New York Giants Film Review: How Good Is Jon Halapio’s Run Blocking?

Entering the 2018 season, the New York Giants had several open competitions for starting roles. This included free safety, slot corner and surprisingly, center. Brett Jones is the incumbent, and proved himself to be one of the best pass blocking centers in the league. Last year, he had the 8th best pass blocking efficiency score according to ProFootballFocus metrics. However, while Jones could be trusted to keep the middle of the pocket clean, he struggled to create holes for his running backs.

Starting in Spring camp, the Giants have given journeyman Jon Halapio opportunities to start at center. Halapio spent the first four years of his career bouncing around practice squads. He finally got an opportunity to play last season after the Giants offensive line fell apart (though was it every really together?). Halapio has been granted this chance based on the perception that he will be an impactful run blocker, someone who can clear lanes for Saquon Barkley. Does perception match reality? To find out, I watched every run blocking snap Halapio (RG #75) participated in last season. Let’s take a look at the film.

Film Review on New York Giants’ Jon Halapio:

Good:

Halapio displayed the ability to maintain his block when handling a defensive tackle one-on-one. He rarely overpowers his opponent, but is able to win the battle just enough to allow the running back to generate positive yards on the ground. Further, when he has a clear shot at a linebacker, he occasionally was able to execute his block in the second level.

Week 12 Q1 1:58

Jon Halapio does a good job of making sure the defensive tackle isn’t able to penetrate and cut Wayne Gallman off before Gallman runs off the edge of the line. Halapio wasn’t over powering, but did the job well enough to help spring Gallman.

Week 12 Q2 10:26

This was one of the few instances where Halapio successfully came off a double team of a defensive tackle and quickly got to the second level to take on a linebacker. This enabled Darkwa to gain positive yards running behind Halapio.

Week 13 Q1 1:46

This was one of the only times Halapio over powered a defensive tackle one-on-one. He does a great job of creating a big hole for Gallman to gallup through.

Week 13 Q2 11:45

The Giants run right behind Halapio pulling to his left. Halapio does a great job of blocking the linebacker to allow the runner to cut back right behind him.

Week 14 Q4 6:23

On this draw to Gallman, Halapio easily overpowers Damien Wilson and is able to push him to the ground before the linebacker can attempt to tackle Wayne Gallman.

Week 15 Q4 14:19

This is another example of Halapio quickly coming off his double team to take on a linebacker. This gives Gallman a clear running lane to sprint through.

Week 15 Q4 9:08

On the goal line, Halapio buries the defensive tackle to allow Darwka to run the ball in for a touchdown.

Bad

So far, Halapio has shown the ability to occasionally over power the defensive tackle. While showing glimpses of being able to win one-on-one battles is encouraging, the plays highlighted above were more outliers than the norm. Halapio rarely displayed the power one would expect to see from a strong run blocker. The plays below are examples of Halapio losing one-one-one battles with defensive tackles.

Week 13 Q1 15:00

Halapio does a poor job of moving the defensive tackle in front of him. Darkwa didn’t help by running right into the line instead of between Flowers and Engram, but could have gained more yards if Halapio was able to do a better job of creating a running lane for him to run through.

Week 15 Q3 5:41

This play makes you wonder if anyone knew what their assignment was. Even with a little help from Jones, Halapio struggled to hold his block against the defensive tackle. Even if he did, this play was doomed, but his inability to take out the defensive tackle didn’t help.

Week 16 Q2 12:41

The defensive tackle Halapio was responsible for wasn’t directly involved in the play, but this illustrated how easily it can be to overpower Halapio. The defensive tackle shakes him off like he’s a rag doll to assist his teammates on the play.

Week 16 Q2 4:45

Covering all of the breakdowns in run blocking on this play would require a whole separate article. Since this article focuses on Halapio, we’ll focus on his inability to even get two hands on the defensive tackle before handling his responsibility in the second level. Whomever thought it was a good idea to ask Jerell Adams to take on a defensive tackle should probably be fired (oh wait..).

Ugly

In Pat Shurmur’s offense, backs and receivers will have ample opportunities to make big plays on screens. He wants to get his playmakers the ball out in space. For these types of plays to be successful, it’s imperative that the linemen can excel at taking on linebackers and defensive backs in the second level. This is the one facet of Halapio’s game that stood out the most; he struggled mightily to block at the second level, especially when he had to navigate through some traffic to identify the man he was responsible for.

Week 12 Q1 11:43

Halapio is responsible for pulling to his left and taking out the linebacker. He attempts to dive at the Redskin linebacker and completely whiffs, allowing the linebacker to make the tackle on Darkwa.

Week 13 Q3 11:52

This play is similar to the previous play discussed. Halapio pulls to his left and barely makes contact with the Raider linebacker before falling down. He makes a weak attempt at clearing a hole for Darkwa to run through.

Week 14 Q1 :08

Coming off of the quick double team of the defensive tackle, Halapio is late getting to the second level and is forced to pull down the Cowboy linebacker for a penalty. Halapio was replaced by John Greco shortly after this play.

Week 14 Q3 12:11

Halapio is late again coming off of his double team to block the linebacker. He also reveals a bad habit at diving at linebackers instead of getting in proper position to block them with the right technique. This run was blown up from the start when Brett Jones got pushed three yards back into the backfield, but it still doesn’t absolve Halapio of not handling his responsibilities.

Week 14 Q3 11:39

We are starting to see a consistent theme with Halapio when he’s asked to quickly double team a defensive tackle and then get to the next level; he constantly struggles to find the linebacker he is responsible for. On this play, he’s unable to block Sean Lee, who makes the tackle on Shane Vereen.

Week 15 Q2 2:00

This was one of the few big runs the Giants had all season, but got no help from Halapio on this play. He’s late getting out to block Malcom Jenkins, who eventually tracks down Vereen from behind.

Week 15 Q3 3:55

Even though Halapio has a clear shot at Kendricks coming off of his double team, he isn’t able to apply a clean block to help spring Gallman up the middle. Kendricks is able to assist in taking down Gallman after a short gain.

Week 16 Q1 4:37

This is the second holding penalty Halapio got called for when attempting to block a defensive player in the second level. He’s in good position to block Bucannon, but isn’t able to block him cleanly.

Week 17 Q4 6:10

Again, Halapio displays a bad habit of using shoulders, instead of his hands, to block a linebacker. He whiffs on his responsibility to block Zach Vigil.

Conclusion:

After watching every run snap Halapio took, it’s clear he is not going to be able to consistently create running lanes for the Giants backs. He rarely exhibits the power required to win one-on-one battles with defensive tackles and constantly struggled to handle his blocking responsibilities when blocking linebackers and defensive backs.

It’s healthy for any organization to force players to compete for their starting role. Brett Jones hasn’t proved himself enough to have his starting role handed to him, and he needs to continue to develop as a center. However, one thing we know he does well is pass protect and that is the one attribute Giants fans should value in their offensive lineman. Brett Jones gives the Giants offense the best chance to succeed.

 

Ohio State: Nick Bosa Leads The Way For Big Ten In ESPN Player Rankings

College football has always been more of a team sport than an individual one, but that doesn’t mean player rankings aren’t one of the most debated subjects for fans. ESPN released their list of the top 50 players heading into the 2018 season, and interestingly, there’s no Big Ten players in the top five. Leading the list is Houston’s star defensive tackle, Ed Oliver. Then there’s Bryce Love, Will Grier, and two separate members of Clemson’s talented defensive line.

Where does Ohio States’ Nick Bosa rank?

The first Big Ten player, Nick Bosa, comes in at number six. A junior with big potential ahead of him, Ohio State fans will gladly tell you that Bosa isn’t just on the team because of his last name. He has the talent to stand alone, and would probably be at the same spot on this list even without the famous brother.

That’s not to say that it doesn’t help to have some name recognition. His play style definitely reminds people of Joey Bosa, who also starred at Ohio State during his college football days. With Ohio State losing some talent to the draft, most notably defensive end Sam Hubbard, Bosa will get more snaps and more chances to back up his ranking this season.

While he was the first Big Ten player to show up in the top ten, he wasn’t the only one. Wisconsin’s top running back, Jonathan Taylor, is next on the list. There’s no surprise there, as one could make an argument that Taylor, who is only a sophomore, is the best back in the country. During his freshman season, he rushed for almost 2,000 yards and scored 13 touchdowns, while averaging 6.6 yards per carry. The entire nation will be watching to see if he can improve on that in 2018.

There’s two more Big Ten players in the top 20: Michigan defensive lineman Rashan Gary, and Penn State quarterback Trace McSorley. One of the favorites to win the Heisman Trophy this year, McSorley is the second highest rated QB on the list behind West Virginia’s gunslinger Will Grier. Of course, these are just preseason picks. One of the interesting parts of college football is looking back each season and seeing which seemingly safe predictions turned out to be wildly wrong.

With most college football teams opening their seasons during the first week of September, we’ll soon get to see which players rise and which ones just can’t keep up with the expectations.

The New York Yankees Need GM Aaron Boone To Step Up To The Plate

It’s a new day! The time for mourning is over. Boston has sailed out of sight (for now). Forget about trying to catch them, we need to take care of business, now that the New York Yankees face teams under .500 the rest of this month.

Time to get our act together—reflect, adjust, and move forward…

The New York Yankees need Aaron Boone to begin making more intelligent decisions:

There are many story lines to choose from, but what I would like to see is for Aaron Boone to step up to the plate. It’s time to see his leadership qualities, because the tough moments, which measure one’s true nature, are here. Will he own the responsibility of a group strategy that has backfired? Will he speak for himself, instead of big brother, when a player is out of line? Because when it’s all said and done, the fingers point to the manager.

Reconciliation starts with truthfulness and must start from the top if it’s going to work. Emotions are flying high; the ship is leaking.

Even Tanaka, a classy seasoned veteran, showed signs of frustration when removed from the game last night. We never know the full story behind the scenes, but Boone has to use all his experience as a professional athlete to turn this ship around. Whatever that needs to be patched up, must be patched up immediately.

If the team is scattered, for whatever reason, he is the only one who can gather the troops. Spill your guts, lay it all out for the team. We need your leadership.

Though we came up short, there was some positives to draw off last night’s game. We didn’t do much physically, however, it was the mystical side of sports that allowed us to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Shane Robinson’s at bat was the spark. Like David versus Goliath, our smallest man on the roster became the biggest. With his flare and stare, the baseball God’s came to life after watching a boring contest. They saw fire! They saw fight!.

Momentum changed and in a blink of an eye, Baseball rewarded our team thanks to the sincere effort and faith of one soldier, who was on display for the whole world to see. Instantly, a superior team became normal (human)—a hard hit ball, fieldable but difficult, glances off Bogaerts glove (instead of a 2 out double play, it was 2 runs scored).

That’s how quickly things can change in your favor when all is flowing with one accord. This is the positive lesson we can use to move forward…

Our upcoming series are against opponents who could spring us in the right direction. All depends on our ability to come together.

 

New York Giants: Can Big Blue Start The Preseason With A Win?

The wait is finally over. The offseason is ending and the NFL preseason is starting up, with the New York Giants kicking things off at home and facing the Cleveland Browns. The two teams weren’t as far apart last year as one may think. The Browns went winless, the Giants only managed three wins. Both teams, though, are looking to wipe the slate clean and start this year off differently.

To understand how the Giants will do in that task, it’s important to know what they’re facing on the other side. The most obvious addition that the Browns added over the offseason is quarterback Baker Mayfield, who was taken number one overall at this year’s NFL Draft. While former Bills QB Tyrod Taylor is going to get the start, according to the last press conference from Hue Jackson, the Giants defense will also have to face Mayfield at some point.

“Tyrod is going to start the game. Baker is going to play, and then we will make a decision around the fourth quarter on who else is playing and kind of go from there,” Jackson told the media. However, Mayfield isn’t the only offensive threat that the Giants will have to deal with. Even though it didn’t show up in their results on the field last season, the Browns have added a lot of talent over the past couple of years.

It’s something that Jackson mentioned in his press conference. “I am looking forward to watching Tyrod orchestrate our offense. David Njoku in year two, Carlos Hyde, [Nick] Chubb, Duke [Johnson Jr.] and obviously, Jarvis [Landry] and the rest of our guys play together… I think we all know that is what we are trying to do. I want to see Baker play. And yeah, I want to evaluate our team and in order to do that we have to put them out there and let them play.”

The matchup between the Browns backfield and the Giants defensive line will be one of the most important ones in the game, as Cleveland brings a highly competitive group of running backs. All three of their main running backs could have started for them last year. Now, they’re all on the same team, and there isn’t a clear winner between them.

How are things looking on the Giants side? Well, Giants fans have everything they could ask for. Training camp has shown so far that Odell Beckham Jr. hasn’t carried lingering effects of his injury into this season, and second overall draft pick Saquon Barkley has lived up to the hype so far. The Browns might have added talent, but the Giants had more talent to begin with and have rebounded well after the failures of last season.

You could also make a strong argument that the Giants have the advantage in the head coaching department. Pat Shurmur might have been fired once in his career, ironically by the same team that the Giants are playing tonight, but he doesn’t have the 1-31 record that Jackson has as the head coach of the Browns. Granted, Jackson wasn’t given the best talent to work with during his two seasons in Cleveland, but it’s hard to go winless in the NFL without some big problems existing in the head coach’s approach.

So who will win this week one matchup? Much of that will depend on the battle in the trenches. The Giants largely have a new offensive line, with rookie Will Hernandez starting alongside newcomers Nate Solder and Patrick Omaneh. With no prior game experience, will this group hold up to pressure and give the Giants quarterbacks more throwing time than they had last season?

On the other side of the ball, the Browns stable of running backs will be dealt with by a slightly changed defensive front, one that includes rookie B.J. Hill in it alongside veterans Dalvin Tomlinson and Damon Harrison. Hill will be a player to watch, because his rise has been noticeably quick for a third round draft pick.

“We spoke a lot during the offseason, and B.J., he’s an interesting character, man. I don’t know if you guys have been watching, but he’s probably the most athletic defensive lineman that we have, and that says a lot,” Damon Harrison said about Hill, back at the beginning of the month.

Will Hill use that athleticism successfully in an actual NFL game? We’ll find out tonight, just as we’ll see what Will Hernandez and Saquon Barkley can do in their first official game. The Browns have improved since last year, but the Giants have rebounded almost flawlessly from last year’s 3-13 season. Don’t be surprised if the Giants start off the preseason 1-0, going into their matchup with the Lions.

Prediction: New York Giants 28-17 Cleveland Browns