Written by: Tony “The Prophet” Yantosca
I am entering my 7th year on nygunderground.com providing the truth about the Giants that is not pom-pom waving or sugar coated. To paraphrase the line from the movie A Few Good Men, “can you handle the truth”? Hopefully you can and continue reading now and every week for an update before every game in “The Prophet’s Pulpit”.
Dave Gettleman’s legacy is tied to his decision to take Daniel Jones as the overall number 6 draft pick in the 2019 draft. He willingly put his head in the noose with Jones. Both would either sink or swim together. If Jones is a bust, Gettleman will be put out to pasture for a premature retirement even though he is already 70 years old. In his first 2 years Jones has more turnovers, 39, than touchdowns, 37! Like his predecessor, Jerry Reese, Gettleman went on a free agency spending spree to ensure that if Daniel Jones fails it is not going to be his fault. I will refer to Jerry Reese going forward as Jerry “Reach” as we all know his legendary reaches like Ereck Flowers and Eli Apple to name a few.
“Reach” went on a $285 million spree in the offseason before the 2016 season. He knew he had 1 foot out the door and the other on a banana peel. He had to do something fast. The 2015 team was totally bereft of talent after winning Super Bowl 46 just 4 years before. “Reach” got the great Tom Coughlin fired after 2 Super Bowl wins on his resume. Coughlin was so upset at his situation that year he didn’t even shake owner John Mara’s hand at his last presser on his way out.
On his spending spree “Reach” spent $85M on DE, Olivier Vernon. He was okay but he never reached his potential for that payday. As Dennis Green said, “he was who we thought he was!”. He had 7.25 sacks/year in 4 years in Miami. He had 7.33 sacks/year at the Giants in 3 years and he missed 9 games. He had 6.25 sacks/year in 2 years with the Browns. Vernon never smelled a double-digit sack year after 9 tries and counting. The other big signing that year was cornerback Janoris Jenkins for $34M.
Likewise, Gettleman signed Kenny Golladay to be the X wide receiver. It was a huge deal. I would not have done it. They negotiated a cap friendly deal for 2021. However, after this year the cap hit is $21.1M in 2022, $21.4M in 2023 and $21.4M in 2024. Golladay is not worth that much money! Let’s see how the deal is structured in its later years of that deal. In 4 years, he missed 17 games, more than a season, in his career including 11 last year. Oh, what a surprise, he is hurt in training camp and will not be ready until the start of the season. Good luck getting him to last 17 games. By the way, he has never had more than 70 catches in a season playing for a team that was perennially behind and had to throw most of the game! The Prophet is calling him a bust beforehand especially at his price. I want a X WR that can catch 100 balls for over $20M/year. Too many mouths to feed here and Garrett will be looking to establish the run first before letting Jones loose.
The Giants also added running back Devontae Booker and let Wayne Gallman go. Personally, I would have kept Gallman. Gallman averaged 87.5 yards a game in their 4 wins in a row from week 9 to 12 last year. He had 4 TDs in those games. He could have had 6 because they used Alfred Morris at the goal line to vulture 2 TD’s. Yes once again for an injured player I picked up Gallman on waivers vs Seattle and lost those 2 TD’s and lost for the week.
The move to add Booker was made to bolster the pass protection on third down and long. The Achilles’ Heel of Saquon Barkley is his pass protection. He is good at all other aspects of the game. The other main advantage to Booker is that he plays special teams. However, when her got the starting role at the Raiders last year because Jacobs was out, he crapped the bed. I know from personal experience because I played him that week vs the Jets. Needless to say, I lost from his pitiful performance of 50 yards rushing on 16 carries (3.1 YPC) and 1 catch for 1 yard!
The Giants also added TE, Kyle Rudolph. I don’t agree with this addition either. It was definitely a move to have a red zone threat which was sorely lacking last year. He will also be used as an additional blocker on the OL. This offensive line along with Jones are the 2 weaknesses of the team. The Giants do not trust Engram to block. $12.5M contract for 2 years is a high price to play for a declining player at the end of his career. He is entering his 11th season. He was brought here for red zone TD’s. How many will he have 3-4 at most?
It is also an indictment on Engram, who the Giants picked up his 5th year option. He proves himself this year or there will be no second contract with the Gmen. It was a joke that he made the Pro Bowl last year. It shows there were no other healthy options. I would have sent Logan Thomas from the Washington team. He had 9 more catches and 5 more touchdowns (Engram only 1 TD last year). Engram has more name recognition and that is the only reason he made it. Rudolph enters his 11th season. His production the last 2 years has fallen off. He had 1 touchdown last year on 28 catches. The allure is the 6 touchdowns he had on 39 catches the year before.
Other notable free agents added are CB, Adoree Jackson. Logan Ryan pushed to add his former teammate. He is a good talent but comes at an expensive 3 year, $39M deal with $26.5M guaranteed. He missed 13 games last year. He gives the Giants experience to be the other corner opposite Bradbury.
I very much like the addition of 3 veteran defensive veterans for depth, The first is DE, Ifeadi Odenigbo (1 year, $2.5M, $1M guaranteed). Entering his 4th year, he adds some depth at outside pass rush. The second is ILB, Reggie Ragland (1 year $1.1M, $137,500 guaranteed). He enters his 5th year and has 3 good years of experience with the Chiefs. The third is DT, Danny Shelton (1 year, $1.1M, $987,500 guaranteed). He enters his 7th year. He has good experience and really helped the Patriots down the stretch in their Super Bowl run vs the Rams. All 3 of these players offer experienced depth at very reasonable salaries. Unfortunately, Odenigbo did not make the team at the final cut. Shelton has been strong in the Browns and Patriots scrimmages and in the preseason.
Giants 2021 Draft
The draft for the last 2 years has been good. They were unlike so many drafts previously where I wanted to throw my TV out the window. I don’t need to recount those. You can see my rants in this space and on Twitter as they happened. Go back and check the history if you want.
I want to thank Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network for his comments about GM, Dave Gettleman. He said that on a conference call with reporters, “I think we’ll see a right turn in a NASCAR race before we see Dave Gettleman trade back. So, I don’t think it’s happening.” I also have to admit that as not a devotee of NASCAR, that I did not know that they now make right turns now as they have added road courses. Gettleman was asked about the comment at his press conference a day or two later. He was a good sport about it and said that he always tried to trade back and couldn’t get a good deal and that he wasn’t going to be fleeced.
Gettleman traded back from 11 to pick 20 and got Kadarius Toney at pick 20 in the first round. I don’t have a problem with the pick. The only other option was to take OT, Christian Darrisaw who went 3 picks later to the Vikings. Toney is the human joystick who can help immediately on returns. He may have trouble cracking the starting lineup but can be used in certain packages. He can be used like Deebo Samuel on jet sweeps. You just need to get him in space and he can do the rest. Gettleman got an extra first round pick from the Bears. This will be key because if Jones has a bad year at quarterback, the Giants can now trade up and get a top rated QB.
Gettleman feeling his trade back oats traded back again to pick 50 and got edge rusher Azeez Ojulari. This was a brilliant pick. Azeez was projected by many to be a first round talent. He was the best edge rusher left on the board. I think he is better than Greg Rousseau, who went 30th to the Bills. Rousseau sat out 2020 and really only had 1 good year of production.
Gettleman passed on edge rusher, Josh Allen in the 2019 draft in favor of Jones at pick 6 overall. Don’t get my blood pressure boiling because they could have drafted Daniel Jones at pick 17. If they didn’t think he would be available there, which is a fairy tale. Gettleman still had 11 more picks to move up and get him because he felt he would be gone by pick 17.
Because Gettleman didn’t address the offensive line in 2019, last year in 2020 he had to draft OL at pick 4 overall. He had his pick of the 4 premier tackles and he took Thomas. The jury is out on him. I wrote a piece on this site before the draft stating that I would have picked another tackle. He got better as the season went on but he may have selected the wrong tackle. Time will tell on that pick. In the Patriots pre-season game Thomas looked like Ereck Flowers vs Ziggy Ansah of the Lions in week 2 Monday night 2017, Ziggy had 3 sacks vs Flowers in the first half. He did pass on Isiah Simmons last year. Simmons was predominantly an outside rusher but lined up at 5 positions in college. The Gmen finally got their top edge rusher this year in Ojulari. Ojulari was a great pick in the second round as many had him rated as a first rounds talent.
In the 3rd round, they picked Aaron Robinson, DB, UCF. Unfortunately, he is on the Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform list. In the 4th round they took OLB, Elerson, Smith, Northern Iowa. He is a developmental player who can eventually add depth to the pass rush if he pans out. In the 6th round the first pick was Gary Brightwell, RB, Arizona. He showed some promise in the preseason and he may eventually be a change of pace back or backup to Barkley. The second pick in the 6th round was Rodarius Williams, CB, Oklahoma State. He is the brother of NFL CB, Greedy Williams. Rodarius showed some flashes in the preseason but Judge likes him for special teams. He may see some playing time in packages by the end of the year.
Now turning to the season, The Giants are an 8 or best case a 9-win team. They will have to overachieve to make the playoffs. Vegas has them as a 7-win team and they are usually right as they had them as a 6-win team last year and that’s where they finished. The biggest 2 questions are, the offensive line that is ranked in the bottom 5 and can Daniel Jones become a real starting franchise NFL quarterback. We will know on Jones by the time you are having your turkey on Thanksgiving because by then we will have the answer.
The offensive line does not have a lot of experience. The only veteran is Solder, who Belichick knew to dump. Gettleman overpaid for Solder because he was desperate for offensive line talent. Jerry “Reach” had left the team baron of line talent before he was fired at the end of 2017. The Giants can dump Solder next year and only take a $4 million cap hit which is nothing for Gettleman. Gettleman, “The King of Dead Money”, rang up $100 million in dead money from 2018 to 2020 making changes admitting his mistakes. At least Dave will admit his mistakes. Jerry “Reach” never did. The three blind mice, John Mara, Steve Tisch, and Tim Mara let him run amuck for a decade.
Looking at the rest of the offensive line, Hernandez, Gates and back up Price are going into their 4th year of experience. Thomas, Peart, Lemieux, and Bredeson are going into their 2nd year. The question is can they hold up because we all know that Daniel Jones is a human turnover machine. His judgement does not look like it got any better entering into year three. #DannyTurnover threw a pick throwing against his body in the red zone vs the Patriots in the last exhibition game that I don’t think a college freshman would make.
Looking at the wide receivers, you can tell by who the Giants kept that they are going to try and throw the ball down the field in 2021. In 2020, they kept 5 wide receivers and 4 tight ends. Garrett ran 12 and 13 personnel and ran the ball more. The only games the Giants won in 2020, they ran for over 100 yards. This year they kept 7 wide receivers and 3 tight ends. (The Giants have 3 tight ends on the practice squad but it’s unlikely they will see any real playing time). The unreliable, Evan Engram, may go on IR to start the season so the Gmen will be adding another one to replace him while he’s out. Garrett wants Jones to push the ball down the field. They have to know this year if he is any good. The Prophet is betting on the under. See the paragraph below indicating why Garrett may be trying to change.
Michael Lombardi on his national show made a great point about the inadequacies of Jason Garrett’s play calling. He mentioned that he uses the Norv Turner system with no imagination and adjustments. He cited the opening game last year vs the Steelers where the Giants had 7 yards rushing from the running backs on 16 attempts. He cited that Garrett made no adjustments during the game like trying to run vs a nickel defense. Garrett runs his system and never changes it regardless score and time left in the game. This spells doom for the Giants and Jones. Lombardi also mentioned that the Cowboys did not have Garrett call the plays for many years.
The defense is going to be strong this year given that they do not have many key injuries. The Giants will be trying to hold down the opposition. The offense was lethargic in the preseason. It has to be better when they add back Barkley and Golladay. I am calling it 8 wins this year. If they can overachieve, the upper limit is 11. However, 9 wins will be a 50% increase which will be a quantum leap for this team. If the offensive line does not come together you can have a horrific 5–6-win season.
If they lose to the Broncos and Washington to start the season, they will have to beat the Falcons and Saints the next 2 weeks to save their season before the Rams game. Teams only have a 12% chance to make the playoffs if they go 0-2 to start the season. Also remember that the Giants have played better on the road the past 3 years. So, there is 2021 laid out coming into week 1 of the season.
Read my Prophet’s Pulpit every week where I give you a recap of the previous week’s game and a preview of the upcoming one with an exact score prediction. As always I appreciate any feedback, good or bad. Follow me on Twitter @TonytheProphet for NFL commentary 365 days a year.