How did Giants football fare these past 12 months?
It’s been another year of disappointment, embarrassment, and a whole bunch of sighs and eye-rolls from Giants fans.
Despite various moves made last offseason to turn the corner on what’s been a horrific era of football, the Giants still put together a miserable 2021 season. The team has lost at least 10 games and missed the playoffs in five straight years now, and you can bet some people in the front office and/or coaching staff will be out of a job soon (SEE: Dave Gettleman).
It’s been a dreadful season, but as for the entire 2021 calendar year as a whole, there were a few moments that boosted the confidence of fans, regardless of when that confidence eventually expired.
What in 2021 excited Giants fans? What in 2021 made them want to shut their televisions off for the rest of the year?
2021 Best Moment — The signing of WR Kenny Golladay
I know Kenny Golladay hasn’t remained healthy or constructed a productive season by any measure.
But at the time of his four-year, $72 million contract signing, Giants fans were optimistic about the future. The team had finally acquired a legitimate No. 1 receiver; Daniel Jones had a new weapon to utilize.
At the time, before the injuries and disappointing 2021 campaign, Giants fans actually felt some excitement. A new star was in town, and one that could help this offense spread the field.
With a (hopeful) new offensive coordinator next year, the expectation is that Golladay will have a bounce-back 2022 season.
2021 Worst Moment — Spoiling Eli Manning’s jersey retirement
After not being able to hold a ceremony in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Giants finally retired Eli Manning‘s No. 10 jersey at halftime of this year’s Week 3 matchup. The house was packed; the fans all came together; it was a day to honor a legend.
But of course, in Giants fashion, Big Blue spoiled the event by suffering a dreadful loss to the struggling Atlanta Falcons. Yes, the same Falcons that had lost 32-6 to the Eagles just two weeks prior.
Notching a much-needed victory was extremely possible given the issues surrounding the Falcons’ on-field product. But when the clock hit triple zero, Atlanta had emerged victorious thanks to a game-winning field goal from Younghoe Koo.
A memorable day very quickly morphed into a disastrous one — the Giants were 0-3 and hit a new low.
2021 MVP — LT Andrew Thomas
Everyone was worried about starting left tackle Andrew Thomas entering this season. He put together a disappointing 2020 rookie campaign (for the most part) and seemed to struggle mightily during the preseason.
But somehow, in some way, Thomas turned it all around.
The second-year player has been the team’s top offensive lineman by far this year and hasn’t contributed to any of the struggles the Giants have possessed on that side of the ball.
Despite all the poor moves Dave Gettleman has made as the organization’s general manager, it seems he’s found the team’s left tackle of the future. If Thomas continues to impress, expect him to remain in East Rutherford for the long haul.
2021 Least Valuable Personnel — Former OC Jason Garrett
Jason Garrett failed to improve on his 2020 blunders.
The former offensive coordinator, who the Giants fired following the Week 11 loss to Tampa Bay, kept implementing the same lack of creativity within his play-calling. Garrett hindered the development of Daniel Jones and failed to correctly utilize his various offensive weapons.
Through the 1.5 seasons with Garrett as the offensive coordinator, the Giants were consistently one of the worst offenses in the entire league — it was nearly impossible for the unit to take pressure off the defense, which was strong at times.
The Giants waited too long to rid themselves of Garrett. They should’ve fired him following a 2020 season in which the team was 31st in both scoring and total offense.
Overall 2021 Grade — D
I don’t want to give the Giants an “F” because I do think there were some moves made this year that benefitted the franchise moving forward (i.e the first-round trade-back that provided the Giants with an extra first-round pick in 2022).
So I will give them the next worse grade — a “D.”
Fans were optimistic heading into this season — Daniel Jones was expected to improve, the young quarterback had a talented slate of offensive weapons, the offensive line had continuity from the year prior, and the defense was coming off a strong 2020 campaign.
But a few months into the 17-game slate, this team has solidified its fifth consecutive losing season and fifth straight season with double-digit losses, Daniel Jones seemingly isn’t the answer at quarterback, the offensive line is dealing with various injuries and doesn’t have a strong option at right tackle, the offensive weapons can’t stay healthy, and the defensive performances are shaky at times.
Both Dave Gettleman and Joe Judge need to go. This isn’t working out…at all.
Follow Ryan Honey on Twitter: @RyanHoneyESNY