The New York Giants offense wasn’t stellar under Jason Garrett this past season, and neither are many of the player grades.
As we now know, that was anything but the case. Garrett was ineffective, Jones didn’t efficiently develop, and the slate of weapons consisted of inconsistent receivers, a tight end who possessed a case of the drops, and a star running back who didn’t make it past the second game.
This all led to the Giants finishing 31st in total offense, scoring, and 29th in passing — disastrous marks.
Football is the ultimate team sport, and each player contributed to the offense’s performance in his own way. Some of those contributions were actually positive. Some, not so much.
Let’s dive into the player grades for Big Blue’s 2020 offensive starters.
QB Daniel Jones — C
Daniel Jones didn’t undergo the most fantastic second season, especially from a statistical standpoint. He threw just 11 touchdowns to 10 interceptions and his yardage total and yards-per-game rate were both down from last year despite playing more games. Not to mention, the turnovers were still very much existent — Jones gifted the rock to the opponent in 10 out of 14 games for a total of 16 turnovers (10 picks, six lost fumbles).
I will say though, he’s dealt with a number of outside factors that have played a role in his slow development. Amid injuries, his second offensive play-caller in two years, an inconsistent offensive line, and his starting running back missing nearly the entire season, Jones wasn’t in the best situation for much of 2020.
RB Wayne Gallman — B
Wayne Gallman stepped up in the absence of Saquon Barkley and did what he needed to do for this ballclub, especially when it mattered the most. During that Week 13 game out in Seattle, he put forth a productive game in order to take the pressure off veteran backup quarterback Colt McCoy, rushing for 135 yards in the win.
Altogether, Gallman recorded career-highs in yards, average yards per carry, and touchdowns this season, and will surely earn a nice new deal from someone.
WR Sterling Shepard — C
This grade could’ve been lower, but Sterling Shepard‘s Week 17 performance increased his stock. With eight receptions, 112 yards, and two touchdowns (one of which was a rushing score), Shepard was the Giants’ top offensive player en route to a victory over Dallas.
However, the rest of the season wasn’t so great. He wasn’t healthy (having missed four games earlier this year) and didn’t put up great marks. Shepard ultimately caught 66 balls (36th in the league) for 656 yards (60th) and a 54.7 yards-per-game rate (43rd). His catch rate was additionally just 73.3%.
WR Darius Slayton — C
The second-year receiver experienced an even less efficient season than his counterpart, Shepard.
Even though he was healthier than Sterling, Darius Slayton averaged just 3.1 receptions and 46.9 yards per game with a catch rate of 52.1% (each statistic was lower than his 2019 rookie campaign).
Slayton also had a tendency to disappear. He surpassed 100 yards in just two matchups this season and only recorded five or more receptions in four different games.
WR Golden Tate — D
From a lack of consistent production to health concerns (missed three games due to injury) to the “throw me the damn ball” fiasco, Golden Tate didn’t have the best season…to say the least.
The veteran recorded his fewest number of catches (35) since his second season in 2011, and the same goes for his yardage total (388). His two touchdown receptions were also his fewest number of scores since his 2010 rookie year (zero).
To top it off, Tate’s catch rate was just 67.3%.
Given the potential opt-out in his contract, there’s a chance Tate isn’t back in 2021.
TE Evan Engram — C-
We could’ve provided Evan Engram with the same grade as Tate, but we’ll pass him just because he was third among NFC tight ends in both catches (63) and yards (654).
But at the end of the night, the drops trump all.
The Giants threw 12 picks in 2020, six of which were passes intended for Engram. There was a multitude of occasions in which a ball bounced off his hands into the arms of a defender.
The Giants should likely move him in the offseason. Could his Pro Bowl nod enhance the trade value?
LT Andrew Thomas — C-
2020 first-round draft pick Andrew Thomas improved over the course of the year, but he still wasn’t great whatsoever. His 62.4 Pro Football Focus grade wasn’t great and his 10 allowed sacks were the most among the tackles measured at PFF.
Sure, we need to cut him some slack given the situation he was put in amid Nate Solder’s opt-out — he was thrown into the fire at left tackle before even playing in an NFL game. Nonetheless, he has a long way to go.
LG Shane Lemieux — C-
Fifth-round pick Shane Lemieux didn’t have the best rookie season but was able to come in for Will Hernandez when he tested positive for COVID-19 and do just enough to earn a starting spot for the final nine games of the year. He, along with Nick Gates and Kevin Zeitler (who we’ll get to), formed a strong interior of that developing offensive line.
His 32.2 PFF grade was very weak and he allowed five sacks, which was tied for sixth-most among the guards measured. Lemieux has much to improve on moving forward, but he’s in decent space right now.
C Nick Gates — B-
Nick Gates was definitely one of the team’s best offensive linemen this season, which was amazing because he wasn’t even much of a center prior to the year.
Gates remained healthy and strong in the interior of that line and was the only Giants offensive lineman to have been on the field for 100% of the snaps in 2020. He allowed zero sacks up the middle, and although he notched just a 59.5 PFF grade, he improved throughout 2020 and should be a staple in this unit for next year and beyond.
RG Kevin Zeitler — B
Kevin Zeitler continues to be a great addition to the Giants line.
He started all 16 games this year and acted as that veteran presence within a mostly young group.
Zeitler’s 65.9 PFF grade was the best mark of the five main starting offensive linemen and he allowed just a pair of sacks on the year.
RT Cameron Fleming – C
Cameron Fleming assumed a starting role amid the Nate Solder situation, given Andrew Thomas moved to Daniel Jones’ blindside. Considering the circumstances, he really pulled through for New York, starting in all 16 games.
The protection of Jones was an issue though — Fleming’s six allowed sacks were tied for seventh-most among tackles. The penalties were also a problem — Fleming committed seven on the year (tied for ninth-most).
If fans can remember, Fleming committed an illegal shift penalty on a fake field goal touchdown pass against Dallas in Week 5. Points were thus taken off the board and the Giants eventually lost by three.
Fleming’s future in East Rutherford is unclear. His contract is expiring and he’s likely expendable.