The New York Giants (0-5) host the Washington Football Team (1-4) this Sunday at MetLife Stadium in a matchup that in normal years would be for last place in the NFC East.
But this is no normal NFL season, especially in the NFC East. Dallas is leading the division with a 2-3 record followed by Philadelphia at 1-3-1, Washington and the Giants. Dallas lost star quarterback Dak Prescott to a fractured ankle in their 37-34 victory over the Giants last week, so they are likely to come back to the pack. The bar is low, that’s for sure.
On Thursday, the Giants’ three coordinators spoke to the media about the state of the team and the upcoming game against Washington. With everyone in the division floundering and 11 games left on the schedule, any team could take the title this season with a hot streak.
Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett
The Giants went into Dallas averaging just 11.75 points per game on offense. They racked up 34 points in the game but six of that came on an interception return by linebacker Kyler Fackrell and 14 came from kicker Graham Gano.
Offensive coordinator Jason Garrett talked about how the Giants would like to get tight end Evan Engram, who scored last week, more touches in the future.
“Evan has done a really nice job for us. There have been some really positive plays that he’s made over the course of the first five games,” said Garrett. “Certainly, areas where he can get better and we can get better. Offensive football is a collaborative thing, it’s everybody. The success you have running the ball, blocking them up front, protecting with your offensive line will impact all your skill players.
“At times we’ve done a really good job in our run game protecting in our run game and in our protections. Again, that will impact how we can get the skill guys involved. I think Evan has done a good job taking advantage of some opportunities we’ve given him and certainly we are trying to create more and more for him and for all our guys.”
Defensive coordinator Patrick Graham
The Giants had 36 quarterback sacks last season and have 12 in five games this season. The pressure has been noticeably turned up however, and defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is relying on veterans Markus Golden, Kyler Fackrell and some schematics to get to the quarterback.
“What I look for is how we’re affecting the pass. Whether it’s quarterback hits, pressures, sacks, stuff like that,” said Graham. “If I had to guess, I think they feel us. Five weeks, has it been enough? Probably not, because we haven’t won a game. It comes down to what’s going to happen this week. The O-line for Washington, they’re pretty good.
“They have Moses over there, pretty solid anchor over there on the right side. We have to figure out ways to affect the quarterback, whoever is playing quarterback this week. What I mean by affect, what I would prefer, whether it’s sacks, I want to win a game, first and foremost. I want to make sure after the game, did the quarterback feel us? That’s what I want to understand, did he feel our presence? Does his body feel us, does he have a hard time picking up his kids the next day? That’s how I would feel good.”
Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey
Last week in Dallas, kicker Graham Gano tied an NFL record by kicking three field goals of 50 or more yards in a game. He kicked field goals of 55, 50 and 54 yards, plus a 28-yarder.
Special teams coordinator Thomas McGaughey also coached Gano in Carolina and knows what to expect from his strong-legged kicker.
“Every time I’ve had Graham, he’s been the same way,” said McGaughey. “When I had him in Carolina, I want to say the first year, he missed a couple, maybe three or four, maybe five, kicks that he should have made and that he had made in the previous years. I think that might have been the outlier. But the next year, I want to say he was 94 percent, 93 percent, went to the Pro Bowl.
“That’s kind of what I expect from Graham. He’s super consistent in how he prepares and what he does in his daily routine, so it just manifests itself on the field.”