This past week the New York Giants season came to an end with a 38-13 loss to the Green Bay Packers in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. While it is a disappointing ending, the Giants took a big step forward this season, returning to the playoffs after a six-year drought. They improved upon last season’s 6-10 record to an 11-5 season with a playoff berth. The Giants have plenty to be proud of and to look forward to in the future.
The following report card, takes into account the whole season’s work, including the playoffs.
Eli Manning (QB): B-
Eli Manning did not have a great season by any standards. He was a middle of the pack quarterback through and through. While Eli cannot be fully blamed for the major offensive struggles this season, he definitely is a big reason. The nonexistent run game hurt him a lot, but he missed many easy throws all season long, that potentially could have given the Giants an even better record.
Running Backs: C-
The Giants running backs were bad this season. Rashad Jennings, Paul Perkins and the others all struggled all season long. There are two reasons they don’t receive an F. The first reason is that the run game also falls on the offensive line, who were not very effective in run protection (however the running backs made them look even worse). The second is that Paul Perkins lifted his play as the season wore on showing some promise to be a good piece for this offense in the future.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends: B
The Giants wide receiver trio of Odell Beckham Jr, Sterling Shepard and Victor Cruz had their up and downs this season. Odell was often the center of attention both on and off the field. He created a lot of distractions for this team with his immature, hot-headed behavior, but on the field he is a star. He had another amazing season, which unfortunately will be overshadowed by his flare and his three drops (including a touchdown) in the playoffs. Shepard was very impressive as a rookie and should be a very good player for the Giants for years to come. The grade is a B because they did not show up for the playoff game, and with the whole boat fiasco earlier in the week, it was a terrible look. Additionally, the tight ends did not provide much receiving support this season. Odell and Shepard both get A-s individually, simply because of the playoff game with their big drops.
Offensive Line: C-
There is not much to say here. The O-line struggled all year, with Ereck Flowers having a brutal season. It may be time for the Giants to move on from the former first round pick, or at least take him off Left Tackle. The offensive line needs to be the focus of this offseason.
Defensive Line: A-
The defensive line was fantastic this year. They were one of the top units against the run, thanks to Damon Harrison, who was by far the best run stopper in the NFL. Snacks and fellow offseason acquisition Olivier Vernon, joined Jason Pierre-Paul to create a dominant line. They would get an A, but the pass rush was not good enough to deserve that.
The linebacking core was not great this year. There was just nothing notable about their play. They weren’t terrible though, so they earn themselves a B-. Keenan Robinson had a good season in his first in blue, with 83 tackles. He will be a free agent priority this offseason.
The Giants secondary was among the best in the NFL this season. Offseason acquisition Eli Apple (first round pick) and Janoris Jenkins (free agency), both had great seasons. Jenkins was one of the best corners in the league, and Apple improved every week, ending the year as a reliable starter. Additionally Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had another strong year. Even with all those corners, the most important player for this secondary was second year safety Landon Collins, who played at an elite level. He was great against the run and pass and is an exciting young player for the Giants. The performance in the playoff game was better than numbers would indicate, with Aaron Rodgers playing on an elite level.
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