The New York Giants are coming off one of the worst years in franchise history. Not only did they stink on the field, but all of the off-field drama last season and during the offseason have become punchlines when talking about this stoic franchise. Fortunately, the Big Blue seems to have turned the momentum in their favor with some key free agent signings and some highly-touted draft picks. New head coach Pat Shurmur offers a fresh face and a welcoming coaching philosophy that have some Giants fans and NFL pundits thinking that Big Blue will be back competing for the NFC East title this year.
However, there are still a lot of questions that need answers and a large percentage of the fan base that remains disgruntled over last year. With so many things for Giants fans to complain about, I’ve done my best to narrow down the complaints to the following list with fake odds for each complaint.
The Giants Have No Depth at Wide Receiver (-500)
Have you seen who’s in and who’s out with the Giants’ wide receiver group? Yes, they have one of the best wide receivers in the league with Odell Beckham Jr. and a great #2 in Sterling Shepard, but there’s really nobody behind them.
Gone are Brandon Marshall, Dwayne Harris, and a few other depth players. Joining the team are Russell Shepard, Cody Latimer, and a few other unknowns. Everyone knows who Brandon Marshall is. Unfortunately, he had a horrible 2017 season, but so did most of the offense. Dwayne Harris filled in admirably as a #4 and at times a #3 receiver, and he has more career receptions than Shepard or Latimer. Not to mention, Harris was a 2016 Pro Bowler for Special Teams play.
The Giants have definitely improved the overall quality of their offense with more o-line talent, a potential franchise running back, and a new offensive system. Unfortunately, their wide receiving group is lacking any depth behind the top 2 starters.
Can you say “Dez Bryant?” I guarantee that the Giants fans will be calling for their team to sign the free agent receiver, especially if he’s available when these unknown and unproven backup receivers have to take the field.
Did the Giants Really Get Better on Defense? (-250)
There will be times when the Giants defense struggles during the regular season. But complaining that they’re just as bad as last year is kind of ridiculous. First of all, they were put in horrible situations due to the putrid offense. However, the Giants defense didn’t do themselves any favors when they ranked near the bottom of the league in points allowed, total yards, rushing yards, and passing yards. There was a huge drop-off last year from the solid defense they had in 2016.
After the 2017 season, the Giants cleaned house on defense. For starters, they got rid of their old defensive coordinator and brought in James Bettcher. It’s believed that he will incorporate more of a 3-4 defense, which some say is better suited for the Giants’ overall defensive talent.
Speaking of talent, the Giants added Alec Ogletree at linebacker and rookie Lorenzo Carter. Along the d-line, they added Kareem Martin from Arizona, who has had success in the 3-4 defense throughout his career.
The only question on their defense is with the secondary, which we will address in the next topic. For now, this front 7 looks much improved on paper. However, if Giants fans don’t see improvement on the field and in the win column, then expect to hear those boos and complaints shower the franchise.
The Cornerback Position Is a Mess – No Shutdown or Depth! (Even)
With an improved front 7, you would think that the secondary should produce more results on the field. Unfortunately, there is a legitimate concern and gripe amongst the Giants fans over the cornerback position. And I expect these gripes to continue with each blown coverage, missed tackle, and failed attempt to cause a turnover.
The Giants are expected to start Janoris Jenkins and Eli Apple at corners this year. Although the duo has had moments of excellence, they do not form a strong enough tandem to shut down opposing receivers on a consistent basis. Especially not the elite receivers.
Jenkins battled injuries throughout 2017, and Eli Apple has seen his share of benchings and disruptions within the locker room. Neither instills confidence in me, and I can see why fans are griping already. Behind them are a 33-year-old William Gay and a bunch of unproven players that will be called upon to step up and provide reliable depth. Additionally, who’s going to be the starting nickel corner?
This group of corners is a hot mess, and I see the complaints lasting all season long.
The Offensive Line Is Still Terrible (+100)
Last year, the Giants’ offensive line was one of the worst, if not the worst, in the league. Now, it can’t be overlooked how the o-line suffered some significant injuries and had to shuffle players in and out of the lineup all season long. Additionally, they had no credible threat at running back, and the offense lost all of their top receivers to injuries. In other words, defenses were able to dictate the games and pretty much do whatever they wanted to the Giants o-line.
That won’t happen this year. The Giants have a new offensive scheme, which should produce better on-field results. Additionally, they signed the talented OT Nate Solder to protect Eli’s blindside. Furthermore, signing Solder allows them to move last year’s beat dummy at LT Flowers to RT, which he’s better suited for. They also drafted Will Hernandez in the second round to lock down a guard spot.
On paper, this line is tremendously better than last year. The addition of Solder is enough to make them better. I know there will be fans who will complain about the o-line with every missed block and allowed sack, but they’re just silly. Enjoy a new attitude up front and an RB who will be electric behind this line.
Pat Shurmur Isn’t a True NFL Head Coach (+250)
When the Giants hired Pat Shurmur, I saw the grumblings on social media from New York fans. Most gripers were complaining about how Shurmur failed in his only NFL head coaching experience with the Cleveland Browns. Yes, he was ultimately fired, but we’re talking about the Cleveland Browns here. It’s not like he failed with the Patriots.
One thing that the complaining Giants fans have overlooked was that Shurmur did have an interim one-game head coaching gig with the Eagles at the end of the 2015 season. And guess what? He lead the Eagles to a 35-30 victory over the Giants.
Shurmur is a well-respected coordinator and coach in this league. He brings a reputable offensive background to a Giants team that’s desperate for an improved offensive unit. He made the Eagles’ offense better when he was there, and he just turned a Vikings offense into a powerhouse last year.
Give Shurmur a shot before complaining. He can’t do any worse than last year.
We Need a New Quarterback – Eli Is Past His Prime! (+450)
It’s been roughly 2 years since we’ve seen Eli Manning play near an all-pro level. Last year, Eli was in an ill-suited offensive scheme, had no o-line, had no receivers, and no running game. So, it shouldn’t be a surprise that he only registered 3,468 passing yards, 19 touchdown throws, and 13 interceptions.
In 2016, Eli had 4,027 yards, 26 TDs, and 16 INTs. Yes, his drop-off from the 2011 Super Bowl season has been noticeable. But he still has the strength and mental acumen to be a great quarterback this year. Plus, with an improved o-line and a franchise running back, Eli will definitely have more time to throw the ball. At 37 years old, Eli’s career is getting closer to the end. But don’t count him out just yet.
Shurmur will get the most out of Eli and this offense. I’m willing to bet that Eli has his best season since 2014 or 2015 when he surpassed 4,400 passing yards and 30 touchdown throws each season.
I don’t think it’s time to sound the alarms on getting a new starting quarterback, but I do expect Big Blue fans to complain over any poor Eli performances. We’re not joining the Ben McAdoo fan club on this one, but it is time for the Giants to start thinking about how to best prepare for the future.
Should’ve Drafted a Franchise QB Instead of Barkley (+1500)
This is (in my Mike Tyson voice) “ludicrous,” but there were a number of Giants fans wanting the team to draft a franchise QB with the #2 overall pick and were upset when Big Blue took the best player in the draft – Saquon Barkley. I bet that some of those stubborn New Yorkers will keep this complaint going throughout the season. But seriously, this is a generational talent that immediately upgrades a team and can be a franchise player for the next decade.
Additionally, Barkley is a 3-down running back. He will be able to do it all for a New York offense that finished 26th in the league with only 1,549 rushing yards last year. His addition to the team led to the Giants not bringing back Shane Vereen and Orleans Darkwa, who was their leading rusher last year. Truthfully, the Giants are better off without them.
New York also brought in the veteran Jonathan Stewart from the Panthers to bring some steady leadership at the position and provide a different element when having to spell Barkley. This running back group is 100 times better than last year, and I expect them to move up to at least the top 15 in rushing yards this year. Whomever continues the complaints of taking a QB over Barkley should have their membership to the Big Blue fan club revoked.
Also, for the record, they did draft Kyle Lauletta out of Richmond in the 4th round. He will battle it out with Davis Webb for the #2 spot behind Manning. Webb was taken in the 3rd round of last year’s draft. Both Webb and Lauletta have intriguing upsides. So, quit whining over not taking a QB at #2, and go buy your Saquon jersey today.
Should’ve Traded Odell Beckham Jr. (+2500)
Speaking of a hot mess, cue ODB Jr. Do you guys remember how the Giants were actually entertaining possible trade offers for the talented yet emotional Beckham this offseason? They wanted at least two first-round picks, which even they knew wouldn’t happen.
Odell’s on-field antics and off-field theatrics have worn thin with Big Blue. He’s a lightning rod for criticism and penalties. He’s become a liability at times with his diva attitude and lack of self-discipline. With that said, you can’t trade a player like this. He’s a franchise player and one of the top 3 best receivers in the league. He hasn’t even hit his prime!
Get your head examined if you think the team should trade him. He’s going to be Eli’s number-one target, and he will have an explosive season this year in the new offense and because defenses will have to stack the box to try and stop Barkley.
Bring Back Ben McAdoo (+5000)
By the end of last season, McAdoo had lost the locker room, the front office, the fanbase, and his job. He turned a previously respectable offensive coordinator career into a punchline for the national media. McAdoo actually benched Eli Manning, intentionally breaking his career streak of games played, and did it all to get Geno Smith playing time. Are you kidding me?
Not only is McAdoo gone, but so is Geno Smith. If you are in the market for a multi-million dollar home, check out Ben’s house that’s on the market. The McAdoos bought the home for $2.23 million and are now listing it for just under $3 million.
As for McAdoo’s NFL coaching career, he will never get another head coaching job. Although he’s currently off the NFL grid, I expect him to land on his feet somewhere and work his way back up to offensive coordinator again. For those of you calling for the return of “Bumbling Ben” or “McAdon’t” put down the stadium beer, slowly leave your seat, and never return to another Giants game again.