Players were disappointed to lose the 115th edition of Giants/Cowboys. However, they chalked it up to one game out of 16. There was talk of an NFL season being a marathon and not a sprint. There was no frustration or anger only talk of patience, especially considering it was the first time many of the team’s starters had seen game action.
The exact opposite occurred after Sunday’s 28-14 loss to the Buffalo Bills in the Giants’ home opener.
Frustration is mounting in East Rutherford after the Giants dropped their first two games for the sixth time in seven seasons. No player verbalized the team’s frustration more than cornerback Janoris Jenkins.
Jackrabbit made his feelings known in no uncertain terms with a rant that some interpreted as calling out the defensive line and linebackers.
“When you’ve got time (to throw) and you ain’t getting no pressure, I can’t cover nobody for 10 seconds,” Jenkins said after the game. “Who can cover somebody for 10 seconds? Go look at the first five seconds of the route. He’s not open. If you’re scrambling and there ain’t no pressure getting there, what do you want me to do? I can’t cover this side and that side. Come on, bro. We’ve got to play football around here.”
Bills quarterback Josh Allen was 19-of-30 for 253 yards and a touchdown. Allen’s performance came a week after Dak Prescott made mincemeat out of the Giants defense to the tune of 25-of-32 for 405 yards, four touchdowns, and a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3.
Middle linebacker and defensive captain Alec Ogletree echoed Jenkins’ sentiments.
“I’m pissed for sure,” Ogletree said. “I hate losing. The way we played in the first half, that wasn’t us. It was terrible. I understand (Jenkins) being pissed, I’m angry as well. Never discouraged, because I know we can make plays like we did in the second half. It’s a matter of coming out and doing that for the whole 60 minutes.”
The Giants haven’t been able to manufacture anything closely resembling a consistent pass rush. Prescott wasn’t sacked in Week 1 and was hit only twice. Allen was sacked three times and hit six times on Sunday but the Giants were not able to get constant pressure on him. The Giants haven’t generated a turnover thus far.
The defense has surrendered nine touchdowns in two games, a fact not lost on Jenkins.
“It’s really discouraging. Nine touchdowns? I don’t even know what to say. We have to do better,” Jenkins said.
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In seasons past, losing only seemed to bother a select minority of players and never this early. Outside linebacker Lorenzo Carter shared a sack and hit Allen twice. Like Jenkins, he was clearly disturbed after Sunday’s loss.
“S***, it’s true. We’ve got to get pressure on the quarterback. They’ve got to cover. It takes all 11 (players),” Carter said.
The Giants offense hasn’t topped 20 points thus far and coughed up the ball four times. Saquon Barkley, who has 229 rushing yards and a touchdown on 29 carries this season, is also frustrated by the team’s 0-2 start. He was perturbed when hearing some of his teammates say “it’s still early” after the game.
“I’m not a big believer in ‘it’s still early’, I’m not going to lie, I’m not a big fan of that saying,” Barkley said. “But you have to understand that is the case in the NFL because it’s a marathon. It’s 16 games. I don’t like believing in that because I don’t want to get caught into that…we’ve got to address the situation now and continue to get better and try to get another win.”
Barkley isn’t accustomed to losing. The Giants have dropped 13 of 18 games in his professional career. In Barkley’s three seasons at Penn State, the Nittany Lions lost just 11 games.
Head coach Pat Shurmur didn’t appreciate Jenkins’ comments. The one that seemed to stick in Shurmur’s craw was when Jenkins said, “Yeah, I’m angry. It’s what my second year going 0-2? Third in a row? I’m on Year 8. I need to get somewhere. I’m trying to win something. C’mon bro.”
Shurmur called Jenkins into his office to discuss the matter.
“I don’t think that reflects him that well,” Shurmur said Monday. “We spoke today. I talked to him about how things that we say can be interpreted. He was referring to one play and not to anything in general. But I spoke to him and we discussed what should be said moving forward.”
No matter how Shurmur spins it, Jenkins and the other Giants who voiced their frustration are absolutely right. Naturally, there are 14 games remaining on the schedule and no one qualifies for the postseason after Week 2. Slow starts have been a recurring theme of the New York Football Giants since they won Super Bowl XLVI.
“We’re going to talk about everything we’ve doing moving forward,” Shurmur said. “That’s fair at this point. We’re 0-2. There are areas where we have to get better. We’re going to address all areas and try to find ways to put a winning performance on the field.”