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Giants Skinned In Washington

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It is extremely difficult to find anything positive to take away from the Giants’ performance today in Washington.  The offense and defense looked equally inept in the 28-14 loss.

Let’s not harp on the injuries on defense.  There’s no hiding the fact that the NYG were without four starters, and if you want to use it as an excuse then be my guest.  What was really frustrating though was the play calling. 

On almost every third down in the game Perry Fewell called a three man rush with zone coverage.  Washington absolutely ate it up and found the soft spots in the zone for first downs or potential first downs that were dropped.  Finally at one point in the third quarter Fewell dialed up a blitz on a third down that resulted in a Dave Tollefson sack and a punt by Washington.  It was infuriating to watch helplessly as Fewell then reverted back to the three man rush even after blitzing worked so well. 

The three man rush is probably the worst defense you can call on third down, especially against a turnover prone quarterback like Rex Grossman.  With even the slightest bit of pressure Grossman turns into a walking mistake, but the Giants just let him sit back and pick apart their coverage.

With the quality in the Giants secondary clearly lacking, they chose to go with quantity by dropping 8 players into coverage.  It clearly did not work out well and hopefully Fewell soon realizes that this team’s strength is its pass rush, even with Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyoria on the sidelines.  A solid pass rush will usually cover up holes in the defensive backfield, and that should be the Giants strategy for dealing with their injuries rather than flooding the field with replacement caliber players.

The scheme is not to be fully blamed as the performance also clearly left something to be desired.  Aaron Ross was simply awful getting burned often including for a touchdown in the first half.  The former first round pick would clearly be much better served as a nickel or dime corner going against opponents third or fourth receivers.  Instead Ross will be forced to start for most of the year and will likely continue to struggle.

Rookie starting middle linebacker Greg Jones did not play well either, but was not completely unexpected.  Jones whiffed on more tackles than he actually made and looks like a sixth round pick that was only expected to contribute on special teams if he made the team at all.  Jonathan Goff may not be a Pro Bowl caliber player, but his presence could be missed more than any other injured Giant this year.

Oh and before we move on to the offense: Antrel Rolle is an idiot and I want him off the team.  The fact that he made the Pro Bowl last year is a sham.  The risk does not outweigh the reward with him.  It’s rare that I don’t like Giants players.  I thought I wasn’t going to like Michael Boley at first, but he’s grown on me.  Rolle? Not so much.

Looking at the offense there is absolutely nothing to be excited about.  On defense at least you had a nice showing from Jason Pierre-Paul, Chris Canty, and some of the other linemen.  I can’t think of one good thing to say about the offense.

Eli Manning has looked terrible all offseason and that continued in Week 1.  He was inaccurate and made his trademarked costly turnover on a tip and pick six by Ryan Kerrigan.  The running backs looked okay to an extent, but offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride abandoned the run way too early and only six carries for Brandon Jacobs is unacceptable.

Washington’s defense is clearly much improved, but it was ridiculous that the Giants couldn’t pick up anything in short yardage.  I would’ve liked to see some creative play calling after it became clear that the New York offensive line couldn’t get any push in third-and-one situations.  Some critics may wonder why Jacobs wasn’t used in these short yardage instances, but I don’t mind having Ahmad Bradshaw in for these scenarios.  My problem is that there wasn’t a play-action or bootleg called to keep Washington on its toes. 

The Giants are going to be at a talent disadvantage this year due to all of the injuries, but if they’re getting outcoached too on a weekly basis then it’s going to be a long season.  Big Blue will look to rebound next Monday night at home against St. Louis.  Giants fans know better than anyone that Rams HC Steve Spagnuolo can coach, so the NYG had better come ready to play.

 

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