The NY Giants made their final roster cuts, and there were a few items of note but nothing enormously surprising.
Brandon London is probably the biggest casualty, but my guess is that he is picked up by another team off waivers in very short order.
Getting John Carney off the geriatric ward for FG kicking duties is just part of the way the wacky world of FB works. I think I dislike FG kickers almost as much as head coaches.
The Giants for now kept FIVE RBs, choosing to stay with Droughns AND Ware. (Hedgecock does not count, he is a FB.)
Good for David Carr for surviving and making the most of his new opportunity. Between Woodson gtg cut and Wright going on IR, he is prominently there as the backup.
I do not think Guy Whimper will be challenging the slow feet of David Diehl anytime soon.. he was cut.
Saturday, August 30, 2008
The NY Giants made their final roster cuts, and there were a few items of note but nothing enormously surprising.
Friday, August 29, 2008
1) Everyone raved about Carr. I was in a plane at 33,000 ft, and the pilot wouldn't switch the channel. Having just been in Houston, whenever the name of David Carr came up they would all wince with pain at the (thought of the) punishment he was subjected to. Everyone knows that Carr's confidence was shot because he had to play a completely different game where finding your WR was not as important as finding your teeth (and other sundry items) after each play. Building back the right psche in this guy is not an overnight process where the switch gets turned back on. Last night was a good move by Coughlin. He got behind the starting offensive line, got plenty of minutes and got it done. Good for him. Maybe good for the Giants. If it is one thing the Giants do do well, they do not make their QB win the game for them, unless it is in the Super Bowl.
2) The one player I was in post-Umentrauma about was Manning... would he stay healthy before the start of the season? And then Coughlin did not have him start! Manning has been old-erratic-Eli in camp but I never worry about Eli's desire and preparation, so it was a very good move.
3) Mathias Kiwanuka on being back on the Defensive Line: "It's just like riding a bike."
4) Finally preseason is over. REGULAR SEASON BEGINS IN SIX DAYS! Predictions coming. Poll coming. Wonder. Marvelous. Giants defend their title. Football is finally here.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Tonight's game will be a yawner for the larger issues, but will be important for a few roster spots still under contention. I'll be travelling, will miss this one. With the starters expected to be in for ~10 plays, it is traditionally the least relevant game of preseason. If the NFL goes to a 17 game format, this game is the one which gets the ax, the one where most NFL teams are mailing it in. Cast under the shadow of Osi's nightmare last weekend, I am reminded of this evening's starters playing those ~10 plays...
Archie Graham: Hey ump, how 'bout a warning?
Clean-shaven Umpire: Sure, kid. Watch out you don't get killed.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Yesterday Strahan said he was going to remain retired.
Listen to his words: "I could only do this if I could commit 100 percent, physically, mentally, emotionally and I can't do that. I've tried to convince myself and my body to give it one more year, but in the end I just don't think I could turn it on like I need to again."
Didn't we all, deep down, understand this to be the situation? There are many lesser players who do not have the 'FOX Sports' choices of Strahan. He passed up on a lot more money with the Giants than he is getting with FOX. So this time it was NOT about the money. Strahan made the right choice in June, and he gets all the credit in the world for making the right choice again. And the Giants WILL BENEFIT from his choice. How is that possible? Because if he came back he would not have made the impact and would not have played with the consistency we expect. How do we know this? Once again, his own words.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
I am travelling on business, and I really cannot keep up with all of this... but it is conflicting that the Giants simultaneously have moved Kiwi back and also have contacted Strahan. The former makes sense, something we advocated and believe makes the team better- apparently the Giants see that. But to go after Strahan is a pipe dream. And a poor pipe dream at that. It would be a mistake to do it. For all concerned. Strahan made the right move for himself. For him to come back now, sure it would be an adrenaline boost, but he would need the first four games to get back to game speed and then would tarnish his exit. Injury? I was very surprised he did not get one in 2007 after his comeback and would be surprised once again if he went through 2008 without one. From a purely selfish perspective it would be great for us as fans to see him back, but I do not think it would net the benefits we hope for and (most importantly) I really do not think it is realistic. If the Giants want to open their wallets and pay him a king's ransom, then anything can happen, but for Strahan's sake I would like to think it really is not about the money anymore and that he will do the intelligent thing and move on his with his life.
Let's quote his own words: "I think after 15 years, the man upstairs said: 'Michael, I let you stick around for 15. I gave you a ring. Now don’t be stupid.' So I’m trying not to be stupid."
Monday, August 25, 2008
Unless your name is Brian Mitchell, you ARE going to get injured returning kickoffs/punts and subsequently have your career shortened. So it is just a matter of time for Bradshaw before he gets hurt doing this. Does the emperor have no clothes? Could it be that ALL (100%) of us are stupid and wrong and the Giants coaches are the geniuses who understand Bradshaw is #3 on the depth chart and needs to be doing specials?! In situations like these I GENERALLY defer to the coaches because they obvly have more information than we do. In this case, I felt like this in midseason '07 and stopped wondering (because of the fumbles). After all, he was a rookie. But then Ward gets hurt, and Jacobs gets hurt in Buffalo. And Eli cannot throw the ball in H2. So they give the ball to Bradshaw almost every play and the Bills still can't stop him. And then we see him 30% more productive than Jacobs in 20% less carries. (Whatever the #s, I rounded them up a lot because of plays like when Snee was called for holding vs GB etc..)
One of the reasons this blog got started was because these rants would go to ~15 giants fans on email and it made sense to 'air' it out. The Fassel Prevent offense was the beginnings of this Emperor-has-no-clothes football blog. I like to tell the story of how Wellington Mara thought losing a 24 point lead to SF in Jan '03 felt like Chicago Jan '86. To me it felt like Minnesota Jan'98 multiplied X 10, easily the biggest loss for me as a fan in all my years of watching sports. I tell the story because I knew Mara's light at the end of the tunnel was a Mack truck headed right toward us. The Emperor INDEED had no clothes, and it just took Dallas W3 and Westbrook's punt return in midseason to open everyone else's eyes the following season.
So now the emperor has no clothes again. We wonder how an all pro TE can get 2 catches per game. We wonder how Bradshaw can be third string. I hear everyone when I am alerted to the fact that Jacobs pounding the defense sets up Bradshaw. Am I missing something when I see Bradshaw pull in nice grabs from out of the backfield or set up Tyree's TD in Q4 vs the Patriots with a nice 8 yard catch and run in the red zone? This guy does it very well and yet we see him mostly on specials. As down as I am about Osi being gone for the season, moving Kiwi back to DL where he belongs combined with having Bradshaw start RB would change my opinion of this team's chances.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Yes, it is over. Umenyiora's season is over and so is the Giants'. Without Strahan and without Osi it is over. I heard from somewhere that the Giants are considering asking Strahan to come back. LMAO! Are you kidding?! Like Strahan is going to comeback NOW?!!! What are you smoking? Umenyiora is over and the Giants are over. I had not written up any blog for where I thought the Giants would be this season because I like waiting for the preseason to be over before doing so. I was of the growing sense that the Giants would be a playoff team and NOT make the Super Bowl this season, BEFORE the Umenyiora injury. Now? The Giants will not make the playoffs in my opinion because whereas I saw them finishing in 2nd in the division to the Boys, now I see them finishing in 3rd behind the Eagles. Clayton of ESPN sees the Giants finishing now in last place. I would not go that far because I still see the skins finishing last. I was looking for a 10-6 year, now I see ~8-8. Psychologically this will hurt them. They need leadership right now to get them focused on the season with what they have, but I wonder if they will have enough leadership to do that.
The 5 stages of grief... for the loss of Umenyiora. I have hit every stage already, but I think I am more stunned. The only loss as/bigger than this would have been Manning or Tuck. Heck, if the lost a guy like Bradshaw it would not have been such a huge loss because they are so deep at RB and Gilbride doesn't even know he is on the roster (only the specials team coach does!). But now that they moved Kiwi over to LB (for which I do not think they will move him back, although I rule NOTHING out) it is too much of a loss to bounce back from. We have seen how pivotal the position of DE is, and how so many things flow from this. Without Osi, it is a different team. Osi may not have had a great sack count (13-6 = 7 in the other 15 games besides Philly) but he was ALWAYS pressuring the QB. Ironically our secondary looks to be stronger this year, but now they won't be controlling the line of scrimmage the way they did in 2007. So dominance won't be there, and it was going to take a lot this season to get it done.
THANK GOODNESS FOR 2007. This is why you go for championships whenever you possibly can... you never know what is going to happen, and you cannot account for luck. The Giants post Super Bowl statistical hangover may rear its ugly head for yet another reason (first it was the Strike in '87, then the Handley in '91, and now Osi/Stray in '08). I think Osi can get back his form from an MCL, because as I understand it, the MCL is not as bad as an ACL. At the very least, Osi has helped the Giants get a title. If anyone thinks I am too pessimistic and thinks the Giants have a very good shot at repeating despite Osi going down, pls let us know why. Unless they moved Kiwi back (which is of course what I WOULD DO, that is where you drafted him for, and it is a violation of Rule #1 to use him at LB, see Rules For Winning in the NFL) and the LBers can manufacture another one to play well for us who has enough requisite speed, I do not see it. Has Kiwi lost too much weight at LB to go back to DE? Bottom line: without Kiwi at DE we do not have a shot at another title in 2008.
Gotta go, Paige is playing Whole Lotta Love.
His knee locked on him. They do not think he tore ligaments, results of MRI will be disclosed later today. Suddenly all that took place in the preseason game means absolutely nothing if he is somehow lost with an ACL tear. Let's hope it does not come to that.
Kris Jenkins is a beast. He changes the entire complexion of the Jets defense, and obviously changed what the Giants could/not do on offense. You do not need to be a rocket scientist to see the final score (10-7 Jets) and know that both defenses did well. Yet both teams shot themselves in the foot- the Jets had two huge penalties in the first half which killed TDs/big plays, the Giants had 1st and Goal from the 8 and came away with zippo on another series.
ALL OF THIS IS IRRELEVENT IF UMENYIORA IS SERIOUSLY INJURED. You need luck to win titles, and we are not going to win a title w/o Osi this season.
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Away again, taping game for a view tomorrow. While everyone watches Favre, we should be watching Faneca and Woody and Ferguson vs the Giants' Defensive Line. Watch how Manning deals with Rhodes and Revis... does he look them off? How does the interior offensive line deal with Kris Jenkins? How does Kiwanuka deal with the 38 Tight Ends that the Jets have? It's only preseason but as the season draws closer there is more info surfacing tonight. I see both of these teams in the playoffs in '08, so this game can give us some credible measuring sticks on the potential which is there. Pls comment here, as I will likely be m-i-a until Sunday.
Where were you when the lights went out? Today is the 10th anniversary of the Giants-Jets preseason game when the lights went out on the Giants for years to come. It may have very well been one of the worst days for me as a Giants fan, period. Right there with Flipper Anderson and a few other spectacularly low bunge jumps.
Of course I refer to the fateful kickoff return of Jason Sehorn in the 1998 Giants-Jets preseason game.
After the game was over the lockerroom was a morgue. Every single player on the team knew the season had just ended before it started. And every fan knew it too. Torn ACL and MCL. Nightmare.
Sehorn was a freak. He had a Pro Bowl year in 1997 in everything but name, and would certainly have been IN MANY if not for the injury. In 1997, Sehorn started all 16 games. He had six interceptions, plus 86 total tackles and 20 passes defensed. He was twice named NFC Defensive Player of the Week and December's NFC Defensive Player of the Month as he helped lead the Giants to the NFC East championship.
With Strahan and Armstead entering their primes RIGHT ALONG SIDE OF SEHORN, this defense had the makings of total domination. Everyone remembers the special INT of McNabb that Sehorn had in the 2000 playoffs. He might have had 5 (OR MORE, trust me) of those types of special impact plays in his career if he never lost the step he lost on that fateful day in August. The havoc this player wreaked in 1997 was something special. Of all the players Wellington Mara has watched in practice, Sehorn was his favorite. Remarkable statement for a man who saw football pretty much from the beginnings of the (pro) game.
"When he was in his prime," Mara said, "he was as good as I ever saw playing his position. I used to watch him in practice, so athletic and it came so easily to him, and yet he applied himself 100 percent. It was great to watch."
Oh the plays he made! He'd be a shutdown corner with Strahan shutting down the other side of the field... like a vise. Or Sehorn would simply take on the opposing offense's best passing threat and simply shut him down. Sparks was solid on the other side, and of course the middle had Hammer and Armstead. Chad Bratzke used those players to catapult himself to a great contract with the Colts. And then there were the Sehorn corner blitzes. Opposing offenses simply gave up on Sehorn's side of the field the way they did vs Deion Sanders, so then John Fox would send Sehorn in on CB blitzes and the QB would never see it! Corner blitzes cannot be executed by ordinary corners. You need that special blend of speed and agility to get there quickly AND not miss. Sehorn also had ~20 lbs. on Sanders and could play the run MUCH BETTER THAN SANDERS EVER DID. 4.3 speed, the total package.
"Jason was shutting people down," says Johnnie Lynn, coach of the Giants' defensive backs. "He had such confidence that year. He was competitive on every down, and he never wanted to leave the field. He was what you dream about for all your corners: the big size, the big arms, the ability to run and to hit. You knew, as his reputation grew, he'd become a Pro Bowl player year after year."
"When he is healthy, he is the best corner in the NFL ," Giants strong safety Sam Garnes had said.
Sanders stayed healthy and is going to Canton in 2 years. Sehorn's shooting star was ephemeral. Sehorn was part of the mistake of Fassel agreeing (at Sehorn's urging, I believe... Sehorn's meteoric rise in football began with special teams returns for TDs when he changed sports) to put him on Special Teams, something we know is a gross error for your starters... especially your stars. "My worst nightmare," said (then) Giants coach Jim Fassel.
It is a lot easier recounting this day 10 years ago with a Super Bowl in our pocket this past season. Strahan will tell you that if his friend Sehorn (it was Strahan that was trying to fix Sehorn up with Angie Harmon) did not go down that day he would probably have a few more. (Super Bowl XXXV is a slightly different game if Sehorn is playing on two legs instead of one.) All I know is that the 1997 season is right up there with the 1981, 1986 and 2007 seasons as one of the best ever. Maybe this group of young guys like Phillips/Ross/Webster/Kiwanuka/Umenyiora/Tuck can help us to become a truly dominant defense like 1986 or 1997. I think all we need is a fast Linebacker and it could be there.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Robbins and Cofield, puff piece or genuine article?
The default is always to assume puff piece unless there is something on the margin that separates it. Slap me around and let me know if I am guilty of passing along a puff piece article. This one could easily qualify. Except one thing which caught my eye which makes a lot of sense:
"Rookie year is such a blur," said Cofield, who also spent time in the offseason working with defensive line position coach Mike Waufle. "You do so much with the All-Star games and the combines and stuff, you never really get your legs under you. Last year we changed the defense, so I wasn't completely comfortable.
"But this year, being able to control my offseason with all the work, to be fresh and having such a great knowledge of Coach [Steve] Spagnuolo's defense, I just feel like I'm in the best shape physically and mentally since I can remember."
You have to be excited about the fact that this is the second year under Spagnuolo's system. Trust me, we were in the stands that fateful September Sunday Massacre last fall at the hands of the Packers, when all hell broke loose after halftime and the sky fell on the Giants. The players were learning the new system and had given up those now legendary "80 points" we have heard about over and over. So when Cofield says he is feeling as good physically and mentally as he has his entire life, I BELIEVE IT. Why?
1) Because Cofield is pretty quiet with the media.
2) Cofield has always been understated in his self-assessment.
3) Comfort and continuity in a coach's system is very real.
4) These are all strong words for a guy who has already started 31 of 32 games.
5) DEFENSIVE TACKLE IS THE SECOND HARDEST POSITION NEXT TO QB.
Everyone knows how difficult it is for a QB to make it in the NFL. I won't bother telling you what you already know. But some of you may not know or appreciate the level of difficulty at DT. This is classic meat grinder. I think it takes conservatively 3-5 years for these players to get their "legs." They are pounded on relentlessly in the scrum and need superhuman strength to survive, let alone thrive. So when Cofield says he is in a new place, a better place, it is exciting to hear. I took the bait. Call me gullible, but I believe Cofield's words are significant. Time will certainly tell. So far in the first two preseason games all I have seen from the (first team) defensive line is a lot of awesome control and domination. But this is preseason- 4 games in August mean less than 1 quarter in September. So let's see what is under Cofield's hood. If it is anything close to what he is saying, this Giants defense could be VERY SPECIAL.
Somebody burst my balloon so that I can come back down to earth now. Thanks in advance.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
This may break the logjam with rookie salaries. The NFL will be polite and honor the 7 time Pro Bowler who worked hard for the players. But privately they are likely thrilled that an opening has been found to get some sanity back into not only the rookie salary imbalance (item #8) but also the CBA.
1) Maybe it is time to STOP drafting Wide Receivers. For one year?! Granted that we pulled a Ryan Grant on Denver by getting Domenik Hixon. But now we see the scouts at Giants games trolling over our scraps... at WR no doubt. I will guarantee you one thing, they won't be looking over our Linebackers. Even if Kehl is a keeper, the rest are either aging (Pierce, Clark) or very ordinary and trying to improve (Blackburn, Kiwanuka, Wilkinson).
2) This from Giants.com: The Giants tight ends did not catch a pass vs. Cleveland and had few, if any, balls thrown in their direction. “That is not by intent,” Coughlin said. “It just worked out that way. There weren’t a whole lot of passes thrown, to be honest with you. The numbers might reflect it, 15 out of 30 is not the most accurate (percentage) in the world and we need to get it spread around and get the ball in their hands.”
This is 1990's redux. You need the TE to take pressure off the WRs. Gilbride better start using the TE or the offense will suffer. Boss better stay healthy or the offense will suffer. If Boss gets hurt (a nightmare)... line Bradshaw up in the slot and make defenses pick their poison, the same way they have to with TEs. But I am not holding my breath.
3) Danny Ware played a very nice game on Monday night. So why am I not jumping on the excitement and buzz created by his great numbers vs the Browns? Because I saw monstrous holes the size of Arkansas opened up for him by the OL. Were the guys out there in Q4 good and Ware better, or was he better than (them being) bad? We need to see how he does in slightly different situations to start getting excited. Is he a fumbler? Will he make the right cuts in traffic? What happens to him when he is met with a defender immediately at the line of scrimmage? Quite honestly all I saw was Ware given the ball with gargantuan holes in front of him... that makes his job a lot easier because now he starts running down hill. In contrast, last preseason we got to see Bradshaw given a lot more 'normal' situations- he was able to make cuts and leave LBers grabbing air. He also was able to fight for that extra yard, something which is the difference between death and survival in the NFL. So let's see some more Ware and hopefully we can anoint him as a good backup. If that is the case, then the decision to let Jacobs play out his contract is once again maestro Reese.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Thomas George writes an article on the New York Giants with a view from 30,000 feet, but unlike other articles of this nature it still manages to offer some revealing insight. He has the typical camp platitudes but also delivers some good tidbits about what the scouts are saying etc.. His remark about Burress was terrific and spot on. When George starts talking about Boss/Shockey and Tuck/Strahan you can stop reading, nothing new or significant.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Monday, August 18, 2008
The Giants first team punched the Browns in the mouth the first half. They physically dominated them, and the score was 30-3 with 1 minute gone in the second quarter. The second units came in and it got sloppy. Just like the Lions did their rollouts on offense, the Browns got back in it with cornerback blitzes on defense, using regular season pressure in preseason to get back some composure and self-respect. Make no mistake, after Eli threw an anemic (Old Eli- telegraphed at the line of scrimmage) ball which was batted down at the line of scrimmage for a 3 and out, the Giants went on a rampage.
DOMENIK HIXON took over the game!
DOMENIK HIXON took over the game!
No, your eyes did see correctly. Manning hit him twice for some Toomer-esque TD toe taps in the end zone. Then he runs a punt back for a TD. Then he catches another 18 yarder from Wright after one of those corner blitzes. He was on fire.
Josh Huston left Beijing to do some shot putting in the Meadowlands. Ugly.
Eli still needs to be more accurate.
Sinorice Moss helped himself a lot, looked good, drew the penalty which started the Q1 rout.
Jacobs pounds the defense but boy does he take forever to get back to the line of scrimmage. There was one play where the O-line opened up a hole big enough to fit a grain combine through, and Jacobs picked up ~6 yards. Ward or Bradshaw would still be running. Jacobs had a fumble on a different play.
Manning ran for a first down to keep the (first?) TD alive. He needs to do that (on average) ONCE per game to keep the defense honest and make everyone else's job easier.
Giants first unit on defense settled down and looked good.
Giants were NOT good on kickoff coverage. Terrell Thomas had to save a TD return, makes the tackle at the ~10 yard line, and then Butler picks up the fumble for a 96 yard TD scamper. All set up by the rookie nice play on specials not giving up.
Umenyiora gives Derek Anderson a concussion on a sack.
I did not like Wright, he made some mistakes, took a step back from his first preseason positive performance.
Scary, but the first team defense looked great and did not play with Kenny Phillips. If Phillips comes along it will be impressive.
Michael Jennings did not help his cause. Downtick. Where was Brandon London?
Anyone see Boss or the TEs? Oh right, I remember. I heard that Matthews got called for a 10 yard holding penalty.
I do not like David Carr's mechanics. Are his hands too small? Why does it look like he pushes the ball instead of throwing it?
Bradshaw did good work. Pushed the pile, got first downs, good yardage and had a good blitz pickup. Ware looked good, but the second string offensive line was blowing holes open for him, so they were the ones who should be lauded.
The Dockery flub INT which turns into a TD is why the goofiness of preseason is not to be weighted heavily. Still a very nice game for the Giants before the game went sloppy.
you just might get it. The picture above is Carr running for his life in preseason G1 because TE blocking coverage broke down. The early buzz is that the TEs were less than spectacular in their first preseason performance, and that that spark is certainly missing. Here is another roundup of the same story, fresh from Vacchiano late last night.
It would have certainly been nicer to already have that #40 pick on the team, before this season, and before Shockey gets his chance to boost the Saints' fortunes by simultaneously lowering where our 2nd (and 5th) rounder slot is. For now we have to live with the fact that we have Boss's hands and that is about it. Hopefully between all of them we can get some blocking and some balance. (Matthews is NOT balance, as he may be a better blocker but he is not at all an offensive threat to keep defenses off-balance. You can file him under C, for Howard Cross... with no disrespect for Cross either given his infinitely better blocking skills.)
Eagerly looking for some upticks from TE play this evening.
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Well, Mushnick did not do a top 10 list of Mike and the Dog's rudest and lowest moments, but we'll cobble together a few which surfaced in today's column:
Early in the season on his radio and TV shows, Mike Francesa dismissed the Rays as aberrations. "Get back to me in August," became his mantra. A caller, Monday, reminded him that it's August and the Rays are in first. Francesa blew him off.
Two Chris Russo word-challenged WFAN moments always will stand out above 5,000 others:
When, shortly after 4 p.m. he would read the closing numbers on the NASDAQ, he also would be given the numbers of popular computer company stocks. Thus, one afternoon Russo told his audience that, "Yoo-hoo was up one and an eighth."
The other was from a Saturday solo show, when Russo addressed a new studio staffer:
"Robert, what's your last name?"
"Hassadi," he replied.
Russo said he would never be able to deal with that name, so, he asked, "How about if I call you R.H.?"
"How about M.H.?" the staffer suggested.
"Why M.H.?" asked Russo.
"Because my first name is Michael."
Last Sunday, after finally getting a chance to review the tape, ultimatenyg noticed that the Lions were doing a lot of rollouts to keep the pass rush out of rhythm. We noted that it was not a concern because the Giants would make the adjustments.
On Thursday Ralph Vacchiano caught up with Spags and ... they said they were happy they saw it in preseason and that they would make the adjustments.
A few extra remarks on the topic which were not mentioned by Vacchiano. (1) These maneuvers by teams will put a premium on depth, as these scrambling plays will tire your linemen even more than the normal game. Reese's remarks about not being happy with the depth on our DL was a little disturbing- is that an indictment of the 2008 training camp progress of guys like Tollefson and Alford? That would not be good. (2) Since most QBs are right-handed they like to roll right so that they can pass more easily on the run. Kitna went to his right. Who used to be patrolling the right side of the opponent's offense? None other than left-side DE Michael Strahan. Stray had the ability to sniff those things out, adjust super quick and immediately get after the QB. Not only that, Strahan was nothing short of stellar in his 'containment' of the pocket to avoid the flush out of guys like Garcia et al. So these are the little things the Giants will have to adapt to in 2008. Tuck is smart and has been mentored by the best. We may never see another DE again who can play 'contain' by holding the pocket together and simultaneously rushing the QB the way Strahan did, but Tuck will do it pretty well.
Saturday, August 16, 2008
done in the past year was cutting Luke Petitgout. Not that Ultimatenyg had it figured out or anything. The reason for mentioning Petitgout is that he was cut today by TB.
At the time of Reese's decision last winter we were as perplexed by the move as the media. It was Reese's first big move as GM. Petitgout's replacement, David Diehl, gave us addition by subtraction:
The not so good...
1) The OL lost depth by losing interior help when Diehl moved to Tackle.
2) Diehl had the second most sacks allowed in the NFL.
BUT the very good...
3) Diehl was healthy for all 20 games, missing only 1 series vs TB for dehydration (constantly razzed by linemates for his un-ironman imperfection!)
4) Diehl was adequate enough in pass protection and did a good job on runblocking
5) GONE WERE THE PETITGOUT FALSE STARTS AND TREMENDOUS PENALTIES
6) No more Petitgout back spasms throwing the OLine into damage control
That he has been cut by Gruden tells us plenty. Hmm, let's see, Reese's Giants won a Super Bowl and the Bucs released him a year later after only 4 starts and yet another injury in 2008. I guess we need not guess. Reese knew exactly what he was doing when getting rid of Petitgout- he got rid of a player with inconsistent health and "cancer" penalties. With Phillips looking good in camp, all he needs is another rookie or two to 'stick' and he will be bulletproof for a while. I think I like calling him Kevlar- any shots fired at him either miss or they just bounce off. He had a violent Shockey in his office and quietly moved on. There is no doubt who is running the show in Giantland.
ESPN view on who is having a good camp:
Kevin Boss "love the way he looks"
Justin Tuck "dynamic"
Kevin Butler "Steady Eddie"
Kenny Phillips "phenomenal camp"
Domenik Hixon "outstanding camp"
Terrell Thomas "raving about him"
Wallace Gilberry "everyone ...raves"
Mathias Kiwanuka "oustanding"
After the first few gushes I began to get a little jaded, then a few more and I realized how insane this article sounded. Is there anyone here NOT going to the Pro Bowl?!!! The part I do not understand is how everyone is raving about Wallace Gilberry, everyone is talking about how well Tollefson and a trimmer Cofield are doing, and then Reese comes along and says he is disappointed in the lack of depth at .. Defensive Line! So the pieces of the puzzle do not add up. For now we'll take the sanity of Reese.
Friday, August 15, 2008
Ultimatenyg wrote Mushnick this morning, asking Phil if he could give us a Top 10 List for greatest moments of Mike and the Mad Dog Hypocrisy. He replied, telling us that he'll have "one going Saturday (tomorrow) and Sunday, the latter, I think, is what you have in mind."
Let me grab my bib for the Sunday column. I am sure it will be very good.
With Russo going to Sirius, Mushnick's columns will be twice as long (and twice as good!).
For those of you Giants fans still here in the Metro NY Area, you probably heard that Mike and the Mad Dog are done. You can count on Mushnick to call it the way it is, no holds barred. Mushnick was a huge critic of their daily hypocrisy and his column built a cottage industry out of knocking (off the low-hanging fruit of) the two WFAN crybabies. Mike and the Mad Dog knew it all, and they were the first ones to tell you! I'll miss their coverage, but I won't miss their arrogance.
Phil, I love ya, but what are you going to do now for material? Oh, right, they just had babies, Russo is going to Sirius, now you'll get to expose TWO programs instead of one!
1) The Steven Jackson holdout does not make sense. He is the best RB in the league inside the tackles. Trade?
2) The Giants are CRAZY not to sign Burress. Shockey is gone, Burress won you a Super Bowl, he played hurt for you- what kind of message is that to your other players? How can you not reward him? (you had me at hello, Wonder)
3) Matt Ryan can be very good in the NFL as a top 10-15 QB but you cannot rush him along... with that fast turf in Atlanta they will have DEs running around end killing him. Where else did something like this happen?... None other than ...
4) David Carr. David Carr is a GOOD QB. He got annihilated like no QB ever before. Crippled by OL and because he was rushed into service. Same thing can happen to Ryan if Atlanta feels the Vickless shadow too much.
5) The Jets QB kid Ratliff has a bazooka arm. Wonder almost went nuts last year when they put him on the practice squad and left him vulnerable to being picked up by anyone willing to scoop him up.
6) Don't fill rookies' heads with all this information. Example: stop teaching DE's the entire playbook and keep it simple. Point them to the QB and say "kill." Let them PLAY! The inundation of all the complexities of the schemes is overkill for these kids and it can ruin them. (The Giants, to their credit, kept it simple for Kiwi in his first season and did not put him in too many early downs, preferring to use him to simply rush the QB.) Wonder specifically does not like the tentativeness of Gholston... he wants the Jets to just let their #6 pick in the draft go North to the QB.
7) WR Hardy, taken in the second round, looks great.
8) He is a little surprised by the early word on Phillips, but admits it looks good.
9) SIGN BRANDON JACOBS. I disagree with Wonder here. Wonder simply believes Jacobs won't (necessarily) get hurt, admitting that would be the only way it (signing him now) does not pay to do that. I think that Jacobs runs too high, he will get hurt, so make him take care of himself and if he makes it through the season w/o gtg hurt and has a great year, you pay the man.
10) Big mistake for the Giants to cut Moss. We went through the math and the conclusion was in yesterday's post that you have to put Tyree or Manningham on IR.
11) If the Giants are lacking depth at TE, look at what the Jets may be forced to do, because the Jets are loaded at that position. Get Pociask if/when he is cut by the Jets.
12) Olivea is a load.
13) Dallas was smart to go Felix Jones over Mendenhall because Jones is a much more different look vs Marion Barber.
14) Dallas is a LOADED. The only spot they are not deep at is WR, so as long as Owens stays healthy they are ok, the achilles for them is if something happens to Owens. As long as Owens ok, Dallas is going to the Super Bowl. They will be 13-3 at a minimum, more likely 14-2 or 15-1. No one in the NFC will stop them. They pratically have a bye into the Super Bowl.
15) Steve Smith will have a GIGANTIC year for the Giants. He'll be pushing Toomer for that #2 depth chart spot. VERY BIG ON SMITH.
16) Josh Johnson of TB will be a very good QB in 4 years.
17) Lynch forced out, cut by the Denver Broncos. What does this say about picking BARRETT in the 7th round?!!! It means they have to like how things are going, because they certainly feel comfortable with the rookie as a second stringer already, doing that move so early in preseason.
18) Confounding draft day move... Jax trading up to #9 for Harvey and then NOT signing him? Sign him already. You wanted to go up to the top 10 where the prices for rookies is insane? TFB, now pay up for that move.
19) Giants and Jets both to win ~9.5 games. Giants are a very good team but they are playing in a division that is loaded, so the math means they have to lose games.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
1) Kicker Jay Feely of the Dolphins was cut in favor of a rookie.
2) Plax is back in practice, sort of. I am so grateful not to be a beat writer that has to follow every minutae of this guy's soap opera.
3) London and Moss seem to be doing well enough, be it the first game or cumulative practices. Tyree is in trouble if he does get back into pads soon. Wonder suggests that with the WR numbers being what they are, they can either put Tyree or Manningham on (season-ending) IR.
4) Injuries are injuries, but one of Wonder's biggest AVOIDs of the 1st round of the NFL Draft in April was OT Chris Williams, whom Wonder called soft, not a road grader. Now he is out 10+ weeks, and some think he'll miss the entire season.
Tomorrow Wonder-ific comments on everything around the league. Do not miss that post.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Okay, okay. I promised myself I would not get too excited. Sorry, I am excited. Kenny Phillips has a few people gushing, and they are the right ones.
Safeties coach David Merritt: (Last year you had) "phenomenal team-oriented players and then you plug in a guy like Phillips who has the athletic that he brings to the table- it is going to be special."
Then Merritt went on to quote Plaxico from a conversation he had with him yesterday. Said Burress: "Coach, Man, I'm going to be honest with you, I hate seeing guys like Kenny back there in the middle post because they are so fast and so rangy... (Merritt continued in his own words)... you see this young man get from the middle of the field to the sideline in a beat, that intimidating factor right there coming from a guy like Plaxico means a lot. I look for great things out of him."
No, this was no puff piece. The coach took the time to tell everyone he is still a rookie, he is not a starter, he has not been anointed, he still makes his mistakes. But this sounds real good, coming from a coach and a veteran on the other side of the ball. This is EXACTLY what you want to hear.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Garafolo's powder puff version of the story: Giants coach discusses TEs
Ultimatenyg version: Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Meathead has seen his players for more than two weeks in camp. So now is a fair time to ask how the tight ends are doing in their attempt to fill in for the traded Jeremy Shockey.
"I'm not where I need to be yet. I mean, I don't think anyone would say that and be totally honest with it," Meathead said. "There's flashes and you'll see some moments where I say, 'Okay, good. I've got it.' I'm just not as talented as I need to be. I have some guys that are willing. I have certain things that I can do well. I don't know how to use tight ends yet in an offensive scheme, but I pretend to think..."
At that moment, the rains here really started to come down. Meathead looked up at the tent under which he was standing. Barely audible with the patter of the rain nearly drowning him out, Meathead laughed and said to whichever football gods he believes in, "I'm not lying. I'm telling the truth. We're in trouble. I can't coach tight ends."
Meathead then turned serious and said, "Kevin Boss is a good receiver. He's going to make a lot of catches if I ever figure out how to put him in a route. He's going to be the first one to tell you he's going to continue to work on his blocking and do the things we ask him to do. I have not deviated at all from what the approach has been because I'm unable to do anything else. If I have to adjust I won't be able to because I don't know how to pass to our TEs. I have not (adjusted the offense) at all. If I have to pass, I'll do it to the WRs."
Monday, August 11, 2008
Scene at Hofstra, Hempstead NY: One fan shouted, to nobody in particular, “This is where the action is now, not in Albany,” a reference to where the Giants — with their recently acquired Lombardi Trophy — train. LOL.
Just as we applaud the Jets' signing of Favre, we also do not think it is in and of itself a panacea. The Jets pulled a Snyder, so now their coaches need to put it together while their new players simultaneously honor the dollars Woody has forked over for them. As was mentioned before, the move to get Favre enables your team to be competitive. In the longer term the Jets still face issues with fielding consistently competitive teams.
The Giants have Jerry Reese, who has thus far done all an organization can ask of his scout/player personnel director/general manager. It is too early to tell, but thus far the first looks at Kenny Phillips indicate Reese has done it again. Having a decision-maker who can consistently bring in talent no matter where he is picking is a tremendous skill offering the franchise the ability to remain competitive for the foreseeable future.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Reviewed the film from first preseason game.
Why is Bradshaw returning punts? So that we can have some assassin who wants a notch on his belt ruin this guy's season (or worse, career)? What is going on here? Is he buried in the depth chart so badly that while he is #3 they are going to use him this way? That is the only logical thing I can make of it, and even that is not logical because he is (imo) the Giants' best RB.
Yes, everyone chimed in about the excellent play of Phillips in his first appearance as a Giant... this is EXACTLY what you want to see. He was shot out of a cannon. I think it was Craig who said he was "everywhere." Amen. Unless there is some kind of unforeseen dropoff or some other rookie transgression, Phillips will be our starting safety on week 1. This is clearly all you needed to know about the first preseason game... Kenny Phillips is going to give the Giants defense the lift it needs.
Those Detroit QB rollouts had the Giants defense off balance. This is just a tangent on the screen pass, a method for keeping the strong pass rush of the Giants off balance. Not worried too much, Spags will have it ironed out.
Ward is still a weak pass catcher out of the backfield.
I saw #53, and was wondering why Carson's # was not retired yet. Then I KEPT seeing #53. It was Kehl. Good sign so far for the rookie.
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Shocking... Pennington signs with the Dolphins. Well, thank goodness the Giants couldn't be their own worst enemy here. I hope and trust that they really did not have that much interest, and thus lost once the price starting going up beyond ZERO. Stop getting distracted and spend your money on Burress already. All Burress does is win games for you. The Redskin game (W3) where he turns a simple pass into the flat to win the game? The Jets game where he essentially does the same exact same thing? Carr or Wright can throw that pass just as well as Pennington or Manning, and let Burress do the rest. And if he did not sprain his mcl 6 days before the Super Bowl he may have won us the game (more) easily. All he did in that game was catch the winning TD after a typically smooth juke, all on one leg. The Giants are concerned about his injuries... simply incentivize the contract for games played. Besides, he is better on one leg than most are on two. And he was healthy in 2005 and 2006, starting 15 of 16 games in each season. He has started 46 of 48games for the Giants, so how can you complain? That he is injured? Well, then all he does is play hurt, which is... what they ask the man to do! Let's go already.
After one game of preseason, some players who were singled out for good play: Moss, London, Carr, Wright, Phillips, Blackburn.
Coughlin on Phillips: “He had a very productive game,” Coughlin said. “You see the performance and you obviously go ahead and visualize his further development and how he can help you as the season goes on.”
Friday, August 8, 2008
Thanks all for the color. Not good, GREAT to hear that Phillips has game. Every team is improving every year, and we know our second year guys will get better etc.. but to get a rookie like Phillips to hit the ground (and players) running is VERY good confirmation of early camp reports of his range. This item alone can tighten up a defense and make it and the team competitive enough to be in there at the end of the season.
Marvelous: "Eli was putrid and minus two top WR. He threw six passes.. 2 to Jacobs (???) and NONE to Boss. He pussied to an open Jacobs with a flutter pass? Bradshaw was AGAIN wasted."
So I gather that Old Eli returned for a cameo preseason appearance. Let's hope that this is not anything significant. I admit I am slightly spoiled from the playoffs. I also swore that I would behave, having given Eli a free pass for life. I'll behave. For at least a few regular season games. It is worth mentioning that the dump off passes to RBs were never a strong point of Eli. I remember a play vs TB in last year's playoffs where Bradshaw was WIDE open in the flat, and Eli threw a ball toward him but the ball hit the ground.. I wish I could say it was thrown to his feet, but that would have been a compliment to the throw. Needless to say Bradshaw would still be running today on that play if he gets that ball. Eli talks correctly about improving his game, and this is one area that certainly stands out.
Vacchiano passes along that the gmen are interested in Pennington. I would prefer not. Pennington is a dome QB, because after all of those surgeries he has a glass arm (Aaron Ross INTs, remember?!) and the Meadowlands is NOT the place for him. So I will go on record as being against bringing him in. I really like the smarts of Pennington but unfortunately when we will need his arm to be strongest (winter, wind, playoffs when Eli goes down) he will not be able to deliver. Please pass on him. Consensus from everyone (including Marvelous) was that Wright looked good, so why go after him? Because we have cap room? If we have cap room, GET Burress signed. Fwiw, word is that the Dolphins have made multiple inquiries to Pennington's agent after Pennington was cut, so I would have to think that Pennington is going to want to play for a team that gives him a (reasonable shot at a) starting job, instead of a gmen stone cold clipboard role.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
As luck would have it, right now I am traveling and unable to pick up the game. Please feel free to post COLOR on the game. Anything on the margin is appreciated. I am taping the game but won't see be able to see it until Sunday.
Ultimatenyg blog is not full of insane predictions or 'pie in the sky' dreams. What we are saying here is that it is not unrealistic to think that either of these two teams should be "live" for competing strongly for a Super Bowl appearance in the next two years. Sure, the Giants need Burress to get "healthy." The Jets need to get over that snake-bit loser mentality. But Favre changes a lot of things. Jenkins and Faneca change a lot of things. BOTH teams have realistic championship aspirations, that is all that needs to be stated here. There are so many variables of luck involved, injuries etc... to make a statement that ANY team in particular is headed to the title. All we can say is that both teams are going to have very respectable shots.
and Wonder also guarantees 4000 yards for the season assuming late season weather not an issue. Favre is perfect for the Jets, says Wonder. Cotchery and Jenkins to have big years. Keller will benefit as the rookie TE. Jenkins, Rhodes and Revis will go to the Pro Bowl if they can make the playoffs. With Favre, Thomas Jones will have a good year. Duh, Coles will be a very happy WR too. Jenkins all pro guaranteed. Mangold says it takes two guys to handle him. Favre will add tremendously to the team. "D'Brick-a-pussy is now the weakest link on the offensive line." Jets should trade Pennington to Minnesota, KC or Atlanta for ~5th round pick. He can mentor Ryan. Minnesota will win its division if they start Pennington- he does well in domes (lack of wind).
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
Jay Glazer reports Favre is going to the Meadowlands..as a NY Jet. .. for a conditional draft pick.
The biggest news is that Snee's MRI revealed there is no serious injury. Coughlin implied that that was probably the case. Snee is the bedrock of the entire line, so given that the line is the pillar of the entire offense, his status was nothing insignificant. He may be a Guard but he makes McKenzie and O'Hara better, not the other way around. No news here was VERY GOOD NEWS.
Other important news is the sighting of the Rosenhaus clan in training camp. DiTrani was great, remarking that "they didn't come all the way to Albany just to enjoy the cuisine." Maybe this Burress logjam can be broken so that certain injuries can heal a little bit faster.
Schwartz did a puff piece on Bradshaw yesterday. Regulars to the Ultimatenyg blog know one thing about where we stand on Bradshaw- Gilbride is out to lunch almost as much on his underutilization of this talent as he was with Shockey. ULTIMATENYG MEGAPHONE WARNING: You'll be hearing the positive rants on Bradshaw early and often. If this means I have to expose Gilbride for being the meathead he is, so be it.
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Tom Rock answers 5 questions about the Gmen. Ultimatenyg follows.
With all due respect, Mr. Rock, you ain't no Neil Best, and you certainly are not Arthur Staple.
Question 1: What is the biggest concern for the Giants heading into this year?
Rock- Strahan's presence off the field.
Ultimatenyg- LINEBACKER. Pierce's wheels keep coming off by the end of the season, Kiwi is making progress but is going to get picked on by Dallas et al, Wilkinson was supposed to be the de facto starter at WL and he is first getting cleared to practice.. and last but not least, with Strahan missing ON the field we no longer have half the field shut down for the run, making LB that much more important.
Question 2: What is the most recent news on Plaxico Burress? Has he practiced yet? Is he injured, or unhappy with his contract?
Rock did fine here. It is always the money, and Rock hit that one.
Question 3: What were the Giants' offseason (gains and) losses?Rock- Strahan and Shockey.
Ultimatenyg- This is where I went nuts. Ever hear of a guy named Gibril Wilson? Shockey was already wasted by Gilbride. At 36, Strahan was not a complete surprise. Not to mention 26 year old Gibril Wilson here was insane... the Giants (rightly so) obsessed about this position, bringing Dahl back in, keeping the slo-mo Butler, bringing in Sammy Knight, drafting Safety with the #1 pick. ALL because Wilson left.
Question 4: What is the team's biggest strength going into the 2008 season?
Rock- WR, and the diversity of their running game.
Ultimatenyg- WR? C'mon. This shows no knowledge of football, because even if you had Jerry Rice and Randy Moss, WR is still NOT a critical part of football. As evidence, the weaker secondary of the Giants took Randy Moss out of the Super Bowl last year. WR is not an impact position, so even if it is a strength, it is not relevant enough to be considered the TEAM'S biggest strength. Plaxico Burress played on one leg, Toomer caught some nice passes, Tyree made a miracle catch, Smith made some big grabs, and STILL WR is not what won the Giants the Super Bowl. This game is won and lost in the trenches. The offensive and defensive lines of scrimmage. So clearly the answer still has to be the defensive line of the NY Giants, because even with the loss of the almighty Strahan, you have Kiwi blitzing like the closet lineman he is, you will have Tuck starting, Osi, Robbins and Tollefson having an allegedly good camp, 2nd and 3rd year interior linemen Alford and Cofield ready to bring it up a notch.
Question 5: What is the best and worst part about covering training camp in Albany? Is this the worst time of year to be an NFL beat writer?
Rock- The best part is not having to cover the Favre angle every day. Covering Free Agency is hard and covering the team after 10 days of camp is hardest because the obvious stories have been written.
Ultimatenyg- The worst part is asking Pierce where the next Giants leader is going to be. The second worst part is having to ask Coughlin about every bleeping bowel movement of Plaxico Burress. The best part is not having to read your own drivel. The worst time of year for a beat writer is anytime you wait 5 hours for an interview that ends up being a no-show.
No offense to Rock, but the Ultimate-nyg favorite beat writers are:
5. Staple (Yankees? Giants?)
They all sell their soul for access, but at least they know what the score is with that jerk Hanlon.
Monday, August 4, 2008
1) Yesterday Goodell reinstated Favre. What this means now is that the ball is in the Packers' court. The Packers tried unsuccessfully to buy Favre out by offering him $25M in a lifetime personal services contract; Favre turned it down because Favre wants to play (we can take that for face value... this is where all the oldtimers chimed in about offering their services). So now the Packers have to decide if they pay Favre $13M per year to ride the bench or trade him to someone else. The Vikings are rumored to be the ones most willing to pay up for a trade. What a mess.
Time is against the Packers, unless there is a high profile injury. If (as an example) Eli Manning went down for the season in a preseason game, would the Giants be willing to trade for him? For a one year solution to his injury, absolutely they should. That is how the Packers might play it, simply willing to use the insurance until someone outside of the division is willing to pay up for his services. It is easy to understand why they would not want to move him to Minnesota, but if they get a credible offer from someone in the AFC, the deal will come together quickly. Considering that every year a prominent QB or two gets hurt in a manner that destabilizes the team (because of lack of credible backup), I would not be surprised to see something happen along this path.
2) It would certainly be interesting to watch Aaron Ross race Sanya Richards in the 200 Meters. They should stage it promotionally for charity. Even Ross admits he doesn't know who would win. She will certainly be getting a lot of attention at training camp (and obviously the Olympics).
Sunday, August 3, 2008
this excerpt from Newsday:
The first fight of training camp occurred Friday morning, and to no one's surprise, G Rich Seubert was in the middle of it. LB Danny Clark was the other participant in what was more a dance while holding on to each other's face mask than a brawl, though it did end up with Seubert's helmet on the ground. "It's just training camp," Seubert said. "We've been here for a week. Everybody's a little grumpy, everybody's been doing the same stuff and going against the same players." Even Clark was aware of Seubert's reputation for training-camp scuffles. "They say you're not officially a Giant until you fight Richie in practice," Clark said. "It was the first one in camp and it was all fun stuff."
Saturday, August 2, 2008
Those were the words of Bill Parcells when Simms was in the twilight of his career. In the middle of a Parcells news conference, Simms was busy getting nitpicked by the media when Parcells set them straight. The void that leaders who retire, the special ones like Strahan ... are hard to fill. When someone on the opposition runs us ragged left and right, I'll be missing Strahan an awful lot. For now, this humorous Q&A with Serby will have to postpone my Strahan withdrawal. Of particular note is (alert alert, I-told-you-so moment) that Strahan has verified the ultimatenyg stance on Kiwinuka> GET HIM BACK TO LEFT DEFENSIVE END, WHERE HE BELONGS. For more on that, you can read an old post which explicitly argues that same conclusion.
Lately we have been hearing from Coughlin and Marvelous on how Kiwanuka is going to do well at LB. This will be great if it happens. If Kiwi is so talented that he can somehow make an impact at LB the same way we know he can as a lineman, then I think it speaks more to Kiwi's resolve than the Giants' planning. Rule 1 of The Rules for Winning in the NFL states that your #1 pick is dominant, not versatile. I will stand by the view that the Giants are content to move Kiwi to LB so that he can fill a need, not make an impact. This 'puts him on the field' so that he can rush the QB intermittently, a job he should be doing on every down.
Friday, August 1, 2008
More ongoings at camp gmen. Just when you thought the Bradshaw situation was going to resolve itself and fade away peacefully, more details complicating the matter arise. The NFL is reportedly letting the matter go, but with more stuff coming out, this won't be over until... it is over.
NFL.COM on the Eagles' player woes.
NFL.COM visits Giants camp for a slightly different (more macro) perspective.