Sports Blog Nation's, Big Blue View's Ed Valentine chatted with us this week introducing us to his defending Super Bowl Champions. Unlike last week's Four and Out, I decided to do something different. I wanted to get an idea of what the Giants do, based on four mainstream aspects of football (when the team runs, passes and how that team defends against both). An introduction of sorts, generally informative enough to know what we're facing.
I'm not going to detail what the Bengals will do in similar situations simply because all of you are my brothers from other mothers (wow, that was like so 90s, man) know the Bengals and how they'll react to situations. But I will react to Ed's points and how they apply to the Bengals scenarios/situations. We also thank Ed for the contributions.
You can read my response's to Ed's questions at Big Blue View.
When the Bengals run the ball.
Ed: "My short answer is, they aren't likely to get very far. The Giants' defensive line can not only rush the passer, but Fred Robbins is a run-stuffer at defensive tackle, the defensive ends are playing well and the Giants are deep and talented at linebacker. I think I've seen maybe one missed tackle in two games. If I was the Bengals I would attack Mathias Kiwanuka, who is still proving he can handle the run from his defensive end slot after playing linebacker last season."
Kirkendall: Simply put, the Bengals offensive rushing, which we detailed a lot on Thursday, could struggle once again. How much of a struggle after the tough Titans and Ravens defenses?
Ed: "The Giants are the No. 3 ranked defense in the league, behind the Ravens and Titans. That's no accident. Yes, they haven't really been challenged yet. Washington and St. Louis are hardly offensive juggernauts. But, this is a defense with a lot of ways to attack. Good pass rush, even if they just send four. Good interior line play against the run. Solid linebacking. Better cornerback play than people realize. Also, three young, aggressive safeties who rotate in and out and can all make plays. On top of that a great defensive coordinator in Steve Spagnuolo who will be a head coach somewhere next year. There is no obvious weakness."
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When the Giants run the ball.
Ed: "You will get a little bit of everything. The power of the 270-pound Brandon Jacobs. The slashing of Derrick Ward. The big-play speed and elusiveness of Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw did not have a carry until the fourth quarter of Game 2, and wound up with a 31-yard touchdown run and an 18-yard touchdown reception. The trio is going by the nickname 'Earth, Wind & Fire.'"
Kirkendall: The duo of Le'Ron McClain and Ray Rice put up 150 yards rushing on 41 carries in the Bengals 17-10 loss to the Ravens. Then last week, the Bengals allowed Chris Johnson and LenDale White to pick up 168 yards on 37 carries in the Titans 24-7 win. So surely you'll ask, are you still high on the Bengals rush defense? Well, yes, I kind of am. The Ravens duo only averaged 3.6 yards-per-rush wearing down our defense after the offense had six minutes worth of possessions in the second half. While the Titans rushed for 4.5 yards-per-carry last week, the Bengals were hit with a 51-yard Chris Johnson run to close out the first half. I know that it doesn't work this way, but if you take away the 51-yarder, White and Johnson combined for 3.25 yards-per-rush. For comparisons sake, the Vikings were the league's best rush defense last season. They allowed an average 3.1 yards-per-rush.. We get rid of those big plays, and we could actually be known for stopping people.
Though I doubt we'll have much success this weekend -- however, the Giants rush offense will be a great test.
When the Giants pass the ball.
Ed: "They will do so largely off play action, and they are looking to get big chunks of yardage down field whenever possible this season. Plaxico Burress is amazing. Amani Toomer is ageless. The Giants are the only team in the league without a completion to the tight end, but they use third wide receiver Steve Smith for a lot of those possession routes, as well as the running backs. Eli Manning played an incredibly efficient game Sunday against the Rams, and if he continues to play like that the Giants will put up a lot of points."
Kirkendall: The Bengals pass defense could largely be in trouble. With two safeties and a cornerback with two years of experience, we can't imagine that our secondary will resist the urge to sit back in coverage -- especially Marvin White and Chinedum Ndukwe -- during play-action. Still, I believe if David Jones is on Amani Toomer, then Jones will be one-step slow behind Toomer's routes. I also don't see Leon Hall matching-up well with Burress. The Bengals secondary will have to be very physical; otherwise, I'm not feeling very comfortable about our chances defending the pass this weekend. I would even expect the Bengals to run more deeper zones, opening up a lot of holes for Eli Manning to pass underneath. You know, the bent but don't give-up-big-plays defense that we always run against the Colts offense?
When the Bengals pass the ball.
Ed: "First, they better find a way to get defensive end Justin Tuck blocked. I thought he was better than both Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora last season. This year, he is a monster. He is playing at an All-Pro level. And yes, the Giants still love to blitz so Carson Palmer will be taking some hits. Oh, and memo to CPalmer. Try someone other than second-year cornerback Aaron Ross when you do get to throw. Last year's No. 1 pick by the Giants is turning into a heavy-hitting, sure-tackling shutdown type corner. Try the other side. Or one of the safeties. You won't have any luck with Ross."
Kirkendall: Again, I know it doesn't work this way, but if you take away the 49 yards receiving by DeDe Dorsey on back-to-back screens to close out the first half against the Titans, Palmer records less than 100 yards passing. If Aaron Ross is on T.J. Houshmandzadeh, I think this benefits the Bengals (Chad Johnson doesn't appear real comfortable about catching passes in traffic right now). Houshmandzadeh typically sacrifices his body for a reception, has tremendous double-moves that could neutralize a hard-hitting corner. Ross would more likely slow down Johnson by being more physical off the line of scrimmage. Johnson will likely draw a safety over the top, so we don't see Johnson doing his out and up moves to force Ross to lean one way or the other because someone else will be waiting for Johnson.
As for the pass blocking, the Bengals offensive line is getting better -- though they're still not the pass blockers we've seen in the past. And it's not that other players are just out-classing the Bengals line -- heck, Andrew Whitworth pancaked Albert Haynesworth (several times). In many cases, the opposing defenses confuse the Bengals line by running stunts and unconventional blitzes. The Ravens did that well. However, the line rebounded with a decent game against the Titans because they use more conventional schemes.