Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Giants: OL injuries; Cowboys game

Adam Koets is done for the season, having been put on IR with a torn ACL. To compensate for that loss, the Giants activated Kevin Boothe who had been on the PUP (physically unable to perform) list and has now been activated. To magnify the OL worries, David Diehl appears to have a partially torn hamstring as well as an injury to his hip and will probably be gone a few weeks. He said he would like to be back for the Eagles game, which would mean only a  one week absence, but that optimistic prognosis by him is at least partly motivated by financial factors. Diehl's contract has an escalator clause that pays him more money depending on how many games he starts at LT this year. I am sure he was a little ticked off that he had to slide over to LG last week against the Seahawks, but if this injury sidelines him for several weeks, it could really hurt him in the pocketbook.

It will be very interesting to see what the Giants do this week in their OL configuration. O'Hara is still not fully healed from his foot sprain and Koets, his backup for 3 games until this past week's Seattle game, is gone for the season. Boothe could play LG, but I would love to get a glimpse of the future and see the Giants start Petrus at LG. The OL would be: LT Andrews; LG Petrus; C Seubert; RG Snee; RG MacKenzie. This is actually a likely configuration, because even though Boothe has more experience than Petrus, he has just come off the PUP list and is unlikely to be in shape to handle a full game. Maybe 10-15 snaps in the first week that he is active is a limit. The Giants are very thin at OL this week, with Boothe being the only substitute. The longer term picture for the rest of the season is not bad, assuming that O'Hara, Beatty and Diehl will come back within the next few weeks. But this week the Giants will dress only 6 OL-men. There aren't even any OL-men on the practice squad for the Giants to promote in an emergency. Look for the Giants to sign an OL-man just to have an emergency fill in. If that happens, they will surely cut Hall, the DE recently signed.

The Giants beat the Cowboys handily three weeks ago and the Cowboys have absolutely tanked in the two games since then, losing to the Jaguars and getting crushed on national TV Sunday night against the Packers. It is hard to come up with a scenario where the Cowboys play so well and the Giants play so poorly that the Cowboys will win the game. The truth is, this is not just about coaching. The Giants are just flat better than the Cowboys at all but 2 or 3 of the 22 starting positions. When you add coaching, chemistry and focus into the picture, the Giants really should win. Vegas seems to be similarly unimpressed by the Cowboys coaching change, making the Giants 2 TD favorites.

Still..... I know the Giants could/would/already did beat the Cowboys with Phillips as HC; introducing the variable of a new coach adds some uncertainty. What if Phillips really had lost the team, the players were not listening to him and the locker room speech by Jones as well as Garret's promotion really inspires the team. It's not possible for Pasqualoni, the new DC, to install an entirely new defense in 3 days, but he might be able to come up with a few unorthodox blitz packages and coverage schemes that, with the unsettled nature of the OL, disrupts the offense. The truth is that while the Cowboys secondary is really weak, they do have some talented players in the front 7. If this game is dangerous to the Giants it is precisely because of this matchup: Cowboys good front 7 and exotic blitzing schemes by the new DC, matched up against a Giants OL that is seriously beat up and has had to shuffle or replace 3 of the 5 starters on the OL.

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