I actually forced myself to sit down and watch the game on the DVR and was not as horrified at the quality of play as I was when I was watching the game live at the stadium. Don't get me wrong - I love going to the game at the stadium and watching the game live. Aside from the excitement of the crowd, you get a view of the defense, the WRs and the DBs that you just don't get on TV. You can see which WRs are open and which plays the QB blew. But, watching the game on DVR afterwards, when you can rewind every play slowly and see the finer points of the interior line play is a plus also and something that you can't do at the game.
Anyway - the OL is not as bad as I thought. There are a couple of problems, for sure, but it is not as bad as it seemed. The problems can be summarized into two main ones, with a few corollaries.
Problem 1: Diehl. I love the guy; he's a real gamer, tries hard and is very tough, but he is just getting hammered all over the field, in both the passing game and the running game. He always had a little trouble against the real good speed rushers, but it seems worse now and he's getting beat by straight ahead bull rushes also. I don't know if he's having trouble with his balance, with his hands or just having a bad year,but he is killing us out there. When Beatty gets back from injury, if Diehl is still having trouble, I would give him a week or two to get back in shape and rush him out to LT.
Problem 2: Predictable offense. You know I always blast Killdrive, because of unimaginative, uncreative somewhat predictable calls, but it's getting ridiculous even for his standards. This is exacerbated by the fact that we have only two TEs and we use an OL-man as an extra TE often during the game instead of just once in a while, in short yardage situations like most normal offenses do. Think about what that does to the passing game. You might say that it's not such a big deal, because it's only 1 of 11 players and it does not give such a big clue to the defense. Well, it might be 1 of 11 players, but it's 1 of only 5 eligible receivers. It advertises that we're running the ball and if we decide to pass out of that formation, it takes 20% of our eligible pass receivers off the field. It therefore, obviously, makes it much easier to defend the Giants passing game. When the Giants use that extra OL-man, they run virtually 100% of the time. Titans typically snuck 8 guys in the box when the expected the Giants to run and when the Giants had the OL/TE in the game, the DB with the responsibility to cover him also snuck inside so there were 9 guys at the line of scrimmage and it was virtually impossible to run. Before the Giants had a somewhat predictable offense. Now, they may as well invite the defense into our huddle, because they know what the Giants are going to run as well as the Giants do. Aside from the 9-in-the-box that the Titans used, I counted 4 plays where, as the ball was being snapped, the enire defense slanted and flowed diagonally to exactly where the running play was going. I didn't see as many missed blocks or OL-men defeated in what they were trying to do as much as I saw too many Titans at the line of scrimmage for the Giants to block effectively. Giants have to dress 3 TEs and use Pascoe and Boss together when they want to give the big 2-TE look. They also need to sneak Beckum deep occasionally, even though Boss is very effective on those deep seam routes also.
Problem 2a: Giants OL and RBs are having some communications problems on blitz pickups and I'm not sure why. They have an OL coach who is reputed to be among the best, but the Giants seem to be having trouble with switches on those blitzes. On one sack of Eli a Titan LB came right up the middle and Jacobs, who was to Eli's right, should have crossed over and picked him up, Instead, he stayed to Eli's right and was looking to help out on a player who was blitzing on MacKenzie's side. On that particular play, it turned out that MacKenzie did a good job slowing the blitzer down, Snee helped out on MacKenzie's man and Koets helped out on Snee's guy, so that worked well. Jacobs was looking that way, but the OL did a good job and he was left staring there with nothing to do. If Jacobs had looked to the other side (head on a swivel is the metaphor they use) he would have seen the blitzer up the middle and Eli would not have gotten lit up like he did. Usually Jacobs is a very effective pass blocker, but both he and Bradshaw having been getting beaten this year and I'm not sure why. BTW - on the safety called against Bradshaw, it was a good call. Koets had a hold of the face mask of the rusher (he should have gotten called for a penalty himself for that infraction) and Bradshaw blocked him at his knees. It was the textbook definition of a chop block.
Problem 3: ST. Punting. Punt coverage. Kick off coverage. Return game. Fix it coaches! ST play is 99% coaching. While some teams may have some exceptional ST players, every NFL team should be able to field enough capable athletes to make ST decent. If this ST coach can't do it, get rid of him and find another.
I really don't like the matchup against the Bears. With the Giants problem on ST, Bears return specialist Devin Hester could score 3 or 4 times this Sunday night. With Diehl's problems at LT and particular difficulty with speed rushers, Julius Peppers, who abused the Packers OL this past Monday night, could break Osi's single game sack record of 6 this Sunday night.