Previously we outlined which teams presented the biggest obstacles to the Giants. A good QB with a good enough OL who had that TE could pick on our LBers/secondary.. the kryptonite to defeating the gmen. While I still subscribe to that theory, we certainly saw what the true Kryptonite was this past weekend. THE WIND.
Manning knows he has a problem with the wind. Before GB in the NFC Championship, he spoke with Vic Ziegel: Manning was asked about his greatest concern and, as expected, he mentioned the wind. “I think so,” he said. It was one of his rare direct answers.
The Skins game in W15 2007. The Bills game in W16 2007. The Eagles game in W14 2008. People who want to say the Eagles broke the Giants code by loading the box w/o Burress only have half the story- they had help: (1) the Giants were flat (2) the WIND.
The bottomline here is that Eli Manning (who has a free pass for life for delivering us from 17 years of dearth) does not have a tight spiral. What he has in brains he lacks in that winter wind tunnel known as the Meadowlands. He is the polar opposite of Kerry Collins, the pea brain who can deliver the ball like a howitzer. (I always loved Kerry, I hope we play him in the Super Bowl.)
Is there a fix? Well, we already believe that Gilbride must use dinks and dunks in the short passing game when long passes are out of the question. If the opposition tries to take away that too then you simply have to go to your OTHER tallest option, Boss, and put it up there for a jump ball a la Burress.
SUMMARY: It took a confluence of factors for the Giants to get beat on Sunday. Considering how poorly the team played, it is not clear that the wind, in and of itself, is a 100% obstacle. Every other team will be studying for ways to beat the gmen, but if the Giants execute they will be tough to beat, wind or no wind. There simply needs to be more urgency in these wind games because effectively it SHORTENS the game and makes each possession more critical. Your offense realistically has little more than half the opportunities, and your defense can compound that (like Sunday in Q3) by not getting them off the field when you are supposed to. As Belichick and Parcells taught us in Super Bowl XXV, when you play AGAINST a great offensive team you need to get time of possession to win. IN 2008, WE ARE THE TEAM THAT HAS THAT POTENT OFFENSE that needs to get put on the bench by opposing teams. So elements like the wind are part of the recipe for shortening the game ON US. As long as Gilbride and Manning and the rest of the team are aware of that, they are already one step ahead. I know Coughlin understands this.. he was there in Jan 1991. When the chips are down in January, if there is wind and the Giants are playing at full tilt, I believe they have enough to overcome that and win the game.
Harold, one of the original people in the email group, asked this question yesterday… if the Giants win W17 vs the Patriots, do they win the Super Bowl vs the Patriots? None of us will ever know, but the point is well taken that this loss was a tremendous opportunity. This team is the same one that Bob Popa was lauding two weeks ago, so it will come back stronger from this and win it all. Those of you know I do not make outlandish or frequent predictions, so there it is, on the record.