Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Downward trends for the Giants

Against the Chiefs, the defense was not bad, regardless of what the statistics may have said. It's obvious to everyone that it's the offense and the OL that is killing the Giants. It sure looks like the Patriots way to build a team is the way to go. Don't overspend on skill position players, because you can always find good speedy players at those positions to play and be productive, especially if the QB has 5 seconds and a clean pocket to find someone. Spend your salary cap dollars on the QB and the OL and the rest of the offense will take care of itself. Giants did not do that and the OL has been in decline for several years. Speaking of offense - I know Andre Brown is out, but Da'Rel Scott is just not an NFL caliber player. (Editor's update: Scott was cut after this post was written) The cracks are showing in the foundation of this team. Having said that the defense was not bad, I must admit that the DL is not playing to their reputation. They are stopping the running game fairly well, but the pass rush is invisible.

The downward trends that I see are the similarities in the games that they have played so far. Giants offense is unproductive as the game moves along and in every game, the opposing offense figures out the Giants defense, gets better in the 2nd half and blows out the team late. I think the entire league has figured out how to play against Giants defense as well as its offense and it's time for a new look. The special teams play has been a problem, in each of last two games: giving up a punt return for a TD; missing a makeable FG that would have kept the Giants close; and making two dumb, inexcusable 5 yard penalties that gave away 1st downs when the defense actually got a stop and had the opposing offense in 4th and less than 5. I've always said that special teams play is 80% or 90% coaching. Occasionally you get a great ST player on the team that elevates the unit's play, but generally there are enough good athletes on every NFL team to have competent ST play if they are well coached. If they're not well coached, they give up punt returns for TDs on consecutive weeks like the Giants just did. Worse still, while ST is 90% coaching, when the team lines up improperly (against Chiefs) getting a penalty that keeps the drive going or when they get an offside trying to block a punt on 3rd and 5 (prior game against the Panthers), I assert that it's not 90% coaching - it's 100% coaching. It is not an excuse for the coaches to say that the players didn't do what they were coached to do. That can work as an excuse sometimes, but when the number of missed assignments, miscommunications and dumb plays continues to grow each week on offense, defense and special teams, you have to say that the coaches are not getting through to the players and are not coaching them well. Speaking of ST coaching - did you notice that Damontre Moore was the gunner on the fateful punt return against the Chiefs. I mean, WTF??!!?? What is a DE doing as a gunner? Those guys are supposed to be DBs or WRs, on rare occasion LBs, but never DEs. I know Moore is a sick athlete, but he is still not as nimble at 250-260 as a punt returner who is less than 200. Another gruesome coaching blunder.

I am not laying this totally on the coaches, I am also laying blame to the front office. This team is just worse personnel wise than the group last year, especially on offense. The OL was a problem last year and while they drafted Pugh who looks like a good player, Snee looks done, Baas looks average and can't stay on the field, and Boothe never was more than a good backup and a very mediocre starter. Reese brought in tons of DT talent to compete for starting time and the results have been decent - Giants seem to be doing a good job stopping the run. While everyone has been beating up the LBs, I think they have been decent. Paysinger has played well and Herzlich played his best game of the year on Sunday, despite getting flattened a few times in the second half. Amukamara has been great and the rest of the DBs have been decent also. But the entire league knows how to play against the Giants defense. Fewell plays a lot of 2-deep zone, with DBs keeping the WRs in front of them and giving a little cushion so as not to get beat deep. So to counter (what used to be) a good pass rush, Giants oppnents throw quick short routes and take an occasional shot down the field. In fact, the entire league does this as a staple part of their offenses. Except for Gilbride. He believes in taking lots of shots down the field - but that requires confident WRs who can beat their man regularly and an above average OL that can give the QB time to hold the ball in the pocket. Giants have neither. The WRs are not able to run quick developing plays because the run-and-shoot concepts that Gilbride puts into the offense requires patience and intelligence to read the defenses which are becoming increasingly complex. The OL this year is well below average, so it is a perfect storm for making a great QB look bad.

Enough for today...... more about Giants weaknesses as the week proceeds.

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