Monday, January 3, 2011

Giants: Redskins game

I'll get to a seasonal review a little later in the week, but for now will just look at the Redskins game.

It just wouldn't be a Giants game without a tipped ball INT on one of Eli's throws and we had one of those Sunday in the game against the Redskins. Manningham dropped one that hit him right in the hands. I think the ball may have been thrown a little too hard, or perhaps Manningham didn't get his head around early enough to locate the ball. But the ball was not thrown behind  Manningham and was not out of his reach, he just missed it. Eli had a great game throwing the ball and this season has been really weird for Eli - he threw 31 TDs, had a high completion percentage and threw for more than 4,000 yards. But those 25 INTs were a killer. A lot of them came on tipped passes, but I can't just blame the WRs for having slippery fingers. I also can't just blame the QB for slightly off target throws that led to the tips. I think you also have to look at the offensive system which has many components that lead to high risk attempts. The Giants use a lot of timing patterns, a lot of sight adjustments, route adjustments and defense reading by both the QB and the WR. If they are off on their communication by a fraction and they run a route in the middle of the field, it can lead to an error and a tipped ball. It goes on the QB's record, but it just as well could be a misread by the WR and most important, is a flaw in the system due to its complexity.

One thing Gilbride has never learned how to do is to play offense from ahead. He knows what to do when the Giants are behind or when the game is close, but never what to do when the Giants have a 10 or 14 point lead. This week, on their first 7 possessions of the game, covering the first half and the first possession of the second half, the Giants gained 290 yards and scored 17 points. However, once they gained that 17-7 lead on the 92 yard Manningham TD, on their next 7 possessions, they gained only 35 yards total. To be completely honest, that seventh possession was a kneel down by Eli for -2 yards, so on the 6 prior possessions, they gained 37 yards and had all of 2 first downs. The pass/run sequence was completely predictable, the type of running play was predictable and the OL blocking was weak. Perhaps the fact that the Giants had Boothe in at C who had never played the position before in a real game made things worse, especially against  a 3-4 defense that he had probably not even practiced against. But still, the running game has absolutely no deception in it. It is based almost entirely on perfect execution and physical dominance.

Manningham has great speed and apparently the TD pass was an improvisation at the line. CB Hall was playing man to man press coverage, Manningham made a great move at the line to get a clean release and just put his hand up in the air to show that he had beaten his man and was changing his route to go deep. Eli read it and hit him easily for a TD. I think the Giants need to simplify their passing offense a little bit and find another deep threat to complement the WRs they already have.

Derek Hagan ran some nice routes and made some nice catches, especially on a critical third down when Eli led him perfectly and hit him right on his fingertips, with a defender underneath the route. Hagan is a decent player, but is not a deep threat and perhaps showed why he was out of the NFL for a few weeks, when he dropped an easy 4 yard pass for a sure TD in the first qtr.

Osi had a great game and really an excellent season. The S group which was so good this year against the run and made so many nice plays at the beginning of the year was picked on yesterday in the passing game. Most of the successful passing routes by the Redskins, including their 65 yard TD play, were right up the middle of the field. I think Fewell fell in love too much with the 3 S alignment and overused it. The S were too anxious to bite up to defend the run and left many passing plays exposed. At the end of the day, the Giants defense was too reliant on the DL. When the DL dominated, the defense looked great. When they didn't, they could be beaten.

Tuck had a great game and knocked down a few passes at the line. The first time he did that, Ross had jumped the route behind him on the sideline and if Tuck hadn't knocked the ball down, Ross would have had an easy INT - TD.

Giants running game was really weak yesterday and has been inconsistent from one game to the next. When the Giants had a lead, they could not protect it with the running game, even though they ran the ball against the Redskins easily back in NJ. Jacobs was not dominant this year and is certainly not fast enough to be more than a complimentary role player in this league.

The Redskins organization showed absolutely no class by not showing the progress of the Bears-Packers game on the scoreboard until the Packers were ahead. It was really a bush league move.

Clayton caught his first two passes of the season. I guess there is so much to learn in Killdrive's offense, that you need a PhD in nuclear physics to learn the routes and adjustments.

I still don't get why DJ Ware didn't play more this year. Every time he got a chance to play, he seemed to do well. I guess he doesn't fumble enough.

Punter Dodge should be kept - I think he led ST in tackles this Sunday. Of course, that may have been because every punt he kicked was very returnable and he had to make a saving tackle. If he hit them long, he out-kicked his coverage. When he didn't kick them too long, he hit low line drives which gave the Washington return man a chance. When he punted from the plus side of the 50, he nailed a perfect 60 yard kick through the end zone instead of kicking it out of bounds on the 10. When he kicked it out of bounds, it was at such a sharp angle, that it landed out of bounds by 15 yards and was only a 30 yard punt. Give him another few years and he'll get this punting thing down pat.

Tynes missed his first FG in about 20 tries, making every one since Rosenfels took the job as holder.

Eli threw another gorgeous pass to Hagan on the sideline, over the CB, in front of the S and two feet from the sideline. Boss made a gorgeous catch on a beautiful throw by Eli right before Jacobs 2 yard TD run, but dropped several. He has made some big plays for the Giants this year, but also has dropped lots of passes.

Cofield had an outstanding game as did Rocky Bernard. Cofield has had an outstanding season. The labor situation could really confuse things, since the Giants have several players whose contract expired at the end of 2010 season.

Coughlin is a good coach, but it may be the coaching that has led to this second half-weaker-than-the -first-half syndrome that the Giants have been living under the last few years. Seems to me  that the other teams in the league figure the Giants out and the Giants coaches don't adjust.

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