The New York Giants were mauled and embarrassed by a lean, mean Indianapolis Colts team last Sunday. Dubbed the Manning Bowl, the focus quickly shifted from Eli and Peyton to just Peyton.
The loss was so bad for many New York Giants fans, it evoked memories of last season and the disasters the defense suffered under Bill Sheridan.
Eli Manning had no time to pass, the play-calling and coaching was atrocious, the defense played very poorly, the pass rush was non-existent, way too many turnovers, and Brandon Jacobs lost his mind.
The following are 10 observations from Sunday's Colts-Giants game. Nine of them are bad, one is kind of good, and some of them I think are a little surprising.
Tell me what you think.
Brandon Jacobs was back to being the “tip-toe burglar” on the field, and off it he was throwing his helmet into the Lucas Oil Stadium stands. He could have hurt someone.
Jacobs is a big man at 6’4" 265 pounds, but he still acts like a child. And as he grows old it appears that he is getting worse at controlling his emotions. And given that his effectiveness on the field for the Giants is not what it once was, it is time for the Giants to part ways with Brandon Jacobs, now.
Jacobs has reportedly been very unhappy with the fact that Ahmad Bradshaw has supplanted him as the Giants’ starting running back, and instead of working harder he has been whining about it. Jacobs is unhappy, he is an emotional man so I believe he cannot be an effective player for the Giants this season.
And if that is the case than the Giants should try to trade him, and if that doesn’t work they should cut him. Given Jacobs’ unique gifts for a running back and his age at 28 isn't too old the Giants should get a low-round pick from someone for him.
But if they can’t trade him they should cut him; that is how unacceptable his behavior has become.
One of the big weaknesses that I saw with the Giants this offseason was the lack of a great third-down running back. Someone who can chip and block effectively on third down, while running great pass routes with reliable hands.
Ahmad Bradshaw has looked great this season, but he is not a good third down back. And don’t get me started on Brandon Jacobs.
I had hoped that the Giants would have C.J. Spiller fall to them in the draft, but alas it was not to be.
I also hopped that the Giants would inquire into signing Brian Westbrook, but Jerry Reese showed little interest.
How on earth Jerry Reese thought that this wouldn’t be a problem entering the season is beyond me.
And considering how bad the offensive line is, the lack of running backs who can help block effectively is even more glaring.
Eli Manning’s only reliable options in the passing game are his top three wide receivers. Right now Steve Smith, Hakeem Nicks, and Mario Manningham are Eli’s only reliable targets, and with Kevin Boss out this is especially true.
Travis Beckum was supposed to be a natural pass catching tight end, but I haven’t seen it. He looks like a good athlete, but Eli just isn’t throwing him the football, which means Eli doesn’t trust him.
And the pass catching ability coming out of the backfield is awful. Ahmad Bradshaw might create as many interceptions as he does catches with his stone hands.
So opposing teams know that they have to focus their pass defense on the wide receivers, forcing the tight ends and running backs to beat them. This kills the Giants overall effectiveness on third downs and possession situations.
The Giants must have watched game tape from last week's Colts-Texans game right? They had to see how the Texans’ ground game carved up the Colts’ defense right? And yet somehow Kevin Gilbride still called far too many pass plays early in the game, leaving the running game in the stable.
The Giants should have pounded the rock, and then pounded it some more. The fact the Colts’ pass rush was so effective in negating the passing game early on should have been obvious, but Gilbride kept trying to pass. This played right into the Colts and Peyton Manning’s hands.
And Gilbride often left David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie on an island against Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney. Did he really think they would win that battle? What about last week's performance by the Giants’ tackles made him believe Diehl and McKenzie were up for that?
The only thing that would have helped Eli buy some time throwing the ball was the play-action pass, and the only way to set that up was by effectively pounding the rock early in the game. How that wasn’t the game plan, I have no idea.
It was a rare blessing when Eli Manning had a solid three seconds when he dropped back to pass against the Colts. Offensive tackles David Diehl and Kareem McKenzie looked completely outclassed by Robert Mathis and Dwight Freeney.
Mathis and Freeney are world-class pass rushers however Diehl and McKenzie are highly paid veterans at their positions. They should have offered something more than a turnstile protection for Eli Manning.
The run blocking wasn’t much better. The Texans gashed the Colts for 200-plus yards on the ground last week, and the Giants couldn’t even come close to exploiting that weakness. The offensive line did not open up effective holes for Ahmad Bradshaw, who has proven that if he is given some daylight he can be effective.
And the chances of the offensive line improving are pretty bleak. The Giants had high hopes for second-year offensive tackle William Beatty, but he is out for a couple months due to injury.
Recent signing Shawn Andrews is one of the most talented offensive linemen in the league, but he hasn’t played in two years and who knows how familiar he is with the Giants’ scheme. If he does contribute this season, I doubt it will be before midseason.
Perry Fewell told NBC sideline reporter that if he could force the Colts to run the ball than he felt like he was winning. Well the Colts ran the ball, and he lost.
The biggest issue I had with Fewell’s gameplan against the Colts was his use of personnel. He started off the game in a nickel-and-dime defense, which was a bit of a custom defense.
It involved three cornerbacks, three safeties, one linebacker, three defensive ends, and one defensive tackle.
This defense is completely designed to stop the pass. However when you use it on early downs, Peyton Manning is going to know to run the ball. Maybe this defense would have been more effective if he employed two defensive tackles, so as not to be so soft up the middle. Or two linebackers instead of three safeties would have strengthened them against the run as well.
But Fewell was stubborn, and he didn’t adjust to going to his base defense until it was too late. His use of personnel was weak against the Colts; he put too much emphasis against stopping the pass when the Colts have two first-round running backs.
Eli had two touchdowns, one pick, and 161 yards and a couple of fumbles. Not the nicest of stat lines, but it is deceiving to judge Eli’s game against the Colts based solely upon his stats.
Eli rarely had three seconds to pass the ball against the Colts, his offensive line and pass protection offering him no respite. When Eli did have time he was sharp and accurate.
Even his lone interception was an impressive throw that should have been caught. Eli beautifully needled a gorgeous deep throw between tight triple coverage right into Steve Smith’s hands. But it went off Smith’s hands, off his chest and into a defender’s hands. Interception.
When Eli had time he was effective. He very rarely had enough time.
Kevin Boss is injured, and while he is Travis Beckum, Bear Pascoe, and Adam Koets are not going to cut it. Yes Adam Koets, whom the Giants used as a blocking tight end in multiple situations against the Colts.
The Giants need to add someone from outside the organization to bolster the tight end position. Whether it is by trade, by grabbing a veteran off the waiver wire or grabbing an unemployed veteran is not for me to speculate. But I can say this; they need to add someone.
Beckum is a terrible run blocker, but he is the only tight end who can catch a pass.
Jerry Reese did a bad job planning for this situation in the offseason. And he should have given Kevin Boss’ history with concussions.
Osi Umenyiora was questionable for the game with an injury. He played like he was hurt, and aside from a few effective plays was a shadow of the player he was last week against the Panthers. I have no idea where Justin Tuck was, rarely have I seen him so ineffective.
Mathias Kiwanuka actually played pretty well, but he was the only end to do so. Must be motivated by the contract year.
Barry Coefield had some moments, but he wasn’t on the field as often as he should have been. Chris Canty got no pressure up the middle.
And don’t get me started on Jason Pierre Paul, whose contributions this season might be few and far between.
Simply put the 2010 Giants’ pass rush has a long way to go before anyone is reminded of 2007.
I was not a fan of Tom Coughlin early in his career with the Giants. For a guy who preached discipline the Giants were one of the highest penalized teams in the league at the time. They turned the ball over way too much. Original coordinators John Hufnagel and Tim Lewis were a joke.
Then the Super Bowl happened, and maybe that has made me a Tom Coughlin apologist. But Giants president and co-owner John Mara was publicly disgusted by last season's meltdown. If things don't get better, heads will roll.
I never thought the possibility of him losing his job even existed, even with John Mara’s offseason warning. But the more I think about Coughlin's job security, the more I realize that the Giants are one of the most coveted head coaching jobs in the NFL, and heavy hitters like John Fox and Bill Cowher will be available.
That doesn't bode well for Coughlin. And honestly, though it pains me to say it, if the Giants continue to play this season like they did against the Colts maybe Coughlin should be fired.