by Eric of BigBlueInteractive.com
Approach to the Game – New York Giants at Washington Redskins, September 23, 2007: This is going to be a very brief game preview this week. For one, I am swamped with work dealing with the switch-over to the new BBI. Secondly, the X’s and O’s don’t really matter this week. What this game will come down to is if the Giants’ defense decides whether or not it wants to play some football or continue to act like a bunch of pussies. It’s that simple. The Redskins’ defense will prevent the Giants from putting up a lot of points on the board. If the Giants’ defense does not reciprocate, the Giants have no chance to win. On the other hand, if the defense starts playing smarter, more physical football, the Giants will have a good chance to win.
I said last week that the Green Bay game was not a must-game for the Giants. The Redskins’ game is a must-game for the Giants. If the Giants go 0-3, and with facing Philadelphia the following week, the wheels really may come off this bus. The Redskins are an OK team, but they are very beatable. Do the Giants want it enough?
Giants on Defense: 80 points in two games – 32nd in the NFL in scoring defense. It’s a disgrace. This defense may have some personnel issues and the players are learning a brand new system, which is never easy, but the defensive incompetence of the last two games has been mind-boggling. There was no indication of this type of dreadful play from the starters in the last three preseason games. What in the world is going on? Once again, the Giants have guys running free against the back seven of the defense. Last year, it was more the soft coverage of the corners; this year it is more soft coverage from the linebackers and safeties.
If the defense is going to step it up, it must come from the defensive line. For one, in a 4-3 defense, the heart of that type of unit is the line. Secondly, this is where the Giants have heavily invested their resources. Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan, Fred Robbins, and Barry Cofield need to play up to the level expected of them. Be disruptive, stuff the run, get after the quarterback. The Redskins’ offensive line – minus Jon Jansen and Randy Thomas – is hurting. Dominate.
If the Giants can control the running game of the Redskins, the two obvious keys are keeping H-Back Chris Cooley and WR Santana Moss under control. Like when the Giants faced the Cowboys in week one when I said Jason Witten (not Terrell Owens) was the guy who worries me, I feel the same way about Cooley. The Giants cannot allow Cooley to run unmolested across the center of the defense or it will be another long day. Jam him at the line, stay close to him. When he catches the football, smash the hell out of him.
Control the line of scrimmage (and thereby the run), get after the quarterback, and don’t allow Cooley to keep the chains moving. Do that and the Giants will win. And please, can we please, create some turnovers for once?!?
Giants on Offense: A big key here is will WR Plaxico Burress (ankle) play and, if so, how healthy will he be? Plax has four of the Giants’ five touchdowns this year. If he doesn’t play or play well, that will hurt against one of the better defensive backfields in the NFL. The safety combination of Sean Taylor and LaRon Landry is big, physical, and dynamic. They are going to be a problem for the NFC East for a long time. The corners – Shawn Springs, Carlos Rogers, and Fred Smoot – are good too. Eli and his receiving corps – which will be missing Steve Smith – will not have it easy.
My game plan – even without Brandon Jacobs – would be to pound the football with the running game. The Skins’ first two opponents – Dolphins and Eagles – really didn’t challenge the Washington front seven with the ground attack. And the weakness of the Redskins’ is their defensive line. Pound the football with Derrick Ward and Reuben Droughns. Then use play-action to burn the Skins with passes to Jeremy Shockey and the receiving corps.
The Redskins do attack on defense. The blitz from all angles and positions. There will be negative plays because of this. The key is to not make catastrophic mistakes such as turnovers. If necessary, throw the ball away or take the sack. Don’t force the football. And hold onto it. Because the Skins will take chances, the Giants can also benefit with the big play. That’s why it is so important for Plaxico to play and play well. The Giants also desperately need Anthony Mix or Sinorice Moss to step it up and make some plays.
Giants on Special Teams: David Tyree returns with a cast protecting his fractured wrist. It will be interesting to see how well he can perform in that state. The Giants’ kickoff coverage last week was not good and Lawrence Tynes missed an easy field goal attempt. Ahmad Bradshaw has had fumbling issues on kickoffs. Giants’ special teams have be hurting the team once again.