The Los Angeles Rams are on the road in Week 9 to take on the New York Giants. While any matchup between a 5-2 team and a 1-6 one is going to come in looking lopsided, there’s still some intrigue here.
So to get a better understanding of what we’re facing, I linked up with Ed Valentine of Big Blue View, the SB Nation community for New York Giants fans.
So uh...what the hell happened to you guys this year?
Uh ... well, I could probably write a book (and maybe I should but Giants fans wouldn't buy it) on that. Failure by the GM to address the weakest part of the team -- the offensive line -- in any meaningful way. Andrew Whitworth should be a Giant, not a Ram. Stubbornness from the head coach in regards to making real changes to his offensive approach. A defense that wasn't as good as we thought, or as they apparently thought themselves. Injuries have to be part of the equation. What we're learning more and more is lack of respect in the locker room for the head coach. It's an absolute mess.
On offense, obviously the injuries are impossible to ignore. But you guys are among the lesser rushing attacks in the league. Football Outsiders ranks your offensive line worst in power rushes. Last year's offense had issues. This one seems to have more. Even with the injuries, how concerned are you about the state of the offense? Does it perhaps worry you moreso given that this side of the ball is where Head Coach Ben McAdoo's experience lies?
The offense is a disaster, and it was a disaster before the injuries struck. The Giants have not scored 30 points ONCE during Ben McAdoo's two seasons as head coach. A big part of that is that the offensive line hasn't been properly addressed. The Giants have to scheme their passing game around an inability to protect Eli Manning for very long. D.J. Fluker helps the run blocking some, but the Giants really don't have players who can dominate the line of scrimmage, which means they can't get yards on the ground consistently when they need them.
Defense might be the bigger letdown. Last year, you guys were 10th in yards allowed and 2nd in the entire NFL in points allowed. Those ranks to this point in 2017 are 27th and 17th. What gives?
In its Almanac, Football Outsiders predicted regression from the defense.Turns out they were right. Jason Pierre-Paul got big money and, for the most part, hasn't shown up this year. The secondary is a mess with guys getting suspended. The linebackers aren't very good. Olivier Vernon has been hurt, so between Vernon and JPP the pass rush hasn't been good. The tackling has been terrible.
TE Evan Engram certainly looks the part of a draft hit. CB Eli Apple seems to be growing into a fine defensive back. What's the fan consensus on the recent draft picks and GM Jerry Reese?
Engram's a really good player. So is Dalvin Tomlinson is good. Apple is inconsistent. but has ability. Don't, however, ask Giants fans to say anything nice about the GM right now. This is five playoff-less season in six years, and Reese has been the guy responsible for all of those inadequate rosters. He recently stood in front of the media, said 1-6 was his fault and then proceeded to talk about everyone else's failure, showing he really thought it wasn't his fault.
The big news this week was that CB Janoris Jenkins was suspended indefinitely after not checking in with the team until Tuesday, though I suppose you could argue that's what we're supposed to think in these conspiracy-friendly times...In any case, I thought you framed it appropriately suggesting that it really is "difficult at this point to argue that McAdoo has control of the locker room." McAdoo's in just his second season with QB Eli Manning contractually locked in pretty solidly through 2019. How much of the trajectory is something you think Giants fans are just going to have to steel them for and how much do you think is just an unfortunate blip?
This Giants team shouldn't be 1-6. They shouldn't be 6-1, either, but they should be better than they are. It's not an "unfortunate blip" when the Giants will be missing the playoffs for the fifth time in six years. The "blip" appears to have been making them. There is no real way to know what the future holds. The question is what will it take to convince ownership to clean house with a new GM and new coach, which might be the only way to really get hold of a situation that is spiraling out of control. I know that is something ownership doesn't want to do, but they might have to.
Thanks to Ed for the time.