Re-Focused – Giants @ Redskins, week 1

| September 14, 2011

Believe it or not, this was a closer game than the 14 point difference suggests, and while the Redskins can certainly feel happy that they got a win, they do have a number of areas that need work.  Flaws were apparent on the offensive line and the defense played well in patches, but didn’t have any stand–out players and there is still that uneasy feeling that despite Rex Grossman’s solid performance that he could implode in the future.

For the Giants, things may not be as gloomy as they look at first sight; their “new” tight ends played a lot better than expected, and their defensive line played quite well. Like every other team, the Giants did have issues, not the least of which was the way that their cornerbacks initially gave the Redskins receivers’ free rein, and the fact that their linebackers looked to be a pale imitation of last year’s trio as even Michael Boley was not living up to his own standards.

Think you were watching a different game? OK, let’s try and justify some of this.

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N.Y. Giants – Three Things of Note

1) A New Offensive Line – New Concerns

All of New York’s offensive linemen had some issues in this game. Left tackle William Beatty was just below average (-1.0), but when you consider that David Diehl has been worse than that on many different occasions, then maybe the four pressures he surrendered against Brian Orakpo may be an upgrade. Diehl was moved to left guard to alleviate his propensity for giving up sacks, and  he managed to achieve a new low here, giving up three sacks against the Redskins, which is more than he ever gave up at left tackle in a single game. Ex 49er’s center David Baas was having a reasonable game until the last play of the third quarter when he gave up a horrendous sack to rookie nose tackle Chris Neild. Pass protection was an issue for him last year, so watch this as the season progresses.

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2) Living without the Veterans

None of the starters on the defensive line are rookies and only Chris Canty was a regular starter in 2010, which is interesting because he was arguably the least effective of the group (-0.2). He did pick up a sack and a couple of tackles, but that was it, as he never really  filled the leadership void in terms of his performance. Jason Pierre-Paul started the game off slowly, but was starting to get the better of Trent Williams by the end of the game, garnering two sacks and a hurry against the young left tackle. With that being said, the best performance came from Linval Joseph (+2.5), as he played against the run well and chipped in with a hit and a batted pass on only 17 passing plays.

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3) Cornering the Market on Injuries

No group on any team has suffered more loss to injury than the Giants; secondary, and frankly it showed.

Corey Webster, who was once regarded as an elite player, was so far off at times, that I wasn’t sure he had fallen over trying to cover a Redskins receiver. As it became more and more obvious that Grossman was actually going to complete passes, he played tighter defense. Although playing closer to the receivers did help him initially,  he still ended up allowing 85 yards and a touchdown, while missing an easy tackle.  Aaron Ross, who was targeted less than Webster, probably should have been thrown at more, as he gave up 13.8 yards per target.

Some good news in the Giants’ secondary was the play of Kenny Phillips (+4.5). Phillips was all over the place, making four stops in run defense and getting a couple of hurries and batting down a pass . This  sort of display from the safety has All-Pro written all over it.

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Washington – Three Things of Note

 

1)  Today it was “Good Rex”

I think we all know that Rex Grossman can throw the football, it’s the “not making mistakes part” that he’s consistently struggled with in the past. However in this game, I counted just two terrible plays; one of which occurred on the fumble when he had Pierre-Paul in his face, and the terrible throw he made when Logan Paulson was open and he threw it a few feet over his head. While he was not spectacular on either of those plays,  he made more than enough good throws to compensate for them, and he only missed on eight of his total passes (three of those were dropped, one was thrown away and another was batted away).

Barring the two indiscretions mentioned earlier, Grossman looked far more in control than I’ve ever seen him before.

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2)  A Sign of Things to come?

This is not the best front seven that the Redskins will play, and the offensive line has shown a number of cracks that better teams will exploit more fully than the G-Men. Jammal Brown was his usual self (-2.5) as he gave up a sack, a hit and two hurries. Chris Chester looked as out of place as he did in Baltimore (-2.4), and after a good start to the game, Trent Williams allowed two sacks and a hurry. What’s interesting to note about Williams, is that his play started to decline with 2:01 to go in the third quarter, which begs the following question; is conditioning an issue for the big man?

The good news for Washington? Kory Lichtensteiger had a solid but unspectacular day (+1.6) but he’s known to be inconsistent.

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3)  Reed, oh Reed

Football fans who don’t like Reed Doughty have no soul. You’ve got to love the way he plays and how he gives it his all, but unfortunately sometimes that just isn’t enough in the NFL. Here we had him graded as -6.5 overall and let me tell you writing that hurts.

I’ve said it before that he doesn’t have the range to play deep, and he looked exposed at times in that regard. Not only did he allow four out of four passes into his coverage for 93 yards, but it was painfully obvious he was out of his league. To make matters worse, he was overly aggressive in run defense (perhaps to make up for his errors on the back-end) and ended up missing three tackles. Let’s hope this was a one off, otherwise LaRon Landry better get back sooner rather than later.

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Game Notes

● Eli Manning actually had a better QB rating under pressure  (91.3 when hurried or hit, 61.6 when not).

● Of Tim Hightower’s 25 carries, only seven targeted the “A” or “B” gaps. Everything else was run to the perimeter of the defense.

● The Redskins defense missed 17% of the tackles they attempted with two players missing three (Doughty and London Fletcher-Baker)

● Fred Davis was second among receiving tight end’s this week in terms of yardage with 105; only Jason Witten had more with 110

PFF Game Ball:

Rex Grossman, QB, Washington Redskins

Who would have thought it but the Redskins new staring quarterback was certainly the difference in this game

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