You may be wondering – how in the world are the Giants going to get around their offensive line issues and stay competitive offensively?
The Giants have a very tough schedule, which now looks even tougher after seeing the Skins drop 28 points on the Giants defense. Compounded by the fact that the offense is only sporadically on the same page, while the defense is barely in the same book — the Giants are going to have to rely on Eli Manning and his offense in a way we rarely see then operate.
More after the jump
Bob Wankel of our own Inside The Iggles writes the following about how the St. Louis Rams marching down the field on a bewildered Eagle defense at times during their week 1 matchup:
Opposing coaches, however, are going to look for ways to take advantage of the Eagles’ lack of inexeperience in order to counter what appears to be a formidale pass rush and lock down secondary. So don’t be surprised if Atlanta utilizes a quick tempo offense sometime in the first half on Sunday night.
This is not only about the Eagles — this is about any team that is going to try and get to Eli Manning through an offensive line in disrepair by bringing a ton of pressure. Everyone is going to look at how the Redskins accomplished their goals, how Eli had no time to throw the ball, where he was exposed, how there is no #3 receiver to count on, and basically how every team in the NFL can go out and beat the 2011 Giants right now with tons of PRESSURE.
So how do you combat that? Just like Bob pointed out — you speed up your offense and don’t give them a chance to act. The Rams did a good job of this all preseason with the film I’ve seen, and frankly I was impressed with their mix of run and pass… they actually look pretty good for the most part, almost like the Giants circa 2009 with a few bad plays here and there spoiling the whole bunch.
The Giants are going to have to be ready to weather that same storm Monday night from the Rams bringing plenty of heat. But combating it is a lesson that can be studied from the same offensive system that the Rams are running, but elsewhere as well with teams like Green Bay having won a championship just last year relying on 3 step drops, slants, slant-and-go’s, and a deceptive running game utilizing fullbacks as well as running backs to get downfield and move the chains. The key here is not the play call per se, but a system where everything is built on the notion of speed. Get the ball out as quickly as possible before the defense has a chance to break up the play.
The Redskins under Jim Zorn had to do this for years because Jason Campbell had no line to block for him, Donovan McNabb had a taste of it last year two. The best plays made are not the Brett Farve-esque extending the play and throwing a deep bomb — most consistently productive plays come from within the pocket to quick routes off three step drops, hitting receivers in motion who then catch and run for yardage. It’s part of a designed system, and the Giants have the players to take advantage of it where perhaps the Redskins never did. Back shoulder passes to Manningham and Nicks were a mainstay last year, they need to be again this year off a quick drop. Quick slants — and I’m thinking of Domenik Hixon as the slot receiver here — so when the defense catches on they can then run the go route and get behind the secondary for some big plays like we saw from Hakeem Nicks and Eli Manning last weekend. We just need to see more of it, less conservative play when the Giants are up by 3-7 points, keep the peddle to the metal, intersperse the run, and the tempo of it all just needs to be so much faster from Manning and his offense to keep things deceptive.
The Giants already do show this from time to time as part of their scheme, and Eli has talked about it in the past. Here is a favorite quote of mine from 2009:
“I think we have receivers who can make plays. Guys who can get down the field, guys who can break tackles and we are going to see what the defense is doing and make our adjustments. If I can get us in and out of good plays, I think we have the guys out wide who can be explosive and get down the field and do some great things. It’s not like to hit big plays you have to throw it fifty yards down the field, you just have to hit guys on the move and guys have got to break tackles and you have to be effective blocking up front and throwing the ball. It is a combination, we are going to have a great mix of run and pass, but we have to be able to do both well.”
He had a career year that year, and it was not all about stepping up in the pocket and letting it fly 50 yards deep down field – just as he said. It was about getting the ball out quick to his receivers and letting them make plays. Nicks, Manningham, Hixon, and yes Steve Smith — it was a great year for all of them. The Giants know deep down where they need to be, what the system is and how to best deploy it. But right now they’re getting away from it for some reason I can’t quite figure out.
Perhaps they’re just really, really, really rusty right now. Speed may come when they get on the same page… but right now it looks like a completely different offense. A not-so-good one.