Start with a pinch of defense. Add a hint of passing game. Then mix in a dash of running game. What do you get? The Giants, a team that does a lot of things well but nothing great. A team that can be beat by an opponent who plays well in any number of areas.
In the Giants 24-17 loss to the Cardinals, Eli Manning seemed to lack the accuracy to hit the long passes he attempted. Dominique Rogers-Cromartie set the tone when he outpositioned Domeinck Hixon for a first quarter interception in the endzone, and he and his friends in the Cardinal secondary always seemed to have the angles on the Giants receivers. Eli actually looked best on a timing play where he flung the ball immediately after receiving it and Mario Manningham had the ball in his mitts 10 yards down the sideline before Rogers-Cromartie could even turn around.
Translation: Manning should be in a west coast style timing/flow offense where he throws a lot of dumpoff and screen passes and they utilize the fullback and tight end more in the passing game. The long downfield stuff is proving counter-productive. Keep hitting the young receivers Hixon, Manningham and Hakeem Nicks but on tighter, closer routes.
Brandon Jacobs did look like he was running downhill in the first half, a welcome change from the uphill sledding we have seen in many games. But Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw could not sustain a viable running attack, especially when the Giants got behind in the second half.
Similarly, the Giants D seemed to lack teeth at times. So out of three supposed strengths, none could deliver a knockout punch against the Arizona Cardinals. The Giants may have excelled against some of their cupcake opponents from the previous weeks with a “well balanced” approach. Now however, the Giants need to sharpen one of their weapons into a killing spear or risk being killed themselves.
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Written by Mark Reichman