The Giants are doomed. The team is trash. Daniel Jones is the worst quarterback ever. Dave Gettleman should be fired now. Saquon Barkley is done.
Am I missing anything?
Welcome to “Overreaction Monday,” the wildest day of the NFL season, where fans (and media) go crazy and leap to wild conclusions off the first game of the year. Never mind that history is littered with teams that went 0-1 and went on to win a Super Bowl. Never mind that everything will seem a lot better if the Giants just win on Thursday night.
A dash of reality won’t stop the stomach-twisting angst. But I’ll give it a try.
Here’s a look at some of the biggest overreactions to the Giants’ 27-13 loss to the Denver Broncos, and a peek at what the truth might actually be:
Overreaction: Another fumble by Daniel Jones? He’s the same old turnover machine. He’ll never be any good. Time to move on.
Reality: The fumble was bad and brought up a lot of bad memories. Still, it’s worth noting that Jones didn’t throw an interception (though he was close) and that he had just three turnovers in his last six starts last season. Believe it or not, he’s improved in that category. Also, I think the fumble issue can be fixed. Ball security can be taught. And at some point he will learn to slide and not dive at the end of his runs.
As for whether he’ll be any good, I’m going to give him a Week 1 break. Yes, he was game-manager like, but the Giants couldn’t develop a rushing game and, for much of the game, they barely had the ball. The Broncos dominated the time of possession until the fourth quarter. Before I declare the Jones Era over, I want to see what he does when the offense has more time with the ball.
Overreaction: All those new weapons and Jason Garrett still can’t figure out how to use them? He needs to be fired yesterday!
Reality: Yeah, they’re not firing a coordinator in-season – certainly not this early. They’ve also been pretty clear that it’s better for Jones to be in the same offense for the second straight year. It’s fine if you don’t like Garrett’s system or play-calling, but after watching Sunday’s game, I’m not even sure what the offense wants to be.
I think the issue is what the Giants tried to tell us was the issue the last few weeks: There was too much time this summer with Kenny Golladay, Kyle Rudolph, Kadarius Toney, and Barkley on the sidelines. They weren’t clicking. They needed more time to gel. I mean, Golladay flat-out said the offense would likely start slow because of that. Maybe we all should’ve believed him.
Overreaction: Dave Gettleman is a bad GM, stuck in another era, who has no idea what a good offensive lineman looks like. He’s killing this franchise.
Reality: Gettleman is simply not going to win over his critics until this team starts to win, and that’s fair. This has been a long rebuilding project and fans are frustrated. But if this is the year when all his young players were supposed to mature, when the pieces were supposed to come together, isn’t one game a little soon to say he was wrong? I know his track record is bad, but all the promise of a year ago and the strong offseason the team had, wasn’t erased with just one loss.
As for the line – I get the frustrations there, too. But was that really the problem on Sunday? I don’t think so. They weren’t a strength, but outside of two terrible plays by their right tackles that led to Von Miller sacks, they weren’t horrible, either. No, they don’t deserve the benefit of the doubt. But don’t blame them when there were plenty of other problems.
Overreaction: Just 10 carries for 26 yards? Saquon Barkley is done.
Reality: I mean, what were you expecting? It was his first game in a year since tearing his ACL. He barely had any contact this summer and didn’t play in a single preseason game. It was a little disconcerting watching Barkley run with no explosion, no violence to his cuts, no real power behind him. He was far from the same old Barkley who could make people miss.
But that shouldn’t be surprising. In time, he will recover. But clearly he will need more of that time.
Overreaction: Oh, great. They draft Kadarius Toney in the first round, then he has the wrong shoe, gets COVID, has a hamstring injury, and plays just five snaps in the opener? He’s a bust.
Reality: Toney has had a really weird summer, from Shoe-gate to his mysterious absence from practices, to the Giants promising to use him in the opener – only to not really do it. The fact that he had just five snaps and caught two passes for minus-2 yards is really just … weird. If he’s not ready to play, then don’t play him. If he is, then use him. He’s your first-round pick!
But before he’s anointed as the Giants’ worst first-round pick since Ereck Flowers, remember this: In 2014, Odell Beckham Jr. missed the entire summer and the first four games with a hamstring injury. Then he had a total of 10 catches for 106 yards in his first three games. That was better than Toney, but still hardly first-round worthy.
And he turned out to be pretty good. Maybe Toney will, too.
Overreaction: Wait, the defense stinks now, too? The Giants are so screwed.
Reality: OK, you’ve got me here. This one’s alarming. They were the strength of the team last season, the reason they were able to squeak out six wins and hang around the playoff race until the end. Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham was rightfully hailed for his brilliance in scheming around a lackluster pass rush and finding the strength in his secondary.
But on Sunday that secondary was shredded by Teddy Bridgewater and the pass rush disappeared despite the additions of Lorenzo Carter, Oshane Ximines, and rookie Azeez Ojulari. Leonard Williams was good, but he again had no help. And when the back end of the defense collapsed … well, you saw the result.
If this is what this Giants defense is this season … yeah, you’re right, they’re screwed. They better be a whole lot better against the Ryan Fitzpatrick-less Washington Football Team on Thursday night.
Overreaction: They give Golladay a $72 million contract and Jones hardly looks his way until the fourth quarter? How can they not get their best play-maker the ball? Why not just light cap space on fire instead?
Reality: I don’t have a great answer for this. Golladay caught a 17-yard pass early in the second quarter and then wasn’t targeted again until midway through the fourth quarter – about 34 minutes of game time later. Of course, he was targeted five times in the final 8:45 and made a couple of excellent catches. But he was so absent for such a long stretch, I was actually shocked to learn he was on the field for 85 percent (52 of 61) of the offensive plays.
Golladay’s mid-game “absence” from the offense lasted 27 plays and included 13 pass attempts, not to mention a few more where Jones was forced to scramble. Maybe somewhere in there Garrett could’ve called a play for the Giants’ No. 1 receiver? Maybe Jones should’ve just thrown him the ball and let him use his size, strength and hands to make a play?
Yes, if they don’t use him like a No. 1 receiver it will turn out to be a lot of wasted cap space. Maybe the fourth quarter was a positive sign, though. Maybe they all saw what we saw – that Golladay can be a dangerous weapon. So try to hold on to that.