You have to know that this NY Giants blog hates puff pieces. Here is a piece on Sheridan that has some of the puff but does help us to understand what we’ll look like this season.
A few takeaways:
1) There is no substitute for motivation. If Sheridan thinks he can figure it all out and let the X’s and O’s do all the talking, he is in for a rude awakening. The last time we heard this kind of laid back X’s and O’s w/o the motivational element, it was none other than Ray Handley. Keep in mind that Handley was a head coach, not a coordinator, so there is room in there for the defense to get their motivation from others like Coughlin. But there is no getting around the fact that the players loved playing for Spags. You saw him on the sidelines with all of that energy he was feeding his players. Never underestimate the importance of motivating these professionals. There is little to separate 45×32=1440 players on game day. Every ounce of motivation puts you over the top or else it leaves you shy. Coughlin, to his credit, wanted Sheridan on the field, down and dirty, there with the players. Good. No remote control detachment.
2) “Sheridan said his linemen and linebackers would charge ahead more to stop runs and passes and not be responsible for as much coverage of receivers.” Did you notice the comments made by Wonder last week on how he would attack the Giants defense? He said “Opp teams max protect and air it out against the D…plus run screens, bubble screens, quick slants.” Max protect thwarts the pressure and the screens and slants are exactly what OUR offense needs to do to other teams to stop the loaded box. If the Giants defense is going to be using more pressure at the line, they must get there. There is a great deal of faith in Phillips, Webster and Thomas as part of this plan to handle their responsibilities inside this scheme. That confidence drops off a little with Johnson and it drops off a ton with CC Brown.
Do not forget that Thomas will have growing pains- he’ll get beat from time to time. All CBs do. Since we keep seeing more and more improvement from Thomas, there is the expectation that he can be solid back there. And dare we say, very solid by the end of the season if his improvement continues. You can get away with more pressure when guys in your secondary are handling their assignments well.
One of the ways the ‘Sheridan pressure plan’ will work better as the season wears on is by having guys like Canty, Kiwanuka and Boley helping the pressure and by having guys like Thomas covering better. As 2007 taught us, it is not how you start, it is how you finish. You have to expect the defense to be disorganized at the beginning, making breakdowns, not getting to the QB and getting exposed. But by the end of the season, you have to see the pressure working better and the defense getting stingy.
The way the schedule unfolds, do not read into the first 2 games vs WASH and DAL. And the next 3 vs garbage opponents (TB, KC and OAK) will give the defense the time to come together. The measuring stick for whether this team is really ready to be contenders for a Super Bowl title will come AT NEW ORLEANS. They will be going against an improved team that plays well at home, with a veteran QB that WILL rip the team to shreds if the pressure is not working OR if the secondary is not excellent.
Yes, we need to take one game at a time. The Giants need only think about Week 1 vs the Skins. But for us as fans, do not get too negative OR too positive until we see what we have in Week 6. That will be the first true test of how Sheridan and his defense is doing.
Pat Hanlon notes that Hakeem Nicks led the NFL in receiving yardage in preseason.