Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The Report Card

Somebody requested we try a Tuesday report card here. I'm game. And I'll grade this blog first. Finally got the blog counter going and it showed 346 people clicked in yesterday, the first day of the count. That leaves just 6,999,999,654 people to wrangle in if I'm to achieve my ultimate goal of world dominance. To those who are watching, thanks. And to those who aren't, what're ya waiting for (please translate into as many languages as possible). GRADE: INCOMPLETE. But works and plays well with others.

Now let's get on the Giants.

QUARTERBACK: Eli Manning didn't do badly in a 20-for-29, 256 yard day that included a touchdown and an interception. The pick was a bad one, though, as he rolled away from pressure then tried to throw almost cross-body to Steve Smith, only to have it tipped and intercepted in double coverage. He was at his own 12 at the time, and the ensuing Redskins possession resulted in a field goal that tightened the game at 17-10 in the third. He fumbled twice, losing one. But he also spread the ball around to seven receivers and didn't hesistate to look in the direction of young wideouts Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks. And gotta love how he threaded that throw to Steve Smith downfield for a key 26-yard gain in the final field goal drive. GRADE: B.

RUNNING BACKS: Decent split between Brandon Jacobs (16 carries, 46 yards) and Ahmad Bradshaw (12 carries, 60 yards). As time goes on, that 28-carry total will probably rise by a few. Here's the thing. Neither back came through in the Red Zone, and that's going to hurt them badly if it continues. Granted, the Redskins have a good defense, but either back should be strong enough to make a third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 in close. Seeing Bradshaw get stood up, albeit by a tough safety in LaRon Landry, on third-and-1 from the 11 on the opening field goal drive was disappointing enough. But then to see Jacobs fail on third-and-1 and fourth-and-1 from the 3 on the next drive could have been devestating. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride should take some heat for the fourth-down call, but the 264-pound Jacobs has to make it happen no matter what. Danny Ware never got a chance to contribute, as he dislocated his elbow on the opening kickoff. GRADE: C.

RECEIVERS: Outstanding. Smith's catch with DeAngelo Hall draped all over him was a picture of concentration and coordination, not to mention that it helped set up the final field goal. That same drive featured a very smart play by tight end Kevin Boss, who drifted over as Manning scrambled to the right to provide the outlet, and then turned the medium catch into a 27-yard gain to the Washington 13. Smith finished with six catches for 80 yards, and Boss had three catches for 62 yards. The scoring highlight came from Mario Manningham, who shook one tackle and deked out another on his way to a 30-yard touchdown catch in the second quarter. Hakeem Nicks got a big first down, pulling the Giants away from their 8, before he went out with a sprained foot. The best part of the performance is that the youngest of the young receivers rewarded Manning's confidence in them. Manningham caught three of the four balls that came his way. And Nicks recovered nicely in the second half with two catches after dropping a wide-open pass in the first quarter. Need to get to Domenik Hixon more, though. One catch for 10 yards won't get it done. GRADE: A-.

OFFENSIVE LINE: They only allowed one sack, but that resulted in a lost fumble. Give guard Rich Seubert lots of credit for picking up a fumbled snap on the second play of the game, not only allowing the Giants to keep possession but turning it into a four-yard gain. The run blocking needs to get more push, though, especially in the short-yardage situations. Chris Snee had a hold that turned a potential, final touchdown drive into a field goal drive. GRADE: B-.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Osi Umenyiora's strip, recovery, and 37-yard return for his third career touchdown indicated he has recovered fully from the knee surgery that kept him out all last year. Justin Tuck had a great overall game with five tackles, 1 1/2 sacks, and two tackles behind the line. Included was his third-quarter sequence after Manning's interception, where he dropped Clinton Portis for minus-5 on first down and then sacked Jason Campbell on third-and-6 from the 7 to force a field goal. Chris Canty got in for 20 plays as he regains his stamina after missing most of camp, and had a tackle for loss. Campbell saw decent pressure throughout. GRADE: A.

LINEBACKERS: Not bad. Chase Blackburn started at the weakside for the suspended Michael Boley and gets kudos for sniffing out the first-quarter gimmick that resulted in a shared 11-yard sack with Tuck on Antwan Randle-El. Antonio Pierce had six tackles, and Danny Clark had four. But that late touchdown throw to tight end Chris Cooley was way too easy. GRADE: B.

SECONDARY: All sorts of good things here, from Corey Webster's boxing skills while taking on Santana Moss to his acrobatic sideline interception. Webster helped hold Moss to two catches for six yards. Bruce Johnson, undrafted and unthought of until now, came up with a key shoestring tackle on Portis to save a huge gain, and earlier had a hit on Cooley that caused a fumble that went out of bounds. They got hit for a couple of big plays, but that's going to happen. Safety Michael Johnson made like a heat-seeking missle with a team-high eight tackles, two for losses. GRADE: A.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Mixed bag here. Lawrence Tynes was 3-for-3 and Jeff Feagles punted only once for 48 yards. Solid enough. Steve Smith did a great job fielding the on-sides kick at the end, as did those who blocked every Redskins to give him a clear view of the ball. But the fake field goal was inexcuseable, even if they were in an all-out block. GRADE: B-.

COACHING: Gotta do something about that Red Zone offense, Kevin Gilbride. Going for it on fourth-and-1 at the 3? Good idea, especially at that early juncture of the game. Running Brandon Jacobs straight at Albert Haynesworth on that play? Not so much. Giants are now 0-for-3 in the Red Zone, including one where they came away with nothing. Tough start to the season there. Defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan gets points for keeping his defensive line fresh. Chris Canty and Rocky Bernard got just enough time inside to spell starters Barry Cofield and Fred Robbins, while Mathias Kiwanuka came in to allow Justin Tuck to play inside on some passing downs. Worked well. Tom Coughlin took the blame for the all-out block call on the fake field goal. GRADE: B.


  1. Great post Ernie. I agree we need to score TDs once we're in the red zone. That's going to come back to haunt us.

    John W

  2. Ernie,

    Your site is is on my drop down menu because it is well written and insightful. I'm sure the "clicks" will grow exponentially. JAB

  3. I actually like the format and look of this blog better than the old. On point as always. Couldn't agree more on the Cooley TD call. WAY too easy. I still don't understand why Blackburn got the start over Kehl, but he still looked great.

    The short yardage conversions (lack thereof that is) is very worrisome, but for now I'll chalk it up to their strong D. If we fail in Dalls, it's time to worry!

    Keep up the great Blog, I'm lovin' it!

  4. Great Job Ernie. Keep it up.

  5. Great blog Ernie. Keep it up but lighten up on Eli a little. Thought he was better than a B.

  6. Good job Ernie ,
    I agree with all of your grades ,
    maybe in the red zone especially on 3rd and 4th and short Eli could run some play action , WITH EVERYONE BUNCHED UP ON THE LINE SOMEONE CAN GET OPEN ON THE OUTSIDE ....
    THIS IS FUN , especially when the Giants win ...