Tuesday, September 15, 2015

N.Y. Giants: A Rushing Mentality Must Flow Through Your Veins

From the desk of:  DO IT FOR THE DUKE

Skip the game film, reopen the history books,
go directly to the chapter titled: 
Run With Power!

New York Giants  26
Dallas Cowboys    27

NEW YORK GIANTS: Ben McAdoo, Tom Coughlin, and Eli Manning, were in perfect sync.  They couldn't have been more wrong, but make no mistake, they were all operating on the same page.

Entering Sunday night's opener, I did not think the Giants could rush for 100 yards against the Dallas Cowboys front seven.

They damn near pulled it off though:

  • Rashad Jennings - 13 rushes for 52 yards.
  • Shane Vereen - 3 rushes for 14 yards.
  • Andre Williams - 6 rushes for 14 yards.
  • Dwayne Harris - 1 rush for 11 yards.

Combined, they rushed 23 times for 91 yards, for an average 3.9 yards per carry.

These days, that's a solid effort against anybody much less the Cowboys - not ideal, but solid nonetheless.  

Or, maybe it's me.  Maybe I'm simply getting older and fixed in my ways.  Maybe I was overly spoiled (indoctrinated) by Bill Parcells and Smash Mouth football.


But, Bill Parcells always told his men to Run With Power!  

Sunday night, the Giants were seemingly doing just that.  Leading 23-20 with 5:08 left in the game, the Giants were zeroing in for the kill.  They marched 79 yards on 12 plays.

Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo called on Rashad Jennings 7 times during the drive, and specifically targeted the Cowboys' middle 5 times.  In return Jennings produced 38-net yards.

  • middle > 3 yds.
  • middle > 27 yds.
  • middle > 7 yds.
  • middle > 2 yds.
  • left < minus 4 yds.
  • middle > 2 yds.
  • left > 1 yd.

Rashad Jennings and the Giants arrived at 3rd down on the Cowboys 1-yard line with 1:43 still left on the clock, which brings us to that fateful 13th play of the drive.

Offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo inexplicably called for a pass in that situation.

At that very instant I'm sure everyone thought, WTF!  I mean, what learned football man functioning in his right mind would call for a pass in that situation?  Football-101 clearly dictates you pound it in from the one.
"This is why you lift all those weights!" - Bill Parcells

Rushing doesn't just happen.  It needs to be established.  It requires commitment, choreography, and flow.  Running the ball early also paves the way towards bigger gains later.

Smash Mouth Football was designed to wear opponents down, and grind them into a fine powder.

Running the ball is about control, controlling possession, controlling the clock, and ultimately controlling the game.  When you control that stuff, you control your opponent's ability to field their offense against you.

That Is Why You Run!

Run early, run late, and intensify the run when you have the lead.

Eli said he was guilty of bad thought management.  Okay, I agree.

But, as a veteran quarterback and 2-time Super Bowl MVP, Eli should have known exactly what his exit strategy was.  A potential breakdown should have already played out in his mind.  He needed to instinctively run the ball himself, take a sack, or just take a knee.  At the very least, he should have glared at the sideline and given Coach McAdoo the screw face for calling such a play.

But, he didn't.

Coach Coughlin said that was the wrong call, and that they should have run the ball in that situation.   Once again, I agree, but I think he was merely doctoring the room.

Hell, I say he was in on the fix.  Coughlin heard McAdoo make the call.  He's not listening to Bobby Darin on those headsets.  Tom Coughlin could have squashed the play right then and there.

But, he didn't.

It's not my intention to criticize Tom Coughlin.  After all, the man is a 2-time Super Bowl champion - just like Bill Parcells.  Same goes for Eli.  He and Coach Coughlin merely did things their way.

With regards to Sunday, though, Phil Simms would not have compromised that situation by stopping the clock with an incomplete pass.  Coach Parcells wouldn't have allowed it.  He detested players whom did not understand situational football.

And as for Tom Coughlin, he should have known better.  He remembers Smash Mouth.  He was part of Bill Parcells' staff.

And there's the rub.

Coughlin served as Giants wide receivers coach under Parcells from 1988 through the 1990 Super Bowl season.  He previously served in the same capacity for Philadelphia and Green Bay.  At the collegiate level, he was QB coach at Boston College, and served as QB coach/offensive coordinator at Syracuse.

In other words, Tom Coughlin is an offensive Wile E. Coyote.  He's a chucker.  Bill Parcells was defense first, and conservative offense second.  He wanted Phil Simms to manage his system, nothing more.

Tom Coughlin and Mark Brunell, however, were registered with air traffic control in Jacksonville.   Through the years, Coughlin and Eli have behaved the same way.  Eli, by the way, was the same way at Ole Miss.

Just saying...

Former offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride paid a stiff price so as to allow Wile E. Coughlin to keep his job.  We (I) gave Kevin (Kill Drive) a lot of crap over the years.  But make no mistake, that was Coughlin's guy.  Together, they routinely led the NFL in most yards attempted per pass play.

This is not an echo - Coughlin and Gilbride routinely led the NFL in most yards attempted per pass play.  That means Ben McAdoo's play selection entered Tom Coughlin's left ear speaker and exited his right ear speaker approved for Eli's immediate execution.

That play was over 25 years in the making!

Running the ball is just not in Coughlin's blood the way it flowed through Parcells.

Don't give me that crap that time has changed this into a passing man's game.  That's what they said about the AFL 50 years ago.  Yet, the era was dominated by Vince Lombardi's supreme Run to Daylight.

Football, particularly rushing, is a simple matter of being stronger, smarter, and better.

Those that want to run the ball, do.

Happy Anniversary SB XXV.

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