The New York Giants have something special in Kadarius Toney and it’s time to unleash him

new york giants, kadarius toney

The New York Giants snuck out of victory against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday afternoon, marking their first win of the season. After starting the year 0-3, the Giants’ offense enjoyed signs of life, as quarterback Daniel Jones threw for 402 yards and two touchdowns.

Long receptions to John Ross and Saquon Barkley resulted in scores from Jones, both of which were over 50 yards downfield. Coordinator Jason Garrett finally opened up the playbook and created more explosive plays against a top-rated New Orleans Saints defense.

However, despite losing Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton for the game, the Giants still managed to score 27 points, thanks to the performances of WR1 Kenny Golladay and rookie Kadarius Tony.

The two receivers combined for 194 yards and 12 catches, as this was Toney’s most active game after struggling to make an impact to open the year. His quick-twitch abilities and agility were on display, as he hauled in six receptions for 78 yards, including a long of 21. However, he made a number of important grabs, including several first downs, one of which was a 3rd-and-18 screen pass he maneuvered his way around.

It is clear that Toney is capable of being an elite playmaker, but the Giants must continue to build and design plays around extracting his talent. During his senior year with Florida, Toney posted a 35% forced missed tackle rate, the highest of any pass-catcher in college. Those attributes are clearly translating to the professional level, as he sent linebacker Demario Davis flying on multiple occasions, using his stop-and-go abilities.

It is time for Garrett and the offense to fully unleash Kadarius, as his route running has developed nicely this off-season, and getting him in space spells trouble for any defense. With a tough game in Arlington next week against the Dallas Cowboys, the Giants will need all of their star playmakers, and Toney must be included in the game plan. Garrett is known for changing the strategy on a weekly basis, but this is a player he cannot leave out given his tremendous impact in the Week 4 win.

Is Giants’ Kenny Golladay in line for a breakout performance against New Orleans?

new york giants, kenny golladay

The New York Giants are once again struggling on offense to curate big plays downfield and take advantage of lesser defenses. Against the Atlanta Falcons last weekend, the Giants only mustered 14 points, an embarrassing number considering their opponent had given up an average of 40 over the first two games of the season.

After signing star receiver Kenny Golladay to a massive four-year, $72 million contract, the Giants still haven’t found the best ways to utilize him in the passing game. Golladay is known for his big plays downfield and applying his massive catch radius to present quarterbacks with a security blanket and higher completion rate.

Over the first three games of the season, Golladay has hauled in 11 receptions with a game-high of just 64 yards. In fact, reserve receiver Collin Johnson earned more targets last week against the Falcons than Golladay did, which has surely presented a bit of questioning from the new acquisition. When asked why he hasn’t been targeted downfield more frequently, Kenny simply didn’t have a response, indicating confusion.

Compared to last year, the former Lion is averaging just 15.1 yards per reception when he landed at 16.9 in 2019. Back in 2018, when Golladay earned a Pro Bowl nod, he averaged 18.9 yards perception, clearly indicating a difference in usage and far more production downfield.

If the Giants want to have a high-octane offense that focuses on utilizing Daniel Jones’s deep ball accuracy, Golladay must be part of the equation. If coordinator Jason Garrett can’t get him involved against a lowly defense like Atlanta, it’s hard to imagine he will find a way to maximize strength against any other opponent.

With that being said, Golladay does have one advantage this weekend against the Saints, a clean bill of health. After being limited during practice the past few weeks due to hamstring and hip injuries, Golladay was cleared of any designation prior to Sunday’s match-up. It will be the first time the Giants can feel confident applying him without any setbacks or hesitations, which should correlate with an increased workload.

Golladay will take on Marshon Lattimore this weekend, a significant challenge that will likely limit how the Giants target him in the passing game, but they won’t have a choice with Sterling Shepard, and Darius Slayton ruled out of the contest. This likely won’t be the game where Golladay breaks out in a big way, considering Lattimore has the highest grade of any corner this year, per PFF. He’s allowed just 79 yards over two games this year, including a game-winning interception against New England last weekend.

New York Giants’ projected offensive line for Week 4 includes shake up at left guard

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

The New York Giants are preparing to piece together their 4th offensive line combination in three games, providing a clear indication of severe issues in the trenches. With injuries piling, including a season-ending ailment to Nick Gates, hand injury to Ben Bredeson, and knee surgery to Shane Lemieux, the expectation is that Big Blue will feature former practice squader Matt Skura at left guard in Week 4.

Some might recall general manager Dave Gettleman expressing confidence during the preseason regarding the OL, but that sentiment has been thrown out the window after trading for Billy Price and Bredeson, both of whom have started off the season as liabilities.

Skura taking over at left guard is an interesting development, especially since he’s never played the position in his NFL career. He has played 2,584 snaps under center at 732 right guard, so this will be a new position for him that requires adaptation.

The Giants don’t want to transition their centers too frequently, having already gone from Gates to Price this season. Each individual center has their own knacks, including velocity on their snaps and placement. They prefer to keep Price as the primary option there, despite Skura potentially being a more viable long-term solution.

Last season with the Baltimore Ravens, Skura played in 671 snaps coming off a serious injury. He was once considered one of the rising centers in the league, but wounds have set him back significantly.

It is unfortunate the Giants are still working their way through the offensive line considering the number of resources they spent on solidifying it. Having drafted Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart, and Lemieux last year and spending big money on Nate Solder back in 2018, the Giants are still trying to find solutions at some of the more important spots in the trenches.

They currently feel confident about Thomas at LG and Will Hernandez at RG, but every other spot has presented itself as a weakness through three weeks.

Per PFF, the Giants currently have the 25th ranked pass-blocking line and 14th run-blocking unit, which is an upgrade compared to their 2020 stats. New OL coach Rob Sale has done a tremendous job coaching up the talent on hand, which isn’t much after Thomas and Hernandez. The constant shuffling has made things even more tumultuous, so hopefully, the Giants can experience a bit of continuity moving forward, but that entirely relies on them being healthy.

Giants Injury Report: Shepard, Slayton trending down, two receivers will take their reps

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

The New York Giants are heading into Week 4 against the New Orleans Saints down a few receivers. With Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton both suffering hamstring injuries against the Atlanta Falcons last weekend, the Giants will have to roll with a few reserves.

Losing both takes a toll in different ways, as Shepard operates primarily out of the slot and Slayton is Daniel Jones’s top deep-threat receiver. Most would coin Kenny Golladay as Jones’s top long-range target, but that’s a conversation for another day and a scheme-related issue, thanks to coordinator Jason Garrett.

Shepard acts as a security blanket in the passing game, with his great route running in the short/intermediate ranges of the field. His most lethal routes include whip and slant concepts. It is unlikely that either will take the field against New Orleans, but let’s take a look at two other receivers who will pick up their share of the workload.

 

Two receivers who can pick up the slack for the New York Giants:

1.) Collin Johnson

Johnson was surprisingly effective against the Falcons, picking up five receptions on seven targets for 51 yards. Johnson is the tallest receiver in the NFL at 6’7″, providing a big target for Jones in the passing game. After being cut by the Jacksonville Jaguars, the Giants scooped him up as a reserve option, and he showed off his talents early in Week 3.

Considering how many times Jones targeted him in the passing game, I expect him to enjoy a fruitful number of reps against the Saints, even if the Giants do call up a reserve option like Dante Pettis.

2.) Kadarius Toney

Getting Kadarius Toney more involved is a necessity for Garrett, who has seldom used the 20th overall pick from the 2021 NFL draft this year. Toney recorded two catches last week against Atlanta, picking up 16 yards. He showed off his quick movements and agility with the ball in his hands, so designing a few creative plays around him would be ideal if the Giants want to get him involved. Toney is still working his way up as a route runner and receiver, but getting him into space is all the Giants need to do to maximize his talents.

How much longer can the New York Giants survive Jason Garrett’s putrid offense?

jason garrett, new york gianta

The New York Giants are in a peculiar position on offense, as coordinator Jason Garrett has driven the unit straight into the ground with a lack of consistency and execution. In what seems to be a different strategy and system every week, Garrett has failed to play to his player’s strengths, giving receivers like Kenny Golladay opportunities with 50/50 balls and inexcusably avoiding Kadarius Toney in the passing game.

Toney, who replaced Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton after both suffered hamstring injuries in the loss to Atlanta, received just three targets and two catches despite playing for the majority of the game. There were numerous occasions where Toney could’ve been more involved, utilizing him on screen passes and targeting him in the shallow portions of the field where he can make players miss with his elite agility.

The New York Giants are sticking with an offense that will never succeed:

Ultimately, Garrett’s scheme is outdated and prehistoric, as he fails to adapt to the modern-day NFL and incorporate more unique route concepts. In addition, if you look over to Kyle Shanahan‘s offense in San Francisco, one of the ways he curates a more effective unit is by utilizing pre-snap motion. Motion allows the quarterback to decipher the opposing defense’s coverage, whether it be man or zone. It also forces defenders out of position and creates movement where the offenses can capitalize. The Giants simply don’t use enough of it, playing out of their base concepts and hoping Daniel Jones can find a receiver with the minimal amount of time he has in the pocket.

Despite Garrett’s pre-historic offense, head coach Joe Judge is committed to his strategy, stating there wouldn’t be any significant changes as they’re looking for more continuity moving forward.

“We’re going to stay consistent with what we’re doing and keep improving as a team. There’s a lot of things we need to clean up coaching-wise, execution-wise, but we’re going to stay on the track with it and make sure we get those things right before making any radical changes.”

The problem is simple; most NFL offenses are incorporating a number of different strategies, including pre-stop motion and designing plays around their top playmakers. Newly signed receiver Kenny Golladay seems to be running pointless routes that aren’t giving him an opportunity to win. The frequently called slant and hook routes aren’t enough to win football games, and if you look over at Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams, they find ways to scheme open their star players, like Cooper Kupp and Robert Woods. Using rub-routes and decoys, they were able to confuse some of the best defenses in football, something the Giants failed to do against a league-worst Falcons defense.

So the question is, how long can the Giants survive as Jason Garrett drags them through the early 2000s and a scheme that most dinosaurs would coin as incompetent?

At the very least, the offensive coordinator should be utilizing a hurry-up offense more strategically, as it creates confusion for defenses and is one of the only ways the Giants have experienced success, notably on the first drive against the Washington Football Team in Week 2.

If the unit continues to struggle at this rate, Judge may have to make another difficult decision, firing an experienced coach like Garrett midseason and handing over playcalling duties to Freddie Kitchens. However, the Giants likely won’t stick with Garrett beyond the 2021 campaign, as Kitchens will likely take over playcalling duties at some point if the offense is unable to crack 20 points in the coming weeks. Having playmakers like Golladay, Toney, and Saquon on the field at the same time should be enough to score more than 14 points against the worst defense in football.

New York Giants show interest in former 1st round tackle bust, could target starting-level free agent guard

isaiah wilson, new york giants

The New York Giants are having serious trouble keeping their offensive linemen healthy, as starting left guard, Ben Bredeson, suffered a hand injury that could keep them out for multiple weeks, according to Jordan Raanan of ESPN.

With Nick Gates suffering a lower leg fracture which will keep them out the remainder of the season, losing Bredeson is just another knock to a unit that has struggled over the past few years. However, the team must move forward and find a replacement for the former fourth-round pick.

Luckily for the Giants, one option has become available after agreeing to get vaccinated from COVID-19 and re-join the NFL. Former Los Angeles Chargers lineman Forrest Lamp has become available as a free agent, and the Giants should be heavily considering his services after spending the entire 2020 season as the starting left guard for LA.

Lamp played in 1,174 offensive snaps last year, including 729 as a pass-blocker and 445 as a run-blocker. He allowed two sacks, 14 QB hits, 22 hurries, and 38 pressures, but had a few solid games as a pass blocker.

Over the first three weeks of the season, Bredeson has played 170 snaps, allowing one sack, six hurries, and seven pressures. He has been arguably the Giants’ worst offensive linemen, so the acquisition of Lamp could actually provide an upgrade as the season progresses.

Considering the alternatives, the Giants don’t have many options to work with.

In addition to Lamp, the Giants also worked out former Tennessee Titans tackle Isaiah Wilson. Wilson is considered a massive draft bust after showing carelessness in Tennessee. At just 22-years-old, Wilson is looking for a fresh start and an opportunity to prove that his poor decisions are behind him. Given the discipline the Joe Judge preaches, this could be a perfect chance to give him another shot at redemption, and the Giants surely know they could use another tackle to add to the mix.

Giants News: Sterling Shepard injury update, Jason Garrett play-calling makes zero sense

new york giants, sterling shepard

The New York Giants experienced a bevy of injuries in their third consecutive loss against the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday afternoon. With Blake Martinez suffering a torn ACL which will keep them out for the remainder of the 2021 season, the offensive side also experienced a few injuries.

Receivers Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton both suffered hamstring injuries, and with their statuses up in the air, the Giants may have to prepare for the New Orleans Saints with the expectation that both won’t be available.

However, there is still hope that Shepard can play next Sunday in New Orleans, the first game of the season after Hurricane Ida forced the Saints to play elsewhere.

Shepard was in the midst of a career season prior to the injury, tallying 223 yards and one score over three games. His averages were hurt significantly after leaving in the first half, but in his absence, reserve pass-catcher Collin Johnson stepped up to the plate. Johnson was targeted seven times, hauling in five catches for 51 yards.

Shepard being forced out will significantly alter the Giants’ offensive game plans moving forward, but it would indirectly give Kadarius Toney more action. Toney enjoyed 66% of offensive snaps after Shepard went down in the defeat, bringing in two receptions for 16 yards on three targets.

Getting more creative with Toney in the passing game is essential, as they can use him on screens, short and intermediate routes. Ultimately, scheming him into space and getting the ball in his hands is enough to pick up yardage and move the chains. However, relying on coordinator Jason Garrett to accomplish that is like trying to hit a bulls-eye with blindfolds on.

Oddly, Garrett refrained from using the read option and more RPOs against Atlanta, keeping Daniel Jones in the pocket. After the team scored 29 points against Washington using more creative playcalling, the former Dallas Cowboys head coach ripped that portion of his playbook out of the game plan.

It is quite mind-boggling that Garrett continues to change his playcalling on a weekly basis and make adjustments that simply aren’t benefiting the team. The Giants haven’t thrown a passing touchdown in the red zone since last season, which is completely unacceptable for a team that needs to curate more points and increase their offensive production.

The Giants’ offense is currently ranked 25th in the league in points per game and 15th in yards, once again showcasing a bottom of the barrel unit that is incapable of scoring regularly against bad defenses, notably the Atlanta Falcons, who had given up an average of 40 points per game and were without their top corner in Week 3.

Should the New York Giants explore trade opportunities for Evan Engram?

New York Giants, Evan Engram

New York Giants tight end Evan Engram is arguably one of the team’s most polarizing players on offense. Making his season debut against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 3, Engram posted just two receptions for 21 yards. His impact was minimal, as the Giants primarily relied on Kenny Golladay, reserve receiver Collin Johnson, and running back Saquon Barkley to carry the load.

With the team starting 0-3 on the season, the Giants have a few big decisions to make this year as they ponder the future. After spending an exorbitant amount of money this past off-season to maximize quarterback Daniel Jones’s rookie window, they will have to find ways to open up salary space.

One way the Giants can add draft capital and a bit more salary flexibility is by trading Engram, who is currently in the last year of his rookie contract. The Giants picked up his fifth-year option, which will pay him $6 million this season.

Having suffered a calf injury against the New England Patriots in the final preseason game, Engram was unable to play against Denver and Washington. However, the athletic tight end has become more of a liability than an asset.

Despite Engram’s blazing speed and fantastic physical attributes, he has dropped 25 passes over the past four seasons, including eight last year, with six of Jones’s 12 interceptions going his way. However, the 27-year-old was unable to make a positive impact against the Falcons on Sunday afternoon.

In fact, his biggest contribution was a fumble in the third quarter with the Giants trailing by one. If not for an Azeez Ojulari strip-sack on Matt Ryan on the Giants’ 35-yard line, Engram’s turnover would’ve been far more costly.

At this point in his career, the Giants simply need to maximize his value and collect draft capital. When fans are cheering as a player walks off the field, you know things are a bit overdone, as the former first-round selection has been unable to alleviate his turnover issues and drops. The bigger question is, what could the Giants get in return for his services?

New York Giants V Atlanta Falcons Week 3 score prediction

New York Giants, Daniel Jones

Looking ahead at the New York Giants 2021 regular-season schedule, their upcoming game against the Atlanta Falcons might be their best chance to secure victory and begin to shift momentum.

After two consecutive losses to the Denver Broncos and Washington Football Team to open the season, the Giants are barely treading water as they prepare to take on the New Orleans Saints, Dallas Cowboys, Los Angeles Rams, and Carolina Panthers consecutively. That is not even to mention their matchups against the Chiefs and Buccaneers in November. They need to begin playing clean football without self-inflicted wounds, which have severely limited their success to start the year.

With head coach, Joe Judge guaranteeing a disciplined unit and a product fans would be proud of, starting the year with two losses isn’t exactly what he predicted. However, there’s plenty of time to turn the ship around, and the Falcons present a perfect opportunity to do so.

With Eli Manning having his jersey retired at halftime against Atlanta, the Giants have a few goals in mind to overcome a team that has given up an average of 40 points through two games. Last week, they gave up 48 points to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and with the Giants securing 29 points against Washington last week, their offense has a clear-cut advantage.

What the New York Giants will be trying to accomplish:

To start, Daniel Jones needs to piece together another consistent game throwing and running the football. He nearly had two rushing and passing touchdowns last week if not for a costly drop and holding penalty on WR, CJ Board. Establishing the running game, controlling the clock, and winning the turnover battle must be the priority.

The Falcons will be without starting corner AJ Terrell and receiver Russell Gage, presenting a few match-up advantages on both sides of the ball. Terrell has been their best boundary corner this season, not allowing a reception last week against the Buccaneers. With him missing the game, the Giants should have a field day in the passing game, but running back Saquon Barkley should also take advantage of a unit that is averaging 127.5 yards allowed on the ground per game.

Overall, the Giants need to play a disciplined and clean game in Week 3, changing the narrative after a messy start to the season. In addition, the defense, who was expected to be a top-10 unit entering the year, has disappointed massively. Matt Ryan threw two interceptions which were taken for touchdowns against Tampa, so the Giants have a tremendous opportunity to right the ship and reset the clock on their season.

Score prediction: NYG 35 – ATL 23

Giants catch big break against already awful Falcons defense

a.j. terrell, falcons, new york giants

The New York Giants have an opportunity to reset their 2021 season with a poor Atlanta Falcons team making their way to MetLife Stadium on Sunday afternoon. With Eli Manning’s retirement ceremony commencing at halftime, the Giants will hope to have a comfortable lead in honor of one of the organization’s most valued players.

Luckily for a Big Blue, Atlanta’s defense ranks as the worst in the NFL in points allowed per game, giving up 40 on average over two games. Last week against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, they allowed 48 points, with 14 coming from pick 6’s. However, with the Giants losing to the Washington Football Team in a torturous fashion, they are in desperate need of some positive momentum and success to help spur consistency. The coaching staff has been responsible for poor in-game adjustments and decisions, but the players have failed to execute at a high level in addition.

As aforementioned, Atlanta’s defense is one of the worst in a league, and they will be without top cornerback A.J. Terrell on Sunday. Terrell has seen 112 snaps on the field as the defense’s left boundary corner, and he ranks as the team’s best with a 68.6 overall coverage grade, per PFF. He has only given up three receptions for 30 yards this year as a 2020 draft pick in the first round.

With Terrell missing this contest, the Giants will have an easy time throwing the football and targeting their more prominent receivers through the air. With that being the case, we should expect quarterback Daniel Jones to have another solid performance, but Atlanta is also susceptible on the ground.

Through two weeks, the Falcons have given up 127.5 rushing yards, providing running back Saquon Barkley with a fantastic opportunity to enjoy some success after working his way back slowly to open the year. Offensively for the Falcons, they rank toward the bottom of the pack in average points per game, scoring 15.5. Oddly, they won time of possession last week against Tampa, despite scoring just 25 points and losing by a significant margin. Atlanta has one of the worst passing attacks in the NFL, averaging just 214.5 passing yards per game. The Giants sit towards the middle of the league with 241.

One way or another, the Giants need to scheme a strong game plan that will focus on exposing coverage flaws in Atlanta secondary. With their top corner out, distributing the football should be easy, but we never want to make any assumption when it comes to an unpredictable Giants team.  Factoring in rookie Kadarius Toney should be a priority, given the matchups. This is the perfect opportunity to get Toney’s feet wet in the NFL after playing just 19 snaps through the first two games.