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Landon Collins and Mykkele Thompson: Thunder and Lightning?

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Going into the offseason this year, a main concern on defense for the Giants was the safety position. After all, New Yorks’ three safeties that got the most playing time last year (Antrel Rolle, Stevie Brown, and Quinten Demps), all left via free agency. Jerry Reese did his best to calm fans down by saying the safety position was not a need, but we all knew the truth.

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Enter the 2015 NFL Draft. With the first round in the books, Landon Collins was still on the board. With teams like Jacksonville, Washington, and Chicago all ahead of New York, who selected eighth in round two, Jerry Reese and company had to make a move to get ahead in order to get the Alabama Alum. After packaging up a few picks with Tennessee, New York got their man. Collins, who stands at 6’0 and 228 lbs., plays with a vengeance. In his sophomore and junior season at Alabama, Collins totaled 173 tackles to go along with 5 INTs and 3 FF. Many “experts” say the knock on him is that he isn’t good in coverage, which isn’t the case at all. Collins is more of a box safety, because a lot of the defensive schemes at Alabama had him lined up almost as a LB. Don’t let that fool you though, Landon can cover TEs and slot WRs if need be.

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Going into the fifth round of the draft, New York still wasn’t sold on their safety corps. With the eighth selection in fifth round, New York selected Mykkele Thompson, a 6’1 195 lbs. safety from Texas. This pick went under the radar, but it shouldn’t have. In his four year career at Texas, Thompson totaled 201 tackles, with 2 INTs and 3 sacks. He played a lot of Nickleback at Texas, but the Giants will use him at safety. I know two INTs aren’t a lot from a guy who played four years in college, but that doesn’t mean he wasn’t a playmaker. Thompson had a plethora of pass breakups and was a great contributor on Special Teams with three blocked punts.

Why Thunder and Lightning though? If you remember in the early 2000s, New York had two RBs with that nickname, Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne. Tiki was the fast and agile back, while Dayne was the bruiser. The same applies here for these two at safety. With almost 40 lbs. over Mykkele Thompson, Landon Collins is obviously the thunder. He is a hardnosed hitter that can make things happen. That leaves “lightning” to Thompson, with good reason. After running a sub 4.5 40 at his pro day, Mykkele has the speed to do almost anything. The one thing that gets overlooked with Thompson though, is his hitting. He can lay the boom on a receiver no question.

The best thing about these two is that they complement each other very well. As stated earlier, Collins is the hard hitter and Thompson is the centerfielder. The two will be able to play off of each other nicely. What one may “lack” the other is there to pick up.

New York may have drafted a storm in 2015 with the selections of Landon Collins and Mykkele Thompson. Only time will tell if the duo will thrive in Spags defensive scheme. Just know one thing, with thunder comes lightning.

Giants360 Mailbag, March 22nd

Spring has sprung, and Giants360 spent the first two day  of it moving snow. But when spring is in the air, Giants fans fancies turn to the NFL draft and many of the questions submitted for today’s second Giants360 mailbag pertain to the April 30th to May 2nd event. We’ve started our analysis at Giants360 headquarters and will be looking at the Giants remaining needs over the next 5 weeks. But today, we interact with with our followers, the life blood of the Giants360 family. You ask, we answer.

Berhe & Collins play the same position.

Berhe & Collins play the same position.

Alshon (@AlshonJordan23) asks: What would you think Landon Collins fit would be in Spags Defense scheme? He has the frame of a linebacker but can blitz and is a good tackler.

Giants360: Collins is viewed as a box safety and would play that role in Spagnuolo’s scheme, supporting the run, covering tight ends down the middle of the field, and blitzing often. A big part of the reason I don’t see the Giants taking Collins in the first round is Nat Berhe. He is also a box safety and the coaching staff is said to be high in him. The hole in the Giants lineup is at free safety, the center fielder, a role Collins does not fit.

Alshon (@AlshonJordan23) asks: Who is the better pick at offensive tackle, Andrus Peat or Ereck Flowers?

Giants360: If those are my only two choices, I’d take Peat. He has the most potential of all offensive tackles, but has technique issues, and his motivation has also been called into question. Peat has the size (6’7″, 313 lbs), speed (5.18), and bloodlines (His father, Todd, is a 6 year NFL veteran) to succeed in the NFL. With some polishing in his technique, he could become a fixture a left tackle for 10 years, allowing the Giants to move Will Beatty elsewhere on the line. But the motivation questions make him a bust risk that may cause some teams to pass on him. Dedication to football is an attribute scouts look for to avoid a flame out, similar to the sudden Chris Borland retirement this week that’s left the Forty-Niners linebacker situation a complete mess.

Flowers is heavier than Peat, at 6’6″, 329 pounds, and was the strongest lineman at the combine, with 37 reps in the bench press. He has a good 2014 season despite playing through a torn meniscus, and it’s that knee injury that raises red flags for me. I like his reputation for having a mean streak, and if the Giants medical staff finds him to be healthy, he could be the lineman to push Justin Pugh inside to guard, where I think he will thrive. But given the medical caution, I’d go with Peat.

CFL Superstar Jones upgrades the offensive line.

CFL Superstar Jones upgrades the offensive line.

David Goliath (@GoliathDave) asks: Why aren’t the Giants doing more to sure up the offensive line? It was their biggest weakness the past two year.

Giants360: Geoff Schwartz return from injury will provide the biggest boost to the line than any of the free agents currently available. Brett Jones signing, the Canadian Football League’s consensus top offensive lineman, is still young at 23, added another potential starter, and could be a steal if he assimilates to the American style of play. Marshall Newhouse and John Jerry were added through free agency in two moves that underwhelmed me. Neither is what I’d consider quality depth. Either Tom Coughlin believes Jones is the answer at guard and Pugh will stay at right tackle, or another lineman will be added at pick 9. They have taken steps to improve the line, and we need to wait until after the draft to draw our conclusions.

Giants Chances? "Better than average"

Giants Chances? “Better than average”

James P (@Premo74) asks: What are the chances of a playoff run this year?

Giants360: To quote Crocodile Dundee, “Better than average.” The Giants offense is one player away from being complete – an offensive lineman. The defense still has some holes, but the signings of Kenrick Ellis and George Selvie filled two of the four that were glaring going into the week, making it very possible to bring in the remaining players, a free safety and outside linebacker, in the draft. What is most encouraging is the poor off season both Philadelphia and Dallas are having. Chip Kelly is deconstructing the Eagles. No team that turns over it’s roster that much in one year is competitive. Dallas let DeMarco Murray get away and plans to replace him with a broken down Darren McFadden and a rookie draft pick. But the biggest mistake was re-signing the wrong right tackle. Jermey Parnell is younger, more talented, and less injury prone than Doug Free. Jerry Jones made another decision with his heart and it will come back to bite him in his derriere.

M.J. Rico (@MichaelJRico) asks: Where is the pass rush coming from? Should have signed Greg Hardy.

Giants360: John Mara would never have signed off on bringing in Hardy. The Cowboys are dealing with some backlash from signing him, with Dallas mayor Mike Rawlings calling the signing, “A shot in the gut.” Rawlings called the Cowboys to discuss his concerns when the signing was announced. The most scathing rebuke came from long time Dallas/Fort Worth broadcaster Dale Hanson, who said, “Greg Hardy’s jersey is being sold at the Cowboys online pro show now. You could get one for your sister or daughter and then explain to her that Hardy beats up women, but we’re cheering for him now because he’s really good on game day, and game day is all that matters to me. Your daughter will understand.”

All eyes will be on Roger Goodell, yet again, when he meets with Hardy about his removal from the Commissioner’s exempt list. The NFL is suing for access to the court records from Hardy’s overturned assault conviction. When Adrian Peterson was initially reinstated by the Vikings last September, Radisson, who sponsors the Vikings press conferences, threatened to pull it’s sponsorship, and Anheuser-Busch, brewers of Budweiser, and one the NFL’s biggest game day sponsors, also rattled their sponsorship sabres. If these or other big corporations make more noise, Hardy may not see the field, as money drive NFL decisions. Mara wanted no part of that mess. Hardy was never a realistic possibility for the Giants.

To answer the first part of your question, Jason Pierre-Paul, Robert Ayers, Damontre Moore, Kerry Wynn, and one of the Giants top three draft picks will provide the pass rush. The defensive line rotation is coming together.

Andy Cahill (@Andy_E_Cahill) asks: If Amari Cooper is still available at pick nine, do you take him over a lineman?

Giants360: Although tempting, no, I take an offensive lineman, all things being equal. A big, nasty, road grading lineman is the last piece missing from the Giants offense, and the team has good depth at wide receiver with Odell Beckham; Rueben Randle; Marcus Harris, who caught everything throw his way last summer before getting hurt; Dwayne Harris, underutilized in Dallas, but given a contract indicating he will be a weapon for the Giants; Corey Washington, the preseason sensation who has another year of seasoning; and, of course, Victor Cruz, assuming he bounces back from his torn patellar tendon. That said, Cooper is the second highest rated player in the 2015 on the nfl.com. If the Giants rank him similarly, value could trump need. I’ve yet to see how my draft guru, Nolan Narwocki ranks Cooper. His book, my draft bible, is not available until about two weeks before the draft.

Blitz Master Johnson trained Spagnuolo

Blitz Master Johnson trained Spagnuolo

Ernie Schneider (@SchneiderErnie) asks: Do you think Spags will put a lot more blitz packages in the defensive scheme? And do you think we’ll ever get a safety?

Giants360: Spagnuolo learned at the feet of the late Jim Johnson, Eagles defensive coordinator under Andy Reid and master of the blitz. His history as a defensive coordinator includes dialing up blitzes in key situations, as demonstrated during his first stint with the Giants, and a leopard rarely changes it’s spots. Expect much more blitzing in 2015. As far as adding a safety or two to the defense, I guarantee it will happen eventually, and will be shocked if one of the additions is not Stevie Brown. Another will be added through the draft. A creative solution is also possible, as explored by Giants360 in our article Internal Solutions.

Gary Baumann (@Baumann5) asks: What is your prediction for the two starting safeties on week 1:

Giants360: Nat Berhe and Stevie Brown.

Mike Labelle (@mikelabelle5577) asks: If the Cleveland Browns offer their 12th and 19th overall picks for the Giants 9th overall, do you make the trade?

Giants360: In a heartbeat. Moving down three spots would allow the Giants to pick up an offensive lineman and a linebacker or pass rusher in the first round, bringing in two possible impact players. Whether or not Jerry Reese makes that trade will depend on the Giants value board and if there is a player rated so highly above the others that moving down will cause the team to miss out on another potential superstar, like Beckham.

Aaron Bouchey (@TheUmpAB) asks: Are the Giants waiting for Dashon Goldson?

Giants360: I certainly hope not. Goldston was 2nd to last among the 87 safeties ranked by Pro Football Focus. While some of his struggles could be blamed on failure to adapt to Lovie Smith’s Tampa 2 scheme, that low a ranking is a clear indicator that his best days are behind him.

Roger Dana Fox (@RDanaFox) asks: When do we get to see Corey Washington?

Giants360: We’ll get some glimpses in Organized Team Activities in May and June Mini Camp, but our first real look won’t come until Training Camp opens in late July. Washington is an intriguing prospect, having burst onto the scene in preseason with 4 touchdowns in 5 games. The Giants were afraid to expose him to waivers because of his success, but the rookie was so raw, he didn’t even know the entire route tree in September. He was practice squad appropriate in 2014, but his success forced the team to keep him on the active roster. With a full year of seasoning, it will be exciting to see how he’s grown and if he’s ready to line up opposite starters. Often lost in his success is the level of opposition he faced, which were opponents third string defenders and below. The coaching staff did not think Washington was ready to face even second team cornerbacks last summer, but dominating against lower level opposition is a sign that he will develop into a contributor.

Among Giants, Martin rises above them all.

Among Giants, Martin rises above them all.

The Real Rainman (@raygt40) asks: Who is your favorite Giant of all time?

Giants360: Tough question, but I’d have to say George Martin. He was at the end of his career as I was become aware of the NFL, and one of my most vivid memories is Martin rumbling down the Giants Stadium sideline with a John Elway interception during the magical 1986 season, while my Uncle Bob pounded on my shoulder and yelling “George Martin” over and over in my ear, until he scored. I was also fortunate enough to meet Mr. Martin once and shake his hand. He is a tall, soft spoken, impressive man, and very kind to fans. My final Martin memory is from about a decade ago when I was selected to participate in a local radio station (WFAN) Giants trivia contest before a Saturday game against Kansas City. Being rather brash, I said I could “Guess that Giant” in one clue. Once I heard 11th round draft pick in 1975, I knew the answer. Thank you, George, for the memories, and the iPod mini.

That’s our mailbag for this week. Thank you to all who submitted questions. Interacting with fans is part of the core missions of Giants360 in our drive to keep football season alive 365 days a year. We are making plans to kick thing into high gear with some talented new writers on the site, and having some longer term discussions for other exciting changes to bring you innovative Giants themed content.

Are you following us on Facebook? We are building up a following on the Giants360 page and want you to be a part of it. Follow the link, click the like button, and join in the fun. It literally takes second, and is fat, gluten, and sugar free!

Giants360. All Giants. All Year Round.

Giants360 Inaugural Mailbag

One of the best parts of having a highly interactive Twitter account is talking Giants football every day. It keeps the season alive and breathes life into the Giants360 vision statement – All Giants. All Year Round. To share that with you, we want to launch a weekly mailbag column and share some of these conversations with the group. Your questions may even spawn entire columns and others appear below with the Giants360 reply.  Send them with the hashtag #ASK360 to have your question considered for the column.

Newhouse's signing makes Barksdale unlikely

Newhouse’s signing makes Barksdale unlikely

Rick Stewart [@rickstew] asks: Is Joe Barksdale still an option as offensive tackle?

Giants360: It’s unlikely he’ll be signed at this point. Former Packer and Bengal Marshall Newhouse brought in on March 10th to serve as the swing tackle because of his experience starting on both sides of the line and familiarity with Ben McAdoo’s offense. Barksdale plays only right tackle and has been inconsistent in pass protection during his time with the Rams. Smart money has him returning to St. Louis.

Mr Perfect 170 [@mrperfect170] asks: What are the Giants doing at safety and defensive line?

Giants360: Stevie Brown is the most likely candidate to be re-signed for safety help, and there may already be some hidden depth on the roster. The search for a safety is remarkably similar to last spring’s quest for an upgrade at right end and it turned out the answer was right under our noses the entire time. Defensive line help will either come in the form of inexpensive second level free agents or through the draft. My instinct tells me it will be the latter, but don’t rule out a late signing.

Cooper is a luxury the Giants can't afford

Cooper is a luxury the Giants can’t afford

Giants Nation [Giants Nation__] asks: Do you think if Amari Cooper is available then the Giants are on the clock they will pick him?

Giants360: No. Cooper is a luxury the Giants can’t afford. Pick 9 needs to be either an offensive tackle to put the finishing touches on the offensive line or an impact defender to spark the kind of resurgence on defense that Odell Beckham, jr provided to the offense last season. Having Amari Cooper with Beckham and a fully healed Victor Cruz would be a receiving corps for the ages, but it would leave too many holes elsewhere on the team. The Giants are in “Win now” mode and have to draft accordingly.

 

The Real Rainman [@raygt40] asks: What’s the Giants next move at defensive tackle?

Giants360: It could be to stand pat if the coaching staff believes Jay Bromley is ready to take the next step and start. Of not, there are several second level free agents that would pair up nicely with Jonathan Hankins to plug the middle of the field. In our article, Reinforcing the Lines, several players are identified, with Kenrick Ellis and Sealver Siliga being those we like best. Giants360 has been calling for Markus Kuhn to be let go and his cap dollars reallocated since the season ended, either by a free agent with more promise or a 2015 draft pick. With only 90 roster spots fill, a player with his potential behind him, must be release sooner rather than later.

Berhe will be one of the starters

Berhe will be one of the starters

Mike Venditti [@TheRealMVenditti] asks: Safety? Safety? Safety? What’s their plan because I’m not seeing it.

Giants360: Two safety questions in one mailbag? It’s the predominant question on everyone’s mind, and therefore worth the additional space. Nat Berhe will be one of the starters. If Tom Coughlin and Steve Spagnuolo didn’t think he was ready, a more aggressive move would have been made in free agency. Rahim Moore’s contract with Houston is only a $3 million charge against their 2015 salary cap, certainly affordable for the Giants. There are still viable Limited Snap and Veteran options on the free agent market, one of which can be signed if the youngsters don’t pan out.

Kelli Lawson [@Happy2da9] asks: How can we improve both sides of the ball with only one top 10 draft pick?

Giants360: Fortunately, it’s one top 10 draft pick in each round, and the 2015 draft is deep in edge pass rushers, outside linebackers, and offensive linemen, three of the Giants four biggest areas of need. Their fourth, and possibly most critical, safety, is the weakest area in this draft. Conventional wisdom states that teams must find starters in the first three rounds of the draft in order for it to be considered highly successful. If you find a starter in the later rounds, you’re struck gold. Last season, the Jerry Reese found three starters in Beckham, Weston Richburg, and Devon Kennard. The jury is still out on Andre Williams and Bromley. Duplicating that stellar performance in 2015 will be a challenge for Reese, but if he can find an offensive lineman, linebacker, and defensive lineman that contribute immediately, the improvement you want will be realized.

Harris will be used on offense

Harris will be used on offense

Kyle Robinson [@Bobby Corduroy] asks: Other than Victor Cruz and Odell Beckham, jr,   What wide receivers do we have? Is there a need for anyone else?

Giants360: Jerry Reese has said several times that the team will not count on Cruz returning fully from his torn patellar tendon in 2015. With his game relying on elusiveness, there is concern about his ability to regain his “Shake and bake” skills that allow him to get open and make Cruz difficult to tackle. Rueben Randle will be back on the final year of his rookie contract and appeared to be hitting his groove during the final games of 2014. But the same was said of Jerrel Jernigan in 2013, and he was less than spectacular before a mid foot sprain ended his 2014 season, and has not been re-signed for this season.

Dwayne Harris 5 year, $17.5 million contract is a clear indicator that the Giants view him as more than just a kick returner and gunner on punt coverage teams. He will have a role in Ben McAdoo’s offense. Don’t forget about Marcus Harris, who caught everything thrown his way in training camp and in the preseason games before shoulder and hip injuries cut his season short before it started. He was on his way to earning the third receiver job to open the season with Beckham sidelined with hamstring issues. And last, but surely, not least, is Corey Washington, the 2014 preseason superstar, who caught four touchdown passes in five games. All eyes will be on him in OTAs and training camp to gauge his development and prospects for the 6’4″ Washington earning a larger role in 2014.

The Giants have the makings of a deep and dynamic receiving corps.

Scott Tucker [@stucker53] asks: What are the Giants plans to land a linebacker that the other teams might actually be afraid of?

Giants360: Devon Kennard flashed potential to be this type of player almost every day in training camp, but a hamstring injury slowed him in the regular season. Two linebackers were signed in free agency, J.T. Thomas and Jonathan Casillas, both are young and fast, and Thomas’ 3 year, $10 million contract indicated he figures prominently in Steve Spagnuolo’s plans for rebuilding the Giants defense. One of the Giants coaches or scouts saw something in Thomas that is not evident to the rest of us. But the best chance for landing a fear inducing linebacker that will be the 2015 draft. Denzel Perryman and Shaq Thompson are two names bandied about frequently as potential second round options. Perryman, and inside linebacker, and Thompson, and sideline-to-sideline outside linebacker both bring reputations as hard hitting play makers who would boost the the thumping power of the Giants defense.

Under Reese and Tom Coughlin, linebacker has been an afterthought, with high draft picks rarely invested in the position. That would appear to be about to change in 2015, and we will find out in a month and a half.

Mariota. A Giant?

Mariota. A Giant?

Curtis Jordan [@InkedUpMessnger] asks: If Marcus Mariota is there at 9, do you think the Giants would bite? Hypothetically speaking, of course.

Giants360: I am confident in setting those odds at 0%. With strong needs at other positions, and Eli Manning backed up by promising third year player Ryan Nassib, Jerry Reese can’t afford to use his first round pick on a quarterback. The question that does come to mind is, would he trade back for king’s ransom so Chip Kelly could be reunited with his college quarterback? I think the answer to that is also no, unless the Eagles were to offer a package of draft picks so overwhelming that it was it couldn’t be refused. Two division opponents helping one another in that way seems improbable, at best.

Mike D’Italia [@mikedital] asks: What positions do you see them addressing the rest of free agency?

Giants360: Reese’s efforts after day 1 seem to be focused on bringing back some of the Giants own free agents that haven’t connected with other teams. I’ve heard that there has been a consistent dialog between the Giants and Stevie Brown and wouldn’t be surprised if he were back in fold within the next week. The hold up may be the length of the contract. The Giants are also interested in bringing tight end Daniel Fells back. Given Fells sneaky good performance last season, I am surprised he didn’t catch on somewhere. The other name that’s been bandied about is linebacker Spencer Paysinger, although I’ve not sense their interest is as strong, especially because three linebackers were signed last week – Jonathan Casillas, J.T. Thomas, and Mark Herzlich.

As far as non-returning Giants, a veteran safety is on everyone’s wish list, and Dawan Landry seems to be sitting there for the taking, as does Jeromy Miles. The defensive linemen brought up earlier, Ellis and Siliga would both be solid additions. There area already 76 on the roster, and 8 draft picks will be added, along with a some undrafted free agents. With a hard limit of 90, Reese is running out of room to add players and will need to make some subtractions before further free agent additions can be made.

And that will do it for the first Giants360 mailbag. Thanks to all who submitted questions. If a duplicate question was received, the first person to sent it gets the shout out, so it pays to have a quick keyboard when I put up the 360 Bat signal for questions.

Giants360. All Giants. All Year Round.

Giants at Seahawks: Game Review

The Giants gave up the most yards rushing since the week after the Pisarcik debacle

The Giants gave up the most yards rushing since the week after the Pisarcik debacle

The Giants entered this game on a three game losing streak, with playoff hopes fading rapidly, and desperation in the air. Playing the defending champions at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, one of the most challenging venues in the National Football League, they put up a good fight for three quarters of the game, but collapsed in the fourth quarter, losing their fourth straight 38-17. But the Giants didn’t just lose the game, they were embarrassed on defense, giving up 350 yards rushing and 5 rushing touchdowns to a Seattle offense that pounded, pummeled, and punished a once proud unit that appeared to give up late in the game. It was the third most yards rushing surrendered in team history, the most since November 26, 1978, the game after the infamous Joe Pisarcik fumble game, and is the nadir of the Tom Coughlin era of Giants football, eclipsing the DeSean Jackson punt return of 2010. A steady rain fell throughout the game, capturing the mood of the 2014 Giants perfectly – wet, gloomy, and rapidly slipping away.

The Giants won the toss and elected take the ball and hoped to get off to a fast start. After a quick 12 yard completion to Daniel Fells, the offense stalled following two incompletions, and Steve Weatherford punted, giving Seattle the ball their own 20 yard line. Russell Wilson, the underrated but highly effective Seahawks quarterback, wasted little time, completing two passes for 55 yards, then utilizing his running game to cover the final 25 yards, moved Seattle 80 yards in 6 plays to give the Seahawks a 7-0 lead in just 3:19 on a one yard run by Marshawn Lynch. The Giants defense offered little resistance on the drive.

On the first play of Seattle’s drive, a quick out to Lynch, Zack Bowman was blocked on the play, but didn’t appear to be fighting to get off of it as Lynch flew by him for a 23 yard gain. While he was playing only days after being hospitalized with the flu, his lack of effort on the defense’s first play foreshadowed the Giants defense effort for the game. The second play was a 32 yard completion to tight end Cooper Helfet against Quintin Demps and Devon Kennard, neither of whom appeared to cover the third year year tight end. It was another lackluster effort that resulted in Demps benching in the second quarters. He returned in the third quarter and registered an interception.

On the subsequent drive, the Giants started moving the ball as Eli Manning completed passes to Rueben Randle and Preston Parker and Andre Williams hard running gave the Giants a first down at mid field. A holding penalty on rookie guard Weston Richburg put the Giants in a 2nd and 15 hole that they could work out of and the drive ended in another Weatherford punt.

Preston Parker, yes, PRESTON PARKER, caught a touchdown pass

Preston Parker, yes, PRESTON PARKER, caught a touchdown pass

The Giants defense stepped up and on the first play of Seattle’s drive, Bowman intercepted an under thrown Wilson pass intended for Paul Richardson, giving Manning a first down on Seattle’s 24. Wilson was under heavy pressure fro Jonathan Hankins on the play. Using 5 plays and completions to rookie sensation Odell Beckham, jr., Manning capitalized, rolling out to his right and finding Parker in the back of the end zone for a 6 yard touchdown, tying the game at 7.

Seattle started driving again, but a sack of Wilson by Robert Ayers, one of the few bright spots on the Giants defense, forced a punt as the first quarter wound down. On Seattle’s drive, Wilson gained 12 yards on a designed run off the right of the Giants defense. There was no back side contain. Seahawks offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell took note and would exploit this weakness in the Giants defense throughout the game and Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell did not adjust to stop it. Wilson gained over 100 yards rushing for the third time this season. Jermaine Kearse also had three steps on Bowman on a third down pass, but Wilson, under a heavy rush from Jason Pierre-Paul, over threw him.

Despite gaining only 33 yards on 13 carries, Williams ran hard.

Despite gaining only 33 yards on 13 carries, Williams ran hard.

One of the most talked about match-ups coming into the game was Beckham against Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman. Manning tested Sherman early in the game and Beckham proved that he could beat the all-pro. On a drive that spanned the first and second quarters, the rookie caught two passes for 70 yards, with 44 coming against Sherman on a double move. Beckham juked and then ran by Sherman who could not keep up with him. The second play was a leaping catch against Marcus Burley. The two big plays gave the Giants a first down at the Seahawks 3 yard line where bruising run by Williams gave the Giants the score and a 14-7 lead. He broke three tackles and ran with purpose, moving his legs and the pile to score the touchdown. The drive covered 80 yards in just 5 plays and took 2:23.

Seattle gained 19 yards on the ground and appeared to be moving the ball easily against the Giants defense when Robert Turbin fumbled after being hit by Jacquian Williams and Jameel McClain, who punched the ball out. Antrel Rolle recovered at the Seahawks 47 and it appeared that the Giants were going to start to pull away on the strength of an opportunistic defense. An offensive pass interference call on Parker, one of the points of emphasis this season being called more regularly by NFL officials, put the Giants in a 2nd and 21 hole and the drive ended in a punt. Parker did make contact while the pass was in the air.

Another of Lynch's four rushing touchdowns

Another of Lynch’s four rushing touchdowns

While the turning point in the game would not occur until the fourth quarter and the Giants remained competitive, the Seahawks 15 play, 85 yard touchdown drive that consumed 8:25 foreshadowed the outcome better than anything else that occurred in the first half. Mixing Lynch runs with designed Wilson runs that took advantage of the lack of Giants back side pursuit, Seattle gained 82 yards on 12 carries and pushed the Giants defense all over the field. On the three plays Wilson did pass, he was sacked by Jonathan Hankins, threw an incompletion, and gained 7 yards twice. The Giants inability to stack the line to stop the run and refusal to guard against Wilson running away from the flow of the play doomed them to one of the worst run defense performances in team history. Lynch’s second rushing touchdown tied the game at 14 with 2 minutes left in the half.

The Giants did stop Wilson on one third down run, when Stevie Brown held him to 1 yard on a third and 4, however, Seattle was able to convert the fourth down when Wilson found Kearse easily for 7 yards against Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie for one of his two completions of the drive. Helfet screened Rodgers-Cromartie out on the play, however, no penalty was called. On the only other play that the Giants appeared to have a back side containment plan, Wilson faked Williams out of his shorts and gained 8 yards on third and 2. Neither Pierre-Paul not Mathias Kiwanuka appeared to have contain responsibility for Wilson as they collapsed the line routinely on plays, implying that the linebackers were responsible for this big rushing afternoon.

The Giants never adjusted to Wilson's designed runs

The Giants never adjusted to Wilson’s designed runs

Manning was able to drive the Giants 57 yard in 11 plays for a 41 yard Josh Brown field goal as time expired in the half, giving the Giants a 17-14 lead. The team played well in the first half, but surrendered 149 yards rushing, with more than half coming on the Seahawks last drive. Adjustments were needed at halftime to slow the Seahawks rushing game. Seattle would get the second half kickoff.

Three of the first four plays in Seattle’s opening drive were runs, netting 39 yards, two by Lynch and one by Wilson, demonstrating that Fewell failed to adjust the Giants defense to slow down the Seattle ground attack. Demps stepped in front of a deep pass intended for Doug Baldwin for an easy interception at the Giants 10 yard line. Manning drove the Giants into Seahawks territory before back-to-back incompletions to Rueben Randle ended the threat and Weatherford punted. Newcomer Chykie Brown watched motionless from the 6 yard line as Weatherford’s punt hit at the 2 and bounced into the end zone rather than try to catch it and down it for a big special teams play. The net 20 yard punt gave Seattle the ball at the 20 yard line.

The Giants appeared to have Seattle stopped on a 3rd and 7 from their own 34 when Wilson evaded sacks by Pierre-Paul, Ayers, and Damontre Moore to complete a 60 yard pass to Kearse, who was covered by Williams. The mismatch allowed Kearse to get three steps on the linebacker and when Wilson scrambled away from the Giants pressure, he was able to easily haul in the arching pass. The Giants defense stiffened and stopped both Lynch and Wilson’s rushing attempts, forcing Seattle to settle for a field goal, tying the game at 17 with 4:13 remaining in the quarter.

The tipped ball interception by Earl Thomas was the turning point of the game

The tipped ball interception by Earl Thomas was the turning point of the game

After a touchback on the ensuing kickoff, the Giants drive the ball the the Seattle 39 on 6 plays when the play that turned the tide of the game permanently in the Seahawks direction occurred on a 1st and 10. Manning dropped back to pass, and looked for Donnell down the seam. His tight end covered, he threw up a jump ballfor Beckham in the end zone, who was covered by Sherman. Beckham batted the ball up to avoid a Sherman interception, and the tipped ball was intercepted by a trailing Earl Thomas, who returned it from the end zone all the way to the Seahawks 42. Manning admitted after the game he should have thrown the ball away. It was a good play by Beckham to try to avoid a Sherman interception, but another back break for the Giants that a trailing Thomas was in position to intercept.

Following the turnover, Seattle drove the 58 yard for the go-ahead touchdown on 7 plays, all on the ground, in 2:52 and took a lead they would never relinquish, 24-17. After a three and out by the Giants, Seattle again drove, primary running the ball, 53 yards in 7 plays, to take a 31-17 lead. Lynch scored both touchdowns, giving him 4 on the game. On the second touchdown drive, The Seahawks fumbled twice, one by Wilson, and one by Lynch, but managed to fall on the ball both times and continue their relentless ground assault to a 14 point margin. The Giants defense was spent, and offered little in the way of resistance, only desperately swatting at the ball, but failing to capitalize when it was jarred loose.

Perry Fewell's aloofness on the sideline iritated Giants fans

Perry Fewell’s aloofness on the sideline iritated Giants fans

The Giants were unable to answer, with one drive ending on a 4th and 10 incompletion, and another on a Manning fumble when the wet ball fell out of this hand. After the interception, Seattle ran the ball 13 times for 165 yards and 3 touchdowns, an average of 12.69 per carry. To make matters worse, Fewell was shown on the sidelines smiling and joking while the defense was exhausted and collapsing, making it seem like he did not have a care in the world. He is certainly bothered by the fourth quarter collapse, but his aloof demeanor on the sidelines, combined with the Giants showing yesterday has many calling for his immediate dismissal.

Giants360 is not in favor of a mid-season coaching change for the team. They are generally ineffective and lead to further disorganization and disarray in the locker room. At the end of the season, after the final seven, now largely meaningless games are played, the Giants will evaluate Tom Coughlin and his staff and make a determination as to the future of the team. Not before. Coughlin has commented that the season is “draining” and may be ready to retire, making the decision moot.

It would be a bad decision to change Manning’s offense two consecutive seasons. If he is forced to relearn footwork and plays again, it will be another setback in the dwindling years of his career. Ben McAdoo should be retained regardless of the decision made by or about Coughlin. Discussions about coaching changes should be tabled until after the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on December 28th.

Despite the 38-17 final score, there were some bright spots for the Giants. Manning enjoyed mostly solid pass protection against a team with a good pass rush. He was sacked twice, but was able to take several shots down the field. The Giants pass rush was also potent, sacking Wilson twice and pressuring him into two interceptions. Parker enjoyed a bounce back game, catching 7 of 7 passes for 79 yards and the touchdown. Williams, despite carrying the ball only 13 times for 33 yards, ran hard and appeared to be making some better decisions. He still has a ways to go, but will develop into a solid NFL starter.

Odell Beckham, Jr is the bright spot of the 2014 season.

Odell Beckham, Jr is the bright spot of the 2014 season.

The brightest spot of all remains Beckham, who 7 of 9 passes thrown his way for 108 yards, despite drawing Sherman in coverage most of the time and being double covered other times. The rookie has shown game changing ability and has superstar potential.

Next up for the Giants are the San Francisco Forty-Niners at Metlife Stadium. Surprise winners in overtime at the Superdome against New Orleans yesterday, the Forty-Niners are in the thick of the playoff hunt again despite rumors of coach Jim Harbaugh’s lame duck status and locker room disarray. At 5-4, San Francisco trails division leading Arizona by three games.

The Giants injuries woes continue as running back Peyton Hillis exited the game early with a concussion and did not return and running back Michael Cox is lost for the season with a broken lower left leg. Cox was seen in a wheelchair after the game but accompanied the team back to New Jersey last night. The Giants will be looking to add at least on running back this week, and perhaps more than one if Hillis’ concussion keeps him out and Rashad Jennings is not ready to return this coming Sunday. One name to look out for is Kendall Gaskins who was impressive in preseason action, but lost out on the practice squad spot to Cox.

Giants News, Notes, and Reflections: Oct 24, 2014

Things are quiet at the Quest Diagnostic Training facility as the Giants are taking advantage of their bye week, and both players and coaches have gone into the wind until they re-emerge next week begin practicing for the Indianapolis Colts. Giants360 continues to go through interviews with the assistant coaches and being you tidbits of information, insight, and analysis to enjoy during this down period in the Big Blue calendar.

Nunn: Stopping the Run is Critical

Nunn: Stopping the Run is Critical

“LeSean McCoy and DeMarco Murray were the number one issue,” says defensive line coach Robert Nunn, when asked why the Giants run defense looked weaker in the last two games after being rather stout in the first five. Delving deeper into the nuts and bolts of the situation, he says there have been a few missed tackles and blown gap assignments by the defensive lineman, but that’s true of the entire defense. “Everyone has to do their part,” add Nunn, “Pass rush opportunities won’t be there unless we stop the run.”

The Giants appear ready to unleash Damontre Moore in pass rush situations over the less effective Mathias Kiwanuka after the bye week. Kiwanuka has the lowest rating of any defensive player according the Profootballfocus, and has been a liability in both run stopping and pass rushing this season. While Moore’s ratings are not spectacular, he represents an improvement over the struggling Kiwanuka and as a second year player, has a much higher ceiling than 9 year veteran Kiwanuka, who is on the down side of his career.

The bye week couldn’t come at a better time for Robert Ayers, who was the Giants most effective lineman, playing both tackle and end, through the first five games, however, since waking up with a stiff neck before the Eagles game, his play has dropped off significantly. The week off will give him a chance to work out the issue with his neck and gain back his early season dominant form.

Hermann on Kennard: He wants to be great

Hermann on Kennard: He wants to be great

Linebackers coach Jim Hermann echoes Nunn’s sentiments about playing the run better, pointing out that, “In this league, if you can’t stop the run, you’re going to have a hard time.” One player who has worked hard on his run defense is Jacquian Williams, who dedicated himself to becoming a three down player by studying this off season to improve his run defense. Hermann said he set that goal and worked hard to make it happen, but avoided a question about Williams consistency.

During training camp, rookie Devon Kennard was making at least one highlight tackle per day, but suffered a hamstring injury in the season opener. “That set him back a few weeks,” said Hermann, adding that Kennard has been able to play on special teams and got some defensive snaps against Dallas on Sunday. “That’s important for a young linebacker,” pointed out Hermann, “He has to learn the pace of the game and who he’s playing against.” Hermann sees Kennard as a player who wants to be great and will work hard to get there.

Playing without Jon Beason is something the linebacker corps has had to do often this season, and something Hermann won’t complain about, “It’s a physical game,” said Hermann. With each player knowing their primary and backup assignments, when Beason came out on Sunday after just 17 snaps, the other players knew exactly what was expected of them. In a NFL governed by the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement, with limited on field practice time, Hermann knows that it’s impossible to get every player practice at every position. “You have to rely on them paying attention in the meeting room and in film session to know what’s expected of them.”

The Giants have not released any information about the results of Beason’s trip to North Carolina to see Dr. Robert Anderson early this week. Beason had announced on New York radio station that he was “50/50” on having season ending surgery on his injured toe.

Merritt: Slot corner covers a lot more ground

Merritt: Slot corner covers a lot more ground

Slot cornerback has been a position in flux for the Giants this season, with Walter Thurmond and Trumaine McBride both going down with season ending injuries after playing well in this critical position. Safeties coach Dave Merritt explains that this position is so challenging because it covers more of the field from a 3 yard distance from the line of scrimmage than the typical safety is required to cover when lining up 12 yards off the ball. Opponents often put their number one receiver in the slot to attempt to get a free release at the snap.

Jayron Hosley is will be the Giants slot cornerback until Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie is fully recovered from is variety of nagging injuries and Zack Bowman can return there permanently. Merritt praised Hosley’s effort against Dallas and said the third year cornerback did everything that was asked of him in the game. He sees Hosley’s ceiling as unlimited with his talent, but want his confidence to improve.

The nickel cornerback needs to view himself as a starter given the frequency with which offenses play three receiver sets, adds Merritt, and Hosley does just that, studying and preparing as if he were a starting cornerback.

Prince Amukamara has grown tremendously since his first year, says Merritt, and he’s become an aggressive cornerback not afraid to play press coverage against the NFL’s top receivers. So much so, that the coaches have talked to him about not playing as aggressively against a super aggressive player like Dez Bryant. Amukamara has also learned to vary his playing style against different opponents, as each receiver runs his routes slightly differently.

Giunta: Amukamara's availability to practice lead to improvement

Giunta: Amukamara’s availability to practice lead to improvement

Cornerbacks coach Peter Giunta sees Amukamara growth as a matter of availability to practice and improve. Having been healthy, he’s worked hard on the practice field to improve. Giunta also gave insight into the Giants weekly routine, saying that Monday they secondary coaches review the game film and identify issues. “Sometimes it’s technique, sometimes it’s a missed assignment, and sometimes they hit a void in the zone.” It’s long been an adage in the NFL that the best players in the secondary have a short memory, and Giunta echoes that saying that the team makes corrections and moves on.

Stopping the run seems to be at the top of the bye week corrections list. With the Giants next for opponents, Indianapolis, Seattle, San Francisco, and Dallas all in the top half of the league in rushing offense, failure to stop the run will lead to disaster in short order. Run defense was a major issue in 2012, and has again risen high on the issues list for the team. With Cullen Jenkins expected to miss at least one game with a strained calf, Mike Patterson will will be called upon to start and Markus Kuhn and rookie Jay Bromley to provide relief and help hold opponent run games in check.

Offensive line coach Pat Flaherty added to his comments from earlier in the week, and doesn’t believe lack of playing time is an issue any longer for the Giants line, “We fought through the preseason with different lineup changes, but we’ve settled in… It’s not a matter of working together, we’ve had enough time together.” Calling the last two games “Bumps in the road that we need to work out,” Flaherty wants more consistent practices, better execution, and just plain better football to be played.

Admitting that he’s a tough man to satisfy, Flaherty stated that no man in the offensive line meeting room is satisfied with how they’ve played in the past few weeks. He knows the linemen are working hard, but that’s not translated into better play.

Of rookie Weston Richburg, Flaherty said, “Each day and play in a game is a new experience for him. He plays with the toughness and meanness expected from a New York Giants lineman.” Flaherty expect Richburg to develop into a good lineman for the team.

Gilbride: Coverage dictates other receivers than Donnell

Gilbride: Coverage dictates other receivers than Donnell

One of the biggest questions on fantasy football players minds over the past few weeks, it’s what happened to Larry Donnell’s production. Tight ends coach Kevin M. Gilbride attributes the drop off to changing coverage, not to anything Donnell has changed in his quality of play. “It’s a result of schematic changes by the defenses faced. Coverage dictated that we throw the ball to other receivers.” With Odell Beckham catching two touchdown passes against Dallas, it may be time for Donnell to see less coverage again.

Run blocking remains a challenge for Donnell and the unit as a whole. Gilbride says that while there have been spots where the run blocking has been good, the tight ends can improve in conjunction with the offensive line. He also sees opportunities for the tight ends to contribute more in the passing game, despite their already catching 8 touchdown passes this season, 4 by Donnell, and 4 by Daniel Fells.

Speaking about Fells, Gilbride praised the leadership, and how the younger players will often go to him for advice on how to play certain situation in games. Fells veteran presence has aided the development of both Donnell and Adrien Robinson.

Pedro Migao, from Brasil, at Metlife Stadium in 2013.

Pedro Migao, from Brasil, at Metlife Stadium in 2013.

Superfan Corner: Our superfan corner for today comes from the Southern Hemisphere, proving that while some strive to simply be America’s team, the New York Giants are Earth’s team. Pedro Migao admitted that English is not his strongest language, and I know very little Portuguese, but this Brasilian Giants fan and I were able to hold a conversation about the team and his trip to Metlife Stadium last year to see the Giants play the Oakland Raiders, a game they won 24-20. His story can be seen here, but warning, it’s in Portuguese, however there are several pictures that transcend language barriers.

Pedro hopes to return to New Jersey in 2015 for another New York Giants game, in the meantime, he enjoys watching them on Brasilian ESPN. Brasil now has an amateur football league and American football is on track to become an Olympic sport, America’s game, and Earth’s team’s popularity are on the rise south of the equator. Pedro taught me that “Orbrigado” means “Thank you” in Portuguese, and Giants360 says orbrigado to Pedro for sharing his story and being today’s Giants superfan.

Giants360 likes to feature die hard Giants fans in the Superfan Corner on Friday and game day Sunday. We want to hear your stories, see your pictures in Giants gear, or team themed setup, Giants artwork, or pets dressed up in Giants colors. DM our Twitter account, @giants360 or mention them with the hashtag #superfancorner. You must be following the Twitter account in order to be featured in the Superfan Corner.

Giants News, Notes, and Reflections: Oct 14, 2014

In the aftermath of the 27-0 thrashing by the Philadelphia Eagles, and the loss of Victor Cruz to a season ending Patellar tendon injury, it was a challenge to find a silver lining for the Giants. As it’s Tuesday, when Giants360 looks at the game stats and subscription only ratings on profootballfocus.com (PFF), we dug through them, and did manage to find a scant few bright spots.

The run game did well, but only managed 85 yards because the team only had 23 attempts. Their 3.70 yards per carry is on par with the Giants average for the season. They were also stuffed only two times, an indicator that the Eagles defensive line did not achieve penetration on rushing plays with the same effectiveness they did on passing plays. The Giants were most effective rushing up the middle between center and right guard, gaining 69 yards on 13 carries, an average of 5.30 per carry.

Richburg is one of two linemen that rated poorly in pass blocking

Richburg is one of two linemen that rated poorly in pass blocking

The Giants pass blocking was far inferior to their efforts in the previous four games, with no lineman rating positive. Justin Pugh was as bad as he appeared, being credited with the four sacks surrendered by PFF,the same number that Giants360 attributed to him in yesterday’s film study. He also rated out poorly in run blocking. Weston Richburg also rated poorly in pass blocking, although he was did not get credited with surrendering a sack by PFF. All of the other linemen rated out as average in both blocking categories. John Jerry had a negative rating because of the three penalties called on him. The Giants offensive linemen had six of the team’s ten penalties assessed against them.

Eli Manning had his worst game of the season, often seeming paralyzed if his first read was covered, something the coaching staff will need to address. The Dallas Cowboys will certainly adopt the Eagles strategy for defending the Giants offense.

Manning was under pressure 12 of his 31 drop backs, a rate of 38.7%, more than double the rate of of the previous three games. The strategy of pressuring Manning is highly effective, as his passer rating drops in half when he’s under pressure. He exhibited “Happy feet” several times on Sunday night, a product of Philadelphia’s early, and continuous pressure.

The Giants managed only 12 first downs for the game, their lowest output of the season. The team converted only 2 third down in 14 attempts. While the offense was able to move the ball at times, any drive that started to gain traction was disrupted by either a penalty, a sack, or both.

Beason may have been rusty

Beason may have been rusty

The Eagles rushed for 203 yards on 36 attempts for an average of 5.64 yards per carry, all season highs against the Giants defense. This is especially concerning for three reasons. First, the Eagles were without two of their starting offensive linemen. Second, Jon Beason, the Giants best run defender returned to the lineup for this game, and finally, next week’s opponent, the Dallas Cowboys have one of the most effective ground games in the NFL.

Philadelphia also had 448 total yards, another season high against the Giants defense. A familiar issue re-emerged, as Nick Foles completed 14 of 17 passes for 149 of his 248 yards, 1 of his touchdowns and no interception down the middle of the field. This was despite Foles being under pressure 11 of his 36 drop backs, a 30.6% under pressure rate. With linebacker and free safety coverage issues, the middle has been vulnerable to pass at all levels of the team’s defense.

Another season high for an opponent were the 24 first downs achieved by the Eagles. Philadelphia was successful on offense despite just a 62.50% success rate in the red zone and a -1 turnover rate. It’s rare for the Giants to lose a game when they win the turnover battle, but it’s an indicator of how ineffective the Giants offensive line was on Sunday night.

The Eagles were most effective running left, gaining 93 yards on 14 carries, an average of 6.64 yards per carry. Philadelphia also gained big chunks of yardage rushing around the edges on both sides, gaining a whopping 8.86 per carry with 133 yards on 15 carries. Note that the carries and yardage figures overlap on those two statistics. The Cowboys have done some of their worst damage on opponent’s edges this season, gaining 326 yards on 59 carries, an average of 5.53 yards per carry.

Demps coverage devolved on Sunday Night

Demps coverage devolved on Sunday Night

Quintin Demps, following two solid performances after taking over for Stevie Brown, had his worst game of the season, rating out poorly against both the pass and the run. Trumaine McBride, also rated poorly in both areas, and suffered a broken thumb which may require season ending surgery, a blow to the Giants rebuilt secondary that is already missing Walter Thurmond III. Jason Pierre-Paul and Markus Kuhn also had bad games against the run. Pierre-Paul’s shift from the right side of the defense to the left to allow him to pass rush against Lane Johnson may have contributed to his run defense performance drop off.

Robert Ayers one of the most consistent and top performing Giants defenders had a bad game against the Eagles, likely a product of his neck injury that resulted in his being listed as questionable for the game. Antrel Rolle performed poorly against the run, but had a solid outing in pass coverage. Jameel McClain was the only Giants who rated highly in run defense.

Zack Bowman, who will take over as nickel cornerback for McBride, and may start for Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie if his leg and back injuries keep him out until after the Giants week 8 bye, has a solid outing in pass coverage, as did Jacquian Williams, while Cullen Jenkins was the Giants best pass rusher.

The Giants special teams had an up and down performance, allowing a big return to Darren Sproles, and a partially blocked punt by Eagles safety Chris Maragos. Mark Herzlich rated out the worst on the Giants special teams, and PFF seems to attribute the partially blocked punt to Steve Weatherford, as his rating for the game is negative.

On the blocked punt, Maragos saw something in the Giants blocking scheme and changed sides on the punt block team and got through the protection to get his hand on the punt. It was readily evident on the live broadcast that he was making a move to block the punt and concerning that the Giants did not adjust their protection to account for his movement.

Flaherty's adjustments were not evident

Flaherty’s adjustments were not evident

Upon reflection, the Giants were thoroughly out coached on Sunday night. The above is just one example of the team’s failure to make spot adjustment to the Eagles in game changes. The Eagles were able to overwhelm the Giants offensive line and Ben McAdoo and Pat Flaherty never made an effective counter. As the game progressed, the linemen resorted to holding and personal fouls out of frustration and embarrassment over their humiliating performance on national television.

LeSean McCoy started cutting through the Giants run defense for big gains on Philadelphia’s first drive and didn’t stop until the final gun sounded. Perry Fewell and the defensive staff never effective countered the Eagles running game. The passing yards and completion rate surrendered down the middle of the field appears to be a talent gap, but the men the team has to defend the run are solid and skilled and should have been able to contain McCoy running behind a patched together offensive line.

Tom Coughlin and his staff are outstanding at making corrections to issues between games, but showed vulnerability when an opponent came out with a game plan that was vastly different than what was expected and prepared for during the week. NFL games are won and lost by in game adjustments and this one slipped away by the Giants coaching staff failing to make any of note.

Coughlin’s post game press conference was his shortest any this season. As expected, he took full responsibility for the Giants ” Very poor performance,” saying that the team practiced well, had been excited about the game, but came out with nothing to show for it. He declined comment about what went wrong until after he reviews game film. Coughlin did say that the team did not play well up front, in a blinding flash of the obvious.

Saying that the Eagles stayed in their base defense on first down, even against the Giants three receiver sets, Coughlin noted that Philadelphia’s pass rushers “got the edge” on the Giants often, and the tackles struggled with it. He thought the offense settled down after a rough start, but still were unable to make anything happen.

One of the team’s challenges going forward will be replacing Victor Cruz’s production. A healthy Odell Beckham will have a bigger role, but the team is going to be careful with his hamstring until he puts together several weeks of successful practices and games to ease their comfort level. Preston Parker and Corey Washington are the next men up on the active roster, while Juron Criner, Travis Harvey, and Julian Talley could be promoted from the practice squad.

There is also an internet rumor floating that the Giants are exploring a trade possibility with the Buffalo Bills for veteran receiver Mike Williams. He’s grown out of favor in Buffalo after similarly wearing out his welcome in Tampa Bay. It’s possible a coach like Coughlin could straighten out his attitude and get him to maximize the talent that made him a fourth round pick in 2010. Williams salary guarantees and Buffalo’s compensation demands will likely prevent the deal from being done.

The Giants reportedly worked out former Cowboy and Lions Kevin Ogletree yesterday. Ogletree’s best game as a professional came on opening night 2012 at Metlife stadium against the Giants when he caught 8 passes for 114 yards and 2 touchdowns in a 24-17 Cowboys victory against the defending Super Bowl champion Cowboys. Giants360 would like to acknowledge @MistaYMM for calling this to our attention. Appreciate the assist.

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Game Review: Giants at Eagles

Regression is defined by dictionary.com as “The act of going back to a previous place or state; return or reversion.” The Giants regressed in their game against the Eagles last night, to their preseason and opening night form, with both the offensive line getting dominated, Eli Manning harassed every time he dropped back to pass and being sacked 6 times, no running game to take the pressure off, and LeSean McCoy looking like his old self while rushing for 149 yards. When the brutal night ended, Victor Cruz was lost for the season with a torn patellar tendon, and the Giants lost in embarrassing fashion, 27-0, to their bitter division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles.

McCoy broke out of his slump in a big way

McCoy broke out of his slump in a big way (click to enlarge)

The game started innocently enough with the Eagles taking the opening kickoff and mixing four McCoy runs and four Nick Foles completions to move the ball from their own 20 to the Giants 13 yard line where they faced the only third down on the drive. The bugaboo for the Philadelphia offense this season, the drive stalled there when Jacquain Williams batted down a pass intended for Darren Sproles. Rookie Cody Parkey came on and kicked a 31 yard field goal to give the Eagles a 3-0 lead.

The 10 play, 67 yard drive foreshadowed what was to come in the game. Missed tackles plagued the Giants defense. On the third play of the drive, Jason Pierre-Paul, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Williams appeared to have McCoy trapped behind the line of scrimmage for a loss, but the elusive back managed to squirt through the tackle attempts and gain 12 yards. Pierre-Paul and Trumaine McBride seemed stunned on the next play as McCoy ran by them up the middle for a gain of 18. When the drive ended, McCoy has accumulated 36 yards on 4 carries and had sent a message to the Giants defense that his slump was over.

The Giants offense got the ball at the 20 following a Parkey touchback and it seemed like it would be business as usual when Manning found Cruz for a first down over the middle and two Andre Williams runs netted 9 yards and set up a 3rd and 1 at the Giants 42. Ben McAdoo called a pass play and it went awry when Manning’s first read was covered. As he pump faked and rolled to his left, the Giants pass protection broke down with Trent Cole beating Will Beatty and Conner Barwin beating Just Pugh. As Cole flushed Manning left, Barwin broke free of Pugh’s block and sacked Manning, chopping the ball free, Pugh recovered it, but the Giants drive was stalled. Weatherford punted.

Weatherford’s punt traveled 50 yards, and Zack Bowman made a perfect diving tackle on Sproles at the Eagles 19 for no gain. After an incompletion on first down, Foles found Riley Cooper for 14 yards and McCoy gashed the Giants defense with runs of 5 and 18 yards. At the end of the 18 yard run, the ball popped free when McCoy hit the turf and the Giants fell on it. It was an obvious down by contact non-fumble and ruled as such, but an emotional Tom Coughlin, stunned by the Giants poor start, challenged and lost, costing the team a time out. Momentum was clearly on the Eagles side and the Giants defense back on their heels.

Despite pressure, Foles was only sacked once

Despite pressure, Foles was only sacked once

Foles found tight end Zach Ertz for a 23 yard catch and run down the right sideline and then on 3rd and 8 from the Giants 15, under pressure from Cullen Jenkins up the middle, threw a perfect pass to him in the right corner of the end zone for the touchdown. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie had good coverage, but Foles floated the pass out where only Ertz could catch it, he reached up and pulled it in over Rodgers-Cromartie, ending the 10 play, 81 yard drive with a 10-0 Philadelphia lead.

On the third down play to Ertz, the Giants blitzed and failed to get to Foles, Quintin Demps was on the opposite side of the field and even with his speed couldn’t come across to cover or tackle the speedy tight end before he picked up the first down plus a sizable gain. The Giants generated pressure on Foles during the game, but were unable to make the plays to sack him, and the third year quarterback showed great maneuverability in the pocket and either found his receivers on the move or threw the ball away before being tackled for a loss.

Another Parkey touchback gave the Giants the ball at the 20 and Manning found Rueben Randle and Odell Beckham for back to back gains totaling 27 yards to move it quickly to the Giants 47. A Williams stuff for no gain and another sack set up 3rd and 19 but Manning converted, finding tight end Daniel Fells in the seam for 20 yards. Pugh was again beaten by Cole for the sack, this time badly as the linebacker faked an outside move and blew past the second year tackle inside and made a beeline to the Giants quarterback.

With a first down at the Eagles 42, following the completion to Fells, it appeared that the Giants would make a game of it, until the second big issue of the night emerged – penalties. Back to back flags, one on John Jerry for holding, followed by a delay of game penalty pushed the Giants into a 1st and 24 at their own 44. The holding penalty on Jerry, who pulled to block linebacker Casey Matthews, was not blatant. The first quarter ended with another Manning sack, this time by defensive end Vinny Curry, who broke off a Pugh block when Manning stepped up to avoid pressure from Barwin, who beat Weston Richburg on the play.

The sequence of errors set up a second and 26 at their own 42 as the second quarter for underway, but a neutral zone infraction on Philadelphia gave the Giants 5 yards back. The penalty obscured a horrible snap by J.D. Walton, which went far over Manning’s head and could have been an utter and complete disaster, if not for the flag. Another sack on Manning, the fourth in just two offensive drives, lead to a hand off to Peyton Hillis on third down. Barwin notched this sack, beating Pugh with a spin move and easily sacking Manning.

An exchange of punts with only one notable play in the team’s two series, a 24 yard pass the tight end Brent Celek by Foles, left the Giants pinned in at their 9 yard line. Celek found a hole in the Giants zone on a play action pass and caught it in front of Prince Amukamara. Aware of the Eagles two blocked punts for touchdown in the past two games, Weatherford’s rushed punt went off the side of his foot and traveled only 38 yards, giving the Eagles starting field position at the Giants 47 yard line.

Nick Foles needed only 3 plays to extend the Eagles lead to 17-0, a McCoy counter for 15 yards, a pass to Cooper for 6, and a 26 yard pass to tight end James Casey for the touchdown. On the McCoy run, he juked McBride out of his undershorts to keep from being tackled for a loss. On the touchdown, the Eagles set up in a three tight end formation on 2nd and 4, and faked a hand off to McCoy. Casey got a free release off the line of scrimmage and ran between Demps and Amukamara, neither of whom were within 3 yard of him. Foles lofted the pass easily to the tight end for the touchdown.

The Giants appeared to me mounting a comeback on the subsequent drive, moving the ball from their own 20 to the their 46 until Richburg dove on top of defensive end Fletcher Cox and drew a penalty for unnecessary roughness, turning a make-able 3rd and 5 into a deep 2nd and 20 hole. It was an egregious metal error by Richburg, and one the team could ill afford on a night filled with them. The Giants couldn’t dig out of it and punted back to the Eagles, and a special teams breakdown cost the Giants 3 points. Darren Sproles, one of the NFL’s premier punt returners slipped through the Giants coverage behind a lights out block by tight end Trey Burton on Zak DeOssie and returned the ball 46 yards to the Giants 43 yard line.

There were several comments on Twitter last night that the Burton block was illegal. It wasn’t – he pancaked DeOssie from the front hard, but cleanly in a textbook example of how to block on a punt return and sprung Sproles for the big gain on the play. Re-running the play several times both during the subsequent commercial and today, it’s confirmed upon review – just a good, hard football play. After Burton spring him, Sproles cut through the Giants return team until Larry Donnell stopped him inside Giants territory, saving the touchdown.

Foles only managed to gain 16 yards on 6 plays, but it was enough to set up a Parkey field goal and extend the Eagles lead to 20-0. A three and out by the Giants gave Philadelphia the ball back with 2:39 left in the half and it looked as if the Eagles would all but put the game away before halftime until Antrel Rolle stepped in front of a pass intended for Sproles and stopped the Eagles drive at the Giants 16 yard line.

Donnell's juggling catch was nullified by a bad holding call

Donnell’s juggling catch was nullified by a bad holding call

Had Manning been able to convert on the turnover before the half and cut the Philadelphia lead to 20-7, it would have been a game again, but an obvious holding penalty on Pugh, and another sack, this time surrendered by Jerry to Curry stalled the drive, and the Eagles took their 20 point lead into the locker room at the half. Jerry had ridden the defensive end out of the play, but was able to hold his block, and as Manning scanned down field for a receiver, Curry closed from behind for the Eagles fifth sack of the night.

The second half opened with a three and out and Manning was hit as he threw a third down pass an it fell incomplete. The Giants hope for a comeback was bolstered when Bowman intercepted an underthrown pass intended for rookie Jordan Matthews and returned it to the Eagles 21 yard line. The Giants appeared to capitalize for the touchdown when Donnell made a brilliant juggling catch, but a highly questionable holding penalty on Beatty wiped it off the board. Two plays later, on fourth down, Coughlin elected to go for it, and Manning found Cruz wide open for an another apparent touchdown, but as the receiver planted to go up for the ball, his patellar tendon ruptured and, in excruciating pain, the ball fell to the ground.

Missanelli Tweet

Missanelli Tweet (click to expand)

The image of Cruz, tears rolling down his face, being driven off the field on the cart with a trainer comforting him is one that will be emblazoned in football fans minds for eternity. It’s today’s feature image up top. Controversial Philadelphia radio talk show host Mike Missanelli tweeted out, “Hey Giants Fans: Victor Cruz is over. Dance to that.” just moments after Cruz’s season ending injury. He later deleted the tweet, shown at left, and claims to have been in the parking lot and not aware of the injury at the time. I’ve not heard Missanelli’s show, and only know of his reputation by hearsay, but it fits the profile of many, not all, but many Eagles fans encountered throughout the years and is one of the reasons this rivalry is so bitter. I’m inclined to take Missanelli at his word that the tweet was a mistake.

After the Cruz injury, the Eagles took over on downs and the Giants were obviously shocked and dismayed over the loss of a team captain and leader. Minimal resistance was offered by the Giants defense as Philadelphia moved 97 yards in 8 plays culminating in a 15 yard Sproles touchdown run that closed out scoring for the night at 27-0.

The Giants were heavily penalized, and while the officials do not share any culpability for the loss, Clete Blakeman and his crew were particularly poor last night. Two documented examples are the first down called on the measurement shown below on the left. Obviously short, Blakeman gave the Eagles a first down on the play. Later, he called holding on the Giants, while giving the signal for offsides. It’s shown below on the right, with the time index of the penalty. Check the game log ot the video Giants360 tweeted out for the penalty call. It’s blatant errors such as these that cause fans, and surely NFL coaches to lose confidence in the men entrusted with ensuring that these big money events run fairly and smoothly. The NFL needs to address this growing issue before an incident threaten the integrity of the league. It’s coming.

This was a first down?

This was a first down?

Check the time index 1:15 in the 2nd quarter. It's a holding call.

Check the time index 1:15 in the 2nd quarter. It’s a holding call.

 

 

Comedic officiating is confirmed

 

 

 

 

 

Manning was sacked for a sixth time in the third quarter, again by Barwin who ran around Pugh to bring down the Giants quarterback. It’s one of four sacks Giants360 attributes to the Giants right tackle on the night, statistics that will be confirmed when we do our deep stat dive tomorrow and review the Pro Football Focus assessment of the game. Pugh was a turnstile, allowing Barwin and Cole easy access to Manning all night long in the kind of performance that could ruin the mental toughness of the second year player if the Giants coaches don’t handle it properly. Winston Justice was never the same after surrendering six sacks to Osi Umeryiousa in 2006 and offensive line coach Pat Flaherty needs to take steps this week to avoid the same fate for Pugh.

Ryan Nassib relieved Manning with under two minutes left in the game and was sacked twice in six drop backs, giving the Eagles their total of eight for the night. One was surrendered by Beatty, and the other given up on a Nassib scramble towards the sideline on fourth down. The Giants offensive line has their worst outing of the season and needs to bounce back quickly as next week’s opponent, the Dallas Cowboys, are 5-1 and fresh off an impressive upset victory of the Seahawks in Seattle. A loss at Dallas next Sunday afternoon will severely damage the Giants changes of competing for the NFC East division crown.

Rodgers-Cromartie suffered back spasms and left the game in the second quarter, Giants360 will update his status during the week. He was already suffering from a variety of leg injuries. Sproles was taken into Philadelphia’s locker room with an apparent serious knee injury, a blow to the Eagles offense and special teams.

Replacing Cruz will be a challenge for the Giants, and one that cannot be met with a single player. Beckham and Randle will have to step up, and Preston Parker will again realize additional snaps due to injury, as he did when Jerrel Jernigan went down with a season ending foot sprain. Expect Donnell and preseason darling Corey Washington to both see increased targets in the passing game. Julian Talley will also be active on game days for receiver depth.

Superfan Jessi

If making this woman’s frown turn into a smile doesn’t motivate Big Blue, nothing will.

We have a sad Superfan Corner for you today. Jessi, @jwheels91, shared this picture at halftime, capturing her mood following the Giants first half performance. It obviously did not improve, despite her changing at half time (We won’t say what) and steadfast belief that Big Blue would rally in the second half of the game. She’s promised a smiling picture when the Giants return to their winning ways. It’s motivated us here at Giants360, are you paying attention, Tom Coughlin?

 

Giants News, Notes, and Reflections: Oct 10, 2014

Bradley Cooper narrated a video posted by the Eagles official Twitter account.

Bradley Cooper narrated a video posted by the Eagles official Twitter account.

The war of words between bitter rivals heated up this week as the as several Giants pointed out the Eagles lack of Super Bowl success, Jason Pierre-Paul spoke of his dislike of Philadelphia, and the Eagles Twitter account posted a video, narrated by actor Bradley Cooper, that took a swipe at Giants fans. Some consider the video, in which Cooper mocks Giants fans a exaggerated New York accent, to be of questionable taste, and it’s surprising the official team account would post it. The Giants would not post that type of media on any official team account. It’s Eagles week, and with a share of first place potentially on the line, both teams are falling prey to the hype.

Tom Coughlin is not, having gone through this almost two dozen times before, and only speaks of the talent on the Eagles roster. He’s not concerned with the big plays the Eagles have made on offense, but focused on the five plays over 40 yard the Giants have surrendered, and how to stop giving them up. Calling it “An objective since day one,” Coughlin had the team talking about it, and working on it, with their elimination a top priority.

At yesterday’s and today’s practice, Jon Beason was among the three injured players who took part, along with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Steve Weatherford. Coughlin said that it’s so far, so good with the middle linebacker, and “We’ll see tomorrow,” how Beason responds to his increased snaps. Rashad Jennings and Spencer Paysinger did not practice either day and will miss the game. Robert Ayers missed today’s practice with a sore neck. More news will be tweeted out as it becomes available.

Extra coverage has limited Salsa Time. Big plays will come for Cruz, assures Coughlin

Extra coverage has limited Salsa Time. Big plays will come for Cruz, assures Coughlin

Victor Cruz has been receiving additional attention from opponents as the team’s top receiving threat in 2014, but Coughlin won’t hear of it. He expects big plays from Cruz, and believes that if “He plays hard, runs good routes, and does everything we ask him to do,” the big plays will come.

Having Odell Beckham on the field will open things up for Cruz and the other players on the Giants offense. It’s also possible he will see some time as a punt and kickoff returner, although not on a full time basis. Coughlin prefers to have multiple players in those roles and then chooses among them depending on game factors, including field position, game situation, and time of the game.

Pointing out that he’s not seen Beckham as return a kick as a professional, Coughlin spoke of his outstanding speed, quickness, ability to stay upright, toughness, and ability to run through arm tackles as attributes that he displayed in college that made him an effective in that role.

On of the key ingredients in the Giants three game win streak has been the improved offensive line play, and center J.D. Walton’s protection calls have been a big part of that. Coughlin explained that Walton works with Eli Manning at the line to set the right protection, with Manning having the final override. Coming off an almost two year injury induced layoff, Walton has gotten back into the swing of things and is playing solid football. Continuity along the offensive line has also helped meld this group into a cohesive and effective unit.

Coughlin blanched when asked about Geoff Schwartz’s potential return in three weeks, saying, “Let’s let him get back first.” He did add that his recovery from a dislocated right big toe is coming along well, is on the schedule laid out in early September, and he is at a point where trainers are able to start “Doing things” with him.

The opening question to Perry Fewell asked if he heard reports that Philadelphia’s offense was struggling and speculated that “He’s not buying into it.” The question drew a hearty laugh from the Giants defensive coordinator and predictable compliments for the talent on their team.

Fewell was also asked about the five forty yard plus plays surrendered by the Giants, the same number they have up all of last season, and he provided a blueprint for stopping the bleeding. “Communication, continuity with who we are playing, making the play when it should be made, and sure tackling,” explained Fewell, will prevent those big plays. As the Eagles offense has several players capable of taking the ball a long distance in a flash, the Giants defensive players had best pay attention to that simple formula.

Rodgers-Cromartie is not hurt, according to Fewell. He’s got an injury, but just about every player is dealing with something at this point in the season. Rodgers-Cromartie is going to play through his injury and the Giants defense is going to “Play how they always play.” No adjustments will be made because of the cornerback’s situation.

Hankins sack earned him a hug, and almost a kiss.

Hankins sack earned him a hug, and almost a kiss.

On of the biggest plays in Sunday’s 30-20 victory over the Falcons was Jonathan Hankins sack on 4th and 1 late in the game. Asked about it, Fewell said, “When he made the play, I wanted to hug and kiss him, but I didn’t think that would be appropriate. I did hug him. I was proud of how he was able to convert, make that move he made, and sack the quarterback.” Seeing improvement every day, Fewell views Hankins as a complete football player capable of getting better. He continues to encourage Hankins to work every day to improve his skills.

Jason Pierre-Paul is best known for his highlight plays rushing the passer, but Fewell sees him as a complete player who does some of his best work against the run. Pierre-Paul rates out as one of the best defenders in the NFL at run stopping and given his work ethic and the Giants emphasis in stopping the run.

Fewell also feels more confident about Beason’s chances of playing. “He’s practiced well and has a lot more reps,” said Fewell. Beason’s return will bolster the Giants run defense and help keep the Eagles run game in check.

The Giants have a plan to slow down the Eagles potent screen pass game, but Fewell won’t share, fearing anything he said would give too much away. He did share that defensive linemen turning and pursuing are the key to stopping these plays. While other players are in coverage, the linemen have to watch for the screens. It’s about effort and pursuit for the linemen. “If they don’t do that, you’re dead,” offered Fewell.

Fewell was honest about his thoughts about the Eagles screen game, “It’s a big concern of ours because it’s an explosive play we’re trying to eliminate. I don’t know if you can stop it because [Darrin] Sproles is so good at it.” Having Devon Kennard back on the field and Jameel McClain at strong side linebacker will also give the Giants pass coverage against running backs a boost.

One of superfan @danablatchford's awesome Giants inspired beard designs.

One of superfan @danablatchford’s awesome Giants inspired beard designs.

Superfan Corner: I first encountered superfan @danablatchford, and his very memorable profile picture, when he challenged my Giants loyalty for playing fantasy football. It seems he picks all Giants when he plays, and can’t abide a Giants fan who selects NFC East opponent’s players. Once Dana learned I don’t pick players from the NFC East who aren’t wearing “NY” on their helmet, this fellow bearded American and I were good. Then he responded to Giants360’s call for superfan stories and his is quite the fascinating one.

Raised by his father to be a Giants fan in New England Patriots country, Dana withstood the abuse of being the lone Big Blue fan in every school he attended growing up. Older fans know that the Giants were the team in that part of the country before the Patriots existed, and many long time fans, including Dana’s father, stuck with the team, and he raised his son right.

As you can imagine, vindication came twice in recent years for the Blatchford men, and after the 2007 Super Bowl win over the heavily favored 18-0 Patriots, father and son drove around honking their horn in celebration. Calls from friends flooded in suspecting who was behind the automotive hi-jinx.

With next generation Giants fans Ryan, 8, and Brandon Jacob, 4

With next generation Giants fans Ryan, 8, and Brandon Jacob, 4

With a Giants tattoo (featured image) showing four Lombardi trophies, and room on his arm for numbers five and six, Dana is known as Mr. Beard’O and Big Blue Beard for the unique Giants themed designs he styles into his facial hair. Now blessed with two boys of his own, Ryan, 8, and Brandon Jacob, 4, Dana is raising them right, as Giants fans. He shared that his eldest son is starting see the merits of rooting for a team other than the hometown Patriots. The younger Blatchford’s could use a Lombardi of their own to mention to their friend at school, undoubtedly Patriots fans.

Show superfan @danablatchford, Mr. Beard’O, some love on Twitter. Not only is he a big time Giants fan, but he’s a fun dude to talk to as well. I included a couple more photos of his boys, showing their Giants spirit, at the end of today’s article. Many thanks to Dana for sharing his terrific story with us.

If you would like to be featured in Giants360 superfan corner, send your pictures and/or story @giants360 on Twitter. We love seeing your pictures hearing your stories and will share the best each week here on giants360.com. You must be following the Giants360 Twitter account to be eligible to be featured in Superfan Corner.

Tomorrow, we’ll have our weekly 360 picks and Sunday morning is the Keys to Victory. We will be live tweeting Sunday with while watching the Red Zone channel while waiting for the Giants/Eagles game at 8:30. Join us on Twitter for a day filled with football, fact, and a little sarcasm. It’s the biggest game day party on the world wide web.

Another Blatchford showing Giants spirit

Another Blatchford showing Giants spirit

Proudly wearing an Eli Manning Jersey

Proudly wearing an Eli Manning Jersey

Giants News, Notes, and Reflections: Oct 8, 2014

When the Giants pre-practice injury report was released this morning, the name that was most conspicuous was an absent one, Odell Beckham. For the first time this season, the rookie wide receiver did not appear and is available to practice fully as the team takes the field for the first time in preparation for their Sunday Night showdown with division co-leader Philadelphia Eagles. A Giants win, combined with a Dallas Cowboys loss at Quest Field in Seattle, will put the three teams in a tie for the NFC East.

Odell Beckham, full participant

Odell Beckham, full participant

When asked about Beckham’s absence from the report during his press conference this morning, Coughlin jokingly asked, “Why would he be on it?” before offering some insight into the Giants plan for bringing the rookie along. Beckham’s emergence from Sunday’s victory over the Falcons unscathed has given medical staff a comfort level to increase his practice an playing time. Coughlin said the team will “Be sure not to do something foolish with him, and bring him along while increasing his snaps.” As Beckham’s presence immediately improved the Giants already effective offense, this team will do nothing do damage their newest and potentially deadliest weapon.

Spencer Paysinger (hamstring) and Rashad Jennings (knee) will not practice today, while Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (hamstring, ankle), Jon Beason (toe), and Steve Weatherford (ankle) are limited.

Coughlin opened the press conference by discussing the Eagles success on special teams. He called their units “solid” and a big part of the reason they have had a chance to win all five of their games this season. Asked if the team will spend additional preparation time on this part of the game because of the Eagles successes with them, Coughlin said “No additional meeting time, but we will certainly talk about their successes.”

Also complimenting the Eagles defense, Coughlin is not fooled by the yardage and points given up early in the game, instead pointing to they critical stops the unit has made in the fourth quarter of games when they’ve been most needed. Citing film review of all their games, “From the first preseason game on,” Coughlin notes improved schemes and play and expects stout defense from Philadelphia on Sunday night.

Peyton Hillis

Peyton Hillis

Asked about Andre Williams role in the game, Coughlin responded that the Giants depend on the run and, “Williams is a downhill, North/South runner. He also complimented Peyton Hillis who started playing special teams this season and did well for the Giants in 2013 before injury sidelined him. Coughlin added that recent practice squad promoted Michael Cox “Could very well be” used in kickoff returns, but will be used in other areas as well.

Despite scoring 30 points or more in their last 3 games, Coughlin still calls the Giants offense “A work in progress” and wants to see improvement. Practicing against the Giants offense, especially their no huddle, has helped prepare the Giants defense for the Eagles offense. Coughlin pointed out that Philadelphia run “The rocket” – the quick wide receiver screen – better than any team.

Darren Sproles, a trade acquisition from the New Orleans Saints, added fire power to the Eagles offense as a runner and receiver, and provide additional value as punt returner. Devon Kennard’s apparent return this week – he’s not on today’s injury report – will be a boost to pass coverage against Sproles and LeSean McCoy. Picturing Mark Herzlich trying to cover either of the speedy backs is a recipe for nightmares.

Several questions were asked about the Giants 33-8 October record under Coughlin. He initially responded that he’s always wanted to be known as “Mr. October” because “Reggie Jackson is a good friend of mine.” When the laughter died down, he offered a more logical explanation, “You hope to get better every time you play. As October comes along, you’re starting to see that improvement.” The Giants have played Philadelphia twice in October, both in 2013, and they split the games, losing 36-21 on October 7 at Metlife Stadium and winning the Lincoln Financial Field Rematch 15-7 three weeks later.

Coughlin’s record against the Eagles is 9-11, but the home/road split is odd. The Giants are just 3-7 at home (2-4 at Giants Stadium, 1-3 at Metlife), but are 6-4 at Lincoln Financial Field. In Sunday Night games against the Eagles under Coughlin, the Giants are just 2-4 and have lost four in a row, two at home, two on the road.

Julian Talley and Chandler Fenner, waived on Monday to make room for Michael Cox and Jayron Hosley on the active roster, were resigned to the practice squad yesterday after clearing waivers.

Superfan Alyssia reminded Falcon fans at her school who won the game

Superfan Alyssia reminded Falcon fans at her school who won the game

Superfan Corner: Atlanta based Giants superfan @heyitsAlyssia wore her team colors to school on Monday for NFL day. Proudly displaying her Giants blue and winning smile, she proclaimed that “All the sorry Falcons fan had to suck it up.” I re-tweeted this pic to giants360 nation this morning, so if you haven’t already done so, go give this charming southern belle some love. Ya hear?

Superfan Corner, Part II: When Giants360 saw a tweet from New Jersey based superfan @az_keys stating, “I wish I could change my hair style/color every day,” we were intrigued. Being the investigative reporting type at heart, we dug further and discovered that Alicia, Ms. Az_keys herself, prefers standard hair coloring and not the “Nicki Minaj look,” we were disappointed, as we were prepared to suggest New York Giants blue as her next hair color of choice. However, her later tweet, “If you don’t understand my love for the New York Giants, you gon learn today,” has us on standby mode.

Are you one of the almost 6,500 following @giants360 on Twitter? Have an interesting story that you think is worth sharing with your fellow Giants fans? Direct message or send it, with a picture, to the giants360 twitter account and you might get included in the superfan corner. You must be a follower of @giants360 on Twitter to be considered

 

Giants News, Notes, and Reflections: Sept 16, 2014

Tuesday morning is when the dust settles from the previous NFL weekend. Team assess injuries, have reviewed their game film, and are finalizing the game plan for next week’s opponent. It’s also the day Giants360 will take a look at statistics from the just completed game and bring you a detailed analysis. We review the subscription statistics on profootballfocus.com (PFF) as well as some homegrown stat analysis to provide information not available anywhere else on the internet. And that’s a pretty big place.

Eli Manning rated out highly in the game despite his two interceptions. He was blitzed half the time, but pass protection was improved, as Manning was under pressure 12 out of 42 drop backs, or 28.5% of the time, a decrease of 3% from last week. Weston Richburg and J.D. Walton continued to struggle with pass protection, but Will Beatty, John Jerry, and Justin Pugh all improved and rated highly. Beatty was among the top tackles in the league for week 2 in pass protection.

Run blocking, on the other hand, was average, with no offensive lineman rating out of the statistical norm. The Giants were again stuffed twice, in 27 attempts, but one of the stuffs was on the goal line, which is a critical area where offensive line surge is most important. Expect the team to focus some attention on the run game in practice this week.

Hynoski 1

Need Lead Blocking? Call Hynoski

One way to improve the run game would be using Henry Hynoski more than the 12 (out of 73) snaps that he was on the field this week. As he has not been on any injury reports the first two weeks of the season, nor limited in practice, it’s reasonable to assume that his shoulder is a non-issue. His lead blocking would be a boost to the running backs. Larry Donnell played 59 snaps, and while an asset as a receiver, is not a skilled blocker, and hurts the rushing attack.

Rashad Jennings ran much better between the guards and center, 9 rushes for 44 yards, 4.88 yards per carry, than to the outside, 9 rushes for 20 yards, 2.22 yards per carry. The lack of an accomplished blocking tight end is one explanation for this discrepancy.

Victor Cruz received a negative rating for the game, and was credited with 2 drops. Andre Williams, noted for his challenged receiving skills, was credited with the only other drop. The Rueben Randle pass was defended by Antonio Cromartie and not considered a drop.

The focus of the new offense is best seen when looking at the PFF passing charts, showing that Eli Manning attempted only 6 passes of 20 yards or more, completing just one. Kevin Gilbride’s offense was more wide open and took more chances down the field. Part of the issue is the offensive line, which can’t hold blocks long enough for down field patterns to develop.

Improvement for the offense is most evident when looking at third down conversions. The Giants converted 6 of 12 third downs, up from a pitiful 2 of 14 against Detroit. They’ve also been good in the red zone, when they’ve reached it, scoring touchdowns on 4 of 5 attempts in 2 games, with the only exception being Jennings fourth quarter fumble.

Tom Coughlin noted the progress for the offense in the game, but is most concerned with the lack of it in the most critical area saying, “You’re not going to beat anybody with 14 points in the National Football League.” While he admits the statistics were better, he’s like to see the ball in the end zone more often. Coughlin specifically mentioned Jennings fumble, saying that “Points were lost on that drive, and it was a 12 play drive.”

On defense, Prince Amukamara rated poorly, even though only 2 passes were completed against him for 28 yards. The Cardinals seemed to stay away from throwing at him, only attempting 3 passes in his direction. Jameel McClain and Trumaine McBride also rated out poorly against the Cardinals.

Number 91, still getting sacks. Robert Ayers

Number 91, still getting sacks. Robert Ayers

Mathias Kiwanuka, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and Robert Ayers rated the highest on the Giants defense. Early in the game, the Cardinals were able to run wide several times for big gains towards Kiwanuka’s side of the field, but they defended the run better as the game went on. McClain especially struggled against the run, which is of concern as he will be next up to play middle linebacker for Jon Beason, if Beason is to miss significant time with his re-injured toe. Backup Mark Herzlich also rated out poorly, albeit in limited snaps.

In pass defense, along with Amukamara, Antrel Rolle rated out poorly in pass coverage. Coughlin noted several opportunities for interception in pass coverage, citing Stevie Brown and Rodgers-Cromartie specifically as having missed opportunities to make plays on the ball. He says that intercepting the ball is a matter of being in position and having your eyes in the right spot. Coughlin also thought that Cardinals quarterback Drew Stanton was telegraphing some of this passes with his eyes and the Giants didn’t take advantage. He thinks Brown is not quite back to his ball hawking form before his ACL injury last season, but is hopeful the free safety will get there.

One of the biggest losses in this game is nickel back Walter Thurmond, who is out for the year, needing surgery to repair a torn pectoral muscle. Coughlin said McBride was “First off the bench” on Sunday to replace Thurmond in the game, but can’t commit to him taking the role long term.

Jay Bromley played 9 snaps (out of 68) against Arizona, after being inactive against the Lions. Damonte Moore was on the field for 19 snaps, and registered a quarterback hurry. Overall, the Giants pass rush re-emerged following a poor showing on opening night, ringing up 5 sacks, 7 hits, and 4 hurries. Two sacks each were were recorded by Ayers and Jason Pierre-Paul. Jonathan Hankins had the other. Only two missed tackles were recorded by PFF.

The Giants are one of three teams without a take away in 2014. The Kansas City Chiefs and Pittsburgh Steelers are the others.

Zack Bowman missed a critical special teams tackle

Zack Bowman missed a critical special teams tackle

The most costly missed tackle of the day was the only other recoded for the Giants, and was by Zack Bowman on special teams. It, of course, allowed Ted Ginn to return a Steve Weatherford punt for a touchdown. Quintin Demps had a particularly bad afternoon, rating poorly on both kickoff returns and kick coverage. His fumble was part of the fourth quarter sequence of special teams breakdowns that turned the game in the Cardinals favor. All 6 of Demps kickoff returns began from his own end zone. Apparently, Demps is highly adverse to the concept of a touchback, even when the ball is 8 yards deep in the end zone. He averaged only 23.8 yards per return.

Preston Parker was less impressive as a punt returner, gaining 0 yards on two attempts and one fair catch. Coughlin supported both returners in his press conference, saying that they will do anything to help the team win. He specifically said tht Demps was very close to breaking off long returns on “Two or three” of his returns.

Weatherford, punting on four torn ligaments, averaged 44.3 yard gross, but only 20.3 net, courtesy of the Ginn return. Coughlin mentioned the missed opportunity to down the ball inside the five yard line on another punt as an area that needs improvement, which was also Bowman, during his press conference

In yesterday’s game summary, Giants360 pointed out the role inconsistent and poor officiating played in Sunday’s game. Coughlin also mentioned the penalties on the defensive backs and how damaging they are to efforts to prevent the opponent from scoring. The NFL fines coaches heavily for publicly criticizing officials, so Coughlin only said that the team will work to correct the issue.

Both teams were heavily penalized in the secondary. Of the 16 flags accepted in the game, 12 were on the two defenses, of which, 10 were coverage related, meaning pass interference, illegal contact, or defensive holding. To state that another way, the officiating crew granted ten first downs by penalty in the Cardinals/Giants game on Sunday. Six of the Cardinals 21 first downs were by penalty, that’s 28.5% or more than one quarter, while 4 of the Giants 24 results from flags, or 16.7%.

In reviewing the statistics for the game, it’s most apparent that turnovers cost the Giants this game. Looking at it another way, The Cardinals scored 19 offensive points while gaining 266 yards, or one point for ever 14 yards gained. The Giants scored gained 361 yards while putting 14 on the scoreboard. That’s 24.4 yards per point scored. Because of their miscues on offense and special teams, the Giants had to travel an extra 10 yards, or one more first down for each point they put on the scoreboard. While outplaying the Cardinals on offense and defense, the Giants couldn’t overcome their own mistakes.

Coughlin agrees, saying that the Giants, “Have to stop beating themselves before they can go out and beat others.” He also commended the fans for their support of the team on Sunday, and hopes to see the progress the team made and the direction the Giants are going. His message to Giants fans:

“If the fans understand our task and our goal is to toughen up, let’s go, come on. Stop beating ourselves. This is professional football. Make the plays necessary to win and do it on a consistent basis. And eliminate those bizarre events which take the heart right out of you. So I hope they will respond to the fact that I am counting on the competitors that sit in the audience when I speak to our team. I am counting on them to accept the challenge, to not feel sorry for ourselves, and to realize the work that has to be done in order for us to win. And I hope the fans will join us in that exact feeling.”

Rolle, being interviewed on a New York sports radio station, also challenged the fans to be loud on this coming Sunday’s “Must win” game. He said that despite the 0-2 record, the Giants are not down and will “Bring the pain” to the Texans. While there is still no word on the extent of Jon Beason’s injury, Rolle mentioned “Herzlich in the middle,” perhaps tipping part of the Giants plan to adapt to his defensive co-captain’s absence.

Defensive end Jordan Stanton was released from the practice squad and linebacker Dan Fox is expected to be promoted to the active roster to help fill in for injured linebackers Beason and Devon Kennard. The team will make room by placing Thurmond on injured reserve. Thurmond tweeted today that his surgery went well and he is comfortable.

Jernigan's injury may open the door for Washington

Jernigan’s injury may open the door for Washington

Jerrell Jernigan suffered a mid foot sprain in Sunday’s game, and early reports have him missing significant time. While it’s never good to lose a player who has been seeing a lot of snaps, and Jernigan played 57 this week, it should mean more playing time for preseason star Corey Washington. While raw, the best way to learn the NFL is to be on the field and Washington’s height will provide a missing ingredient to the Giants offense. Parker would also be in line for additional playing time.

At halftime of the Cardinals/Giants game, the Giants honored “legends” Frank Gifford, Lawrence Taylor, Pete Gogolak, Amani Toomer, and Tiki Barber? While no one can dispute Gifford and Taylor’s legendary status among Giants alumni, Gogolak, Toomer, and especially Barber are questionable choices for that consideration.

Despite consistent negative reactions from fans to his presence or even his highlights on the scoreboard, the team continues to bring Barber back to the stadium for various events. Giants fans have notorious long memories, and Barber’s public venomous attacks on former teammates and coaches after his disastrous attempt to transition to the media upon retirement in 2006 left a sour taste in many mouths that lingers today. A chorus of boos reigned down on Barber yet again.

Giants360 tweets during most national games in addition to live tweeting the Giants games. Are you following? You can share your thoughts with us and add interactive fun to your game viewing experience.

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