Giants center Nick Gates said Monday that the Giants' offensive linemen are “pissed off” with their inability to run the ball and protect Daniel Jones.
“We’re pissed off. We want to be better. We don’t wanna go out there and lose. We’re not trying to go out there and play bad,” Gates, 24, said one day after falling to 0-3 in an embarrassing 36-9 home loss to the 49ers. “We practice every week, we go to work, we put a lot of work into going out there and learning the defense. And it is frustrating when you can’t run the ball and you can’t protect well. It’s frustrating.”
Jason Garrett’s offense is averaging 12.7 points per game, 31st in the NFL ahead of only the sorry Jets (12.3).
“I wouldn’t have believed you if you’d said we would only score 12 points a game,” Gates admitted.
The Giants are the league’s worst pass blocking unit, per Pro Football Focus, graded at 46.3 compared to the NFL-high Green Bay Packers at 87.5.
And their run blocking ranks 27th at 56.9 with the Cleveland Browns (83.5) pacing the league.
It doesn’t help that Saquon Barkley is out for the season, but the Giants weren’t running the ball or scoring with Barkley in the lineup the first two weeks, either.
“Even when Saquon was in, the holes weren’t there,” said Gates, the Giants' lowest-ranked offensive starter by PFF on Sunday (46.0). “There were still guys falling off blocks and (defensive) guys making plays. So as offensive linemen we just have to sustain and finish.”
Joe Judge wasn’t in a mood to blast any players after his film review, including quarterback Daniel Jones, who turned the ball over twice for a third straight game. The coach put the loss on everyone, himself first.
“(Daniel) works extremely hard and it’s very important to him,” Judge said. “Everyone here has to coach better, everyone has to play better. We have to raise our level of execution and we’re committed to doing that as a team.”
But Judge did leave the door open to more personnel changes when asked specifically about Will Hernandez’s struggles at left guard.
“Every week based on the players' practice and performance we’re looking to put the best players on the field,” Judge said. “We spent the day reviewing the tape as a staff. We’ll go through the rest of this week in terms of seeing how guys are implementing our plan for the Rams, and we’ll see who the best guys to put on the field are.”
Hernandez graded at a 56.4 on Sunday, per PFF, and the Giants allowed 13 pressures of Jones on Sunday led by four from rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas.
Thomas has allowed 13 pressures this season, per PFF, tied for second-most in the NFL behind only Cincinnati Bengals tackle and former Giant Bobby Hart (15).
“We didn’t run the ball really well. We didn’t protect really well. We didn’t pass really well. We didn’t do anything really well that game,” Gates said of the Niners loss. “You usually point fingers here and there, but we’re just gonna be on to the next game, focus on the Rams, try and look back on those mistakes and try not to make them again.”
Gates' job only gets more difficult against the Rams on Sunday, though, when he’ll face six-time All-Pro defensive tackle Aaron Donald.
Gates said offensive line coach Marc Colombo told him that Gates' length as a converted tackle is helpful on the interior, since defensive linemen aren’t used to seeing length from centers.
But Gates admitted that Donald will be the “best player I’ve ever gone up against,” and he promised the second he got off Monday’s Zoom call that he would be studying Donald and taking notes first thing.
Judge, meanwhile, said he has enough experience with the Patriots to know that winning teams and losing teams both can hit ruts. It’s how they respond that matters.
“Sometimes early on you really get a vision of what you are, your identity, by how you have to correct your mistakes and what you have to learn from,” Judge said. "We had a lot of years where we had the most successful team in the world where it started off really really rough. There’s a lot of times you look around the meeting rooms and the locker room halfway through the year regardless of your record and it’s just doom and gloom.
“You’ve got to make sure you bring it back to perspective and understand it’s a day by day process,” he said, “and as a team you’re all you got.”
THE PITCH AND THE PENALTIES
Judge said multiple players were to blame on Jones' first-half fumble on a pitch attempt that was slightly behind Evan Engram and fell to the turf.
“We have to have better execution on that play,” Judge said. “We thought it was a good thing to have in the game plan. Obviously we didn’t carry it through the way we needed to. These aren’t things we’re going to completely abort. We’ll make sure we execute better. But it’s never one person. There’s multiple guys that gotta execute better. So we gotta get that corrected.”
Judge also said the officials made the right calls on Darius Slayton’s killer holding penalty that negated a Jones scramble into the red zone; on Lorenzo Carter’s facemask on the holder; and on Darnay Holmes' illegal contact on a critical third down to keep a Niners drive alive.
“That starts with fundamentals and technique and making sure we execute,” Judge said. “I think they were good calls. You turn on the tape, (Slayton’s) was a hold. Call it what it is. It was a hold. We’ve got to make sure we don’t do that. The illegal contact part that’s something we stress all the time.”
Judge said Holmes, a rookie corner from UCLA, learns from his mistakes well. So he expects Holmes not to repeat such a costly miscue.
PEPPERS TOUCH AND GO
Judge said Jabrill Peppers' status could go “either way” after he appeared to injure his right ankle trying to block a field goal early in Sunday’s game. Peppers was undergoing more tests on later Monday afternoon.
“Jabrill, I don’t have a timetable for him or anything. We’re gonna evaluate him day to day. We’ll see where he is,” Judge said. “He had that lower leg. He’s going through a couple more things with the doctor this afternoon, but it looks like it could go either way at this point right here.”
Judge also said there is “nothing significant to go over today with the trainers” for rookie left tackle Andrew Thomas, who was shaken up late in the game but returned.
©2020 New York Daily News
Visit New York Daily News at www.nydailynews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.