Sunday, November 13, 2011

N.Y. Giants ~ Game Nine; California Dreamin'

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL:  Big Blue Seeking a San Francisco Treat.

Man up Boys!  No really, I mean it; Man up.  Play the 49ers man-to-man on Defense.  I think that's the best way to go about today's game.  It's week ten of the NFL schedule and at this point of the season, many kinks should have been worked out of our game, and trust factors amongst team mates should have climbed dramatically by now from just a couple of weeks ago.  And by that I'm specifically speaking about the lapses of communication between the Giants' Corners and Safeties.  I'm trusting they can keep man-coverage and that a Safety can creep in to help against the run.  Because that is what this game is all about; - Stopping the run.

I think the Giants should dare Alex Smith to throw the ball deep.  Corey Webster and Aaron Ross are not rookies.  And so we need to trust them by themselves today.  We've done it before and they've come through before.  They've played in very meaningful games together for years.  They just completed one last week against Tom Brady and the Patriots.  And so here comes another.  They need to keep San Francisco's patience with their short passing game under duress with great tackling today.  No yards after catch!  So if I'm Perry Fewell, I'm almost inviting Alex Smith to go over the top on us because they do not do that well.  If we manage that, the front four; the pass rush; can continue doing what they've been doing, which is getting to the QB without the Giants having to blitz often.

We need high level individual efforts from the Secondary and the Pass Rush today because I think the Giant fortunes against the Niners rest largely on our Linebackers and their ability to stop Frank Gore and Alex Smith's short passing game.  And only a combined effort is going to make the linebackers look good and get them, and us, through the game.

Michael Boley is coming off one of his two strongest games of the season.  He and our young group of linebackers he's been charged to mentor have been making incremental progress this season.  But this week I'm looking for substantial progress from this unit.  Like I said, it's week ten.  We should be entering prime form as players what ever their talent level.  And as far as schemes, if I'm Coach Fewell, I'd utilize Mathias Kiwanuka in a more traditional linebacker's role this afternoon instead of an all out pass rusher.  Even let Kiwanuka play gonzo today.  Let him be a source of mass confusion.

Opposing rushers have routinely ran for 100+ yard games against the Giants.  But many of those runner's stats were padded by one or two big gains.  Aside from the big (...hurtful) play, the Giants have managed to clamp down on the run through in-game adjustments.  But there's no doubt, today we need to sell out against San Francisco's running game.  Know your assignments, contain and seal the corners, and make sure tackles by wrapping both arms around your man!  Frank Gore does not go down from a stiff shoulder alone (...note to Safeties).

Boley, Kiwanuka, and Jones - Canty and Joseph - Phillips and Rolle, all will have to make sure, solo tackles in order to keep the 49er's offense quiet.  If they do that, Webster and Ross - Osi, Tuck, and Tollefson, should be able to take care of the rest.

I'm not exactly impressed with the teams San Francisco has beaten en route to their 7-1 record.
The same can be said of the Giants I guess as both teams enjoyed a victory over Philadelphia this season.  But if we follow last week's offensive game plan, the Giants should be fine.  Brandon Jacobs merely needs to keep the 49ers honest.  Coach Gilbride needs to show San Francisco he's committed to the run...even if he's not.  Disguise it!  Truth is, I think Gilbride and Eli should throw the ball up today about forty times or so.  But if he doesn't keep the Niners honest with Jacobs and Ware, the passing game will falter.  Coach Gilbride stayed patient last week and it opened up everything we needed to pull out a win.  My hope is he stays true to the run now.  Ahmad Bradshaw will miss another game.  But again, all we need is what Jacobs and Ware gave us last week.

We have to run the ball early and often in order to sell it, even if it sputters at first.  Then have Jacobs catch a few out of the back field.  Do that and we'll be able to play-action San Francisco to death.  Then in the second half, we actually give them a real heavy dose of Brandon Jacobs and kill em with late passes to Ballard again.  I don't say that because of what Ballard did last week.  I say that because when used correctly, tight-ends are killer in Football!  You know that.  But with the capable receivers we have, you use the TE sparingly then unleash them late in games.  But that's just me.

If I'm suffering false confidence, so be it.  Call it California Dreamin'.  But I think this game is quite winnable.  This is not the January 1991 NFC Championship Game; which by the way is still one of the hardest hitting games I ever watched.  No, this is not that game and these are not those teams.  But it doesn't mean we can't hit them just as hard as we did that January twenty years ago in Candlestick Park.  And it doesn't mean we still can't come out of San Francisco with a close, hotly contested victory.

This is the time of year, when contending teams start to realize who they are and really start to get the crisp cool smell of a playoff contender wafting up their nostrils.  This is when winners start to believe in themselves and kick things up a notch.  Week ten is either a spring board of confidence or the beginning of a fall into an empty pool.  I think the Giants are one of the good teams.  Of course we'll be in California where Autumn is something NoCal'ers refer to as harvest time.  But we are the Giants, and it's time to put a chill into the sunshine filled California air and ruffle their leaves a bit.

Let's Go Giants!


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