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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Kryptonite

Previously we outlined which teams presented the biggest obstacles to the Giants. A good QB with a good enough OL who had that TE could pick on our LBers/secondary.. the kryptonite to defeating the gmen. While I still subscribe to that theory, we certainly saw what the true Kryptonite was this past weekend. THE WIND.

Manning knows he has a problem with the wind. Before GB in the NFC Championship, he spoke with Vic Ziegel: Manning was asked about his greatest concern and, as expected, he mentioned the wind. "I think so," he said. It was one of his rare direct answers.

The Skins game in W15 2007. The Bills game in W16 2007. The Eagles game in W14 2008. People who want to say the Eagles broke the Giants code by loading the box w/o Burress only have half the story- they had help: (1) the Giants were flat (2) the WIND.

The bottomline here is that Eli Manning (who has a free pass for life for delivering us from 17 years of dearth) does not have a tight spiral. What he has in brains he lacks in that winter wind tunnel known as the Meadowlands. He is the polar opposite of Kerry Collins, the pea brain who can deliver the ball like a howitzer. (I always loved Kerry, I hope we play him in the Super Bowl.)

Is there a fix? Well, we already believe that Gilbride must use dinks and dunks in the short passing game when long passes are out of the question. If the opposition tries to take away that too then you simply have to go to your OTHER tallest option, Boss, and put it up there for a jump ball a la Burress.

SUMMARY: It took a confluence of factors for the Giants to get beat on Sunday. Considering how poorly the team played, it is not clear that the wind, in and of itself, is a 100% obstacle. Every other team will be studying for ways to beat the gmen, but if the Giants execute they will be tough to beat, wind or no wind. There simply needs to be more urgency in these wind games because effectively it SHORTENS the game and makes each possession more critical. Your offense realistically has little more than half the opportunities, and your defense can compound that (like Sunday in Q3) by not getting them off the field when you are supposed to. As Belichick and Parcells taught us in Super Bowl XXV, when you play AGAINST a great offensive team you need to get time of possession to win. IN 2008, WE ARE THE TEAM THAT HAS THAT POTENT OFFENSE that needs to get put on the bench by opposing teams. So elements like the wind are part of the recipe for shortening the game ON US. As long as Gilbride and Manning and the rest of the team are aware of that, they are already one step ahead. I know Coughlin understands this.. he was there in Jan 1991. When the chips are down in January, if there is wind and the Giants are playing at full tilt, I believe they have enough to overcome that and win the game.

Harold, one of the original people in the email group, asked this question yesterday... if the Giants win W17 vs the Patriots, do they win the Super Bowl vs the Patriots? None of us will ever know, but the point is well taken that this loss was a tremendous opportunity. This team is the same one that Bob Popa was lauding two weeks ago, so it will come back stronger from this and win it all. Those of you know I do not make outlandish or frequent predictions, so there it is, on the record.


Mitch said...

I hope you are right Andy. Let me expand a little further on who this job will ultimately fall to:

He's won a Super Bowl. He has survived more scrutiny than just about any quarterback in modern history because of where he plays and who his older brother is, and in the Super Bowl last year against the New England Patriots, he had almost an irrational and unfair calm to him as he led the Giants to victory. If he sneezes, it has the potential to be a back page tabloid story read by millions of people. He's actually pretty smart (he scored a 39 on the Wonderlic test, which was higher than his brother scored, he graduated with a 3.4 cum at Ole Miss) and yet he comes across as a total doofus pretty much all the time. It's a fascinating sleight of hand, really. In some sense, it's the Marilyn Monroe Principle. On the surface, he Eli seems like the ditzy lightweight. But he's really much more intelligent and savvy than anyone gives him credit for.

Manning's value goes well beyond statistics. And, while he might not be an elite quarterback yet, he still has plenty of room to grow.

Manning has already been hardened by the intense New York media, which practically wanted his head on a spit before the playoffs last year. And as soon as he no longer had to deal with Jeremy Shockey throwing hissy fits when he didn't get the ball, he blossomed into a leader.

Manning's magnificent Super Bowl run last year proved to me that he has that rare combination of guts and calm under fire that you simply can't teach. It might be the most important attribute a quarterback can have. If he weren't Peyton Manning's little brother, we'd probably spent a lot more time talking about what he is than what he is not.

Crazed Giant fan said...

I totally agree with Mitch's comments. Manning is a difference maker. He is a student of the game. He changes the Giants out of plays which are not going to work when he sees what defenses are doing. This is something for which he receives almost no credit. He is certainly cool under fire and he played his best football when it mattered the most. He is the anti-Romo who seems to crumble at crunch time. And he is the reason we are where we are. As Andy pointed out, he doesn't have the cannon arm, but I think you can game plan around that and design an offense around that. Go giants.

Oxbay said...

Phil Simms is on the record describing how he had to change his throwing motion to deal with the wind at Giants stadium. He did this to induce tighter spirals. Maybe Eli should call him up.

Motown Blue said...

I pointed this out on Monday regarding Eli's wobbly throws. It boggles my mind how his 2 QB coaches have not tried to correct this issue. Of course one of his QB coaches was Killdrive which is not saying much.

I have always heard Wyche's expression flick it like a booger as he used to scream at Montana when he threw wobblers: "booger, booger, booger". But Andy's man crush has an article in the Wall Street Journal about the mechanics:


Oxbay, you beat me to it from the above article.....you would think that Eli plays in one of the more famed windy stadiums that they would make adjustments to correct this!!

Robert said...

I agree with Oxbay. If Simms was good at it why can't Eli and get and additional home field advantage.
Two other notes:
- Many writers seems to forget we may need a top receiver next year. All the talk was about the extra $$ from Plax and sigh the three big free agents. Are the current stock of receivers good enough next year. I like what we have now but not totally confident yet.
- What is up with the two night games in a row? I personally don't like night games. Regular Giant fans don't show up at home. Shouldn't there be a rule about two in a row with this flex thing?

Nature said...

I can hear Simms talking about it now on Inside The NFL

Ken said...

Hey, the AP reports that the Giants did not pay Plax the $1 mill roster bonus due to him today. The AP also reports that the NFLPA will file a claim for Plax to get the money.

Anyone have a guess as to what the ramifications of this are? Is this a formality, or a sign that Plax is as good as gone?

xtian said...

please see my comments in the shooting the moon entry.

RSM GP Guy said...

Sure, the wind is a factor. But look how many good passes Eli threw last Sunday that were dropped. While you cannot discount the wind, there were clearly other things going on Sunday. And I still don't understand why they did not go for a dome on the new stadium

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