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The value of short passes: explained, then illustrated.

Flashback to Eli Manning on September 9 talking about how to handle the Redskins Defense stacking the box:

I think we have receivers who can make plays. Guys who can get down the field, guys who can break tackles and we are going to see what the defense is doing and make our adjustments. If I can get us in and out of good plays, I think we have the guys out wide who can be explosive and get down the field and do some great things. It’s not like to hit big plays you have to throw it fifty yards down the field, you just have to hit guys on the move and guys have got to break tackles and you have to be effective blocking up front and throwing the ball. It is a combination, we are going to have a great mix of run and pass, but we have to be able to do both well.”

Flashback to my reaction:

“This is music to my ears, and I’ll tell you why — not only is he saying the receivers on the 2009 roster are fully capable of making big plays, what he’s also saying is something I’ve believed in for a long time: Short passes translate into big plays.”

Flashback to specifics — check out the fifth short pass option here in which the Giants can keep the Defense off balance by countering their blitz package with a quick screen:

“5) The wideout screen. While used sparingly to keep defenses honest (as it should be) the wideout screen has not seen a ton of action this preseason. Plaxico Burress in the last few years was often tossed a quick screen on a blitz and asked to make something happen. While this play is 50/50 at best in terms of effectiveness, I think if you only pick up a few yards per screen attempt its just as good as a closed down rushing attempt. The problem with it is, the Giants need those stubborn runs to sell a playaction pass. In the end though, a first down is a first down and if you’re bread and butter ain’t working for you that day, pull out the screen and try it on for size.”

Last Sunday, the Giants pulled out tactic #5 when they read the Redskins blitz… Eli quickly tossed outside to Mario Manningham who read the correct coverage as well, and Mario quickly worked it out for a first down — and so much more.

Not only did he make a huge play off a short pass, he scored his first career NFL Touchdown on what some consider a throwaway play. While I outlined above that these types of plays should be used sparingly, they still work. These types of short passes introduced at the right times frustrate defenses, and for the rest of the game they force your oppostition to question what you’re going to do next. Maybe they can’t bring the pressure from their corners the same way on the next set of downs — and then you can focus on pounding away running the football. It’s about staying ahead of the defense, reading what they are giving you and responding quickly.

The Giants preparation for this kind of scheme was obvious, and they executed. Introducing these types of short passes into your offensive scheme creates a dynamic set of challenges for any defense, it wears them out, it frustrates them — and they allow you to become a more balanced offense, you score points, and it’s simply working effectively with what the defense is giving you. In this way, Eli Manning is fantastic at managing his games and his team.

That’s the reason Eli Manning is successful, his preparation and focus when it comes to improving the Giants offense is second to none. If you didn’t know, he spent some time the past offseason working with Mario Manningham to better understand the Giants Offense in preparation for camp. That’s preparation for preparation people!

And it shows…  the proof is in the pudding as they say: (click to watch highlight)


Full flashback article can be viewed here: “My favorite quote yet” – Sept. 9

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