At 1-6 through their first seven games, the New York Giants are facing a second consecutive season with no playoffs as well as a below .500 record. New York is coming off their worst season in over 30 years and many fans figured it couldn’t possibly be worse this year. This has not been the case, as the Giants continue to struggle to win games and the locker room culture is at an all-time low. They are many reasons for this including the lackluster offensive line, a defense nowhere near as dominant as years past, and Eli Manning taking a significant downfall. Instead of focusing on these issues, I will be looking back at how these issues started, which I believe is after the 2011 Super Bowl Championship.
The New York Giants Have a Giant Problem Part 1
A Star Is Born, Then Dies
After the Giants won Super Bowl 46 over the New England Patriots, expectations were as high as the Lawrence Taylor era. Stars such as Victor Cruz and Jason Pierre-Paul looked to be the next generation of Giant greats. Pierre-Paul took a decline in 2012 going down 10 sacks, but Cruz continued to produce. In 2012, Cruz went over 1000 yard and caught ten touchdowns. He followed it up with 998 yards in 2013, but this is where he as well as the Giants began to decline. He played six games in 2014 before injuring his leg. This injury effectively ended his career, as he missed the remainder of 2014 and all of 2015. In 2016 he tried to return but was not nearly the same player. After posting a bit more than 500 yards he was released and had a great 2014 year with 12.5 sacks, however, this was an outlier as he battled multiple injuries and failed to regain his old form. He is now in Tampa Bay hoping to resurge his career.
It All Starts Up Front… Or At Least It Should
Three of the Giants best offensive line in the Eli Manning era were all on the 2011 squad, David Baas, Chris Snee, and David Diehl created an offensive line that Eli trusted and gave him time to throw. All three retired in 2013. And since then the Giants have failed to replace them. They have drafted two linemen in the first round since 2012; Justin Pugh and Ereck Flowers. Pugh became a solid starting Guard in New York before signing with Arizona before the 2018 season. Ereck Flowers failed to produce and had a horrible 2016 and 2017. Easily one of the Giants busts, he is now in Jacksonville. 2015 was not a great class for linemen, and the Giants passed on players such as Todd Gurley, Melvin Gordon, and Nelson Agholor. They have not had a 1000 yard rusher since Ahmad Bradshaw in 2012, and in 2012 were still not in the top ten in rushing offense. They have been around 25th the past 3-4 seasons. Saquon Barkley looks like he could end this streak, however, with the awful linemen play the last few seasons even he may not be able to.
Wide Receivers Can’t Receive
The Giants have had two players since 2012 go over 1000 yards, Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham Jr., who both have done it multiple times. Other than these two players the Giants have lacked a reliable receiver for Manning, and have been forced to start players that would be on the practice squad anywhere else. Reuben Randle, Jake Ballard, Dwayne Harris, Rhett Ellison should not be considered as primary targets but have had to be and the lack of wide receiver one ability has shown. Sterling Shepard and Evan Engram look promising, but so did Hakeem Nicks.
Stay tuned for part 2.
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