It’s week 6 of the NFL season and the 1-4 Washington Football Team will be facing an 0-5 Giants team at MetLife Stadium in Rutherford, New Jersey. Though the Giants are last in the divisional rankings, they will be 3 point favorites according to Vegas odds. This will be the first time this season the Giants are favored over their opponent.
Much like Washington, the Giants are a team that underwent significant change last offseason after a disappointing season. The Giants feature a largely new coaching staff, with former Patriots Special Teams Coordinator Joe Judge acting as the new Head Coach. Jason Garrett (former Head Coach of the Dallas Cowboys) was brought in as Offensive Coordinator and his unit has struggled the most of the Giants units this year. Patrick Graham (former DC of the Dolphins and LB coach of the Patriots years earlier) was brought in as Defensive Coordinator and the defense has really started to gel together despite a rocky start and a lack of edge-rushing talent. Much like Washington, the Giants retained their previous Special Teams Coordinator Thomas McGaughey, who oversaw a unit that was a lone bright spot on the team last year. Though not as injured as the Cowboys or Eagles, the Giants will be missing players like RB Saquon Barkley, WR Sterling Shepard, LB Lorenzo Carter, and 2nd round pick in this year’s draft S Xavier McKinney.
To learn more about these and other issues, I asked Ed Valentine of Big Blue View five questions about the state of the Giants and what to look for in this game.
1) What are your impressions of the new coaching staff?
I happen to like Joe Judge very much. I get a little tired of hearing about “progress” being made and “weekly improvement” with no wins to back that up, but I think Judge has a bright future as an NFL head coach. I’m reminded a little bit of the rough start Joe Gibbs had to his career as Washington coach way back when.
I think Judge has a really good coaching staff. I love what Patrick Graham is doing with the defense. That group is well coached and Graham is getting a lot out of a group that doesn’t have any true game changers. On offense, there are also a lot of good coaches. I think the jury is out Jason Garrett’s offense, but we can argue all day over how much that’s on Garrett, how much is on Daniel Jones and how much is on the lack of good play around the quarterback.
2) Where is Jones in his development, what is holding him back team wise (receivers, play calling, OL, etc), and what does he need to work on himself? Do you think the Giants will be looking to draft a QB next year?
It’s not saying a lot, but Jones is farther along and has a better shot at being a quality NFL quarterback than Dwayne Haskins. From a “what he can control” view, Jones has to take better care of the ball in the pocket and he has to make better decisions. He can make every throw. He has toughness, he has escapability. It’s frustrating, because you can see the ability, but the turnovers and indecision keep getting in the way.
Jones isn’t helped by the fact that the offensive line hasn’t settled in — Andrew Thomas is off to a really rough start and Nick Gates has yet to prove he is an NFL center. He’s being pressures a higher percentage of the time than any other NFL quarterback. He’s not helped by the injuries to Saquon Barkley and Sterling Shepard. I think Garrett is still figuring out what the offense can and can’t do.
3) Washington fans were sad to hear of Saquon’s week 2 injury and we wish him a full recovery, he’s a great player to watch. How has it impacted the offense and how does the rushing game look under Devonta Freeman and Wayne Gallman?
The running game was at a total standstill WITH Barkley. The offensive line was a mess at the beginning and the Giants had not yet figured out what they could execute in the run game. The last couple of weeks I think they have begun to figure that out, and they have been having some success. Freeman has been an excellent pickup. He’s not Barkley, obviously. He is a good, tough, north and south runner with some burst left. He can also catch the ball. Gallman has done well in limited opportunities, but Freeman is clearly the workhorse now.
4) What are your early impressions of the Giants rookie draft class?
First-round pick Andrew Thomas has not played well. As fans will, some have already given up, labeled him a bust and begun calling him Ereck Flowers 2.0. I think that’s nonsense. He’s a 21-year-old facing the best pass rushers and most complicated pass rush schemes he has ever seen. The results haven’t been good, but I think there is too much physical talent there for him not to become a really good player.
Second-round pick Xavier McKinney is on IR. Third-round pick Matt Peart is the swing tackle right now, and likely a starter in 2021. Cornerback Darnay Holmes, the fourth-round pick, could become a good slot cornerback. It’s worth mentioning that sixth-round pick Cam Brown, a linebacker, is already a monster on special teams and Mr. Irrelevant Tae Crowder is starting at inside linebacker.
I think there is a lot here to be excited about, but the Giants are 0-5 and they need some wins to validate their work.
5) How would you gameplan to attack the Giants on offense and defense?
You attack the offense by pressuring Daniel Jones. You throw a variety of rushers at Thomas and make him prove he can handle what he sees. You stunt/twist and blitz, and make the Giants prove they can pick those things up. They have struggled to do that consistently. You roll your coverage to Darius Slayton and make the Giants prove they can win throwing to someone else.
Dallas made a living last week attacking the middle of the field with CeeDee Lamb. Of course, Washington doesn’t have Lamb, but I think you make the Giants prove they can defend the middle. You attack cornerback Ryan Lewis, a former WFT player who is now starting for the Giants. [Note: Ryan Lewis, a 2017 UDFA, was claimed off waivers on July 30 and then waived on Sept 5th this year; the Giants are his 8th NFL team]. He’s not bad, but he’s not James Bradberry. You run to the edges, not at Dexter Lawrence, Dalvin Tomlinson and Leonard Williams.
Thanks again to Ed Valentine for taking time out of his day to answer our questions about the Giants.
As of right now, Vegas has the Giants as 3 point favorites over Washington. How would you bet?
This poll is closed
Giants win by more than 3 points
Giants win by 3 or fewer points
Washington wins outright
As of now, Vegas has the over/under for this game at 43 points. Which would you bet?
This poll is closed
43 or more total points are scored (both sides combined)
Fewer than 43 total points are scored (both sides combined)