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New York Giants Week 5 Postgame Musings

The Giants Week 5 loss to the Cowboys raises a lot of questions about where things stand and where they're heading.

Some final thoughts and takeaways from the Giants' 44-20 Week 5 loss to the Dallas Cowboys.

1. NO DEFENSE. Last year the Giants defense was as close to a tightly run ship as there was, a bright spot amid a team searching for its identity.

But this year? This Giants defense has allowed the opponent to score at the end of a half in every game this season. There have been communication breakdowns in the back end of the defense, with safeties who are supposed to be giving deep help nowhere to be found.

I've lost track of how many dropped interceptions this team has had this season--I want to say at least four through five games--and the missed tackles? Before this week's debacle against the Cowboys, the Giants had 38 missed tackles per Pro Football Focus. They added seven more to that total.

That's an average of nine missed tackles per game.

What gives?

“I can’t really put my finger on why that is," Bradberry said. "But it starts Monday. We have to come to work Monday, correct our mistakes and throughout the week, we have to execute at our level. So that when we get to Sunday, we feel more comfortable out there.”

There's no defense of this defense. That said, this unit, which has far better talent than what it's shown thus far, better pull it together before things slip away from this team.

2. HERE WE GO AGAIN. I get it that Daniel Jones's athleticism brings an element to the game this team didn't have with Eli Manning, but give me Manning's iron-man streak any day of the week. But how many times is it going to take for him to learn to slide when he takes off as a runner?

Every time Jones lowers his head and tries to drive forward with his shoulder, he puts himself at risk of injury. Sure enough, he got dinged this week when he lowered his shoulder and took a helmet-to-helmet hit.

The result? Jones will be in the league's concussion protocol this week, and it wouldn't be surprising if he ends up missing next week's game against the Rams, given how unsteady he was after getting dinged.

3. OUCH! The injury bug is alive and thriving among the Giants roster, already having claimed the seasons of C Nick Gates (leg), LG Shane Lemieux (knee), and LB Blake Martinez (knee). If that wasn't bad enough, the Giants have starters on both sides of the ball who have already missed or who are about to miss games because of injury. Those include QB Daniel Jones (concussion), RB Saquon Barkley (ankle), WR Kenny Golladay (knee,) WR Sterling Shepard (hamstring), WR Darius Slayton (hamstring), LT Andrew Thomas (foot), CB Rodarius Williams (knee), and S Jabrill Peppers (hamstring).

Don't expect the Giants to fold up the tent and go home, though. "Our guys are going to keep playing. That’s not even going to be a question," head coach Joe Judge said. "In terms of the next-man-up mentality, well, there’s a lot of good examples today in the game. We have guys stepping up, taking on different roles, being productive, making plays. ... I expect whoever’s in the game to play. I expect the entire team to come down here ready to go."

4. O-LINE ROTATION RETURNS. In case you missed it, the Giants offensive line rotation, which had disappeared the last couple of weeks, was back again this week, but not due to an injury situation.

The spot in question was left guard, where Matt Skura (29 snaps) shared reps with Wes Martin (39 snaps), something Judge said was planned before the game and not a result of any injury.

Judge always likes to say that every player they bring with them will play, but here's the thing with the offensive line. If every player was playing well, does anyone think Judge would mess with the chemistry on that unit just to throw a bone or two to a few guys?

Nope, neither do I. All this "rotation" stuff tells me is that they're simply trying out different guys in different scenarios in a quest to find the right combination (and is anyone else wondering why they can't figure this out in practice?)

5. SEEING RED? Anyone else wondering why the Giants, who signed tight end Kyle Rudolph, an established red zone threat, was not targeted (again) inside the opponent's 20-yard line?

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Seriously, wasn't Rudolph's red zone productivity the big reason why the Giants signed him? If so, his misuse on offense has been maddening. Rudolph has been targeted 11 times as a Giant, catching seven balls for 71 yards and no touchdowns. He's averaging .6 red zone looks per game and has only been targeted three times in that area.

Maddening.

6. MISSING BLAKE. The play of the Giants defense has been alarming enough as is, but ever since the Giants lost inside linebacker Blake Martinez, the panic level has jumped from yellow to Code Red.

Let's look at the performance against the Cowboys in which the Giants' run defense was gashed for 201 yards. The Cowboys were stuffed just once, for minus-2 yards, and picked up 119 of their rushing yards after contact.

When the Giants had Martinez's speed and sideline-to-sideline range on the field, this helped cover up a glaring deficiency on the edges, where the run defense has been soft.

With Martinez and defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson removed from the equation, the Giants are not getting the push up the middle as they once were, and opponents are gashing the Giants on the edges. The Cowboys gained 102 of their rushing yards against the Giants outside of the tackles.

Woof!

So how do the Giants fix this? They're not about to trade to get Tomlinson back, and unfortunately, there's no magic formula to get Martinez back on the field this year from a torn ACL.

The answer would be to bring the safeties up close and leave the corners to operate on an island, but given how the corners have struggled, it becomes a pick your poison type of deal of which there might not be an answer this year unless the corners start playing better.

7. JUDGE-MENT TIME. Giants head coach Joe Judge has an interesting decision to make regarding receiver Kadarius Toney.

Considering the Giants are likely to be without Saquon Barkley and Daniel Jones Sunday against the Rams, and there is no guarantee they'll have Kenny Golladay, Sterling Shepard, and/or Darius Slayton, does Judge suspend Toney for his actions for a game? A quarter? At all?

Or does he deem the league's punishment, which at this point looks like it will be a fine, enough?

Judge, remember, said that Toney's actions won't be tolerated. And while the young man did issue an apology, will it be enough, or will Judge feel the need to do more?

8. PEART'S PLAY. Lost in the discussion of Sunday's debacle was that second-year man Matt Peart played in 44 pass-blocking snaps at right tackle and gave up one pressure.

On the other side, Nate Solder was charged with giving up eight pressures while playing left tackle. But before meeting Randy Gregory for most of the afternoon, Solder, at right tackle, had allowed 11 pressures.

If the only way to let the kids develop is to play them, then why the Giants coaches aren't letting Peart play over Solder, who won't be here next year, is a head scratcher.


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