Why the Giants’ return to the playoffs is as unlikely as their journey there

Why the Giants’ return to the playoffs is as unlikely as their journey there

It ought to have been Brian Daboll discussing receipts.

Nobody had faith in the 2022-23 Giants. “No one believed in us” is a cliche, but cliches exist for a reason: Sometimes, no one does believe in you.

If a reputable analyst anticipated that the Giants would advance to the postseason, you would know because that analyst would be significantly louder at this time. In The Post’s official NFL preview, we predicted the Giants would finish with a record of 7-10, which was a more optimistic prediction than most and actually exceeded the 6.5 wins expected for betting purposes. According to ESPN’s preseason power rankings, the Giants are ranked 28th.

The Post’s Mark Hale said in a column published on May 12 that the Giants will be the NFL’s worst club in the upcoming season. This was, at most, a tepid (rather than fiery) assessment. Because there was little reason to believe, nobody believed.

The Giants went all-in the previous season and won four games. Dave Gettleman constructed a group capable of competing immediately by spending over $100 million on players such as Leonard Williams ($45 million guaranteed), Kenny Golladay ($40 million guaranteed), and Adoree’ Jackson ($26.5 million guaranteed).

Almost every NFL analyst predicted that Joe Judge and Dave Gettleman would leave the Giants with one of the league’s weakest teams.

Gettleman was a gambler who knew he might not have to pay off his debts: If the club won, he would simply leave the next general manager with a mess to clean up. As it turned out, both Gettleman and head coach Joe Judge were fired. The Giants could change its decision-makers, but their replacements would be unable to immediately renegotiate the salary cap hell they were given.

So, following a monumentally disastrous season, the Joe Schoen and Daboll-led Giants went to work — or at least attempted to. They subtracted more than they added and were forced to make moves like releasing cornerback James Bradberry as a result of the previous regime’s disastrous contracting decisions. As other teams took turns spending $100 million on attractive players, the Giants essentially sat out free agency.

Who would have faith in a squad that inherited little skill and did not appear to have added any? As demonstrated by their decision not to pick up Daniel Jones’ fifth-year option in the offseason, the Giants may not have trusted in themselves entering this season. Moreover, they did not provide Daniel Jones with full backing.

Which makes Sunday’s excitement at MetLife Stadium, where the Giants defeated the Colts 38-10 to win a playoff spot, all the more incomprehensible. This was not intended to occur, and the crew that is making it happen is confirmation of this apparent impossible.

Sunday, Brian Daboll celebrates the Giants’ return to the playoffs for the first time since 2016.
Getty Images

First a turnover machine and then an injury-plagued question mark, Jones has ascended to become the dual-threat, courageous quarterback of a playoff club. Jones appeared to make the correct decision on every play as he combined four rushing and passing touchdowns on Sunday while throwing only five interceptions and gaining 268 yards of total offense.

Sunday’s four leading pass-catchers Jones connected with best illustrate the incomprehensibility of the Giants’ season: Richie James, a punt returner who is making the league minimum; Isaiah Hodgins, who was signed from the Bills’ practice squad; rookie fourth-round pick Daniel Bellinger; 2019 fifth-round pick Darius Slayton; and veteran running back Matt Breida, who the Giants squeezed onto their roster because he is making only $1.18 million.

Even with Kadarius Toney, Sterling Shepard, and Wan’Dale Robinson, no one believed in them. Why would anyone support this organization?

Because Schoen appears to have an eye for talent and Daboll appears to have an eye for utilizing the talent he is given. This season, the Giants have been outplayed frequently but never outcoached. The Giants are obedient. They do not commit many foolish infractions. They ensure that their finest players (Jones and Saquon Barkley) have the ball during crucial times of the game. Their offense plays to Jones’s skills, allowing the mobile quarterback to excel.

Robert Saleh of the New York Jets famously (infamously?) pledged to collect receipts from the team’s naysayers. Those punishments will have to wait for a Jets club with a vastly superior roster, but a weaker quarterback situation. The Jets, who fell to the Seahawks 23-6 on Sunday, will wait until next season.

After entering the season with no assurances that he would be the Giants’ quarterback of the future, Daniel Jones has guided an offense with few established playmakers that has been surprisingly efficient.
Robert Sabo

As the unlikely became a reality and the Giants clinched the sixth seed in the NFC, Daboll fired a furious fist bump into the crowd across the nation. The Giants believe they still have work to do, but they have accomplished much to be proud of.

Even when no one else does, they are able to have faith.

O’CONNOR: Daniel Jones validates his selection as the Giants’ franchise quarterback.

CANNIZZARO: Same Old Jets: Team leaves fans with a typical sensation of disgust at the conclusion

Due to injuries, Knicks’ rookies have gained valuable playing time.

John Mara found the Giants’ savior in SERBY. David Daboll

Jets return to square one at quarterback

After examining the Giants’ detractors, let’s consider the Jets’ quarterback for 2023-24.

Jets supporters: Has Mike White proven himself worthy of inclusion in the battle?

Sunday’s debacle, in which so many of White’s throws appeared to float during a 23-of-46, 240-yard performance, eliminated the Jets from postseason contention and may have diminished White’s chances of retaining the job he won this season.

Mike White’s difficulties against the Seahawks made it evident that the Jets have yet to determine who should be their quarterback moving forward.

Even with fractured ribs, White was the top quarterback on the Jets’ roster and had a shot to earn a full-time position with a solid finish to this season. The 27-year-old has established he is an NFL quarterback, but with a deep and strong roster that will welcome back Breece Hall, it is difficult to imagine the Jets handing the reins to a quarterback with seven career starts.

Let the rumors about Derek Carr begin. Jimmy Garoppolo, who has demonstrated he can direct (if not lead) capable offenses, may serve as the interim quarterback. Jets fans can only fantasize about Lamar Jackson.

However, it appears that White’s uncontested claim to be the Jets’ quarterback in 2023-24 perished with their season on Sunday.

Observer of history

As the new year begins, it is a good time to reflect on Kevin Durant’s accomplishments.

The superstar of the Nets has elevated his game in more ways than one. Durant, who is 34 years old, may be playing the best basketball of his career. It is not only KD who has propelled Brooklyn to second place in the Eastern Conference.

The Nets overcame a 2-6 start to win 22 of their next 28 games, primarily due to the MVP-caliber performance of Kevin Durant.

When was the last time Durant played a subpar game?

In his outstanding season with the Knicks, Jalen Brunson is shooting 46 percent from the field. Durant has not shot below 47.1% in any of the previous 29 games.

Wednesday’s victory in Atlanta marked Durant’s lowest shooting effort since Halloween, when he shot 8-for-17 (47.1 percent) on the night. The “off” game marked the third time in this stretch of 29 games that Durant shot below 50 percent from the field.

Among the best shooters by field-goal percentage, Durant is surrounded by guys who reside near the basket. The Orlando center Bol Bol is making 58.8 percent of his shots, with the vast majority coming from the paint, compared to his 56.1 percent.

What Durant is doing, whose Nets will meet the Spurs on Monday evening, is not typical.


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