We have often heard the phrase - "the NFL is a copycat league." After the Giants upset the Patriots in SB XLII, teams started copying the Giants game plan the following season to combat the Patriots offense.no comments
I am not a big fan of everything that Mike Francesa says, but I was listening to him give his monologue today and I think he made a lot of very good points:
1) The Giants are a big play team. They are #1 in the league in plays for 30+ yds. Do not try to make them a possession/run team.
2) The Packers have won their last 13 in Lambeau. This is not going to be an easy game in any scenario.
3) The Giants do have a shot, a credible shot. (Of course..) They will need the pass rush to win this game.
4) Look for some no-huddle from the Packers at certain times when they like what they have vs the Giants defensive package, ie w/o Osi (who is playing more on passing downs) and Tuck on that particular snap.
5) Of course the Giants will run for balance. But they do not have an effective running game. It shows in how weak they are in short yardage. Despite their run success in recent games, asterisks abound, ie Giants run yardage piled on vs ATL later when the game was already getting out of reach.
6) Aaron Rodgers is special. It will take a very strong effort to win against him.
7) Mike McCarthy and his coaching staff are always well prepared. Their OL may be coming back from injury, but they'll make sure they are ready.
8) Re the bye, in the old days, it helped the #1 and #2 seeds. But in today's game, every team is so close in talent that the bye is working in favor of the teams that have to play through the wild card round.
9) Relaying a conversation from another NFL coach, Mike passes along the coach's comment that "the Giants, when they come out on the field, they are MEN."
10) I think that earlier in the week, Mike also said the following- you cannot dig a hole vs Rodgers and the Packers.
Andy here. Usually I agree with a majority of Mike Francesa says because he obviously knows a lot, but typically I will disagree with him on one or two points somewhere. Not today. Today, everything he said was pitch perfect. Namely, the Giants have a credible shot in this game, but do not go thinking this is the Giants game to lose. It is ultimately the Packers game to lose. If the Packers play their 'A game' and the Giants play theirs, it will be a great game, a close game. But the edge will go to Aaron Rodgers/Packers because he is the best in the game.
Mike Francesa's point about not being a possession team does NOT contradict what we have been saying about small ball. We advocate "Small ball" so that Eli can be in more of a rhythm so that he can be fluid for the big play. You get more opportunities for more big plays when you move the sticks. And since we agree that the Giants run game is not who the Giants are, we say that you use the 'small ball' passing game to your RB and TE as a way to give the offense the same balance that you would otherwise get from a more effective running game.
Can the Giants win? Definitely. I do not agree with the point spread, as I feel that America wants to put their money on the cheeseheads to buy a piece of the champions. That is Vegas, balancing the money (which incidentally, did get bet down to 7.5, but is back to 8). I would make the spread somewhere between 4 and 6 points. This is where Mike's point about the bye (#8) is so true... the Colts won as a team that did not have the bye. The Giants won w/o the bye. They lost when they had the bye. AZ came oh so close to winning the Super Bowl, and they were w/o the bye. Green Bay won last year as the wild card. So the Giants have to use that rhythm of playing through to remain competitive and get off to a great start in Q1. Attention Kevin Gilbride- do not have any ideas of taking Q1 off, like your offense did vs the Jets and Falcons. The reason why the Giants had so much competitiveness vs GB in the first game was because they hit Beckum for a TD early and were there for 60 minutes. Anything less will not be enough on Sunday. They can win this game but it will not be with too many mistakes. So many on this blog are remembering the Dallas '07 playoff matchup. GOOD. Remember that it took a lot of luck AND 60 minutes to beat them. (Maybe this time, if we have the lead with 9:27 left in Q4, we won't go prevent, eh Kevin???!)
1) needed to win at end of the season in a year that had underperformance just weeks prior
2) played and lost to the undefeated team, 38-35, during the regular season
3) played a wildcard round game, winning strongly vs an NFC South team
4) playing the #1 seed in the divisional round
5) ~8-9 point underdogs in divisional round, w line moving down to 7.5
6) other divisional round licking their chops to have us win so that they can play at home again
7) no respect because of a season of up and down play before the playoffs
8) Eli playing very well
9) Giants pass rush
10) Jacobs and Bradshaw
11) questionable secondary
12) Lambeau Field
13) got beat by the NFC Divisional Round Opponent in Regular Season
14) got beat by the NFC Championship Opponent (if we get there!) in Regular Season
15) Tuck, Osi, Kiwi, Ross, Blackburn(!), CWeb, Eli, DeOssie(!),Tollefson, Jacobs, Bradshaw, McKenzie, Snee, Tynesno comments
[Editor’s note- Rich Conforti joined the staff of UltimateNYG in December. He has already given us some good quality observations and insight into topics such as the Giants’ pass coverage and run schemes. In this installment, Rich shares his positive opinion of Tom Coughlin. My rebuttal is indented after each of his points. We hope you enjoy the debate. This site is about an open forum for discussion, and we do not shy away from an objective and constructive exchange of views. – Andy]
Let’s start out by addressing the topic of the near 2011 Giants collapse.
Did it appear at times that we were headed for one? Sure. Bottom line is that this team finished out the last quarter of the season with a 3-1 record. Despite endless amounts of nitpicking, this team rallied at the end of the season to make the playoffs.
Nitpicking? Do you call losing to Washington twice, Seattle and PHL’s Young nitpicking? I call it wholesale abandonment and underachievement. Better late than never, but why did it take Coughlin and Fewell so long to figure out that the Tampa 2 was a turkey?!
A 6-2 start, peaking with the unforgettable win at New England, set the bar extra high and maybe caused some to lose sight of all this. Did anyone stop to think its possible that we may have overachieved in the first half in jumping out to a 12-4 pace? Sometimes people need to step back and reassess their expectations. Isn’t a 9-7 finish par for the course? If you were optimistic you expected 10 or 11 wins.
Before the season started, the UltimateNYG blog survey and Vegas had the Gmen winning between 9-10 games. That included the injuries. And this site fully anticipated a ~5-2 start before the back 9. We liked the effort vs NE, but disliked how the second half losses to WAS and PHL at home were very preventable. Those losses gave the Giants two elimination games that were completely unnecessary.
Another popular way to bash Coughlin has come in the form of criticizing his coordinators. I am not one to judge a head coach off of his coordinators for a few simple reasons.
As Mike Garafolo (someone who has the most access to the team without actually being on it, which puts him in a position to possibly comment on coaching and coordinators) believes and wrote in his Washington @ Giants game review:
Anyway, as I was saying, you all know me. You know how reluctant I am to say, “That was a poorly coached game.” Most of the time, I look to the execution (or lack thereof) as the reason things don’t work out on the field. It drives many of you nuts because you love to throw darts at the coaches but I see what I see and often defend the staff.
Let’s accurately respond with the exact continuation of what Garafolo said on that day… (But…):
“…Not Sunday. Not at MetLife Stadium. Not for the home team.
That, in my estimation, was a poorly coached game.
This is not to exonerate the players at all. As you’ll see below, they’re culpable as well. But as you’ll also see below, there were a lot of decisions from the coaches with which I do not agree. And this isn’t Monday morning quarterbacking here; I scratched my head when I saw these things live.”
Also, go ahead and make your ASSUMPTIONS on his ability to reach his players, but I just have trouble finding a way to bring myself to call for the head of a coach who somehow managed to transform Antrel Rolle (a former known Coughlin critic) into a team leader and a supporter of his coach:
“He’s the boss man and we are his soldiers,” Rolle told reporters Monday. “I have many different reasons why I play the game as hard as I do, and I’ll be honest to say, one of them is Coach Coughlin.”
He added, “I know I’m not the only one feeling this way.”
Given that Coughlin and Rolle — who called himself “stubborn” and “not an easy cookie” — have butted heads more than once, Rolle’s words had gravity.
Or as special teams captain Zach DeOssie said:
“I can’t remember when Coach hasn’t had the pulse of the team,” said DeOssie, whose rookie year coincided with the Giants’ 2007 run to the Super Bowl. “We respect him, we play for him and we play for each other.”
As for “assumptions” to reach players, that is the head coach’s JOB. We have been positive on Rolle, in fact supporting him on blog radio just days before the disclosure that he voiced displeasure with the team’s effort. It should also be remembered that Rolle has voiced his displeasure with Coughlin (and the coaching staff) publicly on a number of occasions. We support Rolle’s leadership and do agree that this is a key part of the late turnaround. Coughlin gets credit for this 'Better late than never.' But why so late? Why does Coughlin habitually suffer from lack of player support?
As for DeOssie’s memory about having the pulse of the team, I remember one with complete factuality. It was vs Carolina in Dec 2009 when the Giants needed to win to get into the playoffs, and Coughlin admitted he did not know what team he was going to have that week. They lost 41-9.
What is it that we can give head coaches credit for?
Sure, the goal is to win a Super Bowl every single year and any fan who doesn’t want that is misguided.
But let’s think realistically here, in Coughlin’s eight-year tenure in New York how many teams have had more success throughout the duration of that span? New England, Pittsburgh, Indianapolis…
Green Bay? Haven’t done it for long enough (4 wins in 2005, 6 in 2008).
Baltimore? Close, but no ring.
New Orleans? I don’t think so but we’ll call it a coin flip.
We use titles as the yardstick, so Green Bay and New Orleans both have as many as the Giants during that time period. The problem with your line of reasoning is that 2008’s title aspirations were completely squandered. You have to win when you are dealt the hand, and the Giants didn’t capitalize. The entire Giants organization (which has made good moves and bad) is professional enough to put Coughlin in a position to succeed. Is it fair to compare this franchise with so many dysfunctional organizations (Al Davis, Dan Snyder, The Fords…) who can’t shoot straight? We recognize Coughlin’s competence. We do not see excellence.
If you haven’t caught on by now, I am a supporter of Tom Coughlin. Anyone who manages to keep a head coaching job in New York for eight seasons must be doing something right. In today’s balanced NFL, five playoff appearances in eight NFL seasons isn’t too shabby.
The NY Yankees view a season as failure if they do not win the championship. We both agree that if you are not aspiring to that goal, then that is wrong. But the NY Giants publicly state that they consider it a successful season if the team makes it to the playoffs. I believe that 31 teams lose and 1 team wins.
The NY Giants are loyal to a fault. Do not confuse their loyalty to Coughlin with it being right or not. This past weekend was Coughlin’s first playoff win without Spagnuolo. Maybe it is the start of another run. We believe the possibility is there. With Fewell having recently purged the Tampa 2 in favor of more man coverage, the Giants have a shot at competing for a title. If Coughlin can win a title with Perry Fewell as his DC, that will force me to reevaluate my thinking. I HOPE THAT HAPPENS! GO GMEN!!!!!!!
At the end of the day Coughlin is one of the few coaches in this league with a championship and while there are a handful who may be "better" coaches- I'd say BB, the Harbaugh Bros., Tomlin and Payton- there are not many. Sure he has had his share of struggles, this year is no exception. No matter what happened on the way here, TC has his team playing its best football headed into the third weekend in January and there is something to be said for that. Time and time again he has team primed for big games and Sunday will be no exception.
Let the debate begin…
While none of us want to let our guard down after 13 or 14 brutal efforts on the ground by the Giants, it looks like they may have turned a corner. Last week was the peak for them so far this season with 172 "easy" rushing yards. It sure made things look even easier in the passing game at times.
Brandon Jacobs continues to be the hot back for the Giants. A lot of his success has come by way of misdirections and counters. Bradshaw has had his share too. As you’ll see below, all of the plays looked at are run to the right. At Lambeau that area of the field belongs to Clay Matthews (who has become an excellent run defender). Maybe flip some of these to the left?
Q2 5:58 2nd and 11 ATL 49: B.Jacobs right end to ATL 15 for 34 yards (J.Sanders, D.Robinson)
The counter. It’s simple: Snee (front side) and Boothe (back side) pull around the right side on this play, with everyone right of Boothe (Ballard, McKenzie and Baas) blocking down to the left to compensate. The Giants offensive line, agile and undersized, are great at these types of plays because it plays to their strengths and masks their weakness in the run game. The same goes for Jacobs; it gets those wheels going and doesn’t give him a chance to dance at the line. Picture perfect blocking (seriously, if you DVR’ed the game go watch this play again).
Q2 5:14 1st and 10 ATL 15 A.Bradshaw up the middle to ATL 6 for 9 yards (K.Biermann)
Same play with a few tweaks. Instead of a counter, this one is just a misdirection. Different formation; Ballard and Cruz’s bunched alignment has Atlanta thinking pass with only six in the box. The key here is Hynoski, who starts on the left side and pulls through the right side ahead of Bradshaw (who also started the play headed left). Bradshaw had the time to square up and cut his way for nine yards thanks to the “down” and “seal” blocking of the o-line. Even though Hynoski doesn’t really block anyone, the flow of the play allows a hefty hole to open up for Bradshaw.
Q4 11:26 1st and 10 ATL 37 B.Jacobs right tackle to ATL 28 for 9 yards (S.Adkins, J.Sanders)
The Giants ran the same play as the first one here, only it didn’t get blocked up as well. No problem for Jacobs, as the counter call gave him time to get behind the flow of the play and explode through the hole for five and carry a few Falcons for the last four of this nine yard gain.
Q4 6:06 B.Jacobs right tackle to ATL 35 for 4 yards (S.Weatherspoon, C.Lofton).
Just like the 1st and the 3rd play we looked at, the Giants run Jacobs right on a counter, only we just get Boothe pulling around the right side. This is another great example of the beauty of Jacobs and the counter, as Jacobs’ momentum from the build-up of the counter allows him to gain four tough yards after being hit right at the line of scrimmage.
If the Giants run game continues to be effective then it’s possible we have yet to see the best of this offense. The Giants need to continue to take advantage of their strengths in the running game (the counters and misdirections) and maybe even feature a heavier dose of it this weekend in Green Bay.
Some other thoughts for Sunday…..
--Need to make sure that trips to the red zone end up in seven points, not three. Field goals aren’t going to cut it in this one.
--Need to punish Rodgers….the way that they can. They need to make every opportunity they get to hit Rodgers (sack or not) count. Make him feel it, even if that means a flag early. Let’s see the intensity we seem to always bring against Vick or Brady. We haven’t seen the Giants really BEAT UP Rodgers physically in the past.
--Bump Finley- If the Giants are forced to play a linebacker on Finley (likely) then they better give him hell at the line. Don’t let him past five yards without a fight every time he is lined up next to the tackle.
--Follow the Chiefs…Attn Perry Fewell: the Chiefs played man defense on their eight third down stops in the week 15 win over Green Bay. On most of them they showed blitz at the line and sent one man, IF THAT.
ALL IN!no comments