Traveling to Vegas / Utah last week for a wedding, I didn’t get a chance to see the Week 1 game between the Giants and Redskins. But I did follow along using various apps for my phone, and getting back into western NY yesterday afforded me the opportunity to rewatch the film from NFL Gamerewind. It was interesting to say the least – and I have a feeling we’ll see some diffent things from the Giants week 2 due to severe lack of execution at spots. Here are my delayed gut reactions:
1. The Corners stunk – Corey Webster was picked on over and over the first half for playing 5 yards off the ball at all times, Aaron Ross with the same strategy the second half. It’s no wonder Rex Grossman had a wide berth to throw into. I’m surprised Webster came out so flat, I’m not surprised at all about Ross. But in each case I’m extremely concerned. This was my #1 concern last year week one – depth at corner – and with T Thomas out for the year and any significant backup player injured as well the Giants are in trouble. Big trouble. Don’t think Prince Amukamara will swoop in and save the day either, he’s got two practices to his name. The Giants are going to need Webster to play like it’s 2008 and Ross to get a clue if no other moves are made this week.
2. Victor Cruz is not the #3 WR. Dropping an easy pass right into his midsection for a guaranteed first down and more…. It was early but the Giants were working it with a nice mix and had the edge – it looked to me like that drive Cruz stalled was destined for a score. Why is he playing ahead of Hixon? Hixon has experience, good hands, great elusiveness, and is clearly the best option without Steve Smith on the team. The Victor Cruz project is not about being a slot receiver that can break big plays – it’s about blowing by corners on the outside and making leaping catches for TDs. Did you see Eli’s face when he dropped that ball thrown right into Cruz’s breadbasket? I’m pretty sure it was explitive filled. I can’t believe Cruz is starting ahead of Hixon – I really can’t. The man helped the Giants to the Superbowl. He’s had one drop in 3 seasons. Leave Hixon in there as the starting slot receiver, for goodness sake.
3. Let’s get back to a mix of pass and run. On the Giants scoring drives – did you notice the dynamic play calling, quick snap counts at times, and brilliant execution of both passes and runs from a variety of weapons? It’s no wonder the Giants scored on those two drives – they were so effective it never was reliant on 3rd down to move the chains. This is what the Giants need to be doing EVERY drive – finding a wat to make big plays on 1st and 2nd down. The Giants were 1/eternity on 3rd downs… snap counts went all the way to 0 seconds on the play clock, aiding the defense, and even when the Giants had an opportunity late in the game to rely on the running game they got away from it with horrible results. The Giants are clearly needing the offensive line to work their kinks out, but things should get better as the game goes on, not worse. The Giants becoming pass fist and one dimensional did not help matters. I look for a bigger commitment next week to the real strength of the Giants – their running game.
4. Antrel Rolle offically lost the game. Instead of Domenik Hixon fielding a punt off a 4th and 2 with 7 minutes on the clock, the Redskins had a game sealing TD thanks to Anrel Rolles dumb defenseless receiver penalty. All he had to do was touch a guy on the shoulder pad and the Giants had a good shot to tie the game up. Veterans need to lead on this Giants team by not making mental mistakes like this… And execution at this level seems like a pretty easy ing to accomplish. It has nothing to do with Coach Coughlin’s mantra of no penalties either, it has to do with just playing smart, solid football. Rolle needs to step it up going forward, his coverage was pretty lacking as well.
5. I hate the Giants zone right now. Backs to a blank field while receivers are running free in space uncovered does not seem like a winning strategy to me. It seems abundantly clear that the Giants have not figured out that the seams of their zone are wide open at all times, whether that be a skinny post up the middle or a quick out to the outside. It’s one thing to expect a LB to be able to make a play on a well thrown balls, it’s another to have a receiver wide open and waiting for the ball to be thrown with 5-10 yards of space between him and the 3 defenders around him. If the Giants don’t have what it takes to play man, they are really in trouble because they can’t play zone either. It looked like 2009 all over again against the Skins.
6. Lets dial up the pressure more, eh? On the first 10 passing plays for the Redskins, the Giants got to Grossman as or after he was throwing the ball 9/10 times. The Redskins scored 0 points. See how that works? The beginning and ending of the game were similar for the Giants defense – they got to Grossman often and forced some bad throws and sacks but the entire middle of the game the defense seemed like they forgot the key to success. Next week, I want to see the Giants stay with that intensity through out the game.