Jim Mancari, ContributorGiants’ offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride says his offensive line – as well as his entire offensive unit – has been hard at work this week.
But that doesn’t automatically mean the Giants’ offense will show up Sunday in Kansas City against the Chiefs.
The Chiefs’ defense so far has only allowed 34 points in its three games this season – second to only the Seattle Seahawks (27).
Tamba Hali and Justin Houston are off to a hot start for the Chiefs. Houston himself had four sacks last Thursday against Michael Vick. Shutdown corners Brandon Flowers and Sean Smith will also present a challenge.
“They’ve got a lot of talented athletes,” Gilbride said. “There’s no question about that, and I think you combine that with a very confusing scheme. They do a nice job of creating overload blitzes where they give you an impression they’re coming from one side when in fact they’re coming from the other, and I think that combination along with the skill of the guys that are actually rushing the quarterback makes it very, very difficult.”
As for the o-line, Gilbride said the unit has been working like crazy, and he and his staff are trying to expedite the learning process as much as possible.
“I expect them to play well; I expect them to do well,” Gilbride said. “They’re working at it, and we have confidence in their athleticism. It’s just a matter of how fast you can get them acclimated to the speed with which they’re going to be facing the opposition on Sunday, which is significant.”
Through all three games, the Giants have not been able to run out a consistent offensive line. It’s tough to gel as a unit with so many different combinations.
“Seemingly we’ve been doing that all year, so it’s not a departure from what’s been going on,” Gilbride said. “Even when we’ve had guys, they’ve been injured and not playing the full allotment of practice time. It’s something you wish you weren’t as familiar with as we are, but we’ve been doing it all along. I guess down the road it will be good for us, but right now it does unquestionably slow down your progress.”
In last week’s game against the Panthers, the Giants’ first-half offensive attack was atrocious, but in the second half, the team at least moved the ball a little bit by using a hurry-up offense, though it still put zero points on the board.
Gilbride said this stretch has been as difficult a period as when the Giants handed the quarterback reins from Kurt Warner to Eli Manning.
“You understood there was going to be some growth and some growing pains and there were,” Gilbride said. “Now it’s not the quarterback position, but it’s some other spots, in the backs and in the line, you’re going through some growing pains as well. It’s never pleasant, but the good thing is we’re working at it, and I think no one has quit and they’ve hung together.”
Certainly, there is plenty still to work on, but after last week’s game, what could possibly get worse?
“No matter what we tried to do, we couldn’t get on track; we couldn’t get started,” Gilbride said. “The previous weeks, I think we came away saying we have a decent team here; we can do some things; we just need to slow down the turnovers. This past week, this was a different type of game. We were outplayed, and we’re disappointed with the way we played, and we thought, we knew, they certainly had a quality front and we would be challenged by it, but we thought we would do better than we did. There’s no question about that.”
It will be an all-hands-on-deck effort Sunday in Kansas City, but if the offensive line play does not improve, the Giants’ ship will continue to sink.
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