The New York Giants were disappointed in Sunday’s home loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, a lackluster start to the season truth be told. But as frustrated as these Giants are, they aren’t going to wallow in the result.
Dating back to last year, the Giants have won just one of their last seven regular-season games, certainly a stretch that might make them hang their collective heads just a bit. But Sunday’s loss to the Jaguars, a team that made it to the AFC championship game last year and won their division, was certainly a close affair.
And while the Giants offense struggled and the defense played with a decidedly short field for much of the game, positives emerged from this team.
For a team that was 3-13 a year ago, that simply might be enough to build some momentum. A team that needs to form an identity and collectively change the air around the franchise might have found a few positives emerge from the hard-fought loss.
This offseason, first-year head coach Pat Shurmur preached a message of a clean slate for everyone on the roster, a fresh start for this team. This carried over to Week 1, where the team didn’t handle the loss as an extension from last year.
"Yeah, you’re going to follow the direction of the head coach," quarterback Eli Manning said.
"I think he expressed it’s not good enough, but I’m proud of the way you guys fought, competed, and hung in there until the very end, and found a way to kind of stay in the game. Had an opportunity to win it at the end. We just didn’t do it."
The positives that did emerge, ranging from wide receiver Odell Beckham looking healthy and productive to running back Saquon Barkley’s big fourth-quarter run to the overall solid play of the defense – all these narratives rightly help to mask the bad taste left from yet another Giants loss.
While the play of the offensive line remains a major concern, the rest of the team on both sides of the ball showed marked improvement. If the line can gel and become at least an average unit, the potential is there for this offense to begin clicking.
Therefore, lanes would open up for the rookie Barkley and Manning wouldn’t be throwing from his back as much anymore. Going up against an elite defense, such as the Jaguars is not an easy challenge, a fact that gives some hope as the Giants now shift focus to the Dallas Cowboys this weekend.
"I think the film played out the same way today, we didn’t have really any new looks at things that we didn’t see on the field," Shurmur said.
"I thought our guys played hard front to back, I think it’s safe to say – and you might ask me about individual players, but I think the guys all had a lot of good plays; but we all had mistakes that we need to clean up, players and coaches alike. That’s the process you go through really every week, but especially after the first week as we get ready to play Dallas."