NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL:
It Wasn't The Running Game or the Offensive-Line This Time. It Wasn't the Line Backers or an MIA Pass-Rush. It Wasn't Osi or All the Injuries. There's Been One Constant Since Game One. The Veteran Corners and Safeties of This Team Have Been Consistently Bad All Season.
Of course there are many ways to describe us...the Fans; What we do; and Why we do it. But for today's purposes, there's two kinds of Fans out there: A) - the Fan who is happy his/her team competed in a game such as Sunday's, and B) - the Fan who is frustrated feeling their team could have done better after coming really close. I'm not one for extremes. But I lean closer to the latter regarding Sunday's game against the Packers. Maybe it's just me. But I'm not feeling the moral victory in the Giants' loss to Green Bay. And it's probably every reason why I've been in a foul mood all day.
Yes, we hung tough against the undeafeated Packers. However, the only thing that matters in the way of making the playoffs is winning games. We have not done that lately. We did not do that Sunday. Period.
I'm going to be careful with this. So be patient.
I'm NOT going to kill Coach Fewell for his plan to get after Aaron Rogers with only three pass rushers even though I didn't agree with it at the time. It actually had an effect. But, I would have been a lot more aggressive against Rogers. He's not a three step drop passer. He likes to get back in the pocket and fling it. So I thought we should have gone after him more conventionally. In Coach Fewell's defense though, he did mix it up. The pass rush was indeed inching closer to Rogers and when Coach called for a four man rush and "Blitz-Lite" as the game played on, we got key sacks at big times. It must also be said, not having Osi available for the game is enough to alter any one's best laid plans.
Down field at least, Perry Fewell's plan to rush three at Aaron Rogers worked to an extent. Early on, Aaron Rogers had no one to throw to. I get the strategy. And Jason Pierre Paul was providing a lot of harassment on his own. However, JPP aside, up front, the coverage-sacks never materialized like I think Coach Fewell was banking on although the plan with extra men in coverage did land us a huge interception. I thought the Packers would eventually adjust to Coach Fewell's three man rush and start killing us underneath. But Aaron Rogers instead took matters into his own hands and rushed four times for thirty-two killer yards and key third down conversions. Additionally, because the three man rush never really got to him, Aaron Rogers literally stood in the pocket as long as he wished or just rolled-out. The most famous implementation of the three man rush was devised by Bill Belichick in Super Bowl XXV - so it wouldn't necessarily be fair to kill Coach Fewell for taking a page out of history. But as it pertains to Sunday's game, coverage guys can only maintain for so long before receivers shake free.
Coverage is the root of my frustrations regarding Sunday. Nothing more; nothing less. Perry Fewell at least demonstrated he did his proper game prep. You can't kill him for the Giants' loss. He's not the one who was in coverage and got burnt on the field like toast. Additionally, he has a Cornerback Coach (Peter Giunta) and a Safety Coach (David Merritt) that I have been complaining about since Week Four! In the Age of Offense where high scoring and down field football are order of the day, Perry Fewell devised a plan "good enough" to beat the Packers. And lest we forget, seven of Green Bay's points came on a pick-six. We still had problems with getting stops on third down. Absolutley. But say what you will - you're entitled; - this year's unravelling season is following the exact script as last season's show stopper. Blame miscommunication, confusion; lack of proper body positioning; and overall woefully ineffective coverage by this team's two starting Corners and two veteran Safeties in particular; whom for some reason I still refrain from calling out by name! But you know who you jokers are!
Just before halftime, the fact Donald Driver was all alone in the corner of the end-zone with nary a Blue jersey (Antrel Rolle) within ten yards of him making the score 21-17 was ghastly; and inexplicably indefensible. There's your evidence of lack of communication, confusion, and not knowing your assignment. Allowing the Packers to get within field goal range on two plays against our Corners to end the game was just pathetic. There's your evidence for flawed technique; bad body positioning; poor body control; and clumsy foot work. And no..., Will Blackmon isn't nearly the only guilty party. OK...so I dropped some names. But this goes for Corey Webster, Aaron Ross, and Deon Grant as well.
Everything that transpired fell within the context of a really good game; high scoring, penalties, interceptions, fumbles and all. The Offense gave the Giants that little bit extra the team needed to beat the Packers. They scored eleven points over their season average of twenty-four per game. The Offensive Line opened up gaping holes for Brandon Jacobs. And Ahmad Bradshaw shake-and-baked Green Bay in his own way. More importantly, Gilbride stuck with them and was rewarded with 100 yards on twenty carries by the backfield. Eli had enough protection to practically go toe-to-toe with Aaron Rogers in attempts, completions, yardage, and touchdowns. Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks especially, made insane catches. Defensively, we got important sacks in big moments. The Linebackers led again by Michael Boley played as well as we needed them to. And in the kicking game, Steve Weatherford even pinned Green Bay within their ten yard line twice while having another overall good game punting the ball and keeping Green Bay drives started in their own end.
In what played out like a great heavyweight bout, we did all those things we needed to do against Green Bay; ...All except one. For all our faults and things we complain the Giants can't do, like run the ball....or stop the run - Blah blah - Look at the team's Conerbacks and veteran Safeties. For a second straight season, start pointing fingers there. Not at someone like your Head Coach.