I wonder if there are any stats on how teams do the week after getting involved in a post-game fight? I certainly hope the winning percentage is around 100%. Four games in and a quarter of the way through the season, the Football Giants are still searching for their first win. Watching the film made me feel a little better about the team’s trajectory overall, but the analytics are still worrisome. These are the stats and numbers on my brain that best tell the story of where this football team is currently, so let’s Talk Analytics!
A Conservative Passing Offense
We have known all season that the Giants offense has been reliant on the intermediate passing game and has not given Daniel Jones many opportunities to throw the ball down the field, but just how conservative has it been? Daniel Jones, in 2019 had an average intended air yards per attempt of 8 yards. In comparison, Patrick Mahomes’ average intended air yards per attempt was 8.8 yards. Just because you are a quarterback that throws the ball deep downfield doesn’t mean you are a successful one, but Jones certainly proved last year that he should not just be a dink and dunk QB. However, this season, Jones’ average intended air yards per attempt have dramatically dipped down to 6.6 yards.
PFF tracks how often Jones has targeted his skill position players from 20+ yards downfield and below, Sharp Football Stats tracks pass frequency based off of target depth and location:
While only 5.4% of passes travel more than 20 yards or more, only approximately 10% of passes have traveled at least 15 yards or more. I understand wanting Daniel Jones to rein in his turnover problem by decreasing his average depth of target, but that also typically comes with a quicker release time. That is not the case with Jones in 2020 as his average time before the throw is 2.79 seconds, 12th highest in the league. In 2019, his average time before the release was 2.84 seconds, 13th highest. You would think without stretching the field, Jones would have a much quicker trigger. The reason why Jones has held on to the ball for so long can be for a multitude of reasons, including WR’s not getting enough separation, Jason Garrett’s lack of creativity with route concepts, Daniel Jones not properly reading a defense before the snap, and possibly more things that I’m not smart enough to think of right now.
One problem is absolutely clear; Jason Garrett has not done a good job designing creative concepts down the field. Daniel Jones showed he could be productive when throwing the ball down the field in 2019. And as you can see by the small sample size, when throwing the ball downfield in 2020, he has found some success.
I really hope as the running game opens up, Jason Garrett will also open up the playbook a bit more (even though you do not need a successful running game to throw the ball downfield). There are concepts like the one I pointed out above that work, and Jones has shown the ability to take advantage of it successfully.
Red Zone Struggles
We all know the Giants are struggling to score points, and their points per drive numbers are terrible blah blah blah. I won’t waste your time with that, but the Giants have also been mightily struggling with putting seven points on the board instead of three.
Below is Daniel Jones’ passer rating when he is throwing from the NYG 1 yard line to the Opponent’s 41 yard line:
Below is Daniel Jones’ passer rating when he is throwing from the Opponent’s 40 to the 1 yard line in the red zone:
If the Giants are going to win any football games this year, they need to be more effective in the red zone. The Giants got favorable field position after Austin Johnson forced a fumble against the Rams, it only resulted in three points. Diontae Johnson fumbled the ball inside the 5-yard line week one, and the Giants were only able to tack on three points. The Giants against the Bears last week and this past weekend against the Rams, had opportunities in the red zone to win the game and or tie the game and came away with zero points each time. Particularly this past weekend, I felt the Giants were constantly trying to get into Rams territory but could not finish drives or do enough to get in the red zone. If the offense will sustain any success, finding plays that work in the red zone needs to be a priority.
Pinch Me! I Must Be Dreaming About this Defense!
Last year, the Giants defense ranked 29th in the NFL to allow pass plays of 20+ yards down the field. This year in 2020, The New York Football Giants, as of week 4, have allowed the least amount of explosive pass plays in the NFL (via Sharp Football Stats). Patrick Graham has done a miraculous job calling the defense and scheming to hide its weaknesses. The team only allowed one pass play of over 20 yards against the Rams, and it feels like a different Giant pass rusher steps up each week. Since this week, the blog was heavy with offensive graphs and charts; I really encourage you to check out a weekly blog I have been doing to keep track of the Giants pass rushers stats. No other Giants content creators are keeping track of data this way to see who steps up on a week by week basis. So you can check out all of our defender’s stats here!
Overall: Please Find a Way to Win
The Cowboys have not had an easy start to their season in terms of the offenses they have faced, so it would be ignorant of me to say that the Giants should have success against them. Nevertheless, the Giants need to take another step in their progression as a team this Sunday, even if they do not win. With that being said, I hate the Dallas Cowboys. I absolutely hate them. There is almost nothing on this earth that I hate more than the thought of that terrible team and franchise having any kind of success. Find a way to get it done, please, I’m begging you.