New York Giants End of Season Grades
The Giants ended their 2016 season by beating the Washington Redskins 19 to 10 on New Year’s Day. Yes, at times it was hard to endure Joe Buck and Troy Aikman and it’s funny how network executives think the fans actually like these guys but I digress, the Giants are locked in at the 5th seed and will face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.
Lets quickly rip through the end of the season grades:
- Quarterback – C. It pains me to say it, but it was hard to defend Eli Manning this year. Accuracy – terrible. Happy feet, yes! Field Vision, little? Ball, wobbly and his ability to extend the play has altogether disappeared. His fear of getting hit is apparent with the over abundance of “check downs” and passes for no gain.
- Running Backs – C. Paul Perkins “single-handedly” saved this group from a D. Perkins had a nice second half of the year and with some weight training could be thought of as a Ahmad Bradshaw level of talent. Rashad Jennings is a “big back” but runs no one over and lacks the pop once he hits the hole. Shane Veeren is a stud, but needs to be on the field and Bobby Rainey showed little when given a shot. Darkwa is incomplete again.
- Wide Receiver – B. The three headed monster everyone craved never came to life. Odell Beckham Jr. moved to the inside for more production, pushing the veteran Victor Cruz to the outside. That squashed Victor’s chance of making a huge impact; however when called upon made a few sensational sideline catches. His cap number is manageable; however he needs to be used differently. If Toomer could live on possessions…so can Cruz. OBJ was outstanding but in a new way. Instead of the “big catch” the porous Offensive Line and at times skittish QB improvised by adding in the quick slant. His numbers are still breaking records. 101/1367/10 TD’s. Sterling Shepard had a great rookie year with 8 TD’s/683 yds/65 catches. Lewis was hot and cold and Harris and King are incomplete.
- Tight Ends – C- Small flashes of ability and the sure hands from Will Tye give this group C- Larry Donnell should have never made this team and Jerell Adams who could be Eli’s big target in the “red zone” doesn’t get on the field. When he does, he has shown the ability to catch the ball in traffic.
- Offensive Line – D. While Eli is one of the least sacked QB’s in the NFL, happy feet gets rid of ball extremely fast. The last two weeks with Justin Pugh back the running game has improved. Before Pugh got hurt he was the only bright spot. Ereck Flowers is not a left tackle. Marshall Newhouse is not an NFL starter, Weston Richburg regressed. Jerry – solid year, however, struggles in the run game. Brett Jones, the Canadian stand out has shown his versatility playing center, guard and fullback.
- Linebackers – B. Major improvement over years past. DC Steve Spagnuolo turned Jonathan Casillas from average linebacker into run stopping defensive Captain. Casillias never had more than 43 tackles/season, 96 tackles in 2016. Kelvin Sheppard brought versatility in the pass coverage game while Keenan Robinson, known to be injury prone missing 28 games over 4 seasons racked up 83 tackles and 7 PDEF.
- Safety – B+ Landon Collins is a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year(DPOY) and should win it. An immense leap in production from the 2nd year player. Andrew Adams, the undrafted safety from Connecticut had a steady year. He did everything asked of him once Darian Thompson, Nat Berhe and Mykkele Thompson went down with injuries. Nat Berhe the hard-hitting safety was starting to rise before suffering two concussions.
- Cornerbacks – A. This could be the best trio in the game…Janoris Jenkins, DRC and Eli Apple. Jenkins was an enormous upgrade over Prince Amukamara and made his impact felt immediately. The most under rated and unselfish cornerback in football, DRC had another great season with 5 interceptions, two against Washington. He needs to come back in 2017. Eli Apple is learning on the job but showed outstanding form-tackling.
- Defensive Line – A. Damon “Snacks” Harrison leaves the Jets and makes the Giants one of the best upfront lines in the game. Harrison’s Pro Bowl snub shows the voting is a joke as Snacks is by far the best Defensive Tackle in the game in 2016. His partner, Jonathan Hankins had a very solid year playing next to Snacks raking up 43 tackles, 1 FF and 3 sacks. He needs to be retained in the off-season.
- Defensive Ends – B. Sadly Jason Pierre Paul went down with an injury; however JPP was playing at a pro bowl level showcasing his overall skill as a star DE. He plays the run exceptionally hard and was hitting stride in the pass rush. Olivia Vernon started off slow in the pass rush, but is advertised against the run. His pass rushing portfolio is a bit one-dimensional, but has had a great second half. Okwara, the undrafted DE from Notre Dame is a pleasant surprise and Kerry Wynn always is a solid contributor.
- Special Teams – B. Brad Wing has been tremendous and it should be noted that Feagles, Weatherford and Wing are a damn good group that the Giants brass brought in! Robbie Gould seems to have some left in the tank and has been impressive with plenty of distance at 35 years old. Dwayne Harris has definitely taken a step back on production in the punt return game, including some costly fumbles. It could be that he is nursing that bad toe from earlier in the season or unhappy with his diminished role in the offense. Bobby Rainey has been average on kick returns and shows no real spark. Harris and Rainey hold back Wing and Gould from an A grade.
- Coaching – C+. The rookie head coach has done a nice job, but one should wonder what happened to the offense. They have not scored 30 + points in 1 game this season. That is the first time since 2001. McAdoo/Sullivan tend to sit on the ball, when he needs to open up it. Like Coughlin, the draw play is very predictable and running the 3 receiver sets at nausea is giving his QB happy feet. Spags on the other hand has been terrific. He found the magic for Landon Collins, inspired Casillas and juggled 3 great corners to a dominating performance.