OVERALL GRADES: LT Beatty -1, LG Boothe 0, C Baas -5, RG Snee 4, RT Locklear 4, OL Diehl -1
…this was Locklear’s best game as a Giant (the numbers also back this up.) He was OUTSTANDING in pass protection after having been serviceable in the games prior. It is no coincidence that Locklear played his best game when the Giants threw the ball 2/3 of the time. I have been a bit critical of his abilities and effort in the run game so perhaps the play calling played a minor role in the strong grade for Locklear. The RT nearly recorded the OL's first individual game with no negative grades but was docked for this crucial false start on the Giants 4th and 1 in the 1st quarter. Regardless, a timely effort from Locklear when some of the other members of the unit performed a bit below the level they have played over the last few weeks.
...Chris Snee continues to play his way towards another all-pro quality season as he recorded a 4, keeping his streak of + graded games alive in 2012. His play has made us completely forget the hip injury he continues to recover from. For a look at some "Classic Snee" (a screen shot won't do it justice) check out the 1st play of the Giants' 3rd drive in the 3rd quarter.
...I understand that blocking a DB or skill player in open space is one of the toughest blocks an OL has to make, but Snee needs to get better at this. That goes across the board, it’s just that Snee is often the one who is pulling. Not asking for a huge block but need to be effective blocking in space. Maybe (not saying this is why we call so few) this will allow Gilbride to rely on the screen game a bit more heavily like many people have been calling for. Having said this, the Giants did a great job on the screen late in the 4th quarter to extend the drive before the Skins go ahead TD. Brown did a great job staying behind his OL and vice versa.
…lets go back to 5:55 in the 3rd quarter for a perfect example of how thin the line is between a one-yard gain and a big run in terms of blocking. In the first image above you will see a play that looks well on its way to a big gain, as long as Bennett can follow Boothe through the hole and get a piece of London Fletcher. The hole is there. Boothe does a fine job of squaring up his man and delivering the blow on the pull but is done in by one simple technique mistake—he fails to get his “head” (and entire body) in between the defender and the hole. Notice that Boothe’s head is on the outside, allowing the DL to easily shed the block and wait in the hole.
This trickles down, forcing Bennett to adjust by trying to get a piece of the DL, allowing Carriker and Fletcher to come down and disrupt the play at the line. You will see the collateral damage of Boothe's miniscule mistake in the 2nd screen grab at right. Not to say that this play was the cause, but the next play was Eli’s 1st interception. It goes to show you that (speaking in Ultimate-22 terms here) a run play may be more successful with five “0’s” on the OL rather than a single "1" effort. Yes there are individual battles within, but the offensive line works, succeeds and fails as a unit.
...yes David Baas graded out poorly and this time it was his worst score of the season, coming in at a -5. Doesn't take an expert to see that Baas was a bit overmatched in this one at times.If you take a look at the grade sheet a lot of that is throughout the second half (Baas H1 grade: 0, Baas H2 grade: -5), when Baas suffered an ankle injury that may keep him out of the Giants' week eight game against Dallas. It was obvious that something wasn't right with Baas as he struggled to get any push in the run game and was often getting driven back in pass protection. This isn't an attempt to make excuses for the Giants' center but just a way of perhaps explaining some of the negative plays in the second half against Dallas. If he can't go Sunday Boothe moves to center and Diehl will step in at LG.
...the Giants have been offering an interesting look on the OL over the past two weeks (if it has been used
earlier, I have yet to notice it) formation wise. The pre-snap formation is shown above. It involves Bennett lined up at TE on the LOS and Pascoe lined up at h-back in the backfield--what makes it unconventional is that Bennett is lined up outside Pascoe. This allows for better angles in run blocking, with Bennett being able to block "down" easier while Pascoe, lined up inside and off the LOS, is able to pull around the edge and lead easier. That is what happens on the play in the screen grab on the right. Just a look at a new wrinkle in the Giants dangerous, deep and diverse offensive gameplan.
OVERALL GRADES: Rolle -1, Brown -1
...the "Bend... Don't Break" defense worked out well for the G-Men this week. As long as they don't give up big plays and make tackles, eventually teams find themselves in third-and-long. With an arsenal of disruptive pass-rushers, the Giants are able to generate sacks and turnovers in these situations, keeping opponents off the scoreboard. That being said....
...there's a lot of room for improvements to keep the "Bend... Don't Break" philosophy working:
...the Giants can't allow second and third-and-short situations in which you can't simply pin your ears back and rush the passer. This week, they allowed over 7.8 yards on 1st downs (ex-penalties). Clearly scheme changes must be made to reduce this number.
...the post-snap reads must get better. Too many times players were caught on their heals on straight run plays, or peeking into the backfield on play-action, giving opponents an extra step advantage.
...the Giants have to be more aware of their opponent. Brown took bad angles a few times allowing RGIII a bunch of extra yards, and several times guys got spun around, creating open running lanes for a QB we know likes to take off. Fortunately the Giants face only two more run-threat quarterbacks this year.
...tackling continues to be an issue. Granted the tackling was better this week, there are still too many fundamentally poor tackle attempts, leading to extra yards. If you want to keep teams in third-and-long, you have to make good, solid tackles. You also need everyone to get involved to prevent yards after contact. Brown had a few instances where he could have driven the pile back, but failed to get in the mix.
OVERALL GRADES: Joseph 2, Canty -1, Kuhn 1, Austin 0