New York Giants: Analyzing ‘Big Play Slay’s’ breakout performance against the Jets

In an embarrassing loss to one of the worst NFL teams in the nation, the New York Giants had one star that shined brightly.

Odell Beckham Jr., who?

Darius Slayton broke out in the New York Giants’ Week 10 game against the Jets, catching ten out of fourteen targets for 121 yards and two touchdowns. The last time a Giants wide-receiver had 10+ catches for over 100 yards and multiple TDs, that receiver became a pop-culture sensation overnight for some catch he made on Sunday Night Football.

But, let’s stop living in the past, let’s get to the meat of what drove Giants rookie receiver Darius Slayton’s breakout performance.

It starts with Slayton’s speed and has a lot to do with this Jets cornerback’s technique. Since Slayton has such blazing speed, this particular cornerback decides he wants to open his base to sideline early so he can get a jumpstart on mirroring Slayton so he will not be burned. The issue for him is that Slayton is heading inside on the slant/skinny post and he is now in a terrible position to counter.

Had the cornerback stayed square to Slayton in his backpedal, he would have been fine. Alas, Slayton made him pay with the cut inside and his speed took care of the rest. Also, notice how the rookie knocks the cornerback’s hand down when he tries to grab him when he knows he got beat inside. In that situation, a pass interference call is a win for the defense, so Slayton took care of the little things there.

 Here is Slayton’s first touchdown of the day, not quite as impressive as the second but still good nonetheless. Let me preface this with the fact that this was an insane tight window throw by  Daniel Jones and he showed zero hesitation in zipping this ball in there, very impressive. This is just a simple mesh concept with two receivers crossing the middle of the field. The hope in this kind of concept is to catch the defense in man coverage and force a collision between the players covering it or to force communication that will still allow the receivers to get open. However, the Jets are playing zone coverage which means this will not work especially in an area as condensed as the red zone.

This play is covered initially, but Slayton doubles back when he realizes he’s getting nowhere and Jones spots him and delivers a strike that he holds onto in traffic. Slayton’s hands seem to be improving every week and that is certainly a good thing for his future prospects as that was a main concern of his when he came out in the draft this past year.

Similar play to the first one except the cornerback is giving much more cushions and plays this properly, driving on the ball when it was thrown but just a tad late. Slayton uses his body to catch this, which is usually a no-no, but he did a good job of shielding the ball from the defensive back and he held onto it. This is usually a play that ends up incomplete because Slayton used his body which makes a play from the cornerback easier but he shows off good hand strength and holds onto this ball. Definitely making strides as a pure receiver.

Slayton pretty much gets a free release here even though the cornerback is playing the flats because of the play-action and runs a comeback. He elevates and secures the ball with his hands, gets his feet in bounds and takes the hit from the defensive back, which usually happens on this route concept when he’s uncovered at first. Again, good hands and concentration from Slayton, not something we have been seeing with his drops.

Slayton with another vertical release here on a hook, good concentration and ball skills here. Love the slow-motion start to his release to lull the cornerback to sleep and then the explosion into his break, then coming back to the ball. Slayton gives me the impression of an above-average wide receiver on this play truthfully, just with the rhythm of his route and the good catch, just really impressive. The extra effort for the first down is appreciated here also.

Darius Slayton showed a lot of impressive traits in the Giants Week 10 loss against the Jets and is very well on his way to cementing his spot in the Giants receiving group. “Big Play” Slay, is starting to live up to his name, and more.