With just one regular-season game remaining in 2019, the New York Giants are 4-11 and will be missing out on the playoffs for the third straight season.
That doesn’t come as much of a surprise given the state of the Giants going into the year, but for a proud franchise that has won two Super Bowls in the relatively recent past, it’s just another frustrating campaign in what has become a seven-year stretch full of them.
Still, there is plenty of reason for optimism in New York, even if the Giants also have quite a bit of work to do to recapture their former glory days.
So, here are the five biggest takeaways of the season for Big Blue:
5. The offensive line still needs help
The Giants made an attempt to bolster their offensive line this past offseason, but 16 weeks in, it’s obvious that New York needs a whole lot of help in the trenches.
Daniel Jones had been able to mitigate some of the line’s struggles due to his ability to get out of the pocket and run, but pressure is pressure, and Jones has been sacked 34 times in 11 starts.
Translate that over a full 16-game campaign, and that’s 49 sacks.
That is not good.
To be fair, it’s not always easy to improve an offensive line, as top linemen tend to be expensive, and there aren’t always a lot of good ones in the draft pool, but this is a problem that has plagued the Giants for nearly a decade.
No more excuses. Get some help along the line.
4. The defense has promise but needs more pieces
The Giants have some decent young talent on the defensive side of the ball (Dexter Lawrence has been great, Oshane Ximines has potential and Deandre Baker has shown flashes), but they rank 24th in defense for a reason.
Dave Gettleman has actually done a solid job putting some pieces together, both in terms of rookies (Lawrence, Ximines and Baker) and veterans who still have room to grow (Markus Golden), but Big Blue needs more.
The Giants have tallied just 35 sacks this season, so first and foremost, they need a better pass rush. They also need more help in coverage.
Basically, New York just needs more defensive talent, but the Giants are certainly in a better situation now than they were a year ago.
3. Evan Engram has superstar potential
Evan Engram has the potential to be one of the best tight ends in football. The problem is, he can’t stay on the field.
A foot injury landed Engram on injured reserve after just eight games this season, marking the second straight year Engram was limited by injury issues (he played in just 11 contests in 2018).
Talent is not the issue with Engram. The kid is a stud. He is incredibly fast (he has running back speed), he is a terrific route runner and has shown phenomenal hands and the ability to come down with amazing grabs.
But if he can’t stay healthy, none of that will matter.
With Engram, Sterling Shepard, Darius Slayton and Golden Tate (not to mention halfback Saquon Barkley), the Giants have a nice group of weapons in the aerial attack. They still need a No. 1 receiver, but their current group of guys is talented.
If Engram can just remain healthy, he can develop into a legitimate star.
2. Pat Shurmur needs to go
Let me be clear: what has gone wrong in New York over the last two seasons is not solely Pat Shurmur’s fault.
The Giants simply have not been good, and there is only so much a coach can do with a talent deficiency.
However, there is also no doubting that Shurmur has not exactly done a great job, as he has made a plethora of head-scratching decisions that has led to most Giants fans wanting him run out of town.
Since taking over in 2018, Shurmur has gone an unenviable 10-21 and has really done nothing to assuage Big Blue’s concerns about him moving forward.
At this point, it seems clear that New York needs to go in a different direction.
1. Daniel Jones is the real deal
You don’t really hear anyone making fun of Jones at No. 6 anymore, do you?
That’s because the rookie quarterback has been terrific in his rookie campaign, throwing for 2,726 yards, 23 touchdowns and 11 interceptions while completing 62.1 percent of his passes and posting a passer rating of 88.9 over 11 starts. In addition, he has rushed for 253 yards and a couple of scores while averaging a hefty six yards per carry.
Yes, Jones still has a fumbling issue, as he has fumbled at least once in his last seven starts and has lost seven fumbles during that span, but that is a fixable issue that the Giants will undoubtedly work on with Jones this offseason.
Take away the fumbles, and Jones’ rookie year really couldn’t be going much better, especially considering he has been without his top weapons for much of the season.
While Jones may have big shoes to fill, it seems that the Giants have found their Eli Manning successor.