The Giants Are Improving And Not Just Behind The Scenes

Giant head coach Pat Schurmur is taking a lot of heat for his comment that the Giants are improving behind the scenes. He has been called for to be fired in the media and on social network sites. However Shurmur is correct in saying the team is improving and it is not just behind the scenes. The team statistics for the first six games compared to the last six games show significant improvement in many key areas. The improvement has not translated yet into wins and thus Schurmur is getting attacked.

This is an update on a prior post Ten Areas the Giants Have Improved And Thoughts On Coach Changes.  For today I look at the whole season’s twelve games split in half comparing weeks 1-6 with weeks 7-13 including the latest stats from the Green Bay loss.

Statistic Week 7-13 Value 7-13 league Rank Week 1-6 Value 1-6 league Rank Rank Difference
Passer Rating 90 15 75.9 29 14
Interceptions Thrown 5 16 8 27 11
Total yards margin -237 24 -437 27 3
Total yards offense allowed 2000 13 2474 30 17
Defense yards/play 5.32 17 6.31 29 12
Opponent rush yards/attempt 3.49 2 4.22 14 12
Opponent penalty yards 412 11 332 23 12
Opponent 1st downs 116 13 128 23 10
Opponent 1st downs Pass 68 13 84 29 16
Yards/punt 48.33 2 44.12 24 22
1st half score margin -12 19 -50 30 11
Average Rank Improvement 12.7

 

Next we look at what all offensive drives resulted in as a percent of all drives. It splits weeks 7-13 and weeks 1-6. the better values are highlighted in yellow. (The unknown percent was a small percentage that pro football reference had no descriptor on.)

Offensive drive resulted Week 7-13 Week 1-6
Punt 30.9% 37.3%
Touchdown 20.6% 17.9%
Field Goal 8.8% 6.0%
Turnover 19.1% 22.4%
Downs 10.3% 7.5%
End of Half/Game 4.3% 1.5%
Missed FG 4.4% 1.5%
Unknown 1.5% 3.0%
Safety 0.0% 1.5%
Blocked Punt 0.0% 1.5%
99.9% 100.1%

 

Pat Shurmur is touted as being a quarterback whisperer.  How is Daniel Jones doing in his rookie year.

Here are his Giant quarterback rookie standings.

  1. First in Giants rookie passing yards.
  2. First in Giants rookie completion percentage.
  3. First in rookie Giant Passer rating – tie with Charlie Conerly .
  4. Second in Giants rookie passing touchdowns trailing Charlie Conerly by four.
  5. Third in Giant rookie Passing yards per attempt for 150+ attempts.
  6. First in 4th quarter rookie comebacks (150+ attempts) – tie with Eli Manning.
  7. First in Giants yards per rushing attempt for rookie quarterbacks.
  8. First in Giants quarterback rookie rushing yards.

Here are the league quarterback rookie records

  1. Only rookie quarterback to have three games of 300+ passing yards, two passing touchdowns and zero interceptions.
  2. Only rookie quarterback to have two games of 300+ passing  yards and four passing touchdowns.
  3. One of four rookie quarterbacks to have two passing touchdowns and two rushing touchdowns in a game.
  4. Currently fourth this season in a streak of games with a passing touchdown with ten games.
  5. His current active streak of 10 games with a passing touchdown is three behind the rookie record of 13 games held by Peyton Manning and Baker Mayfield.

The Giants have played tough all season and have not shown any sign of giving up. Eight of their ten losses were relatively close games going into the fourth quarter. Some got away from them at the end and the final score does not reflect how close the game was. Here is a summary of how close the games were for the season.

Date Opponent How Close?
09/08/19 Cowboys blowout Giant loss
09/15/19 Bills 7 point game 3 minutes into 4th quarter
09/22/19 Buccaneers Giant Win
09/29/19 Redskins Giant Win
10/06/19 Vikings blowout Giant loss
10/10/19 Patriots 7 point game ½ way into the 4th quarter
10/20/19 Cardinals 3 point game down to 2:13 minutes left
10/27/19 Lions 5 point game 3 minutes into 4th quarter, 5 point game with 1:23 remaining
11/04/19 Cowboys 5 point game 3 minutes into 4th quarter
11/10/19 Jets 7 point game with 7:39 remaining
11/24/19 Bears 5 point game with 4:17 remaining
12/01/19 Packers 4 point game starting 4th quarter

 

The Giants were one of six teams that were within one score margin or better of the Patriots after three quarters. The Patriots are 10-2 on the season.

The Giants have built a new team over the last four years. There are only two players that have been on the team before 2016 – Eli Manning and Zak DeOssie. Only three players were acquired in 2016 and five in 2017. The rest of the team became a Giant over the last two years. That is 63 players. Think about the fact the Sterling Shepard is one of the Giant veterans when you look at years on the team. They may not have the youngest team but I would speculate that they may have one of the newest teams. Add to that a rookie quarterback and a second year coach.

In terms of Giant history the worst stretch for the team was from 1964 thru 1980. Over those 17 seasons the Giants never made the playoffs and went thru eight quarterbacks. They finished last in their division 9 seasons of the 17. In four seasons less than that time-span or the last 13 seasons the Giants have won two Super Bowls, had one quarterback and finished last in the division two times.

The Giants have gone thru three coaches and one interim coach in the last five years. That matches the Cleveland Browns record for their last five years. For his article Does Firing the Head Coach Make NFL Teams More Successful? Yowana Wamala studied every season since 2007 to see how teams and their head coaches performed. He came to the conclusion that coaches should most likely be given at least 2 or 3 years to prove they can lead the team to winning seasons. Steeler head coach Chuck Noll had three losing seasons to start his career in Pittsburgh. His win percentage was 28% those first three years. He went on to lead his team to four Super Bowl victories.

I am not saying at this point that Shurmur should necessarily be brought back. I do think the general opinion I continue to hear of letting him go is premature. Why would you not want the four additional games to help make a decision. There is a lot to be said for stability and continuity. If improvements like the ones listed above continue and Daniel Jones maintains his level of play giving Shurmur another year may make the most sense.

Beating the Eagles on Monday Night Football would seal the deal for me!

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