Yes, the New York Giants' loss at home to the Dallas Cowboys hurt on several levels--a loss in the division to a heated rival, a home loss, and a loss on a night where seven men from various championship teams were inducted into the team's Ring of Honor.
But is it the end of the world? No, because anyone expecting this rebuilding team to go 17-0 hasn't been paying attention to what it's shown in the first couple of weeks of the regular season.
So now it's time to turn the page and look ahead to the next game on the Giants schedule, the Chicago Bears, who wrap up the Giants' home stretch of three straight games. The Bers, at least on paper, should be a little easier to handle, but of course, to automatically assume anything is asking for trouble and heartbreak.
With that said, let's look at four storylines for this Giants team ahead of their Week 4 home game against the Bears...
A loss is a form of adversity, which this Giants team has experienced for the first time under head coach Brian Daboll. Again, it's not the end of the world at this point, but it's important that the players learn from their mistakes, correct them, and move on to the next game.
That's the message head coach Brian Daboll will stress to his players starting today when they begin their preparation for the Bears.
"Be consistent. It’s never as good as you think, never as bad as you think," he said when asked what he would tell the players. "There are certain things from week to week that we need to improve on. Win with class, and lose with class. When you lose, you even lose with more class. Own it, accept responsibility, fix the things we need to fix, and move on."
Plain, simple, and to the point. The question is can the players do it?
We'll find out Sunday.
The Receiver Dilemma
The Giants have quite the problem at receiver. Specifically, they have the second-highest paid receiver group at $35 million (just $500,000 less than the league-leading Los Angeles Chargers), and what do they have to show for it?
One measly touchdown was caught by Sterling Shepard, whose season came to an unfortunate and premature end Monday night when he tore his ACL.
That means the other receivers--Kenny Golladay, Richie James, David Sills, Darius Slayton, Wan'Dale Robinson, and Kadarius Toney--haven't done much.
Robinson and Toney have been injured. Slayton is so far in the doghouse that it boggles the mind. Golladay believes he should be playing regardless, yet when he does play, he doesn't produce when given a chance.
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That leaves Sills and James to carry the group now that Shepard, the most consistent and reliable of the receivers, is done for the year. And that's a problem for a team that had hoped to be a heavily passing unit.
So, where do the Giants go from here with this group? They remain cap-strapped thanks to the prior regime's gross mismanagement of the cap--it's so bad that if general manager Joe Schoen needs more cap space, who knows where he's going to get it from.
The answer as far as the receiver unit goes is unless they can find someone willing to play for the veteran minimum, the Giants have no choice but to look to what they have and hope for the best.
"We have those guys right now who we have," said Daboll. "We’re going to expect them to come out here, keep improving, work hard. We have a couple of guys on our practice squad right now (Marcus Johnson and Kalil Pimpleton) that maybe they come into play; they’ve been picking up our stuff. So, we’ll see as we go."
The Giants got a huge boost Monday when edge rushers Azeez Ojulari and Kayvon Thibodeaux were able to make their 2022 debuts. Both were on pitch counts that should significantly increase in the coming weeks.
The Giants would no doubt like to get the same kind of good news regarding receivers Wan'Dale Robinson (knee) and Kadarius Toney (hamstring). There was hope that Robinson might be ready for the Bears game this weekend, but Daboll threw some cold water on that.
"They’re getting closer. Will they be ready this week? I can’t answer that yet. And from the meeting I just had with the doctors, they’re getting closer. But we’re not out of the blue yet with it," Daboll said.
The feeling is Robinson is a little bit closer to a return than Toney, whose hamstring has been flaring up as far back as Week 1. A lot will, of course, depend on how much Robinson and Toney can do in practice. But there's no doubt that the Giants could use one if not both of those playmakers starting this week.
Offensive Line Adjustments
It's been rough sledding for the Giants' offensive line so far, specifically in pass blocking.
According to Pro Football Focus, the Giants' offensive line is ranked 29th in overall pass blocking efficiency (81.0), tied for fifth in total pressures allowed (39), and in the top five in sacks surrendered and hurries.
Regardless of the reason--and there are many--the question is, how do the coaches fix it? Thus far, the coaches have attempted to use chip blocking to help the offensive line, deploying either a running back or a tight end. That didn't work out well for New York against the Cowboys, though, to be fair, the tight ends weren't consistent with their chipping efforts.
The coaches could go to more max protection, but that takes away a receiving option, which is probably not ideal given the aforementioned state of the receivers. The only other option that comes to mind is to slide the pocket around to allow quarterback Daniel Jones to find space where he can step up. Maybe have Daniel Jones run more boots away from the anticipated pressure and see how that works out.
Whatever the coaches decide, they better do something quickly, as Jones can't continue taking the beating he did against Dallas and expect to last for 17 games.
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