Well at this point, all the negatives are painfully obvious. The turnovers, particularly from Eli, are out of control. Running the ball feels idiotic. We’re that bad at it. Our O-Line is in shambles, and our D-Line can’t get to the quarterback. Most football fans wouldn’t be able to name any of our linebackers, and we can’t even compete with backup quarterbacks. We score the 3rd least amount of points in the league, and allow the most. Period. True contenders for the worst team in the NFL, in all three phases. Got it.
But there are always some positives (I found 3!), and if we’re hoping to eventually get a win this season, it’s worth recognizing what went well. The Eagles are a bad team, almost-but-not-quite as bad as we are, so feel free to take these with a grain of salt.
1). [S] Will Hill returned from his 4 game suspension, and with him came the return of our 3-safety look that Fewell has grown fond of. Hill, Rolle, and Mundy took almost every defensive snap, and they all played well in their hybrid roles (Hill and Mundy had 11 and 10.5 tackles). Having Rolle and Mundy up near the line of scrimmage may have just been designed to counter the Chip Kelly offense, or maybe it’s just how our defense will look from here on out. Terrell Thomas was the odd man out, with his nickel spot converted into a safety role, but it’s also possible he was dealing with injury. Regardless, we now seem to have some stability at safety – a position that was causing a lot of concern after Stevie Brown tore his ACL.
2). Rookie [DT] Jonathan Hankins was active for the first time, saw ~1/3 of the defensive snaps, and looked good doing it. The only reason he got to play was a plague of injuries, and by no means is defensive tackle a position of need. But it’s good to see some early returns on our top draft picks — Pugh has been starting all year, Hankins looked very capable on Sunday, and Moore’s flashes on special teams have most of us wondering why he doesn’t get more opportunity to pass rush. That’s compared to last year’s first three rounds… (Wilson, Randle, Hosley) …which only has one bright spot at the moment. I’ll be mentioning him next.
3). After 4 games, the Giants offense seemed to be one-trick: Cruz, go deep. It would hit approximately once per game. We finally got to see our other wide receivers go to work in week 5. Both Hakeem Nicks and Rueben Randle turned in their best performances of the year, and hopefully that bodes well for the near future. We got to see some of the short and intermediate passing game, which got the ball in the hands of our wide-outs and gave them opportunity for YAC. It really worked, too. All three of those guys are dangerous in space, and the more we focus on that aspect of our offense, the better. Additionally, those quick hitting passing plays can act as a supplemental running game. In our case, that’s a huge, huge upgrade.