Friday, December 11, 2009

Strategy and Matchups - NYG

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I have to think NY will come into this game focused on taking away our running game. They used to do that with Westy. We burned them with McCoy/Weaver in the first meeting. I'm sure they will plan to shut down the run to put the game on McNabb's shoulders. The hope is that they can pressure him and/or he'll have an off day.

The Giants blitz attack didn't get a bunch of sacks last week, but it did keep Romo under pressure. Tony had to dodge bodies left and right. He still threw for a lot of yards, but the Dallas offense only scored 17 points in the first 56 minutes of the game. They added a TD late to get them to 24.

The Giants used a lot of "stemming". That is when they have defensive players moving around prior to the snap in order to confuse blockers. The Giants took that a step farther by having most guys standing up right so that blockers wouldn't know who was rushing and who was dropping into coverage. DC Bill Sheridan saw some other teams using this effectively against Dallas and decided to "borrow" the idea. The players liked it so I'm sure we'll see some of it. The good news is that we can study the tape to see tendencies and try to get a feel for it. Plus, we've faced that kind of stemming before...just not from the Giants.

Since the '07 debacle we've made protection a focal point of our Giants gameplans (they only have 2 sacks in the last 4 meetings combined). I expect this week to be no different. I think we'll be okay if Jason can stay healthy and we have stability on the OL. I am a bit nervous about their DB/LB blitzes. We need LeSean/Weaver to block well and keep McNabb clean. We also need Donovan to be careful about holding the ball too long.

One of the benefits of Big Red and Marty being nervous about the Giants rush is that it causes them to run the ball more than usual. We had some big plays in the first game. You can bet that the Giants will want to shut down McCoy and Weaver. We don't need a repeat of the long TD runs, but it would be nice if we could have some success on the ground.

The Giants secondary isn't having a great year. S play has been very erratic. Michael Johnson isn't 100%, but is expected to start. Aaron Rouse is the other starter. We must test these guys with downfield throws. Neither one is a great coverage player. The CBs for NY have been all over the place. Corey Webster struggled last week. He's had a down year. Terrell Thomas is playing pretty well. Bruce Johnson is very up and down as the #3 guy. I like his potential, but he might be replaced with Kevin Dockery.

Jason Witten caught 14 passes last week. We could target Celek a little more than usual if the Giants are going to be vulnerable in some areas. Some of those throws could also go to Jason Avant.

You can bet AR/MM will test the DBs, deep and wide. We have a matchup advantage. However, we must get good blocking and accurate throws for the passing to work. Sunday night's forecast calls for temperatures in the 35-45 range with rain/snow possible. Those aren't ideal throwing conditions. However, Donovan has had some good days when the weather isn't ideal. Hard to say how that side of things will play out.

In the last game we started off with a conservative gameplan that focused on RAC yards and getting the ball to the RBs. That set a good tone. We opened things up on later drives. I hope we do the same thing this time out, but there's no guarantee it will work as well.

3rd downs will be interesting. Dallas was great on 3rd downs last week (more than 50%). In the first meeting with the Giants we started 5 of 8 before finishing 6 of 11. That's outstanding. It's also poor defense by the G-men. Let's hope that trend continues on Sunday night.

One thing to watch in the Red Zone is a play we like to run called Flip 90. Dallas ran a fake F90 last week and then threw a quick pass to Roy Williams for a TD. Everybody bit. We'd be smart to give them the same formation and actually run Flip 90. The DBs are likely to be hesitant after last week. We also haven't run this play in a while. Teams started to catch on to it at some point and we had to file it away for a while.

Our defense has done a very good job on the Giants offense over the course of the 3-game winning streak vs them. We've limited their running game and Eli has been unable to get his team into the endzone consistently. We're getting some pressure and we've also come up with some key turnovers.

You may recall Asante picking off an early pass in the first meeting. I'm sure the Giants will try to exploit that. They'll run a pump-'n-go or something on him. Asante could very well bite on the fake. We need the pass rushers to get pressure and the Safeties to stay deep and not give up touchdowns.

The key, as always, is to stop their running game. I have good faith in our DL. One player it will be interesting to watch is Victor Abiamiri. He missed the first game. VA is our best run defender on the edge. He's played mainly LDT the last month, but this might be the week to use him more at LDE. I'll be curious to see if we do that or stick with Parker/Babin.

The real area of curiosity is LB. Akeem Jordan is likely to play, but where and how much? I think he'll see time at MLB, but we haven't heard for sure. Big Red said they would see how Jordan looked in the game as they tried to figure out what he could do. This could just be pre-game BS to keep the Giants off guard. You never know. To slightly alter an old joke...how do you know if a coach is lying in a pregame press conference? If his lips are moving.

The coaches would not play Akeem if he was struggling in practice. That said, there is a world of difference in game tempo and practice tempo. Akeem passed the first test of doing well in practice. Now we need to see how he does in a game.

The secondary must control Steve Smith. He is deadly on 3rd down. Joselio Hanson is back in the slot, but he got burned by Smith in the first game. We actually put Sheldon in the slot on a few plays to deal with Smith. I'll be interested to see how we handle this situation. Do we put Sheldon inside? Do we leave Hanson there and double Smith? Sean McDermott has an interesting challenge in designing a plan to stop Mr. Smith on 3rd downs.


COMMENTS

RE: Eric Berry

He is likely to be a Top 10 pick, but he's not a lock to go in the Top 5. Teams rarely value Safety that highly. Eric is the player that I covet the most in the entire draft class. I think the Eagles will love him, but I don't see us putting together a huge package to move up for him. It would be one thing to move from 12 to 5 or something like that, but going from the 20s up that high would be costly. Eric is such a great player that I'm happy to discuss him, but don't get your hopes too high.


RE: Mike Vick trade value

I think he'll have little value. There are a couple of key factors to consider. Where do we project him in the future? I haven't seen enough from Mike to think he's definitely starter material in 2010. Someone pointed out that he could look a lot better with a full offseason and TC to get ready. Fair point. However, that overlooks a key bit of info. Vick was never a polished QB. He was a dynamic athlete that had some passing ability. He's no longer a dynamic athlete. And he's still not polished. A team can bring him into the mix as a backup/role player, but you don't pay a big price for guys like that.

Also, Vick is only under contract for one more season. His salary is $5.6M. That's high for a backup. If he was signed for a couple of years at a cheap rate that would make him a lot more attractive. I'll be shocked if we get anything of real value for Vick.


RE: Kolb/McNabb

The Eagles are committed to Kolb being the QB of the future. The question is whether that is 2010, 2011, or some other year. I hate to be a wuss and bail on the issue, but the bottom line is that we need to see how this season plays out to really know what will happen. We can discuss scenarios, but as the way beyond mediocre songstress Natasha Beddingfield once sang, "the rest is still unwritten".
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7 comments:

Cliff said...

It's great that we're starting to get guys back from injury at this point in the season. I don't think Kevin Curtis or Brian Westbrook will be playing this week, but I wonder what effect they'll have on the rest of the season.

Is it possible that either guy will be helpful at this point in the season?

Westbrook would ordinarily be an upgrade in pass protection, but without playing time, has that advantage been diminished?

And Curtis would be great as another speedy, shifty WR; but how much has his knee injury changed that?

A couple weeks ago I assume both players were pretty much lost for the year, but now that they've been practicing I'm starting to wonder where they fit in.

Adam S. said...

I was thinking about Westbrook and Curtis last night as well. I'm really hoping that those two guys play in at least two of the final 3 regular season games to shake of some rust and get back up to game speed. They could be very valuable for us in the playoffs if they are playing at full speed. I'm reluctant to get my hopes up with Curtis, but I don't see 36 having much problems getting back.

With the weather possibly playing a part in the game tommorow you have got to believe that favors the Eagles. Manning has proven that he has issues throwing the ball when the weather isn't perfect. On the flip side McNabb seems to handle the weather a bit better, particularily the wind because he has a much stronger arm.

I'm really excited about tommorow night, don't let me down boys.

Cliff said...

The thing that worries me about Westbrook is that he didn't look good before the concussion. He was off to a "good start" against Washington, but he only had 3 rushes before getting knocked out.

So the question on my mind is - will we get the Westbrook from the Raiders game or the Westbrook from the first 4 games?

roconnor said...

You and your Flip 90.

Prem Prakash said...

Westy's absence has given Shady a lot more touches than he would have had. Plus, as Cliff points out, he wasn't really stellar even when he way playing. It will be great to have him back on the field and interesting to see how he will be used.

I don't know how Curtis would fit in unless there is an injury to someone. In everything he brings to the table someone else on the roster is better.

For what it's worth, I can't believe anyone is talking about Kolb right now and his being the future of the team. Am I the only one appreciating the season McNabb is having this year?

Cliff said...

The New York Times has a great article on the Eagles-Giants game:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/13/sports/football/13eagles.html?hpw

Something of interest from the article: Vick has lost 15 pounds since the start of the season. Does his return to "playing shape" explain some of the big plays he's made over the last few games?

rick said...

Yes Cliff, those 2 rollout plays Vick had last Sunday were smooth and effortless. When was the last time you saw DMac or Kolb execute a play like that? That's one of the reasons I think Vick still has value, that and his cannon arm (see DeSean's comments from preseason). If the Eagles can't get a 2nd rounder or high 3rd at the least, I could see them keeping him another season, salary notwithstanding.