Looking back at Week 1, for the New York Giants, it was a game against a team that should have had the door closed on them early only to have what seemed to be high potent offense in the first two offensive drives look stagnant there after. Whether it was the Washington defense that made adjustments or errors on the Giants part it all comes back to key plays in the game. Plays that could have put Washington on its heels only to have them hang on in a game it had no right being in. The problem? Play calling in key situations!
We know Kevin Gilbride's MO when it comes to play calling and it's to take a more conservative approach when you wish he would go for the jugular sometimes. Case in point from last Thursday's season opener in a drive that started at 8:21 left in the second Quarter, the Giants offense was eating up some clock as they were within reach of a drive that could have put Washington away right before the half. On a 2nd and 2 at the Washington 26 the play was a short pass left to Burress that turned up incomplete. With 2 yards to go why not run in this position with say Bradshaw (who saw no minutes) or Jacobs up the middle to try and get the first down? On the next down a run play up the right end for Jacobs turned into a loss of three yards. This sequence in my mind was crucial because had they gotten the first down it would have been a continuation of there momentum into the half and possibly scoring another touchdown most likely ending any chance Washington had to stay in this game.
But what does Gilbride decide? To play it safe and run the ball on a 3rd and 2 after throwing the ball on a 2nd and 2 that did not work. It's as if the Giants were contempt with settling for a field goal (and albeit a long one for the crafty veteran Carney who punched it through)! Time and time again we have seen this type of play calling that hampers them offensively settling for less.
After coming off a magical season and having a Quarterback become the toast of NYC its time to let Eli make the plays in these key situations. I seem to think in these specific instances that Gilbride still tries to protect his QB a bit but why? On 2nd and 2 run the ball, if you don't make that on 3 and 2 put it in Eli's hands to keep the momentum going and to shut out the opponent. I could understand this type of play calling with a rookie or second year Quarterback I have issues with it after several years of running the offense and a Super Bowl MVP at that.
Just when you think the Giants should go for it all, they pull back and get too conservative, and I equate that to Gilbride. Hey at this point Eli has a pass and probably could loose every game from here on out and still be cherished as a hero. Why not let him be a little more gutsy by putting the play in his hands. After a Super Bowl winning season you would think that this high powered offense (similar to the way New England ran things last year) would just try to blow teams out by going for the throat. But that's not Gilbride's way and as a fan you can only be frustrated when you feel the wheels should keep turning and they don't!