Graham’s faith in Logan Ryan pays immense dividends
The second most impactful play came at the very end of the game, one that sealed the win for the Giants. The interception by Logan Ryan came out of a formation that was created Saturday morning by defensive coordinator Patrick Graham.
Installing a new scheme on the Saturday before a game might sound risky. And as Joe Judge told Papa, he’ll ask “Are we just being aggressive, or are we being foolish.” But it is common for them to include new schemes up to and including the day of the game, if it passes that test.
The formation disguises Ryan as a single coverage safety. But as soon as the ball is snapped, it becomes umbrella coverage, with two deep safeties, corners covering the flats, and coverage in the middle.
The formation confused quarterback Alex Smith, who is playing football this season after a two-year hiatus from which it wasn’t ever sure he’d play again. Still, the disguise delayed the three-time Pro Bowler just enough that it gave Leonard Williams the time needed to create significant pressure.
Smith threw the ball in a hurry. Ryan, who watched it all happen, knew exactly where the ball was going and beat the receiver, closing out the win for the Giants.
It’s been the little things to hang onto during an otherwise frustrating season. But seeing the out-of-box schemes and the effort the Giants players have given their first year head coach is promising of better years to come.