Monday, September 26, 2011

Solid win in Philly, on to Arizona

So far this season Kevin Kolb is passing at a 62.5% completion rate, a slight improvement over last years 60.8%, but has thrown 5 touchdowns in the games along with 3 picks (2010 @ Philly 7-Tds/7Ints). Going 5-11 in 2010 Cardinals offense scored 289 points (18.1/g), ranked 26th out of 32nd in the NFL. 

The Cardinals drafted 2 running backs in 2011 along with 4 defensive players that include the 5th overall pick in the draft, CB Patrick Peterson out of LSU. With starter RB Beanie Wells injured last week (hamstring),  Chester Taylor got the start but was ineffective and Alfonso Smith finished the game (17 carries/54 yards)

Larry Fitzgerald is still a threat and both he and Jeff King have caught 2 touchdowns each, while 7th round 2011 pick from San Diego State, DeMarco Sampson at 6'2" has yet to make a catch.

There's just not a lot of offensive power in Arizona, and after seeing the Giants Redzone Defense stop the Eagles 5 out of 6 times, will there be a defensive letdown after the emotional high on Sunday?

To give the Cardinals credit their defense is currently ranked 8th vs last years finish of 30th. Kolb has thrown fewer picks in 3 games and the offense that was ranked 30th last year, after 3 games is ranked , 22nd.  The Giants aren't yet a powerhouse team and they will go on the road to Arizona looking to get on a roll and beat a team they should beat.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Victor Cruz can - well...... he can cruise.


During the 2010 preseason Victor Cruz was  the second best rookie receiver next to Dez Bryant. With Eli Manning out, Bret Bohmar played nearly 3 games, repeatedly hooking up with Cruz. Except for making the hot read and blocking downfield Victor Cruz looked NFL ready.

Incidental contact is just that incidental contact, Cruz doesn't get distracted and maintains good body control.

Many times Cruz got in front of the defender and looked for the ball twice, first time in case he needed to adjust to the ball, and catches the ball clean with his arms extended

Run after the catch. Yeah he does that, he knows where he is on the field and where the defenders are.

Its hard to find any good info on Cruzs' 40 yard times, I haven't found anything conclusive, just he ran  a 4.47 on his proday. Cruz runs good routes, and if his rookie habit of looking for the ball release first and then second looking the ball into his hands can consistently be combined with looking out for the blitz and making the hot read, Cruz can make the vaunted Free Agent Secondary of the Eagles forget about Mario Manningham, and make the Giants forget about Steve Smith.

A prediction: When the Giants offense lines up, if we see Cruz on the right side with Hakeem Nicks on the left side, that means the Giants will looking for Cruz to make those nice deep plays that Manningham is noted for. Note- Manningham ran a 4.38 on his proday. Cruz with 4.47 speed is not a true speester, but his speed is deceptive. Like Manningham, and former Giant Steve Smith, Cruz has the ability to accelerate to gain separation. then the double look at the ball is vital, first time to verify the release and vector, this tells Cruz where the ball is headed and when its going to arrive. Many cornerbacks read the receivers eyes to judge when to turn to the ball, but Cruzs' first look can give Cruz an advantage by knowing exactly when to break, cut, juke, use a burst of speed to get open. Then Cruz looks the ball into his hands.

Cruz has the tools and talent to take advantage of the opportunity on Sunday. There is no question Cruz will get better, the question is how fast does he get better.

Week 3, Eagles vs Giants

Nervous isn't the word. The Giants face a good quarterback in Michael Vick, with a secondary thats been decimated with injures. The Giants offense is a question mark, though showing some improvement in the Rams game.

Against the Rams the second half running game seemed to get on a roll. Having Jacobs pounding his way into the Eagles secondary late in the game will be a good sign.

Victor Cruz caught a ball last week, on a hot read no less. II was Coach, I would have practiced some longer routes for Cruz, he cane motor. As a Rookie Cruz brought some ready for the NFL skills. I would not be surprised to see Cruz expand on last weeks performance, and maybe snag a long throw.

Jake Ballard, at 275 and 6'5" Eli saw Ballard downfield against Washington for a good play. The Eagles have possibly the best triad at corner in the league, but those small guys don't want to see Ballard roaming in the secondary, or for that matter Brandon Jacobs.

Perry Fewell pretty much wrote the book last year on how to handle Michael Vick, but given a lead the Defense can't let Vick back in the game, they have to contain, and blitz, and make the Secondary look good. Victor Cruz played DB and receiver in high school.... just sayin....

Saturday, September 17, 2011

You got to Rolle with it baby.....

Ny Giants,Antrel Rolle

Giants starting safety Antrel Rolle is always good for a few comments, this week was no different. The Giants didn't have a sense of urgency, didn't feel like we had the energy, we're better than that.

“Just watching the film, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it was, but it can definitely get a whole lot better. And next time we face them, I can pretty much guarantee the outcome will be different.”

Mike Garafolo of the Star Ledger:

Maybe, as I noted in my game review, the Giants should get back to playing more man coverage. For whatever reason, they played a lot of zone after being a predominantly man-coverage team during Perry Fewell’s first season as defensive coordinator.
The results were less than spectacular, with Rolle giving too much of a cushion on a fourth-and-5, the linebackers struggling at times to provide coverage support underneath and rookie safety Tyler Sash late to break up on a ball thrown up the seam.
I have to agree. Rex Grossman has all to often fallen prey to a good defensive scheme, mixing up coverages, blitzing and covering out of the same personal package can and has led to a pick or 2 of Rex. At the very least play man on the 2 wideouts within zone coverage. 20 years ago Quarterbacks were taught at the college level to see the seam in the zone coverage and how to take advantage. Its no surprise a career journeyman, Grossman, fed a steady diet of zone coverage, ate it up.

The Giants would like to be able to blitz and cover out of the same personal package, facing an offense in a hurry up scheme you dont want to let substitutions tell the offense what you're going to do. Unfortunately the Giants may not have much of a choice, going from the base dee, to a nickel or dime package may require substitutions. Antrel Rolle did play a little corner in college, but he's just not that good, his forte is playing a safety who likes to do little freelancing, and Rolle flourishes as a blitzer, run stop, safety over the top guy. He's also the perfect compliment to Kenny Philips, who has the speed to cover deep passes from sideline to sideline and reads the run very well, and with his speed gets up on the line for a run stop as good as anybody in the league.

So my advice, hey Coach, leave Rolle as a safety.... Maybe a corner will come off of someone's practice squad, no one of any quality most likely, but a body, maybe competent in nickel and dime packages, can help add some depth.

Antrel Rolle can be used as a linebacker, hes a fearsome hitter defending the run, has the speed and moxie to blitz, and get to the quarterback. Its gonna take the linebackers helping out with good execution on the underneath plays, and better than average man coverage from Ross and Wester as well as solid play from 10 year vet Brian Williams, who at 5'11" might see time as a nickel back,  or 4 year man, the 6 ft Michael Coe.

Interesting note, Kenny Phillips and Deon Grant are both 6'2" making them easily the 2 tallest members of a secondary that otherwise is a bit short, at 6 foot and 5'11".

Week 2: Giants vs Rams

Giants signed 13 year veteran wide receiver Brandon Stokely, who is an experienced at the slot position.
“Football is football. Routes are routes. At some point, you just got to go out there and play. I learned that you can’t really overthink when you get on the field. You have to let your ability take over, and so that’s what we’re trying to do if I’m playing on Monday.”
Victor Cruz has not lived up to his potential in the slot position on Stokely's signing:

“We had to put that game to bed. That game is over. There is nothing we can do about that ballgame. What we can do is come to work. We can come to work focused, intense in our focus, be sharper in our practices, be sharper in our meetings so we can give ourselves a better opportunity to be successful on Monday.”


Coughlin has been impressed with several of Stokley’s attributes.

“His maneuverability,” Coughlin said. “His ability to put his body in the right position and once he gets real sharp, he catches pretty much everything. He is something a quarterback can count on.”

Obviously after Rex Brossamn lit up the Giants for 300+ yards last week, the secondary was as we thought it would be with all the injuries, very suspect. The Giants played a lot of zone and it may be that Perry Fewell wanted to keep it simple against the Redskins.

Giants Rookie Greg Jones played Ok, aginst the Redskins, recording 4 tackles, as the defense sacked Grossman 4 times and limited Hightower to 76 yards and 2.8 yard average. Carl Banks gave the Rookie a passing grade, acknowledging Jones must play better in coverage. If the young linebacker corp can execute against the pass, they can lend a hand to the depleted secondary by not having any mistakes in the way of a completed pass in the area of the linebackers responsibility, and the receiver making into the defensive secondary.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Week 1: NY Giants at Washington Redskins

Coach Mike Shanahan likes "everything about" Tim Hightower.
"He's a good blocker, excellent runner," said Shanahan. "He's been very productive." Coordinator Kyle Shanahan is just as excited, adding, "He's the exact type of runner we look for, and when he puts that foot down, he's violent, and when someone's in his way he's trying to run him over."
From Rotoworld

The Giants will have 7 defensive linemen and 7 linebackers waiting to stuff Tim Hightower. Hightower runs with power and can catch a pass, but the 3 years he played at Arizona don't say too much on paper, 4.8 yards per carry, 5 Td's, 736 yards, and 4 fumbles last year, he had 4 fumbles in 2010 too.

Washington Coach Mike Shanahan has sais that who starts at quarterback against the Giants will be game day decision. John Beck an unproven 30 year old who started 5 games for Miami 4 years ago, or Rex Grossman whose best season was last year when he played 5 games for Washington and he had his best touchdown pick ratio, 7 Td's and 4 picks. Grossman played his only ful season with Chicago in 2006, throwing 23 touchdowns and 20 picks.

The Line looks like 3 or 3 1/2 pts with an over under of 39 pts.

If the Giants play with some consistency on both sides of the ball, Washington will have very long day, if the Giants do what they are capable of, the Redskins are completely outclassed. The Giants showed in the preseason they can score 41 points, if Washington wants to avoid that they will have to get some pressure on Eli, stuff the run, if not at the line close to it, keeping the Giants offense off the field and scoring some points themselves..

The question is will the Giants find a reason to let Washington into the game, if the Dee holds them to 14 points, I see the Giants winning by 9 or 10 points.

NY Giants September 4th practice squad signings.

Jeff Roberts reports that the Giants have signed 7 practice squads players today. One slot remains.

—DE Justin Trattou, according to his agent, Brian Mackler
—C Jim Cordle, according to his agent. Joe Flanagan
—DT Dwayne Hendricks, reported by The Star-Ledger
—TE Christian Hopkins, reported by the NY Daily News
—RB Andre Brown, reported by The Star-Ledger
—LB Adrian Tracy, reported by The Star-Ledger
—QB Ryan Perrilloux, according to the Giants

Giants set to run the ball like no one else.

Its time to run the ball, right up the middle. The Giants Offensive line is now younger than it has been a few years, the retooling that started last season has continued with addition of Baas at center, and 2010 draft pick Mitch Petrus. It appears the Giants released 2009 4th round pick running back Andre Brown only to give him a spot practice squad.

Brown had 4.4 speed in College, but suffered a torn Achilles in 2009. Reports out of Giants camp this year have Brown doing well, not showing hesitancy making cuts and hitting gaps, while using his speed.

This video shows 3 nice plays Brown made in while in High School during 2003. Good speed, good vision seeing the field, and refusal to be brought down on first contact.

NY Giants 53 man roster for 2011

The Numbers game and a little surprise.
The question in my mind was do the Giants keep 8 Dee linemen and 8 receivers, if so, how many tightends and how many running backs do they keep, and that has meant very few linebackers the last 2 years.

Da'rel Scott makes the team, he's a burner and brings some sorely needed speed to the offense. Imagine Scott blocking in a 2 back set with Amhad Bradshaw, if the rush comes he blocks, if the defense covers, he moves past the DE, into an open area and catches a pass. Scary thoughts. Brown is released. They keep 4 backs.

Coach Coughlin decided to only keep 7 receivers, in recent years he had kept 8. The 6'6" project Ramses Barden is PUP, Nicks, Manningham, Hixon, Cruz, Thomas and Jerrigen will start the season. Nicks, Manningham, Hixon are all proven or potential 1000 yard receivers. I personally like Cruz, he may not be as fast as Da'rel Scott, but Cruz can, well cruise, Cruz needs to show he can make the hot read, and block downfield. Last year Cruz nearly always turned his head to look for the ball well before the DB, and consistently made better adjustments to the ball than the DB covering him, because of that.

Coach kept 2 tight ends. Travis Beckum and Jake Ballard.2 Fullbacks   Bear Pascoe who is a good blocking tight end and Henry Hynoski who is huge and low at 6'1" 266,  it looks like coach wants some blocking for the running game. 

Heres where I was surprised, Linebackers. Coach Coughlin saves a roster spot with Pascoe, and by keeping 6 receivers instead of 8, that makes 3 spots. With the injury to Clint Sintim. Jacquian Williams gets 3 sacks and 7 tackles in the final preseason game and probably makes the team based on that performance in 2 quarters of play. In addition to Willims,  Mark Herzlich, Greg Jones and Spencer Paysinger join Kiwi, Goff, and Michael Boley who may end up inheriting AP's spot. 7 Linebackers on a team that plays the 4-3?.Interesting.

As I thought, the Giants will keep 8 Defensive Linemen, Perry Fewells Scheme requires 8 big guys to shuffle in and out, keeping everyone fresh and opposing offenses shaking in their boots. 9 year veteran Jimmy Kennedy, a small surprise, makes the squad. At 6'4" and 320 he should be a welcome addition at the Dt spot,  clogging the middle on run plays, something Barry Cofield did in college playing the nose tackle in a 3-4, and did for the Giants in their 4-3, but with Cofield gone, there was a spot to fill.

At corner the Giants brought in 10 year vet Brian Williams to help, after the injuries to Thomas and the Prince, so the Giants will play with 4 corners until the Prince comes back from his injury. At safety Rookie Tyler Sash joins Phillips, Rolle,  Grant and veteran pick up Derrick Martin. Long gone are the 2  mid round draft picks at safety from 2010.

Davis Carr will back up Eli. The O line, traditionally a good unit looks to get better with a mix of vets and young guys David DiehlChris SneeKareem McKenzieWill Beatty, free agent acquisition David Bass, Stacy Andrews, 2nd year man Mitch PetrusJames BrewerKevin Boothe.

Dodge is gone, Offensive Tackle Adam Koets is on the PUP. 
Tynes is the kicker.

This is a team with a defense that will destroy the running 
game, depth at the Dee line and at backer should give the 
Giants enough talent to shut down everyone. The question 
is cornerback, if Rolle can slide over and play some 
corner in nickel or dime, and our backers cover, we should 
be ok.

I dont see 4000 yards passing from Eli like the last 2 years, 
with 4 quality running backs and a younger O line, 
I expect to see more run plays, but that should open 
up the passing game by the 4th quarter.