How To Conquer The Red Zone

AJ CusimanoCorrespondent ISeptember 23, 2009

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - SEPTEMBER 13:  Mario Manningham #82 of the New York Giants celebrates his second quarter touchdown against the Washington Redskins with teammate Sinorice Moss #83 on September 13, 2009 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

I have a theory on the Giants problems in the Red Zone.

When Tom Coughlin became coach of the Giants, he began referring to the area inside the opponents twenty yard line as the "Green Zone".  I propose that Coach Coughlin go back to calling it the Red Zone, to remove any confusion in the minds of the Giants offensive coaches and players.

It is in fact the Red Zone, the area where games are won and lost.

Failing that, I can envision an offensive team meeting where Coach Coughlin stands up and takes Coach Gilbride and the rest of the offensive brain trust, out to the stadium field and lets them walk around the end zone.  You know, get the feel for what it's like to stand in the end zone with footballs in hand.

Additionally, bring in a bunch of officials to walk around with arms upraised, signalling touchdowns!  You know letting them feel the thrill of walking in the end zone and watching officials celebrate with them, and then pipe in some crowd noise.

Of course, I am being facetious with a topic that is a big concern to all Giants fans.  The issue is definitely not the talent.  They have a collection of young and hungry players who collectively have scored many times in their respective careers. 

The Giants have players with the ability to make plays.  Kevin Boss has proved that he has the hands and strength to fight off defenders for the ball.  Steve Smith is an excellent route runner, who created separation with precise routes against Dallas defenders.  Super Mario has burst through and showed he is comfortable around the end zone.  Eli Manning has shown he has trust in each of these receivers.

Other players like Hakeem Nicks, Ramses Barden, Travis Beckum and Derek Hagan are hungry for the chance to prove their value.  Nicks has definitely had flashes of excitement.  Domenik Hixon is not to be forgotten either.

The key is not just execution, but also using creativitiy and imagination in developing a red zone scheme.  It is important to disguise what is coming to the defense, in order to not be predictable. 

Analyzing the play selection so far this season, there has been a habit to run the ball inside the 10 yard line.  Unfortunately, the element of surprise has not been there.  There has not been a single fade to the corner of the end zone.

The concepts that moved them into the red zone position, need to be applied within the red zone. Granted there is less field to work with, thus creating less open space, but the Giants have the players to be successful.  Giving Eli more autonomy may also increase their red zone success ratio.

It is early in the season, with many minutes to be played and many more red zone opportunities.  Watching what Manning did in the final drive against Dallas, proves that this team can and will be successful in converting red zone opportunities.