Oct 312014
 
Perry Fewell, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Perry Fewell – Photo by Big d E

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October 31, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Rashad Jennings (knee) and DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not practice on Friday. Head Coach Tom Coughlin has already ruled Jennings out of the game against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night.

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (left ankle) were limited in practice.

“We are working him,” said Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell. “It depends on how he feels. Sometimes he is really good, when I say good he has been good back to back practices so we will see tomorrow if he tightens up, stiffens up, what have you. That is how we kind of approach it – it is a day-to-day kind of assessment with him.”

October 31, 2014 New York Giants Coach Media Sessions: Transcripts and video clips of Friday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com and BigBlueInteractive.com:

October 31, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on the 2014 New York Giants: Are Giants newbies having trouble adjusting to ‘strict’ Coughlin? by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on the New York Giants Offense: Giants must trust Eli Manning, let him win them some games by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on OT Justin Pugh: Will Giants’ Justin Pugh end up defined by his Eagles debacle? by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Articles on DE Damontre Moore:

Article on CB Jayron Hosley: The daunting matchup awaiting Jayron Hosley by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Oct 312014
 
Eli Manning, New York Giants (August 16, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Indianapolis Colts at New York Giants, November 3, 2014

The New York Giants look to snap their two-game losing streak against a tough opponent Monday night in the Indianapolis Colts.

Ahmad Bradshaw, New York Giants (August 18, 2013)

Ahmad Bradshaw – Photo Courtesy of Evan Pinkus and the Giants

FOUR DOWNS:

First Down
Old faces in new places
A former New York Giant is making quite the impact for the Indianapolis Colts… it’s just not the player anyone expected. A year after dealing with neck injuries, Ahmad Bradshaw has found new life with the Colts and has all but supplanted Trent Richardson as the team’s starting running back. As for the other former Giant? Hakeem Nicks hasn’t had any impact on the offense. Last week, he played in just 19 of the team’s snaps.

Both players will sure be revved up to play their former team again in their former stadium, will the Giants contain them?

Second Down
Can the Giants establish a running game?
One of the things that made Giants running back Rashad Jennings so special was his vision. Even if option one wasn’t open, Jennings found the second and third holes that were formed as the play developed to turn negative plays into positive ones. It’s a trait Jennings developed over time. Andre Williams just doesn’t have it yet.

Williams has struggled to get things going for New York on a consistent basis. If the initial hole isn’t there, the play usually doesn’t work. Williams’ vision will develop over time, it just isn’t there yet. Will this be the game he breaks out?

Third Down
Will New York be able to contain Andrew Luck?
The odds of New York shutting down Andrew Luck are slim, but the team can contain him. Pressure Luck, forcing him out of his comfort zone and to roll out of the pocket and across his body. That’s easier said, than done. Can the Giants execute the defensive game plan?

Fourth Down
Can for one week there not be a miscommunication in the secondary? 
Just once, can the Giants not have a defensive meltdown in the secondary? Can someone not think someone else has their help? Can everyone just be on the same page as everyone else? It’s a weekly occurrence and it needs to stop. Every year the defense starts this way and then needs to be ‘dumbed down.’ Not sure if that’s on the players, or the coaching staff.

BREAKING DOWN INDIANAPOLIS:

OFFENSE – by Connor Hughes
Strength?
The Colts offense is littered with playmakers all across the field. Reggie Wayne (questionable to play), T.Y. Hilton, Dwayne Allen, Coby Fleener, Hakeem Nicks, Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson are all capable of making plays at any point in time. Couple that with one of the best quarterback’s in the game and the Colts have one of the better attacks in all of football.

Weakness?
The interior offensive line can be had. The Colts guard play has been suspect this year and have struggled at times. The playmakers and Andrew Luck overshadows the line play.

DEFENSE by Eric Kennedy
Strength?
The Colts defense had been ranked 3rd in league in terms of yards allowed until the game against the Steelers where they gave up over 600 yards of offense. That likely anomaly dropped them to 15th. Until that game, the defense was performing at a high level and had shut out the Cincinnati Bengals. The Colts are outstanding on 3rd down. And while they have a lot of “no-name” defensive players, they are very well coached and can confuse opposing offenses with their various 3-4 and 4-3 schemes. No player has more than four sacks, but the team has 21 overall. The run defense is giving up less than 100 yards per contest.

Weakness?
The sum of the Colts defense is stronger than their component parts as the team lacks impact defensive playmakers. They have a lot of “solid” guys, but there is no one to really fear. The defense benefits from the fact that the Indianapolis offense is so productive, allowing the defense to pin its ears back against what often becomes a one-dimensional opponent.

Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks, New York Giants (September 15, 2013)

Eli Manning and Hakeem Nicks – © USA TODAY Sports Images

PLAYERS TO WATCH:

Connor Hughes –
Hakeem Nicks
When Hakeem Nicks was at his best with the New York Giants, he was the team’s No. 1 target. He’s not that in Indianapolis and his numbers have reflected that. Nicks will revved up to play Monday night to play against his former team at his former home. While Nicks hasn’t been a focal point of the offense this year, he should be on Monday. Will he be a factor?

Eric Kennedy –
Eli Manning
The Giants season is on the line. If the Giants have any shot to make the playoffs this year, Eli will have to carry this team like he did in 2011. New York desperately needs for him to out-play Andrew Luck, which is no small feat.

FROM THE COACHES’ MOUTH:

Tom Coughlin – “(The Colts are) number one in the league on offense, first place in the AFC South, an exceptional fast start team. Sixty-four points in the first quarter, the opponents, 13. They are the number one passing team as well, big plays, you name it. Defensively – very, very aggressive. Prior to the Pittsburgh game, they were third in the league on defense. They have a high percentage of pressure on each and every down and distance. Special teams is outstanding as well with McAfee and Vinatieri and Whalen doing the returning.”

Chuck Pagano – “Eli (Manning) is obviously going to end up in the Hall of Fame with his brother one day. He is one of the elite quarterbacks in this game. If you don’t pressure and you can’t get pressure on him or do some things to disrupt the timing and rhythm of that offense that (Offensive Coordinator Ben McAdoo) is running over there now, then (Manning) will rip you to shreds. He can make all the throws and he has great touch and great vision and does a great job controlling safeties and people with his eyes. There isn’t anything that he hasn’t seen from a defensive standpoint.”

FINAL WORD:

Connor Hughes – The difficult part of the Giants schedule began two weeks ago and it won’t get easy Monday night. Luck and the Colts march in after having a dreadful performance against the Pittsburgh Steelers and will be ready to go in prime time. I’m just not sure the Giants match up.

The running game hasn’t been there the last two weeks, the team refuses to take shots down the field and the defense is questionable. If Wayne plays, the Colts bring three No. 1 receivers to the table. If the Giants match that with their secondary, that opens up room on the ground for Ahmad Bradshaw and Trent Richardson to run against a smaller front. It doesn’t favor New York, and it could get out of hand quick. Colts 31 – Giants 10.

Eric Kennedy – Many fans charge me with being a Debbie Downer or pessimist. Others will say I simply sound like a dreadful broken record. But Giants fans probably need to come to the recognition that this team simply isn’t very talented. One post in The Corner Forum really resonated with me this past week:

The Giants won the super bowl in ’11 with a team that was basically in decline. The ’10 Giants were a better squad overall that pissed away the year with an insane number of turnovers and a historic collapse at home. In ’11 the Giants peaked at the right time and won a title due to one of the greatest quarterbacking performances of all time. I loved every minute of it but I do not think anyone can truthfully argue that the 2011 Giants were loaded with talent. They had the best QB play in the NFL and an awesome receiving corps. But they did play “over their heads” and a lot of that has to do with coaching. TC does not get enough credit for that. Late 2012 and the shit show that was 2013 finished the collapse and now the team is rebuilding. Luckily this can happen quickly in the NFL when you have a franchise QB.

– BBI Poster rocco8112.

Bad drafting and injuries have decimated New York’s 2008-12 NFL Draft classes, and the Giants are suffering the consequences. Simply put, since the middle of 2012, the Giants have been a bad football team. Now, they are relying on veteran and rookie free agents at far too many positions, and unfortunately, injuries (yet again) have hit the team hard across the board. The Giants are not talented enough to overcome it. The Colts are clearly the better football team. And Ahmad Bradshaw is going to show Jerry Reese he made another mistake. Colts 34 – Giants 17.

Oct 302014
 
Michael Strahan, New York Giants (August 1, 2014)

Michael Strahan – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Giants to Honor Michael Strahan: The New York Giants will honor former defensive end Michael Strahan at halftime of Monday night’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

The Giants will welcome back more than 100 former players for “Giants Homecoming Weekend.” At halftime, a special ceremony will honor Strahan, who was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame earlier this year.

Former Giants in attendance will include Frank Gifford, Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson, Mark Bavaro, Carl Banks, Amani Toomer, Jason Sehorn, Ottis Anderson, Jessie Armstead, Joe Morris, Brandon Jacobs, and Rodney Hampton.

October 30, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: RB Rashad Jennings (knee) and DT Cullen Jenkins (calf) did not practice on Thursday. Head Coach Tom Coughlin has already ruled Jennings out of the game against the Indianapolis Colts on Monday night.

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) and P Steve Weatherford (left ankle) were limited in practice.

OG Geoff Schwartz (toe) is still on short-term Injured Reserve. “We’ll see throughout the whole process here with the amount of time that he has to get ready,” said Coughlin. “He’s coming off of a significant injury so we’ll see how he practices and then we’ll go from there…He hasn’t practiced yet. He’s going out there, he’s going to go through individual, and then we’ll spoon feed him in there, no doubt on the scout side of the ball first.”

October 30, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Thursday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

October 30, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

  • QB Eli Manning (Video)
  • WR Rueben Randle (Video)
  • DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Video)
  • DE Mathias Kiwanuka (Video)
  • DE Damontre Moore (Video)
  • LB Jameel McClain (Video)
  • S Antrel Rolle (Video)

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

Article on CB Mike Harris: Lions’ practice-squadder Mike Harris worth a nickel to Giants by Tom Rock of Newsday

Giants Online – Giants vs. Colts Preview: The video of this week’s Giants Online is available at Giants.com.

Notes: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Giants’ three passes this season of 30 or more yards are tied with the Jets and Chiefs for fewest in NFL.

The Giants will wear their alternate white pants, as well as white cleats, for their next two homes games.

Oct 292014
 
Mike Harris, Jacksonville Jaguars (August 14, 2014)

Mike Harris – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Giants Sign CB Mike Harris, Place LB Jon Beason on IR: The New York Giants signed cornerback Mike Harris off of the Practice Squad of the Detroit Lions.

Harris was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 NFL Draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars. In two seasons with Jacksonville, Harris played in 31 games with eight starts. Harris was waived by the Jaguars in August 2014 before signing with the Lions in October. Harris has decent size and athleticism. He has experience playing in the slot. Harris is a good tackler and special teams player.

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

Linebacker Practice Squad Moves: The Giants have terminated the Practice Squad contract of linebacker Carlos Fields. To fill that vacancy, the Giants re-signed linebacker Justin Anderson to the Practice Squad. Anderson was originally signed by the Giants as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2014 NFL Draft. The Giants cut him on August 26.

New York Giants Conference Calls with Colts Media: The transcripts of the Colts media conference calls with the following Giants are available at Giants.com:

Articles on the 2014 New York Giants:

Article on RB Andre Williams: Patience, pause, then pop: Giants rookie adjusts running style by Tom Rock of Newsday

Notes: This season, the Giants are 3-0 when they score first, 0-4 when they don’t.

Giants opponents gained at least 400 yards four times in the first seven games. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, that last happened in 1948.

The Giants have not scored an opening-possession touchdown in 18 consecutive games, the NFL’s longest streak.

Larry Donnell and Daniel Fells each have four touchdown receptions this season, the first time the Giants have had two tight ends with at least that many since 1994, when Howard Cross and Aaron Pierce each finished the season with four.

Oct 272014
 
Jerry Reese, New York Giants (February 22, 2014)

Jerry Reese – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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The following is the transcript of General Manager Jerry Reese’s press conference on Monday, October 27, 2014. A video of the press conference is also available at Giants.com. The audio of Reese’s interview on ESPN Radio is also available.

Opening Statement

Good Afternoon. We have nine games to go. It is a nine-game season for us now. Obviously we are not where we want to be at 3-4. We are not at the halfway point yet. We have the Colts coming here on Monday night. They are coming off of a tough loss. We have to be ready for a good football team. When we started out, we looked at the schedule at the beginning of the year and we thought right after the bye was kind of like murderers’ row, but in this league, every week is murderers’ row. You have to go out there and execute and we have to play more consistent football. That is what is important, is for us to go out there and play as a team. We have to win or tie the physical battle. You can’t beat yourself with bad fouls. Those are always the three things that stand out for me. We have to be more consistent. Play all three phases of the game better, prepare better, be more aggressive offensively and be more aggressive defensively.

We can get back in the race. It is not over right now. It is still early. There are still a lot of teams that have chance to get back in the picture. We think we are one of the teams that can do that. We have to start right here, right now, on Monday night and get ready to beat a good football team.

Q: What did you think about the implementation of the new offense and how do you think that has progressed?

A: I think it takes time when you implement any new offense. Any phase of your football team is going to take some time. Obviously we came out of the preseason with some ups and downs during the preseason. I thought we started really slow out of the gate with the first game and then with the second game we had some bad turnovers and we had the punt return that killed us. We have had some chances. We have played some pretty good football in all phases at times. At other times we look like an inconsistent football team and we have to clean those things up. It takes a little bit of time. We have a new play-caller, a lot of new faces and it takes some time for those things to gel a little bit. [During] the second half of the season, I expect us to play a lot better and be more comfortable in what we are trying to do.

Q: Mathias Kiwanuka said to us earlier that he believed that there is championship caliber talent in the locker room… Do you believe that?

A: We always think that. We try to go out in the offseason in the draft and free agency and try to rebuild our team in different ways. There are a lot of new faces in the locker room this year. I think we have some quality football players and we have some really good football players. The thing is you have to go out there and execute your game plan and Coach [Coughlin] said it today after practice that sometimes you have to play above the X’s and O’s. We expect our guys to do that. We have been around each other through the preseason now and almost half of a season, so it is time for us to gel and play like a good football team.

Q: For a number of reasons you are counting on a number of rookies on offense right now… That is somewhat unusual here. Does it speak to what you are doing in terms of re-tooling and altering this roster?

A: There are all kinds of ways to build a roster. Sometimes you can build your roster with rookies. Sometimes you can build it with free agency. However we build it is how we build it. We don’t try to pigeon hole ourselves with a template. Right now we have some rookies who are out there who have to make contributions. We expect them to make contributions. I always say your first three picks you want to come out and make contributions to your football team.  Our guys are doing that and when you get some guys on the back end [of the draft] like the [Nat] Berhe types and the [Devon] Kennard types to come in and help your team as well, then that is a bonus if you can get someone on the back end who can help you. We expect everybody to play. In this day and age, you can’t bring rookies in and keep them out for a couple years and try to develop them. They have to come in and play right away.

Q: Is week-to-week inconsistency something that can come with [playing rookies more]?

A: I think that could be part of it. You can’t make excuses. Everybody is on the team. They go out and they practice. We expect those guys to come out and play at a high level. It is a little different for rookies at some times, but we expect rookies to come out and contribute and make plays for us.

Q: Eli was saying earlier he sees the same mistakes being made… Is there a common thread to why these mistakes are happening?

A: There are some young players and there are a lot of  new faces, but still at this point in the season when you are going into the second half of your season, you expect those things to be cleaned up. We expect to play better, play more cohesive, play more as a unit, play as a team and gel a little better going into the second half of the season. And play a lot better football than we have played on the front half of the season.

Q: Did you expect it to take more time than usual [to be successful] with all the new faces and players?

A: You always hope you can bring new guys in and they can gel really quickly. We expected to come out and have a better record than we do right now. We always expect that. You always have to try to put that in the back of your head that we have some new faces, a new coordinator, a new play-caller and a new system with new terminology. All of that stuff comes into play, but we had the spring and the preseason. We had five preseason games. We have played seven games so far. It is time for us to stop talking about having new faces, new this and new this. It is time to play good football.

Q: When you sign guys like [Geoff] Schwartz, DRC [Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie] and [Rashad] Jennings, who end up getting injured, is that part of the risk that comes with signing guys who have played in the league longer and have more wear?

A: It is football. It is a physical contact sport. You always have injuries. That is really no excuse. We never make that excuse for injuries. Everybody has injuries. When you have injuries, you have to take what you have left and manufacture wins. These are the players we have on defense this week. What do we have to do to win the game defensively? These are the players we have offensively. What do we have to do? These are our special teams guys. You have to manufacture some wins that way because week to week, you have injuries. You don’t go into every week 100 percent like you would like to have. You have to make adjustments every week and you can’t make an excuse that somebody is hurt. That is a poor excuse.

Q: You went into the offseason and spent a lot of time working on the offensive line… Through seven games, that would still seem like an area that is inconsistent. What do you look at there and is there enough there to get better?

A: I think there is enough there to get better. At times we have played pretty well along the offensive line. For one little stretch there, I thought these guys have played together for a few games and they are finally getting what we are trying to do. Then we had a setback against Philadelphia where we didn’t play well at all along the offensive line. I thought we bounced back and played a little better. Down the road, this is where it all starts, in the front with your defensive and offensive line. Our offensive line is a prideful group. I think those guys will bounce back this second half of the season and be more cohesive. We should get (Geoff) Schwartz back here. I am not sure, but he is day-to-day. At least he is on the clock now, trying to get back and get some reps and in shape. We will see where he fits in as we move forward.

Q: You mentioned before that it is time to get back in the race… How disappointed are you that your team has to get back in the race and after the first half of the season, you put yourself in a hole?

A: Of course you want to go into your bye week with a winning record and have yourself in a good position, but there are a lot of teams saying the same thing right now. We are one of them. We have nine games to play. We feel like if we play good football down the stretch, we can claw our way back into this thing. We have to start right now. Monday night is a critical game for us, like every game. Starting Monday night, we will try to get back to .500 and try to get some momentum going into the second half of the season.

Q: Are there some specific things you saw in the last two games that give you encouragement that a turnaround in the second half is possible?

A: In every game there have been some good things and some bad things. You always try to accentuate what the positive things are. We have plenty of positive things. Having Odell [Beckham Jr.] come into the game and get some snaps the last couple of games has been a plus for us. You lose Victor Cruz, so you take one step forward and two steps back kind of a situation. You can’t use that as an excuse. We have Odell and Rueben Randle. We have Preston Parker, who is capable. We have a young Corey Washington. We brought in [Kevin] Ogletree. How can we win with that set of receivers? That is what we have to do. We have some tight ends that have made a few plays. The running back is hurt. Who is the next guy up? The young runner is doing a good job in there. Peyton [Hillis] has to help him. [Michael] Cox has to contribute. Every time you get an injury, the next man up has to step in and make contributions to your football team.

Q: In the preseason, you said JPP [Jason Pierre-Paul] and Eli [Manning] were two key players. What have you seen from them?

A: They have played pretty well, but they can play better. I really believe that. I think they can play better, and I believe they think they can play better. JPP has looked like his old self so far this season, but I think he is a better player than he is playing right now. The same with Eli. Eli is not turning the ball over with the interceptions like we saw the first half of last season, but I think Eli can play better than he is playing.

Q: When you look at their futures, is it something you would consider taking care of now or is that something you would prefer to handle after the season?

A: We’re just trying to win the game Monday night. Those things will take care of themselves after the season. Right now we’re focused on trying to get back in this race and trying to get to .500, trying to beat a good football team that’s coming in here on Monday night and get some momentum going down the stretch. That’s really what we’re focused on right now.

Q: What would you like to see Eli do better?

A: I just think, as an offense, we have to be more aggressive. I think at times we’re a little bit almost too cautious with what we’re doing offensively. This is the National Football League. You’ve got to go out there and you have to win the game. You can’t think something’s going to fall into your lap. You’ve got to go out and take the games. I think we have to be more aggressive offensively. I appreciate Eli taking care of the ball and not turning it over because that correlates to wins a lot of the time, but you can’t be too cautious. You’ve got to throw the ball down the field. You’ve got to score points in this league to win.

Q: Is that part of the evolution of this offense?

A: It may be. I’m not a coach, but I think that’s probably part of it. I would like to see us be more aggressive going down the stretch here in the second half of the season. Again, if you don’t score points, it’s hard to win in this league.

Q: When we asked your head coach that question he seemed content with the ‘prevent turnovers’ mantra. He said, ‘We’ll take opportunities downfield if they present themselves,’ but he doesn’t seem to be looking for that.

A: I think it’s a combination of both things. I think Coach [Coughlin] thinks that, as well. You can’t turn the ball over. If you turn the ball over, you’re going to lose in this league. You still can’t be too careful. You have to throw the ball down the field, you have to be more aggressive, you’ve got to give your receivers a chance to make plays, you’ve got to trust in your receivers, you’ve got to trust in your running back, so you’ve got to score points. If you don’t score points, it’s hard to win.

Q: Is this a conversation that you’ve had with the coaching staff?

A: I’m not a coach. You’re asking what my opinion is. I’m just giving you what my opinion is.

Q: The [coaches] will hear this [though]…

A: Coach [Coughlin] and I, we talk every day about how we win the next game, what’s the personnel situation and what’s going on. We don’t sugarcoat anything. We go in and we talk real talk – how do we win the next game. We’ve had conversations about all of this, yes.

Q: You guys lost Jon [Beason] for the year. Do you have enough there in-house to sustain that or do you have to go outside? How likely are you to make a move?

A: We’re always trying to improve our football team. Every single day we’re trying to look at the waiver wire and what the trade possibilities are. The trade deadline is tomorrow. We’ve made calls and we’ve taken calls. But Jameel McClain has done (a good job). Right out of the gate, he was a backup playing at middle linebacker and he did a pretty nice job in there, so we expect him to get back in that role and pull the defense together and play better defense. We have to play better defense down the road as well. Talk about the offense, we have to play better defense as well. We had some long drives against us in that last game. We’ve got to make some stops somewhere in a game. We weren’t able to make some stops. We got some turnovers. We’ve got the 12 interceptions right there, but we still need to turn the ball over more and be more aggressive on defense.

Q: Would you consider it unlikely that you would do anything to that position?

A: We keep all of our options open. You never know. I’ve been taking calls today, been making calls today. We keep all of our options open. We’ll see what happens by four o’clock tomorrow.

Q: What is it about the defense? It just seems to be very inconsistent.

A: Well, I don’t know. That’s what we need to clean up. During this bye week, we had a lot of conversations about what’s going on with our defense, why we can’t make some stops in some big spots that we need to make. Hopefully we got those things ironed out and we will be able to make those stops down the stretch because you’ve got to stop somebody at some point. At times the defense had played spotty, but that last game, there were some times we needed to make a stop and weren’t able to do that.

Q: Do you have the personnel to do that now that your starting defensive tackle, cornerback and middle linebacker [are injured]?  Do you have enough there in those spots?

A: I think so. I think, again, Jameel’s done a nice job. [Johnathan] Hankins is doing a nice job. We have some more players in there that we like. Jason Pierre-Paul is playing pretty good out there. What we have to play better, the secondary has to play better. We lost some guys in the secondary but the secondary has to play better. We need DRC, he’s day-to-day now, but hopefully he can come back and stay out there on the field for us. When he’s not out there, it’s a little bit more different of a scheme that you have to play out there.

Q: When Linval [Joseph] left in free agency, did you envision this from Hankins?

A: You always… coaches think what’s going to happen today. As a GM, you try to think what’s going to happen two years from now. I’m always trying to think down the road, ‘OK, this guy is coming up, can we pay this guy? What’s our next move if we can’t pay the next guy?’ Hankins was part of the plan.

Q: You’ve liked what you’ve seen?

A: Hank has played pretty good in there. He’s played well.

Q: How do you assess Damontre Moore’s progress?

A: I think, first of all, I think he needs to play a few more snaps. I think he needs to be more of a contributor with the amount of snaps that he plays. It seems like when he gets in the game, he makes something happen. I think he’s progressing, but I think he needs to play a little bit more.

Q: Have you had that conversation about why he isn’t playing more?

A: We have conversations about everything. We don’t sugarcoat anything about that, but I don’t coach the game. It’s the heat of the moment and those guys [the coaching staff], they’ve been coaching a long time. They know who to play and who not to play.

Q: What about [Coach Coughlin’s] willingness to change and install a new offense and do what’s necessary and how do you see him handling this second half of the season?

A: We’ll see. I think Coach has been able to evolve in a lot of ways ever since he’s been here. One thing I’ll never do – I’ll never bet against Tom Coughlin. He always seems to, when his back is against the wall the most, that’s when he seems to come out swinging and get his football team ready to go. I expect him to do the same right here going down the stretch. This is a big moment for all of us, the second half of this season. It starts one game at a time, one play at a time. I think Coach will get it done.

Q: The special teams have been inconsistent not just this year but going back a year or two. Is it a common thread? Is it the constant shuffling of the personnel? The inexperience?

A: First of all, you’d like for your punter and kicker to be consistent and our guys have been pretty consistent. Josh [Brown], I don’t think he’s missed a kick so far this season, and the punter [Steve Weatherford], in light of having the ankle situation he has, he’s punting the ball pretty well and the cover teams have played pretty well except the one big return we had against Arizona. As far as return specialists are concerned, you go into the offseason, ‘We’ll get this guy, we’ll get this guy,’ and you have four guys lined up and you open your season with your fifth option as your returner. That happens in football, that’s no excuse. We do have Odell (Beckham) back and we brought (Michael) Cox up so he’s returning some kicks. Odell can help us with the punt returns, but we had some guys lined up that tried to help our return game, but it just didn’t happen that way, so you have to make do with what you have until you can get better.

Q: You mentioned the murderers row that you guys had before the season. At 3-4, does it look more daunting now because of what you need to get accomplished?

A: I wouldn’t say it looks more daunting because all of those teams have had some tough battles and some tough losse,s but we do know that they’re all good football teams going down the stretch. I think we have the Colts, then Seattle, then we have San Francisco and Dallas again. That’s a tough stretch but we seem to play better when it’s like that. When odds are against us like that, we seem to play better and I expect us to play better, regardless of who we’re playing. The second half of the season; all of the new faces are not new faces anymore. It’s time for us to gel and play good football and look like a good football team. Again, win the physical battle, play as a team and don’t beat ourselves with bad fouls. If we do those things, we’ll have a chance to win a lot of games.

Q: The division has kind of gotten out with Dallas and Philly. Is it frustrating or upsetting that you’re going to have to pick up a lot of ground just to get back in the division?

A: Well, that’s just the way it is. This division, like every year, I think it will be close at the end with who’s going to win the division. I think there are some teams that are going to be battling to get back in it, some teams might come back to the pack, but it’s always, always, since I’ve been around, the NFC East, there are always a couple games at the end of the season that determine who is going to be the winner of that division.

Q: You mentioned you always have to look a couple years ahead as a general manager. Has anything that’s happened these last couple years changed your thoughts on that plan on how long it might take to get back to contention?

A: Not really. Every year is a different year. You never know how things are going to unfold. It’s the National Football League. It’s men against men. If you go out there and you don’t play well and you make mistakes, you’re going to lose the game. Sometimes the ball bounces your way and you win the game. You never know. Out of the gate, everyone said Dallas had the worst team in the National Football League and they’re winning our division. It’s men against men. You can never predict what’s going to happen. That’s why I’m saying that I believe by the end of the season that it will be a close race in our division and there will be two or three teams battling for that division.

Q: You’ll be one of them?

A: We believe we’ll be one of them.

Oct 272014
 
Jon Beason, New York Giants (August 18, 2014)

Jon Beason – Photo by Connor Hughes

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Jon Beason Out for the Season: The New York Giants confirmed on Monday that linebacker Jon Beason will undergo surgery on his injured right foot. Beason will be placed on Injured Reserve and miss the rest of the 2014 NFL season.

“Let’s get him right,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “We got the guy on the field, he tried it, it actually became a little bit different kind of an injury but the same area. He gave it everything he had and he had the doctor’s approval. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.”

Beason suffered a ligament tear and fracture to the sesamoid bone in his right foot during an OTA practice on June 12. He aggravated the injury in Week 2 against Arizona and Week 7 against Dallas. He missed three games after the game against the Cardinals.

October 27, 2014 New York Giants Injury Report: Aside from LB Jon Beason (foot), not practicing on Monday were RB Rashad Jennings (knee), RB Peyton Hillis (illness), DT Cullen Jenkins (calf), and LB Spencer Paysinger (illness).

“He’s not ready to go,” said Head Coach Tom Coughin of Jennings. “He’s day-to-day.”

“I just need to get to the point where I can get back to cutting,’’ Jennings said. “Right now it’s linear, then eventually we’ll get to side to side.”

“(Hillis is) sick,” said Coughlin. “We’ve got a couple of guys. I’m telling you, these vacations are no good. They come back, they’re throwing up. They probably caught it from the kids or something. We’ve got two or three of them that are… (Spencer) Paysinger same way. He’s sick too.”

CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (back/hamstring) and OG Geoff Schwartz (toe) were limited.

“(Rodgers-Cromartie) was out there,” said Coughlin. “Last week we were encouraged because of the number of treatments that he got. We’ll have to see…I thought there was (improvement). He did some plays and took some plays where he didn’t work. I think it’s a little better than it was, but whether or not it’s ready to be where we would want it to be, I don’t know.”

October 27, 2014 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video from Monday’s press conference with Head Coach Tom Coughlin are available at Giants.com.

October 27, 2014 New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s media Q&A sessions with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Articles on the 2014 New York Giants:

Article on QB Eli Manning:

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Jason Pierre-Paul playing like old self again this season for NY Giants by Ebenezer Samuel of The New York Daily News

Article on Ex-New York Giants: How Will Hill, Justin Tuck and the ex-Giants are doing with their new team by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Oct 262014
 
Perry Fewell, New York Giants (January 8, 2012)

Perry Fewell – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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The Outsider’s Report: Special Defensive Pressure Package Edition

By BigBlueInteractive.com Contributor Daniel in MI

The warden finally allowed us to watch the tape of the Giants-Cowboys game now that we have been released from the Hole. (Editor’s Note: When your job is in the prison cafeteria, people need to be specific when they ask for a tossed salad. ‘Nuff said.) The Outsider Report (TOSR) staff carefully examined the tape, and then asked to be put back in the Hole. That request denied, we decided to write up our report. As always, although we lack any contacts, inside information, derrière millinery, or media passes, we nevertheless bring you the truth beyond the facts. Although much of what we write is apocryphal, or at least wildly inaccurate, it scores over pedestrian media in two important ways: 1) it’s free; and 2) we use only the most effervescent fonts.

In our view, the key to this game was the inability of the Giants to get any pass rush. Some observers astutely note that when you give quarterbacks 8-10 minutes in the pocket, they tend to find open WRs. It seemed like no matter what the Giants did, there was little pass rush. This was especially true in the second half when Dallas QB Tony Romo had exactly zero incomplete passes. (This, sadly, negated the usual Giants second half D motto, “It could have been worse!”)

So, it was gratifying for TOSR sources to learn that the league this week launched an investigation into the whereabouts of the Giants LBs and what happens to them when they rush the passer. At a press conference held by Rodger Goodell he said,

It has come to my attention that during games, defensive players for the New York Football Giants seem to be disappearing from the field of play. Our film analysis shows that this is taking place on plays in which Linebackers rush the passer. They leave the defensive backfield toward the opposing Quarterback and then… just, well, vanish. It has happened game after game. Fans have asked us to look into it, and we are responding. We have used the chips embedded in their pads this year to try and track them with telemetry, but the signals just go blank. It’s as if they enter the Bermuda Triangle on the field. Then after the pass is complete, the data begin again as the player appears jogging to the new line of scrimmage, typically 8 or more yards downfield.

To try and learn more, we asked Giants LB Jacquian Williams some incisive questions:

TOSR: What kind of name is Jacquian?

JW: What? I don’t know, it’s just what my parents named me. I thought you wanted to talk about pass rush?

TOSR: Ok, ok. What do you experience when you rush the passer?

JW: It’s very spooky. I begin to rush. I see an offensive player, usually a lineman or back, and then, it all just kind of goes blank. There’s flashes of light, I see sky sometimes, or turf, I hear weird grunting noises. Then, nothing. The play is over and they’ve made another first down. I can’t really remember anything that happened.

TOSR: And, do you think you’ve been abducted? Do you get anal probed at any point?

JW: What?

TOSR: Nothing, never mind. Do you see a QB at any point during this process?

JW: I thought I saw one once. I can’t be sure. It was blurry.

TOSR: Can you show me on this doll where they blocked you?

JW: Here and here. And, sometimes, …here.

TOSR: So, shoulders, chest, and sometimes legs?

JW: I think so. I like I said, it’s all sort of a blur. I don’t want to talk about it anymore.

TOSR: And, do you ever try and avoid these blocks? How do we know you’re really trying to get to the QB?

JW: What are you saying? That I’m ‘asking for it’ by the way I rush? That it didn’t really happen? Look, I don’t know what happens out there! It’s not my fault. IT’S NOT MY FAULT!

TOSR: Just one more question. Seriously, what kind of name is Jacquian? Do we pronounce the “i” or…

JW: I’m outta here.

Looking to go more in depth, we caught up with Giants DC Perry Fewell to ask him more about this mystery. We asked him whether he had any insight into the disappearance of his pass rushing LBs. “We had veteran players. We run a sophisticated pass rush scheme. You have to take into account and communicate a lot out there — the down, distance, game clock, opponent tendencies, the QB, the personnel package, the field conditions, the strong side of the formation, wind speed, barometric pressure, biorhythms, astrological charts, whether there’s an ebb tide, polling results, electrical resistance, shear stress, the partial pressure of nitrogen, hydrostatic pressure, ovulation, market fluctuation, centripetal force, and charmed quarks.” We suggested that it seemed complex. He responded, “It is! It’s much harder than rocket science, it’s football. But, as a coach you simplify it for the players to help them understand. I have boiled it all down to easy to understand three point schemes for pass and run pressures.”

To validate this information, I got my hacker roommate who is part of the mysterious group known only as Anonymous — but whose name is Ed Tergarian, and he lives in his mom’s basement in West Caldwell — to hack Coach Fewell’s computer, and steal a copy of the defensive playbook. (Editor’s note: “password123” is not a secure password, Perry) In a TOSR exclusive, here for the first time is the Giants LB blitz package reproduced in its entirety. We ask you to PLEASE do not share this information for obvious reasons, to avoid giving away our strategies. Once this is published, our sources will leave for Russia like that NSA leaker guy. (Although, in this case, it’s just to pick up the mail-order bride. Welcome, Anastasia!)

NY Football Giants Pressure Packages for SAM, MIKE, and WILL

Passing Pressure Package: Three-Step Plan
A) Directly engage opposing blockers
B) ???
C) Really big sacks!

Run Blitz: Three-Step Plan
A) Synergy
B) Think Outside the Box
C) Empowerment!

That’s it. That’s the whole damn thing. Well, he definitely boiled it down. I see why they disappear now. I want to disappear now, too.

Tune in next week when we examine the Giants run blocking scheme. Spoiler alert: “Just kinda get in the way of someone if you can” could be in there! Until then, thank goodness it’s a bye week so we can pretend we’re fans of a functional football team. “They just look like the Broncos, but really that was the Giants. See? Manning is the QB.”

Oct 252014
 
Peter Giunta, New York Giants (November 6, 2011)

Peter Giunta – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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Giants.com Interviews with New York Giants Position Coaches: The video of recent Giants.com interviews with the following team position coaches is available from Giants.com:

  • Defensive Line Coach Robert Nunn (Video)
  • Cornerbacks Coach Peter Giunta (Video)

Articles on the 2014 New York Giants:

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Defensive changes on the horizon for the Giants after their bye week by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: Eli Manning has reduced risk and picks, but Giants need to let him take more chances by Tom Rock of Newsday

Article on WR Odell Beckham: Odell Beckham Jr. making most of hitting genetic jackpot by Brian Lewis of The New York Post

Article on New York Giants Tight Ends: This Giants position went from their worst to one of their best by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Article on the Giants-Cowboys Game: Andre Williams’ struggles in Dallas, the lack of blitzing and more in this week’s Giants film review by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on “Finding Giants”: Why John Mara opened the door to his front office/scouting process for ‘Finding Giants’ by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Oct 232014
 
New York Giants Offense (October 19, 2014)

New York Giants Offense – Photo by Big d E

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Dallas Cowboys 31 – New York Giants 21

Both quarterbacks played well. This game was lost in the trenches. It really is that simple. The Dallas Cowboys out-played the Giants on the offensive and defensive lines. It’s hard to win football games when you are out-played up front. The Giants could not rush the football because the offensive line could not generate move out a subpar front seven that had struggled against the run. The Giants defensive line exerted virtually no pressure on the Cowboys quarterback and gave up 156 yards on the ground.

REVISITING: FOUR DOWNS
During our game preview, we listed ‘Four Downs,’ which took a look at the top four questions surrounding the Giants heading into the game. Now that the game has been played and the film reviewed, it’s time to break it down.

First Down
Can the defensive line and linebackers contain DeMarco Murray?
No. Murray rushed for 128 yards on 28 carries (4.6 yards per carry) and one touchdown.

Second Down
Can Dominique Rodgers-Cromarite play? Can he be effective?
DRC only played 15 defensive snaps, mostly on third down. In hindsight, the Giants would have been better off to have sit him.

Third Down
How will Justin Pugh respond?
Much better than a week ago versus Philly, but then again, it would have been hard to be worse. Aside from a penalty directed his way, Pugh held his own against the Dallas Cowboys. He wasn’t terribly great, but wasn’t terribly bad, either.

Fourth Down
Is Odell Beckham Jr. ready?
Beckham has yet to have his truly ‘breakout performance,’ and by breakout, its in reference to 100 or more receiving yards, eight or more catches, but Sunday was again another indication that the rookie is progressing. Beckham caught four passes for 34 yards and a pair of touchdowns as Manning looks to be targeting the rookie more and more. Beckham also rushed once for 13 yards.

OFFENSIVE OVERVIEW by Connor Hughes

The Giants offense gained 352 total yards of offense versus Dallas, rushing for 104 and passing for 248. The team picked up 20 total first downs, held the ball for 26:11.

Eli Manning, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Eli Manning – © USA TODAY Sports Images

QUARTERBACK by Connor Hughes

As has been the case against every opponent not nicknamed the ‘Detroit Lions,’ Eli Manning was very efficient versus the Cowboys. Manning completed 21-of-33 for 248 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions. It marked the third straight game in which Manning did not throw an interception.

One of the more alarming observations from the game was the fact Manning and Co. have not attempted to stretch the field much this season. Of his 21 completions, Manning averaged just 7.5 yards per completion. Comparing that to Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo, who completed 17 passes, he averaged 12.1 yards per completion.

Manning has the weapons to stretch the field, but the team just isn’t looking to do it. With a running game that hasn’t truly got it going yet with Andre Williams in the backfield, it may be beneficial for Manning to take the shots.

Even if the pass is incomplete, the defense will need to respect the pass. The safety will need to come out of the box for fear of the deep bomb. With New York never even taking a shot, there’s no fear of anything past 10 yards.

RUNNING BACKS by Connor Hughes

It’s tough to gauge exactly why Andre Williams is struggling to establish anything consistent on the ground: It could be the offensive line, could be Williams not seeing potential cutback lanes and strictly running where the ball is supposed to be. Discounting his 22 yard rush, Williams rushed 17 times for 29 yards (1.7 yards per carry).

When Rashad Jennings was in the game, rarely did he run strictly through the hole the play was designed for. While Jennings isn’t the strongest or fastest running back, he has tremendous vision. He could see the lane left when running right, and adjust his carries to compensate and pick up yardage. With Williams in the game, it doesn’t appear as if that’s the same case.

At times, it looks like Williams strictly runs through the hole the play is designed to go through. That works when the hole is there. When its not, Williams is tackled for no gain or a loss.

Odell Beckham, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Odell Beckham – Photo by Big d E

WIDE RECEIVERS by Connor Hughes

Victor Cruz will be missed. That was evidently clear on Sunday. Yes, the Giants have Odell Beckham and need Beckham to step up, but Beckham isn’t replacing’ Cruz in the slot. That’s Preston Parker.

While Parker will play a role of if he’s open, he’s hardly a game-changer like Cruz. On Sunday, Parker caught just two passes for 19 yards.

The Giants had been hoping Rueben Randle would step up, but as this season has made clear, it doesn’t look as if Randle is a clear-cut No. 1 in the NFL. Hypothetically, Beckham – if he can establish to a No. 1 – with Randle on the other side and Cruz in the slot is a perfect receiving corps. Every player compensates for each other perfectly. The Giants would have one of everything at the three spots.

TIGHT ENDS by Connor Hughes

Larry Donnell didn’t cost the Giants a game, but he contributed to the loss. While his seven catches for 90 yards were a nice breakout from the one catch in the previous two complete games, Donnell’s fourth quarter fumble cost the Giants their best chance at tying the game.

For as good as Donnell has been, he’s also lost three fumbles on his 33 touches. That’s not good.

Donnell gives the Giants a chance to stretch the field and is New York’s best receiving option at the position, so it’s unlikely New York benches him, but Daniel Fells is right now the more “sure” thing. Fells is the type of tight end that would have started for New York any year under Kevin Gilbride. He’s reliable, runs the right routes, and can get to spot A on the field when he’s supposed to be there.

When Fells is in the game, the Giants know what they’ll get out of him, but what Donnell does with his pure athletic ability are things Fells just can’t do. Donnell can’t come off the field, but he’s doing his part in trying to make it so he can.

Tom Coughlin has been a stickler for players who can’t hold on to the ball. One more fumble from Donnell may cost the tight end his No. 1 spot.

OFFENSIVE LINE by Eric Kennedy

The Dallas Cowboys defense controlled the line of scrimmage. The Cowboys were the stronger, more physical team. That showed up most clearly in New York’s attempted ground attack. Coming into this game, the Cowboys defense had been surrendering 5.1 per carry. Take away runs by Eli Manning, Odell Beckham, and the one meaningless 9-yard run by Peyton Hillis at the end of the first half, and the Giants averaged 3.1 yards. Take away the one 22-yard run by Andre Williams, and the Giants averaged 2.2 yards on 24 carries.  Given the fact that the Giants only ran 59 offensive plays in the game, that means 41 percent of their snaps averaged 2.2 yards.

Who was the problem? It was across the board, and it just wasn’t always the offensive line. But the line did not win their one-on-one match-ups…even missing blocks away from the play and allowing backside defenders to disrupt the play. There were occasions where a player simply got beat (physical mistake), and other occasions where the defender making the play wasn’t blocked (mental mistake).

Tyrone Crawford Beats John Jerry to Disrupt Run

Tyrone Crawford Beats John Jerry to Disrupt Run

Pass protection was better in that Manning was not sacked and only officially hit three times. But keep in mind that Dallas is a terrible team at rushing the passer (only six sacks all season) and that Eli again made his protection look better than it was due to quickly getting rid of the ball. It’s pretty clear that in some instances, Tom Coughlin and Ben McAdoo simply don’t trust the line and/or their quarterback in very long down-and-distance situations as New York continues to run the ball even on third and long.

No One Blocks DT Terrell McClain

No One Blocks DT Terrell McClain

As troubling as the inability to run the football against a weak defensive front was, penalties were also a huge problem. I’ve pointed out in our Giants-Redskins game review that the short passing game in the West Coast Offense can be a thing of beauty as long you don’t suffer any setbacks on 8-12 play drives. But a penalty, sack, or negative run can stymie a drive. Teams only have so many possessions per game. Not counting the two meaningless drives at the end of the half and game, the Giants had nine offensive possessions against the Cowboys. The Giants scored touchdowns on three of those drives (one-third). They overcame a holding call on Will Beatty on one of these drives.

But on three other possessions, penalties put a halt to things:

  • False start on Will Beatty on a 4th-and-1 attempt. Punt.
  • False starts by Justin Pugh and Weston Richburg, the latter on 2nd-and-13. Punt.
  • Not the OL, but Rueben Randle offensive holding on 1st-and-10 on Dallas 40-yard line. Punt.

What about the other three drives?

  • First possession of the game, after two runs, the Giants face 3rd-and-11 and hand-off to “speedster” Peyton Hillis for four yards. Punt. That’s the same as surrendering on 3rd-and-11. Not a very brave message to your team to start the game.
  • Near the 2-minute warning in the first half, after two runs picked up 6 yards, Eli could not connect with WR Preston Parker on 3rd-and-4. Punt.
  • Early in the 4th quarter, Eli connected with TE Larry Donnell for the first down, but Donnell fumbled the ball away.

In my opinion, Dallas never really “stopped” the Giants passing game. But penalties and an inability to run the football prevented the Giants from doing even more damage than the 21 points they accrued.

DEFENSIVE OVERVIEWby Eric Kennedy

The expectations coming out of training camp were that the defense was the far more settled portion of the team, with no turnover on the entire defensive coaching staff, same system, and an infusion of talent into what was going to be one of the best secondaries in the league. The Giants defense dominated its offensive counterpart throughout camp and there was talk of this being a top five unit.

But the same old problems remain.

In five seasons under defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, the Giants defensive rankings in terms of yards allowed are as follows:

  • 2010: 7th
  • 2011: 27th
  • 2012: 31st
  • 2013: 8th
  • 2014: 25th

Defensive rankings, points per game:

  • 2010: 17th
  • 2011: 25th
  • 2012: 12th
  • 2013: 18th
  • 2014: 21st

There is a whole lot of mediocrity there. Even when the yardage totals were respectable (2010 and 2013), the points per game totals were not. And it’s the same shit each year: blown coverages, blitz packages that rarely if ever produce, an inability to get off the field on third down, and an inability to make key stops in critical situations.

When the parts change but the results don’t, that suggests coaching is an issue.

Perry Fewell, New York Giants (October 19, 2014)

Perry Fewell – Photo by Big d E

That said, Perry Fewell once again has a built-in excuse to save his butt. The Giants lost their top nickel corner (Walter Thurmond) and his replacement (Trumaine McBride). The team’s #1 free agent acquisition (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) can’t stay on the field and isn’t producing as expected. There was a major downgrade at free safety with the release of Will Hill. And Jon Beason has been more of a liability than asset with his foot issue. Personnel matters too. And simply put, the Giants are not good enough on defense. The defensive line is not getting to the quarterback. The linebackers are below average. And the secondary is beat up and underperforming.

Perry Fewell and his defensive team looks great when they face someone like Kirk Cousins or Josh Freeman, but the results are usually pretty bad when they face a quality NFL starter.

As for this particular game, the numbers – once again – tell the story. The Cowboys accrued 20 first downs and 423 yards of offense, including 156 yards on the ground. Dallas was 9-of-14 on third down (an unacceptable 64 percent). Dallas controlled the clock 33:49 (to Giants’ 26:11). The Cowboys were 3-for-3 (100 percent) in the red zone. QB Tony Romo only had 6 incompletions, and none in the second half of the game where he was a perfect 9-for-9. Dallas also had six plays over 20 yards totaling 162 yards.

Dallas scored on half of their possessions: four touchdowns and a field goal on 10 opportunities. Their first three touchdown drives went 76 yards in 11 plays, 80 yards in 10 plays, and 93 yards in 6 plays. When the Giants got to within 28-21 with 5:28 to play, the defense could not stop the Cowboys, allowing Dallas to to pick up three first downs and 49 yards, erasing 4:29 from the clock, and setting up the game-clinching field goal. On these five scoring drives, Dallas converted on 3rd-and-8, 3rd-and-5, 3rd-and-10, 3rd-and-6, 3rd-and-9, 3rd-and-6, 3rd-and-8, and 3rd-and-1.

Coming into this game, the Giants game-plan had to be to limit the damage of RB DeMarco Murray, WR Dez Bryant, and TE Jason Witten. Murray rushed for 128 yards and a touchdown (4.6 yards per carry). Bryant caught 9 passes for 151 yards (16.8 yards per catch). In other words, 279 of Dallas’ 423 yards were by these two players. The Giants were able to limit the damage of Witten (2 catches for 27 yards), but were burned by his backup (3 catches for 65 yards and two touchdowns). Romo completed 17-of-23 passes for 279 yards and three touchdowns. His QB rating was a gaudy 135.7.

DEFENSIVE LINE by Eric Kennedy

Jason Pierre-Paul (60 snaps, 6 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss, 3 quarterback hits) and Mathias Kiwanuka (55 snaps, 2 tackles) saw the bulk of the playing time at defensive end. Cullen Jenkins (1 quarterback hit) left the game with an injury after playing only 11 snaps at defensive tackle. Because of that, Johnathan Hankins (40 snaps, 3 tackles), Mike Patterson (32 snaps, 2 tackles), and Markus Kuhn (23 snaps, 1 tackle) saw the most action at defensive tackle.

DE/DT Robert Ayers (19 snaps, 1 tackle) and DE Damontre Moore (10 snaps, 0 tackles) saw more limited time.

The Giants gave up 102 rushing yards (6 by Romo) in the first half alone. That said, there were times when they did a nice job on the Cowboys running game. JPP and Hankins stood out at times against the run and both caused holding penalties that helped to stop two first-half drives. The left side of the defensive line – Mathias Kiwanuka and Cullen Jenkins – were two who had issues in run defense.

The bulk of Murray’s 73 first-half yards came in big chunks as he had runs of 17, 10, and 21 yards – accounting for 66 percent of his production. Other than those three runs, the Giants actually did a decent job on him. Unfortunately, those three runs do count.

On 2nd-and-9 on first TD drive, Murray picks up 17 yards as Beason (blocked by #72), Jenkins (blocked by #70), and Kiwanuka (blocked by #78) were effectively handled at the point of attack. Murray has a huge hole to run through.

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Beason, Jenkins, and Kiwanuka Effectively Blocked

On 1st-and-10 on second TD drive, the Giants are in good position to stop Murray, but Devon Kennard is stiff-armed and a 10-yard gain results.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 2.15.25 PM

Kennard Can’t Make the Play

On 1st-and-10 on same drive, Murray picks up 21 yards as Dallas runs at Kiwanuka and Kennard.

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TE Blocks Kennard, RT Takes Out Kiwanuka

In the second half, most of Murray’s damage/impact again came on three runs:

  1. A 15-yard gain when Patterson, McClain, and Kuhn were blocked.
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Patterson, McClain, and Kuhn Can’t Make the Play

  1. An 8-yard run on 3rd-and-1 when the Cowboys were trying to run out the clock.
  2. A 17-yard cutback run on the very next snap where either Kiwanuka and/or Kennard appeared to lose contain.

But the big problem wasn’t the run defense, there was no pass rush. JPP had two good pressures, one resulted in an incompletion on what could have been a 57-yard TD pass (that’s what pressure does). And he had a very nice sack against Pro Bowl LT Tyron Smith late in the first half. His early sack was more of a coverage sack/snafu by Romo than an actual good pass rush. Other than that, it was like Romo was playing 7-on-7 back there as he was rarely even disturbed. The few times Fewell blitzed, it didn’t get there, and there were times when the pass rush was minimized by dropping linemen into coverage (i.e., Jenkins was dropped into coverage on the 3rd-and-5 play that resulted in a 24-yard completion to TE Gavin Escobar).

Just one example where Romo had all day to throw was his 18-yard touchdown pass to WR Terrance Williams. The Giants had good coverage on the play, but Romo had all day to find a receiver who would eventually get open. On this play, the Giants initially rushed four, but Markus Kuhn got stymied at the line and then peeled off to cover the running back.

There was no pressure on Romo at all in second half as he completed all nine of his attempts (again, it was like a 7-on-7 drill).

What really bugs me is dropping defensive linemen into coverage. Maybe I’m looking at the wrong plays, but this never seems to work. Look where the Giants’ best pass rusher (#90) is on the 44-yard completion on 3rd-and-6 in the third quarter.

Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 3.27.21 PM

#90 Caught in No-Man’s Land

LINEBACKERSby Eric Kennedy

Jon Beason was only able to last 17 snaps before being forced to leave the game with his never-ending toe issue. It’s time to shut him down, put him on IR, and let him have surgery. He wasn’t very good when he played (no tackles). He was effectively blocked at the point-of-attack (see 17-yard run above) and looked a step slow in coverage (Escobar’s 24-yard completion on 3rd-and-5). The team plays better with Jameel McClain inside.

Jacquian Williams (62 snaps, 7 tackles) saw the most action, followed by McClain (53 snaps, 5 tackles, 1 tackle for a loss), and Devon Kennard (22 snaps, 4 tackles). Williams gave up a 12-yard completion to Witten on 3rd-and-8 on the first TD drive, but the Giants did a good job of keeping Witten under wraps and Williams probably deserves a lot of credit there. I’d like to see more of Kennard, but he did get stiff-armed on the 10-yard run and blocked on the 21-yard on the second TD drive.

DEFENSIVE BACKS by Eric Kennedy

The main four in this contest were Antrel Rolle (62 snaps, 3 tackles), Quintin Demps (61 snaps, 6 tackles), Prince Amukamara (59 snaps, 7 tackles 1 interception, 2 pass defenses), and Zack Bowman (45 snaps, 5 tackles, 1 pass defense).

Stevie Brown (0 tackles), Jayron Hosley (1 tackle), and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (1 tackle) chipped in with 15 snaps apiece. Chandler Fenner saw four snaps.

Tony Romo’s one interception came on a play where Dez Bryant fell down. The Giants only defended three passes as Tony Romo only threw six incompletions, and was a perfect 9-for-9 in the second half. It doesn’t get much worse than that.

Plays that stood out me included:

  • Jayron Hosley and DRC holding Bryant 1-yard short of the first down on 3rd-and-8.
  • Bowman’s excellent deep coverage on WR Terrance Williams.
  • Demps missing Romo on a safety blitz.
  • Either Hosley or Beason badly busting coverage on Escobar’s 15-yard TD reception on 3rd-and-10 (seems to happen far too often in Fewell’s defenses).
  • Amukamara having excellent coverage on Bryant on a perfectly-thrown 8-yard slant on 3rd-and-6. A few plays later, Amukamara got beat deep by Bryant, but he recovered in time to knock away Romo’s under thrown ball (one of few times Romo was pressured).
  • A typical Fewell zone special where Romo was provided with an easy pitch-and-catch opportunity to his security blanket (Witten) on 3rd-and-9 on the second TD drive.
Screen Shot 2014-10-20 at 2.55.03 PM

You’ve Got to Cover Witten Better Than This

In the second half, it was worse, again with no incompletions for the Cowboys.

Chandler Fenner was completely lost when attempting to cover Bryant out of the slot on 3rd-and-6, resulting in a game-changing 44-yard completion. On this play, Fenner and Demps also missed the tackle after the completion.

Two plays later, Amukamara was beat by Bryant for an easy 17-yard completion.

On the next snap, all of the linebackers bit on the play-action fake and Bowman was beaten by Escobar for a 26-yard touchdown on a very well-thrown pass. Demps, for some reason, did not smash Escobar as he came down with the throw. This 6-play, 93-yard drive put the Cowboys up for good and all of the damage was done on these three plays.

Amukamara continued to have issues with Bryant on other second-half possessions. He gave up a completion of 23 yards in the 3rd quarter. In the 4th quarter, on 3rd-and-8, Bryant beat Amukamara’s jam for a 24-yard completion down to the 1-yard line. Late in the game with the Giants trailing 28-21 and desperately trying to get the ball back, Bryant beat Prince for gains of 10 and 13 yards.

Antrel Rolle was invisible. He’s not playing like he did last year. If he doesn’t turn it around, this may be his last season with the team.

SPECIAL TEAMS by Eric Kennedy

Special teams were not an issue in this game.

Steve Weatherford punted five time, averaging 44.8 yards per punt (39.6 net). Dallas only returned two punts for six yards. All four of Josh Brown’s kickoffs resulted in touchbacks as Dallas never returned a kickoff.

Michael Cox returned three kickoffs for 87 yards (29 yards per return) with a long return of 40 yards. Odell Beckham returned two punts for 21 yards, with a long of 13 yards.

In terms of return yardage, the Giants out-gained the Cowboys 108 to 6.

(New York Giants at Dallas Cowboys, October 19, 2014)
Oct 232014
 
Pat Flaherty, New York Giants (July 28, 2013)

Pat Flaherty – © USA TODAY Sports Images

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