Why the Giants could have a Top 10 passing offense

Giants passing offense a Top 10 unit?

By: Daniel Racz

Introduction

The New York Giants’ offense fell short of all expectations in 2020. After losing star running back Saquon Barkley, the Giants had to adapt. The front office signed Devonta Freeman and Alfred Morris to pair with Wayne Gallman. To the surprise of many, the Giants’ running game was more successful than their air attack. However, there are many reasons to expect the Giants passing game to take a step forward. A healthy Daniel Jones will be the key, but there are a few other pieces that will be crucial if the Giants want a top-ten passing offense. Ensuring that the Giants use weapons besides Kenny Golladay and Saquon Barkley may be the determining factor for Big Blue in 2021.

Schemed Up Touches For Kadarius Toney

The Giants’ questionably spent a first-round pick on Florida wide receiver Kadarius Toney. Despite remaining at Florida for four years, Toney is a raw route runner. If the Giants want to add a new element to their offense, they will have to play to Toney’s strengths. Toney is a menace in the open field. His ability to break tackles and evade defenders in college was reminiscent of Alvin Kamara. If that skill translates to the NFL, the Giants can utilize Toney like the dynamic weapon that he is.

The best way to maximize the skill of open field specialists like Toney is through touches at or behind the line of scrimmage. Giving Toney touches like screens, drag routes and even pitches could give the Giants a weapon that few other teams in the league possess. 

A Stable Offensive Line

The least talked about aspect of an offense when discussing their passing attack is their offensive line. The New York Giants’ were unable to run lots of successful deep passing plays in large part due to their inability to give Daniel Jones time to throw. Their offensive line ranked in the bottom five in almost every statistic. Jones did not have time to throw, and he got frazzled under pressure.

If the Giants can piece together a top twenty offensive line, it will open up new avenues for their passing attack. Deep targets to Kenny Golladay and Darius Slayton can only be consistently successful if they are attempted from a clean pocket. The Giants hired Rob Sale to be their new offensive line coach, and he may be an X-Factor for the team in 2021. 

A Healthy, Dynamic Evan Engram 

Did Evan Engram make the pro bowl last year? Yes. Did that endear him to Giants fans? Not at all. 

In 2020, Engram’s drop issues cost the Giants turnovers and an early-season matchup against the Eagles. It is worth noting that Evan Engram played the 2020 season with a lisfranc injury. Engram’s injury is similar to the injury that Marquise “Hollywood” Brown of the Ravens played through during his rookie year in 2019. In 2020, Brown returned more explosive. If Engram can come into the 2021 season and play as he did earlier in his career, the Giants will have another weapon on their hands. When at his best, Engram is a premier tight end with elite athleticism. If the Giants use Engram properly, they can have an above-average passing attack. 

3 biggest training camp questions for Giants offense

Saquon Barkley healthy in training camp?

Daniel Racz @Danny___Dimes 

Introduction

The New York Giants released tickets to FanFest, their one day of training camp that fans are permitted to partake in earlier today, so let’s dive into what fans should care about this pre-season. The New York Giants are one of the most confusing teams in the National Football League, as they have a wide range of outcomes. The New York Giants spared no expense this offseason when it came to adding weapons. Their additions of Kenny Golladay, Kadarius Toney, and Kyle Rudolph will undoubtedly make the offense more dynamic. In the backfield, the Giants will be hoping they get the 2019 version of Saquon Barkley. And, even if Barkley is back to his all-pro ways, he will still have to navigate one of the worst offensive lines in the league. The NFC East is ripe for the taking, but are the Giants up for the task?

Battle for WR3

The Giants’ wide receiver room will be a top ten unit in the league if they are comfortable in three-wide receiver sets. Kenny Golladay is a big-bodied, alpha wide receiver that can win in the red zone. Sterling Shepard offers inside-outside versatility and is a phenomenal blocker. Shepard’s role will likely depend on whether Darius Slayton or Kadarius Toney wins the third spot on the depth chart. Toney and Slayton could not be more different stylistically. While Slayton is a more nuanced route runner and deep threat, Kadarius Toney excels with the ball in his hand. Early reports of Toney missing practices point to Slayton having the inside track on the job, but it is worth monitoring throughout the offseason.

Everything On The Offensive Line

On almost any offensive line metric last year the Giants ranked in the bottom five. Whether it be inexperience, a lack of continuity, or poor coaching; the Giants had it. Rookies Andrew Thomas and Shane Lemieux had their struggles throughout the year, though Thomas improved as the year progressed. Will Hernandez battled covid during the year and his play suffered. During the season, Joe Judge fired line coach Marc Columbo. This season, the Giants are bringing in former Louisiana Lafayette line coach Robert Sale to develop their hog mollies. The Giants will also have a battle at right tackle between 2020 third-round pick Matt Peart and veteran Nate Solder. The offensive line will make or break the offense, so making sure the Giants get the best five players starting as many games as possible is imperative. 

Saquon Barkley’s Recovery

The highest selection Dave Gettleman has ever made was running back Saquon Barkley in the 2018 NFL draft. The former Nittany Lion put the league on notice during his rookie season by totaling over 2,000 yards from scrimmage. Unfortunately, Barkley suffered a high-ankle sprain that derailed most of his 2019 campaign. Saquon returned to full health by the end of the 2019 season, but it did not make an impact. In 2020, Saquon Barkley tore his ACL and MCL early in Week two against the Chicago Bears. After allowing the MCL to heal, Barkley received surgery in late October. His timeline puts his status for week one in jeopardy. Though Saquon is expected to be healthy for Week one. If the Giants have a healthy Saquon Barkley running behind a league-average offensive line this season, they will be a force to be reckoned with. 

Why Daniel Jones is the ultimate Sleeper QB in the NFC

By: Eli Grabanski

Daniel Jones has had an up-and-down career thus far as a quarterback. He started his career off with a promising rookie year where he threw 24 passing touchdowns in just 13 games and many people expected him to take the next step in year two. It didn’t happen, with Jones throwing for just 2943 passing yards and 11 passing touchdowns in 14 games. After such an up-and-down start to his career, a big question remains: what can we expect from Jones in year 3? Let’s dive into his profile in order to have a better idea of what Jones should bring to the table in his junior season.

Flashes Of Passing Upside

In Daniel Jones’ rookie year he threw 24 passing touchdowns in just 13 games. His 24 touchdown passes led all rookie quarterbacks during the 2019 NFL season and at the time it was the 4th-most passing touchdowns by a rookie in a single season in NFL history – with only Baker Mayfield (27 in 2018), Peyton Manning (26 in 1998) and Russell Wilson (26 in 2012) having more.

Then he took a step back in his sophomore year, throwing just 11 touchdowns in 14 games. But it wasn’t all bad. Jones flashed some serious potential with his deep ball during the 2020 NFL season.

Jones may not end up being the next Peyton Manning or Tom Brady as a passer, but he’s shown enough to prove that he can be a franchise quarterback – if he gets put in the right situation.

Rushing Ability

When you look at Daniel Jones, you will probably don’t think of him as being a strong runner…but he surprisingly is. Over the first 27 games of his career, Daniel Jones has carried the ball 110 times for 702 rushing yards and three rushing touchdowns. In fact, last year he ranked 7th among quarterbacks in rushing yards, finishing with 423 – more than players like Josh Allen, Patrick Mahomes, Ryan Tannehill, and Justin Herbert.

Jones having the ability to make plays with his legs makes the Giants offense much more difficult to defend and raises his ceiling as a quarterback.

Weapons Upgrade

The New York Giants clearly got sick of having Evan Engram as their number one receiving option in 2020, and decided to address it this offseason. They made a huge splash in free agency and signed former Detroit Lions wide receiver Kenny Golladay to a four-year, $72 million deal. Golladay has a couple of 1000+ receiving yard seasons under his belt and has been one of the best deep-threats in the league the past few seasons.

Golladay’s knack for being a deep-threat should mesh well with Daniel Jones, who completed 46.2% of his deep balls last year – 7th best in the NFL according to PlayerProfiler.

Just adding Kenny Golladay would be a substantial improvement on the Giants pass-catchers. But besides Golladay, the Giants drafted wide receiver Kadarius Toney in the 1st round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Toney flashed major yards after the catch skills during his college career and will make some big plays for the Giants in 2021. Having improved weapons will make Daniel Jones’ job much easier in 2021 and allow for him to put up much better numbers.

Another Year In The System

It is important to note that Daniel Jones had to learn an entirely new system last year after the New York Giants fired Pat Shurmur and brought in Joe Judge to be the team’s new head coach, who appointed former Dallas Cowboys head coach Jason Garrett to be the team’s new offensive coordinator and play-caller.

Jason Garrett Team Passing Statistics (OC/HC)
YearTeam Pass Att.Team Pass Yds.Team Pass TDs
2007 Cowboys33.19268.132.25
2008 Cowboys34.19249.251.81
2009 Cowboys34.38280.191.63
2010 Cowboys362631.81
2011 Cowboys35.63278.312.06
2012 Cowboys41.133121.81
2013 Cowboys36.63264.132.06
2014 Cowboys29.75250.52.31
2015 Cowboys33229.811
2016 Cowboys30.19237.441.56
2017 Cowboys30.81207.881.38
2018 Cowboys32.94242.811.38
2019 Cowboys37.31306.381.88
2020 Giants (15 games)32.33207.670.8
Jason Garrett’s Team Passing Statistics During His Time As An Offensive Coordinator/Head Coach

It can take a while to learn a brand-new system in a normal offseason, but when you also factor in that the 2020 NFL offseason was not normal with the COVID-19 pandemic, it makes it even more difficult. Overall, we should expect Daniel Jones to feel more comfortable in Jason Garrett’s offense for the 2021 season and to improve in the passing yards and passing touchdowns department for next season.

Concerns

It wouldn’t be fair to talk about Jones without bringing up some of the major concerns surrounding his profile. The first of these major concerns is the New York Giants offensive line. The New York Giants offensive line ranked 31st in the league last year according to Pro Football Focus and Daniel Jones was sacked 45 times in just 14 games last year (3.21 per game). Inexperience played a large factor on the Giants line in 2020 with Andrew Thomas, Shane Lemieux, Nick Gates, Matt Peart, and Will Hernandez all having four seasons or less under their belts and being younger than 26 years old. Another year of experience should help these players out, as well as the Giants hiring a new offensive line coach Rob Sale to replace Marc Colombo.

The other major concern with Daniel Jones has been his turnover issues. In Daniel Jones’ first two seasons in the league, he’s thrown 22 interceptions and fumbled the ball 29 times. This is an absurd amount of turnover-worthy plays and raises some major concerns about his ability to take care of the football. But while this is a major concern, it is important to note that Jones improved in this area from his rookie to sophomore seasons – seeing his percentage of times where he was intercepted on a pass attempt drop from 2.6% to 2.2% and seeing his fumbles go down from 18 in his rookie year (13 games) to 11 in his sophomore season (14 games). He’s clearly putting the work in to improve in this year which makes his outlook a little more optimistic.

Conclusion

Daniel Jones has a lot of great tools in his skillset. He’s flashed the talent, posting a 78.4 PFF grade in 2020. He’s become more familiar with Jason Garrett’s offense with another year under his belt. He’s gotten the receiving weapons he has so desperately needed in Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney. Now it’s just a matter of him putting it all together and living up to his billing as the New York Giants franchise quarterback. Jones is on the cusp of a breakout season and could be a major sleeper QB in the NFC this year.

Daniel Jones: Dynasty Outlook

What is the outlook of Giants QB Daniel Jones?

Daniel Racz @Danny___Dimes

Introduction

When the New York Giants selected Daniel Jones with the sixth pick of the 2019 draft, they incited an uproar in the Tri-State Area. With top pass-rush prospects like Josh Allen and Brian Burns left on the board, what did the Giants’ front office see in the Duke signal-caller? For starters, they saw someone who looked like a long lost relative of franchise legend Eli Manning. While Eli does have more charisma, they both stay out of the limelight and seem to have great relationships with their teammates. On the field, Jones’s flashes of high-end play are met with equally highlight-worthy boneheaded mistakes. In his rookie season, Daniel Jones had a 4.1% big-time throw rate and a 5.9% turnover worthy throw rate, per PFF. Jones also had a 5.2% touchdown percentage on his pass attempts in his rookie year. While PFF’s advanced statistics are not released for the 2020 season, it was clear that Jason Garrett’s offense made Jones a different player. Instead of emphasizing Jones’s gunslinger style that produced highs and lows in 2019, 2020 brought a more mellow quarterback. Jones threw for a touchdown on only 2.5% of his 2020 pass attempts and 25% fewer turnovers. While Danny Dimes did not take the sophomore jump that many expected, is he worth the investment in Dynasty?

Why you should acquire Daniel Jones

The best argument for buying Daniel Jones is his Konami code upside. To those unfamiliar, the Konami code is the bonus of having quarterbacks that produce 20% or more of their fantasy points from rushing. Any quarterback can have a statistically solid passing season, but that does not translate to fantasy success in the same way that a season from a below-average but mobile quarterback posts. 26.8% of Jones’s 2020 production came on the ground, and he did that with only one rushing touchdown and a hamstring injury that limited him late in the season. At the quarterback position, Konami quarterbacks are dominating in recent years. From 2015-2018, 25% of the top 12 fantasy quarterbacks qualified as Konami code QBs. In 2019, that figure jumped to 42%, and in 2020, 58% of the top 12 passers were Konami QBs. The trend is clear: to dominate as a fantasy football quarterback utilizing your legs is becoming necessary. While Jones has not flourished as a passer, his rushing ability provides the potential for future top 12 finishes.

Another reason to acquire Daniel Jones is the likely addition of talent to the Big Blue offense in the 2020 offseason. Jones’s passing upside is undoubtedly due for an uptick with the addition of both a playmaker at either the wide receiver or tight end position and the return of Saquon Barkley. The Giants will target wide receivers that hit the open market, but I expect many to get franchise tagged, leaving few options. If Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, and Allen Robinson all receive the tag–which is not an unreasonable expectation–the Giants will turn to the draft to add a weapon. The key names to keep track of are Kyle Pitts, JaMarr Chase, Jaylen Waddle, Rashod Bateman, and Devonta Smith. Any of these stars will improve the Giants’ 29th ranked passing attack.

A final reason to target Daniel Jones comes in the likely long term security that he will see. The jury is still out on whether or not Danny deserves another contract. Still, the Giants organization is not a fan of turnover at prominent roster positions for better and for worse. Owner John Mara has already proclaimed that running back Saquon Barkley will be a Giant for a long time, and the team has committed to Daniel Jones for the 2021 season already. Historically, the Giants have kept their quarterbacks for many years, even if it was not in their best interests to do so. While some teams have frequent turnover, the Giants, with quarterbacks like Eli Manning, Phil Simms, and Kerry Collins, have preferred consistency. Unless the New York Giants regress to the point where they sever ties with Dave Gettleman and finish with a top draft pick, I have the utmost confidence that Daniel Jones will be rewarded with a second contract, even if he should not be offered that contract.  

Why You Should Be Skeptical of Daniel Jones

When a player is given the nickname “Danny Dimes,” it is reasonable to expect that they earned it making great throws in regular-season games for his team. However, Jones was dubbed Danny Dimes in his first preseason games after he lit up opposing team’s backups and led the Giants to an undefeated 2019 preseason. Jones’s first two years in the league have demonstrated a pattern of bad decisions and inaccurate passes. Jones plays almost like he has multiple personality disorder. He goes from throwing a 30-yard dime to take the lead in a close game to missing an open wideout in a game-winning scenario. Betting on Jones to stop making stupid mistakes while retaining his big-play ability seems foolish to many at this point. 

Daniel Jones’s injury history is another reason to be skeptical of his long-term prospects. Jones has not completed a full 16 game season yet. In 2019 he missed games late in the season due to a high ankle sprain. This season he missed a game (and was limited once he came back) by various leg injuries. Jones’s penchant for injuries is a cause for concern. If you are optimistic that Jones will progress as a passer and that the Garrett offense will be more effective, you should still be wary of Jones’s injury history when including him in a transaction. 

Speaking of Garrett’s offense, in 2020, it was a trainwreck. The Giants’ offense failed to modernize, as they used pre-snap motion at a bottom-five rate. Much of the offense’s failures must be put on Jones. Jones’s passer rating in 2020 was in the bottom ten in the National Football League and ranked next to Alex Smith and Cam Newton. His 2020 passer rating of 80 was a step back from his passer rating of 87 in 2019. If you are confident that Jones’s struggles in 2020 were due to Garrett and that Garrett will not be with the Giants for much longer. 

The Verdict

From the moment Daniel Jones stepped on the gridiron against Tampa Bay in week 3 of the 2019 season, he had the “it factor.” Jones drove the Giants down the field and took the lead with less than one minute left, giving every Giants fan a taste of what the future could hold. However, Daniel also has given many examples that support why he is nothing more than a career backup. Daniel Jones is as risky as they come. The best way I can summarize Daniel Jones is through an office quote from Will Ferrel’s Deangelo Vickers. “I can’t sit here and tell you [Daniel’s] gonna be a success. I can’t sit here and tell you that he’s even the best man for the job. [(Daniel) looks awkward] But I can say this: He’s got potential. Sure. You know, I always say: go big, or go home. You go with This guy, you could be making the biggest mistake of your life, OR, the biggest, Good decision of your life. It’s either gonna be the best thing you ever did, or the worst thing you ever did.” Jones is a mystery. I firmly believe that his range of outcomes includes maturing into a  perennial QB1. However, it is necessary to evaluate the chance at the high-end outcome occurring. Jones needs better weapons, a competent offensive coordinator, and to become an accurate, healthy, and consistent passer. I would suggest that Jones has a 20% chance of reaching this potential, with a solid chance at becoming a fantasy qb2 for 5-10 more years, while also having a decent chance at becoming irrelevant within three years. 

In summation, I believe that investing in Daniel Jones is a smart decision. The quarterbacks that are drafted around and ahead of him (Derek Carr, Teddy B, Kirk, and Goff) all lack the rushing upside that Jones has. I am of the personal belief that if you are drafting a qb2 and thinking in the long term, it is best to hope for the best range of outcome to occur (See Josh Allen). While Daniel Jones has a lot of work to do to reach his full potential, the path to fantasy greatness is evident. 

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