Entering the last few weeks of the 2012 season, the fact remains: getting beat on both sides of the line of scrimmage will not win ball games, reigning World Champions or not. Sure there are handfuls of different players out there, but nothing beyond that has changed.
Many, as this week’s hot topic, are putting it all on quarterback Eli Manning right now, but he’s simply one component of Big Blue. Teamwork has always been strength in blue; that mentality shouldn’t be altered.
Head coach Tom Coughlin shows respect for Manning, but doesn’t feel it should be always on him.
“The man is the leader. He’s the quarterback. He sets the pace, normally, for the entire team. He gives great direction. The way he conducts his life, the way he works, his passion for playing, his competitiveness – and really, his desire to be in pressure situations, he is an excellent example for all. So I don’t think it’s bad for them to say that (player confidence in Manning). But I do think they have to understand sometimes it helps to create an opportunity for Eli…everybody relies on Eli to go do it. We did it (coming back to win late) seven times the year before, and I like that for him in terms of when people think about him and his reputation as a quarterback and as a pressure player. I like that. I want that, but I’d like to see it happen a little bit right now,” Coughlin said.
Injured defensive end Justin Tuck gives his defensive perspective, which suggests that maybe some are “listening” to the talking heads.
"Maybe we're giving o-lines and offensive coordinators and offenses too much credit," said Tuck. "Honestly, I think we just need to stop worrying about what people are writing, what people say about our pass rush and just get back to beating people up front. I think if you start listening to what people say about 'You're not getting sacks, you're not doing this,' you start trying to look for answers instead of focusing on the answer, which is you beating the guy in front of you."
He furthered that with comments about winning on both lines of scrimmage.
"We always feel that responsibility," Tuck said. "If you look at this football team, the success we've had, we win as No. 10 wins and this d-line wins."
#91 has been criticized an awful lot this season – to the point borderline insane comments about cutting him and that he doesn’t make any plays. Some folks need to learn how to watch game tape and the value of more than a sack – all while still playing injured.
Getting back to the lines… As much as the defensive ends get most of the glory up there, the defensive tackles have to get into the pocket and destroy it. Start there, collapse the pocket, and force the quarterback to feel discomfort. That hasn’t been happening. When it does (see the only sack of Matt Ryan), it’s almost guaranteed money in that LOS bank.
Flip the script and look back on when Eli Manning had time in his backfield. Give #10 time to pick apart any defense and it is all about him and controlling the clock. Take that away and the long day gets longer. However, in this kind of game, it is going to start and end with pounding the rock – something that head coach Tom Coughlin predicates this time of year on (especially on defense).
“Certainly I’m aware of it (low sack-totals), but I also know what the total package is and I also know that this game begins by stopping the run. Quite frankly, that’s not been a strong point for us,” he said.
Much happens in that neutral zone, including how games are won or lost. With the 2012 season on the line, it’s Big Blue’s time to show up be Giants.
Also…Eli Manning, Football, Justin Tuck, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tom Coughlin