Ultimatenyg has advocated a list of antidotes for the Giants offense that were implemented this past Monday night.
What happened, Kevin?!!! We have been waiting for screens EVER SINCE W14 last season when Jim Johnson showed us the pressure and the offense DIED. We saw a few screens peppered in a few games back, but nothing like Monday night.
The RB Screen/RB flare/TE midscreen/ checkdown.... these are all versions of the same play. If you do not have lead blockers, the play is not that different. The success of the play is mostly based on a defense implementing some sort of blitz or pressure near the line of scrimmage. Math: 6 defenders pressuring the line. 3 defenders vacate into coverage. That leaves ~2 defenders left, with 1 able to be in position to make the tackle of the RB in the flat. Westbrook breaks Pierce's tackle and we are browned. Bradshaw makes one guy miss and it is a first down. This is what Bradshaw does. Ware can do it too. Boss can do it. From what little we have seen from Gartrell Johnson, I think he can do it as well.
What was the play we were hollering about from the game vs Dallas? The oops-excuse-me-sideways-dumpoff checkdown to Boss which goes for 16 yards!!! Maybe the light bulb went off for that Neanderthal coordinator of ours. Or more likely from someone else, who went to Gilbride and TOLD him to start using it.
Kevin Faulk has three rings by taking checkdowns and moving the chains. Yes, folks, small ball. The IRS does not care whether you made your money collecting trash or as CEO of Waste Management. They take your tax money all the same. No one asks how you made the first down, as long as you get the job done. To watch Bradshaw get the ball with a little head start in space is something we have been asking for since January of 2008. The only reason why we have not been mentioning his name a lot more this year is because he has been hurt and simply has not had the wheels to be as effective as he was when healthy. There were games in there recently where Bradshawlic commenters here on this blog appropriately went the other way and noted how it was a mistake to be using him. He simply was not able to physically contribute. Perhaps Bradshaw is at the point in the year where, at W15, you just do not worry anymore about him staying healthy and you take your chances with more touches and let the chips fall where they may.
There are so many side benefits to these screens/flares/checkdowns. Not only do these plays bust the post-Burress box, but they put so much more pressure on coverages. LBers in nickel or dime coverage who have responsibility now get burned when they come up to the line. Or they get burned if they go too far back into underneath coverage on WR or TE routes. These plays simply stretch defenses. When your offense has tendency to NOT use them, the LBers (and Safeties for TEs) take notice when they study film and they know where they can go. You have to keep using these plays EVERY game 2-3-4 times. Remember that Haley used it 6-7 times vs the Eagles in the NFC Championship. (God bless him- if the Eagles went on to win that game and the Super Bowl I might have ended it all right there!)
Do I really have to remind you guys about how Westbrook would kill us with this brown? Ahmad Bradshaw on his best and healthiest day is not as good as Westbrook, but he'll get it done for you well. He'll make that first guy miss, and then the sticks get moved. And if you move those sticks enough (extra) times during the game, your DL has the rest to keep putting pressure on the opposing QB. Nothing wrong with that.
For the optimists out there- is Gilbride going to remember how effective this was, and that it should be a staple of the playbook each week? Or is he going to be coy with no one but himself and shelve it again, like he always does? What does it take? The use of it liberally in 3 out of 4 games? The pattern I see is that Gilbride does not understand that small ball is crucial, especially in December/January when your offense needs rhythm and generally loses a lot of plays from the playbook due to weather. I will state one thing fairly- this game on Monday night was the best gameplan and playcalling by OC Gilbride since has been with the Giants. DO IT AGAIN. Walsh kept defenses off balance for a decade. I'm asking for two consecutive outings. Is that reasonable?