Swallow the medicine. We were toyed with today. The Saints put a clinic on the Giants. The defense was undressed and embarrassed. The good news it that this was Week 6. So there is ample opportunity to regroup not once but twice or three times from now to correct things and get on course. The bad news is that some of these problems may not be able to be addressed.
1) Bill Sheridan- Where was your gameplan? And after the first and second series, where were the adjustments to your gameplan? Why is it, tell us all, that all of us (see comments on previous intragame thread) could see from 1200 miles away in Q1 that the lack of pressure on Brees was going to allow him to pick us apart ALL DAY, and then at halftime Coughlin says to the FOX sideline reporter: "We have to get more pressure on Brees." Hellooooo?!! Okay, I get it, Sheridan has his own style, he does not blitz. So in the first 5 games, he did not blitz (with any frequency beyond an occasional 5 or 6 man package, perhaps there was one 7 man blitz once last week when Terrell Thomas stripped the ball from Russell). But you have to think that the Jets clearly had a reasonable idea that if Brees saw continuous pressure he was not going to be able to sit back, eat a ham sandwich and pick you apart all afternoon. The Saints offensive line is good. Good enough that 4 guys are not going to beat them that easily or that consistently. To quote Fran Tarkenton: "Defensive coaches around the world, if you want to keep points off the board and keep people from lighting you up for 300 and 400, 500 yards, you’ve got to be willing to go and have sound fundamental blitzes with 5, 6, 7 and even 8 people coming! When you do that you give yourself a chance to be able to win football games." We linked to this just this morning. Worth the reread.
Addendum Sunday evening: (from Coughlin): ""From my standpoint, there wasn't much pressure. I don't know if we ever hit him. If you're going to be able to defend the pass, let's face it, at this level in this game, you've got to force the quarterback not to throw it on his time."
Zone is not going to work against Brees. Hmmm. Let me see, Colston gets behind Antonio Pierce and in front of CC Brown. The only chance in hell that that coverage will work is if Colston trips, falls and Brees gets color blind and cannot find the gold uniform. There was even another defense in H1 where Pierce is actually guarding Colston in Cover 2 with help from Brown over the top, but that is another JOKE. If Pierce cannot guard a RB or TE, how is he EVER in coverage vs a WR? That is an abomination. Theduke asks, why isn't Webster on Colston ALL DAY?!! Ya got me, we just ASSUMED he would be. Any time he was not was an oppty for Brees to look for him. In the Jets game, Revis was all over him, that was one of the reasons why the Jets had success vs the Saints offense.
So we have to ask the question, Mr. Sheridan- do you dislike blitzing? Are you afraid of losing? Are you going to call blitzes and do what it takes to get pressure in the future? You just lost and gave your team ZERO CHANCE to win. So just as troubling is not only the lack of astute gameplanning, but also the lack of adjustments within the game. We almost never had any of these complaints in 2 years with Spagnuolo. Spagnuolo was always sensitive to the pressure of the QB, being a Jim Johnson disciple. Spagnouolo was NEVER going to let a QB get too comfortable so that his defense could get ripped to shreds. Sorry for the comparison, but you just got your first big F. Failure.
2) Jerry Reese- Do you think this defense can win a title this year when Boley and Canty come back WITHOUT A REAL SAFETY? Manny nailed this comment near the end of the game, asking aloud that with the trade deadline Tuesday, you need to seriously consider if there is another option at Safety to win this championship this year. No folks, this is not an overreaction. And if it is, we have the right to question because were on record (see Hixon link below) questioning him at Safety for MONTHS AND MONTHS AND MONTHS. To Sheridan's credit, there were still a handful of plays out there where the Safety has to step up and make that play. We'll spell it out plainly- CC Brown is horrible and couldn't get laid in a whorehouse with a fistful of benjamins. We knew our safeties would get tested today, but we were hopeful that they would not be this BADLY undressed. We assumed that 5 weeks of games would have them comfortable in the system, there to make some plays. As we saw with Meacham, CC Brown is in perfect position and still is unable to make the play because he simply browns.
3) There was one big positive today! Finally after oodles of games going back to sometime last season, we finally finally FINALLY got Domenik Hixon back on kickoff returns.
4) Wonder gets the kudos. He not only called the Saints to win the game, he perfectly outlined the gameplan to apply max pressure. "They have too many weapons.. you need the pressure. Very poor defensive gameplan. Your question about whether Sheridan can adapt and change to bring more pressure in FUTURE games is a legit point which needs to be watched, Andy. You have a big problem if Sheridan doesn't learn from this. Overall, this loss does not have to be a big deal. It is early in the season, get the loss out of your system, move on. W17 vs Minn. I did not expect them to win. But to give up TD after TD after TD is bad, inexcusable."
5) Drew Brees and the Saints offense used play action passes today MORE TIMES than the Giants have used it all season. And their run game is not as respected as ours is. What does that tell you? I know what it tells me. (For the record, there were AT LEAST 3 TDs by the Saints off of play action, maybe more, I lost track!)
6) Eli Manning was not accurate today. He had WRs open on longer pass plays and could not connect. (Overthrows Smith, underthrows Hixon, etc..) This was not why we lost, but the offense did play well in patches and just had a couple of bad moments. It is up to Gilbride to call a spike to the ground on 1st and 10 at the ~34 yard line with ~35 secs left before the end of Q2, but instead Manning had the disaster turnover which ended the half and effectively the game. This game was never on Gilbride though because the offense was just a few passes away from being very competitive. It would have been better to have seen some Bradshaw in Q1, as the offense definitely got a lift when he entered in ~Q2. theduke asked- why Hixon on so many snaps and not Nicks? We agree.
7) Summary- this game was entirely on Sheridan and the horrible play at Safety. Yes, the front 4 are not getting the pressure. So bring more. Yes, the LBers do not have the range needed- Reese got Boley for that and Boley is coming back. The large question here is whether the Giants/Coughlin/Reese/Sheridan make the adjustments to win a title THIS YEAR (the agenda for this blog in 2009-10 is a Giants championship.. it is pretty obvious that the Giants are playoff bound, so that is not at issue). Now Coughlin himself was the one who made the halftime admission about lack of pressure on the QB. So what are you going to do about it? Reese has been NEGLIGENT at Safety for MONTHS, the grand total of his help being to bring in Rouse when he absolutely positively had NO CHOICE because he was down to TWO MEN. Today was a good reality check. Other teams will find out from the film where our weaknesses are. We will see IF WE MAKE THE ADJUSTMENTS TO OUR WEAKNESSES.
8) Coach Coughlin, the teflon from winning a Super Bowl is not going to last very much longer if your OC is not using play action while your competition is, if your DC is not using pressure while your competition is. The responsibility for these adjustments ultimately comes back to you. We saw late last season how your OC did not make the adjustments mandated from W14. The result was a QUICK EXIT in the first playoff game despite the best record in the league. Are you and your staff going to make the adjustments this year? Your team was outcoached. It happens. It is only one loss. But if the adjustments are not made it is a loss of a season. Warner, McNabb, Rivers, Ryan... the good QBs who will rip your pass coverage apart are there IF you do not have pressure. Jim Johnson, Fran Tarkenton, Steve Spagnuolo understand that, do you?!