Thursday, November 11, 2010

Giants: Cowboys game preview

I actually heard from some of the talking heads on television that one change the Cowboys were going to make offensively was to run the ball more. I guess that means that Jason Garret is blaming the previous offensive coordinator for incompetence and the team's woes. I am actually hoping that they run the ball more. Giants have been very good stopping the run this year and while the Cowboys OL is fairly big, and therefore presumably, good run blockers, I am still more worried about Dez Bryant than I am any RB on their team. Last week, the Giants did not blitz much and sat back in coverage against the Seahawks. Because Kitna has a fairly good arm but is more or less immobile, I can see the Giants blitzing more against the Cowboys this week. The Cowboys OL has not been playing well as a unit this year. They have not been switching well and reacting quickly to what the defense is doing against it. That seems like a good team to blitz against. This may not be an easy game against the Cowboys offense - Kitna threw for 380 yards against the Jaguars two weeks ago and the Cowboys do have some talented WRs. Last week against the Packers, the whole team mailed it in, so we can't judge anything off of that. But the fact remains that the Cowboys have some very good skill position players. Their achilles heel is a weak OL, which is magnified now that they have an immobile QB. The question is: is the Cowboys OL bad or..... are they good players who just happen to be playing badly this year? The point is that if their OL has a little revival, plays with some inspiration and neutralizes the Giants DL, they could give the Giants some trouble.

There is not much history on Pasqualoni, the new Cowboys DC. He was the HC at Syracuse for many years and only recently ventured into the NFL. He was DL coach and TE coach for the Cowboys for two years. Then he went to the Dolphins where he was DC for two years, before being fired by Parcells in January 2010. He was then rehired by Jerry Jones as DL coach in Dallas and now has been promoted to DC. Dolphins play a 3-4 defense as do the Cowboys, so the Giants have some film on Pasqualoni's Miami defense to get an idea of what types of things he will do. The risk, however, is that he will try something completely out of character and confuse the Giants. Certainly, after the first game, we all saw that the Cowboys defensive schemes were very predictable and Eli could read exactly what was coming. Perhaps Pasqualoni will be able to disguise things a bit more which may give Eli and Gilbride some difficulty. They will not be able to retool the entire defense, but they introduce some things that will confuse the Giants.

Frankly, with the Giants making yet another change in the OL, by putting Boothe or Petrus in at LG, the risk of the OL missing some things is increased. If I were the Cowboys, I would blitz a lot against the Giants this Sunday and come from different angles and different sides of the field. Their DB-field can't cover anybody anyway, so they may as well gamble and have the S or CB blitzing off the edge. Giants running game then becomes very important, as well as some screens and draws. The WR hitch pattern that was so effective against the Cowboys in the first game will also be a good weapon against DB blitzes. Look for the Giants to try at least one double move off of that hitch pattern this Sunday.

Apparently Steve Smith hurt his pecs in practice today. Maybe Ramses Barden gets some extended playing time this Sunday.


Doron said...

I don't feel confident about today's game.

Dallas still has a lot of talent on both sides of the ball and pretty good special teams (especially with Dez returning kicks). Giants O Line is really banged up, and while it's great to have Andrews step up and play a large role, there's still been a ton of movement and changeover the last few weeks on the line, and that could hurt the continuity both protecting Eli and opening up holes for Bradshaw and Jacobs. I think the Steve Smith injurty hurts a ton, especially with lack of depth behind Manningham in WR corps (we'll see if Barden has made any progress, and I'm not sure Calhoun is ready to contribute despite some preseason highlights). Dallas could be fired up with the new coach in place, and perhaps they will start to feel like they're playing for something (job security, next contract). Giants have played much better on the road than at home this year. Of course, we know we have a big game next week vs. Philly (so as you said, this has trap game potential). All the NFL talk recently has been about how Dallas is brutal and Giants are great. Don't know, it all feels a bit too much. I think we have to pressure Kitna- he's capable of putting up numbers if he has time, and they still have Austin and Bryant and Witten, etc. And if our Offensive line gives up plays to Ware and company, it could be trouble. I also feel a few Tynes misses coming on. I'm just hoping this isn't a 3 or 6 point game late, with the potential for one mistake by Giants secondary to swing the game in the Cowboys favor.
I want to be optimistic and think that despite all of these issues, we'll win because we're the better team, the coaching staff will have us prepared, and Eli will find a way to win, but I just don't like the way it's setting up right now.

Go Blue!

wolfman said...

Doron, Sorry I missed your post before the game, but looking at it now, it proved to be absolutely prophetic. As you predicted: Giants did not pressure Kitna and he put up big numbers. Cowboys did perk up and play with some passion for the new coach. The banged-up OL of the Giants did not play particularly well. They could not get a running game going and while they gave Eli protection at times, it was mostly because Dallas played a lot of zone, dropped 7 or 8 into coverage and often rushed only 3. Whenever they blitzed, they managed some pressure on Eli. Of course, I don't have to remind you of the killer penalties: false start and holding negating TDs.

Wait till I publish a preview of the Eagles game later this week and see if you agree.... post some comments on it.