Coach Kevin Gilbride called thirty run plays and thirty pass plays against the Lions last week. No matter what I say, that's balance. It's hard to knock him for that. But I'll take my shots.
In my WEEK 6 Preview I pretty much nailed the number of plays at 60. But what I had in mind, because I thought last week would be an optimum week to commit hard to the run game to the tune of 40 rushes, was Eli being limited to 20 to 25 pass attempts. I wanted to see Brandon Jacobs' rushing attempts receive a substantial uptick. I was thinking along the lines of 20 carries for Jacobs; 20 carries for Bradshaw and limiting Eli to the same (number) 20 passes (give or take).
Don't get me wrong. I have always been Eli's staunchest supporter since he was a rookie... The wide receiving corps are really coming into their own. Hakeem Nicks and Eli are becoming all the rage. Manningham, Steve Smith and the rest have Plaxico Burress safely in our rear view mirror. My issues are with Gilbride and his Pass Happy Philosophy. He throws too much. That's my problem with him.
It's just me. I can not come to grips that the Giants, with Eli and Coach Gilbride, are a passing team now. I'm 43 years old and that's just not what I was brought up on, nor what I'm accustomed to. You think I would gotten over it by now considering Eli and Gilbride have been here a while. Uh..., no. I believe in the old Vince Lombardi and Bill Parcell's mantras:
"Run To Daylight" and "Run With Power".
Ahmad Bradshaw got his usual allotment of carries and broke 100 yards for the second consecutive week. There appears to be zero to no lingering affects from his off-season surgery to both lower appendages. On the contrary, he's breaking the ankles of defenses with his cuts, and elusiveness.
Brandon Jacobs, still a bit mystifying to us Giants fans, is progressing well. He's been a force, pounding the ball into the end-zone when the Giants are down low. This week he was good for two more short yardage touchdowns. As the Offensive Line gets healthier, so will Jacobs' effectiveness.
But Coach Gilbride, I beg of you, increase his rushes and let him establish a groove. Please, for one game, make him your feature back and see if he can still wear-out a defense. We don't see effects of a Brandon Jacobs' type attack till well into the third quarter; and not till the fourth quarters do defenses start to get pushed back off the line of scrimmage; a result of just getting beat down by the O-Line and Brandon. But you have to commit a game plan to that end. That is something the Giants coaching staff seems unwilling to do. But that's just me being idealistic. The ground game has been effective over the weeks and getting better; Jacobs and Gilbride's usage of him included.
The Offensive Line is getting a little healthier and better every week. Center Shaun O'Hara seems like he's back. Adam Koets has done an admirable job in Shaun's place if you ask me. Shaun O'Hara's return has to be a relief for David Deihl also. Kareem McKenzie was a much more calm, cool and collected player this week inducing a personal foul. His own personal fouls from a few weeks ago were a definite aberration. Chris Snee and Rich Seubert have been solid. When the veteran unit is finally re-assembled and fully healthy, I'm expecting to see a vastly different Offense.; one with much more consistency.
Last week against the Lions, the offense's inability to get first downs down the stretch (my water mark has been from the 8 minute mark of the 3rd quarter on..) kept Detroit alive. We could not convert on third down. Period. At one point it took the Giants seven plays to punch the ball into the end-zone from inside the 7 yard line. What saved the Giants' hides last week was the Lions propensity to get called for penalties. The Lions committed 11 penalties for a little under 100 yards. That more than anything kept the ball moving for the Giants down the stretch; not so much Big Blue's execution.
And if Detroit didn't have to spend all their time-outs trying to get a stop and the ball back...., the Giants were facing even more trouble.
Time (and Detroit's lack of discipline) as much as anything, get an assist in the Giants victory over the Lions.
(next game ~ at Dallas)