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.