Monday, August 24, 2009

Giants: preseason game vs. Bears

Ugh. That was ugly. I don't want to sweep it under the rug, pretend it never happened and say that it will have no affect or carries no indicator to what the season will bring. But neither do I want to pull my hair out and say that the poor game forecasts gloom and doom for the upcoming NFL season.

On the positive side (perhaps a slight rationalization, admittedly), you have to realize that it was preseason and the players don't get up for the game. The Bears played miserably in their first preseason game, their new qb played poorly in that preseason opener, they were coming back to play before their own fans and consequently were motivated to play well in that environment. The Giants, on the other hand, played well in their first preseason game, went on the road and were probably somewhat complacent coming into the game, or at least not highly motivated. In fact,the Giants had a very short rest between the Monday night game and a Saturday night game. Think about it - Giants had a Monday night game, were off on Tuesday, and had only Wednesday and Thursday to do some light preparation and practicing for the game, because they had to travel on Friday. There is no game planning or film review of the opponents for preseason and so teams tend to play very vanilla, work on things and trying out their players. Bears were much more motivated and played more physically than the Giants at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. The real bad part was that the Giants OL could not pass block the Bears attacking aggressive front 7. Therefore, aside from looking bad, Giants did not get a chance to work on their passing game. I think the Giants have a good OL and they will play better during the season. Look for Coughlin to read this team the riot act and try to get a better effort against the Jets.

The other bad news, however, is that the Giants may get off to a slow start to this season until things come together and the first two games against Redskins and Cowboys could be difficult.

If you want to be really pessimistic, you could say that the league has found an achilles heel of the Giants OL and offense. If you are very physical with them, come upfield against them on every play, pass or run, they can't handle it as currently constructed. (That was a hypothesis, not a declarative assertion.) We'll see. Giants will have to be able to handle this kind of defensive game plan. Typically you beat this kind of defense with quick slants to WRs and with screens and swing passes to the backs. You hope that the WR breaks a tackle in that slant and makes a big play. Alternatively, in the passing game, you could max protect with a TE and RB and try to spring someone long in 1-on-1 coverage. Either way, it requires the emergence of a WR corps that is a threat and an OL that can stand up to aggressive defensive scheme.

In the running game against constant blitzes and upfield charges, you run traps or try to get to the perimeter before the upfield run blitz can stop you. I would think the Giants OL can handle this, because with the athletic G's on the OL, Giants are a very good trapping team.

I tend to be realistic; Giants OL is good, though not quite as good as everyone thinks. They need to step up and play better. Giants need to have the WR group improve also, but I don't believe the Bears game is an indication of the kind of football Giants will play this year.

The thing I am really sick about is the Alford injury. I mentioned in earlier posts that I have always been an Alford fan and that I predicted big things for him. He was having a great camp, he was in the best shape of his life and he was ready to fulfill the potential that I thought he had. Then he sprained his MCL and partially tore his ACL also. This is not good. The Giants said he would be out only two weeks, but I don't believe it. I think the injury may be more serious and he will be out longer, if not the entire season. If this is true, it opens the door for another DL-man to squeeze onto the roster. We'll see how that develops. Tollefson played pretty well Saturday night.

As well as Boothe and Reyes, the reserve OG's played against the Panthers last week in place of starters Seubert and Snee, they were awful against the Bears. But I won't single them out, nobody blocked well. Bears did a lof stunts and blitzed a bit. Giants simply did not switch effectively and pick up this scheme. Let's see how the coaches clean things up next week.

I remain very high on Mario Manningham. He is so quick.

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