What the Giants are still figuring out after two strange wins

Are giants winning because they are not afraid to lose?

It could be too deep of an idea for the Monday after the second game of the season and the basis for the first lecture in class called “Overthinking 101.” But something could happen in it.

Of course, we all knew that the opening schedule provided the Giants an opportunity to get off to a good start. Their first four games were against the Titans in Nashville and then three consecutive home games, facing the Panthers, Cowboys (on “Monday Night Football”) and the Bears, before leaving the country for a meeting with Aaron Rodgers and the Packers in London. . , Going 2-2 after four games was not out of the question. Reaching 3-1 was a glass-half-full serving.

Well, the Giants are 2-0 up and a quick start is already secure. He has made only four touchdowns in two games and converted only 29 percent (8 of 28) of his third downs. His total first half output: six points. They went down 13-0 in the first half and won 21-20. They went down 13-6 against the Panthers in the third quarter on Sunday and won 19-16. Their margin for error is very slim.

Brian Dabol on the sidelines during the Giants’ win over the Panthers.
Robert Sabo

It’s too early to seal this as anything other than two spectacular victories, but it’s not too early to focus on the way new head coach Brian Dabol is building up his first Giants team. He is determined to include more and more players. He is pressuring the team to prepare properly by refusing to play the veena on the final result. He said he was completely at peace with the two-point conversion and the win in Nashville, even though it failed. A week later, the Giants were listening on crime during the home opener at MetLife Stadium. Dabol anticipated this and already told his players to use negative noise to harden them.

Left tackle Andrew Thomas said, “They told us that if we hear the boos that equals focus for us.”

Dabol knows it’s not the roster that will lead the Giants to big things, which he hopes will last as long as the man in charge. He likes his first team but understands the limits. He is setting up the program to reflect his preferences and beliefs. He is aware of the lost aura revolving around the franchise he stepped into. Through two matches, he has trained to win rather than lose. There is a difference.

“The people who are on our team are not afraid of failure,” said safety Xavier McKinney. “We’ve been at the bottom, we’ve experienced it all so we’re not worried about messing up. Sometimes we hear boos and stuff but we’re not too worried about it. We know we need to be someone There is going to be no success at any point.”

Is 2-0 a success?

“I don’t know, I guess,” McKinney said. “We’re 2-0, we’ve got to keep working. I’ve learned in this league that things can go south very quickly.”

What else came out of the Giants’ Week 2 win:

– Kudos to offensive coordinator Mike Kafka and Dabol for settling a 2-0 record without a passing attack. Daniel Jones threw 188 yards in the upset of the Titans and 176 yards against the Panthers. He has three touchdown passes and one interception. This is not the formula for continued success and the status of the widespread recipient is shocking and disturbing. Kadarius Toni played only seven snaps in Game 1 and Kenny Gollade played only two snaps in Game 2. Dabol operates strictly on a qualification system based on which he believes can help him in that particular week. If Tony and Goladay aren’t in Target’s top group, something is amiss given their talents and pedigree. Golladay was a frontline Pro Bowl player with the Lions and Tony was ranked number 20 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. Dabol and Kafka are going ahead of them with Sterling Shepard, Richie James and David Sills – and may even stop VanDell Robinson before hurting his knee in Nashville. This of course sends a message to the rest of the team that playing time will not be determined by pay (Golade) or draft position (Tony). Dabol is building something and obviously won’t cut any corners here. Still, it’s inevitable that at some point the crime involves Golladay (which will most likely be gone in 2023) and Tony in particular. In 28 snaps (only 38 percent of the veteran’s 73 plays took offense) Tony was targeted three times. He caught two passes without any yards (one pace was more a handoff with Tony) – he lost 2 yards on one catch and gained 2 yards on the other. We all keep hearing about how dynamic Tony is with the ball. We saw signs of that last season in games against the Saints and the Cowboys. When will we see it this season?

Kadarius Tony after a catch to the Giants.
Kadarius Tony after a catch to the Giants.

– The rotation continues on the left guard, but it was not the shared experience we saw in Week 1. Ben Bradson played 56 of 73 offensive snaps (eight series) and rookie Josh Ezudu played 17 snaps (four series). The coaching staff is determined to grow Ezeudu and it seems like they want him to earn his way into a starting job. Although he is not ready for it yet.

– Saxon Barkley will not win back-to-back NFC Offensive Player of the Week honors after garnering that award with his 164-yard outburst to defeat the Titans. In Week 2 Barkley pushed the ball 21 times and ended with 72 rushing yards and his three receptions only 16 yards away. However, that was far from insignificant. The Panthers were loaded onto the defense to tackle Barkley and stopped him cold (five escape attempts for 3 yards) in the first half. There were no highlight moments in the second half but Barkley covered 69 yards and allowed the attack to balance. His 16-yard run yielded the day’s only touchdown drive, his 15-yard burst in the middle of the Giants sparking a field-goal drive from deep into his field and his runs of 10 and 8 yards got the game. -Winning field-goal drive moving.

– Now you see him, now you don’t. Inside linebacker Austin Calitro played 44 of 65 snaps on the defense in the opener but was used for five snaps against the Panthers. Defensive coordinator Wink Martindale filled the field with defensive backs (sometimes six at a time), placing McKinney and Julian Love closer to the line of scrimmage and rookie Dan Belton as the only deep back in a center-field role. kept in In Belton’s NFL debut (he missed the opener recovering from a broken collarbone), he didn’t let the ball go over his head and showed why he was so high on a fourth-round pick from the legendary Iowa from day one in the spring. Were. Belton played 79 percent of the snaps. He didn’t look good enough to pick up and whisper a bad angle on Christian McCaffrey’s 49-yard run, but he was dismissed by cornerback Fabian Morrow, who chased down McCaffrey to halt the 75-yard touchdown run.

Daniel Jones escapes from the pocket during Giants' Week 2 win over the Panthers.
Daniel Jones escapes from the pocket during Giants’ Week 2 win over the Panthers.
Robert Sabo

— What about Gary Brightwell? The second-year running back made a place for himself on the roster based on his work on special teams. He had a fast effort as a rookie last season. He had a quick effort against the Panthers and it came on the drive in the fourth quarter that scored the winning points. On third and -1 from the Giants’ 44-yard line, all eyes were on Barkley as the logical ball-carrier to try to take down first. Brightwell was up-back in a fullback role and it came as a surprise when Jones took the snap and put the ball into Brightwell’s midsection. Brightwell does everything aggressively and he hits the hole hard and takes a 14-yard lead. A score for Kafka.

– Jihad Ward was not a Har-Down player when he previously played for Martindale with the Ravens. Two games through, Martindale can’t do without Ward. He played 57 of 65 snaps in Game 1 and 53 of 58 in Game 2. That workload might be eased once the Giants return to Aziz Olzulari (probably still another week away) and rookie Kayvan Thibodaux (more likely to play against next Monday night). Cowboys).

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