Myself and Jimmy Kempski of Blogging the bEast render our opinions on the Giants’ tight ends and the defense’s struggle to contain read-option and wildcat offenses.
Jimmy: TE coach Mike Pope talked about the TEs. Good stuff. Here’s what he said about newly acquired Brandon Myers:
“I think at the Raiders he was more of an intermediate receiver,” Pope said. “And now our passing game does allow the tight end to get more vertically down the field -– flag routes, double seam routes, post routes. And he appears to have the skills to get those balls. He has a little bit of a jet that can accelerate and go get a ball that is a little deeper. You may not think he is going to reach it, but he has that little bit. So we are very interested to see him in pads.”
Myers is going to be a massive upgrade over Martellus Bennett, in my opinion.
Fennelly: Bennett only had 55 catches last season and 5 TDs, three of which came in September. He never had more than six catches in a single game and was held to one reception four times. Not the workhorse the Giants had hoped for. He didn’t seem to complete his patterns and at times appeared to quit on plays. He clearly frustrated Eli Manning. The team is high on Myers, and from what I have seen, he runs good patterns and catches the ball well. Adrien Robinson is coming on and Bear Pascoe, if he’s not at FB, gives the Giants a nice trio at TE.
In minicamp, UDFA Chase Clement and FA Jamie Childers also appeared to be capable receivers. The Giants did well here, IMO, with the Bears doing them a solid by signing Bennett early on in free agency. I like the group they have, now. With Pope at the helm, they’ll all improve over time as well.
Jimmy: Perry Fewell thinks that stopping the read option will be similar to the way teams started stopping the Wildcat after its initial success:
“I look at that offense kind of like the Wildcat. The Wildcat took us by storm and then until you can see it, understand it; then you can defend it.”
Last season, the Giants gave up 455 yards in two games to the Redskins. I’m not so sure it was because they were fooled by some kind of exotic look. A few interesting formations aside, the Redskins’ offense was extraordinarily simple. There isn’t much to grasp. The Giants gave up huge rushing days to read option teams and non-read option teams alike. They gave up 224 rushing yards to the Ravens, and 191 to the Eagles. Worse, they gave up at least 129 rushing yards to 4 teams in the bottom 8 in the NFL in rushing yardage (the Cowboys, Steelers, Falcons, and Saints).
The Giants’ ability to stop the read option will be more about whether or not they can keep from being dominated in the trenches, not “figuring out” a fairly simple concept.
Fennelly: No gap control. The Redskins have been taking the Giants’ milk money for a few years now. New faces have been brought in to solve this issue.
If the DTs stay on their feet and mind the gaps, half of the read-option will go for no, or little gain. Handing off up the middle will be a fruitless exercise. It’s when they get outside the tackles that will continue to be a problem.
When your defensive scheme calls for your corners to play loose, plus they have no sense of how to codeswitch between pass and run, you’re gonna get bled to death on the edges. In the past, Terrell Thomas knew how to seal off the edge. The Giants also don’t have a run LB to hang their hat on. Antonio Pierce wasn’t great, but he could read plays and close the gap on running plays. The players they have now, outside of Jacquian Williams, don’t – or can’t – do that. Williams was hurting most of the season, as was Keith Rivers, so if they are both healthy, perhaps they can recover from those bad first steps and minimize those long gains.