When talking about the Giants offensive snaps, keep in mind they only ran 59 plays throughout the 24:52 they held the ball. So in looking at the snap counts, let’s also look at what the players did within their snaps.
Receiver Kenny Golladay, coming off a hamstring strain, was on the field for 52 snaps (85%). Golladay finished with six pass targets, of which he caught four for 64 yards.
But what was interesting is that Golladay had been targeted just once in the first half (the Giants running 20 offensive plays in the game’s first 30 minutes). Also of interest is that five of Golladay’s pass targets came in the fourth quarter, with most of those in garbage time.
What changed? On his first target, he went against Kyle Fuller; on his other five, the Broncos switched things up and put Ronald Darby against Golladay.
Sterling Shepard was unstoppable in this game. Shepard caught seven out of nine pass targets for 113 yards, the team leader, and it didn’t matter who Denver put up against him—and they put up at least five different defenders against Shepard, who in his 58 snaps, played 28 from the slot. Shepard was simply unstoppable.
Speaking of the Giants receivers, if you're' wondering if all the speed added to the offense made a difference in terms of separation, the answer appears to be not really.
Per NextGenStats, Shepard led the way, averaging 2.3 yards of separation. Tight end Kyle Rudolph was next with an average of two yards, Darius Slayton with an average of 1.7 yards and Kenny Golladay (whom you wonder if perhaps his hamstring was still an issue) lagged in the cellar with an average of 0.9 yards of separation.
(For comparison purposes, Broncos tight end Noah Fant averaged 3.2 yards of separation and receiver Jerry Jeudy averaged 3.0 yards.)
There appears to be an interesting development at left guard. Shane Lemieux, who was thought to be the projected starter, only played 17 (28%) of the snaps. Although Lemieux wasn’t listed on the injury report, remember, he’s been dealing with a partially torn patellar tendon in his knee.
That said, Ben Bredeson, whom the Giants acquired in a trade from Baltimore, saw 44 (72%) of the snaps at left guard. According to PFF, Lemieux didn’t allow a single pressure in his 11 snaps, whereas Bredeson was charged with allowing two. But again, keep this in perspective as Lemieux only had 11 snaps to Bredeson’s 44.
Running back Saquon Barkley only got 29 snaps on offense (48%). The good news is Barkley moved around well and even had a nice jump-cut in which he put his surgically repaired knee to the test.
New York Giants: Three Keys to a Week 3 Win Over Atlanta Falcons
The New York Giants need to win Sunday--badly. Besides outscoring the Atlanta Falcons, here's a look at what they need to take care of to increase their chances of success.
New York Giants - Atlanta Falcons Final Week 3 Injury Report Revealed
Several Giants are trending in the right direction for Sunday's game.
New York Giants RB Saquon Barkley Remains Patient in Comeback
Barkley's production through two games has been pedestrian, but the fourth-year pro believes the best is still yet to come as he continues to get back into a groove following his year away due to an ACL injury.
Barkley’s yards after contact average was 2.3, down from his career3.23 average, noteworthy since half of his designed runs were between the tackles and the other half outside the tackle box.
I wouldn’t necessarily panic just yet about any decline in Barkley’s numbers, given that this was his first game action in almost a year. Give him a few more weeks to fully get his sea legs back, and if we’re still having this conversation about a decline in production, then it’s time to worry.
Rudolph, who caught two out of five pass targets for eight yards, had a quiet Giants debut. Rudolph spent nearly equal parts of his time in the slot and in-line, but he was sent on routes for nearly 80% of those snaps.
Speaking of quiet, kudos to Andrew Thomas for rebounding from his horrific preseason finale showing. He was credited with two pressures (the entire offensive line had 11, but again, more than one guy can have pressure on a given snap).
And speaking of pass protection, Jones had an average of 2.57 seconds to pass the ball. Give him time, and his decision-making and throws almost make you forget about the ball security issue (I did say almost, right?)
Cornerback James Bradberry and inside linebacker Blake Martinez both took all the snap on the defense. But in a somewhat curious decision, safety Jabril Peppers, who in the past has been on the field for most if not all the defensive snaps, only appeared in 30 (45%) of the defense’s 66 snaps while second-year man Xavier McKinney played in 63 (95%) of the snaps and Logan Ryan in 61 (92%) of the snaps.
Peppers played most of his snaps as a downhill defender, with ten snaps coming in the slot and two at wide corner. He did not play any snaps at free safety.
McKinney played most of his snaps at free safety (49), with Ryan filling in at the free safety spot when McKinney wasn’t at that spot and also in the box on 13 snaps.
The reduction in Peppers’ snaps was a headscratcher and certainly something to keep an eye on moving forward as some have suggested that the Giants might look to trade Peppers, who is in the option year of his rookie deal, to add to their draft capital if the season goes south.
The Giants pass rush mustered up a total of 28 pressures this week (keep in mind that more than one player may have had a pressure on a single play). Leonard Williams, Lorenzo Carter, and Dexter Lawrence II were among the most active pass rushers, but the three of them combined for zero sacks.
Keion Crossen, Nate Ebner, Cullen Gillaspia, and Cam Brown lined up exclusively on special teams, making them the core guys moving forward.
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