Thursday, August 18, 2011

Another look back at preseason opener vs. Carolina

My first impression of the Carolina game was that the team on both sides of the ball looked rather sluggish and uninspired. When I reviewed the video of the game, it actually wasn't as bad as I thought originally. My approach to preseason games is that what you want to see from your team is exactly opposite what you want to see from them in a regular season game. In the regular season, it's all about winning and the style points or the performance of individual players is completely unimportant. Conversely, in the preseason, you don't particularly care about winning, but you do want so see the team look good in spots or at least see some progress and good individual performances. The lackluster offensive performance was due largely to missed assignments and some miscommunication of blitz pickups in the OL. Offense always looks bad when the OL play is inconsistent. But what I saw was some key individual performances that were very encouraging. For one thing, Will Beatty looked very good. He stood up to the pass rush very well, never allowing so much as a pressure on Eli from his LT position. Diehl looked comfortable at his new LG position, pulling and leading a few effective running plays on power runs to the right. Baas was not physically beaten on any plays that I saw, but occasionally blocked the wrong guy and left pressure up the middle, notably on one pass play and a few running plays. I am very encouraged by Beatty's play and the word is that he has been doing very well in practice as well.

Other notes and observations:
  • Canty looks just great. He is trimmer, faster and still impossible to move out of the middle.
  • Linval Joseph looked very good also, getting a push up the middle on several pass plays, allowing JPP's rush around the end to be more effective, because the QB could not step up to avoid the rush. That's what happened on the JPP pressure that led to the Bolley pick-6.
  • I saw a subtle change in Gilbride's offense, where quick slants seem to have become more prominent part of the offense instead of the old staples, which were hook and comeback routes. This is good, because the Giants WRs have good quickness and if they catch the ball on the move, they have a chance to make a play by making someone miss.
  • Eli missed Nicks on one play in the first quarter that could have been a TD and it did look like Eli threw the ball too flat. However, if he had thrown it up higher to give Nicks a chance to run under it, the S coming over from the middle of the field might have taken Nicks' head off.
  • Rocky Bernard looks very quick. I think he is healthy this year and may contribute some.
  • I guess it's preseason for the refs, because they missed an obvious pass interference call that would have given Nickls a big gain.
  • Among the young DBs, Ingram, Coe and Witherspoon looked like they had good speed.
  • Jacobs had one long run in the 2nd quarter, on which MacKenzie and Snee pulled and were in great shape. Jacobs was out to the perimeter quickly and looked fast. On the play, Nicks did a beautiful job blocking the WR which led to a much bigger gain than it otherwise might have been. Pascoe could not wipe out the S, otherwise it could have been TD.
  • Hixon looked great running routes, catching the ball and taking hits. He could have an important role this year. Devin Thomas also showed something in speed and quickness and could be a player.

Now for the bad news:

  • Rookie S Tyler Sash looked overmatched on the two big pass completions he gave up. Even though he came back to stop one pass in the endzone and make a hit in the running game, he simply did not show the speed and athleticism necessary to play in the DB-field at the NFL level, IMO. Maybe he was just nervous and he will play better later, but I don't see it. Giants must agree, because they signed Deon Grant today.
  • Kiwanuka is a great athlete but is used to playing DE and will make several mistakes learning the position. Still not sure this is the right move.
  • On the WR screen that blew up and almost turned into an INT, Baas picked up the wrong blitzer, which gave someone a clear rush to Eli.
  • On one out route in the 2nd quarter, Manningham got absolutely no separation from his defender, leading to an incompletion on a dangerous looking pass. (Note to Gilbride: Manningham should be on the outside and Hixon in the slot.)

In total, the scoreboard told a sad story, but enough good things happened to take some mild encouragement for the team.

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