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New York Giants’ D-Line Looking to Bounce Back from Poor Week One Performance

September 14th, 2012 at 1:00 PM
By Casey Sherman

The New York Giants defensive line had a tough time tracking down Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo in last week’s season opener. In fact, not only did the Giants’ three best pass rushers -Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, and Osi Umenyiora- fail to record a sack, they didn’t even record a single hit on the QB. Going into week two, the Giants’ d-line knows it needs to do a better job against another mobile quarterback in Josh Freeman.

Defensive captain Justin Tuck recently told Kieran Darcy of ESPN New York how unhappy he was with the defense’s performance.

"That's alarming," Tuck said. "That's not how we play football."

The Giants are known for the fierce pass rush and some of the players admitted they may have gotten too caught up in their reputation and tried too hard to make the big play. Rather than run their assignments they became too set on making the big play.

"We've just got to go out there and not try to do nothing extra," Pierre-Paul said. "Don't try to hit the home run. Don't try to get a sack going inside. Handle your responsibility and do your techniques."

Osi also admitted there was more they could’ve done to stop Romo.

"In this past game, they were getting the ball out quick, and we knew that," Umenyiora said. "So we should have done a better job of getting our hands up. We weren't gonna be able to get to the quarterback in a lot of those situations, so we should have got our hands up and try to knock the ball down."

The Giants’ defense is looking at Sunday’s game as a chance at redemption. The Buccaneer’s quarterback Freeman poses a challenge that the Giants’ d-line is prepared for. Freeman was fifth in league last year in rushing yards among quarterbacks with 238 yards but Justin Osi Umenyiora and the defensive line knows they will contain him better than they did against Romo.

"We know we're a better defense than the way we went out there and played," Umenyiora said. "We didn't execute. We're coached better than that, and we're gonna play better than that on Sunday."

photo credit: MattBritt00 via photo pin cc

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Tags: Football, Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Osi Umenyiora, Tony Romo

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31 Responses to “New York Giants’ D-Line Looking to Bounce Back from Poor Week One Performance”

  1.  rlhjr says:

    My apologies to Kujo, who’s lack of attention span will not allow him to finish this post.

    I suspect the state of the Giant offensive line should be quantified. Many offensive lines excel or suck in certain aspects of the game. For a very long time the Pittsburg Steelers offensive line specialized in trap blocking and influencing defenses one way, then running another. That is not considered a true power running game. But the Steelers earned the reputation of a power running team because their offensive line was so well coordinated that the trap blocks fell upon defensive linemen and linebackers who were mostly unaware of what was coming. Each member of that line knew their assignments cold, and might have been able to execute in with their collective eyes closed.

    Then you had the Cowboy O-line at their height with Smith running behind them. They had some multiple sets and motion that was used to get defenders out of position and moving the wrong way at the snap. However, they could straight blow teams off the ball when they had to. The Raider offensive lines of the 80’s were just plain scary. They could dominate a team (except Joe Green and Pittsburg) running or pass protecting. No finesse, just straight up ball busting beat downs.

    Finally during “Broadway Joe’s” reign, the New York Jets had one of the best O-lines in the business. They had a strong running side with Verlon Biggs while Randy Rasmussen was one of the best guards to play the game (as quite as it’s kept) Not to mention All Pro center Schmidt. They also had two of the best blocking running backs in the league playing together in Matt Snell and Emerson Boozer. When playing O-line for the Jets, pass blocking ability was an iron clad prerequisite, especially after Joe’s knee got hurt.

    This Giant offensive line saw its hay day during the Joe Morris era. Joe being smallish but powerful was able to squeeze through holes that those linemen created. Morris was able to hide behind his linemen and then explode into defenders who barley caught a glimpse of him before he was into their chest, or by them. This enabled Simms to enjoy enhanced time in the pocket by simply faking a handoff.

    The Giant offensive line enjoyed the same success with Rodney Hampton running the ball but for an entirely different reason. The combination of Hampton and the ferocious run blocking Giant O-line simply intimidated defenses. This again gave Simms time to throw.

    With Tiki Barber running the ball it was almost a throwback to Morris.
    The exception was this Giants O-line had no real maulers in their number. These guys were smart and well coordinated at their zenith. They were pass and run blocking technicians and not the blue collar crews of 80’s and 90’s.
    So when their base skills diminished (as they all do with time and injury) they eroded into what you see now.

    When presented with the question as to how such a pitiful collection of lineman manage to win (two) Super Bowls, the answers are really simple.
    First, the Giant defense; in specific the pass rush was straight up too much for the Patriots (and other teams in the playoff hunt) offensive fronts to handle.

    Second, Eli and the growth of the Giants passing game. Third, the strength of Bradshaw and Jacobs’s contribution to the running game and pass protection. The Giants O-line at that point was at least able to get hats on defenders at the second level. The power/speed/quickness of both backs took care of the rest. When Bradshaw and Jacobs lost a collective step, the O-line’s lack of power and foot speed was painfully exposed. The 2008 year was their last hurrah as far as running the football was concerned.

    And I am sure we all noticed how Earth Wind and Fire flourished mainly due to each member providing varying levels of power, quickness and rest for the other. Making the O-line look way better than they really were at that point.

    Unfortunately, the core of the Giant offensive line (O’Hara, Seibert and McKenzie) all went south simultaneously. Then tragically, Snee lost his ability to pull as well as generate power at the point of attack. And now the dependable Diehl is all but gone. Because of the Giants philosophy of dredging rounds 6 and 7 for offensive line (and linebacker) talent, there are no young hungry and serviceable replacements or understudies for any of the lineman that were lost.

    No one can argue with selecting JPP, or Nicks or Phillips. But somewhere some attention should have been paid to grabbing quality replacements for the core of the Giant offensive line.

    So be very careful when you state that today’s NFL has no place for running backs and evidently offensive linemen who can block for the run. That is straight rubbish. Even in this day of the pass first offense, inability to effectively run the ball especially in “END GAME” and “GOAL LINE” situations will deny your team from reaching the ultimate goal.

    I have two (2) irrefutable historical facts that backup what I tell you.
    First, check out the draft position of the Giants offensive line personnel that won the first two Super Bowls for the franchise. I’ve already done this and noted my findings on here four years ago, so if you doubt me do the research yourself.

    Second, simply go over who the Giants beat on the way to championships in 2007 & 2011. Or for that matter even in 86 and 90. Then look at who they lost to in the lone SB defeat. Sensing a pattern folks?

    Yeah, all those HIGH POWERED PASS FIRST offenses that had no running game and little of the defensive attributes the Giants possessed. Frisco simply ran into Eli and his receivers at the top of their respective games. They also had a shattering turnover to end their chances. That day the Giant offensive line performed gallantly in pass blocking. However, Eli could not have survived much longer under the 49’er rush. So the only LUCK the Giants had was that Eli was not seriously injured that day.

    The Giants did not win any of their four SB titles due to luck. They won because of stellar team defense, the ability to run, clutch pass blocking and finally, clutch QB play along with big plays made by receivers and running backs.
    That’s the past and present recipe for regular and post season success, and it will never change. Everything else is LUCK.

    •  kujo says:

      Funny how you said you wanted to “quantify” something, and then proceeded to write a dissertation without any numbers at all.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      I think using history to compare to todays NFL is not the best comparison. The game is played differently today. Running the ball well isn’t that important. Yes, you need to keep the defense honest but that’s about it. That’s all us and GB did the past 2 years. Neither team ran it down anyones throats they used the running game as a compliment to a great passing game and a defense playing well.

      •  rlhjr says:

        GB lost to NY with both Farve and Rodgers just as New England did because they were not even able to keep the Giants “honest” about their ability to run the ball. The Giants on the other hand had the reputation of being able to shove it down your throat when they needed to. Without that ability, you win only with LUCK and perhaps a mistake by the opposition.

        With running ability, you take the game and indeed the heart of the other team. I do respect your (All others) opinon GOAT. But this team needs four things in next years draft and free agent period:

        1. OG
        2. C
        3. Power running back
        4. OT

        The OG/OT or C need to come within the first three rounds. The chances of getting a top notch OG/OT out of free agency are slim. It will take maybe two years to properly groom the draft picks, but it needs to be done.

  2.  kujo says:

    There was an awful lot of letting Romo spin out of the pocket and get to the outside. That’s why JPP’s comment is so interesting. It’s like they all got greedy and didn’t cover their gap responsibilities. Freeman isn’t as elusive of Romo, but he can move around decently enough, and the Bucs don’t have anyone on that OL as good or athletic as Tryon or Free.

    I think our motto this week should be “DO YOUR JOB!” Cruz, Nicks, JPP, Tuck, Webster, Osi, the whole of our OL…everyone needs to do their damn job, and do it well.

  3.  kujo says:

    Adewale Ojomo is OUT on Sunday. Keith Rivers is DOUBTFUL. Prince Amukamara and Hakeem Nicks are QUESTIONABLE. Michael Coe, Marvin Austin, James Brewer and David Baas are PROBABLE.

  4.  rlhjr says:

    The Giant D-line needs healthy Canty and Austin so they can have a valid DT rotation. They also need a consistant Tuck. Given those things they are the dminant unit in the league with only San Fran and Baltmore and perhaps Huston on par with them.

  5.  kujo says:

    The Cowboys had a lot of success when they sent five or more pass-rushers at Eli Manning in Week 1. The Giants’ quarterback was just 3-of-7 in those situations, a far cry from the way he abused the Cowboys when they blitzed him last year.

  6.  kujo says:

    Art Stapleton ?@art_stapleton
    David Baas on playing Sunday: “I’m good. Go away.” #NYG

  7.  fanfor55years says:

    rlhjr is right that the character of the current offensive line is quite different from what “used to be”. The guys who I hoped might be throwbacks to the old group of maulers were Baas, Brewer and Petrus, but so far we’re not seeing it. He’s also right that even in a “pass first” NFL, you still have to run the ball.

    I’m not happy that Rivers is doubtful. He was one of the few players who distinguished himself against the ‘Boys. For my money he’s our most complete linebacker and looked like a legit first-round pick last week. Hopefully, Williams is completely healthy and ready to go. With Boley’s tight hammy we cannot be certain he can play the entire game (and I am actually hoping he’ll get some time at MIKE because Blackburn didn’t look very good at all and needs to give up some portion of his snaps).

    •  kujo says:

      Speaking of snap count, Blackburn was in on 51 snaps, good for 75% of the overall 68 offensive plays the Cowboys ran. That is ENTIRELY too much for a guy with his athletic, erm, limitations.

  8.  GOAT56 says:

    Both Coe and Austin being probable is great news. With the way TC works Coe is probably the starter even if Prince is active since he played well week 1.

    Rivers hurts but we do have Boley and Williams. Boley not being on the injured report is a great sign that’s he’s healthy.

    I agree with Kujo that Blackburn played too many snaps. Maybe that was due to Boley being limited. With Boley back that might enable Williams or Herzlich to see some more of Blackburn’s snaps.

  9.  rlhjr says:

    Just think if we had a MIKE with Rivers size and ablity. Kiwi could be a DE or fifth defensive lineman in packages. And no team could play hurry up in hopes of catching a slower version of the defense.

  10.  GOAT56 says:

    … about the Giants’ regular season opener:

    The Giants had 56 offensive snaps (I assume it includes plays nullified by penalties, since the box score says they only ran 54 offensive plays). Domenik Hixon, the third WR, was on the field for 27 of them. Bear Pascoe, the second tight end, played only 12 (though T Will Beatty played 5 as the second TE). And in case you didn’t notice — because I didn’t — TE Adrien Robinson (2), WR Reuben Randle (2) and WR Ramses Barden (1) did actually play with the offense.

    On defense, there were 68 plays. DE Jason Pierre-Paul is clearly the “Big Dog” of the D because he played 60 of them, while Justin Tuck (47) and Osi Umenyiora (41) played less. Remarkably for a team that seemed to be de-emphasizing the MLB spot one year ago, LB Chase Blackburn was on the field for 51 plays — by far the most of any of their LBs (Michael Boley 37, Jacquian Williams 34, Mathias Kiwanuka 34, and Keith Rivers 24). Rookie S Will Hill, who had an impressive summer, did not play a single defensive snap.

    By the way, I thought I saw Hill out there once, but now I can’t find the play I was thinking of on the tape. That’s my way of saying I can’t vouch for the accuracy of the box score. It’s the official report of the NFL, but it’s not always right. #NYG

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