This is a review of the 2012 season. Given that the Giants had played themselves out of serious contention for a playoff berth last week, it was nice to see the Giants put away the lowly Eagles (who lost 11 of their last 12 games). There were a few takeaways from this game, but unfortunately the effort was too little too late. Let's move on to larger topics (in no particular order)...
1) From a tweet from Ralph Vacchiano of the NY Daily News: The NY Giants under Tom Coughlin in the first halves of seasons: 53-19. Giants under Coughlin in second halves of seasons: 30-42." This is not new news for the regulars of this NY Giants blog. Glenn Warciski has written about this on more than a few occasions in the past, so we get tired of beating a dead horse. When you are 0.736 (W/L percentage) in one half and 0.417 in the second half, there is something larger going on that needs to be fixed. It means there is plenty of talent, and then driving on fumes.
2) 21st Century training techniques? I really cannot speak about this subject with any expertise, but this blog has been critical of Conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri for a while. The line from the link that jumps out for us is this: "None of the Broncos injuries to starters were (due to) muscle pulls." So we acknowledge that everyone has injuries this time of year, but the Giants seem to be suffering too many. Amukamara hamstring. Hosley quadricep. Chris Canty never missed a single game as a Cowboy, but as a NY Giant he has suffered through hamstring and calf muscle injuries et al.
3) One of the takeaways from today's game was the season of matriculation that has lifted WR Reuben Randle. The rookie led the team with 4 catches for 58 yards and 2 TDs. We are not going to be naive enough to think that Randle was ready to take on the X WR job of Nicks after the 1st stringer went down in Week 2 vs TB But it was apparent that Nicks was simply not getting better as the season wore on and that his minutes were hurting the team. Was this deja blue? The same thing happened with Brandon Jacobs a few years back when he was hurt in Week 1 and never got better. We only found out after the season how Jacobs needed surgery. I suspect that we will find out that Nicks was hurt more than they revealed. It may be unfair and 20-20 hindsight, but rearview mirror or not, the Giants clearly got punished for the decision to push Nicks through and either give him more time or put him under the knife. Nicks' best game after returning was NOT SO UNCOINCIDENTALLY the week after the bye, when he got 77 yards and 1 TD. Nicks had 3 TDs all season. Once again, we appreciate his effort, but this hurt the team.
4) On the subject of Randle, let's take a step back to the draft. The Giants took a RB in R1 and a WR in R2. The Giants always bring rookie RBs along slowly because they can't handle the blocking assignments which are needed to protect the QB in passing situations. It was almost comical how Wilson was wanted by Gilbride on the field, yet quarantined on passing situations. Hence he had a bullseye on his back in his limited snaps. Opposing defenses keyed on him and his productivity suffered. Back to Randle, as a WR, he was never going to properly learn all of the route tree decisions that were going to make Eli comfortable with throwing to him very much in his first season. So both of these players collectively took a while in getting more meaningful opportunities to help. They should both be much more significant contributors in 2013 and beyond. But for 2012, as rookies, they were unable to make a difference to the offense when it mattered most. Wilson, for his part, made a huge difference on Special teams.
5) Given the Giants string of successes at finding RB talent in Round 4 and later in the draft (imagine where Andre Brown would have been without the Achilles injury in his rookie camp?! ... and also think at how the Giants were able to get this castoff back and get a tremendous addition), why did the Giants ignore Offensive Line for the second consecutive year? We were disappointed back in April that the Giants did not focus on LBer and OL early. Both positions will need be targeted in 2013. The Giants were/are BEHIND the curve. For our part, we are not using the rearview mirror on this one, asking aloud for the past 3 years about the aging Offensive Line. Diehl, O'Hara, Seubert, McKenzie, and Snee were all getting long in the tooth. And this season, Diehl was hurt again while Snee too had to play through injuries. (Diehl has been a tremendous overachiever for this franchise, a Fighting Illini who as a 5th Round Guard played a zillion more snaps than most, with many at the more difficult Tackle position. I suspect he will not make the team next year, and if he does, that will not say a lot about the Giants OL.)
The Giants' end result at 9-7 was not too far off from the up and down season of the OL. In fact, when Sean Locklear went down, so went the Giants' fortunes. We give Reese credit for signing a serviceable veteran like this to plug a hole, but it is the same indictment that we have for LBer. These older veterans that plug holes are not the same as the blue chip talent that you draft and bring through at Age 22.
6) Last week, we commented with some stats on the Jerry Reese distribution of R1-R3 draft picks taken from 2007-2012:
OL, RB, TE, LB 1
So out of 20 picks, the Giants have taken a whopping total of 2 LBers and OL COMBINED! Restating our comment, "33% of your starters have gotten 10% of the (coveted) resources. And it has reared its ugly head in the past two games (vs ATL and BAL)." It is a passing league, but you still have to keep your QB upright and give the team a chance at converting three 4th down and shorts.
7) Mr. Medium. 9-7. For the Giants, middle-dom means missing the playoffs AND a high teens draft pick. Like kissing your sister. It's the NFL's true version of the booby prize.
8) I really hope they bring back Martellus Bennett. He was not a vg blocker, and he sometimes ran lazy routes. But he is a force to be reckoned with in the passing game, and will have Ginormous upside in the passing game in 2013+. He likes it here in NY, he has developed a rapport with Eli, and he said NY will get the home discount. Yep, he said he will play here for less than others who choose to bid on his services. That immediately hurt his own auction by disclosing that publicly, but I think that shows where his heart is.
9) Someone please tell me if Justin Tuck has peaked or not. He seemed to play a lot better vs PHL after not dressing last week. The Giants will surely bring him back for the last year in his contract, but I just want to know if he can last 16 games in a season. For the team's sake, we sure hope so.
10) I hate the Eagles. They get a better draft pick at 4-12 than 5-11, but I enjoyed seeing the Gmen wipe the floor with the dream team.
11) I believe in Eli. He will be a huge part of the franchise's next title run. I will go on record as saying that barring a bad injury which hampers the rest of his career, that he has another NY Giants Super Bowl in him.
12) Watching the playoffs the next few weeks will be another reminder of what borscht the NFL is. Every year is an opportunity to win the Super Bowl. It's practically a lottery. For the Giants part, they need LBers to handle the RGIII option run. They need a new OL. If the DBs can stay healthy, they are fine there. You can rest assured that Reese will draft yet another DLman.
13) One former writer for this blog opines that Peter Giunta, the Secondary Coach, will be the fall guy for this season. Fewell replied earlier in the week that the players were put in position to make plays and did not make the plays. It is never a good situation when a coach points the blame at his players publicly. Privately in meetings, you can show all of your players where they bleeped up. But do not enable the media. I am concerned about a rift.
14) The Mayor remarked that the season's difficulties fall squarely on Gilbride and the offense. Agreed. We could cite all kinds of anecdotal evidence, but in the postgame wrapup, Bob Popa came to the same conclusion. He (and Banks) noted how, vs Atlanta, the score was 17-0 at the half, but 10 of the 17 points were handed to the Falcons on turnovers. And the goose egg was caused by continuous failures to convert 4th downs. But here is another interesting stat from ESPN: the Giants were 9-0 when they scored more than 20 points. They were 0-7 when they scored 20 or less. The defense had its issues this year, but when you look back at the 7 losses, it is more a story of the offense underachieving. Popa noted 3 games in particular- the failed drive vs PHL in Week 4. The blown opportunities to convert points vs PIT. And settling for FGs vs Washington in a 17-16 loss.
We have a lot of things to do here at UltimateNYG in the offseason. We will look at the 2013 draft. We will break down our All 22 film data for additional conclusions. And we will also review the 2010 Draft to see how the analysts performed. Thanks for staying with us in 2012. Happy New Year and may you all have a healthy 2013.
Thanks, UNYG, for another great year (of blogging, if not football). Hardest for me to watch was:1.How soft run defense in the middle was.2. Lack of gap integrity when it came to end runs. So tired of seeing backs and QBs not being contained, especially on the left side of the defense.
Great Posts and Points all year. Really liked the film breakdown and analysis, especially when I don't have time to replay as many games as I used to. As been said the hunger issue and overall team complacency with winning last year has been the downfall going down the stretch. Coupled with a "we've been here last year and were able to dig ourselves out and get on a huge roll" sense of over confidence hurt them when they were put in 14-0 holes on the road.
However, I've said it once, I've said it twice, and now I will say it thrice!! TYNES IS HORRENDOUS! If it wasn't for that piece of shiot we'd be NFC East Champs right now and be 5-1 in the division instead of 3-3. Yes the offense carried us in the 2011 super bowl run and we never seemed to have the ability to score at will when we needed too like in years past. But if we just had a kicker we'd have the NFC East crown. (17-16 and a missed chip shot, and 19-17 and a missed 49 yarder, and the reason Coughlin aired it out to Barden causing the PI on 3rd down is cause he couldn't trust Tynes to kick a 39 yarder! I don't think any of use would've trusted Tynes there too). Similarly, in the Super Bowl I was ecstatic AB fell into the end zone to secure a TD instead of resting on Tynes' foot. The guy missed an extra point this year even. He's horrific. The only reason people think he's decent is because Shitbride's dead zone offense can't score TD's so Tynes has the opportunity to kick 6 field goals each game.
The other difference on defense aside from all the DT injuries (I feel the preseason injury to Rogers was huge as well as Kuhn) I think if those 2 were still healthy we'd have had a disruptive force in the middle coupled with Linval and it would've allowed Canty to get more rest and be fresh on alternating pass rushing downs. Depth there was our lynch pin. Also, Fewell went back to his read react base as opposed to press coverage and pressure down the stretch. Webster is better in press coverage, amukamara looked good but the knock on him about his arms being too short is ever so noticeable against the big physical receivers like boldin, rody white, etc...
Great points by Andy... Especially thoughts on Locklear, as he was an unbelievable FA signing. When he went down the game changed for our OL. Sucks that Brewer or Petrus never panned out, but Locklear was doing a fantastic job and Beatty did a lot better than I expected (at least he is serviceable). I used to dog Reese and yes he has been a little crazy in terms of constantly drafting WR's and neglecting OL and LBers. But I'm perfectly fine with patching together some free agent OL vets and utilizing Jacquan, Blackburn, and Rivers. It worked to bring us a SB ring last year. I also felt Blackburn was a force this year and when he was injured and herzlich stepped in the decline in talent was noticeable.
Granted though, for the future we desperately need some speed at LBer and a hybrid defense that can utilize guys like Kiwi and Tracy to run either a 3-4 or 4-3 and have multiple looks and fronts to combat the pistol offenses and have the speed to contend with mobile QB's like RG3, Russell Wilson, and Colin Kapernick.
Should be interesting to see what goes down this weekend. I think the seahawks will pull it off, but Skins have a good matchup as the seahawks strength is Pass defense and the Skins strength is their run game on offense and a decent run defense. The skins match up with the Hawks very well. And a rookie QB on the road in the playoffs is different than in the regular season. However, I take Seattle. Cincy has been the real sleeper team. I expect them to beat Houston. I also think Indy will pull it off against the Ravens. The Ravens really haven't shown up for a game since they played us and before that it was 6 weeks before they had a decent game. Indy's got the young guns, speed, hunger, and fire power. Indy gets the W. As far as the big NFC north matchup against the Packers, as long as the calls weren't so terribly biased towards Minnesota like they were last weekend. The packers will win. Minny will make it a close game and use AP, but in the end Rodgers will dig them out of any holes there weak OL or run defense put them in.
So there you have it Pack, Hawks, Colts, Bengals all get the W's. As Giants fans who do you root for this postseason? I'd say Packers or Niners cause we spanked both teams this year.
Thanks for an enlightening 2012! You are the best blog in sports, without a doubt.
I won't repeat on previous comments but regarding your point 11):
11) I believe in Eli. He will be a huge part of the franchise's next title run. I will go on record as saying that barring a bad injury which hampers the rest of his career, that he has another NY Giants Super Bowl in him.
I am an optimist (that's how I survived growing up a Giants fan in the '70's). I didn't believe in Eli at the beginning, but I have learnt from that mistake. I agree he has it in him, but it takes more than Eli to win the Big One. I don't just mean the "lottery" factor of the NFL playoffs. It takes a team with a certain amount of talent, but perhaps more than that, the right coaches and the right leadership at the right time (if we can learn from the past).
Thanks again for all that you all do for us that bleed blue.
- A 3rd Generation fan
Disappointed?...Yes...Discouraged?...No!...this team was not mentally tough in my opinion. They became complacent. Some...not all were content with their ring, or in some cases two rings. A lot factors in play here. Age, declining skills, too many injuries (pointed out by Andy) and too much dependence on the Offense. I agree that Nicks was the biggest reason the O was ineffective. He was rushed back too soon after his injury and was never the same. We can debate Killdrive's predictable play calling, and the vertical passing game which became our trademark was just not there this season. The O line needs to be rebuilt. Diehl is probably done and Snee is in decline. I gave Bass a pass last year due to injury, but he clearly has been a disappointment. Bradshaw is a complete warrior but cannot be a feature back. He is just not big enough to handle the pounding he takes every season. Bennett should return but we need a quality blocking TE to compliment him. The D-Line is my biggest concern. I never thought I would say this but Tuck seems to enjoy going to Knicks games and doing commercials more than dedicating himself to football. Bring him back, ask him to play for a reduced rate and limit his snaps. It could benefit him and maybe return to a productive player once again. JPP found out what happens when teams game plan against him. The great ones like LT survive that. I'm confident he can adjust as well. DT has to be shored up. We could not stop the run all season. What can we say about LB that we haven't been preaching about for years? We now have RG3 in the division and teams found out what happens when he gets to the edge. Corey Webster is not worth 7 million. I'm not high on Prince but we are committed to him and I hope he progresses. He gives way too much cushion in my opinion. I know that Fewell has signed another contract, but he seems to be weak when it comes to making in game adjustments. Took all 16 games before he started blitzing LB's and DB's when He realized QB's had all day to throw. The good news is that this is all correctable and we can return to the playoffs next season. After all, if we had won just one more game we would be playing next week. P.S. I have been reading the blog all season and thoroughly enjoy the analysis. Andy and company do a phenomenal job.
Just heard the Jerry Reese and mike Francesa interviews. Reese's biggest lament was that the games against Philly, Washington & Pittsburgh irk him the most. Could not understand why we didn't put them away. Inconsistency was the teams' downfall. ( nothing groundbreaking here) what I did find very interesting is that he feels that Terrell Thomas' future may be at safety because of the two ACL surgeries. I just hope he can make it back. Reese also said he will reach out to Strahan so he can speak to JPP about what he should expect now as a superstar and how he has to adjust to it. Coughlin said he didn't think his team became complacent, ( I'm not so sure ) but he's certain that won't be the case next year. Lots of decisions to be made. I think there will be some popular veterans that bite the dust.
@I Bleed Blue Looks like Reese has read the mayors comments on tynes regarding the Wash Philly and pitt games and agrees!! Maybe tynes is out!
Always good to beat the Eagles, even though watching the Cowboys and Redskins battle for the NFC East crown was tough.
Another typical season for us, 3 great games, a few awful no shows and and a lot of "meh" in between.
Now let's watch some playoffs.
The schedule looks favorable next year compared to the last two years. Assuming a couple spots (LB and OL) are bolstered, 10-6 *should* be the minimum we can expect barring unforseen drastic changes to opponents. I see a 10-6 to 12-4 window (whereas this year I predicted a 8-8 to 10-6 window.... but the Giants still really did underachieve because while the Skins were better than expected, teams like NO, Phi, and Pit were worse than expected; we were 2-4 in those games and should've been 4-2 minimum, which would have equaled guess what... the 3 seed and the Minnesota Adrian Petersons coming to town).
But that's getting ahead of ourselves. I'd REALLY love to see Gilbride sent packing, but we know that'll never happen under TC barring a disaster big enough to probably get TC himself fired. I agree that the offense probably hurt us more than the D this year, but I still am not a Fewell fan (this blog never really has been a huge fan) and don't really want to see him back.. though he probably will be too.
Great insight on the conditioning. Great 2009 article. It's amazing how the organization doesn't see what's right in front of their faces while this blog can see things like this and Gilbride's shortcomings, things that go on for years.
Great article. Great note on the Giants' training system (#2 above). Thanks for pointing this out. When I have asked this question on other sites, the answer is always that all teams have injuries, no better or worse than the Giants. It always has seemed like the Giants have more than their fair share of certain types of injuries.
I heard a similar comment from a member of the 49ers secondary on a Peter King podcast - how their training program had a big effect on the team staying as healthy as possible. One of the best things the Giants could do in the off-season would be to go out and hire the best possible conditioning coach that is available. Or hire him away from another team (can they do that?). The Giants seem to be way behind the curve on keeping players healthy. There are always going to be injuries but when you see injuries consistently like pulled hamstrings, quad and calf pulls, you start to wonder about the conditioning program.
I would love to see the Giants hire a new OC but that seems unlikely so I would start with a new conditioning coach. And draft a top-notch offensive lineman early in the draft that will be a solid starter for the next several years.
I know - fat chance of any of that happening....
@jfoster Science is always moving forward. It certainly moves faster than the coaching staffs in the NFL, until the competition adapts something that works (Denver) and then they start to copy. Good. I will never forget how Amani Toomer got hurt in his first couple of years. I know he took Karate in between his 2nd and 3rd years, he increased his flexibility (yoga too?), his injuries fell and he became the entrenched starting X WR. Flexibility is not glamorous, but if it keeps your players healthier, you have to do it. My wife is a yoga instructor, and she rolls her eyes in disdain when she hears how professional athletes get hamstring and muscle problems. Here is an old blog post about Palmieri.. http://www.ultimatenyg.com/2009-articles/september/uptick-v15-925.html
@ultimatenyg Just read your article from 2009. Amazing. So why would the Giants management not see this as an area that needs working on in a major way? I just don't get it. It seems like they would be looking for any way they can get an advantage on the competition. i just don't get it. This could also at least partially explain why Coughlin has a track record of Giants team doing worse in the 2nd half of the season - once these injuries start piling up.
I also think it is because the NFL know the Giants are big ratings draws and stack up tougher matchups for them late in the season. I mean, come on - New Orleans, Atlanta, Baltimore and Philadelphia (as they were predicted to be...) all in December? Did any other team have a December any place close to that?
I think I digressed... Sorry about that....
@the mayor Bennett's offseason YouTube workout regimen was done w a private trainer outside of the NY Giants
@jfoster @ultimatenyg I agree with all of you guys in that our training staff and pulled muscles has been a constant problem. But how do you explain the post you had up earlier this year Andy where its a youtube video on Martellus Bennett's training regimen. He had been injured a lot in Dallas and was healthy all year and played better. The training he went through seemed pretty intense and legit in all aspects of strength, conditioning, and overall drills. All the Giants should go through that facilities training program.
Thanks for the comprehensive breakdown. This blog has been consistently enlightening. I don't know how the draft projects, but I agree that Reese should abandon his Best Player Available philosophy and focus on linebacker and OL. Let's make Kiwi a full-time down lineman, especially if Osi goes. The Giants have won when their D-line dominated, which covered up the rest of a mediocre defense. I don't think that's the formula for dealing with the Redskins' scheme. You have to win your individual battles and keep gap integrity, and the current players weren't good enough to do that. Would somebody explain why the rush defense stunk? On offense I think the parts are in place, but the line needs reinforcement. The New York Football Giants must be able to run the football! That is who we are. Thanks again for all your good work on this blog.
@pdmeyerh Thanks for the kind words. We all bleed blue around here, so the object is to learn from one another in this forum, and see the field better with a few more sets of eyes. As an example, Steve Hardin broke down film of the LBers last week following the BAL loss. His comments are in the previous post. He explains how the set of LBers we have simply are not good enough to make plays. They are in the right positions, but they do not finish w good tackles, or they get beat to a spot and the runner gets additional/significantly more yardage.
The NFL has changed. But that does not mean that the line of scrimmage is any less important. Eli Manning is the franchise, so you protect him and you win games.
Re Reese and the draft, you do not have to abandon BPA. But you can skew on ~ ties. There is no need to draft RBs high anymore in today's NFL. It is not necessary. Look at Alfred Morris for the Skins, a 6th Rounder. Jacobs R4. Ward R7 and practice squad poach. ABrown R4. Ryan Grant was a UFA who the Gmen traded to the Packers because they were so loaded w these RBs. Bradshaw R7. People will correctly point out that Wilson helped Special Teams, but I would also note the injuries he could see returning kickoffs. So your front office drafts a 10 yr staple Pro Bowl Guard at the end of R1 (Snee was the very beginning of R2) or a Tackle in mid Round 1. Daryl Washington is a protypical MLBer who went in the middle of R2, one pick after Linval Joseph. The players are there.