his defense?
The NFC East is not yet lost, and the Giants have the tools to turn it around. So long as they disregard the naysayers, stand behind their Iron Man, and work on their defense, I think the Giants can be better than what they’ve achieved thus far.
But maybe that’s just wishful thinking.