‘Things I think’ after Giants-Jaguars: Insanity rules

At the risk of comparing, when I was a kid growing up in upstate New York, there was an electronics salesman named “CRAZY Eddie” who yelled on TV commercials that his prices were “Crazy”!

I couldn’t help but think about that Sunday. The final seconds of the Giants’ 23-17 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday were insane. The fact that the Giants are 6-1 is insane.

6-1?

Nobody saw this coming. The Giants, however, are 6-1. I think it’s impossible at this point not to believe that they are actually a good football team. Las Vegas oddsmakers didn’t think it was coming Sunday after making the Giants the underdog after Jacksonville, who went 2-4 in the game and went 2-5.

We’ve now seen the same basic scenario play out for the Giants week after week. Keep the games tight, rely on Daniel Jones, Saquon Barkley and their defense late, watch the other team make more mistakes down the stretch and make just enough games to get the job done.

I can’t help but think about the conversation I recently had with former NFL GM Michael Lombardi. Here’s part of what Lombardi said:

“I think they did a wonderful job managing the game, hanging on to their opponents and taking the game into the fourth quarter. And then in the fourth quarter they were very good. And they were able to win the fourth quarter and overcome some obstacles.

The 9-1 dream is alive. Until it isn’t. How good can the Giants be and how far can they go? I suspect we’ll learn a lot more about that in the last seven games of the season when the Philadelphia Eagles (twice), Dallas Cowboys, Minnesota Vikings and Indianapolis Colts are on the schedule. Oh yes, also two games with the Washington Commanders.

I think there’s a chance the Giants will go 9-1. I don’t think I’m ready – yet – to believe the Giants are a team that can make a deep playoff run.

However, I think it’s becoming increasingly obvious that what they’re doing is no coincidence. It happens far too often and in far too similar ways.

The Giants are rightly sick of the “when are you going to start getting some respect” question.

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“I really don’t even care about that question anymore,” McKinney said. “I’m kind of tired of responding to that because it’s the same every week. Of course we know that. I really don’t care. As a team, we don’t care. The only thing we can do is keep focusing on what we can do and keep getting better.”

Nothing to excuse

Daniel Jones said after the game he was “disappointed” in himself for his unusually emotional reaction when wide receiver Marcus Johnson dropped a fourth-down pass in the third quarter that should have been a first down and a touchdown on Sunday could have been.

I think, in all honesty, Jones has nothing to apologize for. Giants fans, and the Giants themselves, should be thrilled that Jones – who showed fire on a couple of occasions on Sunday – feels comfortable enough to ask for more from his teammates.

Here’s what Jones said about showing his feelings:

“Heat of the moment. I wish I could have this situation again. I pride myself on being calm in those situations and I wasn’t there. I have full confidence in Marcus and I am disappointed that I allowed this to happen.”

Sorry, but the way Jones plays, and as much as he does for a limited Giants offense, he has every right to want more from his teammates.

Jones had better stats than 19 of 30 on Sunday for 202 yards and a touchdown game. However, it was never more apparent on Sunday that Jones has become a leader, perhaps THE leader, of the Giants. Oh, and it’s getting harder and harder to argue that Jones doesn’t play like a good NFL quarterback.

Yes, there was an interception by Jacksonville’s Devin Lloyd that was nullified by a penalty. Yes, there was a “fumble” – which I believe was an incomplete pass that the replay would have undone had it been needed.

However, Jones did everything he could. Call them drops, missed opportunities or whatever you want, but there were FIVE incomplete passes (two from Johnson, two from Darius Slayton, one from Richie James) that should have been intercepted by the Giants’ receivers on Sunday.

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Jones used his legs for 107 yards on 11 carries. He threw a beautiful 32-yard touchdown pass to Slayton. He led another comeback in 2022, his fifth win of the game and fourth win from a single hand.

Coach Brian Daboll said Jones was “pretty good” on Sunday.

“Really played the way we needed it,” said Daboll. “He’s been really consistent since we’ve had him in all those games. Makes the right decision. Throw it to the right one. He runs our offense the way we need him to run our offense.

And, oh yes, he earns the right to yell at a teammate now and then.

Problem with wide receiver

Slayton made a big play for the Giants on Sunday, catching a 32-yard touchdown pass. Wan’Dale Robinson had six catches for 50 yards in the first half. However, it was brutally obvious that the Giants largely play around their receivers’ shortcomings.

There were five games on Sunday that should have been made. Johnson had no receptions and dropped two passes – the play with the fourth and the goal and another ball that would have gone about 20 yards. Slayton had two balls he should have caught, one that would have gone for a big play. Richie James couldn’t produce a nicely thrown third and 14 pass in the first quarter that would have been a first down.

That the Giants made that incredible 6-1 start despite this glaring issue makes the upcoming trading deadline all the more interesting. The Giants don’t have much cap and can’t pawn significant draft resources unless they can land a long-term fix like the Carolina Panthers’ DJ Moore, a top-ranked receiver signed through 2025. Would they be willing or able to use a sixth-round or seventh-round pick for a potential upgrade like the New York Jets’ Denzel Mims or the Panthers’ Terrace Marshall?

walking band

Giants fans are sure to enjoy the ride.

Yes, I think it’s fun being a giant – and cheering on the giants – right now.

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Problems with the offensive line

I think I was blown away by how well the Giants offensive line played Sunday after losing both left-hand guard Ben Bredeson and right-hand Evan Neal to knee injuries.

It’s too early to know how much, but I think it’s pretty obvious that both Bredeson and Neal will miss out on some time.

I also couldn’t help but think that Nick Gates’ potential return has gone from being a nice story to ponder to something the Giants really have to reckon with.

This crazy ending should never have happened

If you want to relive the Giants’ last line of defense, here’s the play-by-play and Bob Papa’s call of the final play.

The thing is, I think we all know it should never have come to this.

All attention was focused on recaping the Giants’ last offensive game when Saquon Barkley was ruled out of bounds and the clock was changed from :25 remaining to 1:07 remaining.

Thing is, Barkley had two more chances for possession from the last giants to stay within bounds and keep the clock ticking and didn’t do both times. He was hit out of bounds on a 13-yard streak and then again on a 7-yard streak in the following game. Both times I thought he could have – no, could have – come down.

Barkley knew.

“Of course I have to be much better at situational football there,” he said. “It just has to get better. I don’t apologize

“I am expected to understand the situation. I knew the situation. I’ve been trying to calm down, but I have to do better.”

On the other hand, I think it was a sign of how things have changed at the Giants. Daboll wasn’t the only one to talk about the Giants needing to be better, especially in closing the game. Jones, Barkley and Xavier McKinney all talked about it.

Times are certainly changing with the Giants.

[NOTE: Story updated to reflect that ‘Crazy Eddie’ was indeed an electronics salesman.]



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