Giants at the Bye Week: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.
The offensive line. There is a reason the offense is third in the league with a gaudy 400 yards per game. It is called winning the game in the trenches. The Giants are third in the league in yards per carry, making this a very efficient and accomplished running game.
The defensive line. Who leads the league again with 13 sacks? The G-Men. Who leads them? Tuck? Nope, Robbins has four. That’s right, Giants fans — Fred Robbins is leading the team in sacks. This is a GREAT SIGN FOR THE TEAM. Along with the solid play of Barry Cofield, the interior line is very stout. When Kiwanuka is 100 percent — he had a sack Sunday despite being less than perfect — this line is still the leader in defensive impact. An interesting thing to note about the importance of defensive pressure: the top six teams in the N.F.L. so far this year (total of 68 sacks) are a combined 14-4, the bottom six teams in sacks (total of 14) this year are a combined 0-17. The Ernie Accorsi blueprint for success is alive and well: the best thing is a good QB, and the second best thing is a good defensive end/line to disrupt him.
Road Warriors, Part 2. The Giants play with focus and concentration on the road. They are the diesel that may or may not start quickly but they always finish well.
Hixon and Phillips. These two are making a difference with limited snaps.
2-7. That is the record of the teams the Giants have beaten so far this season. If Kenny Phillips doesn’t make that tackle at the end of regulation we are 2-1 and there are more questions. So let’s not get too giddy yet.
Our linebackers, if Pierce gets hurt. Wilkinson got an outstanding vote of confidence in preseason. Not. First, when Osi went down, they moved Clark over to Strongside to fill Kiwanuka’s vacated role. Then Wilkinson couldn’t even win the weakside job. He shares it with the rookie Kehl. It is vital that Pierce remains healthy. Without him, we are extremely vulnerable. He does it all and helps cover up the weakest unit on the team. Reese — how about drafting a linebacker No. 1 for this franchise for the first time in 24 years?
The distraction that is Burress. I do not want to hear any excuses. You cried all off-season for a new contract and got one. Show up for work and stop acting like a 3-year-old.
Kevin Gilbride. When the G-Men won the Super Bowl, did you notice how everyone was raving about Spags and not a word was said about our offensive coordinator? His stubbornness in not adapting to the Bengals (who used eight- and nine-man fronts frequently to derail Jacobs) and simply going vertical was frightening. To quote one commenter on the blog, I now understand why Buddy Ryan punched Gilbride. He has one of the best offensive lines in all of football, a choice of running backs to use, a plethora of excellent wide receivers, a tight end with great hands and a quarterback entering his prime with supreme confidence and composure. And he wastes it. That the offense put up 16 points versus the Redskins and had 16 points against the Bengals through 55 minutes is an embarrassment. When the attack lights went on out of necessity, the offense woke up, almost too little too late. One more thing: Please start your best running back, Ahmad Bradshaw.