The NY Giants offense did not have Chase Blackburn in their huddle this week. But unfortunately, they had Cordle, Brewer and Pugh in there instead. The result was the same, another loss. The score in this contest is somewhat misleading, as the Giants were much more competitive. Through almost 3 quarters of play, this game was essentially deadlocked, as the Chiefs made a long FG at the end of H1 and the Giants missed one. And then the floodgates opened. A special teams 89 yard punt return put KC up by 2 scores; recovering from that deficit was tantamount to climbing Mt. Everest. The Giants defense crumbled in Q4 as a result of the time of possession advantage of KC and the rout was on. New York is 0-4 and staring at a very long season.
If the game was so close as the end of the 3rd quarter approached, why was the Giants defense worn down? The answer is in a very telling stat that all readers of this blog know all too well: 3rd down conversions. The Chiefs were 9-16. The Giants were 1-14. Fully 8 of those Giants 3rd downs were 3rd and 10 or longer. And the root cause of this is lack of control of the offensive line. Sure, Nicks dropped some balls and there were penalties etc.. But as much as we would like to follow the skill matchups, the game of football is still won and lost in the trenches. And the Giants don't control the trenches.
Not all of the games are in the books for Week 4 as of this writing, but all you need to know is that the Giants are not getting to the opposing QB and the opposing defense is getting to the Giants QB. The Giants are near/at the bottom in both QB sacks and sacks allowed.
While the NY Giants pass rush is not helping matters, the defense is not the reason why this team is losing. The team is still its own worse enemy, making too many mistakes. The turnovers continue. And the boob penalties are frustrating. Randle makes a fantastic punt return of 43 yards to the 46 yard line. Flag. Illegal block. Nicks makes a pretty nifty one-handed grab in Q3 to give the Giants a 20 yard pass play. Flag. Holding on Beatty.
When you are not playing well, these mistakes are absolute killers. 3 plays after the holding call forces the Giants to punt, the return makes it 17-7.
I've witnessed this type of football before. It has some eerie similarities to the 1970s. That nightmare of offensive ineptitude returns. Two hallmarks of the 1970s offense were that it (a) couldn't buy a 3rd down conversion to save its life and (b) killed itself routinely with penalties.
Speaking of 3rd down conversions, here's one on Gilbride. It's 3rd and 1 and you.. pitchout? PITCHOUT????!!!!!! Nooooo. It takes seemingly forever for the RB to get back to the line of scrimmage, and he is met by a sea of red.
Do not misunderstand the comparison to the 1970s offense. While both offenses are anemic, one lacked skill players and this offense has skills players. It just cannot control the OL, and the result is that both can't move the sticks. The 1970s were run-run-pass-kick. 2013 is pass-penalty-run-3rd & 16 draw/inpet screen-kick.
There is some cause for optimism. The Giants have a respectable chance at a win next weekend. The defense of the Eagles is weaker than that of the Chiefs and there is only way to go from here- up. I just checked the point spread- the oddsmakers agree- the Gmen are FG favorites. 1-4 here we come!
Seriously, at 0-4, the Giants chances of making the playoffs are not significant. If you look at the NFC East standings, you wouldn't know, because they are only 2 games out of first. That is not a typo.
But make no mistake about this... JUST BECAUSE THE GIANTS ARE PLAYING IN THE WORST DIVISION IN FOOTBALL DOES NOT MEAN YOU CAN HOPE FOR A PLAYOFF SPOT. Hope will only commence when the Giants offensive line can protect Eli and run the ball enough so that other teams have to account for that. Hope will only commence when the Giants defensive line can get to the opposing QB. This team is 0-4 and it is looking like they can ~split their remaining games. That means 6-6 plus 0-4 = 6-10. How does an 0-4 team that can't control either side of the line of scrimmage get ~6 wins? Easy- it plays MIN and OAK at home and it plays the NFC East 5 more times. In the land of the blind (NYG, PHI and WAS), the one-eyed man (DAL) is king.
Kinda lost in all this is how awful the ST are this season ... Football Outsiders have us as the 2nd worst ST unit since 1989 !
Ed Valentine over at Big Blue View (I think that blog has been criticized here for too often wearing blue-tinted glasses) wrote a lengthy piece DEFENDING Gilbride.
I personally think, while a few valid points are made, it is full of spin that casts as favorable a light as possible on Gilbride, making excuses to draw attention away from legit issues, and doesn't address some of the main criticisms. Sure, he draws up some nice stuff.... but what about predictabilty, the inability to adjust from game to game and in-game, lack of creativity, inability to play to strengths (and weaknesses) of the personnel, and on and on and on.
Curious to see everyone here's thoughts.
It is ironic that the current AFC West pillaging of the NFC East includes Andy Reid as one of its main forces. Here's a guy who basically got run out of town in Philly last year...and we still can't get rid of him! He's got good team personnel in K.C. (8 Pro-Bowlers?) and his Chiefs are beating up on the NFC East... I'm not saying it's personal or anything, but I'm guessing Reid got a special smiley feeling after crushing the Eagles the previous week, then putting it to the G-Men this past weekend. When you're hot you're hot, and Big Red is hot right now.
What more can we say?
Reese's neglect of the OL hurts. Gilbride's ineptitude hurts just as much if not more. Silly me for half expecting Gilbride to adjust the gameplan to help Eli out with a porous OL. Nope! Still multitudes of slow developing routes and very very few 3 stop drops or slants/flares/screens. What is he thinking??
If it's any solace (it's not), this isn't really a typical 0-4 team. They were in the game just as much as any other team this year against Denver, and the Dallas and KC games could have gone the other way if a couple key mistakes didn't take place.
My fear is that we rally to 7-9, miss the playoffs, but do "enough" to keep full-blown status quo, and get only a middling draft pick.
Sure, as a fan watching the games ever week I much prefer that over something like 3-13 (which I could NEVER bring myself to "root for"), but long term it'll be worse.
I actually have to give Fewell some credit. The defense appears to be significantly improved over last year even if the numbers only partially bear that out since they're on the field the whole damn game. Yes, the pass rush is still largely MIA, but if we can get JPP and Damontre Moore ramped up and fully effective that could change.
Watching this division is becoming depressing. Nobody wants to take the bull by the horns. And here's what's amazing: If the Giants take care of the Eagles this week; they'll only be one game back (Dallas won't beat Denver). Amazing. Sad. Whatever. I will cheer our guys on. What more can we do?
At least they're building a strong foundation with the defense, which begins with stopping the run, at which the Giants have been outstanding. As far as enabling the run with blocking, it seems every other team's OL gets some push at least some of the time. As for pass blocking, I wish Reese could appreciate the artistry of, say, the Eagles LT Jason Peters, who presents pass rushers with a puzzle they seldom solve. We're stuck with Beatty, who needs to go in serious search of his lost mojo.
I'm glad you said something about that 3rd and 1 pitchout - I thought the same thing when it happened. Besides the trenches, I don't recall ever seeing our team (and maybe ANY team) look so unprepared each week. Remember all the confusion before that missed field goal? I saw so many replays where an OL would start blocking someone, then release them, I guess assuming the guy next to him was going to pick up that guy - and of course, it becomes a clear path to Eli.
Who would have thought when the Giants beat the Eagles the last game of last year, that the Giants wouldn't win another game when they play the Eagles on the the fifth game the following year!
I hope this is finally a wake up call to Reese about the importance of putting together a top-notch offensive line (if Reese is still the GM next year). Pugh will probably turn out to be a solid lineman but it is too little too late. None of Reese's mid to late round OL picks have panned out.
The really sad thing is they are going to waste the prime years of Eli's career because they let the foundation of the offense rot. Sickening...
@CommanderShepard - you asked for our opinion, well here's mine. That piece is heavy on the apologies. To quote an old but true saying: "Two wrongs don't make a right". The poor play of the O-line doesn't negate that Gilbride is predictable. One glaring error that was pointed out here re: the Carolina game - Chase Blackburn's "Tell". I expect the coaches to realize that that is part of the game, and they need to gameplan for it. That's on KG and TC, not the players. The O-line doesn't get a pass, but neither does the coaching staff.
The best point made was in the comments: Sometimes you just need to hear another voice. I say respectfully, that Gilbride's has been heard for long enough.
For instance, from Manning' s post game interview : "We said we're going to attack these corners, throw the ball down the field and try to get some big plays".
When you have blockers that cannot protect your QB, is that really the best game plan coming in ?
Well Gilbride isn't the main problem, it's the OL.
But you can't just change your OL, so it'd be nice if Gilbride would try and help them a little bit.
And calling posts and 7 routes on every snap isn't helping the OL.
@CommanderShepard I hate killdrive with every fiber of my being but he is not the issue. The Oline can't block, period. Until they do you can have bill walsh running your offense and you would still not score any points.
@Tom Jackson I think Reid has now beaten the Gmen 9 of the last 11 times. Hey Tom, want to do a Q&A exchange w our readers for this Friday?
@capt george @CommanderShepard Well, I don't COMPLETELY agree. There's a lot more Gilbride could/should be doing to help this OL. He may not currently be the BIGGEST issue, but still IS a significant issue.
Arthuro is right; the game plan is suspect ESPECIALLY in light of how badly the OL is playing, and that's on Gilbride (and Coughlin).