The New York Giants haven’t made any progress since the hires of head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman.
The 2017 regular season was one to forget if you’re a New York Giants fan. Sadly, it’ll be tough to erase that campaign from your memory. Big Blue finished 3-13 after many thought they were going to be a playoff team heading into the season. Not only that, but Ben McAdoo solidified he wasn’t the right man for the head coaching job after the awful 0-5 start, the non-discipline of numerous players and the benching of Eli Manning.
New York thus attempted to “start over” after that year.
The firings of McAdoo and Jerry Reese led to the hires of head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Dave Gettleman in January of 2018 and December of 2017, respectively. The organization expected Shurmur to fix the offensive issues and Gettleman to alleviate the pain left from Reese’s front office-based mistakes. Overall, both were supposed to turn the organization around, leading them to greener pastures. However, that’s exactly what they haven’t done.
Nearly two years after the Giants hired either of them, this organization hasn’t made any sort of progress. They’re currently 2-9 through 11 games and have locked up their third consecutive losing season. It’s not just the team’s record that shows these two individuals have made no progress at all.
There are deeper statistics and reasons as to why both Shurmur and Gettleman aren’t the right guys for the positions they’re residing in.
Let’s take a look at how neither has done their job correctly.
In-Game Offensive Statistics/Mistakes
It’s tough to look at some of the offensive-statistic comparisons, being that Shurmur was brought in to fix the issues introduced by McAdoo. In 2017, the Giants hardly had any running game. The team fielded Orleans Darkwa, Paul Perkins, Shane Vereen, and Wayne Gallman. The latter remains as the only individual still on the team.
Now, they have Saquon Barkley, a sensational running back who Shurmur doesn’t utilize correctly. As a result, the Giants are currently rushing for 95.5 yards-per-game this year. They actually rushed for 96.8 yards-per-game during the 2017 season.
Shurmur must figure out how to work the running game, being that it’s struggled for much of this season. Enough of the inside zone runs where Barkley is forced to make guys miss. Put an extra blocker back there such as Elijhaa Penny to support your No. 1 back.
Next, I don’t want to hear how the offensive line has “improved” over the last couple of years. It’s actually regressing. In 2017, the team allowed an average of 2.13 sacks-per-game, which ranked 12th in the league. On the contrary, they’re allowing 3.18 sacks-per-game this season. That statistic is currently 23rd in the NFL.
The offensive line just seems better because they’re finally blocking for a semi-mobile quarterback in Daniel Jones. Therefore, they’re bailed out more than they would if they were blocking for Eli Manning. It was an overall below-average offensive line when Shurmur was hired. Ever since, they’ve actually regressed.
The points-per-game average is, in fact, better than it was in 2017. In that season, the Giants averaged 15.4 points-per-game. Thus far in 2019, they’re averaging 19.7 points-per-game. However, that’s still an unacceptable points-per-game rate, especially being that Shurmur is a so-called “offensive genius.” At the end of the day, it’s still an offense that doesn’t score 20 or more points on average, which is a huge problem in this league.
Going besides stats for a minute, let’s take a deeper look into their usual offensive gameplan.
As many fans have noticed, every drive looks the same within Shurmur’s system. An incomplete pass on first down, an inside zone run on second down, followed by a 3rd-&-long. Thus, his gameplans and schemes make rookie quarterback Daniel Jones‘ job tougher than it needs to be. You can’t be putting your 22-year-old quarterback in those types of situations where 3rd-&-longs need to be converted on numerous drives against tough defenses.
Shurmur obviously hasn’t done a great job either when it comes to curing Jones’ ball-security issues. This past week, Jones lost his 10th fumble of the season. He’s now turned the ball over 18 times, which compares to his 19 total touchdowns.
Mistakes in the Front Office
I’ll admit that Gettleman has actually made some moves that a ton of fans have liked. Obviously the Saquon Barkley pick was a must in the minds of many and Daniel Jones will hopefully be the next franchise quarterback. Markus Golden, the team’s current leading pass rusher, was a cheap signing. Not every move has been horrible.
However, Gettleman’s bad decisions have been so harmful to the organization that they actually mask his better choices. Overall, Gettleman claims to have a plan for this team, but the moves he makes say differently.
To start off, he spent all this money to “improve” the offensive line, a group that’s on pace to be worse than it was the last two seasons. Gettleman gave left tackle Nate Solder a $62 million deal across four years and made him the highest-paid tackle at the time. For one, he had never been to a Pro Bowl nor made a single All-Pro team in his career.
Now, it’s becoming even worse of a move. Solder has allowed 9.5 sacks through 11 games this year, already tieing his career-high in that category. He allowed 9.5 through 15 games for the Patriots in 2013. This statistic is already 1.5 more sacks than he allowed through 16 games last year.
That much money for a left tackle of that caliber? It’s arguably the worst move Gettleman has made thus far.
And then he drafted Will Hernandez, traded for Kevin Zeitler, paid Jon Halapio and Mike Remmers. All these moves for an offensive line that’s actually regressing as the years go on.
This past Spring, Gettleman took upon the notion to draft interior lineman Dexter Lawrence with the No. 17 overall pick when they absolutely needed an edge rusher instead. Last year, the Giants finished tied for 30th in the league with just 30 total sacks. They didn’t select a pass rusher until the third round when they took Oshane Ximines. The rookie out of Old Dominion University has just two sacks through his first 11 games.
Just 13 selections after Lawrence, Gettleman traded three picks to move back into the first round and select cornerback Deandre Baker. Thus far in his inaugural pro season, Baker has struggled mightily. When targeting him, quarterbacks have combined to complete 38 passes for 580 yards, four touchdowns, and a rating of 125.6.
Per reports, numerous teammates have recently called Baker a “handful,” as developing him as a starting cornerback hasn’t become much easier. It’s all just evidence of another low-end Gettleman move.
And finally, one of the latest moves Gettleman made is one of his most questionable. Prior to this year’s trade deadline, the Giants traded a 2020 third-round pick and a 2021 fifth-round pick to the New York Jets for Leonard Williams, an interior lineman they didn’t need.
There are a couple of reasons why this move has many scratching their heads and raising their eyebrows. When you’re a rebuilding franchise, why would you give numerous future picks away, especially to a crosstown rival and especially for a guy whose rookie contract is expiring?
If the Giants don’t re-sign him, they would most likely receive a third-round compensatory pick. Therefore, they’d just lose the fifth-round pick of 2021. Not to mention, he’d essentially become a rental player on a team that’s nowhere near a postseason contender. If they do re-sign him, however, they’d lose third-round and fourth-round picks (the fifth turns into a fourth if he’s re-signed). Additionally, the Giants would be giving up a ton of cap room, being that Williams will want a large payday.
To make matters worse, Williams has been relatively quiet in the three games since he joined Big Blue. He’s combined for just seven combined tackles and six quarterback hits.
All-in-all, the questionable, unbeneficial moves have proven to fans of this team that Gettleman has no plan for the future of this organization. If he does, then it surely hasn’t come to fruition at all up to this point.