Normally when a player is waived and then acquired by the Giants, I’m skeptical because, if that player is any good in terms of skill and/or value, then why is he being sent packing?
Offensive lineman Jamon Brown is one of those rare exceptions, though. On the LockedOn Giants podcast, LockedOn Rams host Brad Mader was nice enough to come onto the program to answer some questions I had about Brown and his time with the Rams.
One thing Mader told me that had me very encouraged is that Brown is a younger, more athletic version of D.J. Fluker, who as Giants fans might recall, provided a boost to last year’s struggling offensive line.
With Fluker, a mauler, in the lineup, the Giants rushing game averaged 110.6 net yards per game; without him just 86.1 yards per game. The Giants apparently are hoping that Brown can help produce similar results for a running game that, even with Saquon Barkley in the lineup, is averaging 77.9 yards per game, 31st in the NFL.
Besides generating more production for the running game, if Brown works out for New York, then that’s one less piece of the offensive line Dave Gettleman will have to worry about replacing.
A guard tandem of Will Hernandez on the left and Brown on the right would give the Giants something they haven’t really had in years on the offensive line: maulers.
And just imagine what the quarterback, be it Eli Manning or a still to be determined new quarterback, might actually be able to do with a mauling offensive line that not only run blocks well, but pass protects.
The full podcast is set to drop on Friday, but for those who want to hear what Mader had to say in full on the first segment of the three-segment podcast, this link should get you in.
Delay the inevitable
Given how much the Giants offense has failed to score this season, probably the last thing the unit can afford to do is take its sweet time in lining up and getting the ball snapped.
Well, such has not been the case, especially in three of the last four seasons (including 2018).
According to NFLPenalties.com, the Giants have placed in the top-third of the league in delay-of-game penalties every year in that period except for 2016.
In those seasons where they have placed in the top-third of the league, the Giants have averaged 5.33 delay-of-game infractions per season.
When the Giants haven’t been drawing a delay-of-game penalty, they’ve frequently run the clock down to the nub, just barely missing out on more yellow flags thrown for delays.
The obvious reason behind this is that quarterback Eli Manning, much like his brother before him, tries to ensure that he has the offense in the best possible position to execute the plays. But sometimes he goes a little overboard, tempting the clock.
On the road, where the opposing fans make it harder for the visiting offenses to hear, it certainly stands to wonder if this is a reason why there are other penalties that creep up, such as false starts and illegal formations.
At some point, you have to snap the ball and trust the other 10 guys to get the job done. Given how good Manning and the offense have looked in the past when in hurry-up mode, it certainly is worth exploring if the otherwise slow and deliberate tempo of this offense is part of the problem.
Remember how earlier in the season there always seemed to be an adventure or two on special teams?
Whether it was a bad punt, a muffed punt or a poor decision made, the Giants special teams’ first few games of the year just left you shaking your head over the Keystone Cop-like antics.
But over the last several weeks, the Giants special teams have not only settled down, they’ve become somewhat a strength on this team.
Let’s start with kicking. Many Giants fans left youngster Aldrick Rosas for dead after his poor 2017 season.
Not the Giants brass, who stuck to their practice of not giving up on talent. This season, Rosas has been nothing sort of Mr. Reliable on a team that, well, it’s a struggle to find guys who are worthy of that title.
Rosas has converted on 17 of 18 field goal attempts for a 94 percent conversion percentage (fith in the NFL). He’s also been part of a kickoff coverage team that has allowed opponents an average of 17.9 yards per kickoff return, the third best mark in the NFL.
Meanwhile on punts, Riley Dixon, who started out shaky, has settled in. After eight games, his net average (42.0) is the fifth-best in the league and is currently a career best.
Of course, the kickers are just a small fraction of the equation. The coverage teams have been improving and the kickoff return game has also made it to the top-10 league wide (23.6 yards per return).
The only blemish on this unit is its punt return unit, where they are averaging a league-worst 4.3 yards per return.
With the Giants having waived return specialist Quadree Henderson this week to make room for defensive lineman R.J. McIntosh, it’s going to be interesting to see what they do at punt return.
Henderson had been averaging a team-best 7.8 yards per punt return, but with him no longer on the roster, the thinking is Jawill Davis, who has yet to gain any yardage on a punt return, is back in the mix for that role.
When the Giants cut Davis Webb this summer, many people were shocked over the decision.
Webb later landed on the Jets practice squad where he’s been drawing rave reviews from his new teammates about his work ethic and preparation.
So now, with the news of starting quarterback Sam Darnold dealing with a sprained foot that could cost him at least this weekend’s game against the Bills, wouldn’t it be something else if Darnold’s injury were to linger and Josh McCown were to yield to Webb at some point down the line?
Yes, I’m getting ahead of things here as I don’t know how bad Darnold’s foot is or where Webb is in his development, but you can bet that if that scenario does come to fruition, Giants fans who were stunned and upset by the team’s decision to dump Webb are sure to follow that development with interest.