Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Giants: Vikings review

OK - sorry about whining about Eli in the last post. Despite all the INTs this year, he still is an excellent passer and leader. Giants offense was humming through most of this year and even though it came out sluggish against the Vikings Monday night, still has been very effective most of the season. The re-emergence of Brandon Jacobs and the power running game actually bodes well for the rest of the season and the playoffs.

Personal note: my youngest son, a student at University of Michigan scored tickets for the Monday night game at Ford Field, made the one hour drive from Ann Arbor to Detroit and was sitting on the 40 yard line enjoying the game. Last time the Giants played an away game at a neutral field site was in 2007 when they played the Dolphins in Wembley Stadium. My son went to that game also. Anybody remember how that 2007 season ended? I'm just saying.

My older son (not the one in Michigan) pointed out that in the beginning of the game, Vikings played safe on defense and seemed concerned about the Giants passing game. Then when the Giants started running the ball well, the Vikings shifted and brought a lot of guys right up to the line of scrimmage - not just in the box near the line of scrimmage, but actually had 8 or 9 guys right up at the line. At times, even against those fronts, the Giants ran the ball and gained a few yards, but the Vikings did stop the runs a bit better. However, when the defense brings all these guys up to the line, there is no second level to stop a runner that breaks through. And that is exactly what happened - Vikings stopped a few runs for little or no gain, but when they missed a tackle or the Giants OL made a crease in the front, the RBs ran for big gains. That's what happened on Jacobs 73 yard run and Bradshaw's 48 yard TD run.

Seubert is really playing well at C and Boothe is playing well at LG. So - when O'Hara comes back, the Giants may just stay with the current configuration. The question is: do the Giants have a better OL with Boothe at G and Seubert at C or with O'Hara at C and Seubert at G.

Nicks looked pretty good on Monday night running freely, making his cuts and catching the ball well. On the first INT by Eli, if he had thrown the ball up in the air instead of on a straight line and let Nicks run under it, it would have been a TD because he was past the CB and would have outrun the S up the seam. It's too bad that Manningham and Smith got hurt; there is no word yet on the severity of the injuries.

My friend Ray saw that Fewell did a real good job adjusting the defense. Initially the Giants defense was very disciplined and conservative in their rushing lanes and did not want to open up running opportunities for Tavaris Jackson. When they saw that the DBs were all over the WRs and they could afford to risk some different rush packages, they went to a very aggressive package including all their tricks - CB blitzes, LB blitzes and a variety of line twists. They got home several times and really beat up Tavaris Jackson. Let's see if they can do the same against the Eagles next week. One play I particularly liked in the 2nd half was a line twist game with Tuck lining up at RDT and Osi next to him at RDE. Tuck took a hard outside rush to occupy the LT who was supposed to block Osi, while Osi was supposed to come hard inside and beat the G to the spot. Osi did his job and got to the QB, but Tuck made such an effective move that he beat the T also and they both participated in the sack.

Jonathan Goff continues to play really well and we even had a Keith Bulluck sighting, when he made an INT on the awful throw by Jackson after the long Viking punt return.

We have to continue to be worried about the ST coverage. For a while it improved, but the Giants gave up a 50 yard punt return and a 96 yard kickoff return which was called back because of a rather questionable penalty call. The weak link for the Giants all year has been turnovers and ST coverage. We are more than 3/4 of the way through the season and it still has not been completely fixed. That is a big concern; it may cost us a playoff game.

Even though Eli threw the two picks, he did a wonderful job in the 2 minute drill before the half. He hit a few nice passes and made a beautiful throw to Boss for the TD.

The OL is really playing well, both for the pass and the run; and Minnesota has a really good DL, so that was a nice accomplishment and a good game. I also liked the balance between the two RBs, their carries were almost equal. Jacobs is fresher and running better than he has since 2007. He is pressing the holes, and bouncing it outside when there is a lane for big yardage. He seems to have a real burst and a quick first step, which he didn't show earlier this year. He is hitting the holes quickly and when there is no hole, he is moving the pile and making a few yards when nothing is really there.

JPP continues to play really well. He didn't get credit for any sacks Monday night but had a few pressures that led to other Giants getting sacks and he made some real nice plays in the running game. He is really coming on and he could be an important player down the stretch especially in helping contain the dangeroud Vick.

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