New York Giants: Kenny Golladay breaks down awful season and where things go from here

new york giants, kenny golladay

When the New York Giants signed Kenny Golladay to a four-year, $72 million deal, they hoped he would bring his 11 touchdowns and 1,190 yards from Detroit in 2019 with him.

Unfortunately, Golladay’s season has taken a turn for the worse, posting just 499 yards and failing to get in the end zone over a minimum of 13 games for the first time in his career. His 47.9% catch rate is the lowest in his career, and 2.6 receptions per game, the lowest since his rookie campaign back in 2017 when he started just five games.

His yards per reception is down to 14.7, the lowest over five seasons in the NFL, and his yards total sits at just 38.4, half of what it’s been in the past three seasons. All together, Golladay’s lack of usage is directly correlated to poor offensive line play from the Giants and a scheme that most high school coaches would likely laugh at.

Even after the Giants fired Jason Garrett and promoted Freddie Kitchens to play-caller, they failed to get anything going with quarterback Daniel Jones sustaining a neck injury that forced him out for the rest of the season.

Golladay shouldered the blame for his performance, indicating he wasn’t good enough. His answer could’ve easily been directed toward a lack of competent protection for his quarterback and route concepts.

“Just not good enough on my part. I wasn’t playing terrible, or anything, but just not good enough.” – Via Matt Lombardo of Fansided:

“A lot goes into it,” Golladay says. “Different personnel goes into it in terms of who’s playing. Different personnel, even coaching-wise, a lot goes into it. A lot goes into making a football team go.”

Sometimes, it takes a while for a new quarterback and receiver dynamic to find a groove. Developing chemistry on timing routes is incredibly difficult, especially when your protection scheme fails time and time again to offer even a semblance of adequacy.
According to Patricia Traina of Giants Country, Kenny Golladay may present a daunting target for quarterbacks given his seeming lack of separation but massive catch radius.

“Like I tell a lot of people all the time, Kenny is 6’4”, so a lot of times he’s open when he’s not open because of his catch radius,” Giants WR coach Tyke Tolbert said. “If a quarterback or whoever is not used to throwing to guys like that, then that might take some time. So yeah, there’s some validity to that.”

The Giants had plenty of time to develop chemistry between Jones and Golladay, so this excuse is a bit irrelevant. Nonetheless, Jones doesn’t exactly throw the best ball for a player like Kenney, who prefers high-arching passes where he can adjust his body and gain leverage over opposing corners. Unfortunately, Jones throws straight-line passes that don’t give Golladay the proper time to get leverage with his physically imposing frame.

Suppose the Giants want to get the most out of their number one receiver. In that case, they have to go heavy into the off-season with offensive line on their mind, utilizing top draft capital to bolster the trenches and free agency money when appropriate.

If they’re going to stick with Daniel Jones, they must find a way to protect him, otherwise, they will once again be wasting time trying to correct an issue that’s been present since Dave Gettleman took over in 2018.

New York Giants forced to dig deep at wide receiver position

david sills, new york giants

Headed into one of the final games of the season, the New York Giants won’t have the receiver lineup that was envisioned at the start of the year. It’s far from that, actually. The Giants are dealing with a number of injuries at the position and will have to elevate players from the practice squad just to have enough depth.

Earlier, Sterling Shepard’s season ended when he was placed on the injured reserve. The Giants still had plenty of other options at that point, but that’s no longer the case going into the next game. Dante Pettis, Kadarius Toney, Collin Johnson, and John Ross have all been ruled out against the Bears.

This leaves Kenny Golladay, who has been having a down season of his own and has missed some time this year, as the sole receiver carrying over from the normal starting rotation.

The Giants have little other choice to respond to the situation other than bringing players up from the practice squad. Alex Bachman, preseason standout David Sills, and Pharoh Cooper are among the group of players that the Giants are calling up. Given the lack of other depth at the position, the trio should get some playing time in the next game with Golladay serving as the number one receiver.

The situation just shows how unlucky the Giants have been with injuries this season. Injuries have affected every position group, but appear to have had an especially bad effect on the offense when combined with a bad playbook and an offensive line that was thin on talent to begin the season.

Headed into the second to last game of the year, the result doesn’t matter as much as getting out of it without this negative trend of injuries continuing in a major way.

New York Giants rolling into Chicago with depleted receiver corps

new york giants, kenny golladay

The New York Giants are almost done with their utterly disappointing 2021 season. Entering Week 17, the Giants sit at the bottom of the NFC East with a 4-11 record. The team will travel to Chicago to face the Bears in the second-to-last week of the season. The Giants, already eliminated from playoff contention, do not have much left for which to compete.

This could be a winnable game for the Giants, though, as the 5-10 Chicago Bears start backup quarterback Nick Foles on Sunday. The main storyline of this matchup for both teams will pertain to the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft. The Giants own the Bears’ first-round pick in this year’s upcoming draft, so winning or losing to Chicago will affect New York’s draft value.

The Giants’ 4-11 record is disappointing and reflects the poor state of their roster, however, injuries played a big part in the downfall of the 2021 Giants. New York is the most injured team in the NFL this season. In Week 17, the Giants are rolling into Chicago with a completely depleted wide receiver corps.

Injuries at wide receiver

Kenny Golladay is the New York Giants’ only healthy starting wide receiver entering Week 17. This might be surprising considering the injury history that KenNYG has dealt with in the past, but in a year as wild as 2021, Golladay is the last man standing.

Kadarius Toney is OUT on Sunday with a shoulder injury. Darius Slayton is OUT after being replaced on the reserve/COVID-19 list. Sterling Shepard is on injured reserve with a torn Achilles. John Ross is OUT with a knee injury, as is Collin Johnson with a hamstring. Wide receiver CJ Board and Dante Pettis are also on injured reserve.

This leaves the New York Giants with a corps of the following players:

  • Kenny Golladay
  • Pharoh Cooper (Practice Squad)
  • Alex Bachman (Practice Squad)
  • David Sills (Practice Squad)
  • Travis Toivonen (Practice Squad)

An inexperienced and largely inadequate bunch of playmakers. Life will not be easy for the New York Giants on offense (as it never is). Thankfully, the season is almost at its end, leaving the Giants with a full offseason to get healthy and reset with plans to improve in 2022.

New York Giants: Kenny Golladay lists one advantage of Freddie Kitchens over Jason Garrett

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The New York Giants haven’t been able to change their offense significantly since firing Jason Garrett. It’s just too late in the season to make a move like that, and the Giants are for the most part stuck with the same basic system until the offseason. With that being said, there’s still some advantages from making a change during the season at offensive coordinator.

While you aren’t going to see many NFL players publicly throw their coaches under the bus, you might get the idea from certain players’ statements that Garrett wasn’t the most popular coordinator. Not just because of the offense’s slow performance during his entire tenure, but because of a rigid system that didn’t seem to take much player input.

According to wide receiver Kenny Golladay, that’s a bit different under Freddie Kitchens.

Giants offense involving players more under Kitchens

“It’s huge. You can come over to the sideline and actually, since you’re the one out there running, you can actually tell them what you’re seeing,” Golladay said on Thursday, when asked about Kitchens taking more input. “It’s one thing running it on the field and a coach standing on the sideline trying to get all the way on the other side of the field. Just going in there and giving them
good information, and not giving them selfish information.”

Unfortunately, the change at offensive coordinator was made too late for the Giants to change things up significantly. They’re still running with the same playbook, the same terminology, and so on, as confirmed by coaches and players. But less rigid playcalling and more creativity may bring benefits through the rest of the season, even if the core of the offense remains the same.

Golladay has 372 yards and no touchdowns this season. It’s not the season that was expected from him after the Giants signed him to a big deal to become their number one weapon. While some of that is on Golladay, some of it also rests on Jason Garrett’s shoulders. The offensive coordinator is, after all, responsible for making use of the talent on hand.

It’s unclear how the rest of the season will go for Golladay. But from the looks of things, the receiver is more than a little satisfied with the decision to move on at OC.

New York Giants receivers will be tested by man-coverage-heavy Dolphins

new york giants, kenny golladay

The New York Giants earned a huge victory over the Philadelphia Eagles this past Sunday. The Week 12 win kept the Giants alive (barely) in the playoff race. In Week 13, the Giants will face another team racing from behind to make the playoffs: the Miami Dolphins.

New York’s defense has been playing lights out in recent weeks and propelling the team to victory. However, the same could be said for the Miami Dolphins’ stellar defense. The Dolphins are running a man-coverage-heavy defense that is getting the job done and earning victories. This matchup will test the New York Giants receivers in Week 13.

The Giants receivers vs. the Dolphins defense

The Miami Dolphins utilize the most man coverage in the NFL. They have utilized man-coverage on 48% of their defensive play-calls. When the Giants have faced man coverage this season, the wide receiver target share is as follows:

  • 45% — Sterling Shepard
  • 24% — Kenny Golladay
  • 22% — Darius Slayton
  • 21% – Kadarius Toney
  • 11% – Evan Engram (19% vs. zone)

The most notable name on this list is Sterling Shepard. Shep sits atop of the list as the primary target against man coverage. This is a bit concerning considering Sterling has not played since Week 8 as he has been dealing with a quad injury. At Wednesday’s practice (12/1), Shepard was listed as a non-participant. His status looks bleak for Sunday.

The Giants will need Kenny Golladay to step up versus the Dolphins. Kenny Golladay signed a mega-contract with the Giants this offseason to be the team’s primary wide receiver. The expectations have not been met, though, as Golladay has dealt with lingering injuries all season long as New York’s offense continues to struggle mightily. If there was ever a time for KennyG to have his breakout game and score his first touchdown, it would be this Sunday.

All eyes, however, will be on quarterback Daniel Jones this week. The Giants’ third-year starter suffered a neck sprain last Sunday that is expected to keep him out of this week’s contest. However, Jones did participate in practice on Wednesday in a limited fashion. Regardless of who is behind center for the Giants on Sunday, it will be a difficult matchup for the offense as they face the red-hot Miami Dolphins defense in Week 13.

New York Giants offense should get a full force of weapons back on Monday

kadarius toney, giants

The New York Giants have a crucial Monday night matchup coming up against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The 3-6 Giants are beginning to turn their season around after a painfully slow start to kick off the year. Miscues, poor execution, and an abundance of injuries have held the Giants back this season. Thankfully, entering this primetime Week 11 matchup, the Giants’ offense is set to get a full force of weapons back in the lineup.

Players returning to the lineup

Wide receivers Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney were NOT LISTED on today’s injury report. This is significant because these two have been appearing on the injured list consistently this season. Golladay missed time with a knee injury. Toney missed a game with an ankle injury and also dealt with a thumb injury. Entering Week 11, both of these playmakers are healthy and ready to go for the Giants. The Giants’ passing attack is receiving a couple of huge boosts.

The New York Giants’ biggest and most explosive playmaker might make his return to the lineup on Monday night. Yes, Saquon Barkley, looks set to return. Barkley has been OUT since Week 5 after suffering an ankle injury versus the Cowboys. But he is now listed as QUESTIONABLE for Monday night and there seems to be a strong possibility he will be good to go.

Andrew Thomas is not listed on the injury report because of his injured reserve designation. However, there seems to be a real chance that the second-year left tackle gets back in the lineup on Monday. Thomas would likely be listed as questionable if he could be placed on the injury report. Andrew Thomas was placed on injured reserve after Week 6 with a leg injury. The Giants have absolutely felt Andrew’s absence and are eager to get him back in the lineup. According to reporters, Andrew Thomas is indeed trending toward playing on Monday night.

While he has not missed a game due to injury, running back Devontae Booker is hobbled and placed on the injury list. Booker suffered a hip injury in the Giants’ Week 9 win over the Las Vegas Raiders. Despite being injured, Booker totaled 99 rushing yards and propelled the Giants’ offense to victory. Coming off the bye week, Booker is listed as QUESTIONABLE with this hip injury. Booker and Barkley are both questionable to play, but both seem destined to see the field in some capacity this week.

Who will miss Monday night?

Wide receiver Sterling Shepard has already been ruled OUT for Monday night with a quad injury. Shepard’s season was off to a fiery hot start before it was derailed by injuries. Shep suffered this quad injury in Week 8 and has been sidelined ever since. The Giants have not placed the receiver on injured reserve, so they must be hopeful that Sterling can make a return soon. However, Sterling Shepard will not return this week to play the Buccaneers.

New York Giants: Kenny Golladay back at practice on Thursday

new york giants, kenny golladay

While it remains a fringe possibility, the New York Giants might have Kenny Golladay back when they face the Raiders. The wide receiver has returned to the practice field, for the first time since his knee injury against Dallas.

Golladay was a limited participant according to the injury report, but his presence on the practice field at all is a positive for the Giants.

He was in the company of a number of other Giants receiving threats who had a limited status at Thursday’s practice. Those other players were John Ross, Kaden Smith, and Kadarius Toney.

Despite a return to practice, though, it doesn’t seem like Golladay will likely play in week 9. He’s been out with this knee injury since week 5 now, and the Giants this season haven’t really been keen to rush players back from injuries.

Based on Golladay returning to practice later in the week, it seems more realistic right now to forecast him as coming back in week 10.

Kenny Golladay’s performance this season

The wide receiver has 282 yards on 17 receptions to this point in the season. He was coming off his best receiving performance of the season, against New Orleans, when he was injured against the Cowboys with no receptions.

In that game against the Saints, Golladay went for 116 yards and caught 6 of 7 targets. It offered a glimpse of his potential in this offense, but it remains to be seen if Golladay will be immediately back to speed after making a comeback.

Whether Golladay returns in week 9 or not, though, his current progress is big for the Giants. He was, after all, signed to be the main receiving weapon on the team.

That hasn’t consistently been the case this season, making Golladay’s remaining games all the more important for proving the Giants made the right choice in paying him.

New York Giants: Barkley and 3 receivers worked with trainers at practice

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

The New York Giants are seemingly doomed to suffer from injuries this season. That’s the case for every team to some extent, but Big Blue has been hit especially bad in 2021.

Multiple offensive stars missed the victory against Carolina, but those players are making progress towards returning.

Those players are running back Saquon Barkley and receivers Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard and Kenny Golladay. Toney and Shepard both played in the Rams game but missed week 7, while Barkley and Golladay have been out since the Dallas loss.

While they haven’t returned to full speed in practice, it’s encouraging that they’re doing something at all.

Barkley and those three wide receivers were seen working out with trainers to the side of the main practice.

Will the New York Giants have more weapons vs Kansas City?

According to Jordan Raanan, it’s a toss-up as for whether or not we see any of these players against Kansas City.

The game is on Monday Night Football, so the Giants do benefit from an extra day of rest. On the other hand, though, none of the players in the running for a comeback are particularly far ahead in their recovery right now.

There will definitely be some pressure for the Giants to have their best players on the field when they take on Kansas City, one of the top teams in the AFC on paper.

Arguably, the Chiefs having a down year means this is one of the games the Giants have the best chance of achieving an upset victory.

Still, the Giants are a 2-5 team themselves. Even if momentum is trending upwards after their week 7 win, don’t expect them to take too many risks with their important talents for the future such as Barkley and Toney.

And a cautious approach may be for the better. Some would argue that we’ve already seen the Giants field players such as Barkley without them being one hundred percent this season, and the results haven’t been great.

New York Giants: Advanced statistic shows Kenny Golladay’s improvement across weeks

new york giants, kenny golladay

The New York Giants signed Kenny Golladay this offseason to be their number one receiver. In fact, the Giants were confident enough in getting value from Golladay that they signed him to a $72 million dollar contract despite having other pressing needs such as strengthening the lines. Through the first few games of the season, Golladay didn’t really look like a player that was being paid such a large amount.

However, that started to change against the Saints when the wide receiver recorded his best statline of the season. Golladay caught 6 of 7 passes targeted his way and recorded 116 receiving yards, setting season highs in both statistics.

Furthermore, the advanced stats tell a good story. A lack of separation was a complaint about Golladay’s performance in the opening weeks of the season, but statistics show an improvement in that area.

Some of the shift is likely because of changes to playcalling and placing Golladay in more situations to break away. Golladay was also on the field more against New Orleans, playing 92% of the snaps for the Giants.

Another factor is recovering from injury. Golladay came into the season fighting with a hamstring injury, which could have kept him out for the opener. While he did end up playing, and has played in every game so far, it definitely appears Golladay wasn’t at 100% for the first few games.

With Golladay clearly improving week to week, however, we can expect to see more chemistry build between him and Daniel Jones in the coming games. And if Golladay can continue to play like he did against New Orleans, many in the fanbase will feel better about the money spent to acquire him.

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.