by Mike Elwell @SpartanMike96
Let’s face it, the season’s over for the 2021 NY Giants, and unlike the end of the 2020 season, Giants fans are not feeling eager for the next season.
The Giants have a multitude of serious decisions to make this offseason. Their GM, Head Coach and Quarterback are all on the table at the moment. However, there are numerous rumors circling that Kevin Abrams will be promoted to GM, and Joe Judge will remain. These would not be popular moves amongst fans. That said, perhaps there is hope.
If the Giants want to make the playoffs next year under this scenario, it would be a difficult task. Assuming Abrams is GM and Judge is still the head coach, here is how the Giants can be contenders for the playoffs next season.
Fix the Offensive Line:
The one issue that has been plaguing the Giants for the past decade is their atrocious offensive line. Solder, Hernandez, and Price are not good enough to start. Lemieux opened this season as the starting guard, but is still unproven. Thus, the Giants should seek collateral. We’d love to see Nick Gates back and formidable as he was, but he cannot be depended on post-injury.
On the bright side, Andrew Thomas has most certainly claimed his spot for next season. The Giants are currently projected to have the 5th and 6th pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. Since that puts the Giants out of range for edges Aidan Hutchinson and Kayvon Thibodeux, the Giants should draft Tackle Evan Neal and Center Tyler Linderbaum (assuming they are available).
That would secure their center and both tackles for 2022. After the draft, the Giants should sign a competitive guard in the $4-7MM range. Options include Alex Lewis, Laken Tomlinson, Mark Glowinski, and A.J. Cann. Now, let’s assume the Giants sign Alex Lewis. This means the offensive line for 2022 would Thomas at LT, Lewis at LG, Linderbaum at C, Neal at RT, and Gates/Lemieux can battle it out for RG. The Giants should also draft at least two additional offensive linemen in the mid-rounds of the 2022 NFL draft. The Giants would also still have Peart in 2022 as a backup. This could end the era of our terrible offensive line once and for all.
Find an Offensive Guru:
The next crucial step for the Giants is securing the offensive coordinator. Matt Nagy is the only current head coach that is on the hot seat at the moment with an offensive background. He will likely be a big name on the offensive coordinator market. Unlike Jason Garret, Nagy was praised in his role prior to being a head coach. When Nagy was the offensive coordinator of the Chiefs, they had the 5th best offense in 2017, which was led by Alex Smith. If the Giants do not land Nagy, they will have to scout assistant coaches for high caliber offenses throughout the NFL that have a large impact on their teams. Some of these names include the following:
- Adam Stenavich – Packers OL Coach/Run Game Coordinator
- Bo Hardegree – Patriots QC/QB Coach
- Dan Pitcher – Bengals QB Coach
- Greg Lewis – Chiefs RB Coach
- Harold Goodwin – Buccaneers Assistant HC
- Joe Bleymaier – Chiefs WR Coach
- John DeFilippo – Bears Passing Game Coordinator/QB Coach
- Luke Getsy – Packers QB Coach & Passing Game Coordinator
- Mike Kafka – Chiefs QB coach & Passing Game Coordinator
- Parks Frazier – Colts Assistant QB Coach
- Scott Milanovich – Bills QB Coach
- Shane Day – Chargers QB Coach
- Thomas Brown – Rams RB coach/assistant HC
The new offensive coordinator has to help the Giants get to at least average next year. The Giants offense has averaged 17 points per game this season, which is 30th in the league. The league average is 24 points per game right now, which is a 7-point difference. For reference, the Giants would have been 7-4 prior to Daniel Jones’s injury if they scored 7 additional points each game this year.
Find a Suitable Replacement for Jones:
With Jones being injured again and his failure to secure the role as a franchise QB for the Giants, they have to prepare to move on. The QB class for 2022 is not full of big names. However, the Giants could draft a sliding QB in round 2 of the 2022 NFL draft as a cheap option. If the Giants find Desmond Ridder or Carson Strong available in round 2, there is no shame in taking a risk. Or, the Giants could pull a wild card option and trade for Tyler Huntley.
He has succeeded in his role covering for the injured Lamar Jackson in Baltimore. Although some fans may call for a free agent signing, there aren’t many options for a QB that could take us to the next level next year. For instance, Ryan Fitzpatrick is a free agent next season. He has never made the playoffs but is still on contract for $10MM per year. This is not an ideal option for the Giants right now, and the list of available QBs only gets worse in quality from Fitzpatrick. And just remember, we know what to expect out of a guy like Andy Dalton: nothing. We do not know what to expect from a guy like Desmond Ridder. Might as well roll the dice for the collateral, and not waste big assets.
Fill Holes Rather than Sign High Priced Free Agents:
The Giants can only sign guys that can at the very least fulfill the position. The Giants have signed too many mega contracts as of late to big-name free agents. These contracts have yielded little return. For example, instead of signing Nate Solder for 4 years and $62MM, they could have signed Tyler Eifert and Sheldon Richardson for the same price (annualized at $8MM per year each). Neither of those two players is elite, but they could be relied on to get the job done. In the days of Accorsi, it was extremely rare for the Giants to give out big contracts.
Guys like Rich Seubert, Kawika Mitchell, and Barry Cofield were not elite, but they could effectively do their jobs. The Giants need these player types at all positions at the very minimum.
Hire a Consultant:
The Giants want to keep Judge? Fine. He doesn’t touch the play calling. However, he is consistently leaving us scratching our heads with time management. At 39, he’s still a student of the game. After all, Bill Belichick is always looking for ways to improve as a coach. If somebody is hired from the outside and advises Judge on time management in various scenarios, perhaps the time blunders and timeout misuses can be fixed.
Find Ways to Reduce Injuries:
I swear the Giants enter each season with more injuries to our critical players than any other team. What on earth are they doing in training camp, Oklahoma drills? Nonetheless, there are also a couple of bonus injuries down the stretch. Perhaps the Giants need to reduce contact in practice or practice on a different surface. This may be easier said than done but this persistent issue needs to be addressed.
If the Giants can follow these steps, they could very well be on the road to being a competitive team next year. Of course, even if the Giants fix their offensive line and get an amazing offensive coordinator, it will mostly come down to Jones. However, if given a good offensive line and offensive coordinator in 2022, Daniel Jones will be in his best position to succeed.
Wait, What About Our Defense? I Want an Edge!!
Look, as sick as I get watching the Giants defense give up 10,000 yards per game, they don’t give up many points. They’re also extremely successful in the red zone, have been able to contain some great quarterbacks. Also, just remember that they are currently dealing with an offense that repetitively goes 3-and-out.
The time of possession is extremely lopsided. Of course, an elite edge would be nice, but none will be available to us in the 2022 NFL Draft. If Von Miller goes into free agency, he’ll cost $20MM per year. The bottom line is this: our defense could be better, but it’s sufficient enough to win ball games. Meanwhile, the offense can’t even move the ball. It’s best to focus on that this year if we want a shot in 2022.