Thursday, August 30, 2012

Worried in East Rutherford

Worried about OL

Pick whatever adage, whatever tired corny saying that you want about preseason football: the games don't count but they do matter; don't overestimate the results of the games, but don't totally dismiss them either; try to be vanilla so as not to show the future opposition too much, but also show your opponents at least something to worry about. They all mean about the same thing - you don't care if you win or lose, but some of the character, talents and flaws of your team do come out during preseason. I said early on in the posts analyzing this Giants team in this season that they seem like they have a lot of talent, but the one questionable area that can really hurt the season is the OL, even more than the injured CB position, where they seem to have identified some decent backups. This certainly seemed to be the case this preseason and especially last night in the 4th preseason game against the Patriots. The first team took 3 or 4 possessions last night and did absolutely nothing, primarily because the OL was overwhelmed by the Patriots defense. There was not an inch of running room for Wilson or any of the other RBs in the first half to move. Wilson is quick and can get outside but not when he's being smacked in the backfield the second he gets the ball from the QB. Eli was sacked and was pressured all night so that he did not have time to set up, to look down the field and throw the ball.

There is nothing that destroys an offense like bad OL play and that reared its head too many times during the preseason. I know that Beatty and Snee didn't play last night, so I guess you would expect some drop off in performance, but the first team OL was completely outplayed on nearly every snap of the game when they were in there. In the 2nd half, the substitutes did a bit better and they showed a little bit of movement in the running game in that second half, but the pass protection was poor and Carr got knocked around badly. I am not ready to wash away the entire season, but count me in the "worried" column as someone who is afraid that poor OL play could really undermine the Giants chances for a very good season.

Roster battles

Barden continues to impress and had another very good game last night. Jernigan didn't get thrown to often, but made one very good play on a scramble by Carr. He came back to the QB and made himself a target when Carr was pushed out of the pocket, and made a good move after the catch to get about 25 yards. Still not sure if Giants will keep 5 or 6 WRs, but it's possible that Hixon's roster spot is in jeopardy.

It's hard to see how Ojoma at DE will not make the team. He looks like another good pass rusher from the outside and has really impressed. If performance in camp and preseason games means anything at all, he will stick.

Greg Jones played well last night, but Herzlich really impressed at the MLB position. Jones was at MLB last year, but has been moved to the outside this year, partly because of Herzlich's progress. He could push Blackburn for the starting position as the year goes along. There are 8 LBs that are NFL caliber players and are good enough to make the team. Kiwanuka, Boley, Blackburn are starters. Williams, Herzlich and Rivers will make the team behind them. Paysinger and Jones are next in line and it will come down to numbers - how many LBs do the Giants want to carry.

At RB, Brown and Scott faced off, no doubt to see which one nabs the 4th RB slot on the roster. Brown was a little better, but Scott played well also. Then, near the end of the evening, Brown fumbled the ball, something all coaches, especially Coughlin hate. Let's see how that folds into the equation and evaluation.

One final note: we have seen Petrus do some good blocking in the running game and hoped that he could develop into a starting G and that spot away from Boothe. Unfortunately his pass blocking has not improved and he seems to me  like a real liability out there. His run blocking has declined also.  This is not about technique, coaching, or maturing. This is about the lack of lateral quickness. He just doesn't move well that way and that's what you need to do in pass blocking, because the rushers never just go straight at you. Maybe one of the other young players have showed more this preseason, and will beat him out for a job, but I am down on Petrus.

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