Big Blue Breakdown: Weeks 5+6 Recap
It’s double the coverage, but not quite double the fun in this week’s Big Blue Breakdown, which will cover all the events from weeks 5 and 6 of the 2013 season. For those of you who are reading this, great job for not jumping ship on the currently 0-6 New York Giants. There doesn’t seem to be anything going right in New York right now, but as always we’ll take a look at both positives and negatives from this year as well as what we can expect to see in the coming weeks.
- Giants lose to Eagles, 36-21
- G Chris Snee and CB Aaron Ross placed on IR
- Giants lose to Bears, 27-21
- LB Jon Beason makes first start as a Giant
- Tom Coughlin says he will return in 2014
- Giants sign RB Peyton Hillis
Gee, where to begin with the negatives from the two latest games the Giants have dropped this season? These two were reasonably close games, but we still saw the return of an offensive line that could barely pass block at all as well as an extremely ineffective pass rush. Eli Manning’s protection has gotten a little better since the season started but that’s mainly due to new blocking schemes rather than the players improving. The defensive line, meanwhile, is still just as unable to create any sort of pressure on opposing quarterbacks and has allowed them to pick up 181 yards on the ground on only 24 attempts in the last four weeks.
The secondary also fell flat when trying to keep Vick and Cutler from hooking up with Desean Jackson and Brandon Marshall respectively, as the two receivers combined for 16 catches, 219 yards and three TDs. However, a lot of this can be attributed to injuries to Corey Webster, Jayron Hosley, and Aaron Ross as well as the inexistence of any sort of pass rush. What can’t be chocked up to injuries is the complete lack of starting ability in any of the linebackers besides Spencer Paysinger and Joon Beason. The vast majority of the linebackers on the team’s roster seem to be nothing more than career backups that have no business starting in the NFL.
Last but certainly not least of the negatives are the miscommunications and mishaps involving Eli Manning and his receivers. Hakeem Nicks seemed to jog to the line and give up on a few routes during crunch time against the Eagles, while Rueben Randle’s constant misunderstandings of routes and misuses of body language caused a few interceptions and near misses. The Giants came within inches of a win against the Bears, but Manning’s pass to Brandon Myers was too high and it resulted in a game-winning interception for Chicago. The Giants’ passing offense has the potential to be one of the deadliest in the league, but until Nicks learns discipline, Randle learns the offense, and Manning forges a stronger connection with the underused Brandon Myers they are a long way off from that.
Though it seems like this 2013 Giants team is falling apart in every possible way, a few positives from the past two games have been overlooked. Despite playing two of the league’s best running backs in Lesean McCoy and Matt Forte, the Giants surrendered only 113 yards on 39 carries to the duo. The run defense looked dominant against both the Eagles and the Bears due to the efforts of the defensive line as well as newcomer Jon Beason and the former UDFA Spencer Paysinger, who is having a breakout season.
It’s also worth mentioning that the secondary has actually performed pretty well considering all the injuries and lack of a pass rush, but opposing offenses simply have too much time to put the ball where it needs to be. After serving a four-game suspension, Will Hill returned for week 5 and made plays all over the field against both the Eagles and Bears. Prince Amukamara and Trumaine McBride have excelled at corner, and Amukamara looks like a linebacker when he defends against the run.
On offense, the positives have been much less apparent, but a few players still stood out against the Eagles and Bears. Justin Pugh has continued to hold down the fort at right tackle, performing admirably despite the failures of the rest of the offensive line. Though Rueben Randle has made plenty of mistakes, he has shown huge potential with nine catches for 171 yards and three TDs these past two weeks. On the ground, Brandon Jacobs made his triumphant return to the Big Apple with 106 yards and two TDs on 22 carries against the Bears. Michael Cox is an unproven rookie, Peyton Hillis still has to learn the Giants’ offense, and David Wilson is dealing with a neck injury but going forward the Giants know they at least have Jacobs to count on to smash into defenders and gain the tough yards.
Things look pretty ugly for the 0-6 Giants right now, but the team has been getting closer and closer to tasting victory each week. Clearly the 2013 squad is not Super Bowl bound and probably won’t live up to high expectations set last offseason, but there are still some things going right in New York and the team has an excellent chance to win its first game against the Josh Freeman-led Minnesota Vikings, who are 1-5 and gearing up for Monday night’s game with a starting QB who just joined the team this week. The Giants have shown slow, but steady improvement these past two weeks and seem to have what it takes to start making marks in the win column. If that’s what happens, good for you for sticking with your team even during a rough patch. If they fall apart all over again 38-0 style, it may be time to break out the highlight videos from 2011 and ignore the current season for a while.
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