Friday, 21 September 2012

Reaction to Giants @Panthers

1. Wideout Hideout - Gradually, and even a little under the radar, Jerry Reese has built up an unrealistically deep and loaded corps of receivers in New York. Both of the receivers who were injured last night, Nicks and Hixon, are playmakers, but Eli today was able to get the job done with Cruz, Ramses Barden and Reuben Randle. I loved Randle coming out of LSU, and he just provides another string to a group that makes things happen outside and from the slot. Barden's emergence is another plus, but he will have more to prove when he's not going up against a fifth round rookie in press.

2. An Anxious Ron- When the Carolina Panthers finished last in the NFL in 2010, they replaced one defensive coach with another, in the hopes that Ron Rivera would be able to turn round an anaemic unit. Since then, the Panthers have spent a lot of money, and six picks in the first five rounds, trying to bolster the unit. With Jon Beason returning from injury and 9th overall pick Luke Kuechly also joining the mix, expectations were high for Ron's defenders. So far in 2012 however, the group hasn't impressed. The defensive line were bullied up front, and the young corners were victimised all day by Eli Manning. Jon Beason missed a chance at an interception, and Godfrey missed two. If the Panthers are serious about the Kalil promise and really believe that Cam's championship windows starts here, then Ron Rivera needs to get his guys playing a lot better than this.

3. Addition by Subtraction- The New York Giants offensive line had one of their best days in a long time against Carolina, giving Eli an unbelievably clean pocket with remarkable consistency, on top of blasting open huge holes for running back Andre Brown. One factor in the relative success of this particular lineup was the absence of perennial disaster David Diehl, currently the right tackle, who was sidelined with an injury Thursday night. The Giants' love affair with Diehl, who has been moved all over the Giants line in his role as a versatile liability, is pretty inexplicable, and they should seriously consider leaving Locklear and Will Beatty as the starters even once Diehl returns to his miserable 100%.

4. Follow the Leader- You never see the whole story on a TV broadcast, but I wasn't pleased to see so many pictures of Cam Newton moping alone on the sidelines. He, very admirably, criticised his own failings in leadership last year, and he needs to step up as a leader to get this young team through a difficult start to the season.

5. Fresh Prince- It was great to see Prince Amukamara healthy on Thursday night. Corey Webster has had a tough start to the year, and the first round pick has bags of potential if he can get on the field and build up the experience he needs. If the Giants are in the play-offs, a healthy Amukamara would be a huge boost to their side.

6. Adams' Family- Talented returner Joe Adams had arguably the worst night of any Panther, with two lost fumbles on returns. He's very young, and could provide some real explosion to that special teams unit, so it's up to his coaches and teammates to boost his confidence and help him forget about this game.

7. Stat of the Game- Giants linebacker Michael Boley now has an interception in each of the Giants first 3 games. It would seem that Quarterbacks are just not ready for a linebacker with his kind of speed and agility in coverage.

8. Don't Stop Believin' - It was a really tough outing for the Panthers, but don't write them off just yet. There's heaps of talent on that team, so they still have plenty of chances to recover and make a good run. On the other side, I wouldn't completely buy the Giants just yet. Their offense was given a lot of breaks tonight, and Eli will have more trouble against the opportunistic and aggressive defenses in his own divisional games.

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