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Monday, December 31, 2007

Phil Simms speaks

Phil Simms on Sunday morning WFAN segment had plenty to say about the Giants et al:

1) The better teams have multiple ways to win. A team like the Pats has ~7 (this is not science, just a random #) ways to beat you. If they have 7, the Colts have 5. And by implication, teams like the Giants have 1 way to win, to play perfect in all facets of the game.

2) The Patriots are opportunistic. They went back to Moss for his TD bomb in Q4 THE PLAY AFTER Madison limps off the field. And when Dwight Freney of the Colts leaves their Pats game for a breather earlier this season, the next play called was a TD bomb to Moss. They knew each time that that was the moment they needed to go for it.

3) Jacobs does a lot of the little things that impress. He forces defenses to adjust to his size and style when tackling, and whenever an opponent has to do that it helps you. He falls forward for the extra yards whenever he can.

4) TB will give the Giants a VERY different defensive look than the Pats. They are a faster team with better coverage. You need to (pound) run the ball on TB.

5) Very kind words for Boss, and positive a "dynamic" Bradshaw.

6) Re Dallas, teams are catching up to their offensive schemes.

7) Re Green Bay, he is not a big believer in the Pack. "Fragile." Admits to being surprised by them; feels they have overachieved and is implying (reading between the lines) that come the playoffs they will be vulnerable because they have already stretched themselves to their potential. (I suppose you have to say that this is also a ringing endorsement of the job McCarthy has done in getting so much out of that team.)

Sunday, December 30, 2007

the madness of coaches

I just saw three plays at the end of the half of the Skins-Boys game that were collectively like fingernails across a blackboard.

1) With ~ 9 secs left in H1, skins have ball at Boys 3 with no timeouts. What do you do? You throw one pass into the end zone and kick the FG if the pass is incomplete. (Fassel would have Kerry Collins throw the ball into parking lot D4 to make sure he did not lose the FG, but that is another story for another day.) Todd Collins throws the ball into the flat, and by some miracle the RB cannot make the catch because the ball is off target, or else they lose the 3 pts because there are 3 Cowboys defenders ready to make the tackle well before the goal line. This is Gibbs's mistake, period. See Andy Reid if you need clarification on why.

2) With the FG made on the next play, there is 0:01 left on the clock. Mistake #2 comes to the skins because they squib the ball but are boner offside. Wade Phillips makes a great call and figures out that instead of rekicking, he can accept the penalty, tack it on at the end of the play and get one more play at 0:00 because of the penalty.

3) Now it is Dallas's turn to play genius. You have the ball at the Skins 35 with 1 play, what do you do? KICK THE FG! Unless the Skins made a trade with the Bears a few hours earlier, they do not have Devin Hester back there, so there is zero risk, and within the kicker's range. Instead, they run a hail Mary play, Romo gets sacked, and winces off the field in pain, when he was prob done for the next two weeks anyway after halftime.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

NE 38 NYG 35

You have to play 4 quarters to beat the best teams in the NFL. The Giants played great for the first three quarters, lost that urgency in the 4th and the end result reflects that.

Manning and the entire team came ready to play, and a lot of good things came from this game. On the bright side, this was the best performance the Giants gave all season. Yes, 38 warts and all, it was a very good team showing for the Giants, something they can certainly build on.

The Patriots offense is potent on any day, and with the lack of turnovers you need 4 quarters from your offense. When the Giants got the ball in Q4, all of a sudden the wheels came off. A fumbled snap by Manning, a deflected ball at the line of scrimmage, a time out has to be burned (which we could have used in a big way), all within ~3 plays. And then the next possession when we can maintain tempo Manning overthrows his receiver for an INT. But make no mistake, THIS WAS A VERY GOOD GAME FOR MANNING. He showed us what we need to see, and we need to see it for 4 quarters, not three, and more consistently going forward. It is something to build on. It certainly is a performance that he can take into Tampa Bay and go toe to toe with anyone in the NFC in these playoffs. And that goes for the entire team. There were some sloppy moments in the 4th quarter that still irk me, like that 15 yard penalty on the kickoff, the Toomer holding penalty negating a good gain, the embarrassing slowness once again of the hurryup to snap the ball w/o watching the game clock go into single digits. But there were so many positives... Boss played well, Steve Smith was a factor, Hixon has speed on kickoffs (I assume Bradshaw was out.. he was 'questionable' w injury). Burress is looking a little better.

Rob points out that Manning was doing well when not blitzed, and when he got blitzed later in the game he had more trouble.

I thought the Giants were not getting breaks on many calls... (1) Ross was pushed off in the end zone by Moss on his first TD grab, should have been offensive pass interference but he is never going to get that call. (2) And speaking of Moss, on a big pass play earlier, he leg whips a defender and does not get called for tripping. (3) Webster also gets called on a marginal interference call when he was 'tight' w his receiver. That reverses a big sack too. (4) Wilfork tries to poke Jacobs in the eyes (which he will get fined by the league for but does not get 15 yds for in the game!). (5) Brady ran out of time and they didn't call it. (6) Umenyiora was held a couple of times in a flagrant manner.

The Giants suffered some injuries in this game, but the bottomline is that if they can play well in all three phases of the game like tonight, they can be competitive. You have to like them next weekend vs TB now, that is an easy takeaway. And the Giants and Bucs players know this.

NYG 21 NE 16 at halftime

Oh my goodness... the Giants have played a complete half on all sides of the ball. Let us see if they can play a complete game on all sides of the ball for the first time this YEAR! THE GIANTS HAVE COME TO PLAY.

The only thing that has gone really wrong so far is injuries to Mitchell and O'Hara. Thanks to the NLFLNetwork for pointing out how all 5 NYG Olinemen had not missed a single start this season, what an evil eye hex on us, and I was groaning immediately. Two quarters later O'Hara goes down.

Pats game tonight

It has been pointed out that for the past four weeks the weather conditions in NYG games have been less than stellar. Fair enough. So let's give Eli a little rope and see if he can hang himself when the winds are a little more manageable this evening and the weather is much more benign in Tampa. He should be able to get better results- no place to go but up from the last few outings.

As for the Pats, the amount of ego involved in this exhibition game (it affects zero outcomes in playoff seeding for ANY teams in the AFC or NFC) is ridiculous. Boston/New England fans are insecure crybabies when they are losing and arrogant when they are winning. The best team in the NFL right now is the Pats. While I am not rooting for anyone on either side to get hurt this evening, it would be rather IRONIC to see ANY Pats players get hurt and miss that playoff run. Getting the perfect season is so much less important than winning the Super Bowl. It would be fitting for a team, its coach and its fans that have so much ego let this perfect season trophy be their undoing. This team should be benching their starters after the first quarter at most, and at a minimum they should be starting their second stringers. But they are on a mission to destroy as many teams along the road to the Super Bowl as possible, so who am I to argue with that?

Re the Giants, I will concur with Carson in the previous post. The Giants have not played a complete game all season and clearly need to work to improve. We have seen so much poor execution and lapses everywhere, that this team is in no position to take a game off.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Harry Carson speaks about Pats game this Saturday

Carson: “I don't think the Giants are in a position to be resting people. They're still trying to get better. These guys still need to go out and play a complete game and eliminate mistakes as they go into the playoffs. They really need to hone their skills even better. Just making the playoffs shouldn't be a big deal. It's about advancing in the playoffs, that's the thing." Carson conceded that it would be wise to limit nicked-up players, but added: “In terms of resting people wholesale, I think that's crap."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

NFLN Blinks

The NFL (NFLNetwork) blinks by taking the Patriots-Giants national and simulcasting on CBS and NBC. Do we still have to listen to Gumbel? He is so awful, I am giving serious thought to putting on Bob Popa on WFAN and shutting off the sound on the tv. But back to the NFLN, I guess making every man woman and child pay an NFL tribute of $8.40/year isn't exactly working out. What a joke. Now that the NFL capitulated, how long is it going to be before they either drastically reduce their monthly fee request from cable or just go premium like they should have done in the first place?!

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

The Giants- in full enigma

Finally got a chance to watch a tape of the Bills win. Nothing has changed.

1) So the Giants give up another TD in their opponent's first possession. Not a good place to start. This has happened in 5 of the last seven games (Dallas game after the bye, Vikings, Bears game, Eagles, and now Bills game). Digging a hole is not exactly a good way to have success against good teams.

2) Daryl Johnston was right on the money when he commented that Amani Toomer lifted this team out of the early 14-0 hole. But the Giants had BIG HELP from the Bills-- a) the aborted Bills punt b) the Feagles roughing the kicker 15 yarder to enable the drive to continue (NEXT play TD, talk about a swing). POINT- decent execution by the Bills keep us in that deep hole. The Giants deserve credit for making the Bills pay for their sins, but this is a microcosm for how the Giants slip by weaker teams...

THE GIANTS MAKE MISTAKES AND MANY OF THEIR WEAKER OPPONENTS SIMPLY MAKE MORE.

3) Fox mentioned a great stat- that Bradshaw had exactly 6 carries from scrimmage before this game. That is pretty damning. Everyone is yelling "what took so long?" We saw his ability in PRESEASON. (There were numerous other entries along the way too.

4) I will not beat the Manning-dead-horse anymore. You have to be blind to miss how Eli is killing this team. Eli did some good things with connections to Toomer in h1, and it was not his fault that Steve Smith drops a 50 yarder which would have set up 1st and Goal. But his 4 turnovers were another killer. Read Vaccaro if you want to pile on some more.

5) Gilbride was playcalling pretty well this season until his consistent lack of use of Shockey in the passing game and other items started creeping in. The goal line set (and the entire red zone, for that matter) is primetime TIGHT END time. Also, why use Droughns exclusively in this short yardage area? They might as well put him in a junior high school hallway with "kick me" slapped on his back. And why does Coughlin go for it on fourth down when they were unable to punch it in 3x in a row? That is a very simple rule-- if you cannot get the ball in with three tries from ~goal line, you kick the FG. Coughlin took the 3 vs the Skins and it was the right thing to do again. These are the costly mistakes that come back to haunt you in closer games vs better opponents.

6) Cofield disrupting screen plays, Hedgecock making good seal blocks for Jacobs/Bradshaw, Wilson doing a lot of open field tackling... among the quiet contributions.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Was unable to view the game here in Philadelphia....

So we hear that Bradshaw (before the 88 yd run) told his linemen in the huddle that if they made their blocks he would score a TD. Isn't it ironic how Eli Manning applauds Bradshaw, saying that that is the kind of confidence you want in your RB?!!! How about seeing that kind of confidence and leadership from our weakest link QB?

Yep, Coughlin's job and new contract are all but sealed. Reese needs to help Coughlin by giving him a second (VIABLE) choice at QB.

The comparisons are being made to the Giants '84-'86 run, since this is the first time the Giants are in the playoffs for 3 consecutive years. That is where the comparison WOEFULLY should and WILL end, because this ain't no '86 year. Everyone today in print who is pointing out this accomplishment in the same breath ought to be shot. That we MAY win our first playoff contest w Coughlin by beating the mediocre Bucs is an embarrassing reminder that the squads of the mid 80's were competing for CHAMPIONSHIPS, not their first playoff success.

Heard that the game's tone changed when Pro Bowl Left Tackle Peters left with an injury in Q2. Yes, that is some loss. His story is incredible. McNally (remember him? he was Fassel's Oline Coach) was (well, er) incredible in taking slop and turning these guys into makeshift linemen. McNally took a raw college player w considerable skill at other positions and turned him into a Pro Bowl lineman! And a LT no less!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

From Buffalo to Troy

1) The Giants need to win this weekend or they are out. Why? Because two of the three (Vikes, Skins and Saints) teams rate to be there at 9-7 by the end of the season and THE GIANTS LOSE MOST IF NOT ALL TIEBREAKERS. And of course we know the Giants are not beating the Pats.

2) The good news for Giants fans is that they are somehow favored this weekend in Buffalo. Go figure. But as I mentioned when they were similarly favored over the Bears in Chicago, the money has figured out that the Giants are winning this weekend. At least that is my interpretation.

3) Was #2 good news? If you subscribe to the ultimatenyg philosophy that the Giants should be playing for a championship, not anything less, then the answer is NO. This is because the Giants have only a slightly better chance of winning the Super Bowl than I do of becoming President. And that also means that Coughlin and Manning are entrenched. Sure, it will be wonderful to watch us play and beat the TB Bucs and then get all worked up about fantasies of beating the Cowboys, but somewhere in there the train will crash, we will get that miserable draft pick and have to deal with a new Coughlin contract and more of the same warm porridge.

4) Heard another internet news reporter refer to LaRon Landry doing the same things at safety for the Redskins this past week that Sharper did for the Vikes... he did something radical- he watched Manning's eyes. He broke up at least a few long pass plays.

5) Did you hear that Spagnuolo has been mentioned on some short lists of potential new head coaching prospects? This is John Fox redux. I like Spags thus far, and would take a chance on him over Coughlin. At least we'd be one coach closer to Eli losing tenure.

6) Cowher? Fox? Garrett? Spags? Bring it on.

7) I am sHOckEd to hear that Parcells left yet another person at the alter. I loved him as my coach but he is one big P****.

8) Osi Umenyiora is the lone Giant voted to the Pro Bowl. Arnie comments that maybe our players are not as good as we think they are when only one of us can get honors.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

FABULOUS ARTICLE BY SCHWARTZ

Paul Schwartz put together a masterful summary of the Giants Enigma.

In fact, he cuts through the confusion and calls it exactly how it is. Inside the piece he delivers another gem of a stat that I salivated over when I heard it- "When they actually catch the ball, Giants receivers usually go straight down, as they don't have a single player in the top 40 in the NFL in yards after the catch." Add that little ditty to Manning leading the league in INTs, balls deflected at the line of scrimmage, and that stellar passer rating of 72.6, and you get the richest tenured person in America. That yards after catch (yac) was what turned Joe Montana from a very ordinary 3rd round draft choice into a Hall of Famer. HE HIT HIS RECEIVERS IN STRIDE. Imagine where our receivers (and Pro Bowl TE) would be if they were hit in stride? We would have an offense! But instead, we have to listen to guys like Tony Siragusa insult our intelligence by saying that Eli Manning is a very good QB who gets a bad rap. The day after Darren ("I Love New York") Sharper retires, go ask him how good a QB Eli Manning is. In the meantime, 31 other teams spend all their time praising Eli. That 72.6 rating is what punches everyone else's meal ticket. Nothing like a little mediocrity to make the NFL world go 'round. Thanks Schwartz for lifting the haze of this "Smoke Screen" and calling it like it is.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Wash 22 NYG 10

Don't worry, Shockey is fine. It is the Giants that are ill.

Stop the excuses, we are a very ordinary team. Beating Buffalo next weekend is not a lock by any stretch. And the Pats will not be laying down for anyone even if they have homefield sewn up. So the Giants are now potentially looking at 9-7 and they will need some help if that is the case. WHO CARES?!! We are going nowhere whether we are in the playoffs or not.

The number of mistakes made by the Giants last night would take forever to list. So you have to assign blame on the coaches if the offenders were far and wide, which in this case it most certainly was. Pierce said the Redskins wanted the win more than the Giants did. Okay, now that we have that settled, why?

Once again it comes back to the lack of urgency from Manning. His receivers were awful last night, dropping many of his passes. But last night I sure missed Kerry Collins' firm and tight spiral. No it was not Manning who dropped that sure TD pass to Toomer. But it was Manning who threw more deflected passes, and he leads the league in passes deflected at the line of scrimmage, a TELLing stat about his problem with giving the defense too much information.

Shockey out for season-- a big problem? It would be if we were actually playing to our potential and if he were the center of our offense and the center of our team. He is the most dominant player on our squad yet will not be missed. Why? Because he is wasted by Coughlin. Not wasted by Gilbride, wasted by Coughlin. In 4 years with Coughlin at the head, be it Hufnagel or Gilbride, Shockey's numbers have been below where they should be. He takes two men with him on pass routes and one on blocking assignments, so where should he be? Last week he got ONE pass reception for FOUR TOTAL YARDS. This week he got TWO for EIGHTEEN yards. Ridiculous. So he won't be missed (except in the running game, ironically).... get another TE who can block and you have replaced the Coughlin Shockey TE.

It would be interesting to see if the Bills can beat us. Maybe someone wants it more than we do. If so, we would finish 9-7 and the questions would seep in again about Coughlin. How is this possible after being 9-4 and 7-3? Because we do not protect home field and the fans have every right to boo them. We were favorites vs the Vikings and lost. We were favorites vs the Skins and lost. Shame on them.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Special Teams Video

The Top 5 NY Giants Special Teams Fakes

What jumps out at you? That ALL 5 were in the Parcells regime. And what was such a mind blower was #1, a play I totally forgot about. But the point here is that Fassel and Coughlin have not tried a single INTENTIONAL fake in the past ELEVEN years! You have to keep teams honest, stretch their players, maybe it forces the opposition to have certain people on the field in case of a fake that will not be able to help the other 97% of the time on routine kick/punt coverage. As an example, when Hester is back at the goal line on a FG attempt, fake the kick and try 11 on 10! A missed FG is going to be spotted 7-8 yards behind the line of scrimmage, so what do you have to lose? Show me a team with tendencies, a team that is predictable, and I will show you a team that gets beat. Another good time to do a fake is near the end of the half/game, because often the opposition cries Uncle and calls for a timeout because they are unprepared. That is one timeout less they will have, which is the difference between winning and losing in the NFL. Just ask the Eagles and Bears the past two weeks.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Some perspective on 9-4

You are your record. 9-4 certainly makes this a respectable year, and you have to give Coughlin a lot of credit. His players are playing for him and he has their respect. In many years 9-4 would lead to a division win or a bye. Not this year.

1) The Giants have not beaten any team that currently has a winning record.

2) The Giants have not lost to anyone who currently has a losing record.

3) Eli Manning leads the league with 17 INTs.

4) The NYG defense is 7th in the NFL in yards allowed per game.

5) The Giants are in the bottom third of the league in TO ratio with -7. This reflects the fumbles by Jacobs, the Manning INTs, the softer secondary not generating INTs.

6) The Giants are in the bottom ~quarter of the league in penalties, a very good stat which (in my opinion) speaks directly to the respect that Coughlin has gotten from his players this season. This may also be a windfall from cutting Petitgout, because when your #1 offender is gone, everyone else cannot hide behind him.

7) I like to trash Manning wherever I can, but let's give him some credit for all of those off-sides encroachment penalties he is drawing with his hard counts.

8) The Giants lead the League in sacks. And considering the third best team in the league is 12 sacks behind them, we are easily the most dominant defensive line in the league when you consider #4 above.

9) The Giants are 5th in the league in time of possession.

This team can be very special if Burress gets healthy and Manning plays with more consistency. The defense has been consistent and solid. Special teams have been improving. The offensive line has been mostly solid. There is upside to this team, but until they can play a complete game on all sides of the ball, the Giants will not be a serious contender.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

NYG 16 PHI 13

The Giants defense played a very good game and played courageously in limiting Westbrook.

But this game should not have come down to Akers missing from 56 yds at the end of regulation, deflected off the right post. Once again the Giants escape with wins against weaker teams because the opposition does not capitalize on our mistakes the way better teams (which beat us) do. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. WE ARE SLATED FOR THE WILD CARD, JUST AS WAS MENTIONED ALMOST A MONTH AGO.

1) The Giants went into the prevent offense and prevent defense and if the Akers FG is just slightly left we are all ranting at how it kills us. The fact that it came down to that is disgraceful and unacceptable. This is how losers lose. This is not how you build a championship. Winning teams get the first down when they have the ball with ~1:30 left at midfield and a 3 pt lead. They end the game right there. Instead we do the run-run-run-kick. Here, have the ball. AND we are SO LUCKY that Madison does not get called for a delay of game by holding Westbrook after the play is over. That would stop the clock, it would give them 5 extra yards. It would give them another play or two, and we are in OT or we lose in regulation.

2) Remember what Jacobs said after the Jets game? Click this link to refresh your memory. So this time after coming back from injury he puts the ball on the ground for two turnovers. UNACCEPTABLE. UNACCEPTABLE. He played at less than 100%, got strength and effectiveness as the game wore on, but he killed us with those fumbles. The Giants defense bailed him out.

3) Droughns MUST score on that large run where he gets tackled at the 1. Any other RB shakes the tackle long enough/has enough speed/stiff arms enough to get into the end zone. When we have FOUR tries at the end zone and fail, Coughlin makes the right decision to kick the FG. Nice miss by Eli on the pass to Shockey which fails to get us the TD.

4) Manning (who had an ~8 yard scramble today) should be running when he has the field wide open. He does not do that enough and it would aid the offense in more ways than just the big pickup.

5) Burress is not enough of a deep threat. He played a great short game considering that his injury gives him so little mobility. After the game he said to Siragusa that after all this time his ankle is beginning to get better. At face value that would be HUGE. But I saw little in the game that made me think he was any healthier than previous weeks. If he were healthy he would have had 237 yards, not 137 yards.

6) Diehl has been overachieving all year yet Trent Cole got to him with 2 sacks. One of them pushed us out of FG range. We have been very fortunate to have health this year at OL and would be wise to get a LT to eventually move Diehl back to guard. Diehl goes up against the opposing team's best pass rusher and gives up the majority of sacks. It is a very tough job and he must be commended for being a 5th rounder that has not missed a single START for us in 5 years. But he is a nice guard, not a tackle. Reese should be reminding himself of this in the offseason when he is looking at free agents and his draft needs.

7) What more can you say about the defense? They really settled down after the first TD. Westbrook was contained well. Dahl and Johnson recovered well as starting rookie safeties. With the exception of that offsides penalty on Johnson it was an impressive day for the kids.

8) Toomer was down by contact. Period. Daryl Johnston's opinion that Toomer fumbled was wrong, and he tried to backtrack by saying it was a judgment call, he knew he was wrong, the officials called it right. Next play TD to Burress, BIG SWING.

9) 1st and Goal from the 6, and a pass over the head of Shockey (who had two steps on his defenser) and another pass behind Burress for a second chance at the same TD. FGs on the road lose games, certainly against the better teams.

10) And finally the Manning moment. His boosters will say he did enough for us to win. His (ultimatenyg) detractors will point out that while Manning makes the check read to Burress for the score, there are still way too many points left on the field by this mediocre QB. Manning admission after game: "Shockey should have had two touchdowns today." Same Eli. Caretaker.

11) 9-4 is a mirage. It is nice enough to get the Giants some respect as postseason entrants, but we are not a crisp team that has played up to its potential for a single game this season. It hides lots of problems which are in our way to getting a championship. It is enjoyable to beat Philly, but I have not seen anything today that makes us any closer to being a championship competitor since our loss to Dallas (..which confirmed that second class status).

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Misc

1) Kudos to Harold, who points out more Coughlin foibles. Some mention that the FG required at the end of the Bear game was such a tangible risk, that it is a PAT distance which our kicker can miss, thus making the strategy of burning down the clock and taking the PAT FG somehow riskier than giving them the ball with 1:33 left AND 1 timeout. Harold points out that (a) between the extra couple of seconds you get before they even reset the game clock, there would have been ~ 3 seconds left, not 15 seconds, thereby ELIMINATING the kickoff to Hester altogether and ICING the game completely. (b) IF COUGHLIN WAS SO WORRIED ABOUT THE PAT AS A LIABILITY IN THE WINDY CONDITIONS ETC.., WHY DIDN'T HE GO FOR THE TWO AFTER THE TD SO THAT WE WOULD BE UP BY 6 AND MAKE THEIR PAT (IF THEY SCORED) AN ISSUE???!!! At that point we were up by 4, and 4 or 5 makes no difference, 6 can make a difference.

2) That trade we made in the offseason to get Reuben Droughns? We gave up Tim Carter, who has been lighting it up in Cleveland... 7 catches this SEASON and 1 TD reception. Not. The only irony of that trade is that we were so loaded at RB that we had to trade Ryan Grant to the Packers for an undisclosed draft pick. Marvelous was quick to point out that losing Grant was bad for us.

3) With Pierce (likely) out, Wilson out, it makes the Westbrook problem even more acute. And as long as Burress is ailing and cannot stretch the field, that makes the Eagles' aggressive fronts more of a matchup problem than normal. Hope I am incorrect, but realistically you have to like the Eagles tomorrow. Speaking of hope, at least McNabb is back... that is a plus for us!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Joys of Philly

One Giant player reminded us of what makes this weekend a special one in the NFL season... "Just the proximity, it's so close, I think they really try to stick it to you when you come down the highway," C Shaun O'Hara said. "It's always fun driving into the stadium to see how many people are eager to drop their pants to say hello." And so it is every year when you play the Eagles. Some people think the entire season hinges on beating Dallas, or beating the Skins. Me? I cannot stomach the Eagles. And it all starts with their fans, some of the unruliest in the league. The things that come out of these peoples' mouths can take the paint off a car. Each year at Giants games we see all kinds of fans. Dallas fans are loud and proud but mostly well behaved. Skins fans are quieter and still mostly civilized. Some of the worst fans are Jets fans. They come from Long Island, where half of them are inbred, so what do you expect? They bring their road rage and ugliness to the Meadowlands and cheer on women at halftime to bare their bodies like the class acts they all are.

Then come the Eagles fans. The worst. By far. Not even close. Each year that I am at the NYG-PHL I would estimate that there are more fights in the stands than the other games I see COMBINED. Easily. These people are the same ones that caused the Vet down in Philly to build the first NFL jail in the bowels of that stadium. They then brought in the first Judge to regularly dispatch justice on the drunken lot.

So it is that we play Philly again this weekend, down at the Linc. Michael Strahan on Eagles fans: “I think their fans are probably the meanest people I've ever been around, so it's nice to beat Philly.”

Amen. As a realist, I do not like our chances with Westbrook in the lineup (look what happened when he was not!) this coming weekend. But let's remember a few moments- Strahan catching that deflected interception and running it all the way back for a victory in OT... Burress taking the ball into the end zone in OT last year when Manning audibled at the line on single coverage.

One of the greatest sounds is the silence of a bunch of Eagles fans.

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Manning by the numbers

YEAR QB Rating Ranking
2007 Manning 74 25
2006 Manning 77 18
2005 Manning 76 23
2004 Warner 87 14
2003 Collins 71 25
2002 Collins 85 T7-15
2001 Collins 77 17
2000 Collins 83 12
1999 Graham/Collins74 26
1998 Kanell 67 25
1997 Kanell 71 27
1996 Brown 61 31
1995 Brown 73 22
1994 Brown 73 21
1993 Simms 88 4

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Coughlin is a Meathead 21 Bears 16

You have 1:37 on the clock, first and goal from the 2, Bears 16 NYG 14, what do you do? Meathead Coughlin runs the ball in for a TD on first down, assuring the Bears of arguably their best chance for winning the game. TAKE A KNEE! Force them to burn their last remaining time out. TAKE ANOTHER KNEE! Now there are 0:55 left on the clock. Run the ball on third down and if you score a TD there are 0:50 secs left. If not, the clock keeps running to 0:13 for 4th down where you are left with the equivalent of a PAT gimme FG to win the game. Instead, we kick off to the Bears with 1:33 and they still have one timeout! INCREDIBLE. When a team is down by 1 or 2 pts with enough time left and 1st and goal from the goal line, the clock is now your biggest adversary, not the other team. Does this sound familiar? Holmgren in SB XXXII let Denver walk in with 1:47 because he knew he needed the clock to score again. Pick one of the three choices: A) 21-16 with 1:33 left and the Bears w/ 1 TO B) 21-16 with 0:50 and the Bears with no TOs C) 17-16 with 0:13 and the Bears with no TOs. I pick C with a second possibility of B. Slam dunk.

Back to the rest of the game, same "2Q" Eli, who cannot play a complete game. In this game he was putrid for the first 3 quarters, throwing 2 INTS and a fumble. We had a turnover net of -4 and won because the defense was terrific. Feagles and the specials were great, limiting Hester all day. Still it was the sloppy Giants who will lose this same game to a better team because the better team will not have a wide open WR get missed for a TD by Grossman, the better team will not have Hester drop a TD pass etc... Separately, the referees reversed an incompletion to Toomer which they (correctly imo) ruled a touchdown.

Somehow the Giants managed to win a game they clearly SHOULD have won. They are 8-4. Just like last year, we have warm porridge and are going to be playing 2008 with a draft pick in the low 20's, a loss in the first or second round of the playoffs, and Meathead Coughlin as our head coach. I think Coughlin has done a decent job this year but it is moments like these with 1:37 left where I know he is not taking us all the way, or if he does, it is despite his presence there on the sideline.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Bears Preview

I just saw Kimberly Jones on "This Week in Football." She is one of the beat writers, and reports something from earlier in the week that I did not see.... seems that Eli Manning on Monday was asked about the 3 balls batted down at the line of scrimmage and was queried about them (in addition to the 4 INTS). Manning was apparently willing to admit there might be something to the Vikings following Manning's eyes. Ya Think?

This attention this week to Eli's flaws might give him some religion this weekend vs the Bears. QB RELIGION. Thou shalt not stare down a Wide Receiver for too long before getting rid of thy football. If Manning can clean things up a little, the rest of the team can play better and will indeed bounce back with a win. Let's see if we can get ONE game from Manning. The Giants should not be favs this weekend, so I will respect that and believe the Giants will win.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cable vs NFL Network Math

Some math before the NFLN Dallas/GB non-telecast begins. There are 100M cable subscribers. 100M * $0.70/month * 12 months = $840M dollars. For EIGHT FREAKIN' GAMES! OF WHICH ~TWO OR THREE ARE ANY GOOD! If they gave too many good games to NFLN, then FOX, NBC, ESPN, and CBS would all get pissed at how things over there are watered down (which they are already, hence the 'flex' game scamming). And speaking about the networks, the deal they negotiated in 2004 costs them ~700M per year. That covers a whole lot of games every week for 17 weeks plus playoff and some super bowl coverage too. Now contrast that with the 840M/yr the NFL wants for its NLFN. The NFL is dreaming. It is a shakedown, trying to get that much money for an 8 trick (or more like 3 trick) pony. They can argue that you are getting 12 months worth of programming, but how many people are watching football in February-August?

Here are some prices which other cable networks get ($/subscriber): ESPN 2.90, ESPN2 0.33, ESPN News 0.04, Disney Channel 0.80, Cartoon Network 0.08, USA 0.60, CNN 0.44, Fox News 0.60, Nickelodeon 0.34, TNT 0.89. The issue here is that people watch sportscenter every day. They watch a lot of this programming 24/7/365. The NFL Network is a niche channel with a narrow segment that will turn the network on a handful of times PER YEAR. TNT (similarly priced) gives a strong content of movies and shows that are watched all year long by a wide audience. The bottomline is that NFLN is a premium channel and the NFL wants the entire country funding it.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

NFL Network crushes access to DAL vs GB

Milking the theme of "exposed," we now get to say that Thurs night's Dal-GB game on the NFL Network will expose the NFL's greed. Nothing like a blacked out blockbuster to put the spotlight this time on the league's attempt to get every cable subscriber to pony up 70 cents per month to pay for the owners' and players' coffers. The debate about the structure of cable fees (where some stations are premium and others are part of the basic subscription) is fascinating. I am no fan of the cable companies and their monopolistic power, because they will raise cable rates whether NFLN is successful in getting into the basic subscription package or not. But the bottom line is that NFLN has an extremely narrow interest, so saddling zillions of homes with this cost is ridiculous.

For the most part, every game on NFLN has been sleepy enough that the diehard football fans like us have not minded missing out. That will change on Friday morning if this game lives up to its hype. I for one think the Cowboys will wipe the floor with the Packers, but if the Packers make it a game to remember, the pressure for a settlement will rise. If the game is a dud, it will merely mark more time while the NFL figures out how they must capitulate and bring their demands down. Root for the Cowboy blowout. Root for NFLN to implode. Root for exposing NFL greed.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It always starts and ends with Manning

The passing rating numbers: 2004= 55 2005= 76 2006= 77 2007= 75

GM Reese: "The quarterback has gotten skittish, for whatever reason. Maybe it's because he's feeling pressure, but he has to get used to that, because it's going to keep coming. I think he can do it, because he's shown he can. He was off yesterday and didn't play well, but I still believe Eli will do it."

Those were some of his public comments. He has no choice but to put on a strong and supportive front, whether he believes the stuff he is peddling or not. We here have the luxury of calling it the way we see it. Pilot to bombardier, bomb bays open... Note how even Reese falls into the "Eli trap." The Eli trap is believing that (1) because Eli "did" it means he can do it again and (2) because he can get it done means he can get it done on a consistent basis in the future. On both counts this is simply untrue.

He can play well against the Lions, maybe his most complete game, and then stink it up terribly. Doc calls him "2Q" because that is the number of quarters per game he is good for. Marvelous was a little more blunt about the prospects for this team-> if the Giants had to play the Vikings again next week on a neutral field the Giants would lose again. What that says is simply that Eli would not have enough again next week. If the Giants were exposed as a team 3 games ago vs Dallas, then Eli was exposed this weekend vs the Vikings. All of his sins were spotlighted, in front of 75K fans, in front of his brother, and in front of the entire NFL. With respect to the second point about Manning playing more consistently because he has gotten it done before, the only way to answer that is to look at his completion percentage and passer rating the last 4 years... he has shown NO IMPROVEMENT in the past TWO seasons, so why should anyone believe he is all of a sudden going to get religion and make a quantum jump in production? Out come the cruel hard realities- he is inaccurate and the Vikings have found a tell or two. I will be a little more blunt- this guy is a rich man's Dave Brown and needs to be shown the bench.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Just read the prev post from 7AM this morning

The previous post, a pre-game warning about Sharper, says it all. When does management put in a stop-loss order on this QB? Better yet, when does management get a backup to challenge this guy for his job? Fyi the assist goes to Schwartz on the pregame interview which tipped me off to the Viking secondary having the day they would end up having.

remember Darren Sharper today

I was there 2 years ago when the Giants fell asleep to the Vikings and lost a game they should have won. Similarly, they play a weaker team once again at home two years later, and Giant veterans are quick to point out that this team is different. But I will remind everyone that two things are still the same:

1) Darren Sharper will still be playing centerfield

2) Eli Manning still telegraphs his passes and does not look off one side of the field
Why do I mention that I was at the game? Because when you are at the game you get to watch what YOU want to watch, not what the camera wants you to watch. And I watched Sharper's eyes watch Manning's eyes. He did it all day. You think he got three INTs that day because he was lucky? He got them because he was looking to jump every pass Manning was throwing. It is two years later, and Sharper paid his dues to Manning, kissing his a** and saying how wonderful Manning is with two more years of experience. Two more years of confidence and not getting caught off-guard. But it was what he did not say that got my attention. He did not say ANYTHING about two years less of telegraphed passes. That is because THAT is the SAME ELI. This is a very winnable game for the Giants, and they will need to pass the ball against one of the worst rated pass defenses in the league. Please let me see Manning look off one side of the field to freeze Sharper there! If there is ever a Safety that you must look off, it is Sharper. He has 2 INTs this season in 10 games and has this game penciled in for another. IF YOU HAVE SHOCKEY OR BURRESS ON MAN COVERAGE FOR A DEEP ROUTE AND WANT TO FREEZE THE SAFETY, YOU MUST LOOK OFF SHARPER TO THE OTHER SIDE FIRST. Sharper is 32 years old. He is probably a half-step slower. Don't give him an extra step this afternoon.

One more thing- did any of you notice how Kitna killed the Lions vs the Packers this past Thursday? He has telegraph-itis too, and was not helping the pass offense one bit. Sharper's 2 INTs this season? Yep, both were against Kitna.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Still playing in the shadow of that DAL loss

The Giants face the remaining two NFC North teams (Min, at Chi) in successive weekends. Both of these teams are 0-2 vs NFC East teams (Dal and Phi). The Viking game sb a win because Eli Manning sb able to throw all day while the Vikings will only be able to run on us. Peterson was upgraded to questionable, but if I am the Vikings I hold out my rookie sensation one more week since Taylor did just fine w/o the phenom able to play. Peterson is the team's future, let him heal. And if he plays, deal with it and just make sure that one player does not beat you.

Remaining sched after the Bears... at Phi, Was, at Buf, NE.

Trying to determine the outcome at Chi, at Phi, at Buf is anybody's guess. We could win all 3 and we could lose all three. That is a swing of anywhere from 12-4 to 9-7, assuming we win vs the Vikes and Skins at home and lose to NE (gee that last one is a reach!... I'd make the game pick'em vs their second stringers too fyi). What does any of this mean? Since losing to Dallas a few weeks back, almost NOTHING! We will get a wild card road game and even if we beat up on TB or SEA, bfd. We will lose the following week to GB or DAL unless we pitch a perfect outing, and our season is pretty much mapped out... yes, w 6 games left in the reg season. Sad but true. This was the hangover from the Dallas loss- it boxes us in almost regardless of anything we do. The only thing that can change this 'track' is if there is a tremendous improvement in a player or unit or if injuries really derail us. The loss of Kiwanuka and Jacobs (how long?) really track us for that road wild card. LIVE MAN WALKING DEAD.

Monday, November 19, 2007

two horrendous calls by the officials

Joke call #1-

Kitna has nowhere to go, runs ~2 steps to his LEFT, is about to get sacked and the ball comes loose. FUMBLE! No, say the officials. SACK! No, say the officials. Intentional grounding??? No again. And the ruling is....Incomplete forward pass! @#$%^&*! SOMEHOW, instead of this being a disaster for the Lions, they get the ball back at the line of scrimmage. Outrageous. If it is somehow ruled a forward pass, it is grounding because he is already in the grasp and the ball is not being thrown to anyone.

Joke call #2-

Kitna is flushed out of the pocket, this time to his right. Despite a huge head start, Tuck is moving too fast for him. Tuck dives for him, gets him by the legs and trips him up. The call? Personal foul, hit below the knees. This call was equivalent to a turnover, because it gave them a first down when they were in deep trouble late in the game. Strahan and Coughlin went nuts in the media on this one. I think we need to start fondling the private parts of QBs lest they feel neglected and unloved.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

NYG 16 Lions 10

Not pretty. A win is a win, especially on the road. But the game should not have been this close. As we have been saying all season, the Giants made enough mistakes to cost them vs better teams, but since they happened vs a weaker team we still managed to prevail. This theme has plenty of legs, because once again we were our own worst enemy.

The GOOD- Manning. Offensive Line. Strahan (3 sacks) and Tuck. Some opportunistic picks by Madison, Wilson and Butler off of deflections. Jacobs in the 1st half. Bradshaw kickoff return to start Q3. Tynes (3 for 3).

The Bad- some garbage penalties, some of which were horrible calls by the officials.

The UGLY- Moss and Jacobs fumbles in Lions territory that took anywhere from 6 to 14 points off the board. The prevent defense, which gives up more points in 1.5 minutes (7) than the first 54 minutes (3).

Jacobs injured his hamstring and Kiwanuka broke his leg. Manning is using hard counts to draw the defense offsides. He could not use this weapon in previous years because it would draw a false start from Petitgout first and thereby cause more harm than good. (that was a joke, guys.)

Summary- good win, but should not have gone down to a possible late TD causing a loss. Burress came on in second half to help the team, but it is clear he is a liability with diminishing returns now. Nothing has changed from last week's prognosis that we are a flawed team that is in the second tier of a weak conference.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

6 days in the desert

I was trying to figure out why there was no post the past 6 days. Answer- because there was a finality to the Giants' season this week. It is over. No, of course the Giants are a decent team this year and there are more than a few things to get excited about... like the play of Aaron Ross and Justin Tuck and the offensive line. But any real ideas of a championship got completely obliterated. It was not a likehihood that the Giants could or would ascend to that place in the league. But there was a chance. And the Giants missed their chance. Yes, we have read all week how the Giants are still in very good shape at 6-3 and that they aim to be playing the Cowboys again blah blah. Ultimately, like I have said here before and will remind you of as much as is necessary--- this game is about winning championships. If you are not building to that, then go get Schottenheimer and you will do better than this and still come up short.

Click on this link for a very good synopsis of the NFL this year and in general.

In the article 5 strong teams are mentioned. Their QBs are Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Tony Romo, Brett Favre, and Ben Roethlisberger. See the pattern? These guys are the ones that make a difference. They play 4 quarters. They fight for their teams. No shrugged shoulders. THEY MAKE PLAYS AND WHEN THEY ARE DONE MAKING PLAYS THEY MAKE MORE PLAYS.
Two years ago when Favre was getting dumped on, too many INTS, retirement, I said GET HIM! This past year when Garcia was going to be a free agent, I said GET HIM! (Click link) Garcia and Favre are on the way out yet they still give you every ounce of passion and never let up. If you think I am dreaming when I tell you that either of these guys would transform this team in one training camp, then you do not know football.

So we will all go back to our tv tomorrow at 1PM and look for a win. I will be looking for championship play from our QB. Still looking.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dal 31 NYG 20... EXPOSED.

The Giants were exposed. They were beaten by a better team. The Giants lost this game at the line of scrimmage. Not badly. But enough. The Giants made mistakes that a better opponent forces you to make, and they made fewer plays because the better opponent gave us fewer opportunities. The Giants also made mistakes which are more glaring in a loss than in a win. Costly penalties, some shoddy tackling. When Manning gets the ball at his own 42 with a 14-10 lead and Q2 winding down, it is a travesty what took place. He takes not one but two sacks, and enables the Cowboys to escape the first half in which we were actually looking pretty good. If not for a gift Dallas penalty it would have been 17-14 Dallas.

And then came the Manning second half. The inconsistent/disappearing act. Tell me how it is possible for a QB to get that many delay of games? How is it possible to get a delay of game in the hurry up? That is a metaphor for Manning. He has poise yet he does not. He plays well and he does not. We needed 4 quarters out of him, and we get 2. Sometimes the OL or the DL is not going to be aces, and we need help. Manning is in a position to help and does not. No, to be fair, it was not Manning that was called for a hold which negates a TD. But this is the same QB as last year that comes up empty. The QB always seems to get more of the credit in a win and more of the blame in a loss, but since the QB is the one with his hands on the ball half of the game it is up to him to make things happen. Like it or not, the Giants cannot go to the next level until Manning goes to the next level.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

getting ready for Dallas

1) The starters at CB in week 1 vs Dallas were McQuarters and Webster. Now they are a healthy Madison and Ross.
2) The Giants are last in the NFL in red zone defense. The coaching staff analyzed this during the bye week to determine what tendencies can be changed to get better there.
3) A win on Sunday extends the winning streak to 7, which would be the longest since 1990, when that team won 10 straight. Get it? Long winning streaks are the hallmark of consistent teams that WIN CHAMPIONSHIPS.
4) Those Red Jerseys the Giants will be wearing on Sunday are a crock of s**t.
5) Speaking about crocks of s**t, Flex Scheduling has moved the Giants-Lions game to 1PM next week to bump the Dallas-Skins game to 4PM. People who buy tickets and actually attend these games are pawns. Ridiculous! Like the Lions-Giants game had to be moved? Two potentially 7-2 teams in the FOX national slot? Insane, all of it.
6) 6 out of the 10 geniuses take the Boys on Sunday. This is a good thing for us. And Blezow does NOT have the Giants as his (Sch)lock of the week. Thank you thank you!
7) Manning has a 79 QB rating, but he has a 99 rating in the red zone. WHY? Because the playcalling by Gilbride in the red zone has been (unlike last year) unpredictable. I also think that down in the red zone (where speed is so critical) Manning thinks less and throws to a certain spot, thereby avoiding the telegraph and INT.
8) The Giants have 30 sacks through 8 games. They had 32 all of last year.
9) Yah, so the Gmen are 6-0 vs teams with a combined record of 13-36. But let's give credit to the Giants for getting their business done... do you think that the Giants are going to be slightly more up for the Dallas game than they were for the 49ers or the Dolphins? The Giants are a confident team that has a lot to prove tomorrow.
10) Pierce says the Giants were flying to the ball in practice this week, and have not practiced this well (fast) since the Giants beat the Skins 36-0 after Mara died.
11) Bradshaw looks to get more action this weekend... as long as he protects the ball, he IS a HUGE help on pass catching out of the backfield.
12) I am very disappointed in our third receiver option. Moss sucks, he does not finish runs, and does not get first downs. And Smith is out again... is durability going to be a problem here?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Dallas at NYG

The stakes are huge for the Giants. If they lose there is realistically no bye this year. How do they win this game?

1) Manning plays 4 quarters. See prev blog.
2) No romo-ing right. The Dallas QB is as lethal rolling out of the pocket RIGHT as Manning has been lethal on play action.
3) The battle of the line of scrimmage is (as usual) critical. When the Giants have the ball, they must create that surge to get the run yards and make the play action more effective. Dallas has been effective against the run, and the Giants need to establish the run. A war.
3a) On the other side, the Giants dline needs to stop Dallas on first down so that it can get the 4 DE's on the field to make plays. Romo needs as much pressure as possible, and the Giants will give him a lot more than they did last game, when Strahan was not in season's form and Umenyiora was hurt. (Dallas did NOT see the 4DL rush in the first game.)
4) The Tight Ends. We need Shockey to get a lot of touches. He always gets the better of Williams, and that is the mismatch we have to leverage. Likewise, with Witten the bad news is he is always trouble for us. The good news is that we cannot do any worse against him than we did in the first game.
5) Beat the cr*p out of them! This game will be won by the team that is more physical. Control the line, beat up their WRs, pound Romo, bring the game to them or else they will bring the game to us.

If the Giants play their 'A' game they are a better team than the Cowboys and will win.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Manning at Midseason

From QB Coach Palmer:

Q: Tom Coughlin mentioned that a lot of times what you don’t see is Eli audibling to the right play in the run game…

A: Outstanding. Outstanding.

Q: That is something that probably nobody realizes?

A: No one realizes it. He gives our team numerous chances to be successful, not just in the passing game, but also in the running game.

From Off. Coord. Gilbride:

"We certainly didn’t throw the ball as well as we would have liked and we are disappointed in that despite the conditions. the last game and a half we have not thrown the ball as well. Last week there were extenuating circumstances but the second half of the San Francisco game we didn’t throw the ball particularly well and this week I don’t think we threw the ball as well as we could have even though the conditions were difficult."

Q: What are some of the things you are going to look to improve upon for the second half of the season?

A: I think consistency in throwing the ball. I think that is a fairly obvious area that needs to be looked into. We have had some games where we have been outstanding, we have had some halves where we have been exceptional, but in terms of game-in and game-out for the entirety of the game, I think if there is an area that needs to be scrutinized and hopefully investigated to the point where we could come up with some reasons why and get those things corrected, that would be the area.

ultimatenyg comment- Manning's play controls the fate of this team. Inconsistent? We get another wild card and another playoff loss. Consistent? IF MANNING PLAYS 4 QUARTERS WE CAN BEAT ANYONE IN THE LEAGUE, INCLUDING THE PATRIOTS. Why? Because we have an excellent offensive and defensive line. It is not unreasonable to ask a 4th year QB to play for 4 quarters. Historically speaking, the odds do NOT favor such an outcome. His track record indicates declining production. Maybe that can change this year if Burress can get healthier and Manning gets some religion. All I am saying is that the leverage is HUGE. With the exception of specials, the team is there to go very far if Manning can deliver.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

British Bums

We s***ed. Put this in the dictionary under U for Ugly. Madison shoulder (non) tackles. Tynes (I HATE HIM) misses a 29 yarder. Manning was awful, passing for 58 yards. His receivers were worse, w MANY drops, including Toomer TD gift-wrapped. The Brits don't have a monopoly on rain-soaked conditions, so I do not want to hear about that as an excuse. And btw, MANNING STILL TELEGRAPHS HIS THROWS. Just ask Safety Darren Sharper of the Minnesota Vikings, who picked off Manning three times from centerfield. Well, the INT was YET ANOTHER tipped ball at the line of scrimmage (deja Blue?!) because the DL watches his eyes all the way. KUDOS to the offensive line for once again controlling the game. They are easily the most consistent unit on the team. SHAME to Pierce for yet another unnecessary roughness call with another late hit. If I am the coach I tell him plain and simple, I will lose with someone else, I will bench you if I see it again. Why mention these items after a win? Because if we execute like this against most other teams in the league today we lose, and because there are so many correctable mistakes that (if eliminated) can enable this team to be truly special.

Btw, (1) thank you Jay Feely for all of your mistakes. Not mentioned on the telecast was the minor fact that Feely was offsides on his OWN onside kick! Yep, his left foot planted above the 30 yard line before his right foot made the kick. It was not even called. (2) U think I am not going to mention how the all the geniuses who piled on the Giants -9.5 got their comeuppance? NO FREE MONEY AFTER ALL. And let that be a warning to anyone allied with the Blezow lock of the week. All I can say is that I am glad the Gmen came out alive with a win.

respect for the fan

In 1981 the avg baseball game took 2:33 mins. In 2007, it took 2:51 mins, actually 6 mins less than it did in 1995. But World Series games for the last 10 years last 37 mins longer than reg season games. And in this year's World Series the 3 games have taken an average of 3:50 mins to complete (have not watched one minute, kiss my arse!). The game ends at 12:20AM AVERAGE!

I bring this up because Larry Stern of the NBA is thinking about something radical- no timeouts in the last 3 minutes of a basketball game. Stern is waking up and other professional sports leagues better pay attention- when you continue to water down the product the fan eventually figures out that 100% of something is better than 0% of everything.

Goodell- are you paying attention? Do not sell the product to the devil- expanding playoffs for more than 12 teams, longer games, flex schedules, they are all gimmicks which harm the greatness of the game.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

They are giving money away!

The Giants have won (and COVERED) 5 straight. The geniuses are predictably lining up at the cashier's window ready to collect before the race even goes off...

resident genius Blezow: "THIS one's easy, so let's just say it in the Queen's English: The Giants are going to kick the Dolphins' bums all over Wembley Stadium."

second in command Hondo: "Even the blokes in London know that Big Blue is going to kick the Dolphins' bloody arse."

Would it shock you to know that each of them have the Giants as "best bets," that Blezow makes the Giants his (anything but the) "Lock of the Week," that 9 out of 10 of the NYPost crew have the Gmen and 6 total have the Giants as best bets?

To be fair, this NYPost crew lined up to get down on the Giants vs Atlanta and collected.

THEY ARE GIVING MONEY AWAY! Oh brother. Scary is more like the word. And we heard yesterday that Zach Thomas won't play either, adding to the injury decimation of the Dolphins. The Giants SHOULD kick their "arse" but since I do not endorse such thinking I warn everyone that there is no such thing as a sure thing.

Go Giants! Win by 9 or win by 90, but just win.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

the play-calling

The playcalling is not predictable. Amen. Give credit where it is due... Gilbride is mixing it up. Could he have the offense run through Shockey a lot more? Well, in a word, YES! But you cannot argue with the success he has had spreading it out, pounding other teams with the run (because our O-line is so dominant) and getting the ball to Burress and Toomer. So Shockey has to get less touches if that is happening. As long as it is working and we are winning, you cannot complain about that.

With Hufnagel I would groan because I knew what was coming and (worse) knew that that also meant that the assasins playing defense knew too. We would be in the red zone and first down would be the (stacked up) predictable run for 1 yard. Then we would get the predictable pass for 4 yds (complete or incomplete, no matter). Then on third down he would wake tfu and throw to Shockey, but at that point it was too late because now everyone and their mother knew that that was coming too. With Gilbride, I have not seen the tendency yet on any down at any place on the field, so that is good. The moment u r safe and predictable u r dead.

It does not hurt that our O-line is controlling the line of scrimmage. That makes play action work, and boy has Manning been deadly with play action. As long as Gilbride keeps the defense off-balance, we are in good shape. We won't likely get tested in London, but when we play Dallas and Chicago those defenses will test Gilbride a lot more and then we will see what we really have. So far it is UNPREDICTABLE!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

feast or famine

At the beginning of the season, whatever could go wrong usually did. Now, whatever team we seem to face crumbles before we arrive. Brian Westbrook, the offensive line of the Falcons, Alex Smith and now this week: Chambers traded a week ago and Ronnie Brown (their entire offense) out for the rest of the year with an ACL. Trap trap trap. It gets hard to have a trap game when these teams are simply not fielding competitive units. The Dolphins have the 27th ranked defense, and the only reason the offense gets ranked decently (top ten) is because they are busy racking up yards in scrub time. Now that their two best weapons on the offense are gone, all the Giants need to do is show a modicum of respect for the fact the Dolphins are in the NFL, and then beat their brains in. This game is very simlar to the 49er game. Execute, win the game, and get the hell out of there. (Btw, did I mention that the Dolphins are w/o their starting QB and Safety ...)

Sunday, October 21, 2007

NYG 33 49ers 15

Business-like win again. We all want this team to accomplish BIG things. While the effort was impressive, some things really bothered me. Do not mistake the message, that the Giants are becoming a very good football team because their offensive and defensive lines of scrimmage are dominating. IF YOU WANT TO SEE BIG THINGS, YOU NEED TO CLEAN UP SOME PROBLEMS:

1) TWO personal fouls on PIERCE?! That is not leadership by example. Two costly and stupid penalties that WILL cost you when it counts vs better competition.
2) A drop for a sure TD by Ward, bailed out by Toomer TD reception 2 plays later. Still, u have to make that catch. Our backfield RBs are not very good in the passing game. If they can hold onto the pass, they can really make this offense go from potent to lethal.
3) If Lawrence Tynes shows up dead somewhere, send the police to my address because I am probably guilty. This guy is killing us with his missed extra points and awful specials.
4) Speaking of awfuls, the blocked punt for a safety was ugly.
5) Eli Manning was not impressive today. Sure he lead the team to a nice victory, but (amongst other things) he missed a wide open Toomer, he threw behind Shockey, and he telegraphed a play from the start of the snap which was deflected and intercepted (killing an otherwise beautiful drive, and subsequently letting the 49ers back in the game).

24 of the 33 points scored today were off of turnovers. The offense deserves a lot of credit for converting them, but if the Giants want to make that jump from a middle tier team to a top tier team it must clean up these loose ends.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Championships

Was just listening to Russo on WFAN rip the Yankees for letting go of Torre. Look, Russo is a phony and fraud, and creates noise and controversy to generate ratings. He is in the advertising business, not the sports business. So he gets on his high horse (allow me to get on mine!) and says that Levine knows nothing about the Yankees and that Torre has brought this franchise to the playoffs 12 years in a row.

WRONG!

The Yankees are the single most successful sports franchise in the world. They have won 26 CHAMPIONSHIPS. NOBODY knows, cares, quotes, or gets paid to go to the playoffs except losers like Marty Schottenheimer. Parcells did not leave the Cowboys exultant about getting his team to the playoffs last season! He was miserable because he understands... it is about the ring...winning CHAMPIONSHIPS. Torre has not given the Yankees a championship in SEVEN years and that is not enough.

Every move a franchise makes must be for one purpose--- to win a championship. The Giants have not won a championship since Jan 1991. Unacceptable. I do not care if the odds are that you should win it once every 32 years because there are 32 teams. With that attitude the Jets are right on schedule if they win one sometime in the next ~15 years or so. NOT. And neither are the Giants. The schedule is that if you are not competing for a championship you are not worth anyone's time. So we discuss moves here on the blog with the understanding that the mission is a championship. That not getting a LB with the first pick in the draft since 1984 and that not even getting a LB #2 since 1991 is not the way you pursue a championship. And that making your #1 go from impact player at his natural position to ordinary in someone elses is madness.

Some people say it is a successful season if the Giants beat Dallas, or if they beat the Skins. I say it is successful if we win a championship.

to Plaxico or not to Plaxico

Burress will be going on 6 days rest for the ankle vs. 8 days for the prev contest. By his own admission, every day he is off the ankle is very helpful for recuperation. I think that between getting only 6 days and also getting Clements at corner, this will be Burress's first game getting shut out, a remarkable streak coming to an end. But if he can draw the assignment of one of the league's better corners, that will make the job of everyone else easier. So be it. Where it gets interesting is the following week (yep, not supposed to do that, that is how traps are created)... with the Dolphin trip to London. Do not send Burress across the pond. Inactivate him and give him 21 days of rest for DALLAS. Leverage the bye and the fact that Steve Smith will be back for that game. Let Smith take Burress's place on the roster. If we cannot beat the Dolphins w/o Burress, we are not going anywhere anyway, so give our star WR a chance to get that ankle some rest.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

7 questions, Part II

Before the beginning of the season, I asked 7 questions. Let's look at them one at a time.

Will Kiwanuka play well at LB?

NO. But we get a YES because the Giants have stopped the failed experiment.

Will Diehl play well at LT?

YES.

Will our shoddy secondary hold it together?

With the ascendency of Aaron Ross, the answer is yes. It is too early to pronounce the rookie as savior but not too early to think it is possible. So we answer this question as YES until we can play a competent team/QB that can really test these guys.

Will Manning be accurate?

I have been trying to figure this one out for almost 4 years. YES NO MAYBE, you tell me. The past few games we have gotten back on the Eli rollercoaster. Even this past week's solid Monday performance was marred by telegraphed passes which were batted down, and two INTs. He is improved but we wait for four consecutive quarters of consistency.

Will our RBs handle the pass-catching out of the backfield?

Thus far, NO.

Will our (now) thin OL stay healthy?

Thus far, YES. There was an article in today's NYPost lauding them. What scares me is what is behind these guys on the depth chart.... schtick dreck. If we had Seubert on the bench coming in I would feel a helluva lot better.

Will we find a kicker?

NO.

The tally: Counting the failed Kiwanuka experiment as a YES, we have 4 YES 2 NO 1 MAYBE. That we are 4-2 does speak to the congruency of the questions.

Manning is an enigma. I believe in Ross. I do believe that Ward and Jacobs (Bradshaw?) can improve and get more fluid out of the backfield on receptions. I do not believe in the kicker. That implies a final tally (barring items like injuries) of 5 YES 1 NO and 1 MAYBE.

You can see here that it points to the TWO issues which hold the Giants back from being a very good team... Manning's inconsistency and our special teams adventures. (Tynes' lack of distance/hang time was as much a culprit on the Leon Washington TD as anything else.)

ROSS MANNING SPECIALS. These are the variables left in determining the answer to our season. There is a very fine line here between mediocrity and greatness. Yes, this team can be formidible if a few things fall into place. And no, a little Manning inconsistency, specials nightmares and some injuries to our O-line and we go right back in the ash can. A few ifs and we are in excellent shape. Tiki Barber remarked today that we can be 12-4. Considering the garbage we play against, it is possible if the above items can fall into place.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

4-2... so now what?!?!

2/3rds full or 1/3rd empty. There are reasons aplenty to be optimistic and enough problems to keep our feet on the ground. Draw your own conclusions from the following observations:

Ongoing problems
1) We got the Eagles when Westbrook was out, the Falcons can drop passes galore, but what happens when we play the teams that can execute?
2) Manning still has trouble playing 4 quarters
3) Our special teams are abominable
4) Our RBs cannot catch balls well out of backfield

Reasons for optimism
1) We lead the league in sacks
2) We have the 6th ranked offense, with second most # of first downs
3) Only ~4 penalties per game
4) 9th ranked defense after horrendous start
5) The AARON ROSS FACTOR- when Ross has been in the game (over 12 Quarters in 4 games), the Giants defense has given up a NET total of 6 points!
6) The Feagles punting game is as good as ever
7) When Manning is on, we are difficult to handle
8) Our offensive line has been controlling the line of scrimmage all season

NYG 31 Falcons 10

Business-like game. Manning showed up, the Giants showed up, the Giants won a game they should have won. Early on we all know it was not so simple. But it was the offense which kept the pressure on, and the defense sealed it. Can anyone tell me what happened to Aaron Ross? Injured? Taken off field?

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The crossroads of Atlanta

So now I have heard "trap game" used twice in as many weeks. To be fair, when the Giants were down by 10 pts in the 1st AND 2nd half vs the Jets, it sure looked like a trap. I feel that w/o Ross the Giants lose the game.. trap validated.

So is Atlanta a trap game? They are a 1-4 team with some lousy stats but very close losses (3 of them by a TD), which does imply that if anything goes right for them, they can win. But upon closer inspection (provided well by the media this week) the Falcons OL consists of two second string Tackles and even a rookie Guard too. So Alge Crumpler should have far more difficulty getting that deep route... who is left to protect the QB?

NO EXCUSES! WIN THE GAME! You are playing a garbage team in a garbage conference that is bigger garbage because they do not have an offensive line! Calling it a trap game is nothing more than an admission that we are not consistent enough to romp over a weaker opponent. And why would that be? Because once again we have the Eli Manning show, where each half we never know whether we have the poised leader or the deer in headlights.

If Manning shows up for 4 quarters this is NOT a contest, it is a demolition.

In telling fashion, 8 out of 10 NY Post geniuses have the Giants -3 1/2. Naturally Blezow is with them. But more alarming is the 'free' money that is evidence of SIX of them selecting the Giants as a best bet. That is scary because in all of my years of observing the geniuses I have NEVER seen SIX best bets on one team. Therein lies the trap. Maybe the Giants are up by 10 late and give up a scrub TD at the end to lose the cover. But if Manning 'plays' an entire game the masses are correct and the Giants do what they SHOULD--- manhandle this team.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

NYG 35 NYJ 24

BIG WIN!

1) Manning shows his inconsistent play, and the Giants as a result become inconsistent. We saw him play 4 Q's in G1-3, and in the last 2 games we have seen regression. Two quarters were good enough against a weaker opponent at home... as Manning goes so goes this team.
2) AARON ROSS!!!! Let's quickly say that he did not even start in the first half because he broke a team rule. Now that that is out of the way (and assuming it is non-issue going forward), THE GIANTS HAVE FOUND THEMSELVES A PLAYER! THIS DEVELOPMENT IS NOTHING SHORT OF HUGE. We have noticed the quiet impact this rookie having... that the defense has given up a total of THREE POINTS in EIGHT quarters that he has started. That is not an accident. He has been making plays and has been around the ball. And then today. I thought the first INT was huge. I thought the second INT was Sehorn-esque. If this guy can stay healthy and keep on improving, he is going to be a force. The Giants have not had an impact player in the secondary since 1997 with Sehorn before his ACL injury. And the last Giants defense to be dominant was in 1997. The ramifications of the Giants finding themselves a cornerback are enormous.
3) Wake me up from my Leon Washington nightmare.
4) Plaxico Burress continues to make impact plays.
5) I will defend Coughlin's decision to pass at the end of H1. I will not defend the pass by Manning into tight double coverage.
6) The Giants defense gave up 7 points this game. They are getting better. I was disappointed there were zero sacks, but they pressured Pennington enough to make it count.
7) Shockey must get more involved.
8) Jacobs made a startling admission in the post-game that he felt it was almost a foregone conclusion he would cough up the ball at some point, having been out for ~3+ games. Honest, but unacceptable. Both he and Ward did well otherwise.
9) Our kicker is not getting enough length on kickoffs. Our field position is a killer.
10) AARON ROSS!!!! Second mention for the impact he made on this game.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Jet game

The media did a good job this week of pointing out how Manning's QB rating has tapered off since the start of the season. I will stop there, cut thru the bs of the stat-chasing and say that Manning played well in the first 3 games and played like the Manning of 2006 against the Eagles. The point here is that if the Eagles had any health last weekend and we got that same Manning performance, we'd be 1-3 and woe is me. Manning better be more consistent than this or else we are once again screwed as he yet again becomes the weakest link. WE SHOULD HAVE WON 30-3 vs the Eagles. The score is incredibly misleading.

So now here come the 1-3 Jets. They will be 1-4 if the Giants are able to follow suit. That asks the Giants to put a death sentence on this season for the Jets. 1-4 is a huge hole. So we know the Jets will be ready to play. Will the Giants be ready? Some intelligent observers (Marvelous Monday, Carl Banks Friday) are calling this a 'trap' game. Makes sense. The Giants just won on the national Madden platform, they are no longer being told they s**k, and they are playing a weaker opponent. It comes down to the consistency we get from Manning. If he plays like weeks 1-3 we win, if he plays like Week 4 we will lose.

Monday, October 1, 2007

NYG 16 Eagles 3

There were a zillion takeaways from this game.

1) This was a very good win. You beat the Eagles and you take it any way you can get it.
2) Rob points out that Manning looked a little shell-shocked after the INT that was almost run back for a TD at the end of Q2. I agree. He was tentative in H2, the old Eli who is inconsistent and cannot play a full game. AND OUR POTENT OFFENSE SUFFERED.
3) I am not sure of this, but I think the Eagles intentionally rushed more to the side that Burress was on to block off Manning's vision and passing lanes on that side of the field. The Giants used this technique under Fox to stop opposing QBs from picking on Dave (swiss cheese burger) Thomas.
4) I am already having nightmares about Leon Washington running one back for a TD vs our specials.
5) The Giants defensive line scheme was great. They spread out their rushers, and then used Kiwanuka or Tuck or a stunting Umenyiora to create speed mismatches of our natural DEs vs their slower Guards/Center. Let's face facts... Tuck and Kiwanuka could start for most teams.
6) On the subject of Kiwanuka, he collected THREE sacks in a single game! Umenyiora's insanity of 6 overshadowed an otherwise stellar game by him. I still think back to that arrogant declaration a day after the draft how the Giants had 'fooled' the rest of the NFL into thinking we had to draft a LB when we had planned all a long to move Kiwanuka over there and no longer needed a LB. WHO FOOLED WHO?!!!! "KISS" = "Keep it simple, stupid." Find some sausage filler at LB and let Kiwanuka win you games at DE.
7) The Giants still need to handle the TE. We got lucky that LJ Smith was one of the five hurt, and this win does not hide the fact that we need another LB.
8) I like Ward more than Jacobs. Ward runs lower to the ground, cuts faster and sees the field better. Having Jacobs back helps us, but Ward has earned plenty of playing time.
9) Webster did not get beat at corner because Ross was there instead. The rookie looked decent and I was pleased to see him used on a corner blitz. Your corner needs speed to be used that way, so that is a good sign.
10) Illini Wek Diehl is holding up decently at LT. Cole was shut out- very big plus!
11) Our kicker is dreadful.
12) I think Umenyiora is healthy again.

Btw, in case you did not know, Jet fans are ugly and they cry like Red Sox fans. The Giants are -3. I hope Jets fans are still crying at 4pm Sunday.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

This is a MUST WIN game now vs the Eagles

Westbrook is out. The Eagles are playing w/o 4-5 pro bowlers. We are at home. Now this becomes a must-win game because it is not who you play but when you play them, and the Eagles are decimated. WIN THIS GAME, no excuses.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Mixed Signals

Every week I like to track the NY Post sentiment as a negative indicator, and just as importantly the picks of Blezow. This week it is a mixed bag, with 7 out of 10 on the Eagles and (uncharacteristically) Blezow in the minority with the Giants. Those items by definition are mitigating. So why do I share this info when it is "confused?" Because you need to read the previous post to understand the same confusion we all have about this team. We wonder if we are going to get the team that lost the first 2 or won the third, the team from the first half last week or the second half? I am very interested in seeing what we get Sunday night. They will surely pick on Ross- I would. How effective is Westbrook? Burress? Ward? Those three have been a huge part of their team's offense and all of them are going to play hurt. Too many questions... let's sit back and enjoy the uncertainty.

Monday, September 24, 2007

1/3rd full or 2/3rds empty?

Well, to be fair the Giants have played two of only 4 teams in the league that are undefeated. The Cowboys and the Packers are both 3-0. I was not impressed by either team. But this past weekend these teams laid waste to the Bears and the Chargers... does this strengthen the Giants knowing they did not lose to also-rans? At this early stage I would have to give the team the benefit of the doubt. No, this does not absolve the pass coverage. But it does make us rethink our assessment. Can Ross provide an uptick over Webster (who was benched in the H2)? Can we see more of the pass rusher in Kiwanuka instead of the LB? Is this a bonafide renaissance for Manning? Before we get too excited, we will be quick to remember the first half gaffes and the special teams insanities of field position given to the opponent at the 50 seemingly every time. What I can say is that I have seen wins like the one on Sunday before, and they can turn around seasons at ANY juncture, be it W3, W13, week-whatever. Giants-Eagles. I predicted the Giants would not win either contest this season. I will stay with that prediction. But with the way Manning is playing, they are in every game, and that I did not know when I made that prediction before the season began. Sound like I am hedging? Yep.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

NYG 24 Skins 17

The ugly: special teams, the first half, Corey Webster.
The bad: ill-advised INT by Manning, Diehl beaten on speed rush for turnover, ~6 dropped catch-able balls.
The good: a nice win, a tremendous second half, Kiwanuka going forward as a DE vs the QB (2 sacks) as opposed to backward in LB coverage, Eli Manning showing yet more consistency, Burress w some huge catches and a tremendous TD run (after catch) to win the game.

Repeat after me, Coughlin and Reese: Kiwanuka is a DE.

I still feel we are on course for a 6-10 season, but if Manning can play like this for 16 games we are going to be a force to be reckoned with with a new head coach.

Friday, September 21, 2007

skins game

Last week the Blezow indicator worked to perfection again (he has taken the Gmen twice and we have gone down in flames). This week he has taken the ... Skins! There is hope! Well, okay, not that much hope, because we only have 5 geniuses out of 10 on the Skins, so it is less than perfect. Plus we all know the Skins can win and not cover. So the Giants have a number of ways of still losing this game.

For those out there betting, we have a lock for you this weekend! All 10 out of 10 Post geniuses have the Jets over the Dolphins. Admit it! You like the Jets to get their first win too this weekend, beating up on the hapless Fins. Yet you also liked the Eagles on Monday night vs the Skins, so fess up! Take the fins.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

how ugly?

In yesterday's Star Ledger they had a scout (I cannot find the link, sorry) who dissected the defense. The scout concluded that Spagnuolo was not the problem, that the personnel could not stay with the opposition given whatever coverage they were in. So it really boiled down to LBs/CBs/Safeties in coverage not getting it done. The scout politely implied that this problem is not going away.

Yesterday and today we had a number of armchair head coaches who offered their advice on how to fix at least some of the problems. I will offer one piece of advice which I offered last year. Fire Coughlin.

While we are on the topic of adminstration.... Reese is going to get his share of the blame. (1) He is already getting the heat for his post-draft boasting of how he faked everybody out with the LB need, because the Kiwanuka move is killing them. They needed a LB. You do not take #1 draft pick impact players and change their position. (2) Wait until one or two OLinemen get hurt and we find out that not only did we lose a LT when Petitgout got cut, but that we also lost depth. (3) The secondary mess he inherits we will give him the pass on. He knew he had a problem there and went out and got a #1. But what about free agency? (4) Strahan should have been fined the max. They rolled back ~half of the fine, so that Strahan could spend the first few games getting into football shape. Very nice.

All of these items were mentioned on this blog BEFORE the season started.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Two bagger: Pack 35 Gmen 13


You need two bags for this one... the first is to vomit into and the second one is to put over your head in embarrassment. Do you know how bad this is getting folks? Charles W., the eternal optimist, is not sure if we are going to win a(nother) game this year. In truth, we have two pro bowl pass rushers who have been silent, and our secondary and linebackers are making too many mistakes. OUR DEFENSE IS TERRIBLE. And once again our discipline crumbled like a house of cards. There were rumors of a Bob Whitfield sighting out there. The only thing missing was one of his trademark headbutts, because we had personal fouls, delay of games, unnecessary roughness, you name it. The 2006 Coughlin disease is alive and well, Mr. Mara. And this is all in GAME TWO! It gets late early around here. Usually I would go into deep analysis of what is working and what is not, but I'll save you a lot of time- Manning and the offensive line are working, and everything else is one large stench. At this point I would be happy if our record tanked, Manning was the bright spot for our future, we got the top pick in the draft and Cowher came in and straightened out this mess. I'll be going to 4 more games, so if my math is correct that means I will need 8 bags.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Packers Home Opener

The Giants are pick'em this weekend. Eight of the 10 NY Post geniuses (including Blezow, ALWAYS in the majority) have the Gmen, and to make matters worse 4 of them have them with the best bet. GROAN. What did these people see that I did not see? They have hope. They hope (1) Manning will play (2) the secondary can play better, since it is hard to imagine them playing worse (3) Kiwanuka will go back to the defensive line because with Joseph gone and Umenyiora out (?) Coughlin will have no choice but to end this experiment (4) homefield is the tonic for victory.

I hope for a pass rush. That is where we have the skill players to make the impact, and that will be the way we can cover up the multitude of sins in the secondary/strong side LB.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Goodell's punishment

Belichick was fined $500,000. The team loses a 2 and 3 if it does not make the playoffs and it loses a 1 if it does. The punishment on the team should have been greater to get the attention of everyone in the league. By the way, note how Belichick did a faux mea culpa: "..our use of sideline video had no impact on the outcome of last week's game. We have never used sideline video to obtain a competitive advantage while the game was in progress." Translation- the Jets were onto us too early for us to get much video, and we use the video to pick off signals in future games after we finish studying it and cataloging it. The guy is a snake and does not have any class.

Spygate

Either today or tomorrow the NFL will report its findings: the Patriots were videotaping the Jets' defensive signals. What now surfaces is all kinds of other alleged illegal activity by this team... that the Packers complained to the league last year about the same kind of activity, and that at least two teams, the Bills and Chargers, have also accused the Patriots of committing the NFL’s version of illegal wiretapping.

Note that Goodell warned all teams this summer that they were on notice that all of this activity must end. If that was a declaration of amnesty for the past and stringency for the future, let the stringency begin.

Goodell has come down much harder than Tagliabue on Pacman Jones. I would like to be commissioner for a day; the Patriots need to be punished severely for this. It would make your head spin what I think they should get... the loss of ALL of next year's draft picks, with the first round pick going to the Jets and the rest of them being voided. Maybe that would get the attention of this team. Apparently Goodell's warning did not.

Why so harsh? Because professional sports has been getting more than a few black eyes lately, and Goodell has proven that he can be the man to clean things up. Steroids in baseball, doping in cycling, NBA referee point fixing... NFL spying. The integrity of the games we watch is everything, and without it it is nothing. Belichick has already apologized and will issue a statement after the NFL issues its findings. What about the 26 year old videotaper? He is obviously a puppet under orders by higher ups to perform such activities. Whoever was the originator of the order to perform such activities should be banned from the league. If it was Belichick, goodbye. If it was an offensive coordinator, goodbye. And if that guy wants to fall on the sword and not give up who told him to do it, ban him and fine the team extra for hindering the investigation into the matter.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dallas 45 NYG 35

We outlined questions going into the season. Kiwanuka was an enormous liability in his new position. Our secondary is weak. These items contributed significantly to our loss and are not going away easily.

I am cautiously optimistic that (injuries aside) Manning can improve- that would be great..let's see him perform this way for an entire season.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

The last word before the start of the season

Manning.

Tell me how Eli does and I will tell you how the Giant season goes. If he can become the consistent and accurate QB that delivers the ball to his receivers in stride, then even if the secondary fails and we go 6-10 despite his efforts, it will be a successful year. Eli Manning is currently the weakest link, and he needs to be the exact opposite- the player who can win games for us even if we do not get that effort from everyone else. So what do we get this year?

From Marvelous Marv (9.3.2007): "I LOVE ELI --& sense he can be a force. It is most difficult for ANY QB to be playing from behind MOST of each & every game---It puts Eli in MUST completions & that's NOT what we need for him!! I'm very certain tho--Eli has improved his total game-- The ONE area Eli must improve on---FEELING THE FOOTSTEPS -- NOT getting balls he's about to throw hit--or him getting tackled!! ...I feel Eli is better than most do!!"

From John Madden (NY Post 9.7.2007): "I think he's ready to be better this year than he was last year. He knows his problem has been accuracy, and he has been working on that. If they block for him and guys get open, I don't think Eli is going to be a big problem."

My view is simple. Show me. He does not deserve or get the benefit of the doubt. Just because a team drafts you number one and makes a huge investment in you does not mean you get the benefit of the doubt. QBs in the NFL take six years to deliver, yet we have seen an important study which says that most NFL QBs hit their general area of sustainable QB rating by the third year. After playing in the second half of 2004, Manning's rating was a pedestrian 75.9 in 2005 and 77 in his 3rd year in 2006. All this while having talented receivers (including a Pro Bowl TE) to throw to and a Pro Bowl running back to take the pressure off the pass. Not to mention Barber's considerable skills at picking up the blitz and being a vg checkdown option out of the backfield.

We have seen glimpses of his potential. He has had his moments of brilliance, like in San Diego, or when he changed the play on a blitz call last year and led the team to an OT victory in Philly. He has pocket poise. Until I see consistent accuracy from him he is not our answer and he is the weakest link in our chances for getting an NFL championship.

SEASON PREVIEW AND PREDICTION

Too many question marks....
Will Kiwanuka play well at LB?
Will Diehl play well at LT?
Will our shoddy secondary hold it together?
Will Manning be accurate?
Will our RBs handle the pass-catching out of the backfield?
Will our (now) thin OL stay healthy?
Will we find a kicker?

And add a few more questions that will surface during the season, and you see that there are too many things that can go wrong, and everything that needs to go right. Jerry H. remarks that none of these question marks are insurmountable, and that if all can go well we will have a good season. Arnie V. thinks that whenever the glass is 3/4 full we have a lousy season and whenever it is 3/4 empty we get surprised and have a good year. To be fair there is a decent amount of consensus from the media (who almost uniformly pick the Giants either 3rd or last in the NFC East) and those surveyed informally that it will be hard to get a winning a record with this team. I am not bowled over by the Cowboys (never was a Wade Phillips fan... a classic retread coach) or the Skins, but can we take two from either of these teams? No. And we will get swept by the Eagles as long as they are healthy and do not have 4 probowlers on IR. The rest of the schedule is not that hard. They have vulnerable opponents like GB, NYJ, ATL, SF, MIA, DET, MIN and BUF that are ALL winnable games if the Giants are good. There are only 4 games on the entire schedule that I do not think the Giants have a chance: both Eagles game, at Chi and home vs NE. Teams like the Jets and 49ers are on the rise. Those two home games will tell a lot about our season. The Giants need to win both in order to have a good year.

Unless Eli has solved his accuracy problems and can play (well) consistently all year, I see 6-10. If many of the questions above are answered, then we can go 10-6. I do not believe in Coughlin. I do not believe in Eli. I believe we will be 6-10.

Monday, September 3, 2007

TWENTY FIVE MINUTE Windbag

Articles like this, books like this, do not come around so often. When they do, you pay attention. They offer rare glimpses into the understanding of how the business of football works, and how it shapes winning and losing in the NFL.

The lead in the article is about how Parcells threw in his hat for the Giants GM job.

More interesting to me is how the Giants, one of the flagship organizations in professional football, did not get their first (or second) choice for head coach. And then they settled on a retread windbag. Talk about a poker tell! If this anachronism was not connecting with Accorsi, how was he going to connect with his players?

And while we are at it, let's add 1+1. I get 2. What do you get? Well, if you are Accorsi and the Giants, you get ZERO! As in, they botched getting Fox and let him slip through their fingers (this was later confirmed and can be read in an earlier post). And now we see that they botched getting Weis too. There is no speculation about either of these facts. Maybe Accorsi is the real nightmare.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Strahan

What an embarrassment. This guy is collecting a check. He is going to get hurt because statistically that is what happens to guys who miss camp. He should not play the first two games of the season, and he should not get those game checks. But Strahan will get a chunk of his fines rescinded, and he will dress for the first games. All of this is a mistake. He hurt himself, hurt the team and will probably get hurt too.

IF he can stay healthy and get up to max productivity, Strahan will help this defense immeasurably. But why does there have to be a conditional next to that statement for a FB player making 4M per year? Strahan chose all of this. If I am the Giants Administration, I am NOT lenient at all on his fines. Why? Because the precedent is that if you make enough money you can piss away a small part of it on fines and it is a cheap price to pay not to have live in a dorm with two-a-days building chemistry with your teammates. Isn't the timing of his arrival just a little bit bothersome to you? He has conveniently missed all of camp while "deciding" whether to play. Sure, we will see some pr attempts in coming days by him and others to rebuild his credibility and show him to be a sincere man who was trying to find himself. BS. It is all about the money. Fine him the max if it is 'not' about the money.

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