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I have no idea what I just watched.
What the hell?
That was quite possibly the worst game plan by a head coach I've ever seen. I wanted to see what Ben McAdoo would come up with after his 11 win rookie season in 2016, and we have our answer… a total mess.
What's so frustrating, for New York Giants fans, is that this seems to be a fixable mess. This is a really good defense… 24 points allowed on the scoreboard but seven of them off a punt return… and I’m not going to even get into all the field position gifts the Giants offense gave Detroit Lions early. The NYG defense did not allow an offensive touchdown for the final 38 minutes of the game – giving their offense every chance to get back into this game but they couldn't. The Lions had 260 total yards. That's with the Giants missing their top corner and playcalling middle linebacker. The Giants have a Super Bowl capable defense at full strength.
I don't think the offense is as bad as it appeared last night… and it was rancid last night. It just needs some major tweaks. Sure, they don't have a very good offensive line, but this line doesn't seem so bad when Odell Beckham is on the field… and when they are NOT running Paul Perkins.
It's Paul Perkins that's killing this offense as much as the o-line. What's so crazy is that an acceptable answer to the problem is sitting right in-house: a combination of Orleans Darkwa and Shane Vereen (who combined for 5.0 ypc on a combined 9 carries). Did you notice in this game when Darkwa finally came in how the fans cheered and how nice he looked running the ball? Ben McAdoo didn't.
Darkwa would come in for a moment and then be taken back out. They'd go right back to Paul Perkins who shouldn't even be on an NFL roster at this point. That's a Ben McAdoo problem. Anyone in their right mind would've sensed the momentum change, or hell... sensed the fact that Paul Perkins has sucked since he entered the Giants game plan last year. You can't keep going to the guy. But, McAdoo does… and thus defenses feel free to blitz the backfield because they're not worried about Paul Perkins breaking any long runs or sidestepping them with ease.
The first thing I would do to fix the Giants would be to release Paul Perkins.
The second thing I would do to fix the Giants, if I were the GM/coach today, would be to release Brandon Marshall right after this game. He is so obviously stealing from the Giants—stealing a paycheck. He's giving no effort whatsoever. He's just conned NYG into one last final paycheck before he hits a broadcasting career. The Giants GM was a sucker for it and is now paying the price. He can rectify this mistake and improve the team in one fell swoop: terminate Marshall's ass, and activate Travis Rudolph from the practice squad. Problem solved immediately. The answers to what ails the Giants, besides the offensive line, is within their control, but at this point, they're too stupid to realize it.
I'm focusing more on the Giants losing this game rather than the Lions winning because the Lions didn't do anything in this game besides run the ball generically and struggle to pass the ball. They basically just sat back and let the Giants faceplant. It was brilliant coaching by the Lions... just let the Giants punch themselves in the face till they knock themselves out. They did.
I expect to see changes announced this week from the Giants because you cannot play a home opener, after an 11-win season, and have your fanbase booing you out of the stadium every other play. This went from home-field advantage to home-field disadvantage in a heartbeat. Terrible job by the Giants managing this game. Terrible job managing this team. The Giants are way better than this. They were way better than the Lions last night but they shot themselves in the foot repeatedly and humiliated themselves.
It's not an Eli issue, per se. It's not a defensive issue. It's the head coach making needed starting lineup/roster changes instead of just sitting back and looking like an idiot. Harsh, but… hey, I'm not the one getting booed by my own fan base in the home opener…
Fantasy player notes…
-- You only saw a taste, last night, of how great Evan Engram (4-49-0/1) can be. He scored one TD, but he fell inches from my second score… and had a third score in his hands, but the safety came in and blasted the ball out of his hands nicely as he tried to secure the ball and the score. He had four catches on the night and he could have had 14. He's literally open every play if Eli Manning bothered to look. However, Eli worried about getting rid of the ball to the first option that he sees—he's not looking at the whole field—and with the Giants blocking I can't blame him.
Evan Engram is going to change the landscape in fantasy football. This is not a cute story about targets. This is a guy possessing speed and size like none other to have ever entered the NFL… and he's dedicated to his craft and not a knucklehead. He has the skills of a wide receiver in the body of a tight end. All the knocks you could have on him (which I did) coming out of college—lack of blocking skills, smaller frame, limited route tree—he changed/learned during training camp. He is noticeably bigger. He is still just as fast. He's open every time. Linebackers don't have a prayer… heck, defensive backs have a hard time keeping up with him. He is the ultimate weapon on an offense that is having a hard time executing their plays. If the Giants ever settle in with plausible blocking, Engram's going to finish #1 in fantasy scoring among tight ends. He's that good. As I've been saying for weeks now. I hope you had already stashed him or traded for him by now. It's only going to get better from here.
-- As soon as Paul Perkins (7-10-0, 2-12-0/2) gets benched/gets the boot, I'd love for Shane Vereen to take all the snaps but Orleans Darkwa will get work and have sneaky non-PPR upside. Everyone is so excited about hard-working, hard-running Chris Carson behind a terrible offensive line and a better PPR back in the stable …but Darkwa is a darkhorse to be the next Chris Carson vibe, only no one will care because he's not a hot, fresh, shiny rookie.
-- Odell Beckham Jr. (4-36-0/5) looked totally fine to me. I'm not sure why he didn’t play more. If you want to buy low… he looks fine.
Whether he purposefully stays out some more to get more healthy thinking this team isn't worth rushing back for… that I don’t know. It's touch and go. But if he's playing/starting next week… he looks like he's ready to roll.
-- The Lions literally laid down or were stopped by the Giants defense most of this game. They were handed a lead and cruised. Because there was never any peril, Theo Riddick (9-20-0, 3-17-0/3) wasn't needed to be his usual self. This low game makes him yet again another great bargain to acquire and put in your PPR stable. He's a borderline RB1 in PPR but often trades as an RB3.
-- I don’t think there has been a game this season or preseason where I didn’t see Dwayne Washington (3-9-0) getting hurt in-game. He's actually getting some respect this year, red zone work… but never does anything with it. Always falling just short of a score or limping off. I've started writing him off in my mind. I still hold him on deeper rosters but am no longer as excited about it as I was in 2016… until I see a reason to be. Whatever he had in preseason 2016 is gone, so far, in 2017.
-- Here's how bad the Giants O-Line is right now: Ezekiel Ansah had just 2.0 sacks in 13 games in 2016. He had none opening week 2017. He had three sacks in this game… more than his last 14 games combined.
-- I have been anti-Miles Killibrew (4 tackles,1 PD) since the 2016 NFL Draft. I saw him as a guy who just played for the big hit and that was it… often missing plays because he was lurking for highlight reel plays. He nearly got cut in 2016 but he has changed his ways in 2017. He looks like a defender I don’t recognize today. He's a little slow as a safety, but they have him playing some linebacker and even rushing the passer. He looks quicker this season and the Lions are giving him opportunity.
Killebrew moves from a guy I dismissed to IDP sleeper ahead.