By The Professor
Staff Writer NFL PRO ZACH
As the Giants head out for a much needed break, what are we to think? We have watched this team go from dominant to doormat, in the space of 4 weeks! It is far too easy to interpret this latest debacle as another November swoon. I truly hope that the Giant players do not regard their most recent performances as lack of effort or focus. It is obvious that the fundamentals run far deeper. Below, I will try to quantify the structural flaws in this year’s band of brothers. I will present this in 2 segments.
First the Offense:
- The Giants can’t run the ball. Most of the statistical rushing yards, accumulated by the Giants, versus the Bengals were in “garbage time”. For the most part, the Giants haven’t been a running team since the Bill Parcells regime.
- Compensating for this apparent inability to run the football has been a very effective passing game, directed by a top 5 QB. Now that dynamic air attack appears to be anemic. The million-dollar question is what has happened?
- The Giants honor their ancestors. Big Blue must retain the ability to run the football. They are in a minority that retains a roster spot for a fullback. Their TE must block first and catch second. But between a salary cap reality and their immediate needs, they have a conflicted agenda. They drafted a running back in the 1st round, but with the exception of Will Beatty (2nd round), they have drafted OL (projects) in the later rounds. David Baas came via free agency. FIRST STRUCTURAL PROBLEM – the Giants have made very little investment in the offensive trenches. The present Giant OL is, at best, an accumulation of pass blocking skill sets. The “Black Unicorn” is a 1-year project that won’t be mistaken for Aaron Hernandez. His free agent acquisition could be argued, as the commitment I suggest is absent?
- Just so we understand each other, I think Jerry Reese is a genius. I do not question how this 2012 team is constructed. I do, very much, question how the coaching staff is utilizing those pieces! SECOND STRUCTUAL PROBLEM – the Giant Coaching Staff is wasting a lot of effort, and a lot of downs, keeping up appearances. Believe me, they are not fooling the NFL coaching pool. You either can or can’t run the football, when it counts. Refer to point # 1, if you need reminding?
- The Giants cannot afford Nicks to be at 50%. Without his burst, everything in the box is congested. There is less room for Cruz to operate, and Randle cannot stretch the field, or he is not trusted to? This may be too simple, but the Giants offense can no longer threaten opposing defenses with the big play. The Nicks injury forces the Giants to play small- ball and demands perfection in tighter windows. As those windows open and close in a nano-second, the ball is being held longer by Eli. No wonder the sack total and interceptions are starting to rise! THIRD STRUCTUAL PROBLEM –options are too thin at the skill positions to adjust to injuries to the playmakers. Of course, Wilson and/or Randle may alter the dynamic with opportunity or some maturing. I’m guessing that unless the week off enables Nicks to recover (may be a season nagging injury), they bump Cruz out wide, and move Barden or Jernigan into the slot. Cruz is the best slot receiver in the league, but moving Cruz wide would also draw the double coverage wide, effectively unclogging the middle.
* Stay tuned. I’ll do light review of the Defense this week.