The Ereck Flowers bashing was in full swing this past Sunday. Eli Manning also received his fair share of criticism. This NY Giants blog is less critical of Manning, in part owing to XLII, where the author decided that a Super Bowl title was a debt repaid. When one adds the XLVI effort, where Manning carried the team to a second title, our criticism was muted even further. Any criticism we offer about Eli Manning is qualified by our gratitude for his legacy.
Ereck Flowers has not earned any gratitude. The Giants similarly made a significant investment in the Round 1 Tackle. His 4+ year career has been marred by disappointment.
The table is now set to review a play versus Jacksonville that serves as a guidepost for the Week 1 loss and the balance of success or failure this team will see in 2018.
I know I bash Flowers often but this isn’t his fault. It’s empty protection and Flowers has the dual read. He has the LB to the DE. He takes the right set and the LB takes steps towards him. He’s got to step up to protect his inside gap. It’s a disguise from the Jags D. https://t.co/VCxcF0lAZl
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) September 12, 2018
For those of you who can’t click through to watch what happened, the play says a lot about the complex choreography of football. The Jaguars have good design on the play, where the LB takes a few hard steps in between the LDE and LDT, drawing Flowers’ first steps inside. The LBer quickly flares out to pick up Barkley, who is also flaring out to his right side. The problem is that now the LDE, Ngakoue, has a much better path to the QB and beats Flowers easily. Manning is forced to step up and the LDT (lol, remember him, the one to the right of the LB?!) Abry Jones makes a nice play, batting the ball. The deflection is collected for a pick 6, which generated all of the Offense for the Jags in the second half.
What a metaphor for Manning and Flowers. Should we give credit to Jacksonville for smart scheme? YES. But who did they scheme AGAINST? Hint: Joe Thomas and Aaron Rodgers aren’t going to let that happen. But Manning and Flowers did. Hell, Aaron Rodgers won a football game on Sunday night on ONE FREAKING LEG. This 3+ minute video contains the highlights of how Rodgers brought the Packers back from a 20 point deficit. I watched the comeback live, and all I could think of was that if he pulled it off, it would be Kirk Gibson multiplied by 30 (minutes).
Manning must take responsibility for the football there. Did Flowers get beat, pressuring Manning quickly? Yes. Did Jones make a nice play with his deflection? Yes. But for a veteran QB, Manning has more than enough requisite experience to either take a sack, throw the ball away or just do a better job of getting the ball to Barkley than he did.
What about the Giants scheme? Note how Halapio is helping the Left side of his protection, not the right side. Where is the chip by Barkley on the LDE so that Flowers can get some help there? And let’s also note that Jones got the better of Omameh, offering no help to Manning when the Giants QB was forced to step up. If Halapio was better, he could have quickly pivoted after seeing the Left Side contained and offered help to Omameh on the right side. Frankly, the hope is that in time, Hernandez will be so proficient that Halapio is lending far more help to the right side of the OL, where it is needed more.
Flowers has to be better. Manning has to be better. The entire OL has to be better. The scheme has to be better. Let’s also give ample credit to the Jaguars for making a lot of good moves within that play.
The film is out there. These opposing Defenses study this film all week long in preparation for the next game, looking for tendencies and deficiencies. This is what the next 15 teams will try to do, to stress the Giants OL. Manning has to be better. The Giants OL has to be better. The Giants coaches have to put the players in a position to succeed. This is why we have been consistent in the view that this is a 2019 story, not a 2018 story.
In 2019, yes. Pass rush, right side of OL, new coaching staff/playbook, lack of depth in secondary… lots of good things going on but enough issues to believe this is statistically not likely a 1999 Rams outlier.
— Andy Furman (@UltimateNYG) July 22, 2018
Dallas is next on Sunday night. We’ve been targeting a 2-5 or 3-4 start in the first seven difficult games. The Giants are once again FG underdogs. It is a winnable game, if the Giants can execute better. Is the glass half full or half empty? On the bright side, there were many mistakes in Week 1… implying that if just a few less are made the Giants can easily win. As we noted a long time ago, the Giants rated to be underdogs in all 7 games. It is a good sign that the team was competitive in Week 1, so this team will have opportunities to get wins. That is the half full view. The half empty view? It is Manning and Flowers not taking care of business. The Pick 6 is one of many mistakes that cost the Giants a win. Get better. Make less mistakes. Get a win.