Giants vs. Jaguars: Can the revamped defense stop the Jags’ running game?
Giants vs. Jaguars: Can the revamped defense stop the Jags’ running game?in Diskussionen Allgemein über die Kryptowelt 09.01.2019 03:41
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Football is finally [url=http://www.newyorkgiantsteamonline.com/hoodie]New York Giants Hoodie[/url] , truly, back as the New York Giants host their Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 1 of the 2018 NFL season. Most of the narrative surrounding the game will be the daunting task the Giants’ has before it in the Jags’ hyper-athletic defense. However, the Giants’ rebuilt defense could have its work cut out for it with the Jags’ offense as well. Last season the Jaguars lead the NFL in offensive plays with 1,077, but were fifth in points per game at 26.1, sixth in yards per game at 365.9, and first in rushing at 141 yards per game. The Jags were powered by their running game, with their passing game a middle-of-the-pack 17th overall. Blake Bortles completed 60 percent of his passes, averaging 32.9 attempts per game (21st in the league). Bortles was 20th in the league with 21 passing touchdowns, but took better care of the ball than in previous years with 13 interceptions (a career best). Changes ... Embrace the strangeThe Giants underwent a massive and fundamental change on defense this past off-season. So much so that mentioning statistics from prior seasons is essentially meaningless. In a philosophic change from the 4-3 based defenses, new defensive coordinator James Bettcher has brought a defense that is based in the 3-4, but will feature everything from five-man fronts to two-man fronts. Bettcher called some of the most aggressive defenses in the NFL when he was the defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals, and aggression was what he showed throughout the preseason. There has been a massive turnover of the Giants’ roster, with new additions at every level of their defense. Up front is starting defensive tackle, rookie B.J. Hill, as well as very recently added Mario Edwards and John Jenkins. At the second level are Kareem Martin, Alec Ogletree, Lorenzo Carter, Tae Davis, and Nate Stupar, and the secondary has been completely rebuilt apart from Janoris Jenkins, Eli Apple, and Landon Collins. Players are playing new positions as well. Hill and Dalvin Tomlinson will be defensive ends in base packages — though they move inside in four-man fronts, and are essentially defensive tackles when the EDGE players are on the line of scrimmage as stand-up defensive ends. Olivier Vernon has moved from defensive end to outside linebacker, though he will continue to play defensive end in certain packages and situations. The biggest difference being that he will face more blocks from tight ends and less from offensive tackles. Free safety Curtis Riley is converted from the cornerback position he played most of the time for the Tennessee Titans. Perhaps the biggest question at the start of the season is how all of these moving parts [url=http://www.newyorkgiantsteamonline.com/customized]Customized New York Giants Jerseys[/url] , how all of these changes, new players, and new positions will fit together. Scheming to beat the Jaguars’ offense would be difficult with an established defense. How, and how well, the Giants defense is able to be on the same page and execute the scheme and game plan might be the story of the game on the defensive side of the ball.Win in the trenches, stop the runThe Jaguars’ offense is powered by their running game — that much is common knowledge. Not only did they lead the league in rushing yards, yards per game, and rushing attempts, they were second in the league in rushing touchdowns. Taking the ball out of Blake Bortles’ hand and giving it to the running backs — mainly Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory — helped cut down Bortle’s interception totals.The Jaguars reinforced that strength on the first day of free agency, signing guard Andrew Norwell to replace left guard Patrick Omameh (who quickly found himself on the Giants’ offensive line). But while the Jaguars are very good at, and committed to, running the ball, they didn’t generate an inordinate amount of explosive plays on the ground. Last year they finished 13th in the league in rushes to the left of 10+ yards, 17th when rushing up the center, and 16th rushing to the right. The strength of the Giants’ base defense proved to be stopping the run in the pre-season. The combination of B.J. Hill, Damon Harrison, and Dalvin Tomlinson on the line, with B.J. with Goodson and Alec Ogletree at inside linebacker, and Kareem Martin and Olivier Vernon on the edges proved to be suffocating to opponents’ running games. As a whole, the Giants’ held offenses to 3.8 yards per carry, and even fewer when the starters were in the game. But while the defensive front will have its work cut out against the Jaguars’ improved offensive line, they will also have to make sure they tackle soundly and limit Leonard Fournette’s yards after contact. While he isn’t an explosive running back, he is a very powerful one, consistently looking to finish runs and punish defenders. The extra hidden yards, falling forward to turn a three yard run into a five yard run [url=http://www.authenticsnewyorkgiants.com]www.authenticsnewyorkgiants.com[/url] , will be huge in this game.The basis of their defense against the Jaguars will have to be playing up to that level (or better), containing their running game and forcing the ball into Blake Bortles hands.Bringing the heatProbably the enduring question for the Giants’ defense this offseason has been where would they get their pass rush? Olivier Vernon exceeded expectations throughout training camp and the preseason, proving to be nearly unstoppable in practice and a force in preseason games. However, he is working his way back from a sprained ankle suffered in practice. Head coach Pat Shurmur said that Vernon is “Making great progress” working his way back from injury and that “From what I’ve [Shurmur] seen he looks to be a fast healer.” Whether or not Vernon is healthy in time to play Sunday remains to be seen.Apart from Vernon, the Giants have gotten surprising production from Kerry Wynn on the defensive line, and have Kareem Martin, Connor Barwin, and Lorenzo Carter as EDGE defenders who bring some pass rushing upside. Assuming the defense is able to first contain the Jaguars’ rushing attack, and the offense is able to put pressure on the Jaguars’ offense to score points rather than run out the clock, the Giants’ will need their pass rush to show up. When the Jaguars played the Cardinals in 2017, Bettcher’s defense came up with three sacks and an interception of Bortles. Last season the Jaguars only gave up 24 sacks all season long, but through the pre-season, Bortles was sacked four times and threw three interceptions on just 53 pass attempts. Bortles lost his top two receiving targets from a year ago when Allen Hurns joined the Dallas Cowboys in free agency and Marqis Lee was lost for the season to a knee injury. With fewer familiar options for Bortles, the Jaguars might not be as able to exploit the inherent weaknesses in pass coverage created by blitzing. However, this brings up a pair of issues. First, Bortles’ next two most familiar options in the passing game are running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon. The Giants remain plagued by an inability to cover running backs and tight ends in space, forcing the team to use safety-turned-linebacker Ray-Ray Armstrong as the “moneybacker” (weak inside linebacker) in nickel situations. His speed, range, and experience in coverage are assets, taking pressure off of Alec Ogletree in pass coverage. However it also takes linebacker B.J. Goodson off the field, and he has proven to be a force against the run. Secondly, Bortles is a big and athletic quarterback with a willingness to hurt a defense with his legs. The Giants have been hurt by running quarterbacks in the past, with Baker Mayfield twice extended drives by exploiting lapses in containment by the Giants in preseason. Containing the run and forcing Bortles to throw the ball might allow Bettcher to fully open his playbook. However, the defense will need to avoid over-aggression and limit mental mistakes if they want to give the offense a chance to win. Monday night marked the second time this season, the New York Giants came away with a win. It ended up as a wild one decided by a couple breaks and a last-minute drive. The end result was a 27-23 win over the San Francisco 49ers and a mostly positive performance for the Giants out of the bye to kick off the second half of the season.These are some of the most important plays of the game by Win Probability Added (WPA) and Expected Points Added (EPA) [url=http://www.authenticsnewyorkgiants.com/cheap-t-shirts]New York Giants T-Shirt[/url] , per data provided by nflscrapR. Explainers here (WPA) and here (EPA).Both WPA and EPA presented from the perspective of the offense.4:12 remaining, first quarter - Forcing a mistakeEPA: minus-2.99 | WPA: minus-7.0 percentDuring San Francisco’s win against the Oakland Raiders last Thursday, head coach Kyle Shanahan helped Nick Mullens by scheming up wide open throws. Per Next Gen Stats, Mullens threw no passes into tight coverage (defined as fewer than one yard of separation) against the Raiders. That wasn’t the case against the Giants. Mullens only threw 7.7 percent of his passes into tight coverage on Monday night, but that was enough to force some mistakes. With good protection but nowhere to throw the ball, Mullens fired a long strike towards the sideline to Kendrick Bourne. But Janoris Jenkins was able to break on the ball and tipped it in the air for a B.J. Goodson interception deep in San Francisco territory.2:48 remaining, first quarter - Odell all aloneEPA: 3.4 | WPA: 10.6 percentThree plays later, the Giants faced a third-and-8 from the San Francisco 10-yard line. The Giants came out in a 3x1 look with Evan Engram isolated to the right and Bennie Fowler, Odell Beckham, and Sterling Shepard to the trips side on the left. As the middle receiver in the trips, Beckham was able to sneak past the 49ers’ zone coverage and settle down in the back of the end zone for an easy touchdown and a 7-3 lead. The key to this play was a stunt picked up by right guard Jamon Brown, who made his first start for the Giants. Defensive end Cassius Marsh (54) made a late move and Brown was able to pick it up in front of Eli Manning as the quarterback got the ball away.14:06 remaining, third quarter - Picking on OgletreeEPA: 2.4 | WPA: 8.4 percentIn the first half, the San Francisco 49ers picked on Landon Collins in man coverage, mostly against tight end George Kittle. But the focus of the second half was Alec Ogletree. On San Francisco’s first drive of the second half, the Niners faced a third-and-5 from their 45. San Francisco used motion to bring George Kittle into the backfield and that showed linebacker Tae Davis would follow in coverage, which left Ogletree on Matt Brieda. Brieda ran an angle route out of the backfield and got inside Ogletree for a gain of 19.8:15 remaining, third quarter - Still picking on OgletreeEPA: 3.44 | WPA: 10.0 percentThe drive ended with another play designed to pick on Ogletree in coverage. On a third-and-8 from the Giants’ 11, San Francisco rushed out of the huddle and had a four-man bunch to the right of the formation. At the snap, Brieda ran a crossing route that forced Ogletree to run through traffic across the field. He never came close. Wide receiver Marquise Goodwin was the only receiver lined up to the left of the formation and he was inline like a tight end. He ran a drag to the right, which carried Janoris Jenkins enough to create more space for Brieda on the left. This play was a master class in pacing and spacing. It gave the 49ers a 20-10 lead right out of halftime.6:40 remaining, third quarter - Beckham againEPA: 3.62 | WPA: 12.3 percentBut the Giants would answer on the following drive. After a 51-yard kick return from Corey Coleman and a 30-yard pass to Beckham on first down, the Giants were set up pretty well. A t3-yard run from Saquon Barkley set up a second-and-7 from the San Francisco 20. The Giants lined up Odell Beckham wide to the left, away from Richard Sherman. They sent Beckham on a go route to the end zone and the pass from Eli Manning was just a touch too far. Beckham got a hand on it because he’s Odell Beckham, but that wasn’t enough to bring it in.The Giants decided to run the same play on third down. Beckham again got past cornerback Akhello Witherspoon and the pass was in a much better spot — easily caught by Beckham for the touchdown.0:50 remaining [url=http://www.authenticsnewyorkgiants.com/cheap-hats]New York Giants Hats[/url] , third quarter - Third down ---> First downEPA: 3.13 | WPA: 11.4 percentLate in the third quarter, the 49ers had a third-and-4 from their own 31. That really didn’t bother San Francisco because they had no problem converting on third down Monday night — they finished 8-for-13 (61.5 percent). The 49ers motioned into a 3x1 set with a bunch to the right and Goodwin on the left. The Giants rushed just three and dropped eight into coverage. The rush brought no pressure and Mullens was able to wait for Goodwin to break open in the middle of the field despite the increased number of defenders in coverage.The play was made worse after the tackle from Ogletree was flagged for unnecessary roughness, which tacked on another 15 yards. 15:00 remaining, fourth quarter - Goodson, good timingEPA: minus-5.58 | WPA: minus-15.7 percentTwo plays later San Francisco faced a 1st and 18 from the Giants’ 31, thanks to a Weston Richburg holding penalty. Mullens, with some pressure from Dalvin Tomlinson in his face, had Goodwin open on a crossing route, but threw the pass a little behind the receiver. The ball bounced up off Goodwin’s hands and into the arms of a waiting B.J. Goodson for his second interception of the night.2:43 remaining, fourth quarter - Engram emergesEPA: 2.21 | WPA: 15.4 percentThe Giants didn’t take advantage of the interception but still had a chance to win the game at the end of the fourth quarter. At the start of the Giants’ drive, they had a 35.5 percent chance to win. After an incompletion on first down, the Giants broke glass in case of an emergency and sent Evan Engram on a route down the field. Engram gave a quick hesitation three yards down the field, which allowed him to get past the defense and down the sideline for a gain of 31 yards. Engram had five targets in the game and four of them came on this drive.1:35 remaining, fourth quarter - Barkley breaks freeEPA: 1.19 | WPA: 12.4 percentAfter a few more plays and a couple penalties, the Giants faced a second-and-10 from the San Francisco 35. The Giants came out with a spread 3x1 set with Odell Beckham on the left, the same side as Saquon Barkley in the backfield. At the snap, Barkley ran an angle route out of the backfield and two 49ers — defensive end Cassius Marsh (54) and linebacker Malcolm Smith (51) — go to cover the running back. But there’s a miscommunication somewhere and both players go to the outside, which let Barkley break to the middle of the field and run after the catch. The play went for 23 yards and got the Giants down to the 12-yard line.0:57 remaining, fourth quarter - Shep outEPA: 3.18 | WPA: 26.6 percentA 9-yard pass to Evan Engram set up a second-and-1 from the 3-yard line. The Giants came out in a 2x2 look with Fowler and Shepard to the left, Beckham wide to the right, and Engram standing up, but tight on the right side of the line. At the snap, Shepard ran a quick out and beat rookie defensive back D.J. Reed, who never had a chance. Barkley picked up a blitz and Manning was able to float a pass to the open space for Shepard to bring the ball down in bounds for what would be the game-winning touchdown.
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