Each week we'll be offering some insights and conclusions based on what we saw in the All-22 tape. We'll share some general observations, analysis of key plays (both good and bad) and a look ahead to what the opposing unit has in the week ahead. With that, let's get out our Jump to Conclusions Mat.
…The overall grades for the game may be deceiving as four out of the five offensive lineman had an average grade just above 0 with the exception of Locklear. This isn’t to say they played a solid game by any means. They have admitted this much. They were serviceable in pass pro and at times the pass pro was above average.
Locklear graded out fairly favorably in pass pro (especially considering he was locked up with D. Ware most of the night) and this showed on the tape. With that being said, Locklear received 11 negative grades in the game, the most of the night for any OL. He was followed by Boothe with 10. Remember, in the finely tuned machine that is an NFL OL all it takes is one part to stop working for the whole machine to fail.
…It didn’t take the All-22 film to find this out, but reviewing the tape confirmed every Giants fan’s suspicions---the run game was putrid. There were several occasions where Bradshaw didn’t hit the front side hole and committed to cutting it back far too soon. More often than not though, Bradshaw was met with a line of scrimmage that had been reestablished in the Giants’ backfield. Continuing from last year the line struggled to establish any type real push and more often than not are playing on their heels. Another thing that the line struggled with against Dallas is locking up linebackers at the second level. Too often were Sean Lee and the rest of Dallas’ LBs allowed to roam free side-to-side disrupting plays without any real repercussions.
...A TALE OF TWO HALVES- The run blocking of the Giants OL was weak overall, with a -2 net grade from the 5 starters. They were a combined net of -6 in the first half and +4 in the second half, some of which can be explained by how the Giants ran for ~ 1 yard per carry in H1 and 8 yards per carry in H2. The Giants let passing plays set up the run in the second half. This offers a more consistent explanation for what took place vs Dallas. In H1 when the run game was asked to carry a respectable (43%) part of the offense, it failed. In H2, the run game worked in support of the pass and could manage the reduced attention (only 26% of plays). It wasn't balanced, but it allowed the OL to perform better. This is a continuation of the pattern of 2011, where the OL was able to perform adequately because the pass protection was generally good and the run blocking had a reduced role. The grades from the linemen vs Dallas bear this out early here in 2012. One game does not make a trend, so we will watch how this develops.
…1st and goal from the 1 needs to result in six points not three. Has to be. Now that we’ve stated the obvious let’s start dishing out some blame. While it may be warranted to point the finger at the play selection there (no play action on 1st or 2nd down and both runs went outside) or the personnel (rookie TE Adrian Robinson was in on 1st and 2nd down... We understand that you want to keep the D thinking play action, but if your plan is to run the ball on both downs why not bring in Beatty as the extra blocker instead of Robinson?) the bottom line is the guys up front need to get it done in this situation. Gilbride showed faith in the group by calling for two runs. The unit failed to reward him for it and did not get the job done.
On 1st down Bradshaw runs right and has to flatten out and take it to the sideline as both Snee and Baas were driven back a yard or two into the backfield. While Bennett and Pascoe were both blown up on the front side of the play anyway, the lack of push forces Bradshaw to reroute on the play. Notice how Bradshaw is forced to run laterally way back at the five yardline. Not good.
On 2nd down the Giants come out in a mirror of the exact formation from 1st down only they motion Pascoe to the right prior to the snap. On the snap Locklear cut blocks his man (seemingly by design) and Boothe pulls left to lead Bradshaw around the end. The play turns into a disaster when Boothe trips over Locklear in the backfield and the collateral damage from this completely throws off the timing of the run. Boothe NEEDS to be a better athlete here. He knows that Locklear is cutting so it is on him to navigate through the potential damage of such a block. To make matters worse Snee, who was responsible for getting up to the backside LB Lee, completely misses and allows Lee to make the play to bring up 3rd and goal. No matter who is to blame for not scoring the TD, the OL needs to completely shoulder the blame and look at the field goal as a failure on their part as a whole.
We know what happens on 3rd down. Fact of the matter is if the Giants can punch it in on 1st or 2nd down, then we do not have to deal with the possible missed PI call on that play. No time for excuses.
…The individual OL plays of the game (and the only +2 grades given out) came on back-to-back snaps in the third quarter on the Giants’ TD drive to bring the score to 14-10. The first came in the way of a David Baas pancake block of Sean Lissemore on Eli’s long completion to Domenik Hixon on the crucial 39-yard completion on 3rd and 4. Baas absolutely flattened Lissemore (with the help of Snee) and left no doubt about who won that battle. Need that kind of mean streak out of Baas in the run game.
On the ensuing play, Ahmad Bradshaw’s 10-yard TD run, Kevin Boothe and Baas executed a double team block to perfection on Marcus Spears. Boothe slips off of the block to engage Sean Lee at the second level and drives him back just enough to allow Bradshaw to see and hit the hole on the way to the TD. If you have the game DVR’ed, check this play out for a perfect example of exactly what the Giants DIDN’T do consistently in the run game—slow down LBs at the second level. Need to see more of this if they want to succeed in the run game.
…Last (unrelated) thought on this one—Jayron Hosley has to make a block on Tyron Smith for Boley at the end of his interception return. Any type of block there works and gets Boley the TD. Yes he is a rookie, yes he is not an offensive player let alone a lineman, yes excuses stink and no matter what we should have punched the ball in with three tries from the one. Bottom line though is if Boley takes the INT in for seven we probably would have had a different game on our hands.
…The Giants offensive line faces a tall task next week, facing a Tampa Bay defensive unit that only allowed 10 yards rushing to a Panthers team that finished 7th in rushing in 2011. They mauled the Panthers’ front five and were able to blow up plays in the backfield with ease. It started all with the two interior tackles- Gerald McCoy (a recent high draft pick and a name we all know) and a lesser known name Roy Miller (Miller was a force against CAR). The DL showed that they plan to be aggressive up front and are looking to make big TFLs. The LBs are also aggressive in firing through the gaps in run defense.
This leaves the door open for big plays on the offensive side. To do so, the Giants need to take advantage with slower developing plays such as counters, draws and misdirections. They can also use this to their advantage in the pass game by mixing in a HEAVY dose of play action (Play action was used only 5 times vs Dallas). It will be crucial for the OL to really sell the run on these plays by firing off the ball and offering the TB LBs a “run read.”
Should be a great test for the Giants’ OL and an opportunity to bounce back from last week’s disappointing performance.