Wonder goes around the league with his first impressions on all 32 teams.
NE- Still not sold on 2 things: OL and overall Defense, particularly pass defense.
MIA- By Thanksgiving, we'll be wondering who they take w 1 of the top picks in the draft.
NYJ- Don't get sucked in. They still can't run the ball and rush the passer.
BUF- Has everyone forgotten how bad of a coach Chan Gailey was at Dallas?!
CIN- I still believe CIN is a good FB team. Don't be fooled by bad road loss to BAL.
BAL- If Suggs can make an amazing recovery by end of season, BAL goes to SB XLVII.
PIT- Losing DeCastro may devastate this team. They have real issues on their OL.
CLE- Maybe they can draft another QB #1 overall next year. Holmgren has to go.
IND- Better than people think. They have a reasonable 3 year plan.
JAX- I do not know who is worse: the owner, the GM, the coach, the QB or the team.
HOU- The Texans were given an EZ Pass for the AFC South.
TEN- What has happened to their OL and Chris Johnson?!
SD- One of my sleeper teams. If Matthews can come back and be productive, they can compete w Denver.
DEN- Peyton starts the season with 10 wins. Anything more is a bonus.
OAK- Maybe if OAK decided to keep a coach for more than a season or two, they MIGHT develop continuity and a successful program.
KC- A ton of talent on both sides of the ball. But Romeo Crennel still sucks.
DAL- If their OL holds up, and they get any kind of pass rush opposite DeMarcus Ware, look out.
PHL- The loss of Jason Peters is the biggest loss of a non-skilled position player in the entire NFL.
NYG- When will the Giants ever put together back to back Super Bowls?
WAS- Look out world, here comes RGIII and the Skins for the next 15 years.
MIN- It's amazing how bad this team is compared to the other 3 teams in its division.
GB- Before anyone starts patting McCarthy on the back too much, just remember how flat they were vs NYG in the playoffs and SF in Week 1.
CHI- I still don't like their OL and I still think their Defense is overrated vs good QBs.
DET- Will Mikel Leshoure be the answer at RB? If so, look out.
NO- Bountygate & loss of Payton is significant. How they handle it is an unknown.
ATL- They have talent, but can they get it done in the playoffs? Julio Jones is a beast.
CAR- What happened last week to the running game?!
TB- I love what they are doing. I just feel bad that they lost Davin Joseph for the year.
AZ- That's 1 more win than I thought they'd get! Reasonable team, but OL is horrible.
SF- By far the best all-around team in football at Week 1. Not even close.
SEA- Let's not forget how terrible a coach Pete Carroll was with the Jets and the Patriots, because he sure showed it in Week 1 at AZ.
STL- Fisher has them going in the right direction, & they will surprise a few people by winning 5 or 6 this year.
Wonder goes around the league with his first impressions on all 32 teams.
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.
Over the course of the season, the numbers we will be passing along will make more sense because they will be compared to earlier games. So far, the TE, QB, DE and LB evaluations have come through and we can share some "early returns."
Remember the grading?
+2 for a tremendous play
+1 for a good play
0 for doing your job
-1 for a poor play
-2 for a very bad play
Getting a slew of 0's is very respectable. Especially for younger players. Remember what Michael Strahan said: before the Super Bowl, the players were told to do your job every play and the ordinary will be extraordinary. Make tackles. Make blocks. Hold onto the ball. Catch the ball before you run with it. Do your job. With that said, here are some early player TOTALS for the game vs Dallas:
Michael Boley +6
Eli Manning +5
Jason Pierre-Paul +5
Martellus Bennett +3
Keith Rivers +2
Mark Herzlich +1
Justin Tuck 0
Matthias Kiwanuka 0
Chase Blackburn -1
Jacquian Williams -1
Osi Umenyiora -2
Now please keep in mind, IT IS ONE GAME. And we do not profess to have the kind of accuracy that means that the performance of Tuck can be compared to a TE, for example. We tried to standardize the gradings. Here are a few conclusions that the numbers tell me.
1) Eli Manning played an unflashy but solid game. No horrible errors. No gaudiness either. Very steady and reliable, with some good plays sprinkled in.
2) How many times did you hear Justin Tuck's name called on Wednesday night? I did not remember very much. The defense could have used some impact plays and it did not get them here. That is in clear contrast to what we saw from JPP, who was (typically) ubiquitous. The point is that this is what we CAN takeaway from the game, that JPP was more effective than Tuck. The fact that we had a grader who inspected all 38 snaps from Tuck means that he watched more Tuck than we did. Were his grades perfect? I would BET that they weren't. But they will get better over time because of the experience, and even you or I would probably be within a point or two from the +0 net.
3) The LBers were solid. Collectively they were a +6 out there for the game. This is a positive for the team. When the Defensive Line gets their legs, when Austin and Canty are back, when the CB position is not playing 8th stringers, the Giants will be a much better defensive unit.
When all of the player data is loaded in, we will be able to look at broader data, like what the entire defensive unit looked like in H1 vs H2. Or even quarter by quarter.
The amount of data crunching has been very large. We have not completed and compiled all of the grades from all of the positions yet.
While we are awaiting all of the returns from our staff, we coded every single play for many characteristics. As an example, we tracked different types of pass plays, and slants jumped out at us for their success quantitatively- these small ball plays made a large contribution to Romo's success. Dallas was 5 for 6 on slants, for 58 yards. In an age where the NFL is about passing, the slant can move the team down the field. It also tires and frustrates pass rushers because they cannot key off of 5 and 7 step drops.
Early preliminary work by the grader of the Defensive Ends uncovered some trends which we will tie into the numbers this week...
Boley Pic: Giants rush 4. Kiwi rushes from Rt DE spot. JPP and Tuck in the middle and Osi outside. JPP and Tuck get great push up the middle and Romo, because Kiwi kept his lane integrity, he had to step left to throw.
TD #1: Tuck does a stunt from left to right leaving NO ONE to Romo's right. Not sure if one of the DTs was suppose to stunt also. JPP has great pass rush from RT DE spot and flushes Romo to his right with no one there to stop him.
TD #2: Osi from the LT DE spot (Tuck's usual spot) has great pass rush but Romo eludes him (not Osi's fault, the other guys are great athletes also) Romo steps to his right and throws TD pass
TD #3: Romo has great pocket to throw from. He gets stupid lucky on a ball that should have been picked. WR can adjust to the ball because he is looking back.
3rd Down throw to end game on 3 and 12: Quick release pass from nice pocket for Romo. Justin Tuck drops back and is in coverage down field. Romo throws right into the blitz on the LB for an easy 12 yard pickup.
Some early data on Romo scrambling out of the pocket: he left the pocket 7 times, going 4 for 6 for 72 yards and 2 TDS on those passes and had 1 scramble for 9 yards and a first first down in the red zone.
Conclusion: Keep Romo in the pocket and unless he makes a great play or gets lucky you have a great shot at winning the game. Only time he makes great throw is on the last 3rd down of the game. Unless he got lucky and that was his first read he threw right into the area vacated by the LB on his blitz. Why with the game on the line Tuck is not one of the 4 rushing the QB we do not know. Would seem it is more coaching for this loss than the players. On 2 of the 4 biggest plays of the game bad playing calling might have been the cause. We say might because on the first TD we don't know if the Tuck stunt was called and if it was did, the DT not do his job.
The 'All 22' review of games, also known as Ultimate22, was given an introduction yesterday on The NY Times Fifth Down Football Blog. The limitations of making a grade within a single play and the macro statistical advantage of evaluating large numbers of plays were discussed in the comments section at greater length.
Here is the Reader's Digest summary of these considerations:
(1) Get over the idea that any single play is always going to get a perfect evaluation. The only way that is possible is if we ourselves are the coaches and know precisely what was drawn up and intended for execution. And if you want to have another laugh, just know that Lawrence Taylor went rogue on Rod Rust and had Steve DeOssie make a pre-1991 defensive call out of frustration with the 'read and react,' so nothing in this world is 100%, not even the coaches.
2) Appreciate the value of large numbers to get a respectable report on the contributions of individual players overall. Would you rather get a snapshot of 5 plays from an Offensive Lineman or 55? When you have 55 plays to observe contributions, the body of work is much more representative of the evening's game and that player. We never said that we'd be able to get all 55 perfect. But we do believe that our conclusions overall will be solid and meaningful.
Here is a question for the entire viewership to think about. What percentage of the time does a player fail to execute his assignment, ie a lineman is told to block Player A and blocks the wrong guy? How often does that happen? Well, let's think about the issue from a different perspective... In the 11 person choreographed ballet, which is also known as a single football play, we know that everyone is counted on to do their job or else the play may necessarily fail. So how often do all 11 players on any play ALL do their job? Is it 10% of the time? Is it 50% of the time? Is it 90% of the time?
Below is a table which has the % chance that a single player will do his job on a given play, and the % chance of all 11 players do their job, assuming each player has the same ability.
|% chance of a single player doing his job on a single play||% chance of all 11 players doing their job on a single play|
What percent of the time are all 11 players doing their job on a single play? The reason why this table was put together was to show you that we would be watching horrible ugly football if only 30% of the time all 11 players were doing their job. It would be the Keystone Cops. Using this analysis, we would believe that all 11 players are doing their job on any given play roughly 50% to 90% of the time. And that implies that any single player is doing his job about 95% to 99% of the time. This makes sense. So if there are 60 snaps for a player, this means that we would expect him to be executing his assignment properly on about 57 to 59 of those 60 snaps. (Note: we are not saying they will do their jobs well on 58 snaps, just that they will do what they are supposed to be doing, ie blocking the right guy.) As professionals, this makes sense again. We are humans. We make some mistakes, but hopefully not too often. We try to limit them by practicing them again and again so that we reduce their occurrence.
Summary- Assuming players execute their proper assignment ~95% to 99% of the time, that is good enough for us to make informed evaluations over large groups of observations.
This weekend and early next week we will be reporting on how the players did individually and as a group vs Dallas. The All 22 video feeds only became available late last evening, so it will take a couple of days for the staff to go through all the plays.
We are expecting some surprises. It is impossible for the human eye to watch more than a few things on a single play, let alone the details of 11 independent things. Let's see what the results are.