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Cardinals/Giants - Analyzing the long rungs and more...

futurevoid : 10/3/2011 7:29 pm
So I'm watching yesterday's game on NFL Rewind. Kind of ticked off they don't get the coaches film option up there sooner!

Regardless, it's fairly well known that Gilbride, like many offensive coordinators like to script the first few series of a game. Some fans think it's to blame for the offense starting slow. I took a look at the first two series and broke them down a bit.

Some thoughts:

First series:

1. First play from scrimmage - I Formation. Manningham on the right, Nicks on the left. Eli is going to Manningham all the way on this play and he wants to release the ball quickly. He expects Mario to run a come back route to the ball. Mario keeps running and is late coming back allowing the DB to get his hands on the ball. Incomplete. Eli has his hands up wondering what Mario was doing.

2. This looks like an H-Back set with Hynoski lined up where the TE would normally be. Mario and Hakeem switch spots. Eli once again targets Mario and the ball is thrown behind him. He's either late coming back to it or the ball was just poorly thrown. There's a ton of DB traffic in the area. This could have easily turned into a pick six. Hard to know where the curl on the route should have been if the route was incorrectly run.

3. Three wide receiver set, Beckum in motion, single back lined up next to Eli. This is supposed to be a fake draw into a quick WR screen. Mckenzie (RT) totally misses a cut block that allows the defensive end into the backfield to bat the ball down. I'd have to look but I swear this is the EXACT same play that Kerrigan picked off Eli on against Washington. Kareem missed the EXACT same block! False start called on Hakeem for movement anyway. Replay third down.

4. Spread formation here. It looks like the hot read is the X receiver (Eli immediately looks his way) and Bradshaw is the second option. The Z receiver goes in motion and lines up on the inside (Devon Thomas) to run a short crossing route and then moves into a blocking position for Bradshaw. Bradshaw, however is side swiped which causes him to fumble the football. 1st turnover of the game.

Second series:

1. Two tight ends and one back. Overload on the left side. Chris Snee is the pulling guard in this scenario and is meant to clear a hole in the middle for Bradshaw. Snee does his job and puts on the hit but David Baas (C) and David Diehl (G) can't hold their block on the NT and neither can Pascoe (TE) who came across the line to hit the linebacker. All three get beat, the line gets very little push and the defenders tackle Ahmad after a 1 yard gain.

2. Two back set. Two wide, one TE in motion to get a block on the linebacker. It's a toss left to Bradshaw with Hynoski leading the way to take out the second linebacker. Pascoe can't block the LB to save his life and Hynoski sort of whiffs on the block ahead of Bradshaw allowing the linebackers to converge and clean up the play. No gain. Illegal formation for Mckenzie who's not having a very good season thus far (after being one of our best lineman last season).

3. 2-2 personnel in an offset I formation. One WR. This is a play action pass but the Cardinals are able to get pressure quickly with their font four on the both sides of the line. Manning is forced to check down quickly to Hynoski and under throws the ball. Incomplete. Holding called on Snee and Diehl. 10 yards back we go. Time to punt.

I ran through these series to see if the play calls were the issue? IMO, they're not. The issue on many of these plays is execution which frankly left quite a bit to be desired. As a team, the Giants seem to get better as the game goes on. The next series the Giants picked up a few first downs before punting and the fourth series of the game finally saw the offense get into tempo as they scored the first TD of the game on that lovely 13 yard Bradshaw run. We all know how hot the offense was in the 4th quarter of the game.:)


How's about those long runs that were completed against the defense? How did Beanie Wells and the Cardinals manage to put up the yardage they did? Well let's take a look:

2nd QTR:

1. 17 yard run for Wells - Giants lined up with two safeties mid-field. Two linebackers (Jones and Boley) in the center behind the line. Kiwi is lined up standing right next to Osi showing blitz. The Cardinals are in a basic I Formation and send a receiver in motion to the opposite side which causes Boley to shift the linebackers over to the right. Boley does come in on the blitz to the wrong side. Wells runs to the left side behind his fullback. Osi is completely eaten up and doesn't shed his block. Ross is immediately blocked out of the play and the fullback gets a hit on Kiwi that allows Well to get into the second level. From there it's all poor tackling attempts.

2. 9 yard run for Wells - Single safety look from the Giants here with three linebackers in the center and Grant down near the line for run support on the right side. The Cardinals are in 2-2 personnel in I formation. Guess where they are running? If you said "left", you're right. Once again, Osi is blocked out of the play. He can't shed the tackle. Ross is also blocked out as he takes a poor angle anyway and the fullback once again takes care of his assignment and blocks Boley out creating the hole that Wells run through for 9.

3. 9 yard run for Wells - Cardinals in spread formation here. The Giants are thinking and JPP rushes the QB completely losing contain. By the time he realizes it's a run, Wells is nearly passed him. Williams can't shed the block quick enough to make it a shorter gain but finally does along with Boley who comes in from behind for the clean-up. Good blocking by the Cardinals here and good job selling the pass.

3rd QTR

4. 1st TD by Wells - Power football. I formation. They send Fitz in motion which moves Webster over and causes him to reset on the left side. The TE or Tackle (can't see the number) totally moves Williams out of the play opening the hole for Beanie to the left side who plows over Webster for the TD.

5. 2nd TD by Wells - LITERALLY the exact same play folks. Same personnel, Fitz goes in motion again which moves Webster over and back. Rolle is in position on the left hand side to make the tackle here instead of Williams this time. Where do they run? The exact same side. Left. It's Fitz this time who takes Rolle completely out of the play opening the running lane for Wells to score again.

4th QTR

6. 39 yard run by Wells - Cardinals have a single back, 7 lineman down overloaded to the right side with 2 WR's. So what do you think the Giants are going to do here? Yeah, they're going to load up on the right hand side. They send in Grant on a blitz but guess where the Cardinals are running? Go ahead. I'll wait. Yes, the left hand side - right at Osi. So what does Osi do? Tries a swim move to the INSIDE to get to the passer. Nevermind there's a run going on there, Osi! He gets eaten up. Rolle comes down to try and help but gets blocked out of the play and Webster is in pursuit mode. beanie finally gets tackled 39 yards down the field.

7. 12 yard run by Alfonso Smith - Cardinals are in 2-2 personnel. I formation, single WR lined up to the right. The Giants have three linebackers in the middle and Kiwi comes in on a blitz in the B Gap. The guard pulls to the left side and takes out Boley. Osi is eaten up on the block he can't shed and the fullback takes out Rolle on the play. 12 yards and almost a TD.

A pattern is developing here don't you think? Run left = profit. Why not? The defensive end never seems to have contain and the linebackers are always caught on the wrong side of a blitz or out of position.

8. 3rd TD by Wells - Similar formation to the other two TD's. They did switch it up a bit sending the full back to the left side to block instead of staying in the standard I. Regardless, running left equals pay-dirt and that's what we have here. The difference this time is that Kiwi is in position to make the play! (Yay!) He comes in on the left side but completely overshoots Wells. Wells is in for the score and if you were watching the game, you're thinking to yourself "Dagger" right?


Thankfully, Eli activated "beast" mode and decided he had had enough. The next series was a stunner of a drive that featured some exceptional pass blocking, Hakeem and Victor splitting 20+ yard receptions and Ballard having his own little coming out party with a 21 yard reception and a TD.

We all know the controversy surrounding the final drive so I won't bother touching on it but that 29 yard pass out of the 3 wide set to Nicks was a thing of beauty though. The pass was on the money and Nicks went up to grab it in stride. I jumped out of my seat cheering.

Good come from behind victory with some caveats:

- Osi has got to clean his act up against the run. In 2009 when he was benched, offensive coordinators in the league had bullet points on how to attack a very bad Giants defense and the first one was: Run at Osi.

We know he can do better. He showed us that in 2010 and he needs to do it again in 2011. It's his first game back so I'm willing to cut him a little slack. Plus after all of my bitching about Ross in my previous analysis of the Rams game, he came back to prove me seriously wrong against the Eagles.

- The linebackers have to have better awareness and recognition. It's one thing when the defensive end loses contain but the linebackers need to diagnose the play better as the game moves along. It's downright embarrassing to have nearly the same play run on us three times and for them to get the same result in the red zone!

- Tackling is still work in progress. This is a league wide epidemic and the Giants aren't special in this regard. Plenty of runs that should have been short gainers or catches that went for more YAC than they should have because of half-assed arm tackles. I think we'll see this improve every week and it's a byproduct of the shortened off-season.
futurevoid : 10/3/2011 7:33 pm : link
Misspelling in the title! RUNS...RUNS!
Big Blue '56 : 10/3/2011 7:38 pm : link
Thank you, sir
KeoweeFan : 10/3/2011 7:43 pm : link
What happens between Sunday game threads and Monday analysis to up BBI IQ by 100 points? :)
I don't have the football smarts to participate directly but I can enjoy the give and take that this sort of post will generate.
Thank you.
Eric from BBI : Admin : 10/3/2011 7:44 pm : link
Good job...  
Greatness56 : 10/3/2011 7:50 pm : link
I expect the Fire Gilbride crowd to either not click on this thread or press the back button after reading the first two sentence.
sawxray : 10/3/2011 7:54 pm : link
and excellent description, with good analysis. Much appreciated!
Thanks again..  
kevken60 : 10/3/2011 7:54 pm : link
..futurevoid, this is good stuff!
you're right about the third play  
santacruzom : 10/3/2011 7:57 pm : link
being very close (if not identical) to the ill-fated play against the Skins. And like that play, I kind of have a tough time blaming it entirely on McKenzie. The defensive end went too far outside for McKenzie to cut him effectively. Kareem would have had to have been as quick as Ahmad Bradshaw to get into the right position in time.
Danny Kanell : 10/3/2011 7:58 pm : link
Great thread. Thank you.
my overall  
Eric from BBI : Admin : 10/3/2011 7:58 pm : link
impression early in the game was that Arizona was playing with more intensity and faster than the Giants. They played like a desperate team. They are actually a better football team than I thought too, especially on defense.
This is great  
Umenyiora72 : 10/3/2011 8:00 pm : link
Thanks for taking the time to do this.
Awesome writeup/analysis  
ChathamMark : 10/3/2011 8:07 pm : link
it's remarkable  
JBunch33 : 10/3/2011 8:08 pm : link
how slowly eli and the offense ALWAYS seem to start every game
Eric from BBI : Admin : 10/3/2011 8:12 pm : link
did you miss the Eagles game?
Long west coast ...  
kevken60 : 10/3/2011 8:18 pm : link
...trip may have made them sluggish too.
great observations...  
andrew_nyg : 10/3/2011 8:25 pm : link

I am looking foward to the Giants solving the run defense. They have the players to do it, it's simply a matter of recognition, discipline to stay in their own lanes and execution.

There is a good bit of youth on that side of the ball...they'll get it!
Great read  
DavidinBMNY : 10/3/2011 8:39 pm : link
Thank you! Question - what is your opinion of #82? I thought #80 was running better routes and earning more snaps.
mrvax : 10/3/2011 8:42 pm : link
Now we have professional coaches on BBI analyzing plays?

J/K. Good job future!
nice job!!!  
darasman : 10/3/2011 8:45 pm : link
and love this line:
Thankfully, Eli activated "beast" mode and decided he had had enough.
Thank you!  
canes01 : 10/3/2011 8:48 pm : link
I was unable to get the game, so this is very helpful to me. Much appreciated.
futurevoid : 10/3/2011 8:49 pm : link
for the comments guys!

As nice as it is to say, I'm FAR from a professional coach. Just an avid Giants fan that loves football and especially loves to watch line play in NFL games. It's far more interesting to me than what's happening with the ball.:)

As to the question about #82, he hasn't been right all season. His route running has regressed and it's obvious he and Eli aren't and haven't been on the same page. Good to see Eli picking him up at the end of the game though and I think we'll see Mario come on more as the season goes along. We'll need him!
What doesn't make sense to me is  
GiantCuse : 10/3/2011 8:54 pm : link
Eli and Mario seemed to have good chemistry last season. Not sure what has changed to cause the current issues?
Great Post  
Moondwg : 10/3/2011 9:12 pm : link
Thanks for this.
Percy : 10/3/2011 9:21 pm : link
Great post.  
Cam in MO : 10/3/2011 9:32 pm : link
Truthfully, though. I'm not so sure Osi wasn't a target in the run game last year, too.

If he wants a huge contract by somebody, he's gonna have to show that he isn't a pass-only specialist.

Excellent analysis ....  
Manny in CA : 10/3/2011 9:43 pm : link
On Wells' runs around Osi - Osi does have a history of run support problems. When it kept happening (especially at the goal), I was thinking; when are they going to get somebody (anybody else) in at DE.

The linebackers, it seemed to me, were WAY too bunched up in the middle, which made it a lot easier to go around them.

The O-line is definitely a work-in-progress. Pat Flaherty, I'm sure is burning the mid-night oil, the sooner he gets them straight, the better. The talent is there, the execution is missing.

This is where a hurry-up pace seems to help the line. They work better when there's not too much time to over-think.

I am not so sure that the Giants were sluggish at the beginning  
mjt832 : 10/3/2011 9:50 pm : link
of the game. But, when you juxtapose their energy level to that of the Cardinals (who seemed to be extremely amped) it could have looked that way.

Seems like Mackenzie has missed a few key cut blocks so far this season .... pattern developing? I think he still is a good OL (although his best years may be behind him) but, what's up with the cut blocks?

Great Analysis future.
Great read....thanks!  
Blue Baller : 10/3/2011 9:58 pm : link
did you say that NFL rewind does or does not have the coaches view option?
Thank you  
Giants-Bama in CO : 10/3/2011 10:00 pm : link
Nice read
agree with mjt  
D_Coop : 10/3/2011 10:03 pm : link
Good analysis here - but watching the game it appeared to me that the Giants were flat and the Cardinals were definitely amped. Giants had an emotional win, and the Cardinals were essentially playing a must-win. Just flip it around - if the Giants were 1-2 coming into this - they would be fired up - and the media would go nuts on everyone if they weren't. So that HAS to be considered in any game breakdown -who needs the win more. For the Giants to win a somewhat must win for the other team at home is impressive.

The other thing I would ask of everyone is Osi. But this is kind of interesting, because if he was just getting a sack - you'd definitely have to say "he needs to stay home, play the run better" BUT - he's not just getting a sack, he's getting a TURNOVER. Seriously, you have to factor that in - on one hand, you give up some big runs. On the other, you get a game-changing play when he chops that ball out. If you have to choose, what do you choose?
futurevoid : 10/3/2011 10:09 pm : link
I choose both. I choose for him to focus on being a good all around defensive end which he's proven he can do. Instead of just a pass rush specialist.

I'm willing to give him a pass this being his first week back but if his focus is rushing wide and getting pushed out of a play to get the QB and not holding contain - that's not good defense.
I choose for  
Cam in MO : 10/3/2011 10:11 pm : link
someone other than Osi at RDE on non passing downs, at least for now.

Big Blue '56 : 10/3/2011 10:13 pm : link
but that has been O$i's m.o. for several years or more; the wide rush and not getting contain. Nothing to do with conditioning and/or rust
Big Blue '56 ...  
futurevoid : 10/3/2011 10:22 pm : link
It has. Absolutely. Which is why I was not a fan of the Giants paying him big money. Specifically because he's not consistently proven that he can be a top well rounded defensive end.

However, I'll keep referring back to 2010 where Osi put forth some serious effort and focus in being that guy. He set a league record in forced fumbles while improving his play against the run. He'll never be Tuck (who alongside maybe Trent Cole is the possibly the best two way defensive end in the league) but he can do better. I want the strip sacks, but not at the cost of being run all over to the left side.

The upside? It's not as though we don't have options.:) JPP looms large and Osi knows it.
On defense, the focus may need to be who is calling out  
MarvelousMike : 10/3/2011 10:26 pm : link
the adjustments. Is Jones and/or Boley unable to make the adjustments at the line of scrimmage, especially just before the ball is snapped.
It seems to me that Osi has gotten smaller the past few years  
chris r : 10/3/2011 11:23 pm : link
Maybe in a Strahan influenced effort to maintain athleticism and reduce knee wear and tear. While he's been listed at 267 he seems to be more like 250 which makes it really hard to be stout unless you've got Strahan like strength and technique. I also think his frustration with his contract and injury concern might make him less like to go all out for something less glamorous then sacks or pressures.
That's a nice write up  
Sneakers O'toole : 10/4/2011 12:40 am : link
The Long and Short of it  
bebopson : 10/4/2011 12:50 am : link
is that we need JPP on the right side on 1st down and Osi on 3rd. 2nd down depends on the situation. Not having Tuck forced JPP to the left where he was not comfortable. Osi is not in gameshape and everybody knew it so they ran at him. If Tuck is healthy we don't need Osi in there on 1st down.
There were some positives for Osi in the game too  
Sneakers O'toole : 10/4/2011 12:59 am : link
His burst is still there, he fires out of his stance.
Great read and analysis  
ColHowPepper : 10/4/2011 6:41 am : link
and insight as to why "names" only don't necessarily make for effective
(run) defense and offense on game day.

TC is right in that respect in his Monday presser: they're going to have to
take "extraordinary" measures to fix that big leak on our defensive right
"Extraordinary" might include  
PEEJ : 10/4/2011 7:00 am : link
using Canty at DE on run downs
Great analysis  
TMS : 10/4/2011 9:11 am : link
thanks. Quick observation says we cannot continue this Umenyiora transition if he does not play the run better. Running left at him will be the game plan for every team we play. Trust TC and Fewell to recognize this and use him accordingly, as a situational pass rusher. He will be a target for the opposing offenses in the run game This is an old story with him, thats why we have no intention of keeping him and paying him as anything else.
Th evidence  
TMS : 10/4/2011 9:15 am : link
is mounting that MM is not a fit in this offense and ELi is losing confidence in him. He is in a contract year and could be history unless this changes soon.
Good job man!  
AnishPatel : 10/4/2011 9:25 am : link
Excellent hard work you put into this.
i think the MM  
whobetta : 10/4/2011 12:43 pm : link
struggles this year will keep his price down and allow us to resign him for fairly low $$.

this will allow hiim to remain in the system and work on getting better.

he has the homerun potential and i think we need that
Excellent post; pls continue them each week !!  
haper : 10/4/2011 2:39 pm : link
I noticed the same thing wrt the Osi observation when re-watching the game on DVR. When Tuck returns I believe Osi becomes a pass rush specialist until he proves to be better against the run.

I also agree w others that the Giants didn't match the Cardinals intensity. I'm sure the long trip didn't help but I'm sure there was a a bit of a let-down after the Eagle game.
I think you hit all the points  
SwirlingEddie : 10/4/2011 3:29 pm : link
(Which means I agree with your observations!)

Thanks for focusing on Osi's tendencies while noting that he did play the run more effectively last season. And in particular thanks for pointing out the LB issues. While BBI has heaped praise on some general improvements at the position I have been just as concerned about the recognition and gap discipline they have shown (or not shown) so far.

Great job!
Short training camp really hurt MM... give him time  
GloryDayz : 10/4/2011 4:45 pm : link
Everybody knows he has issues picking up the system. He's been in the same system for a while, but there are always changes year to year.

I think he turns its on later on in the season. The guy has talent, we all know that... we need him out there.
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