NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL:
Certain Hall of Famer, Michael Strahan, Paid the Giants' Defensive Line a Visit to Impart Some of His Knowledge. I Have Better Advice For Them From the Mouth of Another - "...Let's Go Out There Like a Bunch of Crazed Dogs and Have Some Fun!" - quote; LT.
Any time your team loses a game, and if spelled out the opponent's point total starts with the letter "F" ....and it's not Fourteen points we're talking about, it invariably means you're team is F'd - as in Frightful; Feeble; and Futile. Ultimately, we're talking about a Frustrating team on the heals of a Freakin' Fiasco and an overall Friggin' mess the Giants have created for themselves. Fugheddaboudit.
There's never a good time to have a bad game. But the Giants should have been so lucky. The Big Black and Blue Bleeding Crew are playing their most horrific football at the worst imaginable time. They've been getting progressively worse with every loss over their last three games. They went from competing against the Niners to getting embarrassed against the Eagles. Then....
....Then in something resembling the opening scene from James Bond's Live and Let Die, the Saints rolled a casket with a blue NY logo on it down Bourbon Street. French Quarter revelers at the Monday Night
Big Blue left New Orleans behind having been voodooed into shock, and leaving the Fans bone-shivering scared for their playoff lives. So how bad was it? - Even though this is the Age of Offense, it was as bad as any generation of Giants Fans had ever seen before. The Giants' Defense allowed the Saints to gain five hundred and seventy-seven yards in total offense en route to an utterly demoralizing forty-nine point undressing of a (depleted, and...) now completely exposed Giants Defense. Over two-hundred of New Orleans' yards came on the ground alone. The sad reality is Drew Brees and New Orleans could have easily broken fifty points.
Most people outside of Vegas believe this Sunday's game against Aaron Rogers and Green Bay is shaping up to be another complete disaster for the G-Men; which if they get embarrassed again, may start to mean the Gag-Men. Well..., that's the perception at least. And increasingly, it's rather well deserved. Because the Giants have given Fans and Media alike, every reason to question whether they were good enough to contend in the first place. Looking back, they have a win against the Patriots. But the Eagles' miserable loss to the Seahawks this past Thursday night reinforces once again the fact we lost to a vastly pathetic Eagles team in a very pathetic manner. And the Giants present situation as a result of that loss, (along with Seattle), brings everything into question regarding the Giants' success this season, or lack there of.
But, ....oh yea; the injuries. Rrriiiiight.
So..., Who Dat gonna help Coach Perry Fewell figure this one out in time for the undefeated Green Bay Packers? Because his side of the ball quite honestly looked completely amateurish against the Saints. I'm going to tell you right now, Peter Giunta and David Merritt are two of his problems. But first.....
Blitz... This is Giant Fan. Come in Blitz...! Over?
Uh..., has anyone seen the Giants' Blitz lately? What happened to that? Perry Fewell dialed-up some pretty nifty blitzes...once. But it seems like that was a long time ago - much earlier in the season to be exact. Several times, during better days before this current three game tail-spin, I expressed concern that the Giants' "over-reliance" on sacks would come back to haunt this team because of underlying issues with the Giants' thin Linebacking ranks. In at least four of the Giants six wins, in addition to Eli's heroics, the Giants let their opponent hang around until finally getting a late game saving sack. And well, - BOO! Over the last four weeks Perry Fewell has been relying on the front guys to take care of the pass rush on their own. As a result, we're getting killed on third downs. Problem is, Justin Tuck is a compromised player this season, and Osi is Useless-Some-More-a. He left last week's game and will miss this Sunday's game against the Packers.
Allow me to digress a moment, as I ask my fellow Giant Fans who expressed displeasure with GM Jerry Reese's hard-line stance against Osi during his off-season holdout - How do you like his handling of Kevin Boss; Steve Smith; and in this particular example; Osi; now? We know Osi is great on the field, but our problem has been keeping him healthy. Welcome to the riskier side of hold-outs and hard line bargaining.
However, Jerry Reese let Barry Coffield go. He is clearly a sorely missed player in the defensive middle. Chris Canty has been putting forth a respectable effort in Coffield's place, as has Linval Joseph. But they, along with the Linebackers are complicit in allowing back after running back to storm through the middle of the field on us.
Now consider the Giants' depth of talent with Mathias Kiwanuka and Jason Pierre Paul, who've been the Giants' constant and most consistent pass rushers this season. Depth and talent we have. However something just does not compute. Any harassment the Giants have issued opposing QB's has been nothing more than mere words for several weeks now, as the Giants haven't really laid their hands on many QB's at all lately. What ever Perry Fewell's reluctance has been lately to dial-up varying blitz packages has not gone unnoticed. And I suspect the health of Michael Boley has had much to do with that.
Long known to be the Soft-White Under Belly of the Giants' defense, the season-long absence of Jonathan Goff and recent scratch of Michael Boley at Linebacker is absolutely killing this team. The Giants' remaining healthy Linebackers are simply too young; too inexperienced; and for the moment completely over-matched. Primarily manned with rookies, they've been confused regarding pass coverage and getting their ankles busted on crossing patterns. Against the run, they haven't plugged the running gaps exceptionally well and they over-pursue plays there-by abandoning their areas of responsibility.
Last week's game film against the Saints can go a long way towards advancing all their careers because within those sixty minutes of so called football Monday, are all the mistakes a Linebacker can make, revisit, and learn from moving forward. It's another way of saying Drew Brees took them to school and gave them a hard taught lesson about life in the NFL. Next lesson; Aaron Rogers. Study hard boys.
Of all the Giants' defensive sub-units, I understand the Secondary has been victimized the most by the number of injuries they've sustained. But Corey Webster and Aaron Ross are veterans; not to mention healthy ones at that. And together, they have been woeful. There is no pass route disruption at the line in the form of jamming receivers. There is no contact what so ever within five yards. And they have a total misunderstanding as to how to go about zone-coverage, as they lay-out more cushion than an IKEA floor display.
I should actually be calling out the regular Safeties, and be a lot harsher about it too. You know who they are. But I'll go this way instead; - Prince finally had his NFL debut; and good for us. However Kenny Phillips is bordering on doing stupid things lately.
But collectively, the Secondary has joined forces to keep opposing drives in business by consistently missing tackles against the run, giving up huge plays via the air, and blowing big third down and long situations. To anyone watching, right up to the moment the ball is snapped, they are clearly and consistently unsure of their assignments as evidenced by swivelling heads and excessive exchanges at the line of scrimmage as to who is covering who. And I put much of that on the heads of Corners Coach Peter Giunta and Coach David Merritt. There is too much on-field miscommunication taking place. There are too many issues concerning technique, body positioning, schemes, smartness, and preparedness to go right for the jugular and indict the Secondary for a lack of talent.
In truth, Ross and Webster were never all-pros. And Terrell Thomas, Kenny Phillips, and Prince Amukamara were supposed to be up to snuff by now. Injuries at some point to the latter three have slowed that process down considerably. But this much of a precipitous fall-off in coverage effectiveness must be partly due to instruction rather than blanketing the Secondary with the easy and all-encapsulating......they suck. Because there is also every reason to point our fingers at Perry Fewell's; Peter Giunta's; and David Merritt's collective inability to stop the no-huddle/hurry up offense teams are now routinely employing against us. The coaching triumvirate has had absolutely no answer for that....have they?
Sure injuries have been a factor. But we do not suffer a lack of talent. And there-in lies the true root of all Giant Fan's frustrations. It's the lack of execution and a seeming willingness to get outplayed which have plagued us. That's on the players. Lawrence Taylor once exhorted - or - excoriated - his team to "...go out there like a bunch of crazed dogs and have some fun!" Instead the Giants appear to have put their tail between their legs and are having a miserable time of it. And not for nothing, Justin Tuck is the current poster child of Giants' melancholy. During the week, Coach Fewell tried the old "chastise my unit like naughty boys" routine. What he needs however is an epiphany. A little creative thought into the art of deception will go a long way Coach. In that respect, Coach Fewell has indeed slipped since earlier this season. And that's on him.
Last week was wholly on the Defense as well it should. The Offense did what is always does; put up twenty-four points. That's their season average and another story. Clearly, a better running game helps keeps Drew Brees off the field, and maybe New Orleans' final score doesn't start with that nasty old letter F. But going into that game against the Saints, defensively, both teams were relatively even statistically. That wasn't the case Monday night as the Giants were twice as bad.
The letter F also stands for Coach Fewell. And he better think of something Fast. Otherwise, the Giants season is on the verge of being Finished.
More on the Offense is coming; along with my Sunday Picks.