2022 Dynasty/Fantasy Preseason Week 1 Game Report: Giants 23, Patriots 21
Week 1 of the preseason, and the Giants ran with their 1st-team offense for a bit…and the Patriots did not. Pats rookie QB Bailey Zappe led a comeback late, but the Giants got down in field goal range and hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer to get ‘the win’…not that anyone cares about the game outcome.
Onto the player notes…where we got to see/scout a good amount of the Patriots youth movement throughout the game, but we also got our first NFL glimpses of the Giants 1st-round picks Kayvon Thibodeaux and Evan Neal.
Dynasty/Fantasy Player Scouting and Notes…
-- Did you know that Brian Daboll created Josh Allen, and hopes to do the same with Daniel Jones (6-10 for 69 yards, 1 TD/0 INT)?
I’m so sick of hearing that tired narrative, one that I dispelled in my Daboll report a few weeks ago. It’s nonsensical…but it’s all the Giants fans and game announcers can reach for, so we have to hear it for a little while longer. Jones looked like he always has, in this game, and the offense, the flow, and many of the pass routes seemed identical to last years…granted it was a brief glimpse in a preseason game. I’m not impressed with the first glimpse of the Fightin’ Dabolls.
If the Giants were seriously worried about Jones…and wanted to get a veteran QB in to help them make a playoff run, they would have acquired Jimmy G. and worked out a better contract with him, by now.
I don’t think the Giants will do anything…instead they’ll be the Seattle Seahawks of the east -- not going anywhere even whether they got Jimmy G. or not, so why not let Jones completely fail out and finish the season with a terrible record and earn a top 5-10 draft pick…maybe top 3. Seattle is full-on tanking; it looks like the Giants are half-tanking right now.
If Daboll doesn’t create magic with Jones…if he doesn’t ‘fix him’…and they ditch him in 2023 and draft a QB highly in the 2023 NFL Draft -- then why did the Giants even want Brian Daboll? Jones will get the blame for 2022…the old regime’s guy. Daboll will get the blame in 2024-2025, and be gone in that time range. Next NFL Draft, initially, we’ll get (from the media) the tired crowing -- ‘Daboll got his Josh Allen’ with whomever the Giants draft. It’s smart for Daboll to keep hiding behind what Josh Allen did and let everyone assign Daboll credit for Allen just because Daboll pee’d in the same urinal as Allen in Buffalo -- if Giants fans and media keeps hanging on to Daboll created Allen daydreams…then they’ll have to wait three more years to fire Daboll when their new QB doesn’t make the turn that Allen did in year three.
Because QB is so important in the NFL, and because Daboll is a QB guru, then surely they’d add a young QB or two behind Dan Jones for Daboll to groom? Since Daboll is such a QB whispered? Nope. Tyrod Taylor (13-21 for 129 yards, 1 TD/0 INT) came in relief and looked as bad as ever…worse than Jones. If Daboll thinks Dan Dimes-Tyrod is a great QB situation to go into 2022…then he’s either tanking on purpose, or he doesn’t know anything about QBs…or both.
Here’s the Giants team in a nutshell… A collection of the old regime’s guys that they are gonna lose/ditch soon (Saquon, Golladay, etc.) and then Daboll entered grabbing a bunch of guys tied back to his Buffalo days, players no one else wanted…and not good players/prospects either. Tyrod and QB Davis Webb (8-16 for 51 yards, 0 TD/0 INT) were with Daboll in Buffalo, and it’s his big plan for backups for Danny Dimes. Giants fans…are you actually paying money for tickets to support this nonsense?
-- The best QB on the field this day was Patriots 4th-round pick, rookie Bailey Zappe (19-32 for 205 yards, 1 TD/1 INT). Zappe started out shaky…too hyped up at first -- but then settled in and started playing decent football.
It was an OK debut. Nothing super special, but better than most rookie debuts as it went along. It’s just Zappe is so small…in a sea of such athletes and talent hitting the NFL from college. Zappe is going to have to get forced a chance via injury/suspension/Monkeypox, somewhere down the road, a la Jimmy Garoppolo during the Brady-era to have any chance to make it in this league.
Likely, we’ll forget about Zappe in due time…but with a year or two under his belt, down the road, with his gift for playing the position…maybe someday he gets a chance.
-- Saquon Barkley (4-13-0, 1-8-0/1) got a couple of series of work in here. Same old story…Barkley looks fine, but he has nowhere to run because the defense keys on him and dares Daniel Dimebag to beat them.
Your 2022 FF Saquon hope is -- they have no other viable RBs, and he should get every touch and a ton of targets…which is FF valuable. However, the issue/risk with that is…
1) Saquon gets a ton of touches with low rushing output and limited TD opps again…because defenses over-key on him…and he’s just an RB2, not a breakout star of any kind.
2) If you think Daniel Jones is bad for Barkley/NYG…what do you think could happen to Saquon’s touches and output if Tyrod Taylor takes over a few weeks in?
The ‘I like a Saquon bounce back’ narrative is not without a bunch of risk. We keep think Saquon is a superman that can overcome his situation -- but that’s really not been true. Barkley has 8 rushing TDs in his last 28 games with three 100+ yard rushing efforts in his last 25 games.
Saquon Barkley has rushed for less than 65 yards in a game in 14 of his last 15 games.
Why is it going to get any better in 2022? Evan Neal was drafted?
I watched Evan Neal during his couple of series vs. the Patriots 1st-round pick OL Cole Strange. I’m not sure the Giants got the better OL. It’s only one game but Neal was tentative most every snap…definitely not eye-catching (good), whereas Strange was aggressive and very mobile. If I had to base everything off this one game, in a few series of scouting -- Strange is better than Neal.
It’s early, however.
-- The ‘handcuff’ for the Giants?
If you think there’s a Saquon risk, due to the offense/O-Line, of underperformance (but hoping he volumes and speeds his way through) -- then what do you think Gary Brightwell (7-400, 2-19-0/3) is magically going to do if Saquon is gone and he’s replacing him?
I couldn’t tell the difference between Brightwell and rookie Jashaun Corbin (6-23-0, 5-28-0/6)…both solid-ish, forgettable.
Antonio Williams (9-61-1, 1-0-0/1) is better than Brightwell or Corbin, but he’ll get cut. He’s also an ex-Bills hand for Daboll…as is Matt Breida (DNP), the likely one they turn to in any Saquon emergency. Breida-Brightwell-Corbin-Williams in this offense with these QBs? This excites you for FF?
-- The Patriots debuted their rookie RBs, both of whom are better than the Giants non-Saquons.
Pierre Strong (6-25-0, 1-0-0/1) looked the best of the two -- he looked quicker, more nimble, and better movement skills to be the James White replacement, but Strong might be capable of going beyond just being a James White. He looked good.
Kevin Harris (6-9-1, 1-0-0/2) is a strong-style power back who will be a part of the RBBC in 2023-2024, but not much in 2022 (unless injuries force him in) -- and his role will be just as a power RB. He’s not great in the passing game. I like K. Harris, but he’s surrounded by more versatile/talented RBs here…and the Pats are not leaning on one RB on purpose, so you can only get FF-excited about Harris-Stevenson-Strong-Harris so much.
-- WR quick hit notes…
Pats rookie Tyquan Thornton (2-9-1/2) looks sickly, he’s so thin. I’m not commenting on his talent…which is ‘TBD’, he looked OK-ish here I guess -- but it’s hard, as a scout, to look past his ultra-thin frame.
Kristian Wilkerson (8-99-0/12) was the star of 2021 preseason for the Pats last year…which got him cut and on the practice squad. I’m not sure why that wouldn’t happen again in 2022 with the stockpile of mediocre WRs the Pats possess. He looked as good/hopeful as usual, but he’s buried here until further notice.
Kadarius Toney (DNP) didn’t play…shocker. Darius Slayton (1-2-0, 1-17-0/2) looked like he was in Toney’s role filling in…he took a jet sweep and caught a bubble screen. Slayton looks like he’d like to be anywhere but on this NYG team. Slayton is due $2.6M to make the team…or essentially zero cost to cut. He’s gonna be cut, a 100% likelihood, and go on to be a depth chart body somewhere on his way to being a forgotten journeyman.
Kenny Golladay (1-6-0/3) looks about as excited to be in New York as Slayton. Golladay did not separate in this game, as we’ve heard over and over in camp…he couldn’t beat backup corners for NE. And he dropped a quick pass near the goal line…fearful of the hit coming if he did catch it -- which is probably the future for KG. He got (over)paid, and now he’s half-assing it and trying to stay healthy for his personal life.
-- Rookie Daniel Bellinger (1-5-0/1) did start for NYG and will probably start Week 1/this season. Nothing stood out on Bellinger…nor did it with rookie WR Wan’Dale Robinson, who they didn’t even try to get the ball to. BOY this Daboll offense is MAGIC!
It’s only one game, but still…no bubble screen to get Robinson a debut touch?
-- IDP Notes…
Kayvon Thibodeaux (1 tackle) was as expected…standing up trying to rush the passer every play and not successfully getting to the QB. He played a couple of series. He looked good enough, athletically -- but he got eaten up by the right tackle really every pass rush.
Pats rookie CB Jack Jones (1 tackles, 1 PD) started and played most of the game…he’s set to be a backup CB early but playing snaps, and eventually he’ll leapfrog Jalen Mills. The other Pats rookie CB that I love, Marcus Jones -- DNP. However, note -- Marcus is listed as the primary punt returner already on the depth charts. I’m looking forward to him getting return chances…one of the most prolific return men in CFB history.
The best-looking young defender in this game? Not Thibodeaux. Not Jack Jones, who was good…but Pats 6th-round steal out of NE Mo. State, DT Sam Roberts (6 tackles). Roberts is going to go down as one of the ten best steals from this 2022 NFL Draft, I have a feeling. He was pretty effective, at times dominant rushing the backfield or adjusting and playing the run. Belichick got a gem in the 2021 Small College Defensive Player of the Year winner (the Cliff Harris award).
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