Monday, January 24, 2022

How to fix the Giants in 2022: New York should reverse course on Joe Judge, add QB competition

The Giants have made the playoffs just once in the last nine years, and their 4-13 finish in 2021 marked their fifth straight losing season. General manager Dave Gettleman is set to retire, but it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that New York needs more than one change to right the ship. The problem is, where do they go from here? What else can they do to get back on track?

You came to the right place. Here are five steps to help fix the Giants:

1. Dismiss Joe Judge

Advocating for someone to lose their job should not be done lightly, but Judge could find other NFL work quickly. More importantly, his track record as head coach is indefensible. The G-Men may not want to keep shuffling coaches (and rightly so), but they’ve gone 10-23 under Judge since 2020, and they were notably worse in Judge’s second season despite the NFL adding a 17th game. Despite his tough public persona, he’s also overseen a rather sheepish team. A reset would benefit everyone.

2. Hire a proven offensive mind

There are exceptions to the contemporary preference for offensive head coaches, but the surest path to success in today’s NFL is proven and/or innovative on that side of the ball. The Giants have tried quirky (Ben McAdoo), passive (Pat Shurmur) and aggressive (Joe Judge) personalities to no avail. What they really need is someone who knows how to call games, out-scheme opponents and keep the locker room on a winning trajectory. Whether that’s a younger name like the Rams‘ Kevin O’Connell or a more veteran option like the Bills‘ Brian Daboll, they just need someone who can guide the offensive foundation.

3. Get QB competition for Daniel Jones

It’s fine to bring Jones back; the former first-rounder is inexpensive on the final year of his rookie deal, and he’s flashed some promise in middling circumstances. But to enter 2022 with him as the unquestioned starter would be total malpractice. New York doesn’t really feel like a logical destination for an All-Pro like Russell Wilson, considering the other holes that need filled. But they’ve got two top-10 picks. If one of those isn’t used to draft a potential Jones replacement, then they’d better be adding someone like Teddy Bridgewater or Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota to make Jones earn his job, before re-evaluating in 2023.

4. Shop Saquon Barkley

Not because Barkley is bad. But the only other logical option is having the former first-rounder play out his rookie deal and hit free agency in 2023. Few teams will likely be throwing lucrative offers their way for a running back who hasn’t been fully healthy for something like four years. But the Giants would be smart to get something decent for Barkley, who’s still just 24, while they can.

5. Prioritize the trenches

No matter who’s under center in 2022, the Giants need to address the offensive line. They pretended to do so prior to 2021, but neither Jones nor Mike Glennon nor Jake Fromm got adequate help up front. They also need to address their pass rush — another area that deserved but didn’t get proper reinforcements ahead of this season. It’s easier said than done, to fix both sides of the trenches, but if New York can invest one of its two first-rounders in a starter on either side of the ball, that would go a long way in helping the rest of the roster.

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