Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

Ralph Vacchiano

NFC East Reporter

Brian Daboll has advised his crew all season lengthy to tug their opponents into the deep finish to see if they will swim. The Giants have received numerous video games within the fourth quarter doing precisely that.

However right here they’re, headed in direction of the deep finish of their season, and all of a sudden they’re those drowning.

Possibly that is why the rookie head coach appeared so livid each throughout and after the Giants’ 28-20 loss to the Cowboys in Dallas on Thanksgiving. This Giants crew has fought as exhausting because it may, with shocking outcomes, all season lengthy — identical to they did after they took a halftime lead on Thursday.

However recently, when it issues most, nothing goes their method.

They’re making key errors on the sphere. They can not run the soccer anymore. Saquon Barkley is not carrying them the way in which he was early within the season. And the accidents are piling up so excessive they have been pressured into this recreation with out three beginning offensive linemen, two beginning cornerbacks, a beginning tight finish, a beginning security and a rag-tag receiving corps that has been a multitude all season.

No surprise Daboll was slamming his headset and screaming at officers on the sidelines. No surprise that in his post-game press convention, his solutions have been quick and tense.

“I believe it’s a robust loss, it is a divisional recreation and a recreation we did not play our greatest,” stated Giants quarterback Daniel Jones when requested about his coach’s dour disposition. “It is all the time disappointing. We did not do what we have to do to win the sport.

“It is irritating for all of us.”

There is not any doubt the frustration is beginning to present for this upstart crew, and the timing could not presumably be worse. At 7-4, they’re now nearer to final place than first within the NFC East, and their cushion within the playoff race is dramatically shrinking. They’re observing a really harmful ultimate six video games, that embrace two video games in opposition to the 9-1 Philadelphia Eagles, two in opposition to a Washington Commanders crew that has received 5 of six and a recreation in opposition to the Minnesota Vikings, who started their recreation final night time with a report of 8-2.

That is a brutal stretch for a struggling crew that has been brutalized by accidents.

“They do not get any simpler,” Daboll stated. “Every week is hard.”

And he is aware of it is simply going to get harder for the Giants if they do not get again a few of their injured gamers — which is way from assured. In fact they weren’t going to cease Cowboys receivers CeeDee Lamb (6 catches, 106 yards) and Michael Gallup (5-63) and tight finish Dalton Schultz (4-31, 2 touchdowns) after they have been lacking three starters from their secondary (cornerbacks Adoree’ Jackson and Fabian Moreau and security Xavier McKinney). They usually have been fortunate to get 39 yards and a landing out of Saquon Barkley behind an offensive line lacking its beginning heart (Jon Feliciano), proper deal with (Evan Neal) and left guards (Shane Lemieux and Josh Ezeudu).

They’re really all the way down to third-stringers or worse at lots of these positions, which solely compounds the issue for a roster that wasn’t that good to start with. They’ll say “ext man up” as a lot as they need, however in some unspecified time in the future all these “subsequent males” begin to harm.

And that is the place they’re now, particularly on offense. Barkley has 62 yards on 26 carries over the past two weeks — and he’s nonetheless their whole offense. It is not precisely a secret that if groups cease Barkley, they cease the Giants. And over the past two weeks, Barkley seems to be method off observe.

“With the run recreation, everyone must do higher,” Daboll stated. “The blocking, the operating, the design … we have to do a greater job all the way in which round.”

That is straightforward to say, however have a look at what they’re working with. The Giants began three linemen — proper deal with Tyre Phillips, left guard Jack Anderson and heart Nick Gates — who weren’t even with them in coaching camp and by no means figured to be key components of this line. And left deal with Andrew Thomas was taking part in via an unspecified sickness. That was clearly going to be an issue in opposition to the Cowboys’ harmful entrance. It is a good larger drawback with groups loading as much as cease Barkley, daring Jones to throw to the likes of Richie James (5-41) and Isaiah Hodgins (3-31).

Jones (21 of 35, 228 yards, 1 landing) did have one large play — a 44-yard cross to Darius Slayton (3-63) — however in any other case the offense did not do a lot. They held a 13-7 halftime lead principally as a result of Dak Prescott threw two interceptions and the Cowboys dedicated seven penalties.

Nonetheless, it felt just like the Giants have been barely clinging to that lead. So after they collapsed within the second half, which the Cowboys opened with three straight landing drives whereas the Giants had 85 complete yards earlier than their ultimate, garbage-time landing drive, nobody ought to have been stunned.

That is type of the way in which this season is beginning to really feel. Daboll deserves Coach of the Yr votes for getting the Giants off to a 7-2 begin. They have been taking part in far above their heads, however have been well-coached and difficult and have been grinding out wins within the fourth quarter. Aside from Barkley, there was by no means an entire lot to love about their crew, besides that they received much more than even they anticipated to do.

However in spite of everything that, they’re simply dropping their grip. It would take a good higher teaching job over the ultimate six video games to maintain this Giants crew above water. Their roster is the one factor thinner than their margin of error. They’re taking part in with too many backups and third-stringers or worse to maintain any sort of success. 

The Giants simply appear like a crew that is falling aside. 

Not that Daboll was keen to entertain any of these ideas on Thursday, dismissing their struggles as simply “the ebbs and flows of a season.” Requested if he sees this as a little bit of a crossroads for his broken crew, he snapped earlier than the query was even completed.

“No,” he stated. “I see us on the brink of play Washington.” 

That recreation is all of a sudden big, as a result of with a loss, the Giants may discover themselves exterior the NFC playoff image. Prepared or not, they’re within the deep finish of the playoff race now, the water is getting uneven they usually’re operating out of time to recollect learn how to swim.

Ralph Vacchiano is the NFC East reporter for FOX Sports activities, masking the Washington Commanders, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants. He spent the earlier six years masking the Giants and Jets for SNY TV in New York, and earlier than that, 16 years masking the Giants and the NFL for the New York Day by day Information. Observe him Twitter at @RalphVacchiano.

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