Giants Return from Bye Week with Questions.
Let’s go over some of those questions and what path the replies may go.
When we last left the New York Giants before their Week 13 bye, there were several doubts looming over this club for the remainder of what has been a generally unsuccessful and depressing season.
As the Giants prepare to play the last stretch of the 2023 season, let’s take a look at where things stand when the players return to the Quest Diagnostics Training Center on Monday.
As predicted, quarterback Tyrod Taylor has been cleared to return off IR. But who else could return to the field for the Giants after their injuries?
One such optimism is that defensive lineman Dexter Lawrence (hamstring) will return after missing his first career game due to injury. There is also optimism that offensive lineman Evan Neal (ankle), who has missed five games with ankle issues, would be able to return, as well as tight end Darren Waller (hamstring).
Lawrence and Neal have the strongest chances of returning, while Waller appears to have a bit further to go.
With Taylor expected to be activated before the team’s Monday night game against the Packers, head coach Brian Daboll must make a decision at quarterback. Does he stick with Tommy DeVito, the hot hand who has won two straight games, although against two inferior teams?
Or, with some tough competition ahead, including a Monday night game against the Packers and two games against the Eagles, does he go back to the veteran with considerably more experience (and a higher level of performance) versus superior defenses?
If the aim is to return to the playoffs–and it’s difficult to conceive otherwise–Taylor makes the most sense if he’s prepared. If the purpose is to assess for the future, then DeVito will be the person.
Expect Daboll to keep this close to the vest for as long as possible.
The coaching staff, who conducted self-scouting, cannot make major changes this late in the season. However, they can attempt to secure more snaps for some of their younger players in order to enhance their assessment.
The issue is, will they? The 4-8 Giants are technically still in the postseason race, since they are 12th in the NFC, according to the most recent NFL playoff standings. Realistically, they are unlikely to make the playoffs, with two games against the Eagles and a Monday night game against the Packers remaining.
So, will the Giants remain with their starters or add more young players to the mix? Will we witness a shift in offensive and defensive play-calling strategies? Will there be adjustments to the practice schedule?
The solution might come down to the coaching staff’s realistic assessment of the team’s prospects of ending strong. Again, don’t expect wholesale personnel changes, since the roster is how it is right now.
Jay Glazer’s FOX Sports article on the conflict between Daboll and defensive coordinator Wink Martindale has hung over the team’s head since it first surfaced before the Giants’ game against New England. Daboll has done his utmost to dispel any rumors of a schism between him and the veteran defensive coordinator, but Martindale has yet to respond owing to a busy schedule.
Martindale and the coordinators are slated to testify on Friday, and the story of friction is anticipated to come up during the questioning. So far, Martindale has not been hesitant to speak his mind–he notably did so when safety Xavier McKinney made news by expressing anger that the coaches (later revealed to be Martindale in particular) were not listening to the players.
Martindale’s candor probably didn’t sit well with Daboll, who has done his utmost to put out any developing flames by using comedy. Will Martindale follow suit this time?
Patricia Traina has been covering the New York Giants for various media sources for over 30 years. She hosts the Locked On Giants podcast and wrote “The Big 50: New York Giants: The Men and Moments That Made the New York Giants” (Triumph Books, September 2020). See Patricia’s entire bio.