This will be 50th preseason meeting between the Jets – Giants since 1969. The game is now called the MetLife Bowl, the annual battle between the co-owners of MetLife Stadium, with the Jets leading the series, 25-23-1. Last year the Giants defeated the Jets, 32-31.
This year’s game has special importance because the two teams were interdependent upon one another in this year’s NFL Draft, where the Giants selected second overall and the Jets third overall.
The Jets initially were to select sixth overall, but general manager Mike Maccagnan made a bold move and traded a package of picks to the Indianapolis Colts (No. 6 overall pick, two second-round picks — No. 37 and No. 49 overall — and a 2019 2nd round pick) to assure them the best chance to finally land a franchise quarterback.
Now, I wonder if Maccagnan made this trade to move up because he actually had another player in mind (like a Saquon Barley who the Giants drafted or another player) thinking that he had no chance to draft Sam Darnold (who the Jets drafted). I haven’t seen this mentioned at all and I just wanted to just throw it out there as food for thought.
Barkley strained his hamstring and probably won’t play in Friday’s contest against the Jets. Giants’ fans and Jets fans alike would have loved to see him play for various reasons since it is considered the most important preseason game. Darnold, although head coach Todd Bowles artfully dodges the questions, is likely to be the Jets’ starting quarterback come the season opener. Although, others may think to start Teddy Bridgewater since he had a good camp, he’s still young and experienced all at the same time.
“I knew he was smart, everybody learns differently,” said Bowles. “You don’t know until you get in and throw the playbook at him and see what they can comprehend and what they can’t. He’s done a great job of remembering everything and playing with poise and control. I’m happy with where he is.” Maccagnan says he’s unflappable which really says a lot.
Bowles has to be happy right now with his quarterback situation.
Safety Jamal Adams, who was the Jets’ top pick in last year’s draft and whose father, George, was the Giants’ first round pick in 1985, says the game has extra incentive, but that it’s really ‘just another game.’
“It’s not about the Giants, it’s about us,” Adams said via the Jets official website. “We’re not out there to show anybody or prove anything. We just want to be consistent in our job, as a group. So long as the Jets come out there and play fundamentally sound, look at the right things as far as our eye keys, and just be disciplined and not have penalties, we’ll be fine.” This should primarily be the mentality for the Giants too but the media dramatically builds this game up. Like, all the talk of which team from the New York area will have a better season. It shouldn’t be like that at all since it’s just a preseason game.
The Giants will likely be led by quarterback Eli Manning, who is playing in his 15th preseason game against the Jets. He did not play in last week’s victory in Detroit.
“[Head coach Pat Shurmur] kind of told me early on I probably wouldn’t play,” said Manning. “So, I knew I had to get the most out of the practices with Detroit, which I thought we got some good work. I always want to be out there and play, but I understand it. I look forward to this week getting out there.”
The Giants will also be giving their backups, Davis Webb and Kyle Lauletta, plenty of snaps in the game as they are in a heated battle for depth chart placement.
By the sound of all this quarterback talk from both teams, the Giants may regret they didn’t take Darnold. This still has to play out and that may take a full season.
As for wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr., his status is still up in the air. With the team taking extreme caution with him and his surgically-repaired ankle, he’s been getting the kid glove treatment.
“We’ll see,” Shurmur said when asked if Beckham will make his 2018 debut against Gang Green. “You knew I was going to give you a real short answer on that one.”
After a disastrous 2016 Jets season, going 5 -12 and not reaching the playoffs since 2010, one would think that letting go of general manager Mike Maccagnan and coach Todd Bowles would be the right thing to do?
The only thing is; they’ve been with the organization for only two years.
I know the team did fire former general manager John Idzik after only two years (2013 – 2014) while at the helm but that was because they sent Coach Rex Ryan walking at the time, too, but this was a different circumstance. Normally, if you fire the general manager, the coach needs to be relieved of his duties. The reason for their early firing was: the team started to decline after the 2010 season losing more games under Ryan. The belief was; you are what your record says you are, so they had to make a change.
Now, Johnson has a plan and he did not listen to the fans outrage but stood by what he believes was right for his football team in order to bring long-term success to the franchise. That is the name of the game. The team doesn’t want to be a one-hit wonder.
Bowles should be kept due to keeping to his belief that consistency helps to bring about success in the NFL. There are a lot of things that go into winning NFL games and the talent of the roster tops the list. You certainly need a good quarterback to win consistently, which the team hasn’t had in a while. You also do not need constant change because it doesn’t help. It just makes it more difficult.
I think Johnson has confidence in Bowles, who has a chance to improve on the team’s performance and to make them better in 2017 with a young crop of players mixed in with a few veterans in what they are terming it as a rebuild year. Both can judge performance in their own way each year, instead of embracing change.
So, it makes tons of sense for them not preaching reaching playoffs or Super Bowl this year. It just puts more pressure on the players and it distracts them, even though some may still think and believe that. With this idea in place, if the team starts out 0 – 4, there shouldn’t be no talk of firing the coach since Johnson said the team will not be judged by wins and losses but by the growth of their young players.
Maccagnan and Bowles were hired in the same year and two years is certainly not enough time to determine whether they are right for the job. Woody Johnson’s belief is that they will get it done together. We will see about that.