Before the Las Vegas Raiders take on the New York Giants, Ed Valentine of Big Blue View was kind enough to answer some questions for Raider Nation about the Giants.
1. Daniel Jones has played up and down during his career and is in a pivotal year three where the Giants will have to decide if they want to pick up his fifth-year option. Do you think he deserves to have the option picked up and what do you think accounts for the difference between good and bad DJ?
At this point, I don’t think there is much doubt that the Giants will pick up Jones’ fifth-year option, and I think that is the right call. The Giants will likely have two picks in the top half of Round 1 in the 2022 draft, and there is no quarterback who anyone can guarantee will be better than Jones in that draft.
Jones is hard to evaluate. He doesn’t have great numbers and the Giants don’t score enough points. He makes some bad decisions. On the flip side, he does some terrific things, he’s shown progress this year, and he exhibits all the skills, athleticism and toughness you want in your quarterback.
The Giants have had so many injuries on the offensive line, the receiver spot and at running back with Saquon Barkley that it’s still difficult to get a full read on what Jones and the Giants' offense really could be if it was whole, or close to whole.
2. What has rookie wide receiver Kadarius Toney brought to the Giants' offense so far? Do you think he’ll get more touches with all of New York’s injuries out wide?
Toney is so interesting. He is an incredible talent. He missed almost all of training camp with COVID-19 and then a hamstring injury. Really wasn’t ready to do much the first few weeks, then when he finally got fully healthy and up to speed, had a monstrous, 10-catch, 189-yard game Week 5 against Dallas. Then, he got hurt again. This time with an ankle injury.
Toney had four catches Monday night, but it looked like he was on a pitch count as he played only 34 snaps.
I expect him to play much more on Sunday and get the ball more often. He is one of those “just get the ball to him somehow and let him go to work” players.
3. Between the Giants offensive line and the Raiders defensive line, is there a particular matchup you’re worried about?
When it comes to the Giants’ offensive line, you worry about EVERYBODY who is lined up against it. You worry about blitzers. You worry about stunts. You worry about everything.
Three of the players the Giants counted on to be starters — LT Andrew Thomas, C Nick Gates, LG Shane Lemieux — are on IR. Only Thomas, who was playing tremendous football, will be back this season.
The Giants have had — I think — seven different starting offensive lines in eight games. They use a lot of quick game and max protection stuff in the passing game, and they have been OK there. The run blocking has been inconsistent, as you might expect with a revolving door of guys playing.
4. New York has a pretty good defensive tackle combo in Leonard Williams and Dexter Lawrence, is there anything you’ve noticed that opposing offenses have done to keep those guys contained?
Well, I don’t know if it necessarily relates to those two players but I think much of the success teams have had running the ball has come to the edges. Williams is the Giants’ most accomplished pass rusher, but that doesn’t mean he is a great one.
5. Cornerbacks James Bradberry and Adoree’ Jackson make another impressive defensive duo for the Giants. If you were Greg Olson, the Raiders offensive coordinator, how would you go about attacking the Giants’ secondary?
This might depend on whether second-year safety Xavier McKinney, currently in COVID-19 protocol, plays. It is also kind of hard to answer because defensive coordinator Patrick Graham hardly ever uses the same game plan two weeks in a row.
One thing I will say is Graham plays his safeties incredibly deep, whether it’s single-high or two-high. He likes to keep things in front of his defensive backs. The middle of the field will be available at times. That’s probably the area you want to attack when you need a play.