The Carolina Panthers are headed to the home of the New York Giants in search of their first win of the 2022 season (let’s not take odds on how many weeks I’ll be able to open with that conceit). The Giants are one of those franchises who the Panthers were deeply familiar with a few years ago when the relationship with Dave Gettleman kept things a little closer than usual for an out-of-division team. In recent years, however, Gettleman’s retirement and a series of coaching changes has left them strangers in the north.
Here to give us an inside look at the Giants and why they might be more evenly matched with the Panthers than you might think. We also discuss recent coaching changes, the nature of hope, and a few rookies on the Giants squad that Panthers fans might want to keep their eyes on this week.
Most games are framed as duels between quarterbacks, but the star power on both of these teams come from their respective RB1s, which may be contributing to the close line on this game over at DraftKings Sportsbook. We are already trembling over the prospect of last week’s run defense facing the reigning NFC Offensive Player of the Week in Saquon Barkley. What you can tell us about the Giants run defense and how their front seven might match up against as athletic and shifty of a running back as Christian McCaffrey?
Well, I hate to go off on a tangent and not directly answer the question, but I think that’s what I’m going to do. What worries me about McCaffrey is not the running aspect. It’s the receiving aspect. The Giants gave up two receiving touchdowns to Tennessee backup running back Dontrell Hilliard on Sunday, both with inside linebackers in coverage. Figuring out how to cover McCaffrey worries me more than what to do when they hand the ball to him.
One win into the Brian Daboll era and Giants fans seem like they have forgotten their last five or so years of middling results. Are fans overreacting or is Daboll truly looking like the real deal? (In other words, what is it like to have hope for a coach?)
You understand how fans are. If they are reacting, they are OVERREACTING. It is what fans do. This is the Giants fourth head coach since 2016, and I was hopeful at the beginning of the Ben McAdoo, Pat Shurmur and Joe Judge eras. So, I don’t want to overreact.
That said, I like Daboll because he seems incredibly genuine. I do not think McAdoo or Judge, young coaches who probably weren’t ready for the big chair when they were hired, were genuine. Shurmur was genuine, and a really good guy. He’s just not a head coach.
Daboll is smart. He is genuine. He relates to players. He trusts his staff. What I will say is I think there is a chance that the Giants have finally gotten a coaching hire right.
It is early in the season for injuries to be a major story line for a game, but the Giants are without their first round rookie edge rusher, their starting corner, and a few more guys to boot. How do you expect the defense overall to handle those absences? Are there any obvious weaknesses that the Panthers should be looking to exploit?
This is Wink Martindale coaching the Giants’ defense. He’s not backing off. He will come after Baker Mayfield HARD. He doesn’t know any other way. I don’t know at this point if edge guys Kayvon Thibodeaux and Azeez Ojulari will play. Jihad Ward and Oshane Ximines don’t offer the pass rush potential of those two, but both played really well against the Titans. Replacing Aaron Robinson is an unknown. Daboll named every non-starting cornerback on the 53-man roster and practice squad when asked for a potential replacement. So, we’ll see.
The biggest thing I worry about is what I mentioned earlier — covering McCaffrey out of the backfield.
After a disappointing start to his career, what does Daniel Jones need to show this season to keep his job?
First, let me say this. Whatever Daboll and GM Joe Schoen think that bar is, I have said many times at Big Blue View that I think odds are against Jones reaching or surpassing that bar. I think odds are the Giants have a different quarterback in 2023.
The generic answer has nothing to do with numbers. Jones needs to show Daboll and Schoen that he is a quarterback who can win games for you. He needs to be a guy you win BECAUSE OF, not a guy you win WITH. He played well against Tennessee, but he threw a terrible interception in the end zone. Those are the types of things that will have him looking for a new employer next offseason should they continue.
Who is one player on the Giants whose name Panthers fans will know by the end of the game on Sunday? This could be an annoyingly consistent role player, a guy on the verge of a breakout, or, with luck, a soon-to-be-overworked punter.
It’s so early in the season that is tough to answer. I think there is a good possibility rookie third-round pick Cor’Dale Flott will be the replacement for Aaron Robinson, so he is a name to know. Kadarius Toney played only seven snaps against Tennessee, and Giants fans are hoping for a longer viewing of Toney against Carolina. So, he’s another. Rookie Daniel Bellinger is the starting tight end, but the Giants did not target him a single time in Week 1. I wonder if that will change. So, he’s a third player to know.