After Sunday night’s game against the Giants, I had a chance to ask Juan Castillo if there was something about Brandon Boykin’s skill set that he liked as a matchup 1-on-1 against Victor Cruz. After all, Cruz was the Giants’ best WR that night with Hakeem Nicks being out, so giving Cruz 1-on-1 attention would be a lot of trust to have in a rookie corner. Castillo was quick to correct me, noting that Boykin had (or should have had) plenty of help.
“We did double (Cruz),” said Castillo. “(Cruz) still made some nice plays, but he was doubled throughout the night with Boykin. He just made some plays. He’s a good football player.”
Earlier today, Steelers WR Antonio Brown referred to Brandon Boykin as a “candy bar,” because apparently he’s the sweet spot that you want to attack on the Eagles defense. I disagree. The candy bar, at least on a couple TD passes so far this year in my opinion, was DeMeco Ryans.
Here’s the Giants’ formation on the TD catch by Victor Cruz Sunday night. Pre-snap, you can see Ryans take two peeks over at Cruz, who is lined up in the slot. Here’s one of those two peeks:
At the snap, Boykin opens his hips to the inside, taking away the outside:
Meanwhile Ryans heads immediately in Cruz’s direction as if to double him with Boykin. Cruz, as you can see, is running a quick slant, which Boykin is allowing him to do, knowing that he has inside help:
Ryans takes a peek in Eli Manning, and does so with bad timing, as Manning has already fired his pass to Cruz:
Ryans is late to get his head back around and make the play. Cruz makes the catch, escapes Boykin’s tackle, and walks into the end zone:
Credit Boykin for a bad tackle, but not for giving up the reception.
If that play looked somewhat familiar in terms of DeMeco Ryans getting there juuuuust a hair too late, it should. A similar play happened in Arizona – Zone coverage this time, but the same result.
The scheme was good on both plays, in my opinion, but the ability of Ryans to get there in time was just a fraction too slow. Also credit Eli Manning for making a perfect pass. I’m not sure I’d call Ryans the “candy bar” here either, as execution from the offense has to be perfect to fit this ball in. Maybe Ryans is kind of like Hot Tomales. You can eat one or two, but if you eat too many of them (errr… throw into too many tight windows like this), you’ll eventually have a burning sensation and remorse.