Eric Kennedy

Founder and owner of BigBlueInteractive.com, which is now entering its 20th season. Follow Eric on Twitter @BigBlueInteract.

Nov 122014
 
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Orleans Darkwa, Miami Dolphins (September 14, 2014)

Orleans Darkwa – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants Sign RB Orleans Darkwa, Place RB Michael Cox on IR: The New York Giants placed running back Michael Cox on season-ending Injured Reserve on Wednesday. Cox fractured his lower leg in the Giants-Seahawks game on Sunday.

To fill that vacant roster spot, the Giants signed running back Orleans Darkwa off of the Practice Squad of the Miami Dolphins.

Darkwa was signed by the Dolphins as a rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. He played in four games in September before being waived in October and signed to the team’s Practice Squad. Darkwa has average size and overall athletic ability, but he is a steady, hard-working football player with good intangibles.

Because of these moves, we have updated the TransactionsRoster, and Depth Chart sections of the website.

Practice Squad Moves: The New York Giants have signed cornerback Josh Victorian to the Practice Squad. To make room for Victorian, the team has terminated the Practice Squad contract of safety Kyle Sebetic.

Victorian was originally signed as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2011 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. Since then, he has spent time with the Patriots (2011), Saints (2012), Steelers (2012-13), Texans (2013), and Lions (2014). He has played in 12 NFL games, four for the Steelers with one start in 2012 and eight for the Texans in 2013. Victorian has average size and lacks ideal overall athleticism, but he is a hard working, instinctive football player.

November 12, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Peyton Hillis (concussion), DE Damontre Moore (shoulder), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), and LB Jacquian Williams (concussion) did not practice on Wednesday.

“(Hillis is) not good,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “He and Jacquian are both still under doctor supervision. They were sent home today.”

I expect that Damontre will work tomorrow,” said Coughlin.

RB Rashad Jennings (knee), TE Daniel Fells (neck), DE Mathias Kiwanuka (knee), and S Nat Berhe (ankle) practiced on a limited basis.

“(Jennings) will give our team an outstanding lift,” said Coughlin. “He will practice – the term is going to be limited, but we had him in that capacity a week ago. We selectively worked him. We thought he did well under those circumstances a week ago, and I think we will progress throughout the course of this week and hopefully, without a setback, now he will be ready to go.”

When asked about OG Geoff Schwartz (toe), who is still on short-term Injured Reserve, Coughlin responded, “He’s going to get a lot of work this week. We have until next Monday to make that call. His activity has increased and we’ll do the same thing this week.”

November 12, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Wednesday’s press conference are available at Giants.com.

November 12, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of media sessions on Wednesday with the following players are available at Giants.com:

7 takeaways from Giants Media Hour by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

New York Giants on WFAN: The audio of WFAN interviews with the following players from this week are available at CBS New York:

Article on State of the New York Giants: Is Coughlin a goner? Is Reese? The questions facing John Mara by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Articles on Head Coach Tom Coughlin:

Articles on WR Odell Beckham:

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Giants simplifying their defense to remedy league-worst ranking by Nick Powell for NJ.com

Sights and Sounds from Giants-Seahawks Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-Seahawks game is available at Giants.com.

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Tom Coughlin, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Tom Coughlin – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Seattle Seahawks 38 – New York Giants 17

Game Overview

Stating the obvious, there is enough empirical evidence to clearly demonstrate that the New York Giants are not a good football team. Most notably:

  • For the second season in a row, after nine games, the team is 3-6.
  • When the Giants play a good football team, it not only loses but it loses badly. Going back to 2013, five of the team’s last eight losses have been by three touchdowns or more. In other words, the Giants are regularly being blown out.
  • The Giants are now officially the 32nd-ranked defense in the NFL – dead last. They are 31st against the run, 25th against the pass, and 27th in scoring defense. Rewind back to training camp, the defense was supposed to be the strength of this team.

The season is over by mid-November again. Fans are already thinking about the offseason with almost half the schedule still to play. This is a pretty sad state of affairs.

Offensive Overview

Aided by a Seattle turnover, the Giants’ offensive performed reasonably well in a very tough environment in the first half of the game, scoring 17 points on six possessions. The two big offensive negatives in the first half were (1) for the 20th game in a row, not being able to score on the opening drive of a game, and (2) failing to generate any points after the second Seattle turnover near midfield.

The second half was a different story as the Giants did not score a single point on five offensive possessions, two ending with turnovers and one on downs.

Overall, the basic problem remains. The Giants haven’t been able to run the football during the four-game losing streak. Giants’ running backs were held to 43 yards rushing on 16 carries. (There was also one WR carry for 11 yards).

In the first half, the Giants ran 33 plays and passed the ball 23 times (almost 70 percent). In the second half, the Giants ran 30 plays and passed the ball 23 times (77 percent).

Eli Manning, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Quarterback

Eli Manning played better in the first half, completing 16-of-23 passes for 192 yards, 1 touchdown, and no interceptions. In the second half, he completed 13-of-21 passes for 91 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 1 interception.

Manning had a couple of superb excellent deep throws in the first half including his 25 yarder to Preston Parker and his 44 yarder to Odell Beckham.

Manning’s one interception, his first since September, is somewhat correctly being pointed to as one of the reasons why the Giants failed to make this a competitive game late in the contest. The Giants had a 1st-and-10 at the Seattle 39-yard line in a tie game. He threw deep to Odell Beckham against one-on-one coverage by CB Richard Sherman. In this case, Sherman had good position and an interception off of a deflected pass was the result. Eli took a shot and trusted his rookie WR to make a play. It didn’t happen. Should Eli have played it more conservatively? In hindsight, yes. But this is the type of shot that most NFL quarterbacks will take in the direction of their best receiver. The defense collapsed after this play. Manning doesn’t play defense. Did the interception suck the air out of the defense’s balloon too? Perhaps. But it should not have. It was still a tie game.

Eli’s worst play came with the game out of reach when he fumbled the ball away without being touched.

Andre Williams, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Andre Williams – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Running Backs

Giants running backs only ran the ball 10 times in the first half and six times in the second half. Andre Williams carried the ball 13 times for 33 yards (2.5 yards per carry) and scored one touchdown. Some fans contend he should be able to do more with the blocking he is getting, but I don’t see it. Williams is not getting much room to operate. Williams caught 2-of-5 passes thrown in his direction for five yards. Peyton Hillis carried the ball once for four yards and caught the ball once for five yards before leaving with a concussion, his second in two seasons. RB Michael Cox ran the ball twice for six yards and caught the ball twice for nine yards before leaving the game with a broken leg.

Wide Receivers

Two bright spots in this game were the play of Odell Beckham (7 catches for 108 yards) and Preston Parker (7 catches for 79 yards and a touchdown). Like the offense, both performed better in the first half, when Beckham had 5 catches for 92 yards and Parker had 4 catches for 49 yards. Beckham was matched up against All-Pro Richard Sherman for most of the game and caused Sherman problems at times, such as his double-move on his 44-yard deep catch. He followed that up with a 26-yard reception, setting up the Giants’ second touchdown of the game.

Preston Parker, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Preston Parker – © USA TODAY Sports Images

After a terrible performance against the Colts, Parker rebounded with his best game as a Giant, catching all seven passes thrown in his direction. He was flagged with a 10-yard offensive pass interference penalty that helped to stop a critical drive right after a second Seattle turnover. Parker made a very nice play on 3rd-and-4 by taking a big hit, breaking a tackle, and turning a short completion into a 20-yard gain.

Rueben Randle still is not productive enough. He caught 5-of-10 passes thrown in his direction for 39 yards. To be fair to Randle, he was obviously held/interfered with at least a couple of times but the penalties were not called.

Corey Washington was activated for the game but did not play on offense.

Tight Ends

Larry Donnell caught 4-of-6 passes thrown in his direction for 26 yards. His longest receptions were only seven yards each. Daniel Fells caught one pass for 12 yards.

Offensive Line

Despite throwing the football 73 percent of the time against one of the best pass defenses in the NFL, one would think that the offensive line did a reasonable job in pass protection by giving up only one sack (another “sack” was credited when the ball slipped out of Eli’s hand). However, too often Manning had Seattle defenders bearing down on him, even on quick-pass plays or on plays where the Giants moved the pocket. Manning was officially hit nine times but the pressure was even greater than that.

Look at the following back-to-back offensive plays where Eli is under immediate pressure as first Will Beatty, then John Jerry, completely whiff (and I do mean whiff) on their blocks.

Will Beatty whiffs in pass protection

Will Beatty whiffs in pass protection

John Jerry whiffs in pass protection

John Jerry whiffs in pass protection

Here is another example where Eli is forced to unload the ball quickly as he is about to get slammed by two defenders.

No time for Eli Manning

No time for Eli Manning

On running plays, once again, the Giants got their butts whipped up front by a stronger, tougher, more physical front seven. To be brutally honest, the Giants’ offensive line is soft.

Look at this play! The defensive end easily gets past Jerry and Pugh to nail Williams, who never had a chance. One man beat two blockers!

Defensive end blows by Jerry and Pugh to hit Williams in backfield

Defensive end blows by Jerry and Pugh to hit Williams in backfield

Weston Richburg, coming off an ankle injury, was flagged twice for holding and each penalty helped to end possessions prematurely. He had issues on other plays both run blocking and in pass protection. Justin Pugh was flagged with a false start. J.D. Walton simply isn’t very good. He’s a liability as both run and pass blocker.

Defensive Overview

New York Giants defensive rankings in terms of yards allowed:

  • 2011 – 27th
  • 2012 – 31st
  • 2013 – 8th
  • 2014 – 32nd

The 2011 and 2012 Giants’ defenses each gave up over 6,000 yards of offense – the first time that has ever happened in the team’s long and storied history. That may happen again in 2014 as the defense is allowing over 400 yards per game.

Here’s a hint Perry Fewell…stop smiling.

Fewell after the Seahawks convert on 3rd down

Fewell after the Seahawks convert on 3rd down

In the Seattle game, the positives were three turnovers (two interceptions and one fumble). The Giants also forced two more fumbles that they were unable to recover. Unfortunately, both failed recovery attempts came on the game-clinching drive by Seattle that put them up 31-17.

But this was a horrific defensive performance and the players ought to be ashamed of themselves. The 350 yards rushing allowed were the most by an NFL defense in five years and the third-most in the 90-year history of the franchise.

The defense was out-muscled by a tougher, more physical opponent. Whether it was poor preparation by the coaching staff or player stupidity, the defense continually gave up the edge to QB Russell Wilson (14 carries for 107 yards and one touchdown). And the Giants wanted no part of RB Marshawn Lynch (21 carries for 140 yards and four touchdowns) between the tackles and off-tackle.

Defensive Line/Linebackers

A train wreck. 350 yards rushing? This is a game for men and the Giants didn’t play like men. And they didn’t play smart. Giant defenders over-pursued and lost contain. The most annoying thing is it isn’t like the Giants haven’t seen this style of offense before. They had to prepare for it in recent years against Robert Griffin III and Colin Kaepernick.

As an example, look at the following back-to-back plays in the first quarter where the left side of the defense, including Ayers, completely loses contain on Wilson, who runs for a total of 20 yards.

Left side of the defense loses contain

Left side of the defense loses contain

Then they do it again on the very next play!

Then they do it again on the very next play!

In the second quarter, it was more of the same. In the first picture, either JPP or Stevie Brown lose contain on the right side of the defense; in the second picture, either Mathias Kiwanuka or Jacquian Williams lose contain on the left side.

Now right side of defense loses contain

Now right side of defense loses contain

Feeling left out, the left side decides to abandon its responsibilities

Feeling left out, the left side decides to abandon its responsibilities

But if you think the damage was limited to the perimeter of the defense, you are sorely mistaken. Time after time the Seahawks powered right up the gut or off tackle against a very soft defense in mano a mano situations. Defenders were pushed back and many yards were gained after contact. For example, there was one play where McClain hit RB Marshawn Lynch right at the line, but Lynch ran right through McClain and picked up 22 yards.

The only positives you can put to are that Robert Ayers and Johnathan Hankins each had sacks and Jason Pierre-Paul and Jameel McClain both forced fumbles.

Playing all 64 defensive snaps were McClain (12 tackles), Williams (9 tackles), and Pierre-Paul (8 tackles).

The Giants’ defensive tackles played like crap and were pushed back with ease. Inside, Hankins (51 snaps, 4 tackles) saw most of the action. Mike Patterson (28 snaps, 9 tackles) split time with Markus Kuhn (22 snaps, 1 tackle). Cullen Jenkins saw 18 snaps and had two tackles.

Kiwanuka (40 snaps, 1 tackles) did not play well. He was regularly mauled at the point-of-attack. And both he and Ayers (32 snaps, 5 tackles) lost outside contain on Wilson running plays. Damontre Moore only had three snaps (and one of those, Fewell had him dropping into coverage on a three-man rush on 3rd down that resulted in an easy completion (shocker). Devon Kennard had 22 snaps and finished with one tackle.

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, New York Giants (November 9, 2014)

Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Defensive Backs

The Seahawks only passed for 172 yards, but those 172 yards came on 10 pass completions and the passing yards are misleading because Seattle ran the football so well. Zack Bowman and Quintin Demps had interceptions and Antrel Rolle recovered a fumble.

The Giants played much of the game in the nickel with Bowman and Rodgers-Cromartie seeing 60+ snaps and Jayron Hosley 42 snaps. Stevie Brown (35 snaps) saw more action than Demps (28 snaps), who may have been out of position on a 3rd-and-long deep pass that was luckily overthrown. Newcomer CB Chykie Brown played six snaps.

The big pass play in terms of yardage was a deep shot where – for some reason – Fewell had LB Jacquian Williams covering a wideout 60 yards down the field. But we’ve seen this before in Fewell’s defense.

Special Teams

Steve Weatherford is clearly struggling with the torn ligaments in his left ankle and his bad back. He punted five times for an average of 38.6 yards and a net of 34.4 yards. If there is any chance that he could be doing more damage to himself and/or he might not be completely healthy for training camp, the Giants should IR him now. Seattle only returned two punts for a total of one yard.

PK Josh Brown remains perfect on the year as he converted from 41 yards out. Two of his three kickoffs resulted in touchbacks. Seattle returned one kickoff for 28 yards.

Seattle only punted once in the game and that punt resulted in a touchback. Two of Seattle’s seven kickoffs were returned, with Michael Cox only reaching the 19 and 16 yard lines.

(New York Giants at Seattle Seahawks, November 9, 2014)