The NY Football Giants trounced the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, 38-10, to assure themselves of the sixth seed in the NFC playoffs. QB Daniel Jones led the way throwing and running for a total of four touchdowns. Head Coach Brian Daboll and his staff coached a nearly flawless game. The Giants will make their first trip to the postseason since the 2016 season.
For the second time in three games the Giants offensive line gave up no sacks. Jones led the team in rushing with 91 of the Giants 217 yards on the ground. The Giants’ aerial attack took place mostly in the first half with Jones passing for 167 of his total 177 air yards. The game ended with a raucous crowd counting down the final seconds and cheering Daniel Jones.
While the coaching staff gets accolades for turning this squad into a cohesive team, surely Joe Schoen deserves kudos for managing his way through cap hell this season while putting a roster of smart, tough, dependable, and competitive players in the coaches hands. And of course, it was Joe Schoen that hired Brian Daboll as head coach. But when you look at this roster, several of the key players–and all of the 2022 team captains–are on this roster courtesy of Dave Gettleman. I know, I know…several of Gettleman’s free agent signings were busts. But K Graham Gano is a pro bowler that has delivered for the Giants many times and was voted a special teams captain along with long snapper Casey Kreiter. Gettleman has been lambasted for his trade to get DL Leonard Williams, then signing him to a crazy high-dollar deal. Williams has proven to be a great talent on the defensive line, and was voted a captain this season.
Let’s take a quick look at the Gettleman drafts for the Giants from 2018 through 2021. The only player left from the 2018 draft is Saquon Barkley. Gettleman was dragged through the mud for taking a running back with the 2nd overall pick in 2018. Barkley was viewed as a “generational talent.” Saquon has proved to be immensely valuable on the field. But after having two major injuries in his first three seasons, the questions arose about his ability to stay on the field. Oh, and running backs don’t last long in the NFL. Well, Saquon is having a pro bowl season in 2022.
In 2019, Gettleman lit up the Giants’ fan base and media by selecting QB Daniel Jones with the 6th overall pick. Then head coach Pat Shurmur inserted Jones as the starter in game 3 that season and Daniel looked pretty good running that offense. But Jones had turnovers, lots of them. Out goes Shurmur; in comes Judge. And in 2020 and 2021, Jones improves on the turnovers, but languishes in a dull, predictable offense behind an offensive line that couldn’t keep him on his feet. Insert Daboll and OC, Mike Kafka this year, and Jones is a top-10 quarterback. Schoen did not exercise Jones’ fifth year option. Jones is proving to be every bit the QB Gettleman thought he was.
Also in 2019, Gettleman chose DL Dexter Lawrence with the 17th pick. “Sexy Dexy” has been good since he was drafted. In 2022, under the tutelage of DC Wink Martindale, Dexter is now a pro bowl player. Safety Julian Love and WR Darius Slayton are also 2019 draft picks. All have contributed to the Giants’ success this season. Of the 2019 group, only Slayton is not a captain.
2020’s draft class brought LT Andrew Thomas, S Xavier McKinney and Special teams gunner, Cam Brown. All are captains this season. Thomas is one of the top Left Tackles in the NFL now. McKinney returned against the Colts after a bye-week non-football accident that injured the fingers of his left hand. CB Darnay Holmes is getting significant playing time this year. The Giants still have 2020 picks, T Matt Peart and ILB Tae Crowder on the roster or practice squad.
The class of 2021 hasn’t fared as well. Edge rusher Azeez Ojulari is the best of an often-injured class. When he’s on the field, he is a top rusher. RB Gary Brightwell has been steady as the third running back and leading kick returner on the team. The rest of the class (Kadarius Toney, Aaron Robinson, Elerson Smith, and Rodarius Williams) have played sparingly, mostly due to injuries. Toney was a first-rounder that could not stay on the field. Now, courtesy of Joe Schoen, Toney is now a Kansas City Chief with two draft picks sent to the Giants for 2023.
Right now, in looking at the Giants roster, there’s a heavy influence of Gettleman players. It’s not surprising given this is only the first year for Joe Schoen and Brian Daboll. Their hands were tied with no cap space. And rookie deals were a key way to make it through this season. Maybe Gettleman knew how to draft (for the most part). This talented group of players just needed a better coaching staff to bring out their best. I wonder if Dave is sitting at home thinking he did better that even he thought.