Monday, December 19, 2011

Giants - Redskins Review I

There can be little doubt now that a coaching change has to be made. There have been too many games this year where the Giants transparent and completely predictable style of play on both offense and defense has been completely undressed by opposing teams (textbook definition of being outcoached) . Conversely, there have been very few games (my rough estimate is 0.... is that few enough?) where the Giants clever and unexpected game plan in turn has outwitted their opponents (i.e. our guys never outcoached their guys). Everything the Giants earned this year they earned on the strength of their players, not because the coaches put them in a greatly advantageous position. Fewell has created a defense where it is way too easy to screw up and where the players are constantly blowing coverages - communications problems is I think what they call it. On offense Gilbride has created an offense where you need a degree in nuclear physics or rocket science in order to make the series of reads needed to run the right routes. He's lucky that he has a QB that can grasp his offense, that he has a few receivers in Nicks and Cruz with talent and high football instincts that can make the passing game productive. But you see the effects when you have someone like Manningham who may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer, he makes a few mistakes every game, sometimes with disastrous results like yesterday's INT. The bigger problem is of course with the defense that is the worst in football, but the offense shines only on the strength of the QB, almost despite the coach, rather than because of him. I am not sure the Giants will get rid of Coughlin, they may decide to replace the coordinator(s) but in my opinion, I think Coughlin is equally, perhaps singularly responsible for the state of affairs. The primary job for a HC in today's complex NFL is to build a staff, select coordinators, motivate the players to play both hard and smart and manage the game on game day. But there should be more - the HC has to exert some level of influence or guidance on the development of the schemes, the development of the game plan and the style of play. He is not just a CEO that sits back and approves or rejects the plans that are brought to him. He needs to bring his views to shape the direction and strategy, if not the details and tactics.

I don't see Coughlin doing this. I absolutely hate it when after every loss, Coughlin comes to the podium and says "it's all about execution". To me, that is coach-speak for saying that the players screwed up. In other words: I coach good, but boy, do they play bad. Yesterday was coach-speak doubletalk. He said: "we played poorly and as the HC I take full responsibility. We just didn't execute. " Which is it Tom.... do you take full responsibility or do you blame the players for not executing your brilliantly devised game plan.

To make matters worse, the locker room now has so many players sniping at each other that they need to order shoulder pads made out of Kevlar. Rolle said you can't wimp out on practice and then play Sunday, a none too subtle slap at Captain Justin Tuck. In response, Tuck said, it's easy to be brave with someone else body. The way Rolle has been playing these last two years, he is the last one to complain about performance. He has been a real disappointment and, to quote that mid-19th century philosopher Ralph Kramden, he has a BIG MOUTH.

On to the game: when Beatty-Diehl-Baas were playing on the OL, they couldn't run block but did a pretty good job pass blocking. Now, the Diehl-Petrus-Boothe combination can run block pretty well but is not doing too well pass blocking. Diehl has been particularly porous at LT and Petrus has been mediocre at LG. The reason the Giants offense handled Dallas a week ago is because Eli did a great job moving around the pocket and avoiding the rush. Diehl did not play well at LG earlier in the year, is not playing well at LT now and is getting on in years - he may not make the team next year.

Gilbride, it seems,  knows how to call one pass play near the goal line, the fade to the corner. Last week against Dallas, he ran two in a row that didn't work against a poor Dallas secondary. This week against a good Washington DB-field that scouted the Giants well, Gilbride called it again and it was picked off. Everybody is pointing a finger at Mannigham and perhaps they're right that he did not run the right route. However, the DB was standing on the spot in the corner where the pass was intended because he knew exactly what route was going to be run. If Manningham had run the right route, perhaps it would not have been intercepted, but he would have been completely covered and the pass would not have been complete.

Gilbride does not realize what everyone else does and what I articulated above, that the Giants are a better run blocking team right now than they are pass blocking. He did not adjust his game plan one iota in this consideration and was throwing the ball all over the yard. Not only that, but too many of the passes were deep balls down field which required Eli to hold on to the ball too long behind the shaky run blocking OL.

Fewell and the entire defense are really picking on Amukamara and blaming the entire demise of the defense on one player. Pretty Ridiculous.

My friend Ray came up with an interesting idea in an email he sent to me. He gave me a list of players that he does not wast to see on next year's team. Good game - all join in with your commets. For me, the initial list of players I don't want to see around here next year: Diehl, Rolle, Grant, Manningham, Osi, Jacobs, Pascoe, maybe MacKenzie. Make up your own list.

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