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Detroit preseason game - detailed analysis

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Detroit preseason game - detailed analysis

Post  Big_Pete on Fri Aug 08, 2008 8:16 pm

here is a very thorough analysis of the detroit preseason game, what do you think?

from insidefootball.com


LIONS TOP THE GIANTS, 13-10

By Patricia Traina, Bob Folger, and Mike Iannaconi


Detroit, MI ó With the Giants having filed away their preseason opener, a 13-10 loss to Detroit, New York continues to search for the answers to several critical roster questions, such as who the #2 quarterback will be, how their receiving corps will shake out, who will be in the starting defensive backfield, and what young players to keep.

These are questions which probably will go down to the wire as one cannot make a snap judgment based on the first preseason game.

What the coaches can and probably will do following their review of the game film is come up with a list of areas this team needs to work on in order to ensure their remaining preseason tune-ups are more crisp.

As the game unfolded, we took note of some things that we thought might be at the top of the coachesí collective list.


1) The Red Zone Offense. We know that head coach Tom Coughlin likes to refer to the area inside of the opponentís 20 as the ďgreen zone,Ē but weíre old school and besides, the Giants had problems down there in their preseason opener, converting just 50% of their chances.

We donít have to remind readers that a large part of the Giantsí success in the post season was their ability to convert at least 60% of their red zone opportunities. And not surprisingly, Coughlin cited this as an area of focus in his post game comments to the media.

2) Third Down Efficiency. The Giants ended up converting 38% of their third down attempts. Along the way, we recorded numerous times when a receiver either didnít run to the first down marker, or if a pass wasnít on target.

Rule number one for the receivers is to get to the first down marker, not come up a yard or two short. Rule number two is for the quarterbacks is to try to get the ball to where only the receiver can get it. We thought that was missing from this game at times.

3) Better Tackling. Itís a fundamental of the game which every player should know at this level, yet we saw a number of young players going low on taller ball carriers or not wrapping up.

One of the biggest culprits was safety Michael Johnson, who tried to ankle tackle Roy Williams on the receiverís touchdown reception. Another culprit was Zak DeOssie, who on special teams went low when he should have gone for his manís waist.

4) Turnovers. With solid tackling usually comes turnover opportunities, of which the Giants had none in this game. (They did, however, lose a turnover when Reuben Droughns fumbled away the ball on a rush.)

In the spring and training camp practices, the coaches are ALWAYS yelling to the players to ďGo for the strip!Ē Yet in the game, this little detail seemed to be lost on numerous players who were probably still thinking through their assignments rather than letting instincts kick in.

5) Penalties. Theyíre ba-ack! The giants had eight infractions for 56 yards, and many of them were of the drive-killer/extender variety. For instance, Osi Umenyiora was called for defensive holding on the Lionsí second possession from scrimmage, which gave the Lions a fresh set of downs and five yards to boot instead of a second and long.

Then it was Chris Snee being caught engaging in a false start to create a second and long for the Giants, the drive ending up in a missed 44-yard Lawrence Tynes field goal.

Kevin Boothe had a false start to give the Giants another third and long; that was followed by a David Carr illegal forward pass.

We wonít continue going through the list, but the you probably get the idea. Each penalty put the Giants into a hole that they werenít able to dig themselves out of. Good teams donítí make those kinds of mistakes.

Overall the Giantsí preseason opener was a lot cleaner than preseason openers of past years, and these five areas we cited are certainly correctable. Itís just something to keep an eye on moving forward if the Giants want to silence the critics who refuse to acknowledge them as an elite NFL team.


QUARTERBACKS

Eli Manning: Manning started slowly, and barely picked up his game by the time the first quarter ended. We think we know why many critics believe Manning isnít an elite quarterback, and thatís because he doesnít seem to have a natural feel for the position.

Smallish quarterbacks like Tony Romo, Drew Brees, Jon Kitna, and Jeff Garcia seem to have a natural feel for improvisation for the position while Manning can look ponderous and confused, as he did this week.

What Manning can do is raise his game when it counts (as heís proven before); he can produce under pressure; and he can ďworkĒ the game till it comes to him. Not all quarterbacks have the combination of his big-game temperament, icy veins, short-term memory, smarts, size, arm strength, and guts. Manning might not always look the part, but when itís time to come up big, he steps up.


Anthony Wright: With his roster spot in jeopardy, Wright has come out of the chute with guns blazing. His fine deep ball to Sinorice Moss this week showed that he has the arm to throw the deep ball and with the accuracy that will loosen up a defense to open up things underneath. It was his only deep ball, as he proceeded to dink-and-dunk his way around the field to the tune of nine of 13 for 116 yards with no sacks.

Wright looked as good as heís ever been in a Giants uniform in a quarterís worth of action and led the offense well. A huge red zone drop was hardly his fault. He also just barely missed hooking up with Domenik Hixon on an end zone fade, the ball being another very nice throw.


David Carr: Getting the entire second half to show his stuff, we were a bit surprised to see Carr getting final drive of the game. The offense came up short, but oen can hardly blame Carr as the young players around him broke down.

Overall, he played an extremely positive game. What impressed us most was his throwing accuracy. If there was a receiver open, Carr seldom missed him.

His numbers were solid: ten of 13 for 104 yards and one touchdown, the score being a nice red zone post throw against an all-out blitz that Carr expertly recognized. He looked mentally sharp, though his unfamiliarity with the offense lead to several false starts.

He also absorbed a vicious hit when he broke the pocket a bit out of control and eschewed the space to step up into the pocket on the gameís final play for a panic roll-out and desperate heave. When Carr was set up and allowed to let his talent flow he showed an arm that was a reason why heís a former number one draft pick.


Andrť Woodson: The rookie did not play this week.



RUNNING BACKS

Madison Hedgecock: One of this weekís best blocks was the edge seal executed by Hedgecock that freed up Brandon Jacobs on a 27-yard run. Hedgecock executed his block with such efficiency, it was like watching poetry in motion.

Hedgecock also received a rare opportunity to touch the ball on a handoff this week, converting the short-yardage attempt right up the gut on a two-yard run. Although the run doesnít count, the yardage total matches his career high for a single rush and gives him his second straight third down conversion.


Robert Douglas: We were aghast to see Douglas, as the fullback, leave the backfield on a passing route and ignore the defensive end who was his responsibility, and who proceeded to hit QB David Carr.

Otherwise, we liked most of what we saw from Douglasí blocking game this week, though he still appears to be a bit out of control when leading up into a hole. Douglas doesnít have much finesse or alertness in his game, but he is a heat-seeking missile at times. He also caught a pass and fought for yardage against three defenders, winning each battle.


Brandon Jacobs: Getting one two touches this week, Jacobs showed what heís capable of when heís fresh and healthy, as he juked out a corner expecting power but who instead got finesse from this huge back.

Jacobs then burst free for 27 yards, finishing up by lowering his head when he probably should have gone the finesse route again, as he went down much too easily by a low tackle. He also was on the end of the gameís first pass, a very ugly short middle dump-off that didnít have a chance.


Ahmad Bradshaw: Failing to find much success in any of his touches, Bradshaw completed an underwhelming evening by dropping a perfectly-placed Anthony Wright middle toss in the red zone that had first down written all over it. Itís early in pre-season, but if Bradshaw wants to surpass Derrick Ward on the depth chart, heís going to have to pick up his receiving game.


Derrick Ward: Ward also dropped a short dump-off pass, but looked a lot better in converting a third-and-five play by running a neat down-and-out from the backfield, and turning up field for the first down. He looked his normal self on his four runs, averaging three yards per carry, and squeezing everything he could out of them without showing much flash or dash.


Reuben Droughns: Showing himself to be once again a master of all trades, Droughns made a kickoff tackle this week, threw several efficient kickoff-fullback blocks, caught three balls out of the backfield (averaging 7.0 yards per catch), and carried the ball four times.

His only blemish was his lost fumble on the next-to-last play in the first half, which did not enamor him well with the head coach. The Giants are loaded with young talent at running back, and weíre not sure how Droughns is going to survive.


Danny Ware: Ware is a legitimate 230-pounder and he runs with power. He returned two kickoffs, with both speed and power, and averaged 28.5 yards. He looked good out of the backfield on his lone reception, but it was the way he looked with the ball in his hands that impressed us most.

Ware has speed and the size to break tackles. He runs hard and he runs tough. He fits this current running back groupís mold. He also did well to pick up the correct blitzer on the Giantsí lone touchdown pass this week.

He also ran under kickoffs and punts and played a very physical game. If there is no room for Ware on this team, the Giants might very well have another Ryan Grant situation on their hands, as we think Ware can be a very good back in this league.


Kay-Jay Harris: Though Harris didnít get as many opportunities as Ware, he showed himself to be just as big and nearly as dynamic with the ball in his hands. Harris had two carries and one pass reception, ran hard and tough, and showed that he also has the talent to play in this league.

The Giants have assembled a stable of physical backs that is unparalleled in the league.



TIGHT ENDS

Kevin Boss: The new starting tight end, Boss showed his value right away in the passing game as he broke several tackles on his initial catch, and then followed that up by looking very smooth in reeling in another midfield throw. Boss is easily this teamís best option as a receiving tight end, but his biggest liability right now is his blocking.

For some reason, he refuses to extend his arms into his man. When blocking he seems to lunge for his shoulder pads rather than starting off by extending his arms into his manís chest and then sliding outside to the shoulders. By lunging the way he does, he loses his balance and any semblance of power, which he really hasnít shown very much of to date.

Based on this one performance, he looks like he might be a liability in the running game. Barring a rapid improvement, this could become a problem down the line because in this offense, heís going to have his snaps limited if he canít give a better effort in the running game.

One of the biggest problems we see is because Boss is so easy for a defensive end to be pushed into the backfield, this resulting in him cutting off the pulling guard on a play which happens to be one of this offenseís bread-and-butter offerings. Letís hope for an improvement in this area pronto.


Michael Matthews: A much stronger blocker, Matthews wasnít used much this week as a down tight end; he was instead motioned into a fullback role on a half dozen snaps, a role which really didnít that good for him. Matthews is such a big man that he has trouble getting low enough to meet a knifing linebacker in the hole.

On two occasions, an inside linebacker beat him at his ankles and gained penetration to disrupt the play in the backfield. The coaches are intent on making Matthews a versatile player, but we are not sure he has the quickness to make instant decisions as a lead blocker. We like him much more as a down tight end.

Matthews did reel in two short throws and ran hard with the ball, albeit for short gains. On a naked bootleg, he did not look smooth disengaging from the defensive end, which messed up the timing of the play.


Darcy Johnson: The best of the tight end blockers appears to be Johnson, whose strength and aggression helped him execute most every blocking assignment, be it against a defensive end or a linebacker in space. We spotted Johnson doing an acceptable job on several pass blocks against a defensive end while also mixing it up successfully on some short yardage runs.

In the passing game, Johnson was overthrown while open in the seam, and looked a bit ponderous on another seam which resulted in the quarterback having to break the pocket.

Johnson still appears to be a bit green in the passing game, but his blocking was sharp. However, he made a huge gaffe when he was flagged on a legitimate and big holding penalty on a kickoff return, as he needlessly held a defensive back rather after his return man had passed by.


Jerome Collins: Collins also had a solid blocking effort. Collins was called for what we thought was a questionable ďblock in the backĒ penalty on a red zone shotgun draw that wiped out a touchdown.


Eric Butler: Despite throwing several solid short-yardage blocks of his own this week, it was his failure to cut off his route on a blitz that drew the intentional grounding flag on the Giantsí last-gasp drive.

Butler was obviously the hot man on this play as the blitzers came from his side of the formation, but the rookie ran deep downfield, oblivious to the play behind him. He looks to have some talent and might be a prime candidate for the practice squad.


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Re: Detroit preseason game - detailed analysis

Post  Big_Pete on Fri Aug 08, 2008 8:17 pm

continued...


RECEIVERS

Amani Toomer: We all know what we get from Toomer, who saw just a couple of snaps before getting pulled. The Giants didnít even bother throwing to Toomer, who has has nothing left to prove in our book.


Domenik Hixon: Getting the start in place of the injured Plaxico Burress, Hixon continues to do the little things early on. For instance, he did a nice job sealing the outside for a Brandon Jacobs off-tackle run. He also ran a nice in route on the Giantsí second drive to get them close to a first down.

Late in the second quarter, Hixon got open in the corner of the end zone and made the catch, but he failed to get both feet in bounds. This is something weíd like to see him learn from Amani Toomer, who is a master at dragging his feet when heís close to the boundary lines.

On the plus side, what impressed us about Hixonís reception is that heís running good routes and is playing with a purpose. There is something about watching a young wide receiver on the field when he suddenly ďgets itĒ and looks more comfortable in his route running. For Hixon, it seems that the game is beginning to "slow down".


Sinorice Moss: Pre-season is all about opportunities and making the most of them. This forgotten man at training camp, whom many people believe has one foot out the door, responded with a very, very solid performance to remind people of what he can do as a receiver. He ran right by the cornerback and got deep before the safety could get over for a 46-yard reception, the Giantsí best of the night.

This is the fire power we have expected from Moss but have seen little of. The key with Moss is he has to show consistency ó the talent is there but we have yet to see a complete game from him.

To be fair, injuries have hampered him throughout his career, and certainly if he gets hurt this year, heís probably finished with the Giants.

If he can continue to make plays on a consistent basis and stay healthy, he just might be able to fend off some of the promising young receivers who are breathing down his neck.


Michael Jennings: This is another receiver who needs a break in whatís a very crowded receiver field. Jennings, back from an Achillesí injury suffered last summer, saw action in the second half of the game, and caught a quick hitch pass from David Carr in the third quarter.

Jennings has some speed but with all of the talent in front of him, we think he has a very small chance of making the roster. To be fair, heís running good routes and has taken advantage of the extra work received due to all the injuries.

Once the curtain rises on the regular season, you just know that all the receivers sitting out with injuries will be back, and the likelihood of the clock striking midnight on this Cinderella type receiver is going to be high.


Brandon London: In his second season, London looked more comfortable in running his pass routes. He made a nice catch on a quick slant route and then rumbled for 29 yards, breaking tackles along the way.

London definitely has the size to make an impact down the field against the smaller cornerbacks. He made another nice grab late in the game on a comeback route.

Another thing we like about London is he has very soft hands and he seems to catch just about everything thrown his way. He finished as the teamís leading receiver for the night, with three catches for 46 yards (a 15.3 per catch average). Not bad production for a former practice squad player.


Craphonso Thorpe: To make matters more competitive at the receiver spot, the veteran Thorpe got into the act by catching a 15-yard touchdown pass in the fourth quarter, the Giantsí only one of the night. It was an in-route where he did a nice job of shielding his body from the defender and coming down with the football.

Sometimes young receivers do not run their routes in the right place on the field but this was not the case with Thorpe. On the Giantsí final offensive play Thorpe caught a pass along the sideline, but did not come down in bounds.

Remember, the NFL has eliminated the ďno force-outĒ rule, and we might be in the minority, but we like this change. A receiver needs to keep both feet in bounds when catching a ball on the sideline.

In the past it was a judgment call by the receiver when a receiver got knocked out of bounds and if the receiver would have kept both feet in bounds. This rule was often left up to interpretation and was not reviewable to boot, so we think the change will help the game.


OFFENSIVE LINE

THE STARTERS: If anything, David Diehl looks like heís gotten bigger in the upper body this off-season. Does this guy ever rest in attempting to improve his game? He looked fine out there this week in his one quarter of play.

Also looking sharp and close to mid-season form, Kareem McKenzie had a solid first quarter. He had one of the key blocks on the edge that opened up the hole on Brandon Jacobsí 27-yard rush.

Shrugging off the shoulder tendonitis that had slowed him slightly this week, Chris Snee didnít miss a beat, although he drew whatís becoming a weekly penalty, this one a false start. We reviewed the play several times and didnít see Snee flinch an inch. Regardless, he played another hard-nosed quarter of football this week and made his presence felt on several physical running plays.

Rich Seubert appeared sharp and as physical as always, fighting tooth and nail on every single snap in a quarterís worth of action. Ö Also finishing up after a quarter of play, center Shaun OíHara looked to be near mid-season form with his snaps and line calls.


Guy Whimper: Getting three quarters of work at left tackle, Whimper looked to us like heís finally ready to legitimately challenge for a starting role. Unfortunately for him, unless there is a rash of injuries, heíll continue to wait for his chance on this team.

This week, he looked and played very sharp, especially in pass protection. His back-pedal was clunky just one time; otherwise, he played light on his feet and mirrored his man consistently.

Whimperís run-blocking prowess appears to have been passed by his pass blocking, which is a very good sign. He will provide tremendous depth this year, and will probably be utilized in some jumbo packages as another tight end.

Whimperís rookie contract is up in 2009, so although thatís still a full two seasons away, it will be interesting to see how much longer it will be until he gets a true shot at cracking into the starting lineup.


Kevin Boothe: We thought Boothe was the best of the backup guards this week. His size is tremendous, which combined with his surprising mobility, makes for quite an unusual package. His one-on-one pass-blocking was superb, even though he did go against second and third-string players.

We think Boothe has the potential to swallow up defenders and stone them at the line of scrimmage, which he did several times this week in utilizing his long arms well and, at times, dominating. He appears to have the potential to be the type who can be left alone one-on-one pass-blocking.

Weíre surprised he hasnít been tried at tackle since he has the physical requirements for the position, though on second glance, he was a bit ponderous on several long pulls and doesnít seem to have much of a feel for open spaces. His in-line blocking, though, was solid and aggressive.


NaíShan Goddard: Goddard also has some good attributes as a potential back-up guard. He plays very low and with excellent leverage, and he has excellent size, strength and power. We like his ability to dominate in the run game but he has to do a better job in pass protection, especially in the mental part of the game.

He had a first-half brain-lock in a pass protection set up which forced the quarterback to prematurely break the pocket and run for his life. On this play, Goddard failed to get a hand on his man as he was distracted by a false blitzer. To make this roster, one needs to show he has the smarts to make all the right decisions.

This is Goddardís third year in the league, so itís time to show he can play with the big boys. He has the physical goods and we love his physical style. If he can make that mental leap, the Giants will have themselves yet another fine, young back-up on their offensive line.


Adam Koets: Playing three quarters at right tackle, Koets took advantage of his time and played some really fine ball. His pass blocking was, in a word, masterful. He easily mirrored his man on every single attempt, and also mixed it up at times in the running game.

Koets brings versatility to the game in that heís also been groomed at guard and center, which canít hurt his chances down the line, and his mental sharpness is an additional asset.

We still donít think he has the arm length and bulk to be a starter on the outside ó to us he still looks like an undersized guard ó but he showed this week that he can play consistent technique and be where he is supposed to be on every snap.


Jonathan Palmer: The one notable play in Palmerís game this week was the sack he allowed on the Giantsí final offensive play of the game. Playing mop-up at left guard, Palmer was beaten cleanly at the line of scrimmage by a rookie on a play in which Palmer didnít get any inside help from the center.


Grey Ruegamer: Playing barely a quarter at center, Ruegamer was his typically reliable self. There is nothing more valuable on an interior offensive line reserve than experience, and Ruegamer has it in spades.

Though there is plenty of competition this year at his positions, we canít envision a scenario in which the Giants would let him go.


Kurt Quarterman: Getting some mop-up duty in the fourth quarter at right guard, Quarterman held up well.


Digger Bujnoch: Bujnoch received numerous snaps with the second and third teams. He was partially to blame (along with the quarterback) on two false starts that occurred in the shotgun formation, but otherwise, we liked what we saw from this young prospect.

While not very big or powerful, Bujnoch does seem to be the cerebral type who would do well to emulate everything that similarly-sized Shaun OíHara does to possibly land a spot on the practice squad.




DEFENSIVE LINE

THE STARTERS: Getting in and out without injury was paramount for Osi Umenyiora, who recorded two hits on the QB and looked great coming off the edge. Ö Starting at the strong side, Justin Tuck played the run well but didnít get a finger on the quarterback. He also did not play any downs at defensive tackle, and was unable to bring down a scrambling Jon Kitna on the edge.

Fred Robbins looked strong and sharp in his lone quarter of play. Meanwhile, Barry Cofield recorded two solo tackles in a quarter of action. We have a feeling that Cofield is going to have a breakout season in this, his third year.


Dave Tollefson: Getting a lot of snaps due to injuries at the defensive end position, Tollefson played exclusively on the weak side and played well, especially against the run. He was able to separate from his blocker with consistent ease and make the tackle.

He not only closed down his side against the run, but he played perfect contain on plays going away from him. He was consistently sharp playing his cutback lanes, and he overall made an impact in containing the Lionsí running game.

Tollefson wasnít as successful on the pass rush as he was stymied all night. As such, weíre not sure how Tollefson is going to be able to pressure the pocket as he hasnít really shown a power or speed game. What he has shown though is he can play a smart and tough game.


Renaldo Wynn: Getting a lot of the second team snaps at strong side defensive end, Wynn showed that he has more than enough bullets left in his gun to contribute to the defensive line rotation. He drew a holding call on the pass rush, and flashed on several other wide rushes.

He also knifed inside on one occasion and hit the quarterback just as he released the ball to force an incompletion. Wynn was also active against the run, both at the point of attack and in space.

Thereís little doubt that this pickup will be a key one for the Giants, as Wynn can be trusted with any type of assignment you throw at him. However, we donít think he has the size to play inside, unless itís in obvious passing situations.


Robert Henderson: This big rookie suffered an ankle injury, the severity of which was not known as we went to press, early during his turn. Prior to being forced off the field, we liked what we saw.

Henderson has the size of a power strong side defensive end, which is something you canít really teach. We thought we saw flashes of mobility, but it was his size, and his blockerís inability to move him that intrigued us the most.


Wallace Gilberry: We barely saw Gilberry in action before he also suffered an ankle injury, the severity of which was also not known as we went to press.


Alex Morrow: Benefiting from the injuries to his fellow rookie defensive line mates, Morrow played most of the second half at the strong side defensive end, but didnít show much. His hit that forced a fumble was overturned by review and was the only play he made of note.


Jay Alford: Alford was extremely active on the pass rush, despite allowing Kitna to get outside on Detroitís biggest pass play of the night. Against the run, he was a liability, as we saw him get double-teamed a good ten yards downfield. At other times, he failed to shed a block and was handled all too easily in one-on-one situations.

At this point in his young career, Alford is certainly more of a pass rusher than a run defender. He really needs to do a better job of committing to being a physical player and to toughen up his game a little.

Opposing offenses will surely attempt to ram the ball down this defenseís throat this year, so Alford, like his defensive mates, will need to step it up.


Rodney Leisle: Getting lots of snaps with the second team, we really didnít see much from Leisle. He has ordinary size and he doesnít have much mobility. What he brings to the table is toughness and consistency in his effort, and a commitment to playing the run. Does he have the talent to be successful at it? Weíre really not sure, based on this one performance.


Ogemdi Nwagbuo: Though he appears to be the teamís smallest defensive tackle at 6-4, 290 lbs., Nwagbuo played with a lot of fire and hustle this week. We liked how he gets down low at the snap and sustains his leverage.

Nwagbuo plays low, which isnít hard when youíre his size, and he also played tough this week against fellow second and third stringers. We liked his hustle and mobility; he reminds us of Jay Alford in this respect.

Nwagbuo might not be in the starting mold as we donít think he has the frame to hold 300+ pounds, but he could develop into a rotation player down the line who might be another practice squad candidate for this team.


Jeremy Clark: Clark received lots of snaps this week, and made the most of this opportunity as he seemed to improve as the game went along. His big play was a pass rush on which he pushed his man and eventually himself right into the quarterbackís lap to force an incompletion.

Clark seemed to play the run with success, as he has the size and the center of gravity to stay on his feet and surf the line of scrimmage. He just might be someone this team can develop as a physical run stopper.


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Re: Detroit preseason game - detailed analysis

Post  Big_Pete on Fri Aug 08, 2008 8:19 pm

continued....


LINEBACKERS

THE RETURNING STARTERS: Seeing a mere quarter of action, Antonio Pierce looked healthy and alert as always. Ö Also only playing one quarter, Mathias Kiwanuka returned to action from last yearís broken leg (oddly enough broken on this same field) and didnít seem the worse for wear.

At times he looks like a defensive end playing at linebacker, heís just so big and long-legged. He failed to close on WR Roy Williams in the open field on his touchdown.

The open field just isnít really Kiwanukaís game, as he belongs near the line of scrimmage, preferably between the tackles, where he made his only tackle this week. The coaches seem intent to keep him at outside linebacker, but as they did last year, they will line him up with his hand on the ground on obvious passing downs.


Danny Clark: In his brief action this week with the starters, we liked what we saw. Physically, heís very similar to Kawika Mitchell. Clark brings a punch to his tackles, as he did when he penetrated and stopped a Detroit back in his tracks with a solid hit.

We believe that the Giants linebackers must be a physical group in order for this defense to succeed; they canít be falling off of tackles or running around blocks.

Based on what we saw in this first game, Clark doesnít seem to be that type of linebacker who will fall off tackles. He brings nastiness to his game, and is not afraid to smash an opponent in the mouth.


Chase Blackburn: Getting loads of snaps at middle linebacker thanks to the injury suffered by Jonathan Goff, Blackburn was his usually reliable self. He recorded seven tackles, and one for a loss, and wrapped up his tackles with the requisite force. We didnít see any missed tackles, and there was lots of lane clogging between the tackles coming from Blackburn.


Zak DeOssie: One of the disappointments this week was DeOssieís uninspired play. First, let us say that we were very unimpressed with DeOssieís frame, as we didnít see much added bulk or muscle definition from last yearís version. We expected to see more size, and a resulting increase in power.

What we got instead was some decent between-the-tackles stuff and some sub-par efforts in space. He flubbed a tackle in the flat and also failed to contain his edge on another play.

His force didnít seem instinctive or aggressive. He seemed to absorb more than he delivered. We were expecting more veteran like play and were definitely disappointed.


Bryan Kehl: One rookie who really looked like he could be special was this fourth rounder who flashed into several plays. On the opening kickoff, Kehl raced down and made the first solo hit of his career.

When he got the chance to play some weak side linebacker, this fast and well-defined rookie stumbled at first, looking lost and a bit clumsy in coverage.

When it came time to play the run, Kehl was hell-on-wheels. His backside pursuit is electric. He has a very good feel for crashing down the backside, thus taking away from the cutback while also getting some high-speed hits on unsuspecting running backs. He made one of these hits to stuff a third-and-one to force a punt.

This kid not only has the speed, but the bulk to play a physical game. The Giants really came up with a steal with this kid, whom we see as a future starting weak side backer who could make an immediate impact not only on special teams but in specialty packages. We have a hunch that heís going to turn into one heck of a blitzer, too; heís that promising, folks.


Jonathan Goff: Unfortunately, the Giantsí other rookie linebacker saw his debut cut short with what could be a very serious and season-threatening injury to his lower back. As of this writing, we donít know his prognosis, but we certainly hope itís for the best.

Before being injured, Goff had a spotty night. At times he looked very mobile and physical. In space, though, he not only looked lost, he looked incapably clumsy. He was playing strong side linebacker, but we think heís a better fit for the middle. The coaches love his intelligence and his toughness.


Tank Daniels: Getting a lot of second half snaps at the strong side, Daniels did a lot of hitting, but not necessarily a lot of playmaking. He did knock down one of the many naked bootlegs called by Detroit this week, and Daniels looked very athletic in the process.

He also manhandled a bunch of Detroit offensive linemen, but at times seemed more intent on mauling the blocker than finding the ball carrier. He has the prototypical strong side linebacker size, and could have an opportunity to make this team due to his special teams talents, the injuries to Goff and Gerris Wilkinson, and DeOssieís lackluster. Daniels will have to find a way to start making more plays, though.



DEFENSIVE BACKS

Aaron Ross: In limited snaps, Ross had a solid game, blitzing on a couple of corner blitzes and managing to get pressure on the quarterback. He came up empty on the stats sheet, but to be fair, not a lot of action went in his direction.


James Butler: Butler recorded two tackles on the evening in about a quarter of play, but it was a quiet quarter. We saw a few instances where he was late in giving the deep help while others he was spot on. Weíd like to see more consistency from Butler, who was another player who had a strong showing in the post season.


Michael Johnson: Johnson, known for his aggressive play in his rookie year, missed a tackle against Roy Williams which resulted in Detroitís first touchdown. Sometimes it is difficult for a spot player to make a shift to a starting role, and with Kenny Phillips breathing down Johnsonís neck, it will be interesting to see how he responds to the pressure.


Corey Webster: Webster went man-to-man against wide receiver Calvin Johnson and was beaten down the sideline on the Lionsí second possession. It was good to see Webster playing nose-to-nose with the receiver, though, even if he was a step behind on this particular play.

Coming off a superb post season, Webster should enter this year with much more confidence. Before his resurgence in the playoffs last season, Webster was not playing the aggressive style of cornerback that we like to see in that he was always giving the receiver too much cushion and was not a strong tackler. So we are hopeful his performance from the post season carries over into 2008.


Kevin Dockery: We probably sound like a broken record, but we love the way this guy plays. Early in the second quarter on a quick swing route to the back out of the backfield, Dockery was right there to up-end the ball carrier for no gain.

He never gives much cushion and always seems to be around the football. The Giants are loaded in the defensive backfield but we think Dockery is the front runner for the "nickel back" role.


Sammy Knight: The 12-year veteran is a viable player and it will be interesting to see what he has left and how he fits into the Giantsí crowded defensive backfield. Knight had a very active game and we thought he showed he still has enough left in his tank in the limited snaps he did receive.

Veterans are sometimes at a disadvantage because if there is a tie between and younger player and a veteran, the younger player will often win out due to upside potential.


Terrell Thomas: He immediately got involved in the action as he came up strong on an inside run to help stop the play for a no gain. We have been saying this for years, but weíll say it again. The way to separate yourself from the pack when youíre a rookie is to make an impact on special teams.

Early in the third quarter it was Thomas as a gunner in punt coverage who came down a made a perfect solo tackle for no gain. Late in the fourth quarter, Thomas made another solo tackle in the open field. We really like this kidís combination of speed and aggressiveness.


Kenny Phillips: The first rounder saw action in the second half and immediately made his presence felt. First on a running play he came up strong and attacked the ball carrier. On the very next play, he came up to take on a receiver after the catch.

The Lions tried to run a reverse against Phillips, and usually rookies will overreact to a reverse which will result in a big gain. Not Phillips, as he stayed at home the whole time and made a perfect solo tackle for an eight-yard loss.

In the fourth quarter, the Lions ran a delayed screen to the left. The back looked like he had room to operate down the field, but out of nowhere came Phillips who made an open field tackle keeping the Lions short of a first down.

Then late in the fourth quarter it was Phillips again making things happen. He came up on a short yardage run and made the tackle in the backfield.

Safety has become very influential position throughout the league and it is good to see the Giants have one that might be one that can reach the higher level.



SPECIAL TEAMS

Jeff Feagles: Talk about looking in mid-season form! Four punts this week, a 42.0 average, two punts inside-the-20, and zero return yardage. Feagles also held on all extra points and field goal attempts, and did so without a flub.


Lawrence Tynes: The Giantsí hero kicker had a great night kicking off, nailing every single one of his kickoffs into the end zone. His first field goal attempt was pulled left and that was his fault, as the snap and hold were fine. Tynes did nail his second attempt, but should have done a better job considering it was inside on a pristine carpet.


Zak DeOssie/Jay Alford: All of these two youngsterís special teams snaps were on the money this week. DeOssie also registered a solo tackle on a punt return.


Domenik Hixon: Hixon was the first punt returner on the field, having one return attempt. After fielding this punt cleanly, he ran away from the first tackler. Then, Hixon bounced off of a tackler and tried to take it wide, almost making it as he finished with the teamís longest return of the night of 14 yards.

On Detroitís first punt, a pooch punt, Hixon made the right decision to block the first gunner downfield, allowing the punt to bounce harmlessly into the end zone. Hixon continues to make sound decisions on special teams, play tough, and play fast.


Ahmad Bradshaw: The first team kick returner this week, Bradshaw returned two kickoffs for a 23.5 yard average which is solid production. He did it very much like a bowling ball in that he bounced off of tacklers and ran tough.

He also returned two punts, fielding both cleanly to average 9.5 yards per attempt, and covered punts and kickoffs. It looks like special teams could be a big focus of Bradshawís early season contributions.


Sinorice Moss: The third team punt returner, Moss fielded his only attempt and then looked completely lost as to what to do after it was in his hands. He showed zero running instincts, but if he can just catch and secure the ball, he might have a chance to contribute as a return man. Itís a long shot given the talent in front of him, but you never know.


Danny Ware: The Giantsí best returner of the night was this electric young back, who returned two kickoffs for a 28.5 yard average and who looked very good on both.

On his first return, Ware showed a real burst and ran to daylight, getting dragged down by a pursuit tackler whom he dragged a good ten yards.

On his second return, he was forced into a pile from which he bounced off and earned another 7-10 yards after contact. This kidís power is impressive, but so is his speed. Heís a keeper.


Terrell Thomas: The star of the coverage units was easily this dynamic rookie who played the gunner position like a demon. Thomas beat his blockers ó be it single or double ó every time. He played both gunner positions, and made solo tackles from each spot.

His open field speed is wonderful, but so too is his physical play and his secure tackling ability. Heís got that combination of size and speed that should make him an ideal gunner in addition to an ideal cornerback. His instincts in defending the running game as well as the return game are remarkable.

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Re: Detroit preseason game - detailed analysis

Post  56 Crazed Dogs on Sat Aug 09, 2008 8:25 am

Nice review. Thanks man.
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