My “non-emotional” thoughts from yesterday’s game. As always, feel free to add your own, argue with mine etc…
Giants 31 Washington 19 – We improve to 3-8 and since we’re in the position where we’re tracking, I believe we were picking 5th as I went to bed last night. Weird game against two bad teams late in the season in which seems to have become a trend between these two teams over the past 5 or so years. As bad as the Giants have been, The Commanders have continued to be the one team that they can consistently beat or at least play competitively. In a season that is a disappointment by every other measure, we can at least take something in the fact that we were able to sweep a division opponent. Now let’s work on playing a competitive game against The Cowboys or Eagles…
In typical weird game against the Commanders fashion, we had the “good” of forcing 6 turnovers mixed with the “bad” of giving up 170+ yards rushing on 6+ yards a carry. Our offense was also polarizing by managing to score 24 points on 3 passing TDs yet gave up 9 sacks. On the weirdness pile I can also point out the amount of Saquon Barkley rushing yards that came late in the game after him lingering around 0 yards after the first half. The more I look at this game the more odd things I see but there was one glaring thing that will always lead to a victory, we won the turnover battle 6-0…
I know a lot of you want to tank, but the team didn’t seem to get the memo.
Tommy DeVito finished the day 18-26 for 246 and 3TDs, no turnovers despite being sacked 9 times. This Monday morning after a win we’re hit with a very hard reality as Giants fans, we just watched our best quarterbacked game of the season come from undrafted free agent Tommy DeVito who was never intended to see the field. It occurred to me that there’s an equal chance that this is a really good thing compared to it being a really bad thing. Any way you slice it, I think we’d all agree that sitting in the last half of the season and our best QB performance coming from Tommy DeVito would mean the season went very awry, and it did. While I can talk all day about the scenarios that could come from this and what they mean for the big picture it’s probably best to just feel good for Tommy for today and hope 3TD no INT games become a regular thing for him.
On his play, I’m going to try and give the best analysis of it I can without going through an all-22 and analyzing throw by throw. For starters the team gave up 9 sacks and I’d put at least a few on Tommy himself. If I were to pick out one major flaw I saw from him, it was that at least a few different times he totally froze when his reads weren’t there and just kind of stood in the pocket and took a sack. Getting through these reads quicker and either throwing the ball away or running is a next step here, he’ll have to learn it quickly because Belichick is notorious for confusing rookie QBs. Coupling with the 9 sacks and the hits he took is what I would say I like best from DeVito yesterday, despite the fact that he was pressured and hit a lot, he never looked flustered. In 2 ½ games now I’ve seen some bad mechanics, a few short throws, and times where he hasn’t read coverages right, what I haven’t seen is panic. While there is a lot to clean up with mechanics and reading a defense, there are a few things you can’t teach that the kid has. He’s tough and doesn’t seem to get rattled, I’ll give him that.
Moving on to offensive players not named DeVito, after my minor rant on it last week, I was very happy to see the Giants come right out using Saquon more creatively in their passing game. Rather than only being involved in check downs and having a line like 5 catches for 12 yards, they moved him around the formation and put him into routes. Two times early in the game DeVito found him deep on the right sideline, one for a touchdown on a beautifully thrown wheel route. While Saquon has always been a good runner with an ability to break a big run at any time, his argument to him being one of the league’s highest paid backs comes with his ability to catch the ball and continuously beat linebackers in coverage. When I envision the Giants’ best offense, Saquon is consistently threatening just as much as a receiver as he is a runner. I don’t know why this disappeared from his game after his first season.
I still don’t know what to make of this defense. We’ve been a bad team for quite some time so I’ve grown accustomed to seeing some inconsistency with different units, but this year’s defense has had some of the highest peaks and valleys I think I’ve ever seen. This season so far includes a 3-game stretch where opponents were held under two TDs and now includes a 6-turnover game. The same defense has also given up 40+ points 2x and 30+ points 6x. I go back to the adage that you’re never as good as you look at your best and you’re never as bad as you look at your worst.
Taking the 6 turnovers out of things, I’m really concerned with how easily teams can run on us ever since Leonard Williams was traded. While the trade was the right move, the reality is that Leonard wasn’t going to be here next season and we’ve learned that we do not have a replacement on the team right now, meaning an asset will have to be used to cover Leo’s role. While there is still time for one of the young players (DJ or Jordon) to take a step forward, it’s a long way to go to replace Leo’s impact in the run game. Better teams are going to take advantage of this way more than The Commanders did yesterday.
Kayvon Thibodeaux finished the day with 2 sacks pushing his yearly total to double digits. When we talk about building a winning team and what our future looks like I’d like to point out something about KT. While his game still has holes in, specifically in holding the edge in the run game, he was highly scrutinized early in the season, called a bust and argued about heavily by members of our media, his response has been to shut up and play football. For someone that was lauded as a big personality and possibly locker room cancer prior to the draft, he hasn’t complained through all the losing and criticism and has slowly but surely improved his game. We’re fast to call out a player for quitting and complaining when we see it, but KT has not done that. Credit where it is due.
X’s and O’s out of it, the most important thing to come out of yesterday was the team playing hard, winning the game, and not quitting after DeVito took a few early sacks. This sounds like a low bar to hit, and truth be told, it probably is, but we’re Giants fans with a coach in his second season. 3 coaches in a row now this has been the point in time where everything hit the fan and “we hate to fire a coach after two seasons, but we feel he lost the team” conversations start to happen. The higher draft pick is a nice consolation prize, but I for one am happy to push off any “fire the coach” or “it looks like he lost the team” conversations for another week. I’m tired of having them every 24 months and want things to work with Schoen/Daboll.
Looking at our offense I’ll admit I haven’t been happy with Kafka this season. While I may have not shown it or dumped on him as bad as I could have due to the bad OL play, I didn’t feel like we were given an advantage from our offensive coaching staff at any point during the season.
Yesterday in my opinion wasn’t a perfectly called game, but one of the better ones from him this season. What I liked most is that despite DeVito taking sacks, they still made an attempt to throw the ball beyond the sticks and not rely on a game full of check downs and 2-yard routes. Also, and this may be more on Shea Tierney, DeVito has clearly made progress over 3 weeks. Kudos for this.
Not going to get much on Wink, what I need to see from him moving forward is consistency on a week-to-week basis. This is the issue I see with this defense right now, I don’t know who we’re getting each week.
Giants win the game, I go to Twitter, first thing I see is people complaining we screwed up our tank… While I’d really, really like the number 1 pick I’ve learned to be careful what you wish for. I mentioned it’s been at this point in the second season where each of our last three coaches have had things “hit the fan” leading to them getting fired.
For fans looking to tank, this win puts them in an odd spot, every loss brings us closer to things unraveling but gets us a better draft pick. The question arises regarding what is better for the future of the franchise, Caleb Williams or Drake May, or winning a few games and going into next season not feeling like losers, but most importantly having a third year of continuity for a GM and head coach??? I will be quick to point out that you don’t have to pick first to get the best player in the draft, Daboll’s star pupil and all world QB Josh Allen was the third QB selected and was the 7th pick, there was a QB drafted in the 30’s in that draft who is also pretty good. Time will tell regarding who we draft and why, but right now I view winning as good.
We play the Patriots this week (for real this time) and to be blunt, this is the worst Bill Belichick coached team I can remember since he was in Cleveland. Tank on or tank off, I look at this team and how DeVito played yesterday and look at this as a very winnable game. The wildcard is going to be DeVito, does he build on yesterday’s game, or does he look like a typical rookie facing a Bill Belichick coached defense? Time will tell, but draft picks aside, I’d really like to see this kid beat The Patriots Sunday.