That was an epic win on Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys! It was particularly great to see the GMEN return to their defensive roots; their defense shut down the only NFL team with an 11-1 record. Let’s give props to several players who had outstanding games, namely:
Jackrabbit Jenkins: He shut down Dez. Bryant…lights out!
Romeo Okwara: Who? This is the guy who replaced JPP. How’s 8 tackles and 1 sack for his first NFL start?
Derek Kennard- 6 tackles, 1 sack
Jonathan Casillas- 5 tackles, 1 sack
and the rest of the Giants D. They were outstanding!
Now, for the offense. Let me start with the most exciting offensive player the GMEN have had in 50 years. If you think I am referring to O’Dell Beckum Jr, you would be correct. After a slow start against Dallas (a slow start for Beckum is having a drop or two), he did what we have come to expect from him…change the outcome of the game. Beckum took an Eli Manning slant pass to the house, and thanks to the Giants defense, it turned out to be all they needed. See the reaction of fans at Aces, SF, below.
(Video courtesy of huddleball.com).
As for the rest of the Giants offense…ugh! (They own the 31st ranked running attack, 11th ranked passing attack). What remains most troubling to me (and Giants fans everywhere) is the Giants offensive line and their inability to pick up a rushing first down when they need to sustain a drive. They are simply not opening holes for their running backs.
Left Tackle Erik Flowers appears to be a liability on every play. His confidence is clearly shaken. He is repeatedly getting beaten by faster pass rushers causing Eli to throw the ball away early or even worse, throw interceptions. We are seeing too many mistakes out of Eli and it would not be a coincidence if faulty offensive line play had anything to do with it. The Giants should be welcoming Justin Pugh back to the O-line this week at Left Guard. Having this quality addition can only help.
If there is no shuffling of players (Pugh to Left Tackle, Flowers to Left Guard?), the Giants should at the least insert a Tight End next to Flowers for extra protection on the blind side. It can only help matters. Simple solutions like this could show some improved results in both the run blocking and pass blocking areas. Remember the days when we had quality diversity on the offensive line? It really makes you appreciate what David Diehl was able to do for them over a long career.
With greater stability on the offensive line, perhaps Eli will reduce the number of plays in which he has happy feet and throws some boneheaded interceptions. To Eli’s credit, he has the mentality of a defensive back, or rather, the memory of one. If he gets burned on one play, he is able to make a great play on the next.
The Giants are in a very fortunate position to be in at the moment at 9-4 and look to be heading to the playoffs as a Wild Card team. A poor finish the final 3 games could easily derail that. They must play the way they played this week on defense, and improve their offensive performance in both their running and passing attacks.
Imagine what this team can do if they solve their offensive line problems? If they figure it out now, and continue to improve into the playoffs, I would expect nothing less than a deep run in the playoffs if not a third Lombardi Trophy for Eli!
So says the most ignorantly optimistic New York Giant fan out there…