Sep 152014
 
 09/15/2014  Posted by  Ask the Official No Responses »

There are three keys to officiating of a football game:

1) Hire the best possible people with appropriate experience and judgment;

2) Put those people in the best possible positions to make the necessary calls (“mechanics”); and

3) Give those people clear rules to administer and appropriate guidance regarding how the rules should be implemented.  Continue reading »

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Sep 122014
 
 09/12/2014  Posted by  Folger's Forecast No Responses »

Though we did anticipate the offense failing last week, we didn’t see all three units spitting the bit. It was a bad match-up all around that realistically had little chance of turning out well for this team that is very much in transition, if not rebuilding.

This week the situation is better. The Giants are at home against an Arizona team that is not nearly as talented as Detroit.

However, we just don’t know if these Giants are ready to take advantage of Arizona’s problems.

 

OFFENSE

The Eli Manning of these last couple of years is not playing like the two-time Super Bowl MVP. A lot of that has to do with the deterioration of his offensive line.

Manning was once able to trust his blockers and look downfield. Now the trust is gone and he’s too often watching the rush. Last week’s offensive line performance did not help matters.

How is Manning going to turn things around? We’re really not sure, to be honest.

This new offense is not geared for his utter lack of mobility. He doesn’t have the quick release that this offense requires either, and has never been one to check down to outlet receivers.

He still looks like a downfield thrower who’s not trusting this new short-toss offense and what he’s seeing.

We were pleased to see Manning look for and connect with tight end Larry Donnell, which is one step in the trust process.

Rueben Randle needs to become Manning’s next trust hurdle. Randle’s burned Manning enough in the past, but they have to keep working at it, and make it happen.

We’re expecting Brandon Mosley to be re-inserted into the starting lineup at right guard. No offense to John Jerry and that impossible matchup last week against Ndamokong Suh, which was a no-win situation no matter who was on the field, but we think Mosley is a better player than Jerry.

Mosley’s a mauler in the run game, and this offense really needs to get its running game going like it did in the preseason.

Another key is that the coaches keep putting running back Andre Williams onto the field. The rookie’s mental miscues last week hurt, but he also did some good things.

The coaches need to keep giving him the ball and getting him snaps, because he’s a playmaker. The growing pains will be well worth it, we think.

The Cardinals’ defense was decimated this preseason with the loss of their two most disruptive forces, defensive tackle Darnell Dockett (ACL) and linebacker Daryl Washington (nine-game suspension). Defensive end Calais Campbell is their best all-around player, as outside linebacker John Abraham (concussion/left team) will miss the game.

Last week the Cardinals dialed up a lot of blitzes late to get pressure but they still finished with zero sacks as their pass rush is just not there. Can the Giants offensive line give Manning time to throw?

If they can’t this week then the problem is deeper than anyone thought possible.

 

DEFENSE

We are constantly confused by Perry Fewell’s play calling. We’d sure like to see more man and less zone coverage, as this secondary group doesn’t appear very comfortable playing zone. Match the defense to the players seems like the best way, if not the only way to go.

That being said, deploying single coverage against Calvin Johnson last week using Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie did not work very well. We fear that the coaches will try it again this week against Larry Fitzgerald.

Rodgers-Cromartie is good but he’s not that good. Deploying single coverage against great wide receivers is not the way to win football games.

We liked a lot from what we saw of the defensive line. Jason Pierre-Paul and Johnathan Hankins were very good, and Robert Ayers contributed on the inside.

The problem is finding a defensive end that can complement Pierre-Paul. Mathias Kiwanuka is a complete non-entity on the pass rush, allowing offenses to single block him and double-team Pierre-Paul; thus we feel that Kiwanuka should not be starting.

Damontre Moore’s aggressiveness was admirable but he’s got to learn contain, too. Moore has the talent to develop into Pierre-Paul’s much-needed bookend. Mistakes and all, the coaches simply have to keep running him out there.

We are frustrated with Jacquian Williams’ complete absence of football instinct. It seems just a matter of time before rookie Devon Kennard takes over, but his hamstring must be managed right now. Jameel McClain was a revelation on the outside last week.

Jon Beason should be better after getting his first on-field action since last year. The arrows are pointing up for this linebacker group.

Fitzgerald was held to one catch by the Chargers, but don’t expect that to happen again. Former first-round pick Michael Floyd, who’s big and physical, had a good game while elusive rookie slot receiver John Brown scored the winning touchdown on a wide receiver screen.

Quarterback Carson Palmer had solid numbers, throwing for 304 yards and running for 29 more, and was efficient.

We are concerned that the veteran Palmer will find the defense’s short zone gaps and pick it apart. It’s the short, quick passes that can frustrate a defense and Palmer’s game at this point in his career is just that style.

The Cards don’t have the Lions’ depth in playmakers but Palmer spreads the ball around. The Giants secondary has to tackle well and start making plays.

The Cards’ offensive line is solid, but running back Andre Ellington, smallish to begin with, is banged up. The defense should be able to stuff the run. Getting to the quarterback will not be as easy.

 

SPECIALS

One blocked punt led to one injured punter, so who knows what the Giants will trot out there this week.

They desperately need good punting right now since the offense is prone to giving up the ball deep in its own territory, but Steve Weatherford is doubtful. The arrow is very definitely pointing down in the punting game.

Ted Ginn is the Cards returner. He still has great speed and needs to be managed. We are confident in the Giants’ coverage group but the blocking for the punter was a huge problem last week and must be shored up.

 

PREDICTION

This week’s game is all on the offense. The Cards defense is vulnerable, meaning the offense must take advantage, move the ball consistently and score points.

We don’t have confidence in the defense’s ability to contain Carson Palmer and friends for 60 minutes. Palmer’s no longer a gunslinger, but he is accurate and quick to get the ball out of his hand. The defense must really tackle well, and keep Larry Fitzgerald from hurting them up top. Our pick is Arizona in a shoot-out, 31-27.

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Sep 092014
 

The Giants dropped their fourth-straight regular season opener, this one a 35-14 mauling by the Detroit Lions in what very much resembled the sloppiness of an early preseason game.

In case you’re wondering the four-game losing streak in season openers is the longest such streak in the Giants’ 90-year history. Continue reading »

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