Thursday, November 29, 2012

Looking forward to Redskins I

Kiwanuka and Blackburn were the best players on defense for the Giants against the Packers. Kiwanuka played exclusively with his hand in the field-turf and was excellent. He was good against the run and was often in Rodgers face, getting 2 sacks. With the Giants playing more 3-S formations, which takes a LB off the field, there were even fewer snaps available for Kiwanuka at LB, so the move to get one of the Giants best athletes on the field was a sound decision. He did not play DE all the time, in fact, it looked to me like he was at DT most of the time. This is also smart against a QB that can run like Rodgers and of course carries over to this week's game against RG III. Having a DT that can run down a QB in the open field is a big advantage. The Giants might be reluctant to use 3-S look too often against the Redskins, primarily because of the size of their OL and their big RB Morris, who was very impressive in the first game against the Giants. Packers have a weak OL and do not have a power running game, so the Giants gambled on their DL defeating the OL of the Packers and taking away their running game. They left extra DBs on the field often in their base defense to combat the Packers dangerous passing game. If the Giants show too much 3-S and leave the box soft, Redskins will try to trample it with their big runner. Maybe even more than last week, the Giants need a huge game from their DL to take away the run and get a pass rush on RG III. It sounds so simple and in fact it is probably the game plan of every defense every week - take away the run; get them in passing downs and then turn your pass rushers loose. But in this case, the matchups are such that it is even more important. Redskins outgained the Giants last game by a lot - they generated more than 450 yards of offense. Giants won the game because they forced a bunch of turnovers and that is not something you can rely on or can expect to repeat. Giants have to come up with a better game plan to stop RG III and I think they need to not overcompensate for his speed and running ability. Play the running game straight; play him as a normal pocket passer; surely be somewhat conservative in your rush lanes, but if you get away too much from what you normally do and what your personnel is designed to do, you will not play well anyway. Having Kenny Phillips available this week is very important: because of his coverage ability and mostly because of his tackling in the open field. Sticking Rolle on their dangerous slot WR Santana Moss is a big help for the Giants defense. Phillips helps in that regard, freeing up Rolle for that slot.

Blackburn is getting better each week. I kept hoping that Herzlich would win the job from him because he seems faster and more athletic, but Blackburn is just playing outstanding football. His football IQ is so high - he is rarely out of position, understands the angles that he needs to take on the football field and is actually faster and more athletic than he looks for a guy his size. He almost got an INT in the middle of the field (which resulted in lucky catch for Packers on the tipped ball) and made a great play covering the extremely athletic TE Finley of the Packers knocking the ball away in the end zone. He's big so he plays the run well and fast enough to do the job in the passing game. His blitz against Rodgers showed his speed as he was on top of him before he could make a move.

Giants hardly blitzed against the Packers, but I think they might do more of it this week against RGIII. Fewell used to dial up a lot of blitzes against Vick and they were fairly effective against him. You can't let them get comfortable and read what the defense is doing, but the Redskins WRs are less dangerous deep threats than the Packers WRs and taking some gambles to get him off his game might not be such a bad move. When you blitz, you do have to worry about a contain on the other side, but it will be interesting to see how Fewell plays it. Blitz him from his right, in his face and make him run back to the left where you hope Giants can generate some blind side pass rush.

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