Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Giants: Da Bears II

The most disturbing early season trend for the Giants offense, aside from David Diehl playing the part of a doorman showing the way for opposing DEs in to see the QB (right this way, sir), is the turnovers that the offense is giving up. Giants offense has turned the ball over 3 or more times in each of the 4 games so far this year. There are a variety of reasons for it: (1) drops and deflections off the hands of WRs going for INTs; (2) OL getting beaten badly leading to blind side hits on Eli resulting in a fumble; (3) poor ball security by RBs especially when running in the open field. There was also a bad exchange between Eli and Jacobs last week probably caused by sharp and quick penetration by the DE which made Jacobs veer to change direction before he had secured the handoff. I only saw this happen once, so I am not going to stress out about this one. But the other reasons given are important; they seem to be fixable problems, but they are important nonetheless. Simply stated, the turnovers just have to stop. Bradshaw is a fumbling machine and is very loose with the ball when he gets moving in the open. Last two weeks he fumbled inside the 5 yard line and both fumbles were crucial. During the Titans game, the Giant were down only 19-10 when he lost the ball and against the Bears they were leading only 10-3. The fumble against the Titans may actually have cost the Giants the game and against the Bears, it could have cost the game. When Bradshaw gets into the open field, he tries to run faster and he is looser with the ball, does not hold it high and tight because it takes away a little foot speed. I understand his desire and the "need for speed", but fumbling the ball two games in a row inside the 5 yard line is a killer.

Speaking of the Titans - the Broncos complained bitterly this week that they were a dirty team with late hits, cheap shots and nasty stuff after the whistle that doesn't always get flagged. This kind of behavior lured the Giants into all those personal fouls last week. It is inexcusable that the Giants fell into their trap, but at least we can see that the Titans have a history and reputation for doing this stuff and the Giants were not crazy.

Overall the Giants should run outside a little more often. It seems most of the runs are between the tackles or just outside of the T. Defenses move to cut this off and even though Bradshaw has had some success with his cutback runs against these defenses, adding some outside stuff to the game plan would help. Using the quick pitch to the outside might be very effective, especially with the Giants fairly athletic Gs who can get out in front of that quickly. It also might force the defense to spread out more, making the inside stuff work better. With Pascoe in as the move TE or FB and the added quickness he has over Hedgecock, running outside could be very effective.

Eli looked a little jumpy Sunday night against the Bears. He still made some great throws, but didn't seem as sharp as he was earlier this year. On the 25 yard pass to Beckum, I thought he waited a little too long to get rid of the ball. I saw Beckum open from my seat and was yelling for Eli to throw there and pointing to him. Obviously, Eli heard me and delivered the ball. But if he had seen him earlier and delivered the ball 1 second faster, it would have been less congested on the receiving end. It turns out it was a perfect pass and it didn't matter, but if it had been off target by a foot, one of the two Bears defenders around Beckum might have gotten in there to knock it away.

Where's Barden? He can't even get on the field. Reese did a great job drafting in 2007, but since then has Sintim, Barden and a few others to answer for. It is important that the Giants get Barden, Cruz or some other WRs on the field a little bit and get them primed for action in case of injury. When Plaxico went down in 2008, Giants were stuck and we don't want that to happen again in case one of the WRs gets hurt.

OL is not playing as badly as it seems, but Diehl is killing the Giants. He gets another big test this week facing Mario Williams at DE. Williams is great, but the matchup might be a little better this week than Peppers was last week. Diehl has most trouble with pure speed rushers and Williams is more of an all around DE who likes to bull rush also, and is not just an outside speed rusher. We'll see. If Diehl continues to struggle, I think the Giants should play Beatty when he comes back or even consider playing Andrews at T. Even if Diehl does OK and stabilizes the position, I would still like to see the Giants use a little bit of player rotation for the OL like they do for the DL. Get Beatty used to the position; see if he's good enough and give him some experience.

Speaking of Mario Williams - everyone was killing the Texans for drafting him instead of taking that "once-in-a-generation" RB, Reggie Bush. How's that draft choice looking now a few years later? Bush is dangerous, to be sure, but Williams is a franchise maker.

Giants could have 3 or 4 new OL-men next year. O'Hara is getting older and his injuries are increasing in frequency and severity; Diehl is getting on in years as is MacKenzie and the play for both seems to be declining. Seubert is tough but is also getting older and is not as quick as he once was. With a back like Bradshaw, you're looking for quickness from that G position, not just brute strength and toughness. If I am right and the Giants are going to have that makeover in the OL next year, it makes sense to give Beatty and Andrews some time this year so the team can evaluate them on real game experience and not training camp and preseason nonsense.

Koets is doing OK at center, but he's not O'Hara who, when healthy is one of the top 5 Cs in the league. He does get beat occasionally by quick DTs, but he's not a horror show. On the play when Ahmad Bradshaw got called for a chop block leading to a safety in game 3 against the Titans, Koets had gotten beaten on that play, reached out and grabbed the facemask of the DT he was supposed to block. It should have been a  penalty against him. Speaking of penalties - Giants WRs do a real good job blocking for the running game, but occasionally hold on those blocks - sometimes they get called for it and sometimes they don't. Coaches should work on that with them.

The ST had a decent week against the dangerous Bears return game. The FG operation has to improve and the Giants have to fix the punter's problems or find a new one, but at least the kickoff coverage was decent. We can't tell about the punts yet, because the punts were so poor against the Bears that there was no opportunity for the Bears to run them back. Giants had a veteran punter come in for a workout this week, so if Dodge doesn't get squared away, there are alternatives. I don't understand why the Giants have to use Dodge as a holder for FGs when he is not expert at that. Can't the backup QB Rosenfels or even Eli do this?

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