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Season-In-Review: What Went Wrong – Bill Sheridan

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Is he about to drop an F-bomb?

Former Defensive Coordinate Bill Sheridan – who spent all training camp, preseason, and 17 weeks of the NFL season “streamlining” the Giants Defense – effectively completed one mountainous task this year:  Sheridan completely derailed the production of the Gaints Defense in 2009.

Boy did he screw the pooch, too.  When we first heard Sheridan was toying around with the complexity of Steve Spagnuolos scheme, we should have known right then and there that trouble was brewing. Because the simple fact is this — Sheridan’s predecessor Steve Spagnuolo’s schemes were built on getting to the quarterback — 60% of which came directly from the Eagle’s Jim Johnson admittedly. These are storied pressure package that work, they delivered NY a championship, and the only reason the Giants fell short in 2008 was because the defense wore down with injuries and were without 2 pro bowl DE’s, yet still made the post season and had a top 10 Defense. Of course we all remember the personnel moves that were made in 2009 to reinforce the defense first and foremost, we all expected a good product on the field — and yet the Giants came up with a bottom feeding sieve. Make no mistake, Sheridan inherited a well-oiled machine and turned it into a lemon.

How did he do it? Lack of pressure from the front 4 all year. Hmmm…. Bill? How can we fix that issue?

Well it took all 17 weeks to experiment and the conclusion was inconclusive. That’s why Sheridan was fired.  Because anyone who watched a single game all year could figure out one glaring thing, and it’s probably the reason Osi walked out of practice to begin with when he heard what he’d be doing this year….  week after week Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck are seen dropping back into pass coverage instead of rushing the passer. Now it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that priorities are out of wack in your defense when this is happening not “once in a while” like Coughlin said, it was consistent. Creating confusion for the opponent’s offense is one thing, but creating glaring opportunities in the form of severe mismatches is quite another.  Since when can a DE cover a slot receiver!? And to be totally honest, Tom Coughlin enabled this kind of strategy – he was asked on more than one occasion about DE’s being dropped back into coverage on Monday morning pressers and Coughlin backed it up, albeit meakly.

But you have to ask then, what about the teams that the Giants blew out?  They have no offensive line. So they couldn’t run the ball or block a pass rush… so the ball never made it to the safety.  When it eventually did late in the fourth quarter due to the front 7 easing up on their effort — the other team always scored. Washington, Oakland, Kansas City, Tampa Bay, Dallas — they all eventually exploited the weaknesses at safety.  And of course most of the teams that really blew out Sheridan’s defense — all they did was throw deep:  New Orleans, Philly, Carolina, Minnesota…

Bill, what can we do about our horrible play at Safety?  (crickets chirping)

Michael Johnson and CC Brown were among the worst safetys in the league… Michael Johnson actually was second to last in the NFL.  Bill Sheridan removed CC Brown, but lef Johnson in to do the most damage.  Atleast CC Brown could stop the run as an in-the-box safety…. Michael Johnson couldn’t do anything at any point in the year and he played the third most snaps on the entire team.  How can you explain that and keep your job? YOU CAN’T!

What went wrong here is not so much action but non-action. Failing to adjust to the problem areas during the game. Failing to make adjustments after the game when you could evaluate who did well and who didn’t.  This is something we always used to complain about on offense under Kevin Gilbride, lack of midgame adjustments, but it was never a problem under Spagnuolo.  This year it was a huge issue…. for example instead of benching Michael Johnson in addition to CC Brown, you bench Osi Umenyiora and wonder why you still can’t get any pressure on the quarterback.   Instead of toying around with man coverage to shut down the GAPING HOLES at midfield and in the secondary Sheridan was over-reliant on zone play.  Adjustments to the game plan are everything sometimes, and it was clear Sheridan had no plan B or C at any time.

And plan A only worked “once in a while” like Coughlin said.


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3 Responses to “Season-In-Review: What Went Wrong – Bill Sheridan”

  1. Rick says:

    Spags wan’t Sheridan’s successor, it’s the other way around.

  2. Chris says:

    I didn’t like Sheridan from the get-go. There was something about his persona that told me he was a hard-ass and that he felt he was right, don’t question me. I agree with all the points you made, and I was so disappointed in M.Johnson, because I thought he played well his first two years. I guess he panicked after Phillips went down. He didn’t make a single play all year.

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