Monday, November 2, 2009

Giants: Eagles game review (ugh)

Giants are in a free fall now. They need to right the ship, but it's not clear that they can. When things are going well, the team has the confidence that it will make every play and find a way to win. When things are going badly and the swagger is knocked out of a team that thought it was good, they walk with their tail between their legs, their shoulders slumped and are just waiting to be beaten. One thing goes wrong, everyone gets tense and tight and then three more things go wrong. Case in point is what transpired at the end of the half in the Eagles game. Giants were down 13-0 in the blink of an eye, giving away a 40+ yard running play to a FB who had never had a run of more than 20 yards in the NFL and who had not scored a TD in about 4 years. Then Eli threw an INT in which he stared down the target, rookie Travis Beckum so that everyone in the stadium knew where he was going with the ball, including CB Assante Samuel. The rookie Beckum didn't help because he did not charge to the ball and try to make a play on it, he slowed down, cut off his route and allowed Samuel the easy INT. 13-0 before you knew it. Then, the Giants somehow stabilized the game. They actually put some pressure on McNabb, and even though the offense was not very good, the game was not a runaway. Finally, Eli moved the offense down the field and with less than two minutes left in the half, pushed the Giants into the end zone and the 16-7 deficit going into the second half looked at least manageable. Then, the roof caved in. McNabb hits a 57 yard TD to DeSean jackson who was so open that it looked like a preseason play. Eli threw another INT on a terrible pass, the Eagles ran two plays and were in the end zone again. 30-7. Train on runaway again. Giants closed the score to 16-7 and inside of 5 plays from scrimmage: 1 for the Eagles, 2 for the Giants and then 2 more for the Eagles, the Giants were trailing by 30-17. Rout on.

The dispiriting thing about the first TD pass to Jackson was that it was almost the same thing that happened 2 weeks ago against the Saints and last week against the Cardinals. Eagles through a simple formation were able to get exactly the match up they wanted, were able to pick on C.C. Brown in a deep zone and had a WR open, about 20 yards away from any defender. This is exactly what the Saints did and exactly what the Cardinals did. No exotic, trick plays - simple schemes to get the exact match ups they wanted. This is for several reasons: the Giants defensive schemes are predictable and transparent. The Giants don't shift in and out of formations, show one things and do another, except for an occasional blitz fake. The opposing team knows how to read the Giants coverage and is never fooled. On top of that, the Giants have a huge hole in the secondary at S and combine that with occasional missed assignments and the Giants have big trouble.

In addition, it sure looks like the Giants LBs are slow. Clark and Pierce have both lost a step and Blackburn never really had a step to lose. Robbins is slowing down at DT and the absence of Canty and Alford makes him take more snaps than he should to remain an effective player. Add to this the fact that Tuck's shoulder is hurting and therefore he is a less capable backup at DT and you can see some real decline in what was thought to be a powerful front 7. Every team has injuries, so this is not a good excuse. But when you have injuries at two positions that you knew needed strengthening (DT and LB) and you signed FAs there. it indicates you needed the help. And you have another injury at S, another position that you knew had lack of depth, you can see why the defense might be struggling. Giants may get Canty and Boley back this week and perhaps will get Ross back after the bye. Maybe they will play better then. The worrying thing is that there is still no help at S and the DC still sends his defense out on the field advertising clearly what defense the Giants will be playing.

On offense, Eli has played poorly the past few weeks, but as with the defense, the offense is so completely predictable. There are just too few plays where Giants are out running free, having fooled the defense. There are, conversely, too many plays where the defense masses to the ball knowing exactly what play is coming.

3 comments:

Ray said...

One more point about the coaching/adjustments. I do not see that the Giants have changed any of the basic defensive schemes to compensate for the losses of Phillips, Bolley and Ross. For example, they put a lot of responsibility on the safety (fine when it was Phillips) but now still use those schemes. I would like to see them defensively compensate some by reducing Brown (for example) to a set of responsibilities that he is capable of. Same could be said for lb with trhe loss of Bolley.

It is a coach's responsibility to come up with schemes that best use the personnel that are actually on the field, especially in the case of long term player losses. CC Brown is not Kenny Phillips and should not be asked to play like him.

wolfman said...

Ray,
Excellent point. Put another way: C.C. Brown, while clearly not as good as Phillips, was a starting safety in the league for 4 years. He may not be great, but he can't be as bad as he has looked, as his 4 year starting stint should indicate. The fact that offenses are picking on him so successfully surely means that at least part of the problem is with the coaches schemes not putting him and the defense in a position to succeed.

Papers today seemed to indicate that Boley and Canty will play this week. Ross is still a few weeks away. Maybe he can come back after the bye.

Yankel the Nachash said...

Wolfman,

Sorry for the hiatus. It's all about the pass rush. A monster pass rush will make a mediocre linebacker crew and an even worse secondary look good. But the wide open touchdows THREE WEEKS IN A ROW have to make you realize this is no fluke--they're a bunch of chumps!

Yankel