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Espn Insider Take 2 Skins vs Giants


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Thursday, December 22, 2005

Take 2: Giants vs. Redskins


By Scouts, Inc.

The Giants have had tremendous success exploiting defenses' overaggressiveness with their misdirection running game the last two weeks. They have been able to get defensive ends and linebackers to react hard one way, creating excellent seams for RB Tiki Barber when he runs in the opposite direction of the initial action. The Redskins' front seven must play with great discipline or Barber, who has excellent vision and lateral mobility, will break some long runs.


So is the fact that almost everyone is predicting us to win a good thing??? I'm not so sure...... ENJOY!:gaintsuck

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one characteristic of a good defense and defensive coordinator is that they don't allow the same player to beat them a second time around :)

Barber got 206 in the first game and if the Redskins are indeed playoff material they will not allow one player to beat them again.

The key to the game on defense is going to be pressure against the Giants tackles, assuming that both Petitgout and McKenzie are still dinged (are both slated to play?).

The Giants wide receivers with good size are capable of coming down with catches that are slightly off target by Manning.

Manning can't get the time to make these throws.

On offense the Redskins have to take advantage in the interior of the line and use the injury to Joseph and the absence of Pierce to advance Portis and the ball control game.

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• Giants QB Eli Manning has been inconsistent over the last couple of months, as he has struggled with his mechanics and his accuracy. In fact, he has been the main reason the Giants' passing game has been unable to develop a rhythm week-to-week. The red-zone interception Manning threw against the Redskins when these two teams met back on Oct. 30 is an excellent example. He drifted in the pocket and under threw a wide open Plaxico Burress because he didn't have his feet set. The pass was easily picked off by SS Ryan Clark.

• It appears that Giants OTs Luke Petitgout and Kareem McKenzie will be back for this game. That will help the Giants, particularly in pass protection. With McKenzie out last week, David Diehl shifted from left guard to right tackle and had problems holding his own in pass protection. If McKenzie cannot go, Bob Whitfield, who played left tackle last week, will line up at right tackle with Diehl returning to his more natural guard position. Although Petitgout is not a classic left tackle in terms of foot speed and lateral quickness, he is still an upgrade over Whitfield, who struggles when left on an island.

• Last week against Dallas, the Redskins blitzed on only six of 60 snaps. Up until that game, their blitz percentage was close to 60 percent. The reason they blitzed so infrequently against the Cowboys was defensive coordinator Gregg Williams' belief that the Redskins' front four could generate consistent pressure. Williams was right, as the Redskins sacked QB Drew Bledsoe seven times with defensive linemen recording five of those sacks. Don't be surprised to see Williams take a similar approach with the Giants' offensive line banged up.

• One tactic the Redskins used against the Cowboys that they will likely use this week is the delayed blitz. The Redskins' predominant coverage against Dallas was man-under, which means man-to-man coverage with two deep safeties over the top. When the Cowboys kept a tight end or back in to pass block, the defender responsible for that player in coverage would blitz. Manning has a strong tendency to break down fundamentally when pressure is able to get him and running these delayed blitzes will create more one-on-blocking matchups.

• In the first meeting, the Giants had success running the ball to their left. Washington DE Phillip Daniels struggled against the run in that game. He lacked a physical presence at the point of attack, and at times was effectively blocked by TE Jeremy Shockey.

That is a key element to the Giants' running game -- the ability of Shockey to single block defensive ends. On Barber's 55-yard run against the Chiefs last week, Shockey sealed DE Eric Hicks to the inside, the key block that allowed the pulling offensive linemen to get around the corner and lead Barber.

• The Giants' defensive line is playing at a high level, and it's not just defensive ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora. Tackles Fred Robbins and Kendrick Clancy have played very well over the last month; they have been particularly stout against the run.

In addition, the Giants have gotten excellent play from rookie Justin Tuck, who aligns both at defensive end and defensive tackle, usually in passing situations. With Redskins RG Randy Thomas out for the season, 43-year-old Ray Brown will have to step in and be effective against a Giants front that has at times been dominant.

• The foundation of the Redskins' offense is the running of Clinton Portis. Over the last five games, Portis has gained more than 100 yards in each game, averaging 25 carries and 106 yards. The Redskins' offense is methodical, with very little explosiveness. The Redskins do not throw the ball down the field often, and their only big-play weapon is WR Santana Moss. In fact, a number of Moss' big receiving plays this season have come on the wide receiver screen, which is a staple of the Redskins' offense.

• The Redskins utilize a high percentage of shifting and motion before the snap. This has always been Joe Gibbs' philosophy: He looks to create hesitation and doubt in the reaction of the defense so that there is a breakdown in its recognition and technique, and therefore a breakdown in execution. What was interesting last week was that the Giants' defense, in response to the Chiefs' constant use of shifting and motion, moved quite a bit before the snap. That's exactly what Gibbs wants. It creates opportunities for breakdowns, and that's how the Redskins orchestrate big plays.

• Last week, the Chiefs had great success with their toss sweep against the Giants' defense. The Redskins have also had success in recent weeks with the toss play to Portis, including a 47-yard touchdown against the Rams and a 15-yard touchdown against the Cardinals. The toss has become a staple of the Redskins' offense, and it allows Portis to utilize his strength as a runner, which is the one-cut, downhill style that he used so effectively in Denver in his first two years in the NFL.

Special Teams

Washington appears to hitting its stride at the right time but its special teams' units have been somewhat of a disappointment. P Derrick Frost struggled last week versus the Cowboys, averaging only 33.5 yards per punt with a long of 42 yards. PK John Hall has connected on 11 of his 13 field goals attempts. Both of his misses have come from over 40 yards and his accuracy on long-range kicks seems to be diminishing.

• Giants PK Jay Feely may be the most publicized kicker in the NFL this year. Unfortunately for him, the publicity stems from his misses and not the 30 field goals he has made. He has established a team record for points by a kicker in a season with 128 but he is remembered for his three misses against Seattle. With another high-pressure game this week, Feely could get an excellent opportunity to redeem that performance and prove he can make the big kick when the time comes.


• NY Giants WR Plaxico Burress vs. Washington DC Shawn Springs

• Washington TE Chris Cooley vs. NY Giants DS Gibril Wilson

• NY Giants TE Jeremy Shockey vs. Washington DS Sean Taylor

• Washington ROT Jon Jansen vs. NY Giants Michael Strahan

• NY Giants RB Tiki Barber vs. Washington MLB Lemar Marshall

Scouts' Edge

Tiki Barber shredded the Redskins' run defense for more than 200 yards rushing when these two teams met earlier this year. However, Washington is playing with much more confidence after winning its last three games and it has had time to learn from the mistakes made earlier this year. More importantly, Eli Manning has struggled on the road and the Redskins should have some success forcing him to get rid of the ball quickly.

On defense, the Giants have one of the best pass-rushing tandems in the league and will hurry some of Mark Brunell's decisions. However, Brunell will be playing at home and should be able to adjust the protection or change the play with relative ease. In addition, Clinton Portis, who carried the ball just four times in the first meeting between these teams, will likely get 20-plus carries this time around. That has to be a concern for Giants run defense that is giving up an average of four yards per carry.

Prediction: Redskins 28, Giants 24

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