My weekly caveat when I do these is that I am not a scout. I don’t have the trained eye for all of the technical details of each play. These will be some general observations, and I will often turn to GIFs or Vines from other sources to illustrate a point.
With that, let’s get started.
The open field tackling has been outstanding.
One of the keys to the Giants’ defensive success through two games, has been the tackling in space. In the open field, tackles have rarely been missed. I can think of one Sunday, where Michael Thomas shook off Eli Apple. There might be others, but not many.
Apple, Janoris Jenkins, Landon Collins, Darian Thompson, Nat Berhe and linebacker Jonathan Casillas have been rock-solid in one-on-one or open-field situations. The Giants are ninth in the league in yards after catch allowed (97.5 per game) after being 30th (142.4 yards per game) last season. That makes a huge difference.
Oh those dropped passes.
Pro Football Focus charted three dropped passes by the Giants on Sunday. I counted five catchable balls that fell incomplete, three by Victor Cruz and one each for Odell Beckham and Larry Donnell. A couple of the plays to Cruz were contested, and he made up for it at the end of the game with a great game-altering catch, but geesh. How good would Eli Manning (32-of-41, anyway) have looked if all of those were caught?
Landon Collins is a different guy.
In his second year, and 12-15 pounds lighter, Collins has been outstanding. He’s assertive, he’s certain, he’s attacking and he doesn’t miss when he goes to make a tackle. Trying to block Collins with a wide receiver is not going to work.
Big Hank having a big impact.
Janoris Jenkins talked about the wide splits of the Saints on the field goal team and the Giants believing they could get a block because of them. Watch Johnathan Hankins split two linemen to block Wil Lutz’ first-half kick.
By the way, here is a play by Hankins that a 320-pound man should not be able to make.
Marshall Newhouse had a rough day.
Both sacks of Manning came from players Newhouse was attempting to block. The first came when Cameron Jordan absolutely destroyed the Giants’ right tackle with a bull rush. The second came when the Saints stunted and Newhouse was unable to maintain inside position on linebacker Michael Mouti.
Here is what Jordan did to Newhouse. It’s brutal.
Let’s talk about Sterling Shepard.
Pat Traina pointed out earlier today that six of Shepard’s eight catches went for first downs, five of those on third down. That’s savvy, veteran stuff. Yes, he made too many moves and allowed the turf monster to tackle him on a play where he probably should have scored. But, hey, it’s a great catch to begin with.
NOTE: Let me know if you like these, or if you have suggestions for how to improve them and what you might like to see in the coming weeks. These are admittedly a work in progress.