- Vincent Zahler
Giants Get Their First Win and Why Everyone Is Wrong On GM Jerry Reese.
With the the Giants season already all but officially over, there was little to nothing left to lose. The top 4 wide receivers were out with 3 of them most likely lost for the season. One of the premier slot corners in the league Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had been suspended indefinitely to go along with Eli Apple's struggles as well as Olivier Vernon out due to injury.
It was a lost cause. Everyone from media to fans were calling for the heads of Head Coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese. All the while hoping for a tanking season in order to possibly get the quarterback of the future in what appears to be a quality draft pool at that position.
At 0-5, what good would a few wins do? The line supposedly needs to be completely replaced(I'll get back to this), Eli Manning need to be replaced and the front office needs a complete overhaul right? Especially considering that the gauntlet that is the Giants schedule has just begun.
As it turns out, the Giants just needed a few minor changes. This team may have started the season as ugly as it gets but have lost their last 3 games by a combined total of just 10 points. 2 of the losses came on game ending field goals. One of which was a 61 yarder off the foot of a rookie.
Going into Sunday night's game against arguably the best defense in the league, it was announced that Ben McAdoo letting offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan take over the playcalling. With nothing left to lose at this point as it seemed already set in stone that the Giants were going to drop to a miserable 0-6. Instead, the Giants came out swinging on both offense and defense despite missing key star players on both sides of the ball.
Eli Manning played the part of the game manager 11 of 19 for just 128 yards and made few mistakes while rookie Evan Engram continued his thus far impressive rookie campaign with 5 catches 88 yards and a score. Orleans Darkwa came out power running for over 100 yard against the best run defense in football behind a line that since the tweaks were made, looks completely different. Its suddenly able to protect Eli and has even been able to open holes in the ground game.
About the line. Fans and media alike have been getting in each others way when it comes to criticizing the line and blaming Jerry Reese for not stocking the shelves. Just one issue. Jerry Reese has stocked the shelves regarding the offensive line. The line that played Sunday night from left to right was as follows
Left Tackle-Ereck Flowers:1st round pick Left Guard- John Jerry: FA signing MIA Center-Brett Jones: FA signing CFL (backup to 2nd rd pick Richburg) Right Guard-DJ Fluker:FA signing LAC (former 1st rd pick) Right Tackle-Justin Pugh: 1st rd pick
What more could he have done? Jerry Reese has provided Chef McAdoo with the ingredients. It was until McAdoo decided to use them properly and let sous chef Mike Sullivan come up with the recipes. Now even with less of what was originally in the pantry we have a far more delicious product. (yes I used culinary metaphors regarding the Giants)
Media and fans have been quick to pile on General Manager Jerry Reese and blindly blame him heavily for the travesty that is an 0-5 start but the recent dramatic improvement of the Giants, especially where the offensive line is concerned, proves otherwise. I know I'm in the minority here when I say that GM Jerry Reese is not what is wrong with the 2017 New York Giants. While he deserves plenty of blame for major draft failures from 2009-2013, he has to his credit restocked the team with young talent.
With the offense able to keep the defense of the field and at least somewhat rested, the defense was able to do what it needed to. Eli Apple stuck to Denver receivers like glue. Janoris Jenkins was picked on for over 100 yards and a score but he had a interception returned for the touchdown of his own. Landon Collins snared an interception and Jason Pierre-Paul made his presence known with 3 sacks.
Winning the game 23-10, in Denver while missing so many key members to both the offense and defense has suddenly given defeated fans hope. As if with the current lackluster state that is the NFC that the Giants may have a chance to make a run. Key issues that plagued the Giants all season such as a non-existent running game, an anemic offense, and an inoppurtunistic defense have suddenly been fixed.
Unfortunately, fitting with the Giants theme of the 2017 season, the fix is almost certainly too little too late. Even if Sunday night were not an aberration and we just witnessed the new and improved 2017 New York Giants, they are still going to be without 3 of their top 4 wide receivers for the rest of the season while staring down a gauntlet of a schedule. Of the remaining 10 opponents, 8 have winning records.
Enjoy the win but don't expect too many more. All we can realistically do at this point is wonder what might have been had Ben McAdoo gave up playcalling duties and made the proper offensive line adjustments at the start of the season. Unless some miracle occurs, expect a top 5 pick in the 2018 draft.