EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. — The boos began early in the second quarter of their home opener. They were fairly regular throughout the second half. This is what fans think of the product the New York Giants are putting on the field early this season, including in Sunday’s 28-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills.
It’s troubling. The Giants are 0-2 for the sixth time in seven seasons. This time it will only fan the flames for calls for 2019 No. 6 overall draft pick Daniel Jones to play. When is the right time? That is the most pressing question facing the Giants these days.
Coach Pat Shurmur said earlier this week the Giants were not going to think about the possibility of being 0-2. It’s reality now, and so is the probability that this might be another long season for the Giants and their coach, who have a big decision looming.
QB breakdown: Eli Manning
Manning wasn’t terrible, but he also wasn’t great. He finished 25-for-44 passing for 222 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions while the Giants failed to top 20 points for the second straight week.
Manning has said he doesn’t think about Jones eventually being inserted into the lineup. He is concentrating on each week, similar to Shurmur. But it is going to be increasingly more difficult moving forward with the Giants not even remotely resembling a playoff contender and Jones waiting in the wings.
Is next Sunday at the Tampa Bay Buccaneers the right time to start the rookie? Doubtful. The Week 4 home game against the Washington Redskins? Still seems unlikely. Week 7 at home against the Arizona Cardinals? More reasonable. Late in the season? Can’t rule anything out with these Giants.
Here is what is indisputable: A few more offensive efforts like Sunday, even against a tough Bills defense, and the change to Jones will come sooner rather than later.
Troubling trend: The Giants’ defense in the first half looked much like it did during the season opener in Dallas. Bills QB Josh Allen looked like Steve Young running and throwing all over the Giants’ beleaguered defense while Buffalo compiled 388 total yards and 28 points. It was the second consecutive week the defense allowed 21 points in the first half, the first time it has done that since 2011.
The Bills picked on rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker relentlessly. The first-round pick looked lost. The Giants need to find a way in the coming weeks to provide him more support.
Giants defensive coordinator James Bettcher did seem to get things in order at halftime. The defense pitched a shutout until midway through the fourth quarter. Maybe it can build off that moving forward, as the pass rush (led by Markus Golden with two shared sacks) was improved.
Silver lining: The Giants’ receiving corps appears likely to get reinforcements soon. Sterling Shepard went through a pregame workout Sunday and seems likely (barring a setback) to play next week against the Buccaneers. Golden Tate (suspension) will be back in three weeks.
The Giants’ leading receiver in the first half on Sunday was Saquon Barkley (22 yards). Manning was throwing to Cody Latimer (who was dealing with a calf injury), Bennie Fowler and Cody Core. That’s not the recipe for a lot of big plays. No wonder the Giants’ longest reception by a wide receiver in the first half went for just 14 yards.