I was looking at some 3rd downs on and noticed a particularly bad play by Bell:
Pre-snap 1. Pittsburgh comes out with what the Packers have popularized as the “psycho package,” one down linemen, in this case #96 Ziggy Hood, and a whole bunch of guys just standing around. Green Bay didn’t invent it, they just made the term popular. It’s pretty confusing for the offense, and of course that’s the point. As you can see, Danny Watkins is confused (as always) and Demetress Bell is too. Evan Mathis is pointing out someone to Demetress Bell. It appears to be either #94 Lawrence Timmons, who walking to the left, or #92 James Harrison, who is walking to the right. Behind them is #28 Cortez Allen. The angle of Mathis’ arm indicates it is not #99 Brett Keisel. Meanwhile Dallas Reynolds and Watkins confer, and Todd Herremans listens in. Over Herremans is #93 Jason Worilds and behind him #50 Larry Foote. Confusion is obviously setting in, no one knows quite who to block.
Me: Okay this week I’m going to post on Monday or Tuesday.
Life: Hahaha. No you aren’t.
Nothing worth worrying about, just work got hectic. Anyways, there’s plenty of places to go read about how great the Eagles win over the Giants was. This isn’t one of those places. When they finally have a convincing win, I’ll say it. But so far they haven’t. A two point win when they nearly snatched defeat from the jaws of victory isn’t it.
A lot of good things did happen in the game… on offense. Eventually. In the second half Andy and Marty fed McCoy the ball and it had great results: Shady tore up the Giants and that in turn bought Vick time in the pocket and he excelled. There were some great in-game adjustments by the offense too. Aided by the threat of the run game, the line played a little better. Of particular note was the carry by Stanli Havili. What made it such a great call was that the last rushing attempt was by Bryce Brown, which really help sells that Shady was going to get the ball there. Vick settled down and made throws to his own guys. All in all the offense and Andy Reid had a really good game by the end, until the end when he called timeout before the first FG attempt.
Juan Castillo however did not. Last year the defense actually looked impressive against the rest of the NFC East. The other ten games on the schedule not so much, but against familiar foes the defense pretty much came through. They gave up 7 points in both Cowboys games, 10 and 13 to the Redskins and 10 and 29 to the Giants. In terms of yards they gave up 238 and 267 to the Cowboys, 377 and 287 to the Redskins and 278 and 334 to the Giants. Mostly respectable numbers. 17 points against (almost 20!) on Sunday was really good in today’s NFL and 366 yards against was is middling. But football is more than just numbers.
The idea that Juan Castillo has turned the corner is ridiculous. Castillo is getting undue credit from the defensive line which he has never been in charge of. In order to block the dominant defensive line, teams are keeping 6 or more blockers and thus choosing to only have 4 or 3 eligible receivers instead of 5 an inordinate amount of times. Jimmy Kempski charted the game and discovered that “the Giants only kept 5 players in to block just 6 times in 49 dropbacks.” That’s quite a lot. It’s easier to do your job as a defensive coordinator when the opponent handcuffs itself. And yet Castillo still had a bad game. We all saw that the tandem of Nnamdi Asomugha and Kurt Coleman–who bit on nearly every play action again this week–were repeatedly beat deep. We all saw that Brandon Boykin was getting picked on in the slot by Victor Cruz. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. A week after they let one of the best WRs in the league beat them silly by beating themselves in head games, the defense let Cruz do his thing against them too, with 9 catches for 109 yards. A four yard improvement over Fitzgerald! And these happened all game long because Juan Castillo (and Todd Bowles) were unable to make adjustments. With an extra body available to cover the Giants receivers, Cruz and Hixon put up 223 yards on 15 catches. Great job making adjustments Juan.
Just look at the Giants drive by drive: Punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, 25 yard FG, TD, INT (in the end zone), TD, missed FG. 5 punts then 4 trips into the red zone and a drive into game winning FG range. Championship defense right there.