Tag Archives: Oshane Ximinez

Run Forrest Run !

When your quarterback is the leading rusher for your team, as was the case with Daniel Jones of the New York Giants this past Sunday against the San Francisco Forty Niners, this is usually telling of the outcome of the game. Jones was the Giants leading rusher with 5 carries for 49 yards. When this appears to be the best play that you have going for you on offense, it is likely to be a long day.

Week 3 against the San Francisco Forty Niners offered very few positives for the New York Giants. The GMEN were thoroughly dominated by the Forty Niners on both sides of the ball. Time of possession said it all. The Niners had the ball 39:44 to the Giants 20:16, their lowest time of possession since a December 24, 2006 game against the New Orleans Saints.  Worst of all, the Giants were soundly beaten by a team comprised on backups. No Garoppolo, no Kittle, no Mostert.  The Niners backups Nick Mullens (QB), Jerick McKinnon, Brandon Aiyuk, Kendrick Bourne, J. Wilson Jr. (RB & WR’s), and Ross Dwelley (TE) torched the GMEN to the tune of 25 completions on 36 attempts passing in a thoroughly dominant 36-9 victory.

What is wrong with the Giants?

Pretty much everything.  Whereas most analysts predicted that the Giants were at most a 6-game winner this season, it is possible they won’t win any games.  This season is not for the faint hearted.

The Giants are at best a work-in-progress.  They look competent on some plays but don’t sustain drives. Their defense makes the occasional sack, deflection or run-stop, but can’t seem to make any critical plays when needed.  As the statistics indicate, the defense was on the field for what felt like the entire game on Sunday against the Niners, unable to make any needed key third down stops.  This makes it easy to say this is a horrible team.  Perhaps they are, at the moment.  Their record and stats for the 2020 season thus far would indicate as much.

It isn’t like the Giants don’t have any talent.  They do, on both sides of the ball.  A number of players have shown signs of playmaking capability. Perhaps they simply needed the offseason and 4 preseason games, all lost to the Coronavirus epidemic.  Perhaps they need more direction from their coaches and head coach.

Some defensive linemen and linebackers have flashed.  Leonard Williams finally appears to be wrapping his arms around the quarterback (2 sacks); Lorenzo Carter has shown the ability to pressure the quarterback although the sacks have been slow to come.  Oshane Ximinez and Kyler Fackrell have to get home more in their limited opportunities.  Is it as simple as saying that their play is the result of not having an offseason or any preseason games to assess their strengths and weaknesses?  Perhaps to an extent, but at some point coaches have to start making a difference.  Kyle Shanahan’s play calling gave the Giants fits all game. The Niners scored four touchdowns and two field goals on six visits to the red zone.  The Giants, on the other hand, did not run one play inside the Niners 20 yard line.  Total domination by the Niners!

The secondary has been spotty at best. Free agent cornerback signing James Bradberry has made several pass breakups in addition to a few interceptions.  Julian Love has an interception and has been involved in some quality defensive plays.  I think I saw Logan Ryan check in for a play or two against the Forty Niners. However, the other corner position, as expected, has yielded too many key plays.

The Giants are too predictable.  When their opponents need a key third down reception, an opposing receiver can always be seen steaking across the middle of the field untouched.  The fact is, nobody is making key stops.

The offense has been equally unreliable.  As easy as it is to say the team’s fate rested in Saquon Barkley’s hands, they must move on after his devastating season-ending injury.  All teams are experiencing a plethora of major injuries this season.  The who’s who list includes Christian McCaffrey, Nick Bosa, Jimmy Garoppolo, Richard Sherman, Michael Thomas, Davante Adams, Julio Jones and others.

The injury wave can’t be the result of coincidence.  It is the ramification of forcing a league to begin on time without the benefit of an offseason as well as preseason games.

As for the GMEN, growing pains had to be expected for Daniel Jones in Season 2.  The bloom has come of the rose. It is time to determine if Jones has what it takes to be the quarterback of the New York Giants. His “dear in the headlights” face from operating behind an offensive line that lacks coherence and continuity is growing thin on fans.  He is going to have to make plays on his own.  He has definitively shown us that he has the running ability to do so.  He must also demand play-calling which keeps opposing teams guessing.

It is indeed a trying time to be a Giants fan.  Even though we have been spoiled with 4 Superbowl wins in the last 30 years, we have not had a winning season since 2016 when they went 11-5. It is not too much to ask for a team with a winning record.  Look at the models of consistency in the NFL.  Look at the Patriots, Saints, Seahawks and Forty Niners; teams that have consistently winning records.

I am not asking for this team to be in the Superbowl this year.  Far from it.  I am simply requiring progress in some areas; offense, defense, special teams.  Just show me improvement week to week that can be built on regardless of the outcome of the game. That is all I am asking for.  Without progress, you become a lesser franchise perennial cellar-dweller.

If you watch Sean Payton (head coach, New Orleans Saints) call a game, you know to expect the unexpected.  Although he does have a Superbowl-winning quarterback at the helm of his offense, he brings in another quarterback turned jack-of-all-trades Taysom Hill in on offense to mix things up.  I am not saying that gadget plays are the key to a New York Giants turnaround.  I am saying that more creativity from the coaching staff will be required if the Giants are to achieve any wins in this bizarre virus-impaired season.  Up next week:  a visit to the Los Angeles Rams.

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A Giant debacle in Dallas

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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Entering the season on a positive note

The New York Giants are in the unenviable position of being a team being overlooked this season. Many prognosticators have them ranked as low as 28th out of the 32 teams in the NFL.  It appears that there is only one direction they can go, and I believe that is up!

The cause of their ranking is because of fear of the unknown.  Like in the stock market, professionals like certainty. There has never been less certainty than with this current Giants team. There are question marks in just about every area of this team and that includes coach and general manager.

At the close of the Giants vs. Patriots game on Thursday, August 29, backup Quarterback Kyle Lauletta threw a last ditch effort into the end zone which was caught by wide receiver Alonzo Russell, his second of the game.  This reception won the game. Euphoria erupted. The players stormed the field.  You would have thought this was a game 7 World Series win, or perhaps another Superbowl win over the Patriots. Sure, this had the makings of a fun sports movie; perhaps Any Given Sunday or a Friday Night Lights episode.  Giants management proceeded to reward Lauletta, Russell, as well as TJ Jones, their leading receiver during the 2019 preseason, by cutting all 3 of them.

Russell’s preseason stats were 6 receptions for 131 yards with 2 TD’s.  He wasn’t even their best receiver in the preseason. TJ Jones caught 12 receptions for 146 yards and 2 TD’s as well. As for the quarterback responsible for mopping up many of these preseason games, Kyle Lauletta completed 37 of 62 passes for 453 yards and 4 TD’S.  Hardly Tom Brady-like numbers, but certainly worthy of third QB consideration. No such outcome. He too was cut and did not make the final 53.

The NFL is a cruel league. That much is clear.  Maybe I am just expressing my sour grapes because I have admittedly developed a liking for Russell, who is affectionately referred to as “Zo” in postgame locker room celebrations.  Did I mention that there were 4 of these wins this preseason?  That’s right, the Giants won all 4 of their preseason games.

These wins are not the basis of my optimism for the upcoming season.  My confidence starts on the offensive side of the ball with a talent like Saquon Barkley.  Add an improved offensive line to the equation and you are likely to see extended drives that result in points.  Eli Manning is 38 years young and still appears to be able to manage the offense efficiently for now.  The Giants should be able to score points.  That’s right, you heard it here, the Giants offense should be improved even without a playmaker like O’dell Beckum Jr.  Dare we talk about Daniel Jones at all in this blog? I guess we will save him for the future.  After all, he will be doing little besides holding a clipboard, right?

Defense is another story but I will try to dwell on the positives.  The committee consisting of Lorenzo Carter, Marcus Golden, Oshane Ximinez and Dexter Lawrence should be able to get to the quarterback.  Perhaps they will not be Strahan, Tuck, Umenyoura and Kiwanuka immediately, but they should be able to make some plays.  I am expecting some big pressure up the middle by the rookie Lawrence, we they invested a first round pick on.

The defensive backfield stands a chance to be improved as well.  DeAndre Baker, if healthy will make a nice pairing with Janoris Jenkins.  This guy does not give up many completions, especially not touchdowns.  Add some other talented players into the mix including Sam Beal, Julian Love and Grant Haley along with what should be better safety play by Bethea and Peppers and James Bettcher’s defense could return to the outstanding rankings he experienced in Arizona.

I know the preseason is for meaningless but when you have Saquon Barkley on your team and some talented players on defense, you might be pleasantly surprised.  I’m not picking the GMEN to win it all, but with what appears to be a fairly soft schedule, a 9-7 record could be within their grasp.

Please bring on the regular season!

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