Photo Credit: GettyImages
After Week 1, I already got the feeling it's going to be a long season for Big Blue and the fans. The New York Giants opened Week 1 at home against the Denver Broncos and took a 27-13 loss in front of the home fans. It was the return of Saquon Barkley to full time action since Week 2 last season and the return of fans to Met Life Stadium. That's about all the good feelings I can come up with. Here is everything else I gathered from this loss.
Daniel Jones just can't get right
Photo Credit: NJ.com
Daniel Jones was less than in impressive in 2020 with a stat line of 2,943 passing yards, 11 TDs, 10 INTs and 8 lost fumbles. This was suppose to be his make or break year, an so far what we've seen is a lot of the same. Jones was starring down receivers, consistently under pressure and the weekly lost fumble plagued his performance. Jones finished the game with 22 of 37 for 253 yards, but the fumble on the 3rd quarter drive killed the momentum the Giants were building. Jones has to slide feet first to keep the drive alive. Instead he tried to do too much, went head first and got the ball punched out. He moved the ball in the game, but on plays where he need to check it down to Barkley or read the coverage, he forced it into tight windows. It's more of the same from Jones and in year 3 it's unacceptable. He should have played more in the preseason, but that's a small point to make now. It's on to week 2 and hopefully not more of the same.
The Offensive Coordinator is on thin ice.
Jason Garrett had another up and down performance. The Giants moved the ball, but a missed 4th down on a questionable play call and a fumble in the redzone killed their day. But do you know according to Giants Daily on Twitter, Garrett has been the coordinator for 17 games and the Giants have scored under 20 points in 10 of those games? We had to watch former head coach Pat Shumur walk back into town see Teddy Bridgewater move the Broncos offense with ease. Add in coach Joe Judge stupidly throwing a challenge flag on a scoring play and the whole staff was out coached.
The Defense will be the strength of this team, but needs to improve
The defense was on the field way too much due to the offense's inability to get going in the first half. Long drives, 3rd and 4th down conversions plagued the defense. It was more of the same from last season, where the Giants couldn't get off the field on 3rd down to end drives. The defense did force turnovers, including one crucial one in the redzone to stop a long drive in the first half. But the issue that make this defense a question mark is the pass rush. The Giants only addressed the edge rusher issue from 2020 by drafting Rookie Azeez Ojulari from Georgia and hoping Lorenzo Carter/Oshane Ximines combination would help. Lorenzo Carter played 58 of the 66 defensive snaps and tallied 4 tackles and no QB pressures. Oshane Ximines played 29 snaps, tallied 1 assisted tackle and no QB pressures. Azeez Ojulari played 34 snaps 1 sack, 3 tackles (1 of those tackles for loss) and a QB hit. Other than that, the Giants needed to send LBs and safeties to create pressure. It left the backend exposed, especially on 3rd and 4th down. The unit can improve but with the offensive woes, we might not have time.
Sterling Shepard back in the Slot
Photo Credit: Giants.com
Sterling Shepard looks to be benefiting already from the arrival of WR Kenny Golladay. Shepard was moved back to the slot position and responded with a nice stat line of 7 catches for 113 yards and 1 TD (looks for the fantasy waiver wires to light up). Shepard looked explosive and comfortable finding open areas in the zone. Golladay added 4 catches for 64 yards, but was mostly ineffective in his debut. Look for Shepard to feast on single coverage with the attention on Golladay and Barkley.
Great to have Barkley back, now get to work
It was great to see Saquon Barkley back on the field after that ACL injury last year. He ran out onto the field with no helmet on and soaked in the love from Met Life Stadium. Barkley played 29 of the 61 offensive snaps as he finished with 10 attempts and 26 yards. Of course being on the bench during Denver's long drives and being behind in the game didn't allow him to run the ball more. Barkley also had 1 catch for 1 yard. He dropped one pass and he stumbled a bit after a nice cut move to get free. The more reps Barkley gets, the better he will be. But after watching Christian McCaffery go for 170+ total yards from scrimmage, we should be just happy he was out there. It's time to produce!