Pro Football Focus has their game notes up from Monday Night’s Rams @ Giants game.
It’s worth checking out in its entirety, but here is their perspective on a few issues the Giants are having right now that I thought were worth highlighting – from bad to good:
• The Rams failed to make the Giants pay for some poor kickoffs. Lawrence Tynes had our lowest kickoff grade of the season, -1.1, the Rams’ average starting field position from kickoffs was only just across their own 22.
Tynes is coming off an injured leg / bone bruise and has shown some rust. He never has had a big leg on kickoffs and you have think the rules change to kickoffs has benefited the Giants more than any other team in this regard. Still, Larry needs to eat his Wheaties.
• Giants Run Game. As much as the Rams struggled on the defensive line, the Giants couldn’t get their running game to break free. David Baas, Chris Snee and Kareem McKenzie all got the better of the Rams at the line of scrimmage, but the Giants really struggled with making second level blocks and consequently the Giants’ backfield of Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs were left with a great deal of work to do. Both backs forced five missed tackles on the night on 31 combined carries, yet neither of them could gain more than 3.9 yards per carry. These two backs are ready to roll and they are simply waiting for this offensive line to block for them.
I think based on what we’ve all seen without studying the game film over and over, the Giants run game will break wide open at some point this year. The pieces are all there, Jacobs and Bradshaw are running hard, I’ve like what I’ve seen from the limited usage of Ware last game, and it’s a matter of better blocking that will get more consistent results in the ground game.
• Support from the safeties. Antrel Rolle may not have been at his best in coverage on Monday night, but along with Kenny Phillips the Giants’ starting safeties offered some really positive support to an ailing Giants linebacking corps in the running game. Both safeties took their turns wither hovering around the line of scrimmage or dropping deep, and they both proved a real nuisance to the St. Louis’ running game. Rolle graded marginally higher (+1.7) than Phillips (+1.2), but both had a positive impact on the game. With none of the Giants’ linebackers really shaking loose to make a consistent impact, New York fans will count themselves fortunate for the display of Rolle and Phillips, and the fact that Steven Jackson missed the game with an injury.
The defensive secondary is in trouble, no question. But it has nothing to do with Phillips and Rolle. Both have been all over the field, making plays consistently. The problem is with Deon Grant, Aaron Ross, and Corey Webster. These guys need to step it up – BIG TIME. Or the Giants are going to look just as bad defensively as they did in 2009.
● DT Rocky Bernard Improves Dramatically. Most efficient performance of the week may just have to go to Rocky Bernard (+3.9), who had four tackles, one pressure and one batted pass on 21 snaps.
Talk about a very welcomed performance from a guy that has taken his share of criticism on the defensive line, from myself included. If he continues to do well in limited snaps, the Giants defensive line rotation is going to be killer this season when Osi gets back to full participation.