Yesterday, Ralph Vacchiano drew the parallels from what he saw on Saturday night vs the Ravens with what the Giants delivered in 2009.
He notes 5 items that were present last season that were also present in preseason G3:
2) Lack of (consistent) Pass Rush
3) Gaping holes in the defense
4) Ineffective Short Yardage running game
5) Lack of effort
Let’s address these items one by one.
INJURIES– This blog has questioned the medical and conditioning staff of the Giants for items going on a number of times over the course of the last year. Last year’s hamstring is now this year’s groin. Someone please count for us how many players who have had or currently have a groin problem in 2010. Coughlin said the medical/conditioning staff would be reviewed but all we know is that ex-Jacksonville Jaguar conditioning guy Palmieri is still there.
PASS RUSH– I saw pass rush on Saturday night. Granted it was inconsistent, but this was not a large concern for me. Not yet at least. Not with 4 sacks.
GAPING HOLES– Before the 2009 Draft we cried out LBer LBer LBer and since then what we have gotten is a Round 2 pick (Clint Sintim) that is more pass rusher than anything else. He suffered through a rookie year with self-described motivation problems. His reward? He was given the inside track on the SAM position, his job to win or lose. The Giants had to bring in Keith Bulluck to play the MIKE, and at this moment in time they are giving Bulluck some SAM duties because Sintim is not getting it done. At this point it looks like the only LBer who can cover in space is Michael Boley. What about the MIKE covering the RB and what about the SAM covering the Tight End?
GAPING HOLES PT 2– See Pete’s analysis from a while back. Pete caught a lot of flack for believing that Fewell’s pass defense would be passive. It looks passive to me, with less press coverage and plenty of zone.
INEFFECTIVE SHORT YARDAGE– This is definitely a problem that Gilbride does not help. We have exhausted this one. The important point worth repeating: The inability to adjust, use the Tight End and play action liberally etc.. ALL HURT THE SHORT YARDAGE OFFENSE because other teams play the tendency stronger and have more manpower due to the lack of percentages the Giants use with other methods. This is why we were IRATE when Gilbride had a smile on his face on the successful use of Play Action to A WIDE OPEN TE Kevin Boss on the 6th and final try into the red zone vs the Steelers in 2008. That is an indictment, as the Steelers were selling out on run all day. More liberal use of play action will HELP the running game because opposing defenses cannot sell out.
LACK OF EFFORT– Everyone knows the Giants mailed it in in the last two weeks of the season. A good head coach will not tolerate anything less than 100% effort, benching and even cutting those that do not play with maximum energy. I have a hard time imagining Parcells letting these lapses go without an appropriate and effective response. Fassel was a player’s coach, but he took control of the team by cutting kick returner Bashir Levingston, and everyone was on notice they were next. All of a sudden the team won 7 straight on its way to Super Bowl XXXV. So this one is squarely on Coughlin to fix, and only he can do it. If there is a veteran player mailing it in, cut him and 80 others will get the message.
Summary– I do not think it is as bad as all of this, because I do not think that preseason transgressions are the same as the regular season. As an example, I am not going to get on Gilbride for a preseason playcall, because the preseason agenda is not completely about “winning” the game but evaluating talent and executing. Almost all of the items sited by Vacchiano can be traced back to the coaches. This blog on balance wanted Coughlin fired and nearly unanimously wanted Gilbride gone after 2009. Coughlin is our coach in 2010, so he has to be supported this season. (They can get rid of Gilbride any time they want, fire away. That leopard is never going to change his spots and have a consistent and sustained awakening.) We’ll see what we have in the regular season before reassessing Coughlin.
Note- Vote on the Giants 2010 season record on the right side of the blog. Comment to yesterday’s post to be on the record for what you think.