Behind Enemy Lines: Giants Blogger Andrew Ilnicki


Every week we trade questions with the opponent’s FanSided site.  This week we talked with Andrew Ilnicki, who writes about the Giants over at GmenHQ.  Here’s what Ryan had to say about the Redskins.

1. Who, if anyone, on your defense would be fast enough to spy Michael Vick?

It’s a tough one to answer.  I noticed the Colts and Lions got some good old fashioned sacks but collapsing the pocket — that may be what the defensive tackles and ends need to get back to for this game. But there are a couple of guys that the Giants might be able to move around and get some pressure on Vick. Aaron Ross is a quick nickel corner, he’s the guy that took Jay Cutler out.  LB Michael Boley is the fastest pass rushing LB the Giants have — but he’s certainly not fast enough to chase Vick down across the field like LT… but he may come up with a surprise here or there.  I don’t know what coordinator Perry Fewell has in store, but our defensive line is going to need help from some crafty blitzes I have a feeling.

2. How have you sustained so many offensive line injuries and still held together one of the league’s best rushing offenses and led the league in fewest sacks allowed?

Well thank goodness for Shawn Andrews first of all. Dude is a straight up beast.  Second of all, TE Bear Pascoe has reignighted our blocking fullback position… tremendous job from that second year stud.  But beyond that with the rookies filling in for an aging offensive line — It’s a fundamental identity thing for the Giants. It’s focused on so much in their offense, it basically sets everything else up. It has to be a strength in that way and the Giant do whatever it takes to excel in that area of the offense.  Ahmad Bradshaw starting and Jacobs being the complement has made the offense that much more dynamic by default. Last year it would be like Leonard Weaver taking carries away from McCoy when everyone knew McCoy was more than ready to handle the load… Bradshaw has proven to be an excellent every down back and his individual effort has covered up some busted plays from that line that’s been plague by injuries.  It’s not like it’s all roses either — the offensive line veterans like David Deihl have had off years.  Rookies like Will Beatty and Kevin Booth have made their share of mistakes that have cost the Giants dearly.  Last game against Dallas there weren’t sacks, but there were 2 or 3 huge penalties that took points off the board which was even worse.

3. Over the last two years, Eli Manning was intercepted just once every 41.1 attempts.  This year it’s once every 24.5 passes.  What’s up with that?

Stat lines never tell the whole story with him, and it began with a crazy amount of tipped balls off the receivers hands on good throws – that was the first thing. Of his first 10 interceptions, I would say 5 of them were legitimately catchable balls that were just not hauled in and the defense capitalized. Then a few poor decisions from Manning, perhaps due to desperation due to the excess tipped passes… trying to thread the ball into triple coverage, etc. Then there were just bad throws, routes not finished by the receiver — garden variety interceptions.   I still say Eli for the most part has been fairly sharp… but when you compare it to Vick’s stat of not throwing an INT since 2006 it really looks sloppy as hell for the Giants.  At times, that has been the reality. At other times, just unfortunate circumstances.

4. What happened against the Cowboys last week?  How do you expect New York to respond?

1. The defense must have figured they need not show up.  I saw no pressure whatsoever, guys in the secondary giving up on coverage, letting Dallas control the line all day, they just didn’t want it.  No passion whatsoever until it was too late.

2. Those offensive miscues I listed earlier were a big problem.  14 points were taken off the board for the Giants, the first one on a false start on the 2 yard line when Jacobs punched it in.  The next play went 101 yards for a TD because Hakeem Nicks decided not to finish his route when the ball was basically on its way.  It should have been 10-9 Giants, instead it was 16-3 Cowboys after that drive.

3. Then the “holding call” eliminating the 45 yard TD from Manning to Nicks that would have put the game in contention — that was a HUGE letdown that really took the air out of the team.

4. As for responding, I expect the Giants to come out swinging.  I expect them to clean up their mistakes and get back to dominant football on offense and defense.  They’ll have to with the Eagles playing the way they are right now.

5. The Giants have knocked out five quarterbacks.  Is that a little bit flukey or are they taking extra shots at quarterbacks or are they just that hard-hitting?

It’s all been clean.  They’ve moved blitzers around, been very deceptive, never doing the same thing twice in a game.  For the Giants, it’s all about getting pressure on the passer. They need to in order to sustain success on defense — Perry Fewell has dialed up a multitude of looks so far this season, particularly on third downs, and they’ve largely been successful this season getting to the QB.  Vick is a unique case, but I expect at least 2 sacks this game from a fired up Giants defense.

6. It appears that the Giants don’t blitz very much, given that they’ve allowed the second fewest passes of 20+ yards in the league with 21.  Is that an accurate assessment?

They seem to blitz only when the game situation is favorable to do so.  Early in the season, the front 4 had been collapsing the pocket consistently and getting enough pressure.  On third downs and obvious passing plays, they’ll dial up a pressure package.  Last game there wasn’t much of anything — but the first time they played Dallas it was more indicative I think.  I’m looking forward to seeing what they do with Vick and the Eagles.

7. What is your weak point on defense?  On offense?

The corners have played inconsistently at best… and there is a depth issue as well. Hopefully no more injuries are sustained by the defensive backs. It’s not as bad as last year’s safety unit though, thank goodness.

The WR core is down to 4, Steve Smith is out until December and several other promising rookies are on IR. The offensive line right now is dinged up, the rookies have been mistake-prone as I mentioned above.


The eternal optimist in me says the Giants squeak by on the road:  34-31 Giants.