I made mention how hurtful Week 9's blow-out victory over the Seahawks was to the Giants. It's time to read the bed charts.
Shaun O'Hara has been hobbled pretty much all season; ankles, feet, toes, nails...name it. David Diehl will be out for several weeks with a partially torn hamstring. He made a radio appearance this afternoon where he said his mind was on playing this weekend. Don't count on it. It's highly doubtful he plays. Kid Adam Koets is out for the season. The Kid who's been filling in quite admirably for Center Shaun O'Hara is done with a busted knee. That's tough! Kareem McKenzie has been banged up also.
The entire left side of the Offensive Line from the center, guard to tackle is decimated. Today, Jerry Reese's signing of Shawn Andrews during the off-season looks nothing short of brilliant. He will be sorely needed this week.
The Giants' Offensive Line IS our season. You can take that to the bank. If you've been reading my postings about Big Blue, you know I've been preoccupied about two things; the Offensive Line and Brandon Jacobs (aside from Coach Gilbride).
In the year of our most recent Super Bowl victory, our Offensive Line was healthy all year long. That's the key and there-in lies the rub. Last year was short circuited by injuries. After starting out 5-0, week by week, injury after injury, the season went south.
When Jerry Reese was hired as General Manager, taking over for a retiring Ernie Accorsi, one of his first moves was releasing Offensive Lineman Luke Pettigout. He was a penalty flag waiting to happen. From that moment forward, this Giants Offensive Line, when healthy, has been among the most dominating units in the NFL. When Chris Snee, David Diehl, Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert and Kareem McKenzie are healthy and in the line-up together, they dominate the line of scrimmage like very few others, if any, in the League. This Offensive Line has been and still is a a great line. Health is what hampers the unit now. Injury compromises their greatness. The fortunes of the Giants' season start and end here.
Eli's blind side is in peril. This means Coach Gilbride will have to bring the two tight end sets to the left side. And perhaps Kevin Boss has caught his last pass for the next couple of weeks.
Oh yea, Coach Gilbride; I'm forced out of necessity to put my personal gripe with Coach Gilbride aside for the time being. If there's anyone who's going to coach his way out of this predicament, it's him. I mean that.
I admitted before, and I'll do it again here; I think he's among the best Offensive Coordinators in Football today, and we are damn lucky to have him. I'd even venture to say he's the best we've had since Ron Earhart, if not better.
Now Coach has got to do what Coach has got to do to alleviate the burden on our crippled O-Line. Screen passes, draw plays, moving the pocket, pulling guards, throwing to the backfield, three step drops...all those little and basic things that disrupt defensive aggression at the line.
I don't think we should be taking too many chances having Eli throwing 40 passes Sunday with a suspect left side. To say Dallas is struggling is an incredible understatement. But more specifically their defense has been atrocious. Sure they fired their Head Coach Wade Phillips and may get a little motivation from promoted coach Jason Garrett Sunday. But maybe it's still best if we gave them an intensive dose of Brandon Jacobs? I still don't trust Dallas and I'd like to beat them in an old school way. Make them stop the run. Simple run blocking schemes and power running may just be what the Doctor ordered. Don't mock at the simplicity of the thought. Just line up and put it in your mind to blow them off the line of scrimmage. New Coach or not, the Cowboys are a deflated team with little spirit left.
I think Sunday's game plan calls for something other than our customary 7 step drop and locating our receiving corps. And I have every confidence in the world Coach Gilbride can game plan accordingly with regard to our O-Line situation.
Was my preoccupations with the O-Line and Brandon Jacobs considered obsessive and petty now? There's two philosophies at work here and I'm just trying to find the common ground. There's a difference between what Coach Gilbride wants to, and likes to do (because he's an ego-maniac)...and then there's the things we absolutely have to do in trying times.
Ahmad Bradshaw is ignoring all kinds of ailments to his body. There is still another 8 games in the season. Bradshaw is only 5'10" (?) and only slightly heavier than...say, Dave Meggett was. THAT'S why it's been important for us to ensure Brandon Jacobs was getting enough carries, and keep building up his effectiveness. He's been a model citizen since HelmetGate and deserved the touches. There were plenty of play-calls available for Jacobs, were not for Coach Gilbride's penchant to throw the ball to all the cardinal points of direction when he's up in games 35-0. He treats the running game like a red-headed step-child at times.
This week is in Coach G's hands. He's free to Coach Sunday as he sees fit without any criticisms from me on the other side. I always root scared; another thing I admitted once before. But this week I'm riding Coach's back to Daylight. Right now, he knows best. But I'll be back on him like a puppy sniffing for Snausages in a few weeks hopefully coinciding with returning health to some our Offensive Line.