Watching film of their dreadful performance against Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints wasn’t much of an eye opener for suddenly suspect New York Giants secondary.
The mistakes they made in the 48-27 debacle were obvious. Saints receivers caught four touchdowns and helped Brees run up 369 yards through the air because the secondary didn’t do the little things – and didn’t look ready for the Saints‘ explosive attack.
While it all falls under the category of blown coverages, the errors ranged from simply failing to make a play on a ball when in position to the more subtle problems of being out of position in zone coverages or shading the receiver to the wrong side – effectively taking away any help a player is supposed to have.
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What the tape didn’t show is what the secondary really lacked – not enough respect for the Saints (5-0).
“I think this was something that showed up this game,” said safety C.C. Brown, who was exposed time after time as the Giants (5-1) fell from the unbeaten ranks. “We pretty much got up on our high horses. We thought it would be another brush-through game. It was an eye opener for us.”
The surprise was how easy Brees made everything look against a pass defense that was ranked No. 1 in the league. At one point during the first half, the quarterback hit 15 straight passes in helping New Orleans score touchdowns on its first four possessions.
“We just made some mistakes that we can’t make, especially when you’re playing a team of that caliber,” cornerback Corey Webster said. “So we take the film, we take the whipping that they issued out, and we go back and start working hard and compete.”
Webster might have made the biggest mistake. On the opening drive, he was in perfect position to intercept a third-down pass to Lance Moore and the ball went through his hands to Moore for a first down.
Instead of being off the field, New York fell behind 7-0, then 14-0, and never recovered.
“You can’t just roll the helmets to win the game, you have to do everything right,” Webster said.
It wasn’t just the secondary that played poorly. The vaunted defensive line barely touched Brees and the linebackers were no match in coverage against tight end Jeremy Shockey and running backs going out for passes.
“It’s a wakeup call,” said linebacker Danny Clark, who was beaten by Shockey on the Saints‘ second score. “It’s like pressing the refresh button on the Internet. It’s not a good one, it’s definitely a shot over the chin, but we understand that we have to get better. If this happens, I would rather lose now than later in the year when it’s even more important. Guys are humbled, we understand where we went wrong.”
That was the attitude of the defensive backs, who now have to get ready to face an Arizona Cardinals air show led by Kurt Warner and Larry Fitzgerald.
“We were definitely playing the defense that was called, but it was just things like if you were outside, the receiver was inside,” cornerback Terrell Thomas said. “It’s little fine errors like that. Even when we were in position to make plays, they came up with the ball. It’s one week.
“They are good and they came off a bye and they knew our weaknesses,” Thomas said. “When you play a good team like that you have to be on point with everything, and we weren’t, and it showed.”
The frustration also showed. Backup cornerback Kevin Dockery had a couple of words with Brown after a wide-open Moore caught a 12-yard TD pass in the second quarter.
On the play, Dockery was expecting Brown to help deep, but the safety bit on a play-action fake and was nowhere near the receiver.
Ironically, Dockery made the same mistake in the third quarter on a touchdown pass to Marques Colston.
“Now that we’ve had a chance to peel our eyes back and look at the film, it was a very simple thing, very simple mistakes,” Dockery said. “We had guys who don’t execute their assignments and that’s what happens when you play a good team, they expose those types of things.”
The one thing the performance didn’t do was take away the confidence in the secondary.
The adage in football for defensive backs is that if you play the position, there are times you are going to get beat.
For the Giants, it all happened on the same day.
“We still have that swagger like we are the No. 1-ranked pass defense,” Dockery said. “Yesterday we got exposed on a couple of things and today we talked about it, looked at it and we’ll fix it.”
Backup defensive lineman Dave Tollefson said it was like the second game of the season when Dallas rushed for 251 yards in a game the Giants won.
“We got our butt kicked in the run game and we worked on that and they didn’t run the ball after that,” he said. “Now we have to correct some stuff as far as pass rushing and the back end covering stuff. It’s definitely all related.”
NOTES: WR Mario Manningham was sidelined in the second half after hurting the back of his ribs. “I’m a fighter. I’ll be all right,” he said. …DT Chris Canty said his injured calf is feeling better, but there is still no timetable for getting back on the field. He has not played since the opening game. …OT Kareem McKenzie, who left the game in the second quarter with a groin injury, is feeling better, coach Tom Coughlin said. His status for Sunday is uncertain.