New York Giants Season Recap and Takeaways

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Luke Jacobello, Staff Writer

Many Giants fans held their breath during the recent Sunday Night Football game between the Washington Football Team and the Philadelphia Eagles. After beating the Cowboys earlier in the day, the Giants needed an Eagles win to earn a trip to the playoffs. The Eagles seemed to have a shot to win until Eagles coach Doug Pederson made the controversial decision to replace starting QB Jalen Hurts with a less competent Nate Sudfeld, the former Indiana Quarterback who hadn’t played an NFL game in more than a year. Nevertheless, the Eagles lost and the Giants missed the playoffs. Since their season is over, a recap/takeaways of the Giants season seems appropriate. 

The New York Giants finished with a 6-10 record as they finished 2nd in the NFC East (AKA the NFC least). The division winning Washington Football Team finished with a 7-9 record;   They started the year off slowly as they went 0-5 in the first 5 games. It didn’t help that Saquon Barkley, the Giants’ star running back, tore his ACL in week 2 against the Bears and was out for the season. Their first win came against the Football Team as they narrowly escaped Washington with a 20-19 win. They reverted back to their losing ways after this as they lost to the Eagles and the Bucs by a combined three points. Towards the end of the season, the Giants went on a 4 game win streak which saw them beat the Eagles and Bengals and upset the heavily favored Seahawks. At this time, people were talking about the Giants as a favorite to win the division, and the Giants seemed like they would continue their recent winning ways. What instead followed was a three game losing streak which saw them lose to the Cardinals, the Browns, and the Ravens. By week 16 Washington was atop the NFC East, but because of how bad the division was, the Giants still had a shot at the playoffs. In a win or go home scenario, the Giants took care of business at home against the Cowboys which kept their playoff hopes alive. However, because Washington won their final game, the Giants were eliminated from the playoffs as they missed the postseason for the 4th consecutive year. 

Some key takeaways from the Giants 2020 season…

– The strength of this 2020 Giants team was their defense. There were many new faces on the Giants defense including Blake Martinez (linebacker), James Bradberry (cornerback), Leonard Williams (defensive end) etc, and no one was sure how good they would be at the beginning of the season. It took the players a few games to gel together but once they did, they showed that they were an elite defense. The Giants should especially look to keep much of the front line together as their run defense was ranked 5th in the NFL and they made big stops in key moments throughout the season. Their secondary played pretty well too with Bradberry leading the way alongside Logan Ryan and Jabril Peppers. Their defense still has some weak points; adding a pass rusher in the offseason would be very beneficial and then they would be a top 3 defense. 

– Quarterback Daniel Jones and the offense had their share of struggles throughout the season. Jones’ play was subpar throughout the seasons. He only threw 11 TDs, had questionable decision making, and had turnover problems yet again. He also didn’t have a single game with more than 300 passing yards. The Giants will have to figure out if he is the quarterback of the future or not. His inconsistency is another problem; the Giants will have to decide if he is the QB of the future or not. They will probably give him another year to develop but if he doesn’t pan out by then, he will likely be out of New York. They might take a quarterback in the draft or maybe add one from free agency but they likely won’t get any elite talent. It isn’t all on Jones, however. The offensive line didn’t play great throughout the year although they held their own for the most part.The Giants also don’t have the best receivers although some receivers like Sterling Shephard and Darius Slayton have been serviceable. It would really help Jones if the Giants drafted a top-tier receiver like DeVonta Smith from Alabama or Ja’Marr Chase from LSU. There are also plenty of quality receivers who will be free agents in 2021 like Allen Robinson, Kenny Golladay, Chris Godwin, and JuJu Smith-Shuster. The Giants have to decide which route to take but the bottom line is they need offensive weapons. Speaking of offensive weapons,  they have one of the best running backs in Saquon Barkley. He should really help Daniel Jones and the offense next year granted he stays healthy. Wayne Gallman played well in place of Barkley after he went down with an ACL injury in week 2. We’ll see if the Giants elect to re-sign Gallman next year or let him walk into free agency. We shall also see if the Giants keep offensive coordinator Jason Garett whose philosophy clashed with that of head coach Joe Judge. In conclusion, the Giants offense is far from what it needs to be. But if they make some changes in the offseason, they can vastly improve and turn into an offense to be reckoned with. 

– Head Coach Joe Judge did a great job in his first year with the Giants. Yes, the season got off to a shaky start but he helped the team rebound and make a run for the playoffs. He seems to care about his players. He demands respect from his players and they give it to him. His hard-nosed/tough coaching style teaches the players toughness, resilience, and hard-work. He doesn’t go easy on his players. When asked about Judge’s coaching style, Saquon Barkley said, “I love it.” Coach Judge emphasizes teamwork and doing the little things right. Since football is a game of inches, little things definitely matter. He seems to know a lot about the game and also seems to be teaching the right lessons to his players. Hopefully he stays in New york for a while. If so, the future seems bright for the Big Blue.