Falling 37-18 on a Monday night to the Dallas Cowboys is a nightmare for any New York Giants fan, and that nightmare became a reality at MetLife in week nine. As the Cowboys fans overwhelmed a somber crowd, or what was left of a Giants fan-base caked in defensive torment and offensive turmoil, it struck me. This season was never meant to be a successful one.
The 2019 campaign held one purpose, and that was to develop the rookies to the point of self-sufficiency. Quarterback Daniel Jones is the priority for the Giants brass, ensuring he has all of the tools to build and adapt to the NFL. He has certainly experienced his fair amount of struggles, notably his 18 total turnovers on the season. However, he has also experienced success and dominance in specific moments. Putting all of his new skills together to achieve consistency is the ultimate goal.
Here are the three things we realized from the New York Giants loss to the Cowboys:
1.) Dave Gettleman might have made a mistake with DeAndre Baker
With the game winding down and the Giants forcing the Cowboys into a third-and-long situation, the hopes were that the defense could stop Dak Prescott and the Cowboys offense in time to attempt a comeback in the fourth quarter. If not for Baker’s inability to recognize his defensive scheme, they might have had a chance at scoring down one possession.
Prescott threw a dart across the middle to Amari Cooper, who was running free. Baker, who was supposed to be trailing Cooper, thought was supposed to be in zone-coverage, when, in fact, he was expected to be man-marking Dallas’ best receiver. Cooper took the pass 44-yards to the house to provide the dagger in a tight game.
Hereâ€™s the Amari Cooper TD. pic.twitter.com/oUZ4w2H8pC
— Bill Barnwell (@billbarnwell) November 5, 2019
While it’s Baker’s rookie season, there hasn’t been much success for him to lean on. There’s no question his confidence is hurting. Gettleman might have invested too much in Baker, but it’s still too soon to call him a bust.
2.) The Giants can be efficient
The first half of the game for Big Blue was adequate. Leading 12-3 in the second quarter, the Giants had a firm grip on the game before giving up 10 points in the final minute of the first half. This only proves they are capable of being a good team and playing up to the competition.
While the loss undoubtedly stings, there are things to be excited about, such as Golden Tate making fantastic one-handed catches and the Giants being the first team this season to convert a third-and-long against the Cowboys. Hurdles accompany youth, and it’s important to remind yourself that this team is only in year two of an entire roster overhaul.
3.) Free safety is a concern
Despite free safety Antoine Bethea intercepting Prescott on the very first play of the game and later recovering a fumble, his coverage abilities are abysmal. Finding a replacement for Bethea must be a priority for the Giants next offseason. Lacking a true ball-hawk in the secondary has hurt them in the deep passing game at times, especially on plays where the cornerbacks make significant mental mistakes. An excellent free safety can sometimes cover up those minor mishaps on the outside.
One important stat to consider is Bethea’s tackle totals (67 combined). When your free safety has the most combined tackles on the team, that’s often a good indicator that running backs are bursting through the initial wave or receivers are working the middle of the field well. As we have seen, it’s a combination of both.