State Of The New York Giants

I'm thinking we're going to be seeing more of this from Eli.

So I’m starting a three piece series here, I’m going to look at the state of the three other teams in the division. I’m going to start with the team that is biggest threat to the Eagles within the division: The New York Giants.

Giants Additions:
David Baas
Steve Weatherford
Gabe Watson

Giants Losses:
Kevin Boss
Steve Smith
Barry Cofield
Shuan O’Hara
Rich Seubert

Giants Injuries:
Bruce Johnson
Prince Amukamara

After what people were praising as an incredible draft, the offseason has not been kind to the New York Giants. As good as the Eagles’ offseason has been, the Giants’ has been equally as terrible.

The Giants clearly weren’t prepared for what was coming, they weren’t able to add any premier free agents and they were playing the waiting game with their free agents and got burned.  The Giants this offseason lost 2 starting offensive linemen, their starting TE, a starting WR and their starting DT  in free agency along with their third and fourth corners due to injuries. The Giants’ losses hurt them a lot. This team is worse than they were last season.

Prediction: The Giants go 8-8 this season, and here’s why:

Losing Kevin Boss: The Giants lost an integral part of their offense when Kevin Boss defected to Oakland. The only non-offensive lineman that played more offensive snaps than Boss for the Giants last year was Eli Manning. Kevin Boss was used so much that there were only 3 games last season where he played less than 90% of the Giants offensive snaps. Only 8 tight ends in the NFL were used more often than Kevin Boss was.

The Giants won’t miss Boss much as a receiver, they’re going to miss his blocking abilities. Last year Kevin Boss was utilized as a blocker (run and pass combined) on 570 snaps, or on 61.2% of his snaps. Old Man River (otherwise known as Tom Coughlin) uses a very traditional offense that utilizes tight ends and full backs in the run game just about more than any other team in the NFL. The Giants want to pound you in the run game and with Kevin Boss leaving town, they’re losing a key blocker on the perimeter.

Can anyone name Boss’ replacement? No? That’s what I thought. Travis Beckum, Bear Pascoe and maybe Daniel Coats (if he makes the cut) are all going to try and replace Boss. Beckum has done nothing in his career except sit the bench because he can’t block. Bear Pascoe played FB for most of the year last year. And Daniel Coats is a Bengals/Broncos cast off. Anyone want to look at their stat lines from last year?

 

Stastical Category

T. Beckum

B. Pascoe

D. Coats

Snaps

276

471

36

Run Blocking Snaps

132

312

21

Pass Blocking Snaps

10

37

3

Targets

18

13

2

Catches

13

9

0

Receiving Yards

116

72

0

Receiving TDs

2

0

0

QB Disruptions Allowed

1

1

0

As you can clearly see, the Giants were totally unprepared for Kevin Boss to walk in free agency. They got a guy who has hardly played in two seasons because Tom Coughlin doesn’t trust him to block (Beckum). They’ve got a guy who only saw the field because he could play FB (Pascoe). And they’ve got some scrub they signed this offseason that couldn’t even find playing time on the Bengals or Broncos (Coats).

You can bet that the Giants are going to feel Kevin Boss’ departure, you’ll see it in their running game and you’ll see it in the red-zone where he caught 13 touchdown passes in the past 3 seasons.

The Loss Of Steve Smith: Steve Smith was Eli’s most trusted target, in the past two seasons Steve Smith was targeted about 9 times a game (8.92 if you want to get specific). That’s a lot. In 2009 (his last full season) he was fourth in the NFL in targets behind Wes Welker, Andre Johnson and Roddy White.

And when Steve Smith went down, it affected the Giants. When Steve Smith played the Giants were 7-2 and without him they were 3-4. And Eli Manning missed him too, just look at his stats with and without Steve Smith.

Statistical Category Eli w/ Smith Eli w/o Smith
Yards Per Game 251 248
Completion Percentage 64.9% 60.1%
TD Passes Per Pass .058 .054
Interceptions Per Pass .042 .0502

As far as yardage is concerned there isn’t a huge difference but every where else there is a noticeable difference. Without Steve Smith Eli Manning is less accurate and he throws more interceptions. And it’s not like Eli needed any help in those categories, his career completion percentage is 58% and since he has been in the NFL he has turned the ball over more than any QB in the NFL (includes fumbles).

And here is the best part: Eli knows it.

“When we’ve gotten in trouble in the past, we always had Steve in the slot, and that’s kind of all we worked on — Steve’s in the slot, there you go, he’s got it down and so last year, when he got hurt, we were in trouble. No one else really knew how to play it.”

And then just one day after Eli Manning talks about how much he means to the team, he up and leaves to the Eagles. I love it.
Who’s replacing him? Well, the job is pretty much open at this point. Domenik Hixon, Mark Clayton, Jerrel Jernigan and Victor Cruz are all competing for the job. Not an all star group. Could one step up and be solid? Sure, but no one is going to earn the kind of trust that Eli had in Steve Smith before the season starts, that’s just not happening.

The Turnover At Offensive Line: The Giants apparently didn’t like what they saw from their offensive line last year. They let their starting C and LG go along with Shawn Andrews who was actually a key reserve for the Giants last year. The Giants offensive line got by on continuity and chemistry, that unit was comfortable working with each other. But, don’t take my word for it, look what their probowl RG Chris Snee said.

“But I’m very close with everyone we have and I really dread the day when someone in that room is gone. If we can steal another season or two together, that would be really special and hopefully we can.”

But here’s the best part, their ‘upgrades’ aren’t that good.

William Beatty has played in 7 games in his NFL career where he played more than 50% of the snaps and in those 7 games he has allowed 2 sacks, 11 pressures, 3 QB hits and has committed 4 penalties. As a matter of fact, last season Beatty committed a penalty every 28 plays he was on the field.

David Diehl is moving back to LG after not playing there since 2006. He has been one of the worst tackles in the NFL since moving to LT, allowing 35.5 sacks in the past 4 years. He wasn’t even that good at LG either, according to Stats LLC he allowed 6.5 sacks in his two years at the spot while committing 13 penalties. And according to FootballOutsiders the Giants averaged 4.5 yards per carry and 3.6 yards per carry when running behind the left side of the offensive line in 2005 and 2006. And keep in mind that was 5 years ago, Diehl is now 30 years old and probably isn’t the run blocker he once was, ProFootballFocus has given him a -21.4 grade in run blocking over the past three years.

And their new starting center is David Baas. David Baas has only been a starter for 2 years despite being in the NFL for 6 years and being the 33rd pick in the NFL draft. As a matter of fact, he was playing the center position for the first time last season because he lost his LG spot to 1st round draft pick Mike Iupati. He is a liability in pass protection, he has allowed 7 sacks the past two seasons. He is actually quite clearly a downgrade from a healthy Shaun O’Hara. But he’s big… If that means anything. I personally can’t wait for the Eagles’ defensive tackles to play this guy, especially Cullen Jenkins.

Personally I think the only spot they upgraded was the LT spot but that’s by default considering how terrible Diehl was.

Oh, and guess who their back-up LT is right now? Stacy Andrews. Yeah, that’s going to work out well.

Losing Barry Cofield: For some reason the Giants just let their best DT walk. Why? Because they’ve spent two high draft picks on Linval Joseph and Marvin Austin. Yeah, I’m confused too. Do the Giants know that young defensive tackles, especially rookie defensive tackles typically struggle? I hope they’re not planning on a big impact from Marvin Austin because he didn’t even play football last year and he is no Ndamukong Suh. And Linval Joseph has played a grand total of 63 snaps in his career. You can go ahead and consider me skeptical. And I guess that I should mention they signed Gabe Watson although I’m not expecting much from him considering that he’s done exactly nothing in his NFL career.

Depth At Defensive Back: At this point, its non-existent for the Giants after letting Deon Grant walk and losing Prince Amukamara and Bruce Johnson to injury. The Giants are losing a player who played 675 snaps for them on defense (Grant). Bruce Johnson was a player who showed a ton of promise in his rookie season before tearing his ACL prior to the 2010 season. They lost their first round draft pick, Prince Amukamara, for an indefinite amount of time. Rookie cornerbacks already do not play early in their careers and after a lockout shortened offseason coupled with Prince’s injury it doesn’t look likely that Prince will be much of a player this year. Amukamara didn’t even get in a full day of practice with the Giants this offseason. It looks like the Giants are going to have to wait until 2012 for Prince to make an impact.

Now, the Giants third safety is rookie Tyler Sash and they’re stuck with Aaron Ross at nickel back again this year. To give you an idea about how bad Aaron Ross is, he’s allowed a 77% completion rate, 408 yards and allowed QB ratings of 106.5 and 104.9 the past two years.

Well, who is behind them? Just some guys by the names of Brian Witherspoon and Brian Jackson, otherwise known as a guy who played 5 snaps last season (Witherspoon) and a guy who played 8 snaps last season (Jackson).

Like I said, depth is an issue with the losses the Giants have had at defensive back.

The Giants have gotten weaker this offseason, that’s a fact. They’ve gotten weaker at WR and TE which makes Eli Manning just a bit worse off. They’ve gotten worse along the offensive line. They’ve gotten worse in the middle of their defensive line. And they’ve gotten worse on the back end of their defense. The Giants are going to need a bunch of young players to step up and I’m not so sure that’s going to happen. Maybe one or two does but there is no way that every single young player steps up and replaces the guy that left.

Meanwhile, the team they haven’t beaten since 2008 (Eagles) has gotten stronger at nearly every spot on the roster.

Tell me why I shouldn’t be thinking the Giants are worse off than they were last year? Why should I think they can compete with an Eagles team that got much stronger? I’m serious guys, tell me.

5 Responses to State Of The New York Giants
  1. Mark F.
    August 14, 2011 | 1:35 pm

    You should trust Jerry Reese, that’s why.

    I have nothing else.

  2. Anonymous
    August 15, 2011 | 7:11 am

    Solid post. However, Steve Smith’s production won’t be missed as much. Nicks will get more targets and  possibly become a top 5 receiver in the NFL. Mario will become the second best WR in the 2008 class as well. On defense, the DL will still be strong (but the Eagles have the best now), and before the injuries and free agency the Giants had the best CB’s in the division and possibly one of the best in the NFC. However, the Eagles are much more stacked at this point and are poised for a title run.

    • Guest
      August 16, 2011 | 7:41 pm

      before the injuries and free agency the Giants had the best CB’s in the division and possibly one of the best in the NFC.

      We Don’t Live In The Land Of “Before”.

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