Chiefs 31, Giants 7: Hits Misses and Musings

I’ve had a couple of days now to let the results of the Giants’ latest loss sink in.

And while I can sit here and tell you with a straight face that I saw some positive signs from this game that have me thinking that this team is indeed close to getting its first win, there is just one thing that is still gnawing at me.

The coaching.

Now understand that I was always taught to respect those who engage in a profession more frequently than I do. The coaches watch so much more film than I do, and they have the benefit of seeing the entire practice (which the media does not) and interacting with the players in the classroom, also something the media does not get to do.

However, there comes a time when you have to look at the results, especially if they’re not yielding the outcome that you’re looking for, and try something different that might just provide the spark that’s been missing.

The coaches say that it’s their job to put the team in the best possible position to win, yet sometimes I wonder what they’re thinking with some of their personnel deployments.

For example, why was running back Da’Rel Scott, whom the team cut on Tuesday, starting in place of David Wilson? Did the coaches think they would catch the Chiefs defense napping?

Why was Brandon Jacobs given just one carry? For that matter, why did the big guy get only five touches on offense the entire game while Scott was given 27?

And why, oh why on that third-and-one play in the third quarter in which David Wilson was stuffed for no gain did the coaches have Wilson run behind Brandon Myers, who isn’t exactly known for his blocking and whose man was the first one to make contact on Wilson?

If David Diehl was cleared to travel with the team, presumably he would have been okay to play. So why did he sit on the bench the entire game when he might have been able to contribute to that failed short yardage play?

And receiver Victor Cruz wondered why the coaches didn’t go for it on 4th-and-1 later in the quarter?

Defensively if your ends aren’t getting the job done, what do you have to lose by playing Damontre Moore, who had a solid afternoon on special teams? Can he really be that much worse better than the guys who know the calls but who aren’t getting the job done?

The bad thing about when we get access to the coordinators is the timing – they’re made available on Thursday, when the team is well into the new week and not so keen to rehash what happened the week before.

During his Monday press conference, head coach Tom Coughlin was asked if he planned to be more involved this week in the offense, which right now is the unit that’s struggling the most.

“I’m very confident in our offensive coaches. They’ve proven that over the years. We’re all going like this (scratches his head). Why aren’t our results better than they are and we’ll spend a solid week trying to figure that out again.”

Here’s a hint coach: What you’ve been doing hasn’t worked since the preseason. Maybe it’s time for a change?

HITS
CB Prince Amukamara: If you haven’t been paying attention (and I know you have because that’s what Giants fans do), Amukamara is quietly having a top-shelf season. This week, according to the premium stats at ProFootballFocus.com, Amukamara was targeted four times. The result? One interception and one pass breakup. That’s about as perfect of a game as you’re going to find from a cornerback, folks.

CB Trumaine McBride: Stepping in for Aaron Ross, who left with a back injury, the Chiefs went right after McBride, completing an eight-yard pass. After that, however, he shut his side down, as of the Chiefs three additional passes thrown his way, he broke up two of them.

DT Linval Joseph: He doesn’t post the stats, but take a look at Joseph’s paly, and you’ll see how well he cruises the line of scrimmage and controls his gap, taking away the cutback lanes, which was a big problem for this defense last year. The Giants might have 99 problems on defense, but like Amukamara, Joseph’s play ain’t one of them.

MISSES
K Josh Brown: Twice now he’s had a chance to help his team out by making the kicks he’s supposed to make, and twice he’s come up short, er, wide left. At what point does head coach Tom Coughlin say enough is enough?

Brown was supposedly signed to be an upgrade over Lawrence Tynes on kickoffs. Well guess what? Thanks to the new rule changes, kickoff returns are fast becoming extinct, so did he Giants really upgrade that spot as much as they thought they did? Certainly not based on the first quarter of the season.

The Defensive Ends: The tackles are doing their part to collapse the pocket, but until he ends finish off the play, the pass rush is going to be nonexistent. Jason Pierre-Paul seems to have lost that explosive first step he once had; Justin Tuck gets tied up by too many solo blocks; and Mathias Kiwanuka’s collection of pass rush moves are in need of an upgrade.

MUSINGS
Like most of you, I thought there was a blatant block in the back penalty missed by the officials on Dexter McCluster’s punt return for a touchdown.

So I asked the Ref, who writes the “Ask the Official” column for Inside Football, and he was of the opinions that there was no block in the back to be called.

Still not believing him (apologies Ref), I went back to watch the play and shame on me for being a doubter. Cyrus Gray did not push DeOssie in the back with his hands, though he did nudge DeOssie with his shoulder.

I did see at least two Giants, Allen Bradford and Mathias Kiwanuka, being shoved out of the way. I saw a nice block thrown against Damontre Moore, which allowed McCluster to field the ball without being leveled.

I saw three missed tackles by giants players. And I saw a nifty play by McCluster, who deserves credit for the play that essentially broke open the game.

THE FINAL WORD
I’m glad that the Giants still have hope that they can get this thing turned around, but with all due respect, they’ve been saying the same message every week.

I understand that you need to hang your hat on something, and I sincerely hope that their confidence is fully justified.

However, until these issues that keep dogging them week after week start to dissipate, until every player in that locker room shows that he’s upset with how things have gone, it’s going to be very difficult to share in the optimism.

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