Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Giants: LB shuffle

A few more thoughts on what appeared in the papers this morning and what I talked about in yesterday's blog post: the Giants have moved Bulluck to the OLB position and have moved Wilkerson back out there as well. It seems like Sintim is being pushed back on the depth chart and is not the presumed starter at the OLB position. You can read this as a positive development or as a negative development. Maybe Goff has been doing so well in the MLB position that the coaches cannot remove him from that slot. Bulluck was brought in to play LB, has played outside all 10 years of his career and they want him out there at that position. Or maybe we can read it negatively. Specifically, maybe Sintim is really not taking to the OLB position and needs extra seasoning and experience before he is ready for prime time. If Sintim is below par, then they had to move Bulluck out there to shore up that spot and are moving Goff in as starter because he's the only one they have there. Of course, there is a more neutral assessment and that is that the Giants just want to get their best three LBs on the field. Goff is playing a little better at MLB than Sintim is at OLB, which is not surprising, because Goff was MLB in college and Sintim was more of a DE. Nevertheless, it's about getting the best LBs on the field and Goff is a little better at MLB than Sintim is at OLB. It's hard to know how to judge this. It is good that the Giants are making these changes now still with two preseason games and three weeks of practice left before the regular season games begin. It also is at least a sign that the coaching staff is alert, is evaluating players and is thinking about the optimal alignments. Sheridan was very much a keep-things-going kind of coach and Fewell, on this basis appears ready to evaluate and make appropriate changes. From the big picture, however, you may not need great LBs if you have a very good DL and a strong secondary. But they have to be good and be able to make some plays; they can't be a liability. Good OCs can pick out a weakness on the opposing team's defense and design plays to go after that weakness. I still remember the Giants-Panthers playoff game in the 2005 season. It was the worst game I ever went to, Eli's first playoff game and the Giants got spanked 23-0. The reason I bring this game up is because I remember clearly the Panthers offensive strategy and execution. Giants had a pretty good DB-field and a pretty good DL (Osi, Strahan), but were ripped up with injuries at LB. All of their starters were out and they had to promote a LB who had played only ST all year and actually had to sign a player that was out of football the entire season. I can't remember his name, but he had been on the Giants the year before when they were 4-12, he was cut and not picked up by any other team (Kevin what's-his-name, wore number 44). Because the Giants were so bad at LB, Panthers game plan was to pick on the LBs. They added extra blockers to help their OL and ran a lot of routes to their TE, RBs swinging out of the backfield, some screens and draws; all plays designed to test the LBs. The Giants also had one weak link in the secondary and the Panthers constructed a few schemes where he was man-to-man with Steve Smith, which they took advantage of to hit a few long plays. I guess the point that I am making is that maybe you don't need studs at all 11 positions on defense in order to field a good defense, but you can't have any major holes either. Giants LBs have to play well, though not necessarily dominate.

At DB, Ross plantar fasciitis is a bit of a worry. I had it a few years back and it can be very painful and can take a while to heal. The hope is that the swelling and pain will go down in a week or so and he can manage through it during the season, but it is a potentially damaging and annoying injury.


Yankel the Nachash said...

Kevin Dockery?
Also, didn't some linebacker off the street play amazingly for a day or two, including a big pick, only to get injured as well (i think a broken arm?)? Could that have been Chase Blackburn?

Yankel the Nachash said...

Kevin Lewis