Monday, November 9, 2009

Charger 21, Giants 20


My oh my what a game it turned out to be in the Meadowlands on Sunday. A lot of Giants fans I'm sure had a feeling of anxiousness and enthusiasm to see how their beloved Big Blue would respond since getting trounced last Sunday in Philadelphia. The answer is simply that they did indeed lose another game to push their losing streak to four straight. The positive part of this loss, if there is any positive in losing is that the Giants seemed to play three and a half quarters of football. With that said, obviously three and a half quarters is not near enough to get a win in the National Football League and the Giants experienced that first hand Sunday.

Looking at the problems that the Giants have faced during this stretch, their offense seemed to produce solid numbers today. Eli Manning and company managed to out gain San Diego by a count of 304-266. Manning seemed solid in completing 25 of 33 passes for a total of 215 yards and two touchdowns. Notice there was no mention of an interception in that stat line. So what went wrong? First and foremost the Giants are still not letting the run become established. The ability to pound the football has ever so magically vacated this team's repertoire and it is a major concern. Brandon Jacobs finished the game with 11 carries and 67 yards. That is a 6.1 yard per carry ratio and the guy only touches the rock 11 times? Not very logical on the offensive coordinators part. Jacob's running mate, Ahmad Bradshaw got the ball handed his way 14 times and managed 39 yards. Now simply put, the player with the most running yards and seems to be more effective runs less. That in a sense is hurting the New York Giants.

With the ability to stick to the run and establish it early, opens passing lanes for Manning and his receivers to work more freely. Instead, there were countless times today when the offense is still launching passes down field and not connecting on first and ten. Then, on a second and ten they are predicted to run the ball and prove so more than half of the time. This can force some bad third down situations for the offense and kind of give the make or break type of feel in the offensive flow. That break in the offensive flow came inside the four yard line after a Terrell Thomas interception and return. The Giants were in business in the red zone with four opportunities and yet again, failed. Run, pass or what have you, a winning team needs to find ways to get seven instead of three in that situation.

On the defensive side of the ball, the Giants played solid and held LaDanian Tomlinson to just 22 yards. That is stellar! They forced Phillip Rivers into two interceptions, so there are your turnovers. The only known fact and ailing complication the Giants face is the ability to create that ever so important pass rush. Again, Rivers was hit late if at all and was sacked just twice. After playing well as a collective unit for three and a half quarters, the moment of truth suddenly became the moment to forget. Rivers was able to move the ball 80 yards on the Chargers' final drive of the game and throw the game winning touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson.

But wait, the Giants were supposed to win. According to the players and personnel they had a great week of practice and preparation. The mood in the locker room was upbeat and enthusiastic to be playing at home with a chance of ending this so called, "misery." That was the supposed action plan. The reality of it all is that the Giants sit at 5-4 heading into their buy week with the likes of Dallas now 6-2 after their win tonight against the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles are 5-3 and the Giants are in third place looking up. Big Blue faces a very tough road the rest of the way, starting with hosting the Atlanta Falcons two weeks from now. The true test of this 2007 champion will be turning around this dismal streak they have inevitably put together.

Photos Courtesy of: Giants.com

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Leaders Fed Up!

According to giants.com writer, Michael Eisen, the leaders of this team in particular Antonio Pierce stepped up and criticized their efforts for the last three weeks. Pierce went on to state, "We are turning into the laughingstocks as far as how we are playing defense." Pretty powerful words from the coach of the defensive unit. I mean giving up 112 points in three games certainly provides an uncharacteristic view of what Giants defense has been the past two to three seasons. The good news is that both defensive end Chris Canty and line backer Michael Boley practiced in full today and look to make their return. Boley played particularly well against Tampa in the Giants' 24-0 shut out. Canty was seen as a great addition from the Cowboys in the off season.

With injuries really hampering these player's season's the Giants would most likely be in a situation to consider them their life line. Both players were positive about their workouts today showing enthusiasm that their health is in good condition and in good spirits. Another solid day of practice/film sessions should motivate Big Blue and their returning players for their bout against San Diego.

Chargers vs. Giants Game Preview


After three straight weeks of lackadaisical effort and three losses, the Giants gear up this week to take on the some what inconsistent San Diego Chargers this Sunday at the Meadowlands. The last time New York took the field at home, Kurt Warner and the Cardinals were able to come in and post a 27-17 victory. Last week, Big Blue got their rear ends beat in every facet of the game on the road in Philadelphia. Can the Giants stop the bleeding this week against this west coast opponent that boasts two talented running backs?

First thing is first. The Giants need to start maximizing their efforts up front on the defensive line. Their lack of pass rush and pressure on the opposing quarterback is really exposing the young secondary of this team. Everyone in the world can watch the games and blame the secondary solely for the lack of coverage and being in the wrong spots. If you do that, then you are wrong. The secondary starts up front with the amount of confusion and pressure the defensive line causes. Quarterbacks will be out of rhythm and then begin to rush throws or attempt to make plays with their feet. With this in mind, the secondary gets that extra second or two to make that important adjustment to the ball and make a play. The Giants are playing with a secondary that is somewhat depleted. Aaron Ross has yet to see action this year in his corner back position due to a hamstring injury. In the second game of the season, stud safety Kenny Phillips went down with a knee injury that will have him sidelined for the year. The verdict; C.C. Brown, an average at best four year veteran and rookie Bruce Johnson trying to fill the void. Brown has been caught more than once out of place and that problem needs to be addressed immediately.

Up front, Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck have been just a tad bit above average this season with an inconsistent pass rush being produced. For this team to win and stop the bleeding of this three game losing streak, they need to be great. In the middle, Barry Cofield and Fred Robbins will need to plug the gaps on running plays and funnel the line towards the ball. The exciting thing about this week is that former Cowboy Chris Canty and linebacker Michael Boley will be back in the line up. Boley will help even out the line backer core with Antonio Pierce to provide better speed in coverage situations. Canty should be able to put himself in position to make plays when called upon, as well as keep Tuck and Umenyiora healthy. The defenses job this week: pressure Phillip Rivers into bad situations and force a turnover or two. Stop the run often and early and do not allow either back, Tomlinson or Sproles to get into a rhythm.

Offensively, the Giants have been abysmal in this three game losing streak. Eli Manning has not been playing like the contact player he is deemed to be. Forcing throws and being a bit indecisive at times has been the theory these past three weeks. Manning and the offense need to start establishing the run and pounding the football. Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw need to get back to their punishing ways and run with authority. Shawn Merriman possesses good talent on the defensive side for the Chargers and the line and backs need to be aware of when he is blitzing in pass situations. Antonio Cromartie is a very talented defensive back, who's cousin intercepted a pass against the Giants when they hosted the Cardinals. So expect some ball hawking to be done on his part this weekend. Another key aspect to watch is the history behind these two quarterbacks taking the field. Manning was originally selected number one overall in the draft by San Diego, but did not feel that was where his heart was. Hence the move into the Big Blue picture and has led the Giants to a Superbowl in his six year career. Rivers was swapped for Manning after being picked fourth by Big Blue. There may be some tension and heat provided on the field between these two quarterbacks as both may have something to prove.

The Final Verdict: Defensively, play with tenacity and bring back that swagger that Giants football is all about. On the offensive side, establish an identity early with the run and let the pass open itself up after proving they can move the ball fluently down the field. This week is a huge game for the Giants as they head into their bye week in week 10. If they win, they can then possibly have a confidence build and finish the season strong. Losing four in a row may be tough to bounce back from morale wise. It all goes down at 4:15 this Sunday from the swamps of the Meadowlands.