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Saintly evening preview

On Friday we did a Q&A Exchange with the Saints, and learned a little bit more about the pulse of that team.  Tonight, we will learn more about the Giants, because the Saints will give them a test they have not received yet in 2011.

There were some good comments this past Wednesday, and Paddlepedal offered some observations I want to highlight before the game this evening:

..this year we haven’t seen the defensive collapses against high powered teams as in the past couple years.   Then again the only high powered offense they have played this year is New England (which was a great effort); against Philly Vick got hurt which brought them back to earth. 

The defense shoudn’t logically be better this year, given the loss of Thomas and all the linebackers.    Right now it looks like they are skating on pretty thin ice, especially with their LBs in short and intermediate pass defense.  I hope Amukamara develops rapidly and the LBs who are left can elevate their game.

.. it remains to be seen whether they’ve gotten rid of these defensive collapses, which should only happen rarely if at all to contending teams.   We’ll know a lot more after Monday night.

We have seen the better QBs undress Fewell and his zone defense sporadically this season and essentially most of last season.  We have seen more man coverage this year, especially from Webster, and that has helped.  Why is this evening so important?  Because the Brees offense has one feature that Brady’s offense did not have- the ability to stretch the field with a good downfield passing game.  The Patriots do not have a deep threat that can burn a CB.  Tight Ends stretch your Safety, but not with speed.

Here is a reminder about Brees- get in his face and disrupt his vision.  He is 6’0″ tall and will have trouble seeing down the field if you can keep the middle of your pass rush in front of him.  (Think CANTY 6’7″ and Tuck 6’5″.)  And CBs, please press at the line of scrimmage.  Like all QBs, he relies on rhythm and that extra half second is just as precious to him as it is to Charley Whitehurst.

We’ll say this until we are blue in the face- Gilbride must attack with his offense all night, from the very first possession.  What does “attack” mean?  It means getting Eli in the flow with high percentage short passes that move the sticks and keep the players on the field.  RHYTHM.  Yes, just like Brees or any other QB.     

So tonight (and next Sunday vs GB) the NY Giants defense will get the full armada from its opponent.  This will be a good test of Fewell, of the schemes, of the Linebackers, of the pass rush, of everyone.  The Giants defense played well enough the past three games, but these next two games will be the litmus of whether they can compete toe to toe with the best.  38-35.  That was the score in Week 17 of the 2007 season.  The Giants went toe to toe with one of the best offenses in a generation, and they got the confidence to go up against anyone.  These next two games are an opportunity to be measured and to make adjustments.  It would be better to go into these games 7-3 or 8-2, but at least with Chicago, Philadelphia and Detroit losing this weekend, the Giants’ chances for a playoff spot have risen.  Play well, play 60, learn, adapt, make the playoffs and anything can happen.  If the Giants play 60 and are not ready, at least we’ll find that out.  But understand this- you are much better off playing these teams in the regular season and getting that test than not playing them.  Let’s see what this team is made of.