BY LESLIE MONTEIRO
(Photo credit: Rich Schultz/Getty Images)
Giants fans are loud and proud these days. They should be. It’s been forever since their team started off the season at 2-0. Six years to be exact. It seems like forever after watching bad football for a long time.
No one expected this. Remember there was apathy toward the Giants to start off the season. This was supposed to be a transitional year under the first-year hires of general manager Joe Schoen and head coach Brian Daboll. They planned on improving this coming offseason with plenty of cap space.
But here comes the Giants. They are 2-0 for the first time since 2016 after a 19-16 home opener victory over the Carolina Panthers at MetLife Stadium on Sunday. When reading the standings on the smartphone, computer, tablet or newspaper, the standings say the Giants are in first place in the NFC East.
It’s understandable for them to be excited and not be interested to hear real talk. For them, it’s all relative. But the duty of a columnist is to be objective and honest. It’s what we do here at GuyBostonSports. We are not like your typical fanboy site. There should be something to be said about that, and for that, fans need to be appreciative.
While it’s great to celebrate this start, let’s separate myth from reality. They are 2-0 due to Tennessee Titans kicker Randy Bullock missing a game-winning field goal in the Giants season opener and Panthers quarterback Baker Mayfield being as bad as Giants quarterback Daniel Jones. In other words, this start is not going to be sustainable.
Let’s start with the quarterback. Jones did nothing to win the game. Sure, he orchestrated good drives at times, but it resulted only in a field goal. It’s been a story of what has been a forgettable Giants career. He tantalizes Giants fans just to disappoint in the end. There’s a reason why the fifth-year option of his rookie contract did not get picked up. The new Giants management team knows he is not the answer and they want their own quarterback.
It wasn’t an accident Schoen attended Ohio State’s opener against Notre Dame a few weeks ago. It wasn’t to see Notre Dame, his alma mater. It was to scout Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud, one of the top picks in next year’s NFL Draft.
When the Giants started training camp, Giants fans talked about what quarterback should be drafted to get this franchise out of the wilderness. No one talked about a 2-0 start or a potential divisional berth. There’s a reason for that.
The Giants produced 60 yards on offense on 26 plays and executed 1-of-7 in third downs in the first half with Jones under center. It was so bad that they got booed by their fans heading to halftime. The Giants quarterback completed 22-of-34 passes for 176 yards and one touchdown for an 87.4 passer rating. He was so bad in the second half that he was basically Checkdown Charlie out there. It spoke badly of him that Daboll decided to let Graham Gano kicked a 56-yard field goal to break a 16-16 tie with 3:34 to play rather than let Jones try to get another first down.
Of course, Gano kicked it. It was the game-winner. He has been the Giants MVP for the last few years. This speaks volumes of how pathetic the Giants have been that a kicker is the team’s best player.
When a kicker is the team’s best player, this tells you right there this 2-0 start is not sustainable.
The Giants defense did nothing against Mayfield. It was more of him being inept than how good the Giants defense played. Somehow this defense wouldn’t be praised if it went up against an elite quarterback.
This defense is more like Patrick Graham’s defenses. Bend but don’t break. Not many guys are out to be playmakers. The only difference is they have a self-promoter in Don “Wink” Martindale who talks like failed Jets head coach Rex Ryan. It’s going to be interesting if this defense keeps up against elite teams. Giants defense was exposed against elite teams in recent years. Until this happens, this defense does not get the benefit of the doubt.
Daboll deserves credit for being 2-0 as head coach in the sense he has them prepared and inspired. It helps he did not start the season against the Dallas Cowboys and an elite team. If only Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur or Joe Judge was that lucky.
Two games shouldn’t be a reason to say the Giants are back. This is a team that does not even have an identity yet.
There’s a good chance Big Blue can be 4-0 in the first quarter of the season. They should be with the Dallas Cowboys not having Dak Prescott after he fractured his hand that had him have thumb surgery and the Chicago Bears being awful. It still wouldn’t mean the Giants are back. It would mean they are a nice cute story.
Yes, this start beats being 0-2. The Giants season does not have to end before the baseball season ends. This is something we can be thankful for.
But there’s no clarity about them at 2-0. There are still questions. It was on full display for the second straight week.
This writer can be reached on Twitter at: @LeslieMonteiro6