The Tale of Two Offensive Lines

Finally home!  That offensive line for the Cowboys looked good right? That is what 3 1st round draft picks looks like verse the hodge podge duct tape line the Giants put together.

The Giants find themselves 3-4 after starting off cold, getting hot and falling back to earth. The hot and cold is correlated to the performance of their offensive line.  The defense has played decent but still looks at times like there is confusion in the play calling.  With Jon Beason out for the season it’s now McCleen’s team.  It’s up to McCleen and the Giants to get the opposing team off the field and provide the offense opportunities to score. The offense and special teams needs to stop giving the ball up. The Giants have a turnover in the last 23 straight games.

Over the past three games Eli Manning has no turnovers, averages 203 yards passing per game and is completing 63% of his passes.  The loss of Cruz is huge mentally but in the McAdoo system it’s easy to plug in players to make plays. The giants miss Jennings more than they are missing Cruz. Though the rushing yards per game haven’t dropped Williams’s inconsistency in pass blocking and catching the ball out of the backfield that is really missed. And if you look at the statistics Peyton Hillis has actually been the production leader between the two.  Though offense system is passing oriented a rushing game is needed.

There are a few telltale signs of Giants losses: Losing the time of possession battle, HORRID 3rd down conversion percentages and their inability to get the opposing offense off the field.  In the Giants last game against the Cowboys they didn’t’ convert a third down till there was 4-seconds left in the second quarter.  The Giants have converted 41% of their 3rd downs (40 of 95) with only 22 of these conversions on the ground. Okay so, well out of the 95 3rd down attempts 35 have been 3rd and 0-4 yards.  In these situations the Giants are 70% more likely to pass than they are run.  I’m not trying to couch call the game but the numbers are starting to tell a story on how to play the Giants on 3rd downs.

The defense is reeling from injuries and the Giants need great play from the defense.  It feels like for every great play they give up the one they need to stop.  The interior line has been playing great for the GMEN. Though JPP isn’t getting the sacks we want him to get his overall play has been top level this season. I’d like to see the defense become less complex so there isn’t so much confusion on the field.

I’m done trying to call games (short lived) and I have a bad feeling about the Giants this Monday night against the Colts.

Go Giants.




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The Two Week Aptitude Test Starts This Sunday Night

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I’m coming around but I’m not about to call the Giants super bowl contenders….yet…

The Giants are rolling. The offense is really coming together like we haven’t seen before. They scored 30-pointsin three consecutive games. Many of my readers weren’t even born the last time they did that (2009).  The defense is playing well, they’re creating turnovers but once again they will be facing a team with a heavily injured offensive line.  Granted the Eagles are a unique offense as is but the injuries up front have created issues for them. Will Sunday night be another opportunity for the front four to create havoc and turnovers like they have over the past three games?

I don’t think I’ve ever said this before. I mean ever. The New York Giants have a plethora of offensive weapons.  Let me repeat that The New York Giants have a plethora of offensive weapons.  Jennings, Williams, Donnell, Cruz, Randle, Beckham and I’ll toss in Parker.    I still haven’t bought into this offense line but I did hear today that this offensive line unit has been playing together since the final game of the preseason.  So apparently there is an upside to this rag tag bunch of guys.  As I’ve said before we have a system offensive line and its working.  Manning drops are primarily 3-step drops with limited 5-step and the 7-step left with Gildbride.  Now Jennings is hurt with a sprained MCL which should sideline him till after the Giants bye week.  That leaves the running duties up to the rookie from Boston College and the great white hope Peyton Hillis.  Andrew Williams ran strong last week but there is a noticeable drop off between Williams and Jennings.  Dan Graziano noted in his blog this week that there is a full yard difference between the running back and another 0.9 yards after first contact.  Neither running back is known for their speed but Jennings is a more explosive runner.  That being said I don’t think there is a reason to be worried with Williams.

As my readers and anyone within an ear shot knows I have been adamant about Jerry taking Beckham over Martin. But I never said I didn’t like Beckham I just wanted the Giants to address their needs.  If his performance against the Falcons is any indication of what’s to come this season….WOW.  There is word he might replace 7-thumb parker on punt returns this week.  The Giants have been moving the ball efficiently these past three games. Mostly through short timed routes and few pokes down field to the speedsters.  Randle is still struggling to be the number two he is supposed to be.  Everyone remembers the touchdowns but if you review the tape and listen to the analysts that amazing catch out of bounds wasn’t on Manning; it was Randle’s inability to get separation and know where to be for the throw. His fantasy numbers might be good but his game statistics are going quickly move him to the #3 receiver if Beckham lives up to his reputation.

It starts with the man behind center. Manning has always been known for his pre-snap reads and they are really changing how this offense works.  With this ability to identify mismatches on defense, quick drops and fast release he is abusing defenses over the past three games.  According to Greg Cosell the two quarterbacks with the fastest release from snap to release are Peyton Manning #1 and Eli Manning #2.  Manning is the leader and has overcome unlearning 12+years of mechanics to be successful in the offense with plenty of upside to go.

Fourth straight game the Giants won the time of possession game. Mainly due to the fact the defense could get the opposing teams offense off the field.  The Falcons were 2-13 on third downs. Over the past three games the Giants defense has held the opposing team to 5-33 on third downs.  How do you keep your defense fresh? You convert on third downs. The Giants were 9-15 on third downs converting 60% of the time.  If you pay attention to the statistics (that is why you read this blog) the Giants are more likely to pass on 3rd down than run. ¾ times this season the Giants have passed on third down over running.  When facing 3rd downs of 4-yards or less the Giants have run the ball 46% of the time.  And it seems to work as they only convert 9 third downs running and 23 passing.  The system is working.

TEAM 3rd Attempts % Run Attempts Pass Attempts 0-4 Yards 5-9 Yards 10+ Yards Run Conversions Run% Pass Conversions Pass%
Lions 3 13 23.08% 1 12 4 6 3 0 0.00% 3 100.00%
Cardinals 6 12 50.00% 2 10 3 5 3 1 50.00% 5 83.33%
Texans 4 12 33.33% 5 7 7 2 3 3 60.00% 1 25.00%
Redskins 11 16 68.75% 4 12 8 8 0 2 50.00% 8 72.73%
Falcons 9 15 60.00% 4 9 9 3 3 3 75.00% 6 66.67%
33 68 16 50 31 24 12 9 23

This game that means a lot; no matter how bad either team is the Giants vs. Eagles bring out the fans.  This game means a lot for the NFC east as the winner will take sole possession of first place.  As I’ve mentioned in the past with an extremely competitive NFC winning the east is the bridge to the playoff’s and I believe every team understands this.  The Eagles are scoring from every part of the game. The Eagles have four special teams touchdowns – two on blocked punts and one apiece on a punt and kickoff return – scoring all of them in their last three games. They also have three defensive touchdowns. The Giants special teams has got to stop playing special.

I’m calling game: 42-38 Giants.




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Now, the world don’t move to the beat of just one drum

Diferent strokes

So what game should Ryan Nassib start? Who the hell is Larry Donnell? Are we ready to fire Fewell yet?

The offense is clicking, the defense is back and the Giants are going win the NFC East.

Who isn’t impressed by the performance of the Giants over the past two weeks? McAdoo’s system is working, the defense appears to be working as one unit and they’re creating turnovers.  But as much as I want to grab my pom pom’s and call the Giants contenders I hesitate.  How good were the Texans or the Redskins? I believed the hype on the Redskins and I still believe they have an explosive offense. Their defense contends in each game and has OWNED the Giants under Jim Haslett. With a roster full of injuries and a young QB finally showing the chinks in his armor the Giants took advantage and never let up. Against the Texans the offense helped mitigate the rush by getting the ball in less than three seconds and establishing a running game. Fitzpatrick was classic Harvard and not only couldn’t he run the offense but he struggled making plays when they needed. Was it the Giants in these two games or the ineptness of their opponent?

I’m not trying to be captain negativity but I am try to be level headed. The Giants are improving but their efforts are being amplified by their opponent’s inability to execute? I’m going to do my best show why I’m wrong.

Hey what do you know, the offense is clicking.  Manning has been improving week over week and each week his comfort level in the offense shows. Against the Lions Manning was 18 for 33 with a 54.55% completion rate and against the Redskins he was 28 for 39 with a 72% completion rate. His yards per pass have increased from 4.1 yards per pass to 7.8 yards against the Texans and 7.4 against the Redskins. The Giants have created a system offensive line, quick release mixed with a two running backs that run well in the “shit” as some marines would say with strong north-south runners that power dominates over speed.

Third down are coming by the bushel. Converting them is still a huge question mark. But inside the number you see a pattern. The Giants have had 13, 12, 12, 16 3rd down attempts but only  3, 6, 4 and 11 conversions. Wait what? The Giants converted 23%, 50%, 33% and 69% of their third downs over four games. The most positive trend has been the increasing frequency of third downs under 4 yards with 4, 3, 7 and 8 attempts of third downs less than four yards.  So a whole bunch of attempts, 53 to be exact with 24 conversions. BUT 70% of these conversions were converted via pass with 41% of third downs less than 4-yards. So let’s stop and think about this. The Giants are not only pass happy when they’re 4-yards or less on third downs but they’re quite successful at it.  So the system is working?

So the defense seems to be doing its job. Lot of fun stories being tossed around including the fact the Prince recently got married and is having sex and is the reason why he has been playing such  high level. The defense has gotten off the field which is HUGE. They’ve held opposing teams over the past two games to 3 third down conversions out of 20 attempts. The Giants have been successful in forcing opposing team’s offense off which results in time of possession dominance. Over the last two wins the Giants defense has forced 7-interception and 3-fumbles.

So what to expect? Well the Giants will have their struggles, it’s in the DNA. They face the Falcons this week and this is a very winnable game. The Falcons have had success moving the ball and were the highest scoring team in the NFL up until last week.  This week will be a great test to see if the Giants defense has in fact gotten better or have in fact looked better due to poor play by their opponents.  The real test will be on offense with Will Beatty lining up against former New York Giant Osi Umenyiora. Osi is famous for his speed rush while Beatty is famous for his inability to block the speed rush.

Giants win in a wild game; Manning goes Eli Manning in the fourth quarter and Giants win.

 

 

 

 




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Week Four Will Define if We’re Arnold or Danny?

twins_articleSo let me start this week’s blog with the disclaimer I didn’t watch a single play live. I was away with my wife for my 1st wedding anniversary.  Through reading the beat writer’s tweets and the game cast on CBS I followed the action of the game.  Let me say it was equally frustrating reading about the first half as it must have been to watch.

So after reviewing the numbers I have to say the game wasn’t as impressive as I thought.  I mean YAAAAAAY the GIANTS WIN!!!! But they allowed over 400 yards of total offense from the Texans whose quarterback at one point at a rating of 0.6 (finished 59.6). The Texans didn’t abandon the run even being behind by 14 at one point (25 run/35 Pass) and accumulated 119 yards.  The Giants scored more than 30-points for the first time since the opening game in 2013 verse the Cowboys. Remember that dumpster fire of a shootout.

There should be legitimate concerns about this week’s game in Washington.  The Redskins have scored 81 points that is 23 point more than the Giants so far this season. And for those that says “Oh well they put up 41 and 34 against the Jaguars and Eagles” should stop and look at our Defense. Guess who joins those two other teams in the bottom ten for total yards and points allowed?  The Redskins somehow someway have a dynamic offense powered by a great running game with Alfred Morris, a legitimate receiver in Garcon and the Giants killer DeSean Jackson.  This is the test for the Giants secondary; fourth game of the season, NFC east opponent and a legitimate quarterback and receiver.

Both teams know that only the winner of the NFC east is going to the playoffs. Both teams are 1-2 (TWINS) and know in the rare circumstance a wildcard is available; they can’t fall any further behind.  Both teams know that NFC games going to be must wins all season and it starts on Thursday.

The Giants continue to struggle with third downs. Another week another game in which the Giants struggle to convert on third down.  What is more frustrating is that of the 12 third downs they faced 7 of them were under 4-yards. Yet they only converted 4, 3 of which were via the run.  Sounds good until you see the Giants average 4.8 yards per rush.   The Giants traditionally struggle to convert on third downs because they put themselves into long third down conversions.  It’s vital to their success they keep the percentage of 3rd downs 4-yard or below. Otherwise their defense is on the field tooo long and the offense can’t find the rhythm they need.

TEAM 3rd Attempts % Run Attempts Pass Attempts 0-4 Yards 5-9 Yards 10+ Yards Run Conversions Run% Pass Conversions Pass%
Lions 3 13 23.08% 1 12 4 6 3 0 0.00% 3 100.00%
Cardinals 6 12 50.00% 2 10 3 5 3 1 50.00% 5 83.33%
Texans 4 12 33.33% 5 7 7 2 3 3 60.00% 1 25.00%

 

I don’t know what to think of the defense.  This is a short week, on the road (home teams are 5-1 on Thursday night this season) hostile stadium, NFC rival both fighting to not drown.  This week is the week Perry needs his defensive scheme to work. He needs to execute the right personnel for each situation.  Something I feel like he struggles with (to schematic).  The Giants can’t afford to start this game like the Lions or Cardinals and it starts with the defense.  They need to pressure Cousins, they need the corners to keep the receivers in front of them (not asking a lot here folks) and create turnovers.  Stevie Brown is learning what happens when you make poor rookie training camp reads on passes that result in touchdowns.  DRC needs to prove all that money the Giants are paying him is worth it.  Rolle needs to be the leader on the field; especially with Beason struggling to make the field and if is there nowhere near 100%.

The special team has to stop playing like their special. It’s a huge issue and it’s having a monster impact on the game. This has to end this week and they need to execute to perfection, especially on punt return as they are facing the Giants killer DeSean Jackson.

There is no break for the Giants offense; they still need to continue to progress forward.  Small steps but together they can be big ones. That is how this system works; timing and execution lead to 429 yards of total offense.  The Redskins are all sorts of beat up with 3 out and 9 questionable.  Once again the Giants offensive line will have their hands full with the front four of the Redskins and will be tested every play. Until otherwise proven wrong, I will always consider the offensive line the weakest aspect of this team.

I think the short week will benefit the Giants especially coming off last week’s win where the offense appeared to have some flow and the fact travel is/was a short bus ride down to D.C that they have a chance to leave FedEx 2-2 and 1-0 in the NFC east.

  • Short 3rd downs a.k.a. explosion off the line creating a running game
  • No big plays allowed on defense: Wide receiver in front of the defenders and making Cousins uncomfortable
  • Special teams stops playing special: NO ADDITION TO THE JACKSON HIGHLIGHT REEL.



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It’s Ugly But it Still Drives

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Please add to the list of things I no longer want to hear “In 2007 we started 0-2 and went to the super bowl”.  We’re going into week three and there is already a fairly good argument the Giants won’t make the playoffs this year.  The Giants went into the playoffs in 2007 10-6 and grabbed the last wildcard in the NFC with a defense powered by probowler’s and an offense line that played together for over six years.  Just going off the NFC west there is a good chance both wild cards will come from that one division ala NFC east of the past. The idea that any team outside of the NFC east division winner makes the playoffs is a pipe dream.  Thankfully the NFC east looks about has stable as the Giants.  The Eagles were given a GIFT on Sunday night, the Cowboys are only as good as the team they’re playing and the Redskins might actually be better with Cousins but that only makes them as good as the team they are playing. So though I believe the Giants are bad (statistics back that up) and this isn’t’ 2007, they can still make the playoffs by winning the NFC East.

Why are the Giants so bad? Well the offense made steps this past week that show signs of the offense coming together in the new system but still have strides to make.  The offensive line is still a joke, the running game is miserable, Eli is still adjusting to the new mechanics, the timing as a whole is inconsistent and the receivers are dropping balls.  The defense is falling apart physically, the rush defense is terrible while although the pass defense looks bad it’s not terrible (by the #’s), there is zero pass rush and the Giants secondary is a penalty machine while producing ZERO turnovers.  The special team has now allowed the opposing teams kickoff returner be the special teams’ player of the week.  On the other side of special teams they’re just sloppy.

But I feel confident things can be turned around… WHAT? First let’s keep going down this bad path for a little bit and then I will tell you why I think things can get better.

The Giants are loyal to a fault and I respect that but Jerry Reese spent $118mm and drafted or signed 46 new players and the offensive line looks the same.  Rather than draft need with Zack Martin (I promise my 1st round gripe will eventually go away…but if you read the Cowboy media about Martin you’ll see why my blood boils) Jerry went value with Beckham.  So the best free agent we signed is hurt, our center that is playing for the first time after two years due to an ankle injury is having balance issues and being tossed around like a rag doll.  Walton’s week 2 pass- and run-blocking grades from Pro Football Focus were minus-1.4 and minus-1.2 respectively, leading to a minus-3.3 overall grade, which puts him 22nd out of 25 starting centers in the league. Will Beatty is still struggling, specifically with speed rushers; John Jerry made a nice recovery of a 0.9 last week after a dismal -2.6 rating week one, Pugh has been the most consistent with a 3.4 rating last week the rookie Richburg has been struggling with a -4.0.  Per Patricia Traina she wouldn’t be surprised to Richburg eventually moved to center but I wouldn’t see that in the cards until he adjusts to the NFL.  The Giants have  LOOOOOONNNNGGGG while to go before this offensive line becomes one autonomous unit. And that is not good.

The Giants receivers are overrated RIGHT NOW.  Victor Cruz is a number one receiver but like Manning is struggling with changing his mechanics, the timing and his place within the system.  That is why I believe he is struggling. After being skipped in week one Cruz made his presence known week two but it was over shadowed by his drops.  Per research by Patria Traina Cruz is currently third on the Giants for targets behind Donnell and Jennings. Third on the team in targets and but only has only caught 43% of the passes. The Giants need MORE FROM CRUZ. He had some big time drops and at one point ducked during a pass that resulted in an interception.   As usual my expectations for Randle are low; it’s been wildly reported he lacks football intelligence and it shows on the field. He scores Touchdowns but he also can’t get separation when needed to a target. Jernigan is now on the IR which opens the door for Parker and the crowd favorite Washington.  Right now, week three, the Giants DON’T HAVE A STATISTICAL #1 WIDE RECEIVER.  That’s not on the system, that’s on the player.

Going forward please refer to Larry Donnell as Lawrence Donnell.  When he scores yell “He prefers Lawrence”…..Not sure why, but I’m pushing this agenda 1000%.

So why do I believe this offense can turn it around? With all my negativity do I believe the Giants have the ability to do good this season?  As stated last week I am all in on Eli Manning.  Yes he is tied for first in interception with Matt Cassell of Minnesota but he is only has one more INT than Kap or Luck.  He has three touchdown passes and apparently the only way the Giants can convert on third down is passing ( 9/25 on 3rd downs with 8 via passing).  I believe in Manning, his 39 on the wonderlic, his brilliant pre-snap reads and the ability to learn a new system and mechanics.  The Giants showed actual progress last week on offense moving the ball against one of the top rated defenses in the NFL with ease. Consistency is the issue, the offensive line is an issue but both can be fixed or at least Band-Aid bridged.

The defense is another story. The defense got a lot of attention this off-season and so far all the money seems to be going down the drain. Our linebackers are hurt or wildly underperforming (Williams I’m talking about you). The defensive backs consistently look confused, mixing up coverage responsibilities and the plays they do make are recovery plays from blown coverage.  The pass rush is non-existent and needs to be recalibrated.  I’m falling out of favor with Fewell; he seems to be too schematic and not taking advantage of some of the raw talent he has or the match up’s he is facing.

Fewell has turned things around before and clearly that is what we’re all looking for sooner rather than later.  Like the offense it’s about continuity and trust.  It also has to come from Fewell to put players in that can make plays. Kiwanuka is not playing well off the ground on the edge.  He shouldn’t be taken off the field, just needs to find a place where he can play upright and be effective.

Third downs woes continue. Though the Giants converted 50% of their third downs only 1/8 was converted via rushing play 8/12 3rd downs were 5 yards or more (3 – 10 yards+).  This is mainly due to the lack of rushing game, very 2013…again.

Once again I won’t be surprised if the Giants upset the Texans but equally won’t be shocked if they lose and fall to 0-3.   How the offensive line does against the Texans defensive front four and how they do against the Texans running game I believe will be the proving ground of who will win this game.  Ohh and they need to SLOW down the opposing teams special teams.

 

 




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I’m Putting It Out There: I’m Buying Manning Stock.

So week one went as expected.  No one thought it would be perfect, no one expected it to be as bad as it was and in the end we still have no idea what to expect from the Giants this week.  The GMEN will host the Arizona Cardinals who come into week two after an amazing come from behind win last Monday night (late game).  The Giants will have their hands full on defense once again with the Cardinal’s wide receivers Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd and offense they will be challenged on levels as they face  one of the best defenses in the league.

Please for the love of god, please stop saying the Giants should bench Eli Manning and start Ryan Nassib.  Nassib is young, had one year of development in the Gilbride system and played against defenses that most likely don’t include any players currently starting in the NFL.  Eli Manning is one of the smartest pre-snap quarterbacks in the league. That is not my opinion that is the opinion of NFL analysts from ESPN to the NFL network.  Unlike his brother Peyton, Eli doesn’t run the offense from the field, but he does make the adjustments to counter what the defense is showing.  Here is my opinion; I’m buying Eli Manning stock. I think the issues that are plaguing Manning has to do more with the system, the change to his mechanics and a horridly rebuilt offensive line (#ThanksJerry).

McAdoo’s system is west coast oriented, one that is dependent on routes being run correctly, mechanics being perfect, offensive line blocking and timing being second nature.  Bleacher report had a great article talking about the effects of changing Manning’s mechanics, specifically his foot work (http://9nl.cc/BleacherReport).   McAdoo touts Manning’s football intelligence day in and day out. If you’re a believer in wonderlic test scores Eli scored a 39 out of 50 (Peyton scored 28), 99% percentile for his draft class (including Rivers & Big Ben).  Manning has spent every day of his professional career with the same style of offensive coordinators (Hufnagel & Gilbride; KG was also the QB coach under Hufnagel) and now has to unlearn the mechanics he has developed over the past nine seasons while learning new mechanics and a new system for the season.  I have faith in McAdoo who along with Mike McCarthy made nobody’s into household names in GreenBay and is the reason why I believe Jerry made a monster mistake going value with Beckham rather than need with Zack Martin in this year’s draft.

The Giants spent $118 million dollars this off-season, brought in 46 new players and yet the offensive line looks about as good as it did last season.  The best player we signed for the offensive line is injured, our $65mm left tackle struggles against the speed rush (ooohhh lay) and shockingly our starting center who hasn’t played in two years is struggling.  OF ALL THE NEEDS THE GIANTS HAD, IT SEEMS PRETTY CLEAR THE MAIN ONE WAS NOT ADDRESSED.  That is a serious problem.

Click to enlarge

Click to enlarge

How much did last weeks offensive production remind us of last last season? Take a look at the 3rd downs and lack of conversions.  The Giants converted just 3 of their 13 third downs. If you take a deeper look you’ll understand why.  6/13 third downs the Giants faced were between 5 and 9 yards with three of them 3rd and 10+ yards.  The Giants only had 3 short yardage third downs (1-4 yards) and converted on just 1 with a 20 yard pass completion on a 3rd & 2.

TEAM 3rd Attempts Run Pass 0-4 Yards 5-9 Yards 10+ Yards
Lions 3 13 5.33% 0 3 4 6 3

How about Larry Donell? Two years on the practice has paid off, at least for one game.  His blocking wasn’t great but he was a big target on offense which makes sense thinking about the Packers offense and how often Jermichael Finely would get the ball.

The Giants were pass heavy but that is not shock considering they spotted the Lions 14 points with spectacular defense.

TEAM RUSH PASS Total
Lions 22 40.00% 33 60.00% 55

What the hell happened on defense? Our defense, in particular our defensive backs, was supposed to be the highlight for this season.  But Fewell abandoned his typical defensive scheme and had DRC “Shadow” Calvin Johnson which not only failed but created more problems than anything else. A pre-snap set, in play reads everything was a disaster.  Another issue was the lack of pressure the front four which is carrying over from last season. THIS IS INSTRUMENTAL IN THIS DEFENSE BEING SUCCESSFUL.  The Giants allowed 10 out of 15 third downs to convert against the Lions.  The issues from last week sound strangely similar to last season.  I expect this from the offense this season but not from the defense.

The Giants need to play a very good game against the Cardinals to have a chance. 0-2 isn’t as bad as it sounds, especially when you play in the NFC East (with no divisional losses). In fact 0-2 is almost a trend for the Giants and success but not one I’m willing to bet on.  The offensive line has to get explosive push in order to get the running game into the game. Taking time of the clock is necessary and without a run game very difficult to do.  I’d take a game full of some positives over what we saw last week. I have faith this offense can right the ship, just like I believe the defense can do the same.  Now we have to sit and wait and see if they actually do it.

I’m indifferent: if they win I won’t’ be shocked. If they lose I won’t be shocked. If they play as bad as they did last week I will be shocked.




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Stop the Nassib will be starting in two years conversation

The New York Football Giants start the 2014 football season this Monday night in the early game @ 4:10pm in Detroit Rock City.  There is no better way to find out how bad this offensive line is going to be than facing Detroit’s front four.  I’ve been very critical of the Giants decision making at this year’s draft. With a season all-American tackle from Notre Dame available Reese choose value over need with Beckham.  For those who believe that is right choice how do you feel about that offensive line today? The one quality free agent is sidelined with an injury meanwhile our $65mm left tackle looks as bad today as he did last year prior to his injury.  Even Gilbride has expressed his concern that this year’s offensive line looks eerily similar to last year’s train wreck.  I will say I think picking up Richburg in the 2nd round was a steal and I see him being an integral part of the offensive line for an extended period of time.  The point I’m trying to make is that when the Giants had the opportunity to get younger with top level offensive line talent they choose not to.

A poor offensive line results in poor quarterback play. Throw on top a completely new system and there will be issues.  But the people who say Nassib will be the starter in two years need to take a breath.  He is young, he clearly picked up the new offense, but he never faced 1st team defenses.  He was a start against players who stand next to him on the sideline or even only on the practice field.  McAdoo’s system is new, complex and compliments the Giants. Do you know where Jordy Nelson, Randell Cobb and Jermichael Finley played college football? I’m’ assuming 9/10 don’t but Mike McCarthy and his right hand man Ben McAdoo made them household names.  If the Giants can put together an average offensive line the Giants can easily put up the yards we’ve seen in Greenbay. Add on a dangerous running game with Jennings, Williams and Hillis and there is huge potential. But it all goes back to the offensive line play. In Flaherty we believe (offensive line coach).

The Detroit Lions are a dangerous team that shouldn’t be overlooked. Their front four on defense create havoc for offensive lines good and bad.  Their offense is powered by a dynamic running back (Bush), one of the best receivers in the game (MegaTron) and a quarterback with a hose for an arm. This will be a real battle decided in the details. The Giants didn’t commit one penalty during the preseason and continuing that trend into week one can be the reason why they leave Detroit 1-0.

I could go on forever but this is week 1.




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A Letter to The New York Giants

Dear New York Giants Fans Everywhere,

I write this letter because I need the help of Big Blue Nation.  I want the New York Giants to know how much they can help their fans by including a webpage in their fanzone section of their website displaying venues where loyal Big Blue fans can meet, watch and cheer on the GMEN around the world.

I first presented this idea in an email to the Vice President of Community & Corporate Relations for the New York Giants.  In my email I explained how difficult it can be to find fellow New York Giant fans and venues to watch and cheer on Big Blue.  What better way to help Big Blue Nation then by providing support to their fans in assisting them find venues where fellow Giants fans are assembling and cheering on the New York Football Giants.  Just like the group I founded and currently run in San Francisco “New York Giants Fans Unite San Francisco”.

My inquiry was promptly answered by the Senior Vice President and General Counsel for the New York Giants, that due to NFL regulations regarding marketing (trademarks, name, etc…) the New York Giants couldn’t provide the requested platform.   To my surprise this week during an unrelated internet search I came across the exact idea I envisioned on the Buffalo Bills team website (http://www.buffalobills.com/fans/billsbackers/backer-locator-map.html).

Hopefully if you’re reading this you have the ability to watch New York Giants games with fellow big blue fans.  Maybe you’re a member of the Los Angeles/Santa Monica or San Diego New York Giants meetup groups or you’re apart of the Chicago  or the South Jersey Wrecking Crew fan groups.  Even though the above mentioned groups have healthy followings there are still so many more Giants fans in those markets that have no clue where they should go to enjoy the game.  For those of you who have lived in multiple markets outside of New York or internationally you know firsthand how difficult it is finding fan groups or venues even with the luxury of Meetup.com.

The power of the internet is tremendous and probably the number one source of how most members found their respective groups.  As an organizer, a fan and a resident outside of the New York Metro area having a resource on the Giants.com website would have made it so much easier to find fellow fans to watch and cheer on the New York Giants.  I spent four years in Chicago watching the games alone in a local bar and I guarantee there are hundreds if not thousands that will be doing the same this season around the world.

The power of social media is amazing.  If you agree that the New York Giants should have an online resource for fans to find local venues to watch their beloved big blue please cut and paste the following to their Facebook page as well as tweet to them on Twitter.

Facebook:

  • The New York Giants need to help their fans across the world find venues to meet, watch and cheer on big blue each game day.  Big Blue Nation needs a fanzone venue locator. #NYGLOCATOR
  • The @buffalobills are beating the Giants and Scott Norwood can’t help.  Big Blue Nation needs a fanzone venue locator where fans around the world can locate venues to gather, watch and cheer on big blue with fellow New York Football Giants Fans. #NYGLOCATOR

Tweet:

  • @Giants help fans across the world find venues to watch & cheer on big blue. Big Blue Nation needs a fanzone venue locator #NYGLOCATOR
  • @buffalobills are beating the @Giants & Scott Norwood can’t help. Big Blue nation needs a venue locator to help fans find fans #NYGLOCATOR

Thank you for your support and hopefully we’ll be heard.

Thanks!

Regards,

Joe

Follow:

 




Posted in Opinion

Giant Changes: Issues Still Remain Entering The Draft

“I think our offense is broken,” Mara said. “We need to improve on the offensive side. To me, that is the No. 1 personnel priority going into the offseason is we need improve the offensive line. My biggest concern coming into the year was if our offensive line could stay healthy. We were never able to protect Eli or get our ground game going well enough.” – John Mara December 31st, 2013

The writing was on the wall long before John Mara spoke about the disappointing Giants 2013 season.  The offense was in shambles; the offensive line was old, hurt and bad.  Eli was hit and under pressure more than he has ever been.  His interceptions were up and touchdowns were down.  The running game became a who’s who of former starter’s and the wide receivers struggled making basic reads, getting separation and ultimately holding onto the ball.  The defense was resilient this year. Struggling with injuries and poor performance from some the defense was still able to perform well and frequently kept the struggling offense in the game.

When the ax came out it wasn’t shocking to hear Gilbride’s name called.  Gilbride stated his head wasn’t in the game anymore. With his wife living in Rhode Island for the past four years he spent a majority of the year in a hotel or at the Giants facility. The time for change was here and he agreed it was time for him to walk away from the game and retire.  Long time assistants Mike Pope, one of the longest tenured coaches, and Gerald Ingram were let go shortly after the New Year. Ingram was frequently shown on TV always talking to Jacobs trying to calm him down and get his head into the game.  Perhaps it was the disastrous season Brandon Meyer’s had that put the cross hairs on Mike Pope but whatever the reason neither are included in the future plans for the New York Giants.

The Giants approach to the 2014 free agency market can best be described as uncharacteristic.  The Giants went out and made some splashes. Some signing were bigger than others with some more important than others.  Naturally with the good came the unfortunate. There were many signings that grabbed newspaper headlines and two of the three in particular that I feel were the biggest yet not the ones that caused the biggest splash.  I don’t feel like the Giants honestly made moves to fix the woes of the offensive line; they addressed the issues but I believe they still should go offensive line round one of this May’s draft.

Let’s take a look at what the Giants have done so far and discuss what they might be doing in May.

Gildbride out McAdoo in:  This isn’t Bill Sheridan again is it?

This is Ben McAdoo’s first play calling position.  He is a disciple of Mike McCarthy working as an assistant with him in Green bay and San Francisco.  He is young, 36, offensive minded with years of experience under McCarthy who incorporates parts of the west coast system into the classic smash mouth grind style football.  McAdoo’s youth and creativeness is his greatest attribute. After 10-years of the same coordinator and system Manning has to be excited for a new outlook and strategy on offense.

Ingram out Johnson in: QB coach is now the Running back coach?

Craig Johnson is a long tenured quarterback coach who spent last season with the Vikings and the prior 10-years with the Titans.  There are many questions why TC signed off on this hiring considering Johnson is a seasoned quarterback coach and not running back coach.   I think TC understands the leadership Johnson brings to team. While with the Titans he was quarterback coach but also assistant head coach and then running backs coach in 2010.  With an OC with no experience calling plays Johnson brings some veteran leadership that can help McAdoo with play calling and assist Manning as well.

Mike Pope to the Cowboys and a whole bunch of smaller moves to replace Pope:

The 71 year old long time tight end coach Mike Pope was let go after the Giants announced the hiring of McAdoo. Since then McAdoo hasn’t hired a new tight end coach as far as I have read. This position will change greatly for the Giants. The Gilbride system benefited the tight end as check down for Eli where McAdoo comes from the Mike McCarthy’s west coast style offense where the tight end is a primary. It will be interesting to see what the Giants will do in replacing the bust Meyers next season.

Every mock draft I see that doesn’t have the Giants taking a young offensive lineman in the first round simply incites me. As shown at the end the Giants were unconventionally busy this free agent season with many moves on the offensive line. But with such talent coming out of this year’s draft on the offensive line if Reese drafts anything but an O-lineman I will be flabbergasted.   The offensive line was a travesty last year. They’re old, injured, young and terrible all at once.  I’ve shown this flow chart once if I showed it hundred times this season; bad offensive lines leads to bad quarterback play especially under the Gildbride system.

The Giants spent money during this year’s free agency season on several offensive lineman which made sense but some of the contracts left you scratching you head.

  • C J.D. Walton; Only 27 years old but he hasn’t practiced or played in a game since the fourth week of 2012. He was cut from the Bronco’s, picked up by the Redskins, never touched a field and then the Giants paid him $3mm guaranteed.
  • G Geoff Schwartz was a solid versatile pickup from the Panthers.  Also 27 where he’ll fit in will be decided during camp. $6.2mm guaranteed he has to be an immediate impact player.
  • OL John Jerry comes to the Giants on a one year contract from the Dolphins.  If Jerry can make the team and be impactful even as a backup he will be a great value find by Reese. Jerry is 27 but a little bigger than most of their lineman weighing at 335. He has a weight clause in his contract.
  • OT Charles Brown is another value signing by Reese. Expected to step up if Beatty isn’t ready by the start of the season Brown was a second round bust drafted by the Saints.  Hopefully a new system and team brings back the skills he showcased while at USC.

With one solid offensive lineman signing how can they not go lineman in the first round. Especially with rookie contracts levels capped bringing in young talent makes the most sense to me.  The Giants can win when Eli plays as bad as he did last year (2007 stat line is very similar and they won the Super Bowl) but if Eli goes down from a hit the Giants chances of winning drop tremendously.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Why will the Giants start camp with five quarterbacks?

Clearly Eli is the starter and will be the starter for the foreseeable future but perhaps the Giants are seeing that quality backups are now a priority in the new NFL. Though Manning is the longest tenured starter in the NFL if for some unfortunate reason he goes down (see offensive line plea up top) having a qualified back up is vital. Ask the Browns, Vikings, Titans, Bills, Raiders, Bears, Packers, Jaguars, Steelers, Redskins, Eagles, Texans and Cowboys.

With the resigning of Painter you assumed the Giants were going to let Nassib compete against the veteran backup to get off the practice squad and onto the 53-man roster.  But then they signed Josh Freeman a 26-year old former first round draft pick who has true potential.  Tall, strong and experienced what does this signing mean? Is Painter or Nassib dead man walking? Did the Giants streak of burning draft picks on bust quarterbacks continue or what?  The Giants also signed Rusty Smith an undrafted free agent to the team as well.  So there are a lot of unknowns for the #2 QB spot on the depth chart.

The three most impactful free agent signings

The Giants spent a lot time working out and signing offensive linemen this past free agent season but they also made three impactful signings on defense and offense.  I personally think the signing of Rasheed Jennings is going to payoff huge for the GMEN.  Jennings has young legs even though he’s been in the league for five years. He spent his first four in Jacksonville backing up Maurice Jones-Drew and then signed with the Raiders last season as a backup for Darren McFadden. After McFadden got injured Jennings stepped up big showing his strength and speed in his violent style of running.  Going into camp I think it’s safe to say he is the number 1 RB on the depth chart. Considering the money the Giants paid for Rasheed he could be a great value signing IF all goes well.

On the other side of the ball the Giants signed a gaudy contract with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. DRC has been a ball hawk since his rookie season in 2008 with the Cardinals.  After three years in Tempe he played two in Philadelphia and played last season with the Bronco’s before signing with the Giants. Only in 2011 did DRC not have a single interception (career avg. 3 per season).  The closest the Giants have come to a lock down quarter was the 2011 play of Cory Webster but even that is a stretch.  If Reese can continue his streak of turning off field issue players into legitimate stars then the addition of Walter Thurmond from Seattle as a third corner back will only benefit players like DRC.  If DRC plays to his potential and the safeties can stay healthy this will be the first time in many seasons the Giants secondary is a legitimate threat. Great coverage leads to coverage sacks and given Fewell’s love for the nickel package defense combined with movement, stunts and speed the big blue wrecking crew has a chance to terrorize the league once again.

A quite signing that didn’t garner as much attention as the signing of DRC was the addition of Jameel McCalain from the Baltimore Ravens.  McClain has been playing inside LB in the Raven’s 3-4 since joining the team as an unsigned free agent out of Syracuse.  He had a rough 2013 coming off the PUP list to start the season and the Giants were quick to pick him up during free agency.  He brings a physical, fast and attacking style that the Ravens are known for at the line backing position that the Giants lack.  McClain will replace Rivers who signed with the Bills as an outside linebacker in Fewell’s 4-3 style of defense.  With the addition of DRC in the secondary and the linebacker core of Beason, McClain & Paysinger the Giants have on a paper a dangerous looking defensive backfield.

I know Giant fans are spiteful towards Reese for letting Justin Tuck walk. Tuck had a huge season but after learning the hard way with Osi, Jerry was smart in letting Tuck walk. If he wanted to remain a Giant he had to be willing to do so at a much lower salary. This is not baseball with monopoly money; the NFL is a salary cap league and “veteran” friendly contracts like Jeter received from the Yankees don’t exist.

As I mentioned above I honestly believe and would like to see the Giants to select a quality offensive linemen in the first round of this year’s draft.  They signed several younger linemen during free agency but only Schwartz is game proven and ready to start.  The Giants haven’t drafted this early in the first round since 2004 when they drafted Philip Rivers who was subsequently traded to San Diego for Eli Manning. Reese went offensive line last year with Pugh in an effort to bring youth onto the offensive line.  Removing his learning curve Pugh did okay for his rookie year. It’s tough to be good when the veterans next to you are terrible.  With the 12th pick in this year’s draft I believe the Giants should go offensive line once again. If any of the below are available (Jake Matthews has been mentioned as the most likely candidate) Reese should pull the trigger.

  •  Greg Robinson            OT       Auburn            r           So        6-5       332
  • Jake Matthews           OT       Texas A&M     Sr        6-6       308
  • Taylor Lewan              OT       Michigan         Sr        6-7       309
  • Cyrus Kouandjio         OT       Alabama          Jr         6-7       322
  • Morgan Moses            OT       Virginia            Sr        6-6       314
  • JaWuan James           OT       Tennessee      Sr        6-6       311
  • Cameron Fleming       OT       Stanford          Jr         6-5       323

There has been a lot of talk of the Giants not going offensive linemen but rather Tight End or wide receiver in the first round; Specifically Eric Ebron from North Carolina and Mike Evans from Texas A&M.  With a new offensive coordinator Ben McAddo, a coordinator out of the Mike McCarthy school of West Coast interpreted style of offense; I understand the idea of selecting a tight end or wide receiver (a.k.a. best on the board) but don’t agree with it.  Take a quick look at the Packers over the past five years and you’ll see that their tight end(s) are primary targets like their receivers but you’ll also note none of their “Stars” came out of the first round.  Their offense made household names out of Finely (3rd round) Nelson (2nd Round), Jones (3rd Round), Boykin (undrafted) and Cobb (2nd Round) which unless you’re a Packer fan you had no clue who they were.   Given the track record of success the Packer have had at tight ends & wide receivers I can’t justify using a number one draft pick on either position especially at receiver when the Giants have Cruz and Randle.

I honestly believe the Giants have put together a team that after the training camp cuts can be one of the most improved teams in the league.  They addressed major issues on defense and began the process of fixing the offensive line through free agency.  With seven draft picks in this year’s draft (12th in 1st round) the Giants have plenty of opportunity to bring in some young talent to find answers for many of their problems…i.e. Offensive line. As a fan I’m excited for the new season and what T.C. can do with this team especially what the offense will look like under McAdoo.

I definitely wanted to write more but between keeping it from becoming a dissertation and the fact I’m having surgery today I hope the final product was insightful and draws out comments from those who are reading it.

New York Giants 2014 Free Agent Signings:

  • S Stevie Brown
  • K Josh Brown
  • RB Rashad Jennings
  • G Geoff Schwartz
  • RB Peyton Hillis
  • QB Curtis Painter
  • C J.D. Walton
  • CB Trumaine McBride
  • FB Henry Hynoski
  • LB Jon Beason
  • LB Jameel McClain
  • S Quintin Demps
  • CB Walter Thurmond
  • CB Rodgers-Cromartie
  • LB Spencer Paysinger
  • KR Trindon Holliday
  • WR Mario Manningham
  • OL John Jerry
  • DT Mike Patterson
  • CB Zack Bowman
  • OT Charles Brown
  • DE Robert Ayers
  • TE Kellen Davis
  • WR Travis Harvey
  • QB Josh Freeman
  • QB Rusty Smith

Let’s Go BLUE!

-Joe




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Posted in Opinion

2014 Giants Schedule?????

Can’t confirm or deny this is the New York Giants 2014 official schedule:

Week 1: Monday September 8th, 2014 @ Detroit Lions
Week 2: Sunday September 15th, 2014 vs. Arizona Cardinals
Week 3: Sunday September 21st, 2014: vs. Houston Texans
Week 4: Thursday September 25th, 2014: @ Washington Redskins
Week 5: Sunday October 5th, 2014: vs. Atlanta Falcons
Week 6: Sunday October 12th, 2014: @ Philadelphia Eagles
Week 7: Sunday October 19th, 2014 @ Dallas Cowboys
Week 8: Sunday October 26th, 2014: BYE
Week 9: Monday November 3rd, 2014: vs. Indianapolis Colts
Week 10: Sunday November 9th, 2014: @ Seattle Seahawks
Week 11: Sunday November 16th, 2014: vs. San Francisco 49ner’s
Week 12: Sunday November 23, 2014: vs. Dallas Cowboys
Week 13: Sunday November 30th, 2014: @ Jacksonville Jaguars
Week 14: Sunday December 7th, 2014: @ Tennessee Titans
Week 15: Sunday December 14th, 2014: @ Washington Redskins
Week 16: Sunday December 21st, 2014: @ St. Louis Rams
Week 17: Sunday December 28th, 2014: vs. Philadelphia Eagles




Posted in Opinion, Regular Season
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