A win in week 1 is always a great thing, and I think for the most part we can all be very happy with the way our Giants played on Sunday, particularly on the defensive side. But just like every week 1 game, it left me both happy about some aspects and worried about others, and in the spirit of boredom and no one needing to hear my opinion, I will now go over them:
1. Eli Manning - Not much needs to be said. He's a bona fide top tier QB, the leader of the offense, and he looked in total control on Sunday. Stats took a hit thanks to the 3 picks, but we all saw how those picks happened and if it hits the receivers' hands, it ain't a bad throw.
2. Run Defense - This was probably the most pleasant surprise to me. As much as we got burned time and again in the secondary last year, our run defense was swiss cheese too. I thought the d-line did a fantastic job of clogging the middle and pushing into the backfield. Particularly impressed with Canty and Osi (go figure) in this category. Great job agains the run by both players.
3. Secondary - Had some trouble getting off the field on 3rd down at times, but that can just as easily be attributed to lack of quarterback pressure. Nonetheless, great job by the corners and safeties, especially in the red zone. Perry Fewell specializes in pass defense and ball hawking, and an entire season of what we saw on Sunday would be a welcome change. And of course, WELCOME BACK KENNY PHILLIPS!
4. Amhad Bradshaw - Didn't exactly light up the box score, and he did have a fumble as well. Still, you gotta love the way this guy plays the game in all aspects. His pass protection skills are improving, and he's a stud with the ball in his hands in the open field. I'd even argue that he runs harder in traffic than Jacobs; the guy just refuses to go down. And kudos for the "jump as high as I can and spike the ball really freakin' hard" touchdown celebration. Good stuff.
1. Run Blocking - Let's all be honest with ourselves here. It's bad. Really bad. These guys had a great run together for a few years, but it's clear that they're aging and slowing down. We saw it last year, in the preseason this year, and once again on Sunday. Zero push off the line, minimal holes for the backs to run through, and most disturbingly they never seem to win the battle on 3rd/4th and short. Eli BARELY got that qb sneak, and I'm still not sure about the spot on that one. Great job in pass protection, but you gotta run the ball to be successful. I'm predicting a Shawn Andrews appearance in the near future.
2. Only Carrying 2 Tight Ends - So that one came back to bite us in the ass pretty quick. I wasn't a big fan of going only with Boss and Beckum on the final roster, and man was I proven right, as were probably thousands of other fans that saw that as a stupid idea. Once Boss went out after the obligatory "hang Kevin Boss out to dry" pass early in the game (dirty hit by the way), we were left with a pass-catching H-back who blocks like my mother. Running game was doomed from the start, and we all had to listen to "65 is an eligible receiver" for the rest of the day. Even when Boss comes back, I'd like to see them go 3 deep at tight end. Bring back Bear.
3. Special Teams - Wow. Just, wow.
1. Jimmy Clausen's Debut - Look I know the kid was thrown into the worst possible scenario for his first game as a pro, but that was just hilarious to watch. I'm a Notre Dame guy and I loved Clausen when he wore the blue and gold, but I'm also not gonna pretend like he's not the kind of guy you'd like to punch in the face, so watching him run for his life in the end zone was a delight. Thank you Jimmy.
2. Escalators at the New Stadium - What the hell is this? The old stadium had the little escalator to the lower level, middle escalator to the mezzanine, and the big one to the upper tier. Simple enough, right? So who's idea was it to go with the half dozen diagonal escalators that take you half a level at a time then drop you off to walk around to the next escalator to do the same damn thing? I gave up after two rides and took the freakin' stairs. Conveniece my ass.
So overall, a good day for our Giants. Certainly not perfect, but something to build on toward next week's showdown against a desperate team in Indy (thanks a lot Texans). Anyway, what do you guys think? Will some of our weaknesses as a team continue to plague is throughout the year or will we be able to correct them? Can we expect a ball hawking defense to continue to create turnovers like this all season? Was reading this a huge waste of your time? Let me hear it.