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State of the New York Giants Address: The Rebuild is ON

I’m writing this three days after the matter because it’s taken three days to process the megadeal between the Giants and the Browns, as well as thinking about the state and direction of the franchise as a whole. Obviously, there’s a lot here, and a fan favorite wide receiver, along with arguably one of the best to do it, is out the door. It’s a lot to process.

Odell Beckham Jr. and his Time in New York

I think there’s a lot that can be said about OBJ’s tenure in Giants’ blue. Without a doubt, the production when he was healthy and on the field was astounding. He averaged 93 yards per game receiving, and had 44 touchdowns in those 59 games he suited up. That’s HOF-level production, make no mistake about it. Any time you lose a weapon like that, you’re gonna dip in production. But, will it really harm the Giants that much?

With Odell on the field, the Giants went 25-34. Without him, they went 6-15. Did he help? Absolutely. But, bottom line, they still won games without him. They didn’t win a playoff game with him, and only made it once. Further, under the new regime of Gettleman and Shurmur, the Giants played games without Odell and put up 40, 0, 27, and 35 points. Other than the Titans stinker, they didn’t lose because of their offense. They spread the ball around and used Saquon Barkley as the focal point of the offense. You’re gonna see a lot more of that going forward.

You also have to factor in the off-the-field issues. Like it or not, a player that polarizing is going to draw a lot of attention to the franchise, both positive and negative. Beckham did exactly that, both positively and negatively. I personally got a little bit sick of hearing his name coming up in headlines for off-the-field stuff, and I’m sure the franchise did too, which is why he is no longer with the Giants. The damned boat trip is the pinnacle of this; the media blows it up, he throws up a stinker in Green Bay in his one playoff game, good night Jim Kyte.

Do I like the move of signing OBJ then trading him? Not at all, and there’s a lot of dead money they’re paying right now that ties things up for 2019. But, that big money hit is gone after this season, so it’s not as bad as I initially thought.

Am I going to miss Odell? Absolutely; he is arguably the most electrifying player in football. Being at MetLife when on the second play of the game he torches the Patriots for an 87-yard touchdown was one of the most electric things I have ever witnessed in my life. Nobody can take a simple slant route to the house like he can. But, you can argue that the Giants are a better team without him. I’ll get into that later.

Gettleman to the Roster: YOU’RE FIRED

The Knicks, the Rangers, the Yankees a few years ago. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I am really starting to get sick and tired of these rebuilds.

Gettleman is cleaning house. Like it or not, at the very least he’s doing that part right. He sent Apple, Snacks, Collins, Vernon, and Beckham packing. I personally am fine with all of these moves. I never once liked Eli Apple and I very quickly got tired of watching him getting targeted, not facing the ball, and the receiver making mince meat of his coverage. Snacks was good, but for a guy over 30 who could only stop the run in a passing league, he was making too much money. Vernon couldn’t stay on the field his last two seasons, and for what he was making, he just always seemed to underachieve. These are the so-called “good” dumps.

Collins was about as good of a tackler as you could find, but his coverage skills lacked a bit. Too many times you saw him get burnt by a tight end running a seam route. For a guy that is now making $14M per, you need to be able to cover. I don’t have an issue with letting him go, I have an issue with not trading him and acquiring assets back. He easily could’ve fetched at least a second rounder, maybe even more, but Gettleman didn’t pull the trigger on it when he had the chance. And then there’s the Beckham portion of the program which I’m still processing.

This is definitely the way to go; they haven’t won consistently with the players on the roster, and Reese ruined the organization with his poor drafting and roster construction.

How Does One Build a Football Team?

In my eyes, based off of the teams that have won in recent years, you need the following:

  • Good to great quarterback play
  • Heavy utilization of your running back(s)
  • Spread the ball around to WRs/TEs
  • Great offensive line
  • Pass rush

Look at the teams who have won rings recently. The Patriots literally follow this model to a T. Brady’s the GOAT, Michel/White/Burkhead have carried the load in the backfield, they spread the ball around, they get UNREAL play out of their line, and can get to the quarterback when they need to. Result? 2 rings in the last 3 years. Philly did the same thing, as did the Seahawks. Bottom line: if you want to win, a front office needs to emphasize these areas, which is also why I sneaky worry that the Cowboys could be a real threat if Dak can evolve into a more elite quarterback.

The Giants have some bits in play here. You have an athletic freak at running back who can both run and catch passes with Saquon Barkley, so you’re set there. The offense is now more apt to spreading the ball; Tate, Shepard, Engram, and I’d assume one other weapon will consist of the receivers going forward, barring guys not getting extensions. They should draft someone as well. We can finally consider the offensive line a good unit, thank God.

Also, when was the last time a team won with a pretty boy, #1 wide receiver? You arguably have to go as far back as Marvin Harrison or Santonio Holmes. Teams don’t win or maintain consistency with that much money committed to WRs, as well as the focal point of an offense going through them. You run into a team with a really good corner, and all of a sudden, the offense is stagnant. It’s bad news. Spreading the ball without a true #1 option makes it much harder for a defense to gameplan an offensive attack.

The Draft

Drafting is at least a two-year process here. I actually don’t believe they take a quarterback this year. Given this report about Dwayne Haskins, I have a gut feeling the G-Men aren’t enthralled with any of the quarterbacks in the draft. I’m a firm believer that for a position this valuable, you shouldn’t just draft one for the sake of drafting one. You draft a QB when you absolutely love the prospect. I think it makes more sense to give Eli the farewell tour, and then in 2020, take one of Herbert, Fromm, or Tua.

So if not quarterback, then who do they take?

I think they go pass rusher at 6, and then at 17, go with Jonah Williams. With that, you’d complete the line, and add a guy who can get the quarterback to go along with young guns like BJ Hill and Lorenzo Carter. After the first round, I think they’d take a look at some corners and a receiver as well. Jenkins, Beal, and a rookie could be a decent secondary.

The Future?

Tank. Tank. Tank.

This is going to be a tough season for Giants football, but it’s necessary. They need to obliterate the 2019 season and make sure they lock up a high draft pick to ensure a quarterback for 2020. I would buckle up for a season anything from 0-16 to 6-10. It is going to be absolutely brutal, but this team can not compete with the big boys right now. Two or three years from now? We could be looking at something special. In 2020 they will have a TON of cap, and I mean a TON. They can patch some holes in free agency, but I wouldn’t bank on Gettleman handing out too many big contracts, as it’s hard to win with a lot of those on the roster.

Trust the front office, embrace the tank, and hopefully in a few seasons, we can look back and be thankful that these times are no more.


Featured image taken by John Angellilo

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