Giants' writer assesses team's late season struggles

Giants' writer assesses team's late season struggles

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(Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

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wwltv.com

Posted on December 7, 2012 at 6:07 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 7 at 6:07 PM

Bradley Handwerger / WWLTV.com Sports Reporter
Email: bhandwerger@wwltv.com | Twitter: @wwltvsports

Good day, Who Dats and the EOSB legion.

It’s time again for that one thing I know you all can’t wait for each week. In fact, you probably wake up early on Friday morning’s because you know it’s coming.

This week we welcome in Ralph Vacchiano, who works for the New York Daily News.

According to the bio on the Vacchiano’s N.Y. Daily News Giants blog, he has covered the NFL and the Giants for the paper since 2001. He’s a host on Sirius NFL Radio and regular appears on SNY-TV. The Long Island, N.Y., native has been covering the NFL since graduating from Syracuse in 1991.

You can follow Vacchiano (which I strongly recommend) on Twitter: @RVacchianoNYDN

WWLTV.COM: The Giants have had problems with the Saints in the past few years. But those games were in New Orleans. How much different has New York been at MetLife than on the road?

Ralph Vacchiano: “This year there isn't a huge difference, but the Giants have been known as the "Road Warriors" since way back in 2007. They seem to play much better on the road than at home. No one is sure why. It could just be that they play better in high-pressure situations, with their proverbial backs against the wall. Obviously the last couple of games in New Orleans are aberrations to that record, but I think that had more to do with the difficulty of playing in that building and the Giants' bad matchup with the Saints' offense. In general, though, I don't think teams fear coming into the Meadowlands. It's not like the Giants are unbeatable there.”

WWLTV.com: Are we seeing the Giants go through their typical November swoon before picking things up or are there deeper issues that crept in during the Washington game?

RV: “It's hard to say. They're obviously struggling in the second half of the season, as they always do. They were 6-2 and they've been 1-3 since. They went through a similar swoon last year and if you had asked me that question at the time I would've said we were seeing deeper issues. Then, of course, they went on another run for the ages. I guess I'll just say this: This is a team with issues, but they certainly have enough talent to overcome it and play with anybody in the NFL. Whether they will or not, remains to be seen. But I wouldn't count them out of anything.”

WWLTV.com: Has this game ceased meaning more for Eli than any other game? Is the home-town game overblown with him?

RV: “I'm not sure that it ever really meant that much to him. Maybe his first trip to New Orleans did. But he's played everywhere now and played every team and he's such an incredibly even-keeled guy. The only games, other than playoffs/Super Bowls, that I've ever seen him kind of show a little emotion beforehand were the games against his brother. But playing the Saints doesn't seem to be a big deal for him. Right now he's much more focused on the Giants' playoff chase. Really, this could be any other opponent this weekend. He's got a job to do.”

WWLTV.com: How much has changed on the Giants offense (DEFENSE?) since Steve Spagnuolo left after the 2008 season?

RV: “Well, there has been a ton of personnel changes to start with, and some of the key guys Spags had back then are now older and probably less efficient. The scheme is also a lot different under new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. On a very simple level, Spags was an "attack" coordinator. Fewell is more "read and react". The defense is still predicated on a strong pass rush, mostly because the secondary is suspect. But Spags was better at creatively blitzing and finding ways to get that rush going. It's been much more inconsistent since he left town.”

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