Thursday, August 12, 2010

Giants: OL, TE and running game

We keep seeing in the papers that although the RBs are more or less sharing the reps in practice, Ahmad Bradshaw seems to be taking the reps first. People are therefore surmising that Ahmad has stepped up to become the main RB with Jacobs as the change of pace. I am not sure what makes more sense - soften them up with the air force first and then have the ground troops move in, or slam them with heavy artillery then move in with pin point cruise missiles. Whatever. They'll figure it out.

I am sure you don't remember my assertion last training camp (go check my blog from last summer) but I was concerned about the running game when the Giants cut the run blocking TE from the year before, Michael Matthews and retained instead Darcy Johnson, who was thought to be a bigger threat from the TE position in the passing game. Matthews was surely not a star and was second in the depth chart behind Kevin Boss, so it was not a ridiculous move by the Giants to get rid of him. But Matthews had become one of my favorite "in the trenches" players. He was an excellent run blocker and contributed strongly to the quality of the running game. He occasionally stayed in to pass block when the protection schemes called for and he did well there as well.  I was concerned when they cut him that the running game would decline. The running game did in fact decline last year, though there were surely many reasons for that, beyond Matthews being MIA. I am surely not saying "I told you so" and that this was the reason that the running game was poor last year; but it certainly did not help. Matthews was actually not cut - he was traded (to the Patriots, I think) and his absence was felt. Jacobs had a bad knee all year, Bradshaw had bad feet, Seubert had shoulder injuries and lead FB blocker Hedgecock also had injuries that required surgery in the off season, all of which contributed to poorer performance more than Matthews absence did, though it did affect things also. This is a long way of introducing the fact that the TE can be a real positive influence on the running game and I am VERY enthusiastic about the new guy the Giants have, who actually played a few games at the end of last year - Bear Pascoe. He is huge and a good-old rugged country boy; his blocking technique looks good and he can even catch a few balls. I am very high on him, I think he will be a real benefit to the team. And what a perfect name for a football player.... Bear Pascoe. That's an NFL TE's name if I ever heard one.

Speaking of TE's - Travis Beckum seems to be having a tough time adjusting to the NFL. Could be that he's a 'tweener - not fast enough to play WR, not quite big enough to play TE.

Seubert seems to have come back earlier to practice than originally feared after he broke his hand. It's really going to be interesting to see what the Giants do in the OL this year. They will go with their best alignment, because they are going for the gold this year and will not play a young player if he is inferior to a veteran. One likely alignment is moving Beatty to LT replacing Diehl and Diehl moving inside to displace Seubert and send him to the bench.

A wild card in all of this is Mich Petrus, who the Giants drafted in the 5th round. They really like him and perhaps he could sneak in and get some playing time.

A slight variation could be leaving Seubert at LG and moving Diehl in to replace MacKenzie at the RT spot,
even though nobody is talking about that possible alignment. MacKenzie is a punishing run blocker and even though he was injured last year, is still a good player. Seubert is a good player when he's healthy and is valuable because he is a good back up to C O'Hara. There is a lot of flexibility and different possibilities. Whatever happens, I hope Beatty finds some playing time and we find out if he is the LT of the future.

On the DL, the Giants developed the practice of rotating players in to make sure everyone is fresh. The theory is that you can't move people around quite as much on the OL, that it requires continuity and communication. But it is not logical that every OL-man has to play every single snap. I would like to see some rotation of the younger players and substitutes to develop them, keep them ready if they have to go in because of injury and keep the starters fresher.

3 comments:

Yankel the Nachash said...

Wolfman,

Glad football is back. What are your thoughts on Bullock? I don't really watch much football outside of Giants games and I'm not a fantasy guy, so I really don't know anything about him. Is he the real deal? Isn't he 30-something?
People seem to forget how good Pierce was before he decided that giving up touchdowns to tight ends was his purpose in life.

Also, since you are about to become a father in law, please share your thoughts on KRod.

Yankel

wolfman said...

Yankel,

Glad to see you're back following this blog faithfully.

Bulluck is a very good player, leading his team in tackles year after year, while playing the OLB, which is a little unusual. Usually its an ILB that does that. He was all pro a few times and is a very good player, with excellent speed. Pierce was never fast, in fact wasn't that big either. In fact - the only reason he made it in the NFL is because he was a wonderfully instinctive player, a great film studier and could really read the offense. In pass coverage, no matter how much you recognize, if the other guy is faster and quicker, he's going to beat you. He got even worse when he slowed down last year or two, but was never good in pass coverage.

As far as Krod and the whole father-in-law "thing", I will remind you that I am not becoming a father-in-law, I already am a father-in-law (twice over). The upcoming marriage of my daughter is just adding to my fatherinlawosity (fatherinlawness?).

Anyway... as far as my take on Arod, I have two words that summarize my feelings: restraining order.

'nuff said.

wm

wolfman said...

whoops..... last paragraph should have said KRod, not Arod