Kickoff Coverage:

Last year, our kickoff coverage was pretty bad.  According to FootballOutsiders’ advanced stats, we gave away 6 points over the course of the year because of Tynes’ relatively weak kicks and our sub-par coverage team, placing us 26th in the league.

Thursday night, despite Carney’s strong kickoffs, covering kicks was obviously a problem.  Washington’s started their drives after kickoffs on our 27, 24, 35, the 50, and then on our 33 (this was after Kehl’s 15-yard penalty for going low on the wedge).  On average, the ‘Skins started drives on their 34 yard-line.

This is bad.  The average starting field position for an NFL drive off a normal kickoff is around the 27.5 yard line, meaning that we gave away 32.5 yards of field position during the game.  That’s significant, and this is something that has to improve.

 

Punt Returns:

Here’s my question, which I’m sure many Giants fans are asking too: Why the hell is R-Dubs still returning punts?  Are you telling me a team with Hixon, Bradshaw, Ross, and Sinorice, can’t get someone more explosive in there?

Last year, our punt return game ranked 22nd in the league, according to FootballOutsiders’ stats.  Things went from bad to disastrous for ‘Dubs in the postseason, when he relinquished his monopoly on sure-handedness by fumbling twice in the Green Bay game (although his return against Dallas to set up our go-ahead drive was admittedly huge).

Yes, Dubs always catches the ball – I’ll give him that.  But the man is slow and not explosive at all.  Last year was great for the Giants, but if we want to stay on top – and maybe surpass the Cowboys in our own division – Tom and the staff have to constantly look for ways to upgrade this team, even if it means taking a risk that someone will muff a punt.  Please, let’s get a potential game-breaker back there.

 

Hixon:

Hixon’s back was still bothering him last week, which is why Bradshaw returned kicks.  Bradshaw was accompanied “back deep” with Danny Ware, who would seem to be an upgrade from Droughns as the blocker/second option on kick returns. 

HIxon got some action on the coverage teams, probably because they needed competent bodies.  But evidently the coaching staff thought a healthy Ahmad was better than a semi-injured Hixon for retruns.  Expect Hixon to get that job back once the brass is sure he’s healthy.  Frankly, I don’t know when this will be, but probably pretty soon.

 

Tynes and Carney:

It looks like Tynes might be out through the Week 4 bye. I’m no huge fan of Tynes, and it was nice that Carney hit that 47-yard field goal, but I still think Tynes is the better option going forward.

Last year, Tynes was 8-8 on field goals 40-yards or longer in the regular season.  Carney was 2-5, not a good sign for a 44-year old.  Of course, Tynes was 5-8 from 30-39 yard field goals, while Carney was 5-6, but it still seems like the 44-year old who struggles with the long ones presents a bigger risk going forward.

Interestingly, Carney’s kickoff length average was more than a yard longer than Tynes’, 62.8 to 61.8.