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Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Did Blackburn's intel help sink Giants?

By Dan Graziano
ESPN.com

Yeah, they're feeling pretty good about themselves down there in Charlotte, N.C., after the Carolina Panthers' 38-0 drubbing of the New York Giants this past Sunday. This latest is all about how former Giants linebacker Chase Blackburn, now with the Panthers, helped the Carolina game plan with his inside knowledge of the Giants' offense. Per the Charlotte Observer:
Blackburn
“I had an idea of what they run and what they like to do in situations,” Blackburn said. “We had a great game plan going in. I’ve been sharing all the information all week. Guys, all of us, linebackers were out there knowing what to do; (defensive backs) knew what kind of routes they were going to get off the route combinations.

“It makes for a big difference when you can play the game at that speed. We were able to play fast because we were aware of what they were going to do.”

...

“This was one of those things when you have a guy who knows the other team and you sit there and you listen to him when he is watching tape, before the play even happens, he calls the play out,” Rivera said. “You go, ‘He has a grasp of it.’ We saw it in practice. He was focused, he was excited and he brought a lot of energy.”

Hey, I have little doubt that Blackburn, who'll always retain a special place in Giants history for his Super Bowl interception of Tom Brady two seasons ago, was able to offer help due to his experience in New York. But let's not go overboard here. This kind of thing happens all the time around the league, and you tend to hear more about it when the team wins 38-0 than when they don't. After the Giants lost their season opener in Dallas, for example, you didn't hear anyone in their locker room talking about how big a help it was that Dan Connor had played for the Cowboys last year.

Blackburn has played a total of 17 defensive snaps for Carolina so far -- all 17 in Sunday's game. So my thought here is that it's a good bit of coaching by Ron Rivera to single him out for a contribution to the team's first victory of the year. And I'm sure he had something to do with it. It's just hard to believe that Blackburn's inside info was worth 38 points, is all.