We need Eli to play better, no excuses allowed. He threw 2 INTs and did not get the team into the end zone. That's not good, but I think we need to look at the big picture and put a slightly more positive spin on things. The glass-half-full perspective is that:
- Giants moved the ball effectively up and down the field, both passing and running against what was a top 10 defense last year and is purported to be a top defense in the NFL this year.
- The OL played extremely well, occasionally missing an assignment here or there and missing a blitz pickup, but overall providing good protection for Eli and doing a nice job run-blocking.
- Beatty was particularly good, Diehl looked good pulling in front of running plays.
- Jacobs looked very good - lean and still very powerful.
- Hynoski at FB finally played a little better, getting into the defenders downfield, rather than getting beaten to the hole by attacking LBs.
- Overall, the Giants offense was pitiful in the first game against Carolina, was a little better in the second game against Chicago and was still better against the Jets.
Of course, this is the good news. The bad news is that the Giants did not finish these drives and did not get into the end zone. I remain uncertain about what's going on with the WRs and the passing routes. There are simply no easy throws for Eli to make. Every NFL offense has a few throws a game where a WR is wide open somewhere and it becomes an easy picth and catch for a nice gain. I reviewed the game again today and of the 30 throws that Eli made, there were none in that category. Every throw was into a tight or moderately tight window and had to be timed perfectly. Even the one throw he made to Bradshaw which went for a 20 yard gain, had to be timed just right because of the LB coming up to tackle him. I am not exaggerating when I said no easy throws. I didn't mean almost no easy throws, or virtually no easy throws. I meant absolutely none. There was great catch by Nicks when he was held by Cromartie (it would have been 'and-one' if it was a basketball game), there was another great catch when he was hammered right after he caught the ball. There was the beautiful back shoulder fade to Manningham which had to be thrown absolutely perfectly to be complete. These were nice plays, but they had to be perfectly executed and needed great hands by the WR because there was not sufficient separation to make them easier plays. If this is the case, when the timing is a little off and the OL is still coming together, it can lead to diminished performance and inability to finish drives.
The hope is that as things come together and the WRs get used to their new roles, the offense will get a little sharper. But the question is - why is this happening? Is it because the WRs have to be very controlled in the Gilbride offense,so precise in their routes that they end up being slightly mechanical and can't use their natural taletns to get open?
Or.... is it just that the Giants lack some speed on the outside and the opposing DB-field can press the Giants WRs without fear of being burned deep. I love Nicks and Manningham, but they are not real speed burners. Victor Cruz is coming along and may have some upside, but he also is more of a slot receiver and not a deep outside threat. I would look real hard at playing Hixon as the third WR or even getting Devin Thomas some playing time, because of their flat out speed. It could be important in opening up the field. While Boss was not a great TE, he did run decent seam routes which attracted defensive attention in the middle of the field. The current Giants offense has to find someone to do this.
Travis Beckum has to run his routes with more conviction and get open, making himself a real target. He's not going to do it with great size, so he has to use his speed. Eli threw him a perfect pass down near the goal line, but he had not gotten enough separation from the defender, who knocked the ball away. Parenthetically - this was an obvious PI penalty that was not called, because the S hit Beckum a full stride before the ball arrived, but Beckum should have run a better route to get open. (BTW - Manningham was also held on the fade that they tried to run at the goal line; I guess it's preseason for the refs also.)
Beckum was also responsible for the first INT, not Eli. Beckum ran the wrong route too close to the intended receiver. It caused the WR to cut his route short to avoid colliding with Beckum and brought the S into the intended area for the pass. I won't be surprised if the Giants pick up a pass catching TE from some of the training camp cuts from other teams.
In the first half, Eli threw a seam route over Cruz's head and it looked like a bad, high throw from Eli. But a second look at the play showed that Cruz did not runa seam route straight up the field, which is where Eli threw the ball. Instead, Cruz angled his route and ran a post pattern. I hope the WRs get on the same page.
The defense looked very good. Aaron Ross had another great game and looks like he is playing with fire and spirit. The DL also looked good, shutting down for the most part the Jets pound and ground game and getting decent pressure in the pass rush with almost no blitzing. I also thought Sintim played well at LB.
Before we get too excited about the Giants defense, remeber that they were playing a Jets offense that is not that strong. The Jets defense is very strong but the offense does not have a great track record.
Special teams need work. Hixon should be the permanent punt and KO retunrn man, because you can't afford that many muffed catches of kicks.