Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Breakdown of a running play

I mentioned in an earlier post what a great game Boss and Hedgecock had blocking and what a huge boost that was to the running game. I want to break down one particular running play that had a big affect on the Giants win to demonstrate how important they were and how the Giants OL works so well together.

Giants got the ball back on a Carolina punt in OT, and had the ball on their own 13. The first play was a run to Ward right up the middle and here's how it worked:

RG Snee fired straight ahead into the LDT and RT McKenzie ignored the LDE he was lined up against and fired out to give a one-handed push on the LDT helping Snee momentarily with a double team, but immediately ran to the second level and blocked the MLB. The LDE that McKenzie had left alone was free to charge into the backfield and disrupt the play, but Boss had him one-on-one and knocked him back with perfect form. O'Hara pushed forward and took on the RDT one-on-one and sealed him perfectly, pushing him to the left, opening a hole between the two DTs. Since O'Hara took on the LDT, this freed Seubert to pull behind O'Hara and run through the hole between the two DTs and take on the OLB which he did, pushing him back 2 yards. Hedgecock also led to the right and engaged the other LB. Because all these blocks were successful and Giants pushed them back a few yards, the back side of the Carolina defense could not run down the line and provide back side pursuit. Ward burst through the hole provided by O'Hara and Snee and the second level hole provided by McKenzie and Seubert and he literally was not touched until he was well down field. The WRs did a good job engaging the CBs and 51 yards later Ward positioned the Giants for the winning TD.

The OL blocked perfectly on this play, but it would have been a harmless 3 yards if Boss had not been able to defeat the Panther LDE on the play.

Giants are running draw plays more often out of shotgun formation. It worked really well against Carolina and it is a smart reaction to teams putting 8 in the box to stop the Giants running game. Lots of teams run draws to keep the defense honest, but it is more than that with the Giants. They are using it on 2nd down and other times when they go into passing personnel groupings. It influences the defenses into a pass defense personnel grouping and allows the Giants to stay with the running game. Instead of running a straight draw, Giants are pulling OL-men from that formation and running lead draws and power runs out of what looks like a passing formation.

I continue to be really impressed with the Giants coaching.

The key to how far Giants go in the playoffs may be how much rest the Giants defense can get from the bye week and the last meaningless game against the Vikings. Giants had the earliest bye in the league, after week 3 and have not had a break in their schedule, playing only good, playoff-contending teams for the rest of the season. I think they need a rest and the bye week might be the perfect remedy.

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