Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Offensive Loss

And you can read that two different ways. As you'll see, the grades for the offense after the 45-38 loss to the Eagles aren't so bad. But the defense? Absolutely offensive.

But hey, this is the season of miracles. And the biggest miracle to come out of that game is the fact that the 7-6 Giants are still deep in the hunt for that sixth playoff spot. Still, if the defense doesn't start doing some extra credit homework, it's going to pull down the entire GPA to failing.

Here are the grades.

QUARTERBACK: Slide, Eli, slide! Taking a page from the Mark Sanchez book of self-destructive behavior, Manning lost a fumble on a head-first dive deep in Eagles territory. A score there, with the Eagles up 30-24, might have produced a more permanent momentum shift. He threw well, going 27-of-38 for a career-high 391 yards and three touchdowns. And he seemed to move well even though he took three sacks. That last-ditch shovel pass to Ahmad Bradshaw just as he was being taken down was a heady play. GRADE: B+.

RUNNING BACKS: The ground game amassed 133 yards and two touchdowns, a lot more production than they've generally seen. But there's no forgiving Brandon Jacobs for losing a fumble that Sheldon Brown returned 60 yards for a first-quarter touchdown. Jacobs failed to get 20 carries again, but between him and Ahmad Bradshaw, they did run the ball 31 times. And Bradshaw snapped off a neat 17-yard run. Jacobs twice carried defenders for lengthy gains and powered his way up the middle for a touchdown from a yard out. Bradshaw also had a 31-yard screen on which he made two nice moves. GRADE: B.

RECEIVERS: Mario Manningham failed to keep both feet inbounds on a potential touchdown catch, and needs to continue to work on his field awareness. But Kevin Boss made it right with his four-yard end zone reception. Hakeem Nicks continues to impress with his moves. He dropped two passes, but made up for that with a 68-yard touchdown catch-and-run on which he slipped two tacklers. Sunday was his first career start, and he responded with four catches for a team-high 110 yards. Steve Smith caught seven passes for 74 yards, and tight end Boss was once again a viable part of the passing offense with seven catches for 70 yards and a touchdown. Domenik Hixon broke a 61-yard touchdown catch-and-run. They generally did a good job getting open against a porous secondary, and when contested they did well in fighting for the ball. As has been the case most of the season, they were the least of the Giants' worries. GRADE: B+.

OFFENSIVE LINE: Will Beatty stepped in at right tackle after Kareem McKenzie went down with a second-quarter left knee sprain and did fine. But overall the line allowed too much pressure on Manning. Along with the three sacks, the quarterback was hit eight additional times. They did okay in the run game, opening a sufficient number of holes for Jacobs and Bradshaw. Nothing great, but at least they showed up. GRADE: C+.

DEFENSIVE LINE: Face it, they are simply not going to get a higher performance from Osi Umenyiora. He showed up for his one big play per game, forcing a fumble that was prematurely blown dead on a second-quarter touchdown drive, and he had two other tackles. Otherwise, a non-factor. Mathias Kiwanuka looked good at times, no so much at others. And Justin Tuck continued to battle valiantly with six tackles and a batted pass despite two hurting shoulders and a neck injury. But that was it. The middle of the line -- Chris Canty, Barry Cofield, Fred Robbins -- was a no-show again. No pressure up the middle. No consistent pressure from the edges, which gave Donovan McNabb all the time he needed to find folks like DeSean Jackson downfield. They did better against the run. But the truth is, why would any team run when they know the former lions of the defensive front look more like declawed kitties now. They were a big reason the Eagles were able to march up and down the field in easy, sustained drives. Because of their inability to stop anything on first and second down, the Eagles mounted a 12-play, 91-yard scoring drive without ever facing a third down. GRADE: F.

LINEBACKERS: Jonathan Goff had an interception and Michael Boley led the team with 11 tackles. Bryan Kehl played Michael Vick's late second-quarter keeper just right, and then missed him to allow him to score a touchdown. Tight ends continue to vex them, as Brent Celek caught five passes for 64 yards and a touchdown. The blitz continues to be a problem. Had Boley caught Umenyiora's strip-sack in the air on the fumble that was prematurely whistled dead, it would have changed the course of the game. Clint Sintim could have fallen on it anyway, as he's trained. Justin Tuck could have fallen on it, as he's trained. Mathias Kiwanuka was there, too. Instead, nobody recovered what was ultimately ruled a fumble, and it simply went as a 10-yard loss. GRADE: F.

SECONDARY: Only the Salvation Army gives away more than the secondary at this point, and it's a close race at that. The 60-yard touchdown pass to Jackson was a two-receiver route, and yet nobody was even near him. Aaron Ross tried to get over, but never had a shot at Jackson from his safety position. Michael Johnson should have been there, but he was preoccupied with covering the least-likely option, a backup tight end. Had McNabb been a foot shorter on the long throw to Reggie Brown, who had beaten Corey Webster by three steps, that would have been an 80-yard, third-quarter touchdown. Receivers were open all over the field, and that led to McNabb and Vick hitting six passes of 20 yards or more. Webster had another horrible game as he was torched consistently. The safeties were hardly noticeable. They never made an effort to get physical with Jackson, playing mostly off-coverage. Exactly how does a secondary give up a 44-yard completion to a wide-open Jackson on third-and-20? GRADE: F- (I'll get in trouble with the Board of Ed for that, but I'm a maverick).

SPECIAL TEAMS: Jackson's 72-yard punt return for a touchdown was inexcusable in that Jeff Feagles put his punt right where it should have been, on the sideline. But the Giants never had anyone in position to force Jackson back inside as he took it down the sideline, beating a helpless Feagles, for the score. Lawrence Tynes knocked the onsides kick at the end out of bounds, and most of his kickoffs were on the short side. The kickoff coverage team gave up too much field position. GRADE: F.

COACHING: Tom Coughlin will not fire Bill Sheridan as defensive coordinator, but this performance certainly could have pushed him to the brink. Every time the offense scored, the defense allowed an answer. It took exactly one snap and 15 seconds for the Giants' 31-30 lead to vanish, thanks to the 60-yard Jackson touchdown catch. They could not get off the field, allowing a field goal drive of 12 plays and a 12-play, 91-yard clinching touchdown drive in the fourth quarter where the Eagles never saw a third down. His unit is now the 28th-worst team in the league in points allowed, followed only by Detroit, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, and Kansas City. The question of communication came up again, unforgiveable at this point in the season. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride's playcalling was baffling, especially on that silly throw to offensive lineman Kevin Boothe on second-and-goal from the 2. He also called a draw to Bradshaw on third-and-5 from the Eagles 43 that gained nothing and killed the drive with Philly up 37-31 in the fourth quarter. Coughlin needs to do something drastic at this point, or the Giants won't have any playoff hopes left after next week. GRADE: F.

What do you guys think?



  1. I love how everyone assumes we will make a run like 2007. Not happening. The D is a shell of its former self with Tuck playing with one arm, Osi a year away (See Tom. Brady.), Robbins and Cofield also coming off injuries, etc. And Sheridan is a joke. Redskins game will not be easy. They have nothing to lose and are playing very well. Even if we make playoffs will get smoked by Eagles, again. I'm just viewing this season as the superbowl hangover year. It was a miracle we started so strong last year. We'll be back in 2010.

  2. Ernie, you are on the money.

    It's so disappointing to see teams just march down the field when we know how hard we have to work to get a score. I 'm still hoping but if we can't stop anybody we won't go anywhere IF we somehow make the playoffs.

    I think the team that reports to Albany next summer will look different from this one. It looks like the time has come for some of our vets.

  3. I'd give quarterback an A-. Eli played a fantastic game. I can only think of one questionable throw (the eventual Boss reception that bounced of the Eagle's LB). Otherwise, very good decision-making and excellent throwing. If we catch all our drops, Eli would have been in the mid 400's..

    The fumble (which should have been ruled down by contact) was an error of aggressive play. As it turns out, we stopped them deep (one of the few defensive highlights) and Eli came right back to lead us to a score and lead. Even if we had scored on the fumble possession, Philadelphia would have returned it to the 40 or so...who's to say we would have gotten a defensive stop?

    By the way, if we are ripping our defense (which we rightfully should do) what are they doing in Philadelphia? We out-gained them by 100.

    And put me down for someone who hopes we make the playoffs. One or two positions in the draft order is no substitute for playoff experience--even if we get throttled in the first round.

  4. Good Grades Ern. LOOOOOOOOOVE the F-, it was a long time coming for the secondary. Ever heard of bump and run?

  5. Bill Sheridan = Tim Lewis.

    Seems like deja vu all over again. Even if we sneak into the playoffs like in 2006, I think it will be with the same results. I blame this on Tom Coughlin with his inability to see the problems on defense start with his coordinator and work their way down from there.

    I agree with your grades on the defense and ST. Pretty poor across the board. Why can't we get to the QB anymore and why in the world are our coverage teams this bad?

  6. I agree with 10 Miles if the G Men had won , Eli would have been compared to Payton for his days work, an outstanding preformance

  7. Agree with you for the most part Ernie but I would give Eli a A-. Granted he had the fumble but he led an offense that produced over 500 yards of Total Off. and produced 38 pts. Under NORMAL CIRCUMSTANCES any other team would have won! But our "D" is been nowhere. I saw problems even during the 5 game winning streak but I thought those kinks would work out but they seemed to have regressed and dropped like a rock in water!

    As for Osi, I know people are tough on him now but he is coming off knee surgery and it ususally takes about a year before they return to form. I'm willing to give a pass on Osi. And can we please include Boss more in the passing game. As witnessed in this game HE CAN CATCH AND SCORE! Are you listening KG???

  8. FIRE THEM ALL !!!!None of the coaches deserve to stay. Coughlin has to go too.It's his job to get it fixed, status quo doesn't cut it!! If this was the last year of his contract he'd have made changes as he changed himself 2 yrs ago.Time to CLEAN HOUSE before it gets any worse.

  9. Ernie - what are your thought on the uncapped year? There actually aren't going to be a ton a free agents hitting the market worth getting this year, but do you see the Giants opening the wallet or being conservative? This year's draft is supposed to be deep, but with this many holes, I don't see the draft being a cure all. I think Coughlin has to shoulder a lot of blame given his refusal to fire coordinators that clearly aren't getting the job done. Do you think he's on a short leash or has the Super Bowl made him bullet proof? Give us a little more insider insight Ernie!

  10. Bill Sheridan has the most predictable pass rush schemes I've ever seen. We can't cover in the back 7...we've all always known this. He's been on the staff for years now, how come he doesn't???

    Spags was smart enough to mask this deficiency by buying extra time by sending extra blitzers from everywhere to make the QB take a couple extra seconds to diagnose the coverage, and getting a free man to the QB in most cases. He also played a press/man coverage on the outside to get extra time, which suits our CBs strength. (See C. Webster 05-06 vs 07-08 and back to 09-10)

    B.S. blitzes linebackers in the A-Gaps, if he blitzes at all, and it's obvious to anyone that's ever watched a game how it should be blocked up...which it always is!!! OR...if it's 3rd and long, there's no one even faking a blitz and they bring 4 everytime which then gets completed, when they keep 6-7 blockers in and we're forced to cover for 5 seconds or more, which is a lot to ask any secondary.

    I remember w/Spags when we used to get the opponent in 3rd and 6, 3rd and 11 etc and we knew we had them right where we wanted b/c they wouldnt have time to get that completed-Spags would bring safeties, CBs, hell-even the water boy, and guess what? It worked.

    I'm so sick over this b/c this dunce promised it would be the same scheme with a few "new wrinkles". Really? In 4 preseason games, and 13 regular season games I have yet to see any similarities between the two. I blame TC too b/c this was his hire and he wanted "continuity". So much for that and so much for this season.

    I'm with the previous poster who wants to make the playoffs, and the youngsters on the roster would use the experience and get those initial jitters out now since we do have a bright future. That's IF we do the right thing and raid the Eagles coaching staff again....

  11. What is the story with Rocky Bernard? He has to go as does Robbins, Danny Clark, Pierce, CC Brown, Dockerty and Moss. Our Kickers also need to go. Canty, Bernard and even Boley were our big pick ups this year with CC Brown and have done NOTHING. Boley makes a lot of tackles but when you run at him he is not strong see the Denver game where he was blown off the line by their tight end. I like Reese but he had a very bad year including most importantly the defensive coordinator replacement.

  12. 1138sw, I agree with a higher grade to Eli. Ernie, all the other grades are right on target, as usual. Eli had a heck of a game, despite that fumble, which I do not know if I can completely fault him on the head first dive (trying for more yards). I would have rather seen him go feet first. Other than that, great effort. What is going on with the O-line and the entire defense?? I hope, at this point, we miss the playoffs. I cannot believe I just wrote that, but jeez, with that defense, we will get murdered! Also, missing the playoffs, may give this team and management some perspective as to what needs to be done (i.e. certain cuts that need to be made and change in management, please see Gilbride and Sheridan). I think that our offensive weapons are getting a bit more seasoned and the combo of Smith and Nicks will be great to watch for many years. I don't know fellas, I think the window on 2009 is all but shut.

  13. Agree all around except that Eli deserves an A. He put up his best career game.

    Fumbling away possession just one play after we intercepted was pretty ugly. But if this D played the way it was built to play by Reese and Spags, that fumble should have been meaningless.

    391 yds, 3 TDs and ZERO INTs against a team that routinely picks him off = A in my book....or A-

  14. Wow, Ernie you are fired up!

    Sentiment is that you were too hard on Eli. I would say you were too hard on everyone on the offensive side of the ball. They racked up over 500 yards of offense! From KG down that's impressive and the G-Men will take that any day.

    I am going to agree you are spot on with the other unit. The only guy who plays to his level week in and week out is Tuck. That's it. Everyone else is playing down and some guys are playing below an NFL level at this point. This unit continues to go backwards which is not indicative of Giants ball.

    The next three weeks will determine Sheridan's fate, however I think its sealed already. Throw the bum out. Sorry Bill, but its a tough business and a change is beyond necessary at this point.

    By the way, I'm in the camp that I want them to play hard and try to get into the playoffs. Two spots up in the draft versus playoff experience in no contest.

    Chris B.

  15. Sheridan's defense does remind me of Tim Lewis'. There've been a few injuries, but there were a few last year, too, and the D was nowhere near as bad as they now look, especially the pass rush. League leaders in sacks or close to it last year IIRC, this year nothing. With most of the same players, to me that says it's coaching.

    A thought - what about Antonio Pierce as linebackers coach under a new coordinator next year, and see how he does with defensive play-calling responsibilities in the preseason. If it works well, have him call the D in the regular season. I've always thought Pierce was extremely smart in recognizing what offenses were going to do. Physically he was never imposing, and with the injury I'd like to see if we can take advantage of his mind while putting someone faster on the field.