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Giants were league’s worst DVOA underachievers in 2021

By John Fennelly

The New York Giants have underperformed for some time now. Seven double-digit loss seasons over the last eight years should pretty mush tell that story.

But there are plenty of other metrics that will expound the narrative further, such as Football Outsiders’ DVOA chart.

DVOA is described by FO as “defense-adjusted value over average breaks down every single NFL play and compares a team’s performance to a league baseline based on situation in order to determine value over average (regular season only).”

In 2021, the Giants topped the list of DVOA “underachievers.”

The Giants did prove our projections wrong, offensively. We had them ranked 22nd—below average, for certain, but not a disaster. Instead, they finished 30th in rush DVOA, 31st in pass DVOA, and 32nd in total DVOA, clocking in at -28.1%. And, as such, both David Gettleman and Joe Judge were fired, no matter how much Judge tried to insist that the Giants were not a “clown-show organization.”

The Giants once again were near the top of the league in “adjusted games lost” which calculates games missed by key performers, but FO isn’t solely blaming injuries for the Giants’ inept play.

You can’t blame all of the Giants’ offensive woes on players missing time. The Giants didn’t exactly get worse with Saquon Barkley out of the lineup; their run DVOA went from was -29.1% with Barkley to -22.6% with Devontae Booker. The receivers were constantly misused, even when healthy, Kadarius Toney being the biggest example there. The offensive line consisted of Andrew Thomas and four guys who were very much not Andrew Thomas; they finished 31st in adjusted line yards. They were a little better in pass protection, but only because the Giants gave up on throwing downfield by midseason; Jones’ 7.2-yard aDOT was fifth-worst in the league.

It all boils down to a total systematic failure under former general manager Dave Gettleman, who managed the team by feel rather than relying on hard, tangible data.

Every member of the staff failed them. Gettleman brought in no depth for the offensive line, so when injuries started happening they didn’t even have promising prospects or quality backups to slide in. Jason Garrett was fired at midseason after his ultra-conservative, stagnant offense went nowhere. And Joe Judge called a sneak on third-and-9, the icing on a cake of incompetence and frustration. All the laps in the world weren’t keeping the Giants’ offense afloat in 2021.

2022 should be an improvement mainly because things couldn’t potable have gone worse last season.

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