Lots of collected thoughts about the NY Giants as they face the remaining 5 games at 4-7.
1) Pat Traina had a very good breakdown of the Offense's struggles. The focus of her analysis was Kevin Gilbride. The conclusion is not a shock to this NY Giants blog… Mr. Gilbride is making mistakes and not putting players in a position to succeed. We have been arguing that point and others for many years. Critics of this blog call us haters (of Gilbride). What they do not want to do is confront the brutal facts- that the team wins DESPITE Gilbride and that when you have situations now where the hand he is playing is less than full, that he cannot make the necessary adjustments.
1a) I had a comic laugh the other day when watching The Big Bang Theory. Genius nerd Sheldon drinks a few beers and the connection to his childhood (where he was watching a lot of football with his father) comes alive. He is asked what he would be playcalling, and remarks that since the defense is bringing blitz pressure, that a slant is called for! Where have you heard that one before- that 5 recommendations vs pressure are slants, screens, flares, draws and play action?! I bring this up because Todd Haley was singled out on ESPN for the adjustments he has made to help a faltered Pittsburgh OL. Coaches look their best when they have the full hand. It is when they have holes in their roster that they have to plug people in and adjust their schemes/playcalls to compensate. We talk about this often. Traina talked about this in (1) above. Maybe we won't have to talk about it anymore next year (because he'll be gone)?
2) In the writeup on Sunday after the game, we referred to "the meek pass rush of JPP." According to PFF he had a combined total of zero <<pressures + hits + sacks>>. His snaps were also cut in half. Who received more snaps as a result? Mathias Kiwanuka. For his part, Kiwi got 1 sack and 2 pressures. But looks are deceiving. Kiwi is at the very bottom (and I mean DEAD LAST by a wide margin) in grades this season for the Giants defense. JPP is at least playing the run very well, containing his edge extremely well. RADICAL CONCEPT: play JPP on run downs, and in clear pass situations, give the rookie Moore some snaps there to help the rookie prepare for his second year. If JPP starts doing better vs the pass (he'll still see some pass- ironically, if I were scheming, I would PASS WHEN JPP WAS ON THE FIELD), then you can increase his snaps.
3) Now that the Giants' playoff chances are approaching ~zero, who do you want to see cut from the roster next year? I'll throw out my names for rebuilding without their services… Webster, Baas, Kiwanuka, Diehl, Snee and Nicks. It may not sound fun to be parting ways with so many players who helped this team to deliver a total of 9 rings (Kiwi hurt in '07) but to quote Don Corleone: "this is the business we have chosen."
4) The Cruz strip for 7 pts vs Dallas hurts so much. As we noted on Sunday's recap, it created the lost tempo which the Giants could not recover from. I am reminded of the NFC Championship game in Jan 2012 when Giants players knew that the SF defense would be going for turnovers. How many times did we see Cruz seemingly collapse in a heap in front of SF defenders? He gave away a yard (if that) to get 100% certainty of no turnover. It was great coaching vs a ball hungry team in wet conditions. Here vs DAL, perhaps such draconian measures weren't necessary, but we would think that Cruz would not be fighting for that extra yard while wrapped up vs 2 players. Is that 20-20 hindsight? Perhaps. We're not holding it against Cruz, just asking aloud why Cruz wasn't going down. We know that the bigger WRs and TEs pride themselves on fighting for extra yards, but this is clearly not in the job description of Cruz. Cruz is much smaller, and does not break tackles once he is wrapped up.
5) JFoster remarked that the "2 Super Bowls covered up a multitude of problems." I would argue that XLVI covered up a multitude of problems, not XLII. In 2007 the OL was strong and had a few years left. Tuck was young and had just got re-signed etc..2011 was the problem, where winning a title was fantastic but the team was 9-7 and the Oline was aging. And I know I won't gain any love from the peanut gallery on this one, but Pete was all over this in 2011. All of this just reminds me of "Who Moved My Cheese." Some people are just looking around the corner for new cheese well before others.
6) Of the 6 people mentioned in (3) above for cutting ties, only Nicks has fuel in the tank, and that is a special situation. Nicks is brittle, he is hurt every year, and I do not like what he is giving the team in his contract year. Take your pick- either he is truly hurt and that is evidence he needs to go, or he is protecting his body to show he can play. It frankly has been a disaster. You walk away and if he does well somewhere else, you have to know that it wasn't happening here.
7) Speaking of Pete, we'll dredge up another diddy he shared with us. He explained when analyzing the draft that RB could not be drafted high. We have argued this point, that if for ONLY the reason that the Giants draft RB so well in the later rounds that it does not make any sense to be drafting RB in Round 1. We liked Wilson the player, but "philosophically" we noted when he was drafted that RB would not be the position we would target. (Duh, OL, LB were highlighted, and Lavonte David was noted as 1 of 3 players we liked, even if it was a little high at 32. How would that have worked out?!) In a future post we will be modifying the "Rules For Winning in the NFL" with a new rule spelling out what we have been advocating for years: Do Not Take RBs in Round 1. Look at the list of RBs with Super Bowl titles. Look at the list of RBs taken in Round 1. This is not a 21st Century NFL position. Injuries, blocking for the passing game, platooning, shorter careers, finding capable players later in the draft… these are all reasons for why RB cannot be given the allocation of resources that are made by so many NFL teams. Andre Brown and Brandon Jacobs are two Round 4 picks who are more than capable. Bradshaw in Round 7 has 2 rings. Wilson is already hurt and his neck injury implies that his career has a serious question mark. Assuming Wilson can make a recovery, he still can contribute meaningfully, especially with a new offensive coordinator who knows how to run a screen pass. But that does not mean we need a Round 1 RB to do that job.