New York Giants: James Bradberry Stands Out With Stellar Performance Despite Loss

The New York Giants endured another heartbreaking loss today. The Giants fell short in their comeback attempt against the Chicago Bears, falling to 0-2 for the fourth year in a row.

Daniel Jones and the Giants’ offense surged back late in the game and had a chance to win on the final drive of the game. Unfortunately, it was too little too late. But this game could have been much worse. After a putrid first quarter, it seemed likely that the Giants would be blown out on Sunday.

One factor that held the Giants together on Sunday was their formidable defense. The Chicago Bears were held to only 17 points as the Giants forced 2 turnovers. One player, in particular, stood out on Sunday afternoon: James Bradberry.

James Bradberry Stats and Highlights

The New York Giants signed cornerback James Bradberry to a highly-lucrative contract this offseason. Bradberry inked a three-year deal worth $43.5 million. So far, Bradberry has lived up to the contract, performing as the best player on the Giants’ defense.

In Week Two, Bradberry totaled 4 tackles, 4 passes defended, and 1 interception. He was constantly getting his hands on the football, making plays, and breaking up passes. His interception on Allen Robinson was maybe the most impressive play of the game:

This was one of many impressive plays Bradberry made on the football today. But this is nothing new, rather, this is a continuation of last week. Bradberry was solid in Week One, too, forcing a fumble and deflecting 2 passes.

With 6 passes defended through two games, James Bradberry is pacing out to have one of his career’s best seasons. Continued success from Bradberry in coverage will be key for the Giants as this season continues, especially considering the poor performances from the rest of the team’s cornerbacks through two weeks.

New York Giants: Andrew Thomas vs Khalil Mack A Key Matchup To Watch In Week Two

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas

The New York Giants‘ offensive line struggled mightily in Week One. According to Pro Football Focus, the Giants’ offensive line allowed pressure on 52.1% of the team’s pass plays against the Steelers last week. This week, New York has to face one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL.

Khalil Mack is coming off of an impressive Week One performance that saw him record 6 total pressures. Mack, the three-time First-Team All-Pro, will be lining up against rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas this weekend. Thomas played well in Week One against a fierce Steelers defense. But this week’s matchup will be a true test for the rookie.

Mack v Thomas

Rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas made his debut in Blue against one of the best defenses in the league last week. Thomas’s primary task was blocking Bud Dupree. This was a challenge, but Thomas held his own and looked like the best offensive lineman on the Giants in Week One.

In Week Two, Thomas has an even more challenging task at hand. The rookie out of Georgia will be blocking one of the best pass-rushers in the NFL this week. Khalil Mack will likely be Thomas’s toughest blocking assignment of the 2020 season.

Granted, Thomas will not be blocking Mack the entire game. Khalil played 60% of his snaps lined up over the right tackle last week. But the Bears like to move their star pass-rusher around and get the best matchups possible. They will undoubtedly face him off with Andrew Thomas to test the rookie.

Opposite of Khalil Mack, the Bears have another talented pass-rusher. Robert Quinn, coming off of an 11.5 sack 2019 season with the Cowboys, is now a member of the Bears’ defense. Quinn did not play in Week One, though, and he is questionable to play this week. If he does, this matchup will be even more challenging for Andrew Thomas.

New York Giants: 3 players who need to elevate their games against Chicago

New York Giants, Cam Fleming

The New York Giants are gearing up to face off against the Chicago Bears on Sunday afternoon in week two of the 2020 regular season. Coming off a tough loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Giants and new head coach Joe Judge will look to turn things around and secure their first victory of the season. Playing against an inconsistent quarterback in Mitchell Trubisky and another tough defense, Big Blue have their work cut out for them in some areas.

Three New York Giants players who need to elevate their games on Sunday:

1.) Evan Engram

Tight end Evan Engram was expected to start the year with a bang, but subsequently failed to prove his worth against Pittsburgh. He finished his first game back since week nine of the regular season in 2019 with two receptions and seven targets for 9 yards.

His underwhelming performance sparked rage within the Giants’ fan base, but hopefully, he can bounce back with a strong against the Bears.

Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett stated on Friday that the Giants “don’t look at Evan [Engram] as a one-dimensional player.” This virtually means they want to keep him active in the running game as a blocker.

Despite his inability to produce in the passing game, Engram was a liability in run blocking. He failed to hold down his assignments and was consistently beat to put Saquon Barkley in tumultuous positions.

New York Giants: A More Creative Rushing Attack Is The Key To A Win Against Chicago

New York Giants, Austin Mack, Jason Garrett

The New York Giants‘ rushing attack was shut down in Week One of the 2020 NFL season. The Giants were handed a disappointing loss on Monday night against the stout Pittsburgh Steelers defense. Pittsburgh has one of the best defenses in the league and they absolutely suffocated Saquon Barkley and the Giants’ offensive line.

Saquon Barkley is under criticism this week for his performance as a pass-blocker in Week One. But all are aware of the fact that Saquon is one of the best running backs in the NFL when his offensive line does their job. On Monday night, they did not do their job, and the Giants’ offense suffered from the offensive line’s poor performance.

But is it fair to put all of the blame on the offensive line? This line features a rookie left tackle, a starting center who has never before played that position, and a newly-signed swing tackle starting at right tackle. The lack of continuity across the offensive line led to a multitude of negative rushing attempts. But the offensive line does not deserve all of the blame for the team’s pitiful rushing attack in Week One. Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett deserves some blame, too, and he needs to implement a more creative rushing attack in order to beat the Chicago Bears in Week Two.

A Lack Of Creativity

The Giants’ rushing attack in Week One lacked creativity. New York’s running plays were predictable, which is why the Steelers seemed to be in the backfield often before the ball was handed off.

Saquon Barkley was given fifteen rushing attempts in Week One. Of these fifteen attempts, eight of them went wide right and five of them went inside right (according to Next Gen Stats). The Giants barely ran the ball to the left side of the line. One attempt went inside left and one attempt went wide left. For the Giants to only run the ball to the left side of the offensive line twice on fifteen attempts is almost inexplicable.

On the left side of the line are arguably the Giants’ two best run-blocking offensive linemen. Andrew Thomas was an elite run-blocker at Georgia and Will Hernandez is now a veteran left guard. Only thirteen percent of Saquon’s rushing attempts followed these two excellent run-blockers.

An even more perplexing statistic relates to the Giants’ usage of pre-snap motion. Across the NFL, the teams with the best rushing attacks emphasize the usage of pre-snap motion (the Ravens, Chiefs, and 49ers are known to lead the league in pre-snap motion percentage). On Monday night, the Giants utilized snap motion on only 1.6% of their offensive snaps. They used all forms of pre-snap motion on a league-lowest 9.4% of the time.

This lack of creativity in the run-game led to a 15 attempt, 6-yard rushing performance by Saquon Barkley. Saquon is an uber-talented player, but he will only go as far as his offensive line and offensive coordinator allow him. In need of a win in Week Two, the Giants need to emphasize the utilization of a more creative rushing attack in order to allow Saquon Barkley to dominate the Bears’ defense.

New York Giants: Offensive Stars Need To Improve In Week Two

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants are coming off of a disappointing loss to kick off the season. On Monday Night, New York lost to the hands of the Pittsburgh Steelers with a final score of 26-16. Despite this loss, there were plenty of positives to draw from the Giants’ performance. However, there were some glaring negatives to take away from it as well.

In particular, the Giants had a couple of disappointing performances on the offensive side of the ball. Saquon Barkley and Evan Engram, two of the Giants’ most dynamic playmakers, need to improve in Week Two if the Giants want to beat the Chicago Bears.

Saquon Barkley Not An Every-Down Back?

Superstar running back Saquon Barkley has received plenty of criticism from the media and fans after his performance in Week One. Most prominently, former Giants star running back Tiki Barber was very critical of Barkley this week. Tiki was quoted saying:

“Saquon Barkley is a great back, but he might not be an every down back. He cannot pass protect. It’s becoming glaring & could become a liability” – Tiki Barber on Saquon Barkley

What Tiki said does have some substance. Obviously, Saquon is a phenomenal running back and should be on the field as much as possible. He is a mismatch as a receiver and a big-play machine as a runner. And it is hard to criticize Barkley’s Week One rushing performance, given the way his offensive line played on Monday night. But Saquon Barkley’s struggles in pass protection have become a glaring weakness in his game.

Saquon let up more than one sack in pass protection on Monday night. According to Pro Football Focus, Saquon Barkley earned a 27.0 pass-blocking grade in Week One. He was a liability in pass protection for the Giants vs the Steelers. Granted, the Giants were facing arguably the best defense and best pass-rush in the NFL in Week One. It is a long season, so Saquon has plenty of time to improve, but he needs to step up and silence the doubters against the Bears in Week Two.

Evan Engram’s Night To Forget

The uber-versatile tight end Evan Engram had maybe the worst game of his career in Week One. With Jason Garrett serving as the team’s new offensive coordinator, Giants fans heard all season long about how big of a role Evan Engram would have with the Giants moving forward.

While Engram did have a substantial role in the Giants’ game plan versus the Steelers, he put together an extremely disappointing performance in that role. Engram was targeted 7 times on Monday but only hauled in 2 receptions for 9 receiving yards. Evan also dropped 2 passes in this game and committed an offensive pass interference penalty that erased a big gain through the air.

Pro Football Focus’s grading for Engram was pretty harsh, too. They gave Engram the worst grade amongst all tight ends in the league, 30.9 overall. Evan was also a complete liability as a blocker, both in pass protection and in the running game. He earned an 18.2 pass-blocking grade and a 32.9 run-blocking grade, both the lowest marks at the position.

Monday’s game was a night for Engram to forget. He will need to bounce back in a major way on Sunday to quiet the critics. Fans and analysts alike have torn Engram to shreds this week, rightfully so. But, like Barkley, Evan has plenty of time to make things right. A strong performance in Week Two versus the Bears will get Engram back on the right track.

Eli Manning Met With the Chicago Bears: Report

Eli Manning, New York Giants

Former New York Giants quarterback Eli Manning is retired. Or, so we thought. NFL reporter Cole Wright tweeted that Manning was having dinner with the Bears at the Oriole restaurant in Chicago on Wednesday night.

What’s that all about…?

It is well-known the Bears are not sold on Mitchell Trubisky and are looking for a veteran who can come in and possible displace him. Manning is just one of many veteran QBs that will be available this offseason. Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, Teddy Bridgewater and Jameis Winston are some other big names the Bears might be looking at.

From BearsWire:

Manning’s ties to the Bears are very loose at this point. New quarterbacks coach John DeFilippo served as the offensive quality control coach for the Giants from 2005-2006 when Manning was quarterback, but that’s where the connection ends.

 

Is the team turning over every stone when it comes to finding a veteran who can push Trubisky, who crashed down to earth last season following a pro-bowl caliber sophomore campaign in 2018? Or are they simply picking the brain of one of the most accomplished passers in the last 15 years?

 

It is important to note that while Manning did retire, he was set to hit free agency in March. If he decides to unretire, the Giants would not have control over his rights and Manning would become a free agent.

It sure looked like Manning was done when he retired in January, ending his farewell speech with: “Once an Giant, always a Giant. For me, it’s only a Giant.”

UPDATE

As it turns out, the report was false as per ESPN 1000’s David Kaplan

 

Giants’ Upcoming Schedule: what it’ll take for playoff hopes in December

A modest 2-3 record for the New York Giants heading into week 6 hasn’t felt so good for fans in a while. The team did suffer a tough loss against the Minnesota Vikings losing 28-10 last week but entering October with a 2-2 record wasn’t something that happened since 2016.

The team certainly has its flaws, but if they were to make a push for the playoffs there are certain matchups they need to capitalize on. The Patriots likely push this team down to 2-4, pushing their backs a little closer to the wall.

Without going too far ahead, since its a week to week league, let’s take a look at the opponents after week 6 leading up to December:

Arizona Cardinals, 10/20, 1:00 PM

This will be a battle of the top two rookie quarterbacks drafted between Kyler Murray and Daniel Jones. The Cardinals have a 1-3-1 record through 5 games. Their lone win came against a winless team in the Cincinnati Bengals. While the Giants also have a rookie quarterback this Arizona team has proven to be very a beatable team. They have a decent rushing attack that ranks 11th in the league in yards and they are a middle-of-the-pack team in first downs gained.

That much is encouraging but they also have a defense that’s 29th in yards allowed. This needs to be a bounce-back game for the team if they suffer another loss against the Patriots on Thursday. Letting the Cardinals potentially push the Giants down to 2-5 would be detrimental to their season with tougher matchups down the road.

Detroit Lions, 10/27, 1:00 PM

The Giants don’t have the best record against the Lions in recent history but they’re one of the more friendly matchups left on the schedule. While their offense is top 10 in yards gained with big names like Matthew Stafford and Kerryon Johnson, their defense is struggling. Their best rank in defense is a 20th ranked run-stopping unit. The Lions aren’t among the leagues best in rushing defense but still have Damon “Snacks” Harrison who will give the interior of the Giants offensive line a good fight.

Much like the upcoming matchup with the Cardinals, a top-ranked offense and bottom-ranked defense should at least give the Giants the chance to keep up in these weeks 7 and 8 matchups. While they’ve struggled on defense the Lions won’t lay down for Daniel Jones, they’ve only given up 4 passing touchdowns in 4 games. Winning both of these games is most likely a must with tougher teams around the corner. Improving to 4-4 with wins against the Lions and Cardinals (assuming they lose to NE) would be a record they haven’t matched since 2016.

Dallas Cowboys, 11/4, 8:15 PM

It would’ve been nice for most fans to take a long break from the Cowboys but in less than a month they’ll be in NJ for a rematch. We all know how bad Dak Prescott embarrassed the young Giants defense but they should have their sea legs this time. After a strong 3-0 start against beatable teams like the Giants, Dolphins, and Redskins they’ve stumbled against solid teams like the Saints and Packers. James Bettcher committed to neutralizing Elliott in the first game but at the expense of exposing his secondary, they let Dak Prescott reach a career-high efficiency.

The defensive coordinator will need to ease up in the trenches next time. Daniel Jones will need to bring his A-game against a defense that currently ranks 9th in passing yards allowed. Pat Shurmur will also need to bring his A-game by calling rushing plays more often this time, Dallas currently ranks 23rd against the run. With Saquon likely back to his normal self, the second time around Shurmur will have a chance to redeem himself. A win at home against Dallas would greatly brighten the playoff outlook.

New York Jets, 11/10, 1:00 PM

We can put the Jets in the same category as the Cardinals and Lions for must-win matchups. This is one of the last friendly matchups of the year, although the team will get tougher with Sam Darnold returning soon. They’ve been sinking without their starting quarterback at 0-4 but they aren’t exactly a pushover either. They are 21st in yards allowed which isn’t terrible and giving up 5 touchdown passes in 4 games is respectable as well. Only finding a single touchdown pass so far on offense is the main reason they can’t build any momentum. They’re not as bad as their record and will have some catching up to do themselves but still an opportunistic matchup compared to most of the other remaining opponents.

Chicago Bears, 11/24, 1:00 PM

If the offensive struggles looked bad against the Vikings expect the same, if not worse against the Bears. This defense is stacked from top to bottom, currently ranked 11th against the pass and 6th against rushing offenses. The only hope at taking down a team like this has a lot to do with Mitchell Trubisky at quarterback. He’s held their offensive unit back so far, failing to score a touchdown in his first 2 starts this year and continues to struggle with reading the entire field in his 3rd season. This will most likely be a low-scoring grind but the Giants could possibly come out on top with an edge in quarterback play. Daniel Jones has looked much better than Trubisky, even as a rookie. Beating either the Bears or Cowboys is most likely crucial for playoff hopes in December.

That’s it for the games leading up to December, excluding the terrifying matchup with the Patriots on Thursday night. The Cowboys and Bears are obviously tough upcoming matchups with overwhelming defenses. Outside of those 2 teams, the Cardinals, Lions, and Jets are matchups this young Giants team should capitalize on if they have playoff hopes.

If the team is really about to fall to 2-4, winning those 3 friendly matchups and managing to pull 1-1 from the Cowboys and Bears games would put this team at 6-5 going into December. A record many New York Giants fans would ultimately be pleased with heading into the final month that includes matchups with Washington and Miami.

It’s a week to week league and a lot can change at any time, however, taking a look at the next couple months this team could have a shot at their first playoff berth since Dave Gettleman took over as GM just a season ago.