Warren Buffett was once asked about weaker investments and weaker investment managers. In one of his more famous quotes, he remarked that "only when the tide goes out do you discover who's been swimming naked." Over the past 6 years we have maintained that the Giants won despite Kevin Gilbride. Now that the tide (lack of OL) is going out, we are seeing how ill-prepared this offense is to make the appropriate adjustments.
In the 4th quarter of the last 4 games, the Giants have been outscored:
17-7 by DEN
7-0 by CAR
14-0 by KC
14-0 by PHI
That's a grand total of 52-7.
So what is behind that number?
It is Gilbride relying on an offense of old that could always score when needed to. It's an offensive coordinator that knew that Eli was at his best in driving down the field when the game was on the line. Cris Collinsworth stated this in Week 1 of this season, that he'd take Aaron Rodgers as his QB for 60 minutes, but that in the last drive to win the game he'd take Eli. Well, an interesting thing happened in that Dallas game- Eli had the ball in his hands and was ready to win the game. Everyone knew it. The Dallas fans knew it. Giants fans had a great amount of confidence. And then a checkdown to Da' Rel Scott went caroming off his shoulder pad into a Cowboy, who took the football the opposite way for 6 points. Gone was the game. But more importantly, gone was the magic of previous years. Present in 2013 is a team that can no longer operate in the 4th quarter by coming from behind. Good teams with good players who are experienced can do those things. Without a cohesive and experienced offensive line, the Giants are not capable of reliably scoring in the 4th quarter. Gilbride must adapt to this reality.
Making adjustments means playing the hand you are dealt. Gilbride doesn't have a running game. He doesn't have a reliable set of RBs. His pass protection is shaky (Beatty will need help with Peppers on Thursday). Randle and Nicks have dropped some balls. Myers cannot block well. Hynoski's blocking is gone. Defenses show 0 respect for the play action fakes. Nor should they as the Giants have rushed for 284 yards this season. And Eli is left to force his play as a result of trying to take on more of the load from the other 10 players. Gilbride has to recognize all of these things and simplify the offense. Stop taking so many quick shots down the field and start using ball control. Manage down and distance so that Eli is not in so many 3rd and longs. Make it simpler on your OL. Get the ball to Wilson in space with high percentage throws. We talked about the slant in our game recap on Monday– it was Randle on a short slant where he gets the ball for an 8 yard gain, but he's running in stride and turns it into a 26 yard TD run with 18 yards after the catch. Just as importantly, that 8 yard slant was done on 1st down. So if the coverage is better, it is 2nd and 2. Not 2nd and long. These are the plays that must be used often not only next week but a lot of times every week for the rest of the season.
2013 has dealt Gilbride a weaker hand.
Playcall differently or else you'll be swimming naked when the tide has gone out.