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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.