MIDSEASON REPORT CARD
--PASSING OFFENSE: C-plus -- A predictable scheme that is devoid of the deep ball combined with a skittish quarterback in Eli Manning, who clearly doesn't trust his protection, has resulted in the Giants passing offense not taking full advantage of the collective talents of receivers Odell Beckham Jr., Victor Cruz and Sterling Shepard. Manning is averaging just 7.3 yards per attempt, his receivers meanwhile are averaging 11.3 yards per reception. So, even the YAC is down.
--RUSHING OFFENSE: F -- Gone are the days when the Giants were assured of having at least a 100-yard rusher. Nowadays, they're lucky if they crack the 100-yard mark as a unit. Between inept blocking up front by the offensive line and tight ends, and the running backs' inability to run to daylight, the Giants have seen their total rushing yard output drop every week since Week 3, when they rushed for 120 yards as a team in a loss to Washington.
--PASS DEFENSE: A-minus -- Things started out slow, and no, the sack numbers haven't been jumping off the chart, but this unit has still been able to get pressure on the quarterback and minimize the deep passes against them. What's more, the coverage on the back end of the defense has been lights out despite injuries to corners Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Eli Apple, and safeties Nat Berhe and Darian Thompson. Second-year strong safety Landon Collins is having a breakout year that should find him in Pro Bowl discussions this year.
--RUSH DEFENSE: B-minus -- The run defense started out solid but over the last few weeks there have been some breakdowns -- most notably on the edges whenever starting defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon come off the field for a breather or in the second level, when linebackers overplayed their angles. Otherwise, Damon Harrison has been everything the Giants could hope for while Johnathan Hankins has run hot and cold.
--SPECIAL TEAMS: B-plus -- After a rocky start, the unit has been operating mostly stress free, particularly in the punting department. The Giants also made a smooth transition from disgraced kicker Josh Brown to newcomer Robbie Gould, with the kicking operation not missing a beat.
--COACHING: C -- The good news is that the Giants do have a winning record (4-3) following their bye. But let's not kid anyone; getting there has been a struggle. Head coach Ben McAdoo's decision to remain as the team's play-caller has not worked out the way everyone hoped. With concerns emerging that the offense is too predictable and basic, there are also additional concerns that because McAdoo is spending a large chunk of time on the offensive side of the ball, he hasn't been as involved with other aspects of team management as he should be. Defensively, Steve Spagnuolo's unit kept this team involved in every game. What's more, he's done so despite a revolving door at free safety due to injury and hand injuries to his starting defensive duo, ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon.
--OVERALL: B minus
Most Valuable Player: Safety Landon Collins. Collins has been playing lights out ball in this, his second season. What's more, he's been doing it despite injuries to the guys around him in the defensive secondary. The former Alabama star is the team leader in sacks (2.0) and shares the team lead with corners Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on interceptions with two. Collins is second on the team in tackles for a loss with four (behind defensive ends Jason Pierre-Paul and Olivier Vernon, each with five apiece), and Collins is third in passes defensed with five. That's some solid production against both the run and the pass in what's shaping up to be a Pro-Bowl season for Collins.
Most Disappointing Player: Tight end Larry Donnell. Donnell fought his way back from a season-ending neck injury, and at times during the spring and summer looked like he was ready to take the next step forward. However, when the games started to count for real, any progress he had shown in the offseason turned out to be a mirage. His run blocking is some of the softest and most inconsistent you'll see from the position, while his inability to run lower to the ground makes him another serious injury waiting to happen.
Most Surprising Rookie: Cornerback Eli Apple. Giants fans who initially weren't happy with this first-round selection must be singing a different tune these days as Apple is getting better with each game. Although he's had some injury issues, the coaches trusted Apple to rotate with the historically fragile Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on the outside, and Apple is delivering the goods. His statistical numbers aren't eye-popping, but that's largely due to the groin and hamstring injuries that slowed him down earlier in the year.