Noone is saying that the season is over for the New York Giants. Not even close. But after their season opening performance in Dallas last Sunday, you have to be thinking it. The fact is, the Giants were not competitive against a good Dallas team. I’m not quite ready to annoint this Dallas team as being Superbowl ready, but the ease with which they disposed of the GMEN was quite frankly, embarrassing. The final score of 35-17 did not tell the entire story.
After an auspicious opening drive for the Giants which included a 59-yard run by Saquon Barkley and an early touchdown for the Giants, everything went south from there. The Giants Defense got on the field and Dallas proceeded to answer with their own touchdown, which would be the first of many. After stopping the Giants on their next drive, Dallas took control of the game. With no pressure whatsoever from the Giants, Dallas was able to find open receivers all day. Three Dallas wide receivers had 100 or more receiving yards. Dallas had 5 long drives of 50 yards or more. Giants fans had to be wondering what the defensive game plan was and who were these new players who were so ineffective? I know that I expected more… much more!
The middle of the field must have looked like Candyland for the Dallas Cowboys. All passes thrown in that direction went virtually uncontested. The Giants cornerbacks and safeties were nowhere to be found. With all due respect, the Cowboys were working on the opposite side of Janoris Jenkins, the side that saw Antonio Hamilton and DeAndre Baker (the third number one pick selected in the first round by the GMEN).
I know that Hamilton had been recognized as an outstanding Special Teams player for his former employer, the Oakland Raiders. But to have him cover the Cowboys receivers was a nightmare. He was playing 5 yards off any receiver he covered and could be seen running in the direction of Dallas receivers all afternoon. Hamilton should not be used in the starting defense. Surely the Giants have better players than him!
Baker wasn’t much better. Quite frankly, he looked lost. I know he came into this game slightly injured, but this was a college player who did not give up many touchdowns. Expectations for him were (and hopefully still are) sky high. This was not an auspicious start.
As for the Giants other first round picks, the story was equally as discouraging. Rookie Defensive Lineman Dexter Lawrence was supposed to provide pressure up the middle. He did not. His name was rarely mentioned during the game. Other linebackers and defensive ends expected to make an impact including Lorenzo Carter, Marcus Golden and Oshane Ximinez were also nowhere to be found. No sacks, no pressure. C’mon James Bettcher, you have to dial up something better than this. How about a safety blitz or 3?
By the way,the Giants star of the preseason, first round pick Quarterback Daniel Jones, entered the game during garbage time. After a few pass completions for short yardage, Jones was welcomed to the big leagues as the ball was stripped from him.
There were some positives on this day for the Giants but unfortunately not many. The Giants offensive line appeared to be worlds ahead of where it was last year. Eli Manning had time to pass and the line did some run blocking as well, even with an injury to highly prized right guard, Kevin Zeitler. Saquon Barkely had his stardard 100 + yard rushing and receiving and appeared to be underutilized during the game. Likely a consequence of the fact that Cowboys were on offense most of the game dominating the time of possession.
Other positives for the GMEN; Evan Engram started to look good. If the Giants are going to have any success this season, they will undoubtedly need more of a contribution from Engram. Many of Engram’s yards appeared to have come during garbage time. Getting him involved early and often is essential as he is a wide receiver in disguise on a team that does not have many reliable receiving threats..
The Giants have an opportunity to right their ship in week 2 against the Buffalo Bills. Not to be taken lightly, the Bills present their own threats but this much is clear; THE GIANTS MUST FIND A PASS RUSH!. If they don’t receivers will get open and there understaffed, undermanaged or underskilled defensive backfield will get burned repeatedly. And stick to the game plan of offense; give the ball to Barkley and find their ensemble of open receivers including Engram l to keep the Bills off balance.
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