Today is Friday for the Giants, each day pushed back by one thanks to their Monday night match up with the Indianapolis Colts. For Giants360, that means it’s coordinator day, as we bring you the weekly interviews with Ben McAdoo and Perry Fewell, who talk about the upcoming opponent and general strategy. These interviews give a glimpse inside the men who match wits with the NFL’s best to put the Giants players in position to make the plays that will win or lose the games on the field.
Tom Coughlin was first at the podium, talking about the man on everyone’s mind, top cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, who practiced on a limited basis on back to back days. Coughlin said he did a little better, but is not ready to determine if he will be available for Monday’s game at this points. Giving a scoffing laugh when asked if Rodgers-Cromartie’s availability changes the team’s defensive game plan, Coughlin responded, “It limits you.” The top cover cornerback on the team, a healthy Rodgers-Cromartie would shadow top Indianapolis receiver T.Y. Hilton one on one and allow Prince Amukamara and Zack Bowman to cover Reggie Wayne and old friend Hakeen Nicks. Without him, Jayron Hosley enters the picture, and the Giants coverage capability is severely limited.
The team focuses their review of game film to the previous two when making corrections, said Coughlin, providing some valuable knowledge to those of us analyzing performance from home. Run defense is of particular concern as it has been suspect in the two most recent match ups against the Dallas Cowboys and Philadelphia Eagles. In addition to moving the ball on the ground, added Coughlin, it sets us up for play action. “For me, it starts with stopping the run,” stated the coach emphatically.
Don’t expect to see Geoff Schwartz on the field on Monday night, as he won’t be activated. Coughlin confirmed, saying, “I would say that’s a reach.” Schwartz doesn’t appear on injury reports as he’s still in short term injured reserve and won’t be activated until he’s ready to contribute on the field. Also expected to miss the game against the Colts are Rashad Jennings and Cullen Jenkins.
Rodgers-Cromartie’s availability will depend on how we feel this morning, according to Perry Fewell, “We’ll see if he stiffens up.” Fewell was encouraged by his ability to take the field on consecutive days.
Consistency is the key to how much Damontre Moore will play, said Fewell, who is among those waiting for the second year defensive end to “Come out of his shell.” But don’t write off Mathias Kiwanuka just yet. Fewell make it a point to say that Kiwanuka has been particularly solid against the run. The Giants defense will likely rotate the two depending on the situation and Fewell joked that it would be considerably easier if the Colts would let him know in advance when they would be throwing the ball.
“Getting red zone stops and turnovers,” said Fewell, is the key to stopping the Colts potent offense. And stopping the run. Fewell added that the issue in run defense was different in the Eagles game, where it was a lack of sound gap assignment play, than in the Cowboys game, where the team did not do a good job tackling. He added that they looked at their run defense extensively in the past two weeks and expect it to improve.
Fewell provided an answer for those wondering why Jay Bromley has not seem much playing time. “He came to us as a pass rush guy. When you tested him in other areas, he didn’t pass the test,” pointed out Fewell. Fewell called Indianapolis a “Pass happy team” and said that Bromley will see additional playing time against them. This may also be a function of Jenkins injury.
Jerry Reese’s comments about throwing the ball down the field more frequently continued to have life when McAdoo stepped to the podium, and his response to the question was as expected, “We want to be more explosive. We are looking for more explosive plays no matter how they come. They are part of great execution and extra effort and, regardless of how they come, you want to be more explosive.”
What was unexpected was McAdoo’s sharing of the percentage of explosive plays McAdoo wants from the offense – 13%. Currently, the team is achieving only 10.3% of plays categorized as explosive and McAdoo wants to get that extra 2.7% going forward, a number he calls “Significant” at this point in the season.
Preferring to keep the definition “In house,” McAdoo did share that the definition of an explosive play varies depending on the individual play and the expected gain built into its design.
The factors that will determine if Eli Manning throw the ball down the field are many and include, “The coverage, the access, the match ups, the protection, and his feet,” explained McAdoo. Those factors, and not the play call, determine where he goes with the ball. McAdoo does not want Manning forcing anything and he won’t be throwing the ball deep if the play is not there. “We want to let the game come to us,” said McAdoo, “We don’t want to press. You don’t get anywhere when you press.”
McAdoo wants to offense to run 70 plays per game, something he sees as a big factor in their success. In their losses to Philadelphia and Dallas, the team ran exactly 59 plays in each, while during their three game winning streak, the Giants ran 71, 78, and 65 plays. “When you win the down, you have a chance to move the chains, and you have more attempts,” points out McAdoo, adding that you want to take steps to not put yourself “Behind the chains” on early down.
The offensive coordinator will not blame injuries for the offense’s failure to sustain drives, stating that “Young players don’t limit you, but might change some things because you tailor what you do for the players you have.” McAdoo expects the offense to improve as the young players get more familiar and comfortable with the scheme.
As running back Andre Williams makes his third consecutive start, McAdoo would like to see him get to the second, or linebacker, level more frequently, where he will have a chance to break arm tackles and make longer runs. Williams is a young runner, and they are often impatient, states McAdoo, and patience is something that will come to Williams with time and repetitions.
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