the new york football giants
27 September 2006 ¬
" Atrocity By and Beyond The Numbers "
First, the cold, hard facts: the Giants are 27th in average overall yards allowed, 30th in average passing yards allowed, 30th in first downs allowed, and 31st in both points allowed and third down conversions allowed. Granted, we are only three weeks into the season, but as I've stated before, those sort of numbers are inexcusable for such a talented defensive roster. Tim Lewis was allowed to speak with the media this week, and expressed his frustration over how the unit has played so far. Lewis blamed both himself and the defense as a whole, saying that he was "trying to do something that they aren't doing well," but ultimately, "..from a responsibility standpoint, it's my defense.. if there are people running free.. it's my responsibility to get it corrected."

Here are five things that need to be corrected, defensively, if New York is going to rebound from their 1-2 start:

5) Find a role for LaVar Arrington.
Mr. Nickles was New York's biggest free agent signing this offseason, but he's been a ghost so far. He's been dropping back into coverage often but lacks the quickness (particularly with his ailing knees) to really be effective at breaking up plays in that regard. Time to start sending him on the blitz more often. It's true that Giants have played against three very good offensive lines, but the four man rush has been impotent. I might be more worried about gaping underneath routes if I thought that they could possibly get any bigger -- but they can't. Which leads to..

4) Cycle in Matthias Kiwanuka more often.
While Strahan and Umenyiora have been solid against the run, they've been totally ineffective at pressuring the quarterback. Kiwanuka has been tenacious in his few opportunities, and was a beast during the preseason. There's no reason why you couldn't give all three of those guys ample time on the field, similar to the way Philadelphia cycles their entire defensive line. Collapsing the pocket a little faster, particularly with how well Fred Robbins has been playing at tackle, would do wonders for this secondary. And speaking of which..

3) Start R.W. McQuarters at corner.
I've been harping on this a lot, and I'm going to continue to do so. Sam Madison has played poorly this year, and got particularly torched by Donte' Stallworth last week in Philadelphia on consecutive passing plays. Although McQuarters had a brain-dead moment on Sunday when he failed to cover Seahawks TE Will Heller in the end zone, he's already got two picks this year despite limited playing time. You can bring Madison in for nickel coverage, but Corey Webster and RW should be starting on the corners.

2) Do something on third down.
Admittedly, there's nothing too constructive here. But the Giants are the second worst team in the league in allowing third down conversions, particularly third and long. Every time the opposing team converts, this already-listless defense is left out on the field for at least two or three more minutes, and it's really been one of the Giants' most damning faults this season. There are times when it looks like they're playing prevent defense on third and short -- for the love of god, play aggressive football!

I don't think I've ever seen as many blown coverages that directly resulted in touchdowns as I did this Sunday against Seattle. It's totally insane watching Matt Hasselbeck drop back to pass, casually scan the field for about five seconds, then hit a man so ridiculously wide open it makes the secondary look like they're playing shorthanded. With all of their previous success and big-play potential, Will Demps and Gibril Wilson need to be a lot more aware of what's going on around them, particularly with the rest of the defense struggling as much as it has.

On offense, the only suggestion that I (and everyone else with two eyes and a brain) have is to let Elijah call plays from the no-huddle more often. Granted, the tremendous success in that regard has come mostly while opposing defenses are sitting back on their heels, but I think the potential is there. Eli's got the tools and the talent at his disposal, and there's no reason to think he can't pull it off as well as Peyton does. I think this is something that Coughlin can't help but implement, and I would be very surprised if the Giants offense goes into the huddle during their first possession against Washington.


Post a Comment

<< Home