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ESPN Take 2: Redskins vs. Giants


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http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/features/take2?gameId=251030019

Friday, October 28, 2005

Take 2: Redskins vs. Giants

Insider

By Scouts, Inc.

Washington at New York Matchups

QB-Giants

RB-Redskins

WR-Giants

OL-Giants

DL-Redskins

LB-Redskins

DB-Redskins

ST-Giants

Coach-Redskins

Overall-Giants

Tuesday, our scouts filed their advance advance scouting report on this week's matchup between the Redskins and Giants. Now they're back with a second look.

The Giants have one of the worst pass defenses in the NFL and will struggle to slow down the Redskins' passing game. Washington has two small but very fast wide receivers, led by Santana Moss, who has been simply outstanding. Because Washington's offense is well-balanced, the Giants will be forced to make a decision whether to put an extra defender in the box to slow down Clinton Portis or use both safeties off the line of scrimmage in coverage.

Redskins TE Chris Cooley also has become a reliable option in the middle of the field, and his presence cannot be ignored when scheming against this pass offense. There isn't a cornerback on the Giants who can stay close to Moss, and if he is going to get single coverage on any play, the defensive back must allow a huge cushion. Moss has become one of the most dangerous players in the NFL and is nearly uncoverable at times. He is extremely explosive as a route runner and with the ball in his hands, where he can take a short pass to the end zone.

• Washington defensive coordinator Gregg Williams is one of the most aggressive defensive play-callers in the NFL. The Redskins' defensive ends are not premier pass rushers, but they are stout at the point of attack and do a nice job against the run. Williams instead will create pressure by blitzing linebackers and defensive backs.

SLB Marcus Washington in particular is an excellent pass-rushing linebacker whom Williams will send after QB Eli Manning all afternoon. He also should use LaVar Arrington in a variety of ways. Williams will try to disrupt the young quarterback's timing and rhythm much as Dallas did two weeks ago with multiple fronts and blitz packages. Manning is very mature for his age, as his 12:4 TD:INT ratio indicates, and has a strong understanding of what defenses are trying to accomplish, but he will be mentally tested this weekend.

• Portis is starting to look like the Portis of a few years back. Although it was a poor San Francisco team he torched last week, he brings great balance to this offense. Portis' big play ability, acceleration and overall talent cannot be denied, and Washington is doing a better job of getting him running downhill to best use his talents.

The per-game statistics on New York's run defense (116 ypg, 21st in the league) are a bit misleading, because most teams have been able to throw against the Giants, and their offense has managed to build leads and force teams to throw in trying to come from behind. But the Giants are allowing 4.3 yards per rushing attempt (25th in the league), so expect Portis to get quite a few carries to help keep New York's weapons on the sidelines.

If Washington can continue to get Portis in situations where he is attacking the line of scrimmage effectively, the Giants' front seven could be exposed. NT Kendrick Clancy, LDE Michael Strahan and MLB Antonio Pierce are all very solid run defenders, but the rest of this unit is suspect. DT William Joseph has improved quite a bit since last season, but he still can be undisciplined and lose his gap responsibility.

• The Giants' 31st ranked pass defense is the worst unit in this contest, and the Giants needs to control the clock to keep Mark Brunell and Moss off the field. Running the ball against the Redskins is a serious chore, but the Giants must remain patient with their play calling. Tiki Barber eventually will find lanes against this aggressive unit and break some long runs, especially when New York guesses right vs. the Redskins' blitz packages.

Also, expect Barber to catch more screen passes than usual to further eat the clock and keep the blitzing Redskins honest while taking some pressure off of Manning. DT Cornelius Griffin is banged up and would be a major interior loss for the Redskins if he can't go this weekend, as their depth is very ordinary at best.

• The battle between Washington RT Jon Jansen and Giants LDE Michael Strahan should go a long way in determining the outcome of this game. Because of the Giants' troubles defending the pass, New York rarely will blitz, and getting pressure on Brunell will come down to the Giants' front four. Strahan will be attacking Brunell's blind side, and he is clearly the most formidable pass rusher on the Giants' defense. Jansen has played very well this season after missing all of last year, but expect Washington to keep a tight end or running back in on Brunell's blind side to help slow down Strahan.

In the run game, Washington has had its most success behind Jansen and RG Randy Thomas. Strahan must play stout with the many runs coming right at him, and if Washington has success running to its right, it could wear down Strahan and limit his explosiveness as a pass rusher. Washington also should throw screen passes to Portis on Strahan's side to slow his initial pass rush quickness.

• TE Jeremy Shockey will present problems for the Redskins. Star-in-the-making FS Sean Taylor (ankle) may not play this week, and SS Matt Bowen is probably the weakest starter on the Redskins' defense. The depth behind Taylor and Bowen is suspect. The Giants will use a variety of formations and motions to put Shockey in match-ups against Bowen. This mismatch clearly favors Shockey, who is a much better athlete with excellent size and a nasty, aggressive nature with the ball in his hands. Giants WR Plaxico Burress (shoulder) is banged up this week, and if he is unable to go, Shockey clearly will be the Giants' No. 1 target. Shockey has emerged as an elite tight end whom the Giants will force-feed the football.

• LB Arrington got his first true action of the season last week against the 49ers and made plays all over the field, finishing with nine tackles while being very disruptive. Washington played quite a bit of its 3-4 scheme that allowed Arrington to use his size near the line of scrimmage as an outside linebacker.

Washington has been hesitant to put him on the field due to his overly aggressive nature and tendency to be unsound in holding his gap. Arrington's physical abilities are as impressive as any linebacker in the NFL, and when used correctly, he is truly a defensive difference maker. Right now he has something to prove, and that can be dangerous for the Giants' offense -- Arrington can make this good defense better.

Washington's defensive front gets bigger and much more physical with Arrington, instead of Warrick Holdman, as the outside linebacker opposite Marcus Washington. Let go by the Browns in the offseason for his lack of playmaking ability and physical play, Washington has played well within the Redskins' system. Giants' RB Barber thrives on undisciplined linebackers who over-pursue lanes and expose cutback options. It will be very interesting to see how Arrington is used on Sunday.

• Giants MLB Pierce will be flying high to play against his former team. Pierce leads the Giants with 49 tackles and had 13 in Week 7 against Denver. Pierce is as active a middle linebacker as there is in the league. He takes excellent angles to the ballcarrier, pursues with aggression and is a very sure tackler. Pierce is meticulous in his film study, sees plays develop very well and shows a knack for causing and being around turnovers. He is an every down linebacker who shows a good feel for pass coverage and has impressive range. In the run game, Washington will try to get big bodies on the smaller Pierce, as he is prone to getting engulfed at times. Pierce has been looking forward to this game and should respond in a big way.

Special Teams

The Giants are getting great production from returners Chad Morton and Willie Ponder. Both rank fourth in their respective categories, Morton (10.4 yards) returning punts and Ponder (28.4 yards) returning kickoffs. Both have a return for a TD, as well. This could be a problem for the Redskins. Rookie kicker Nick Novak has yet to record a touchback, and punter Derrick Frost is averaging only 37.3 yards net. Washington's coverage teams had better be on top of their game against Morton and Ponder.

Giants PK Jay Feely still has yet to miss a kick of any kind this season, and he hit a 52-yarder last week and a 50-yarder the week before. He's now 11-for-11 in field goals attempts and 20-for-20 on extra points. In what is sure to be a hard-fought divisional rivalry, the winner could be decided in the final minutes by Feely.

Matchups

• Washington RT Jon Jansen vs. Giants LDE Michael Strahan

• Giants TE Jeremy Shockey vs. Washington SS Matt Bowen

• Giants MLB Antonio Pierce vs. Washington RB Clinton Portis

• Washington OLB LaVar Arrington vs. Giants LT Luke Petitgout

• Giants QB Eli Manning vs. Washington defensive coordinator Gregg Williams

Scouts' Edge

This is a huge divisional game for both teams, and neither can afford to take a step back in the extremely competitive NFC East. Washington is coming off of blow-out win against a terrible 49ers team, and they were able to rest their star players for much of the second half, while the Giants are coming off a last-minute win against Denver in a game they were losing all afternoon.

Emotions will be very high in the Meadowlands after the passing Tuesday of Wellington Mara, the Giants' President and co-CEO, after his battle with cancer. Don't under-estimate the effect Mara's death will have on charging up the Giants. They are the superior team in terms of turnover ratio (plus-8 on the season) and in all phases of special teams. These are sure to be major factors in helping the Giants win a close game at home.

Prediction: Giants 24, Redskins 20

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The article does not seem to agree with its divisional assessments. We have two very good fast receivers and a te that must be taken into account in passing situations and they have a banged up wide receiver who may not play (of course he'll play) who if gone leaves Shockey as the only threat left. The bit about Taylor is worriesome because Taylor will help mightily against both Barber and Shockey.

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Washington's defensive front gets bigger and much more physical with Arrington, instead of Warrick Holdman, as the outside linebacker opposite Marcus Washington. Let go by the Browns in the offseason for his lack of playmaking ability and physical play, Washington has played well within the Redskins' system. Giants' RB Barber thrives on undisciplined linebackers who over-pursue lanes and expose cutback options. It will be very interesting to see how Arrington is used on Sunday.

Who was let go by the Browns? I thought Marcus Washington was let go by the Colts for cap reasons?

Why is Sean Taylor questionable hurts the Skins but Plaxico Burress questionable not have an effect for the Giants?

Why do the Skins have 5 advantages including coaching advantage at the top, the Giants have only 4, and the Giants have the advantage overall?

:doh:

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QB-Giants

RB-Redskins

WR-Giants

Again: Why? Why is the Giants QB better than Brunell when Brunell has better numbers and a higher rating with 1 less game?

Why is the WR better with the Giants when the Skins have the Number 1 Receiver AND deeper numbers?

At least back it up if your going to say it.

I'm guessing they couldnt say:

Redskins

Redskins

Redskins

Redskins

Redskins

Redskins

ST - Giants

Redskins

Overall: Giants.

So they just make up enough to make it 4-5 and give it to them...

Nice!

I also like the: There isn't a cornerback on the Giants who can stay close to Moss.

Advantage: Giants...

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I've consistently lost respect for Scouts, Inc. over this season. Their analysis of the Redskins is always wrong. First things first, how in the world is Eli rated above Brunell? Brunell is the best rated passer in the NFC. And a vet. And is going against a much weaker defense. And then talk about how the Giants are better in all facets of ST play? Are they on crack? Skins have the best coverage unit in the league - limiting opponents to 3 yards on punts and 19 on kick-offs.

So, don't put much stock into what Scouts, Inc. says or predicts. The only game they've been right with so far was the Chicago game.

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Why do the Skins have 5 advantages including coaching advantage at the top, the Giants have only 4, and the Giants have the advantage overall?

I would have to assume it's due to the Giants having the advantages in two of the three phases (offense & ST). :whoknows: I've given up on trying to decipher the mediots BS, if ya know what I mean. ;)

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How in the hell can they say that the Giants have the advantage on the O-Line. We have four potential pro bowlers on our O-line. Lets look at them side by side

Jansen

Thomas

Rabach

Dockery

Samuels

vs.

Kareem Mckenzie

Chris Snee

Shaun O'hara

David Deihl

Luke Petigout

Are they serious? This is a F***** joke right.

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QB-Giants

RB-Redskins

WR-Giants

Again: Why? Why is the Giants QB better than Brunell when Brunell has better numbers and a higher rating with 1 less game?

Why is the WR better with the Giants when the Skins have the Number 1 Receiver AND deeper numbers?

At least back it up if your going to say it.

I'm guessing they couldnt say:

Redskins

Redskins

Redskins

Redskins

Redskins

Redskins

ST - Giants

Redskins

Overall: Giants.

So they just make up enough to make it 4-5 and give it to them...

Nice!

I also like the: There isn't a cornerback on the Giants who can stay close to Moss.

Advantage: Giants...

how are their wrs better? maybe they forgot to look at the giants secondary. anyone one of us could catch a td against these fools.

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The per-game statistics on New York's run defense (116 ypg, 21st in the league) are a bit misleading, because most teams have been able to throw against the Giants, and their offense has managed to build leads and force teams to throw in trying to come from behind. But the Giants are allowing 4.3 yards per rushing attempt (25th in the league), so expect Portis to get quite a few carries to help keep New York's weapons on the sidelines.

This is the best line. The Giants run defense is not that bad because teams just throw on them, but they are allowing a crappy 4.3 yards allowed per attempt anyways. So which is it? Can't we just agree that their whole defense is just crappy?

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The per-game statistics on New York's run defense (116 ypg, 21st in the league) are a bit misleading, because most teams have been able to throw against the Giants, and their offense has managed to build leads and force teams to throw in trying to come from behind. But the Giants are allowing 4.3 yards per rushing attempt (25th in the league), so expect Portis to get quite a few carries to help keep New York's weapons on the sidelines.

This is the best line. The Giants run defense is not that bad because teams just throw on them, but they are allowing a crappy 4.3 yards allowed per attempt anyways. So which is it? Can't we just agree that their whole defense is just crappy?

No kidding. Doesn't that completely condemn their run D? Teams don't run much against them yet they are still ranked 21st???

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Somehow Scouts, Inc. talks themselves into picking against us each and every week. With the exception of our games against rookies - they've picked against us every time.

Their unit breakdowns are incredibly off too. The Giants have an obvious edge on Dline and we have an obvious edge on the Oline yet those are transposed. Then they do strange, unexplainable things like giving Seattle the edge over our DBs who, when healthy, are probably top 3 in the league.

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