Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Giants: looking ahead

Turnovers - way too many turnovers, both from the passing game as well as the running game. Some of the interceptions, as has been said over and over, have been on the WRs for not holding on to balls that they should have had and some are on Eli for being inaccurate with his throws. The interesting thing is that these are virtually all physical mistakes and can theoretically be fixed. There have been virtually no interceptions that have come as a result of bad reads by the QB, sloppy routes by the WRs or the QB and WR not being on the same page. There also have been no INTs that came as a result of Eli trying to squeeze a throw into a space that is too narrow. To me, that is somewhat encouraging. The offense is playing very effectively and needs to tighten up on some of its execution to be really strong. What everyone is focusing on in the Cowboys game is that the Giants had 5 turnovers and still won the game. What is more remarkable is that they turned the ball over 5 times.... that's 5 possessions that were unproductive.... and they still scored an amazing 41 points.

The other interesting thing is that sometimes with big play WRs and an attacking passing game, you sometimes take more chances and, while you get more points, you may also have more turnovers. Giants have to find the right balance of staying aggressive to make plays and not taking undue risks. The last INT against the Cowboys was a perfect example - there is no way that a pass should have been called with 3:35 left and the Giants holding a lead of 18 points. But, once Gilbride called it, Eli should have thrown the ball away when he saw nothing was there. His confidence in himself making a play on every pass probably did him in there.

ST have gotten a little better, certainly the punter seems to have straightened things out and Tynes had his best game in two years this past Monday night, but they have to get tighter on the kickoff and punt coverage. It seems like every game there is a big return or two that hurts the team. They have the athletes to be good on ST, the coach needs to coach 'em up better and the players need to play more carefully.

Giants have to give JPP more responsibility and keep developing him so he can be a menace in the second half of the season. They also need to get Linval Joseph more playing time at DT. This is not because the DE and DT position are lacking - quite the contrary, they have been playing great. Both of my recommended moves are predicated on the fact that with Kiwanuka now gone for the season and with Osi playing on a sore knee and a presurgical hip, we might suffer an injury and be down to only 2 DEs. I guess we still have Tollefson on the roster, but I wouldn't be comfortable with him staring and playing 40 snaps per game. Therefore, if the Giants get JPP ready to take a full load, it would protect the team against injury and develop flexibility and depth. Getting Joseph ready to play DT allows Fewell to slide Canty out to DE for say 10 snaps per game and give the Giants depth and flexibility everywhere along the DL. It makes sense and it gives the Giants a better view of the quality and talent of those rookies.

Slowly work DJ Ware into the lineup and give him some snaps. Badshaw has been great and Jacobs has played well. However, both play so hard that an injury is not out of the question. Get a backup some reps now, when the starters are healthy, so he'll be ready in an emergency.

Did anyone notice that the Packers have a S who was making hits and plays all over the field Sunday against the Jets. His name was Charlie Pepprah and he is playing really well. The reason I noticed him and recognized his name is that he was drafted by the Giants a few years ago and was among the last cuts of training camp. When your ex-draftees are starting on other teams, it shows that your drafts are good and your talent is deep.

At the risk of rocking the boat, I really want to see the Giants use Beatty when he comes back from his broken foot. He doesn't need to start right away and take Diehl's job, but he needs to get some live game reps. The Giants are obviously high on him, otherwise they would have put him on IR when he broke his foot. He missed 6 weeks already and is probably 1-3 weeks from coming back. If they thought he was an ordinary player, or was a long term project that was not ready to help right away, they would have put him on IR, waited for him for next year and signed another player to help right now. Keeping him on the roster indicates that they think he is ready.

I was hoping Andrews would get worked ino the lineup at G, but Snee and Seubert are playing so well that he can't displace them. He is the backup at T, and Diehl, while still the weakest spot on the line has improved and is playing better. MacKenzie at RT has been positively lights out, especially in the running game. So while it seems that the best spot for an upgrade would be at LT, it's not clear whether it should be Andrews or Beatty. It is dangerous to the chemistry of the team to simply bench Diehl right away. I don't see why you can't do the same thing on the OL that the Giants do so effectively on the DL, which is to give the starters a blow now and then so they are fresh and ready for the 2nd half (of each game and of the season). Further, the Giants would get a read on how good they really are. Work Beatty and Andrews into some kind of OL rotation and we will find out what they've got.

I am a little more nervous about the Seattle game than I should be. It is a game the Giants should win on talent alone, but somehow it is always a tough game when they travel out there. Furthermore, now that the Giants are no longer under the radar, every team is going to give them their best game. The good news is that the Seahawks have a poor defense and a porous OL, which mean that the Giants match up well against them.

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