New York Giants vs. Kansas City Chiefs: How to Slow Down Chiefs’ Defensive Line
The Kansas City Chiefs have been getting pressure on opposing quarterbacks constantly and Eli Manning has been under duress all season. That is a bad combination for the New York Giants. The Giants desperately need a win this Sunday, but it will not be easy against the 3-0 Chiefs who have surprisingly been dominant on defense. The primary surprise has been Justin Houston who is leading the league in sacks. Somehow getting Manning enough time to throw will be a key for the Giants offense, but that seems impossible with their weak offensive line.
Weak is probably putting it nicely. Will Beatty and Kevin Boothe were dominated last Sunday. Chris Snee and David Baas are both ailing and may not play. Justin Pugh is a rookie who has played well, but now will line up against Houston and few know if Pugh is really ready. The entire offensive line for the Giants has issues and there is no clear sign of good things to come. David Diehl should return soon, but even he seemed to have lost a step in preseason. The Giants offensive line has not shown the talent and health it needs to stop a strong pass rush. So how can they stop the Chiefs?
By not relying on the offensive line. The Giants have loved to depend on the line in the past. They often run deep routes with at-most six blockers, the sixth being the running back. That running back is often David Wilson or Brandon Jacobs, and neither has been particularly effective as a blocker. Basically it has been up to the O-line to block long enough for the Giants wideouts to get 20 or 30 yards downfield. That is a lot of pressure to put on an offensive line.
That system will not work. What the Giants need to do is use more screens, short passes and play-action fakes to relieve some pressure and slow down the pass rush. With athletic receivers in Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz, this is very possible. Cruz is a great candidate for wide receiver screens and short crossing routes. Nicks is also extremely capable when he gets screen passes and has shown he can be effective running slant routes. Another trick the Giants have not used enough is throw to Wilson out of the backfield. Wilson can then get the ball in space and use his speed effectively (he is also less likely to fumble there).
The other technique is giving the offensive line more help. Bear Pascoe, the Giants backup tight end, is a great blocker and could be used often to give further aid to the offensive line. Another tactic rarely used by big blue is to have seven or eight blockers and send Nicks deep, giving him a shot to go up and make a play. A few deep balls to Nicks, even when he is not really that open, could actually be a help to the ailing offense.
Whatever the Giants do, they need to give the offensive line some help. They have leaned on them for many years and with great success, but this line is simply not what it was. The Giants needs to adjust, or be left behind.