A Case As To Why The Giants Should Have Given Shurmur Another Year

On Monday following the last game of the season the Giants fired head coach Pat Shurmur. Personally I thought he deserved another year to turn things around. I had prepared a post on reasons to keep Shurmur and decided to post it here anyways even though it is now water under the bridge.

The San Francisco 49ers made Kyle Shanahan the head coach in 2017 after three years of three different head coaches. They gave him a six year contract and were set on committing to a long-term rebuild. After two years the 49ers were 10-22 under Kyle Shanahan. They had a young team and were beset by injuries including their quarterback – Jimmy Garoppolo. They were competitive and lost five games by one score to finish 4-12.  The 49ers front office stuck with Shanahan and it paid off as they now sit at 13-3 and the top seed in the NFC going into the playoffs.

The similarities to the Giants are eerie. Pat Shurmur signed a five year contract with the Giants in 2018. Shurmur is the first Giants head coach to receive a five-year deal since Dan Reeves when he was hired in 1993. It expresses a commitment to a long-term rebuild. The Giants are 9-23 under head coach Pat Shurmur after two seasons and finished 4-12 this season. The Giants 2019 season was also beset by injuries.

Saquon Barkley – out 3.5 games high ankle sprain
Golden Tate – out 4 games suspension
Sterling Shepard – out 6 games – concussions
Evan Engram – out 8 games foot injury (IR)
Jabrill Peppers – out 5.5 games back fracture (IR)
Ryan Connelly – out 12 games tore ACL
Janoris Jenkins – released (missed last 3 games)

Over the last two seasons the departure of Odell Beckham, Landon Collins, Snacks Harrison, Olivier Vernon, Janoris Jenkins, Weston Richburg, Jason Pierre-Paul and Kerry Wynn may have been best for the team in the long run but you take an immediate hit short term.

In addition the Giants started a rookie quarterback for 12 games. The Giants fielded a young new team. There are only two players that have been on the team before 2016 – Eli Manning and Zak DeOssie. Eli was sat down to start the rookie quarterback after week two and Zak DeOssie was placed in IR after week 12. 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.

Besides being a newly formed team they are a young team. As of the end of October the Giants led the league in rookie snap counts beating the second highest team by 500 snaps. Eight rookies have averaged 62.7% of the team snaps for their respective side. The top three are DeAndre Baker has averaged 91.5% of the defensive snaps, Dexter Lawrence has 78.4% and Daniel Jones has 74.9% of the offensive snaps . The other five are Sam Beal, Julian Love, Corey Ballentine, Oshane Ximines and Darius Slayton. All five have averaged over 30% of their respective side snap counts. For the most part the Giants are recently getting good play out of the rookies and they have shown improvement as the season went on. That reflects positively on the coaching staff. Here are the top ten teams with the most rookie snap counts as of 10/31/2019 and their season win/loss record. Of the ten teams only the Vikings had a winning record and they were number 9 on the list.

Team Rookie Snap Counts 10/31 Wins Loss Tie Win %
NYG 2907 4 12 25.00%
JAX 2418 6 10 37.50%
OAK 2352 7 9 43.75%
ARI 2228 5 10 1 33.33%
WAS 2177 3 13 18.75%
DEN 1985 7 9 43.75%
MIA 1974 5 11 31.25%
IND 1703 7 9 43.75%
MIN 1634 10 6 62.50%
DET 1605 3 12 20.00%
Total   57 101 1 36.08%

 

Update (1/1/2020 Here are the final 2019 most rookie snap counts)

Of the 56 rookie quarterbacks that started 8 or more games only 25% had a win-loss percentage of over .500.   The Giants in 2019 were the perfect storm. A rookie quarterback, the highest rookie snap counts, key players lost (injuries, trades, cuts, suspension) and prior season records of 3-13 and 5-11.

The team has played hard all season and even in the second half of the season when they were clearly out of the playoff picture. In the last eight games they have two wins, one overtime loss, two games decided by a score or less, two games that were a one point difference going into the fourth quarter and one tie going into the fourth quarter. The players like Shurmur. Many have vocalized their support of him. Daniel Jones has credited Shurmur for his development.

The development of Daniel Jones this season is perhaps the biggest reason to keep Shurmur. Jones games include the following with the number of rookies all-time that share each accomplishment.

  • three games with 4+ passing touchdowns (3 rookies),
  • five games of 300+ passing yards (3 rookies),
  • five games with 2+ passing TDs and 0 interceptions (5 rookies).
  • one game of 300+ passing yards, 5 TDs and 0 interceptions (only rookie)

This season Jones has the second highest 1st down conversion percentage (47.6%) for rushes among quarterbacks with over six rushes.

To mess with this development by bringing in a new head coach does not appear to be in the best interest of quarterback development. Shurmur who was credited as being a “quarterback whisperer” has performed well in regard to quarterback development. Here is a list of rookie quarterbacks all-time that had 25+ total touchdowns. There were only nine and Jones accomplished it in the least amount of games.

Player Year G Cmp% Yds Pass TD Int Rate Y/A Rush Yds Rush Y/A Rush TD Tot Tds
Cam Newton 2011 16 59.96 4051 21 17 84.5 7.84 706 5.6 14 35
Russell Wilson 2012 16 64.12 3118 26 10 100 7.93 489 5.2 4 30
Dak Prescott 2016 16 67.76 3667 23 4 104.9 7.99 282 4.95 6 29
Jameis Winston 2015 16 58.32 4042 22 15 84.2 7.56 213 3.94 6 28
Andrew Luck 2012 16 54.07 4374 23 18 76.5 6.98 255 4.11 5 28
Baker Mayfield 2018 14 63.79 3725 27 14 93.7 7.66 131 3.36 0 27
Robert Griffin 2012 15 65.65 3200 20 5 102.4 8.14 815 6.79 7 27
Daniel Jones 2019 13 61.87 3027 24 12 87.7 6.59 279 6.2 2 26
Peyton Manning 1998 16 56.7 3739 26 28 71.2 6.5 62 4.13 0 26

 

The allure of a new coach is inviting. Looking at some potential candidates two that stand out are Don Martindale, the Ravens defensive coordinator, and Josh McDaniel, the Patriots Offensive coordinator.  The Ravens have been the first and second team in minimal points allowed the two years that Martindale has been the defensive coordinator. However the year before he was defensive coordinator the team was already the sixth best team. So he took an already very good defense and made it better. The same can be said of Josh McDaniel. The year before McDaniel took over as offensive coordinator the Patriots were already the third best team in offensive points scored.  It is attributable to Josh McDaniel that he maintained a good offense for seven seasons. But I am sure Bill Belichick was helpful in achieving that. (Note: I like both these potential new coach prospects and will cover them with others in a future post).

Now lets look at what Shurmur was handed. In 2017, the year before Shurmur took over, the Giants were 31st in offensive points scored. The next year they were 16th and this year they are 19th. For defense in 2017, the year prior to Shurmur, the Giants were 27th in defensive points allowed. They improved to 23rd the next year and fell to 29th this year.  The point is that some of these coaching candidates that look real good started with much better teams. Shurmur started with a bottom tier team on both offense and defense. Coupled with the young rookie secondary this year it is not surprising the team has not won much. It is not fair to expect Shurmur to turn around a young, new, bottom-tier team in two years. One more year with high draft picks and favorable salary cap would provide the opportunity to succeed.

The biggest Giant turnaround was by new coach Jim Fassel in 1997. They went from a 6-10 team to a 10-5 team and lost in the first round of the playoffs. However the prior 1996 Giant team was tenth in the league in defense for points allowed. They had two All-Pro players in Michael Strahan and Jessie Armstead. They also had two talented cornerbacks in Jason Sehorn and Phillipi Sparks. Shurmur started with a 3-13 team that has nowhere near that defensive talent of the 1997 team.

The future does actually look promising. Daniel Jones has performed exceptionally well and has definitely improved as the year went on. Saquon Barkley had a Pro-Bowl rookie season. After an early season injury he looks back to his stellar self. DeAndre Baker has improved dramatically from a tough rookie start at cornerback. Markus Golden has had a outstanding year getting the most sacks by a Giant since Jason Pierre -Paul in 2014. Our fifth round draft pick of Darius Slayton has shown real promise. The defensive front three have been tough to run on in the middle. This is a good core to build around. I forget where I saw it but one analyst predicted the Giants to win the NFC East in the 2020 season.

Over the last five seasons the highest coach turnover has been three different head coaches. There are only eight teams that have had three different head coaches since 2015. They are the Cardinals, Browns, Broncos, Dolphins, Giants, 49ers, Buccaneers and Titans. Of those eight probably only the Browns and the Giants are considering going to a fourth coach in six years. The Browns made it official Sunday and are going with their fourth head coach in six years. There is a lot to be said for holding the course and not constantly changing head coaches. San Francisco stuck with their initial plan of Kyle Shanahan. This even though he had a similar losing record as Shurmur. That decision has paid off with the number one seed in the playoffs.  Hopefully the Giants decision is closer to the 49ers than the Browns.

As I said this is water under the bridge now. I believe the new coach will benefit from the work done over the last two seasons. I wish Pat Shurmur well in his future endeavors. Never the less it is time to move on. It is an exciting time as a Giant fan and I look forward to the new coaching staff and what I believe will be a better team in 2020. Go Giants!

Week 17 Giants Versus Eagles – An NFC East Battle

This weekend the Giants host the Eagles in a critical game for the NFC East division title. The Eagles can clinch the NFC East with a victory. If the Eagles lose they would need a Dallas loss to win the division and make the playoffs. The Giants are playing for Giant pride as they were long ago eliminated from the playoffs. This is a meaningful game for both teams, as all games are. This game will have the feel of a playoff game. It should be a hard fought battle. Today I look at the game and key points for a Giant victory.

Five reasons the Giants will win.

1. Daniel Jones has got similar or better statistics than Carson Wentz for the season.

  • Jones’ passer rating is a significant 10 points better than Wentz’s passer rating.
  • On a per game basis Daniel Jones has almost double the touchdowns
  • Jones leads Carson Wentz in passing yards per attempt 6.6 to 6.2.
  • Jones’ rushing yards per attempt is almost twice that of Wentz and Jones rushing yards per game is over twice that of Wentz.

2.  Since the Giants bye week (11) the Giants have a better yards per offensive play than the Eagles. This is also true for the whole year but it got better in the last five games.

 

3. Since the Giants’ bye week in week 11 the Giants have a better defensive yards per play allowed than the Eagles. The opposite was the case prior to the bye week.

 

4. The Giants have a better penalty yards allowed than the Eagles for the season. It has diverged even more since the bye week as shown in the following table.

 

5.  Since the Giants bye week (11) the Giants have a significantly better score margin in the first half. Here are the score margins after the first half from week 12.

 

Five reasons the Eagle will win.

1. Since the Eagles bye week (10) the Eagles have a better 3rd down conversion percentage than the Giants. This has been true also for the whole season.

 

2. The Eagles have a better total yards margin than the Giants for the season and since the Eagle’s bye week. Here are the margins for the season.

 

3. Since the Eagles bye week (10) the Eagles have more first downs than the Giants by almost eight per game. Here are the first downs since week 11.

 

4. the Eagles have allowed a significantly lower passer rating for opponents than the Giants. Here are the allowed passer ratings for the season.

5. Since the Giants bye in week 11 the Eagles have a better second half score margin than the Giants. Here are the second half score margins since week 12.

Keys to The Game

1.  Pressure the Quarterback
The two teams are close in the percentage of quarterback pressures per dropback.  The Eagles have just a 0.8% advantage at 23.4%. The Eagles lead the Giants with 39 sacks to the Giants 35. However Giant Markus Golden leads both teams in sacks and pressures. Golden is eighth in the league with 40 pressures. He is tie for fifth in the league in quarterback hits. The other Giant outside linebacker, Lorenzo Carter, has 21 pressures. The lead Eagle is Brandon Graham who is 33rd in the league with 26 pressures. The other side of the Eagles line has Derek Barnett who has 23 pressures. Golden is 17th in the league with 9.5 sacks. Brandon Graham leads the Eagles with 7.5 which is 32nd in the league.

The Giants 3-4 defensive front three includes Dalvin Tomlinson with 3.5 sacks and 13 pressures, and Dexter Lawrence with 2.5 sacks and 14 pressures. The Giant interior other lineman, Leonard Williams, has 19 pressures for the year (2 teams) and zero sacks. The Eagles run a 4-3 defense. Their interior linemen consist of Fletcher Cox with 3.5 sacks and 19 pressure and Tim Jernigan with 1 sack and 2 pressures.

The Eagles quarterback has been hurried on 11% of dropbacks. That is higher than the Giants 9% of dropbacks. The Giants quarterback has been hit on 11.3% of dropbacks compared to the Eagles 8.2%. Both quarterbacks have either passed in the pocket or the pocket collapsed within 2.3 seconds.

Pro Football Focus named four of the Eagles offensive linemen among the top 25 offensive linemen thru week 15. They are RG Brandon Brooks, RT Lane Johnson, LT Jason Peters and OC Jason Kelce. They rate the Eagles as the highest graded offensive line. ProFootballtalk recently named Peters and Kelce to their top 10 offensive linemen of the decade. Giant RG Kevin Zeitler is the only Giant to make the PFF list. They said – In 61 combined pass-blocking snaps against Ndamukong Suh, Fletcher Cox and Kenny Clark this season Zeitler allowed just one quarterback hurry.

In their week 14 overtime matchup the Giants blitzed Wentz over three times more than the Eagles blitzed Manning. The hurries show that increased production but the sacks do not. The QB hits are decent for the increased blitz rate. Here are the pressure statistics from that game.

 

Both quarterbacks perform well under pressure.

In the Tampa Bay game this year, as reported on msn.com, Daniel Jones was pressured on 47% of his dropbacks and he completed 80% of his passes on those pressured attempts for 233 yards, two touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating. That’s the 4th-most pressured passing yards by any QB in any regular season game in PFF history (2007-2019). Over that span, there are 1,674 instances of a QB attempting at least 12 pressured pass attempts in a game. Jones was the first to record a perfect passer rating.

Through week six this season, there were only three quarterbacks to record a passing grade above 70 when under pressure: Russel Wilson at 87.5, Carson Wentz at 83.0 and Aaron Rodgers at 76.7.

This season when Wentz was blitzed in the double digits his win percentage doubled, his passer rating went up 6 points and his interceptions decreased by half. His bad throw percentage did increase by 2.5%. Other statistics such as completion percentage, sacks and 1st down percentage remained relatively the same. In the Giants game the Giants blitzed Wentz 18 times which was the most by any team. He was sacked three times but his overall passer rating (109) and completion percentage (70) was above his season average and his bad throw percentage was below the average.  It may be better to try to get pressure without as much blitzing as last game.

 2. Cover the Pass

Here are the coverage results from their last game in week 14.

Player Tm Int Tgt Cmp Cmp% Yds Yds/Cmp Yds/Tgt TD Rat DADOT Air YAC YAC / Rec
Alec Ogletree NYG 0 6 6 100.0% 71 11.8 11.8 1 155.6 5.2 31 40 6.7
Deone Bucannon NYG 0 3 2 66.7% 36 18 12 0 107.6 5 18 18 9.0
Michael Thomas NYG 0 3 3 100.0% 23 7.7 7.7 0 98.6 2 6 17 5.7
Janoris Jenkins NYG 0 8 6 75.0% 55 9.2 6.9 0 93.2 2.5 21 34 5.7
Sam Beal NYG 0 7 5 71.4% 51 10.2 7.3 0 92 12.4 38 13 2.6
Julian Love NYG 0 10 5 50.0% 35 7 3.5 1 91.7 3.7 14 21 4.2
David Mayo NYG 0 3 3 100.0% 13 4.3 4.3 0 84.7 -2.3 -7 20 6.7
Antoine Bethea NYG 0 4 2 50.0% 34 17 8.5 0 79.2 14 26 8 4.0
Deandre Baker NYG 0 6 1 16.7% 7 7 1.2 0 39.6 11.5 7 0 0.0
Total 50 33 66.0%
Ronald Darby PHI 0 7 5 71.4% 151 30.2 21.6 2 153.3 17.9 96 55 11.0
Rodney McLeod PHI 0 1 1 100.0% 10 10 10 0 108.3 10 10 0 0.0
Duke Riley PHI 0 2 2 100.0% 5 2.5 2.5 0 79.2 -0.5 -1 6 3.0
Avonte Maddox PHI 0 2 1 50.0% 11 11 5.5 0 66.7 14 4 7 7.0
Nathan Gerry PHI 0 5 3 60.0% 10 3.3 2 0 64.6 -0.6 -4 14 4.7
Nigel Bradham PHI 0 3 1 33.3% 2 2 0.7 0 42.4 12.3 2 0 0.0
Jalen Mills PHI 0 3 1 33.3% 7 7 2.3 0 42.4 8.7 7 0 0.0
Malcolm Jenkins PHI 0 4 1 25.0% 7 7 1.8 0 39.6 8 6 1 1.0
Total 27 15 55.6%

 

Giant cornerback DeAndre Baker had a lights out game. The allowed passer rating when he was targeted was 39.6 with six targets and one completion. On his one completion he allowed zero yards after the catch. Eagles strong safety also had a good game allowing just 1 completion on 4 targets with 1 yard allowed after the catch.

On the negative side Giant Alec Ogletree had the worst day among Giant coverage plays. He was targeted six times allowing six completions for an allowed 155.6 passer rating when targeted. He also allowed an average 6.7 yards after the catch per reception. Ogletree was injured and did not play last week against Washington. Deone Bucannon took his place. For the season on the Giants Bucannon has allowed a higher passer rating when targeted than Ogletree. It is uncertain if Ogletree will play this Sunday against the Eagles.

Eagles cornerback Ronald Darby had a equivalent bad day. He allowed five completions on seven targets for 151 yards and a whopping average 11 yards after the catch. His allowed passer rating when targeted was 153.3. Ronald Darby has been placed on injured reserve. Head coach Doug Pederson said Rasul Douglas will start at cornerback with Darby out. Rasul Douglas has started 5 games in 2019. He has had 60 targets and allowed 34 catches for a 56.7% completion rate and a 115.9 passer rating when targeted. Douglas has allowed an average 5.6 yards after the catch.

Eagles tight end Zach Ertz leads all tight end in targets and is second in receptions. Ertz is ninth among all receivers in targets. He played last week with a fractured rib that occurred in the first quarter. It is unknown if he will play this weekend. The other tight end Dallas Goedert  is also a highly rated player. In the Dallas game last week he caught a touchdown pass. On a drive with 1:52 remaining on the half Goedert caught five consecutive passes for a total of 59 yards. In the fourth quarter he had a 22 yard reception. His 5.9 yards after the catch per reception is seventh best among tight ends. In the Dallas game Goedert made most catches in the middle and the intermediate range. Although Goedert also had a deep right catch and a screen pass to the left.  The Giants have to spend special attention the the Eagles tight ends as the Eagles are hurting in the wide receivers players with injuries. In the Dallas game last week 75% of their targets and 77% of the Eagles receptions were for running backs or tight ends.

The Giants could use a  lot of nickel defense formation in which they use five defensive backs to aid in covering tight ends and slot receivers. The Giants nickel package includes three rookies of DeAndre Baker, Julian Love and Corey Ballentine with Michael Thomas and Antoine Bethea at safety. Ballentine has been playing the nickel position.  With the exception of Robert Davis, the Eagles receivers are not exceptionally fast. I hope to see the Giants play more tight man-to-man coverage as opposed to zone. Their zone coverage often appears to be too soft leaving receivers open.

3. Stop the Run

The Eagles want to run the ball. They are seventh in rushing attempts and twelfth in rushing yards and rushing first downs. Luckily the run defense from the interior line is one of the strengths of the Giants team. The Giants 3.9 rushing yards allowed per attempt is fifth in the league. However they have allowed 91 rushing first downs which is seventeenth in the league and 16 rushing touchdowns which is 27th in the league. The Giants have allowed 11 rushing plays of 20+ yards which is 23rd in the league. Many of the big runs have occurred on the edge.  In Miles Sanders 100-yard rushing game against the Redskins his big rushes of 5+ yards were distributed as right end two rushes for 18 yards, left end two rushes for 67 yards and interior two rushes for 22 yards. He also had large pass plays of short passes and runs of two to the left for 26 yards, one to the right for 15 yards and two in the middle for 12 yards. The Giants have to play sound fundamentals of getting off your blocks and Contain on the edge. Force the runner inside.

4. Execute on Offense

I believe offensively the Giants match up favorably against a banged up Eagle offense. The Giants have the edge in wide receivers with Shepard, Slayton and Tate. A Saquon Barkley on his game has the edge over Miles Sanders. The Eagles have the edge on the offensive line. The tight end edge goes to the Eagles.

I like Daniel Jones versus Carson Wentz. Jones needs to eliminate the fumbles. Otherwise Jones has shown accuracy, poise, toughness, mobility, and the ability to lead drives with the game on the line. Jones has gone against eleven teams and other than the Vikings game, Jones has led the team to either a victory or a close game in the fourth quarter. I list the games in my post The Giants Are Improving And Not Just Behind The Scenes. Daniel Jones is his own man, but I see a lot of similar positive traits between him and Eli Manning. Jones may only have three victories but two of those were with game winning drives.

In Conclusion

This should be a real battle. The Eagles are playing to win the division and make the playoffs or else they most likely will be out. The Giants have a long history of playing tough even in games that the outcome does not matter to them. They have continued to do so this season. No game is meaningless. The Giant offense is more than capable to produce to keep this a close game. Like many games this year it will come down to the Giant defense limiting the opposition. This is not a slight on the defense. They also have fought hard every game right to the end. Against the Redskins the Giants started four rookies on defense if you count Sam Beal as a rookie. Three of those rookies were in the secondary. Rookies DeAndre Baker, Julian Love and Dexter Lawrence have all played well of late. The Giants have the talent, grit and drive to pull off the upset victory.  Enjoy the Game. Go Giants!!

Giants sign Fullback George Aston

The Giants signed fullback George Aston to the practice squad. Aston was signed as an undrafted free agent following the 2019 NFL draft by the Denver Broncos. However he was cut at the 53-man roster cuts following preseason.  Aston played at Pittsburgh in college.

Fullback George Aston is an“old school” football player. He bench pressed 29 reps at his pro day which would have been second among combine running backs. In 2016, Aston scored 5 receiving and 5 rushing touchdowns. Only 28 players over the last 10 years have scored at least 5 TDs in both phases. Aston is one of only two in this draft class to do so. Those 10 touchdowns in 2016 came on just 44 touches or a touchdown every 4.4 touches. In 2017 Aston was injured and contributed as a reserve in only two games. Granted a lot changes from year to year, but it is worth noting that Pittsburgh went from 86th in rushing yards /game (148) and 97th in average rush yards (3.87) in 2017 to 18th in rush yards/game (228) and 13th in average rush yards (5.6) in 2018. They had the same two running backs both years. The major differences were three new o-linemen and George Aston was now healthy and playing. One of the o-line changes was the loss of second round draft pick Brian O’Neill. Pittsburgh’s offensive line coach Dave Borbely called Aston the best fullback he’s ever been around. Borbely is in his 39th season as a college offensive linemen coach and run game coordinator.

At the high school level Aston was capable of bench pressing 440 pounds and squatting 700 pounds. To put that in perspective in the spring of 2018 DT Ed Oliver was reported to be capable of  a 650 squat and a 405 bench press. At his Pro Day Aston met fullback target goals for seven of the eight drills. “I live in the gym. I’m there every day. When I’m not lifting, I’m running sprint drills or doing cardiovascular work.” said George Aston coming out of high school.

Aston has been described as ‘hard-nosed’ and a ‘blue-collar warrior. “George is a monster in there,” Pittsburgh head coach Pat Narduzzi said this past season. Aston made my list of the five toughest players at each position for players drafted or signed as undrafted free agents in 2019.

Giants vs Redskins – The Rookies

The game week 16 between the Giants and the Redskins could be called the rookie bowl. There will be more rookies starting in this game than any other game this weekend. The Giants have four rookie starters and the Redskins have five.  Today I look at the rookie starters in the game.

New York Giants

QB Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones is one of only 13 rookie quarterbacks since 1950 that in their first 10 games had an 80+ passer rating, 2000+ passing yards, a 60% Completion percentage or better and a 6+ yards per pass attempt.

 

Daniel Jones is the only rookie quarterback since 1950 to have three games of 300+ passing yards, two passing touchdowns and a quarterback rating of 112+. He is also the only rookie quarterback to have two games of 300+ passing yards and four passing touchdowns. On the negative side Jones leads the league in fumbles with 15 for the season. However he is closely followed by Josh Allen and Carson Wentz who each have 14.

WR Darius Slayton

Darius Slayton is one of only 11 rookie wide receivers since 1992 who in their first 12 games had 6+ receiving touchdowns, 600+ receiving yards, a 60% or better catch percent and 6+ yards per target.

 

DT Dexter Lawrence

Dexter Lawrence is one of only 13 rookie interior defensive linemen since 2006 that had 2+ sacks, 20+ solo tackles, 2+ tackles for loss and 9+ quarterback hits in their first 14 games.

Player Pos Age Year Tm G Sk Solo Ast Comb TFL QBHits
Dexter Lawrence DL 21 2019 NYG 14 2.5 21 14 35 2 9
Olsen Pierre DL 26 2017 CRD 14 5.5 22 8 30 9 9
Solomon Thomas DL 22 2017 SFO 14 3 34 7 41 10 11
Willie Henry DT 23 2017 RAV 14 3.5 24 9 33 6 11
DeForest Buckner LDT 22 2016 SFO 14 6 42 28 70 7 17
Aaron Donald DT 23 2014 RAM 14 8 35 5 40 18 11
Chris Jones DT 23 2013 NWE 13 6 25 29 54 8 9
Fletcher Cox DT 21 2012 PHI 14 5.5 32 5 37 8 9
Marcell Dareus NT 21 2011 BUF 14 5.5 28 10 38 8 10
Ndamukong Suh DT 23 2010 DET 14 8 40 15 55 12 15
Gerald McCoy DT 22 2010 TAM 13 3 22 6 28 7 12
Tyson Alualu DT 23 2010 JAX 14 3.5 25 8 33 6 9
Jason Jones DL 22 2008 OTI 13 5 24 7 31 6 9

CB DeAndre Baker

Weeks 12-15 Baker has the 6th-best coverage grade among all qualified cornerbacks , while quarterbacks targeting Baker have completed just 26.3% of their passes, the lowest percentage targeting any corner. Baker has improved recently from a poor start to the year. For the season Baker has allowed a 111 passer rating when targeted.

Washington Redskins

QB Dwayne Haskins

Dwayne Haskins has just come off the best game of his rookie year. He passed for 261 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions, a 9.32 yards per pass attempt and a 121.3 passer rating. Only 19 rookie quarterbacks since 1950 had a game like that and only one had two games that good in their rookie season. For the season Haskins 70.2 passer rating is last among quarterbacks that started six or more games.

WR Kelvin Harmon

Kelvin Harmon only advanced to 60% or more of the offensive snaps over the last five weeks. In that time-frame he is one of only five rookie receivers to have Receiving Yds >= 199, Yds/Target >= 8, Yds/Reception >= 14 and Catch Pct >= 58.  Three of those five rookies will play in this game.

WR Terry McLaurin

Terry McLaurin is one of only four rookie wide receivers since 1992 that in their first 13 games had 800+ receiving yards, 7+ receiving touchdowns, a 16+ yards per reception and 9+ yards per target.

LB Cole Holcomb

Cole Holcomb is one of only 13 players since 2006 who in their rookie season in their first 14 games had 90+ tackles, 60+ solo tackles, 6+ tackles for loss and 2+ quarterback hits. He is the only rookie this season to accomplish this. His main negative is in pass coverage where he has allowed a 117.5 passer rating when targeted and an 84% completion percentage on 38 targets for an average 9.5 yards per completion.

Montez Sweat

Montez Sweat has 23 quarterback pressures in his rookie season. That is fourth best among rookies. He is one of only four rookies in 2019 to have 5+ Sacks, 5+ Tackles for Loss and 9+ quarterback hits.
Enjoy the game! Go Giants! Go Daniel Jones!

How have Giant Players Performed in the Latter Part Of the Season

There is a lot to be said for how a team and a player finishes the season. Did they improve as the season went on or regress. This also reflects on the coaching staff if their team has improved with more experience and practice. Here is a look at the Giants starters and how they performed from the start of the season compared to the end in key statistics. This is not a reflection of how they performed for the year but only the difference in play from the early games to the later games. I have color coded the players showing improvement in Giant blue and those showing regression in red. They also have a + (improved) and a – (regressed) in front of their names.

Offense

+ Daniel Jones (Week 3-7 to 8-13)

+ Increased his passer rating from 74.9 to 92
+ Increased his passing touchdowns from 6 to 12
+ Decreased his interceptions from 7 to 4
– Increased his fumbles from 5 to 9
– Decreased his rushing touchdowns from 2 to 0

+ Darius Slayton (Week 3-8 to 9-15)
Targets 27 to 45

+ Increased receiving yards from 267 to 423
+ Increased receiving touchdowns from 3 to 5
– Decreased yards per reception from 16.7 to 15.1

+ Rhett Ellison (Week 1-5 to 6-10)
Targets from 9 to 19

+ Increased receptions from 7 to 11
+ Increased receiving yards from 46 to 121
+ Increased yards per reception from 6.6 to 11
+ Increased touchdowns from 0 to 1
+ Increased yards per target from 5.11 to 6.37
– Decreased Catch percentage from 77.8 to 57.9

+ Golden Tate (Week 5-8 to 9-15)
Targets from 36 to 30

– Decreased receptions from 23 to 15
– Decreased yards from 280 to 232
– Decreased Catch percentage from 64% to 50%
+ Increased Yards per reception from 12.2 to 15.5
+ Increased touchdowns from 1 to 4

+ Cody Latimer (Week 1-7 to 6-15)
Targets from 19 to 13

– Decreased Reception from 10 to 7
– Decreased Receiving yards from 137 to 107
+ Increased yards per reception from 13.7 to 15.3
+ Increased touchdowns from 0 to 1
+ Increased yards per target from 7.2 to 8.2
+ Increased Catch Percentage from 52.6% to 53.8%

– Saquon Barkley (Week 1-9 to 10-15)
Rushing attempts from 88 to 90
Receiving targets from 41 to 24

– Decreased yards per attempt from 4.56 to 3.57
– Decreased rushing yards from 401 to 321
– Decreased yards per reception from 8.14 to 5.59
– Decreased yards per target from 5.56 to 3.96

– Sterling Shepard (Week 1-5 to 12-15)
Targets from 34 to 33

– Decreased Receptions from 25 to 21
– Decreased receiving yards from 267 to 194
– Decreased yards per reception from 10.7 to 9.2
– Decreased Catch % from 73.5 to 63.6
– Decreased yards per target from 7.85 to 5.88

Defense

+ Markus Golden (Weeks 1-7 to 8-15)
Defensive Snaps from 369 to 427

– Decreased Sacks from 5 to 4
+ Increased Solo Tackles from 12 to 20
+ Increased tackles for loss from 3 to 8
+ Increased Quarterback hits from 11 to 13

+ Dalvin Tomlinson (Week 1-7 to 8-15)
Defensive Snap from 252 to 254

+ Increased solo tackles from 9 to 12
+ Increased tackles for loss from 1 to 4
+ Increase Quarterback hits from 3 to 6
+ Increased sacks from 0.5 to 3.0
+ Increased Forced Fumbles from 0 to 1

+ DeAndre Baker (Week 1-7 to 8-15)
Defensive Snaps from 428 to 407

+ Increased Passes Defended from 1 to 6
+ Increased solo tackles from 19 to 21
+ Increased tackles for loss from 0 to 1
+ week 1-10 allowed 149.9 passer rating when targeted, week 12-15 Baker has the 6th-best coverage grade among all qualified CBs , while QBs targeting Baker have completed just 26.3% of their passes, the lowest percentage targeting any corner

+ Jabrill Peppers (Week 1-5 to 6-12)
Defensive Snaps from 327 to 378

+ Increased Solo Tackles 21 to 30
+ Increased Total Tackles 30 to 46
+ Increased Tackles for Loss 1 to 4
+ Increased Forced Fumbles 1 to 2
– Decreased Interceptions 1 to 0
– Decreased Passes Defended 3 to 2

+ Antoine Bethea (Week 1-7 to 8-15)
Defensive Snaps from 471 to 492

– Decreased Solo Tackles from 37 to 35
– Decreased Total tackles from 55 to 43
+ Increased tackles for loss from 0 to 2
+ Increased Interceptions from 0 to 1
+ Increased Passes Defended from 1 to 4
+ Antoine Bethea has the 4th highest grade defending the run for a safety

+- Lorenzo Carter (Week 1-7 to 8-15)
Defensive Snaps 297 to 329

+ Increased sacks from 1.5 to 2
+ Increased tackles for loss from 0 to 4
– Decreased quarterback hits from 6 to 3
– Decreased forced fumbles from 1 to 0

– Alec Ogletree (week 1-8 to 9-15)
Defensive Snaps from 373 to 430

– Decreased Solo tackles from 24 to 22
– Decreased tackles for Loss from 3 to 1
– Decreased Quarterback hits from 2 to 1
– Decreased total tackles from 39 to 36
+ Increased Interceptions from 0 to 1

Dexter Lawrence (Week 1-7 to 8-15)
Defensive Snaps from 279 to 340

+ Increased Solo tackles from 9 to 12
+ Increased Quarterback hits from 3 to 6
– Decreased sacks from 2 to 0.5
– Decreased tackles for loss from 2 to 0
– Decreased total tackles from 19 to 16
– Decreased forced fumbles from 1 to 0

 – David Mayo (Week 3-8 to 9-15)
Defensive Snaps 230 to 258

– Decreased sacks from 1.5 to 0
+ Increased tackles for loss from 1 to 3
– Decreased quarterback hits from 1 to 0
– Decreased total tackles from 34 to 30

Special Teams

+ Aldrick Rosas (Week 1-7 to 8-15)

– Decreased Extra Point % from 100% to 75%
+ Increased Field Goal % from 66.7% to 77.8%
+ Increased points from 28 to 33

+ Riley Dixon (Week 1-7 to 8-15)

+ Increased yards per punt from 44.96 to 47.72
+ Decreased Blocked punts from 1 to 0

In Conclusion

This is not an exact science.  Some players were hard to classify as improved or regressed. In the case of Golden Tate his significant increase in touchdowns was the deciding factor. Lorenzo carter was tough to judge. I put him as the same, neither improved or regressed. Antoine Bethea has significant issues in coverage. As reported on Pro Football Reference he has a 143.8 passer rating allowed when targeted for the season. But from a half season to half season comparison he has improved when looking at all aspects of his play.  Dexter Lawrence is a great player but he has regressed in the latter half of the season.

Overall my opinion is that the majority of starting players have improved in the latter half of the season. With two games remaining that can change either way. Hopefully the improvements continue and translate into wins to finish out the year. Enjoy the Week 16 games. Go Giants!

Giants Not In Playoffs – Who To Root For?

Like most football fans once their team is out of the playoffs I look for two teams to root for – one in each conference.  Being a Giants fan that ruled out the Eagles or Cowboys. With both teams at 7-7 it does not look like the winner will go far in the playoffs. That leaves roughly five NFC teams to choose from and seven AFC teams. The Titans on the outside looking in still have a decent shot at making the playoffs.

There have only been twelve quarterbacks that have won multiple Super Bowls. Giant Eli Manning is one of them. Being a Giants fan and Eli Manning fan I would like to keep that number down at least until Manning makes the Hall Of Fame.  That means I do not want Aaron Rodgers (GNB), Russel Wilson (SEA) or Drew Brees (NOR) in the Super Bowl. That leaves the 49ers and the Vikings among the NFC teams. The AFC teams are still open to seven teams.

Being a statistics loving football fan, I next ran a query on teams to see who has excelled in some major stats. I used pro football reference which allows you to filter on four qualifiers. For four stats I like the following for showing how good a team is

  1. Yards per rushing attempt,
  2. Passer Rating,
  3. Net Yards per Pass Attempt, and
  4. Turnover Margin.

For yards per rushing attempt I first used 5.0 but only the Ravens and Browns showed up. So I decreased it to 4.0 yards per attempt. That gave me 22 teams.

Next I added passer rating. I started with a passer rating of 100. That actually was a good point. It yielded eight teams all of which are in playoff contention. If you drop it to 95 you get four more team and two of those are not in playoff contention. Those would be the Falcons and Raiders (only a slim slim chance).  So I stuck with a passer rating of 100 and combined it with the 4.0 rushing yards per attempt. Those two yielded the eight teams. They are the Ravens, Vikings, Saints, Seahawks, Titans, Chiefs, 49ers and Packers.

Next I checked net yards per pass attempt. Starting at a measly 5.0 yards per attempt yielded all 32 teams.  I added the query to my other two and upped the net yards/pass attempt to 6.0. That still yielded the eight teams I had without it. But I noticed a clear drop-off for the lowest team. The Packers had 6.3 net yards per attempt. The next lowest team the Titans were up to 6.9 yards per attempt. The next couple of teams were only slightly better. So I added a 6.5 net yards per pass attempt.

The next added qualifier was for turnover margin as positive. This yielded no change. in fact all seven remaining teams had a 5+ turnover margin. The lowest three went from 5, 6 to 7. I noticed the total yards  margin had a huge discrepancy. Two teams were well over a thousand. While the others were at 630 or less. That was my final fourth qualifier.

In a single season, in 2019, in the Regular Season, requiring

  1. Yds/Rushing Att >= 4 and
  2. Passer Rating >= 100 and
  3. Net Yds/Pass Att >= 6.5 and
  4. Total Yds Margin >= 700.
I was thinking Baltimore would be my AFC team as Lamar Jackson and their offense are an exciting team to watch. Jackson will likely win MVP of the year. Lamar Jackson has been the AFC Offensive Player of the Week four times this year. The records that he is setting are staggering. Some include:
  1. Most rushing yards by a quarterback in a season.
  2. Tied for most games in a season with a perfect passer rating (2).
  3. Only player to rush for 1000+ yards and pass for 2500 yards in a season.
  4. Youngest quarterback to achieve a perfect passer rating.
The 49ers have a good defense and maybe the defensive rookie of the year in Nick Bosa. Nick Bosa is one of only seven rookies all time to have 9 sacks and 20 quarterback hits. I also loved tight end George Kittle’s catch and run against the Saints that set up the game winning field goal. With a defender holding his facemask Kittle kept going for extra yards. Reminded me of Mark Bavaro. Jimmy Garoppolo is also having a good year.
  1. One of 4 QBs with 3000+ passing yards, 100+ passer rating and 8.0+ yards per pass attempt.
  2. One of 5 QBs with 3+ fourth quarter comebacks.
  3. His 6.1% touchdown percent is sixth in the league
  4. He leads the league in pass yards after the catch per completion. (tied Mahomes)
  5. Is tied for second in percentage of on-target throws per pass attempt.
Those two teams would make an exciting Super Bowl !  Go Ravens!! Go 49ers!!

Giants Improvement Status After Fourteen Games

Fourteen games of the sixteen game season have been played. I previously looked at the team rank in the beginning of the season compared to the end in week thirteen with 12 games played. Now I revisit that view with 14 games played.

This time I looked at 37 team statistics and the Giants league rank in each one. Overall for the 37 statistics the Giants improved only slightly going from an average 26th rank for the first 7 games to a 22nd rank in the last seven games.  For the whole year they averaged at the 22nd rank.

The Good News

The one very bright spot was on penalties. They ranked sixth for the year and in the second half in penalty yards committed. The Giants ranked 17th in opponent penalty yards. For an average rank of 12 in penalty yards for the year.

For all other yearly rankings they were in the twenties for all categories. The exception was run defense in which the ranked 18th for the year.  Run defense was also their most improved area ranking at 8th in the last seven games. Run defense was the average rank of Opponent rushing yards, opponent rushing yards per attempt and opponent rushing touchdowns. They ranked third in opponent rushing yards per attempt for the last seven games and fifth for the year.

Another area that showed significant improvement over the last seven games is passing offense. They ranked 25th in passing offense the first seven games. For the last seven games they improved to 17th, In the last seven games they were third in passing touchdowns and 15th in passer rating. Both were significant improvements from a 26th and 29th rank in the first seven games.

Other areas they improved significantly included yards allowed per play going from 24th in the first seven games (6 yds/play) to 15th in the last seven games (5.45 yds/play). Another area was fourth down conversion percentage. In the first half they attempted 14 fourth downs and converted 5 (36%). In the latter half they attempted 13 and converted 7 (54%).  Lastly they improved in touchdowns. In the first seven games they scored 17 touchdowns (19th). In the latter seven games they scored 19 touchdowns (12th).

The Bad News

The run game went from rank 13th to 27th. In the last seven game the Giants rank 28th in rushing yards, 24th in rushing yards per attempt and 30th in rushing touchdowns.  In the first seven games the Giants were seventh in rushing yards per attempt.

Another area things got worse is in pass defense. The Giants went from 20th in pass defense to 26th.  The major decreases were in opponent passing touchdowns (16th to 31st), opponent passes intercepted (11th to 24th) and opponent sacked (15th to 26th). Opponent passer rating went from 24th to 28th.

The last significant decrease was in 3rd down conversion percentage. In the first seven games the Giants attempted 87 third downs and converted 33 (38%). In the last seven games they attempted 95 third downs and converted 33 (35%). This decrease dropped then from a 19th rank to 25th in the league.

Better But Still A Ways To Go

In terms of margins or the difference between the Giants value and the opponents value the Giants show some positive improvements.  Margins here compare the first seven games to the latter seven. In total yards margin the Giants went from a -419 yards to a -287 yards, That only bumped them from 28th to 26th. In the turnover margin the Giants went from -10 to -5 for a change in rank from 31st to 27th.

When it comes to score margins the Giants went from a halftime score margin of -53 points to +2 points for a rank change of 30th to 15th. This improvement continued thru the 3rd quarter. The margin after three quarters improved from -53 points to -2 points thereby going from a 27th rank to a 21st rank.  However the bad news is the Giants folded in the 4th quarter. In the first seven games they had a -2 points margin in the fourth quarter (16th rank). In the last seven games they have a -36 points margin in the 4th quarter (31st rank).

Looking Forward

There are two more games to go and a chance to improve the latter half season statistics. Hopefully the Giants will at least maintain or continue to advance the improvements shown. Other than that a lot of areas to improve. Two that I would like to see are the fourth quarter score margin and to get the run game back on track.

Here is a spreadsheet – Statistics By Half Season, that contains all the rankings for each statistic. It shows weeks 8-14, weeks 1-7 and the whole season.  Statistics are put in groups with a column of the group average next to each week breakdown. Significant differences have the better rank highlighted in blue. A bad group average is red and a good group average is yellow. The same red or yellow code is used on the statistic names themselves. The orange stat color is for average or not bad.

Yea Eli Manning!

The Giants break their nine game losing streak with a win over the Dolphins. More importantly Eli Manning leads the team to victory and receives some well justified show of love and appreciation from the fans.

 

 

 

Eli is the ultimate professional and a class act! He helped lead the Giants to two Super Bowl victories yet always directed praise towards the team. He wanted to go out there today and get a win for the team. The team wanted to go out and get a win for Eli. It was a good day for Giant fans!

 

Thank You Eli for all you have done for the Giant fans and how well you exemplify sportsmanship, teamwork, hard work and toughness. A class act!

Giants Team – Defensive Line

There are roughly 15 teams playing a base 3-4 defense. The Giants starting front three have generated 35 pressures among them for the season. That falls in at seventh best among the fifteen teams. Here are the teams with the pressures for each player and their collective total sorted by total. Some players listed are currently injured but I tried too take the player that played most of the year.

 

Team DL Press DL Press NT Press Total
Rams Brockers 18 Darnold 49 Joseph-Day 9 76
Redskins Allen 16 Ioannidis 27 Payne 8 51
Buccaneers Suh 18 Gholston 10 Vea 17 45
Steelers Heyward 26 Alualu 6 Hargrave 12 44
Panthers McCoy 19 Butler 10 Poe 7 36
Texans Watt 24 Blackson 2 Reader 10 36
Giants Williams 10 Lawrence 13 Tomlinson 12 35
Jets Anderson 14 Williams 9 McLendon 10 33
Cardinals Bullard 8 Gunter 16 Peters 9 33
Broncos Harris 10 Wolfe 18 Purcell 4 32
Titans Simmons 4 Casey 16 Jones 7 27
Bears Robertson 16 Nichols 4 Goldman 5 25
Packers Lancaster 3 Lowry 6 Clark 12 21
Dolphins Jenkins 2 Wilkins 9 Godchaux 7 18
Ravens Williams 5 Wormley 8 Pierce 3 16

 

The Giants at seventh is pretty decent. You have to consider that Dexter Lawrence is a rookie and Leonard Williams has played only five games as a Giant this season.

In 2017 Dalvin Tomlinson made the NFL 2017 All-Rookie Team. In 2018 he was graded by Pro Football Focus as the second highest graded interior defensive lineman in the NFC East. He led all NFC East defensive interior linemen in run stops with 26. In 2018 he had 59 tackles with only one missed tackle.  This season Tomlinson has 2.5 sacks which is much improved from his zero sacks in 2018.

In his rookie season this year Dexter Lawrence has two and a half sacks, 21 solo tackles, two tackles for loss and seven quarterback hits. He is one of only four rookie defensive linemen to accomplish those statistics. In addition Lawrence has 13 quarterback pressures, a forced fumble and a pass defended. Through week 13 Dexter Lawrence was Pro Football Focus‘s third highest graded rookie.

Leonard Williams leads the NFL in QB hits with 14, among interior defensive linemen. He has seven quarterback knockdowns and ten pressures in five games on the Giants. In his five Giant games he has 15 tackles with zero missed tackles.

The defensive line has a solid backup in B.J. Hill. In his 2018 rookie season Hill was fourth among all rookies in sacks with five and a half., seventh in tackles for loss with six, eleventh in quarterback hits (8) and fourteenth in solo tackles (32). He accomplished those statistics on 59% of the defensive snaps. BJ Hill could be a starter given the opportunity.

The Giants are fourth in the league in opponent rushing yards per attempt surrendering only 3.8 yards per attempt. They have quarterback pressure on 23.2% of quarterback dropbacks which is good for 17th in the league.

This defensive front three of the 3-4 defense is probably the best defensive unit on the team. There would appear to be no need to draft an interior defensive lineman. Leonard Williams will be a free agent in 2020 and the Giants will have to see how that unfolds.

The Giants Defensive Line coach, Gary Emmanuel, has over 30 years experience coaching defensive lines at the collegiate and NFL level. His NFL experience goes back to 2012 where he coached the defensive line for six years on the Indianapolis Colts.

This concludes a series of posts on the Giants team. I covered the whole offense in The Giant Team Offense and then broke the defense down in a couple of posts on Giants Team Defense – The Secondary and Giants Team Defense – Linebackers.

Giants Team Defense – Linebackers

The Giants have a history of great linebackers. Bill Parcells’ linebacker corp of the ’80s is ranked by nflnetwork as one of the top ten of all time. It was composed of Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Gary Reasons and Carl Banks.  Taylor was the number two pick in the ’81 draft and Banks was the number three pick in the ’84 draft. Reasons and Carson were fourth round picks. All four picks were made within a nine year period. In the last nine drafts the Giants picked four linebackers at round 5, 4 and two at 6.

Markus Golden

Markus Golden is ninth in the league in pressures with 35. He is the leader on the Giants in sacks with 8.5 which is 19th in the league. Golden leads all Giants in quarterback knockdowns with 10 which is 12th in the league. He leads all Giants in quarterback hurries with 13 which is tie for 13th in the league. In coverage he has been targeted twice allowing one reception for six yards and only two yards after the catch.

David Mayo

Going into week 13 David Mayo was the 17th highest graded linebacker for the season by Pro Football Focus. Mayo is an athletic linebacker. At his 2015 Pro Day he met inside linebacker targets in six of his eight events. In the Patriot game Mayo recorded eight solo tackles and a quarterback hit.  David Mayo made the NFL a goal of his in the 4th grade. After getting zero division I offers out of high school he enrolled in Santa Monica Junior College, which had a reputation of sending players on to FBS programs. For a semester when he was attending the junior college, Mayo lived in a 10 x 15 uninsulated shed in a woman’s backyard in Southern California. He later transferred to Texas State and was drafted in the fifth round by the Panthers. In four years on the Panthers he started 4 games. This his first year on the Giants Mayo has started 10 games.

Alec  Ogletree

Alec Ogletree‘s 86.4% completion percentage on 44 passing targets is 261st out of 268 players with 20+ passing targets. His 5.39 yards after the catch per reception is 197th among the 268 players. He is the third most targeted Giant following Janoris Jenkins and DeAndre Baker. His 4.09 solo tackles per game is third most on the Giants and highest among Giant linebackers by 1.32 solo tackles/game.

Four of the top five rated inside linebackers by Pro Football Focus have a 12% team market share of solo tackles. Ogletree has an 8.5% team market share.  The last time the Giants had a linebacker with 11% or better solo tackle team market share was in 2006 when Antonio Pierce had 107 solo tackles for 12.5%.  Peirce was signed as an free agent with the Giants in 2005. Pierce had signed as an undrafted free agent by the Redskins following the 2001 NFL draft.

Lorenzo Carter

Lorenzo Carter is one of 18 players since 2006 that in their first 27 career games had five passes defended, fifteen quarterback hits, fifty solo tackles and seven sacks. Carter and Sam Hubbard are the only players this year to achieve this. Of the 18 the Giants have the most players with three who are Lorenzo Carter, Jason Pierre-Paul and Mathias Kiwanuka. Carter accomplished this playing in only 40% and 66% of the defensive snaps over his two season career.

Oshane Ximines

In his rookie season of 2019 Oshane Ximines is eighth  among 75 rookie defensive linemen and linebackers in sacks with four. He has accomplished this on just 45% of the defensive snaps.

Looking Forward

The linebacker position has become even more important  these days with the proliferation of screen passes, run-pass-options, increased use of tight ends, increased use of slot receivers and rushing quarterbacks. They must be able to stop the run and drop back into pass coverage. The outside linebackers must also be adept at rushing the quarterback. They need speed, a high football IQ, good vision, lateral speed and strong hips for change of direction.

Draft Prospects For Linebacker. All five prospects have had a 12% or better solo tackle team market share  some season in their college career. That percentage is indicative of future All-Pro or Pro-Bowl level play. Projected draft rounds are from CBS Sports 7 round mock draft.

Isaiah Simmons, Clemson – Simmons won the 2019 Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker (Proj Rd 1)

Kenneth Murray, Oklahoma – In 2018 tie for second in the nation in total tackles with 155. (Proj Rd 1)

Troy Dye, Oregon – One of only three players that over the last five seasons had two seasons of 100+ tackles, 60+ solo tackles, 4+ passes defended and an interception. (Proj Rd 2)

Paddy Fisher, Northwestern – Tie for first among FBS active career leaders in forced fumbles with ten. (Proj Rd 4)

Markus Bailey, Purdue – Third in the FBS active career leaders in solo tackles per game with 5.09. (Proj Rd 5)

Draft Prospects for Outside Linebackers/Edge Rushers. All listed prospects meet target team market share indicative of All-Pro to Pro-Bowl players. For edge defenders those are 6.3% solo tackles, 25% sacks and 15,3% tackles for loss. The only exception is Basham who missed only on solo tackles recording a 4.9%.

Chase Young , Ohio State – Winner of 2019 Chuck Bednarik Award, Ted Hendricks Award and Bronko Nagurski Award.  2019 Big Ten Defensive Player of Year. One of four finalists for the Heisman Trophy. (Proj Rd 1)

Curtis Weaver, Boise State – 2019 Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year.  Second among FBS active career leaders in Sacks per game (0.85) and fourth in Tackles For Loss per game (1.16) (Proj Rd 2)

Carlos Basham Jr. Wake Forest – 2019 All-ACC First Team. In the ACC is second in Tackles For Loss and third in Sacks and Forced Fumbles. (Proj Rd 2)

Kenny Willekes, Michigan State – 2018 Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year. One of only nine players over the last five seasons to have 90 solo tackles, 45 tackles for loss and 20 sacks. In that group of nine Willekes had the third most passes defended with seven. (Proj Rd 3)

Bradlee Anae, Utah – 2019 All Pac-12  First Team. Anae was a two time First Team selection. One of nine players in the NCAA that in 2019 have 25 solo tackles, 13 tackles for loss and 12 sacks.(Proj Rd 3)

Enjoy the Giants vs Miami Game! Hopefully the Giants get a win and break the losing streak! Go Giants! Go Eli!