Three individuals who need to step up for the New York Giants after a tough Week 5 loss to the Minnesota Vikings at home.
Well, you can erase all hope of the New York Giants winning a third-straight game after starting 0-2. You can erase all thought that rookie quarterback Daniel Jones could begin his career 3-0 as a starter.
The Giants suffered a tough 28-10 defeat at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday.
The Vikings overwhelmed the Giants on both sides of the ball. Big Blue’s defense couldn’t contain Minnesota’s passing attack led by quarterback Kirk Cousins and wideout Adam Thielen. On the other hand, Minnesota’s pass rush was just too much for the Giants offensive line.
In the end, this loss comes down to three individuals. After processing this defeat, it’s clear these three need to step up going forward. It needs to happen quickly, too; the Giants have a short week before taking on the New England Patriots on Thursday.
3. Cornerback DeAndre Baker
After a slow start in the first 2.5 games of his NFL career, rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker improved in the second half of the Tampa Bay victory and in the Week 4 win over Washington. This helped the Giants defense only let up six points in six quarters.
However, on Sunday, it seemed he returned to the form he was in during Weeks 1 and 2.
He was no match for Thielen whenever he lined up against him. It became easy pitches and catches from Cousins to Thielen. Baker simply wasn’t quick enough off the snap and didn’t seem to have the right positioning to really lessen the cushion between him and the Pro Bowl receiver.
Baker also had a crucial unsportsmanlike conduct penalty in the third quarter. With the Giants only down by a score of 18-10, Big Blue’s defense held Vikings running back Dalvin Cook to just a three-yard gain on 2nd-and-11. It would’ve forced a 3rd-and-long; however, the flag on Baker led to a first down for Minnesota.
Under two minutes later, Baker was forced to pay for his mistake, as Thielen beat him off the double move. The rookie was left flat-footed on the nine-yard touchdown pass and didn’t even make much of a play on the ball.
Numerous mistakes were made by the young University of Georgia product in this game. He’ll need to clean them up, as he’ll be facing a much better passing attack in New England on Thursday.
2. Left tackle Nate Solder
It’s been around 19 months since the Giants and general manager Dave Gettleman signed veteran left tackle Nate Solder to a four-year, $62 million deal. The contract made him the highest-paid left tackle in the NFL at the time. And, 19 months later, it’s looking like Solder may be one of the big mistakes Gettleman has made with this team.
Solder went up against Vikings edge rusher Everson Griffen all game and seemed to be a step behind him on numerous plays.
The veteran left tackle allowed Griffen to rack up one tackle-for-loss, a quarterback hit, and a sack of Daniel Jones. No, they aren’t horrible numbers. But, when you have a rookie quarterback behind you, the support you give him is extremely important. The last thing the Giants need is for their 22-year old quarterback to sit back in the pocket and get buried all-day
It’ll be interesting to see if Solder improves his play against his former team this coming Thursday night.
1. Defensive Coordinator James Bettcher
If this team doesn’t make the playoffs this season but at least improves from last year’s 5-11 campaign, they shouldn’t fire head coach Pat Shurmur. However, for that all to happen, this defense needs to improve, and it starts with coordinator James Bettcher.
It just doesn’t seem like this defense has any sort of identity at all. There’s no sense of urgency pre-snap and it always looks like they’re so unprepared for what offenses throw at them.
On Sunday, they allowed 490 total yards from scrimmage, with 279 of those yards through the air and 211 on the ground. That’s nearly 81 yards above what their season average is as a defense. That side of the ball is 30th in the NFL with 409.4 yards allowed-per-game.
There’s no reason a quarterback such as Kirk Cousins should be picking this secondary apart, even if it includes a rookie cornerback. They allowed more passing yards to Cousins in the first half than any other team did in a full game this year. It’s an embarrassing statistic that Bettcher should take as motivation heading into Week 6.
They also don’t have a consistent pass rush. With a quarterback like Cousins, one of the keys in the game was to get in his face and force him to make mistakes. The Giants were better off having the ball in his hands than Thielen’s or Stefon Diggs’ hands. That didn’t happen, and it cost the Giants.
Finally, the New York defense has now found themselves 24th in the league with 25.0 points allowed-per-game after five matchups. This doesn’t help Bettcher’s case to stick around next season.
I understand that they were with three backup linebackers (including rookie Oshane Ximines), but Bettcher’s schemes and defensive failures looked much of the same on Sunday as it has the majority of this season. It all has to change, and quickly.