Wednesday, October 9, 2013

The trend

The trending continues as all of these losses continue piling up, but the games seem to have some similar trends and feel to them. It doesn't seem to matter whether the Giants are playing established, undefeated teams like the Broncos or Chiefs, whether they are playing young, athletic wanna-be teams like the Panthers or whether they are playing division rivals who are not very good but have some good offensive talent somewhere on their roster. The Giants show some ability early on, play tough at the outset, hang in with the other team for a while, but then get overwhelmed in the 2nd half and especially the 4th quarter. Their defense plays tough for a while but then crumbles. Their offense starts poorly, shows no running game and little ability to present a clean pocket for the QB and eventually are done in by turnovers.

The injuries continue to pile up and they expose several important things on the roster constructed by the front office: (1) there is a surprising lack of depth behind the starters on the OL, at RB and at FB. There is also little talent at the TE position; (2) the roster is old and aging at key positions and when that happens injuries are more likely to occur; (3) even the DL and the pass rush, core of the Giants defensive strategy for so many years is filled with aging players for whom their best playing days are behind them.

From the broad perspective, without going into too much individual analysis, the Giants are getting beaten badly at the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball and that means that the skill position players on offense and defense are limited in their ability to succeed. On offense, before you analyze the statistics too closely, you can just take a 30,000 foot perspective of the game and imagine or recall visually what the game looked like last Sunday against the Iggles. Vick and later Foles were often able to drop back and sit in a nice clean pocket, step forward into their throws when they had to. Eli on the other hand was too often getting pressured, often got off throws with guys rushing right at him up the middle and could not cleanly step into the throws. When he was able to do that, he was able to hit his receivers and make some plays. But when there is no running game, the QB has to throw all the time to move the team, when the OL gives up all this pressure, bad plays are going to happen. This Sunday against the Eagles, the stat sheet says that Eli had 3 INTs. The first happened when Eli's helmet was hit as he was throwing and the ball bounced off his own C's helmet. The fact that there should have been a penalty called is immaterial to the point that the OL allowed several DL-men to get to Eli, there was no clean pocket to throw from and they were close enough to him to reach out and hit his helmet. The second INT was a ball that was in Cruz's hands and ripped out by the defender. You could argue that the ball was thrown slightly behind Cruz which gave the DB a chance to make the play on the ball. But the truth is that Eli hit his man in the hands and try to recall the play - here too Eli was forced out of the pocket, was throwing on the run and threw a great ball under the circumstances. On the third INT, Nicks inexplicably pulled up his route, Eli threw it where he should have been and the ball was picked. I don't want this to sound like a blind Eli defense from an unobjective groupie who is trying to defend the QB at the expense of all else, but the facts are that the team around Eli, from the OL to the RBs to the FB and the TE are the worst team he's ever had around him. I would argue that of those 8 players that I just referred to: 5 OL-men Beatty, Boothe, Cordle, Diehl, Pugh, RB Jacobs, FB Pascoe and TE Myers, none of them would start on most of the other NFL teams. Furthermore, 5 of the 8 (the 3 interior OL-men, the FB and the TE) would not make the rosters of the better NFL teams. Yet, the QB is blasted for throwing too many picks and that's why the teams is losing.

Even going beyond those core infrastructure positions and looking at the skill position players, Cruz is playing great this year, but Nicks and Randle have both dropped way too many passes that could have been big plays and maybe changed the complexion of some of the games.

No comments: