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Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Tom Brokaw on the NY Knicks

This is a New York Giants football blog. But this is a New York Sports fan blog too, and the sports fan in all of us holds a lot of significance. Collectively this site is about applauding what is good and not tolerating what is bad in sports. In the spirit of being a voice for the fan, we share this interview from April in which Tom Brokaw talks Knicks with Jim Gray.

Brokaw: “The NBA, as you know I am a big fan of the NBA…or have been. I am not very happy with it at the moment. I think that they have lost their way.”

Gray: “Why not…What bothers you?”

Brokaw: “What bothers me is that a lot of the deportment is inappropriate. You know, off the court, and I think that just four or five exceptions they are not being what they ought to be to the country.”

Gray: “And you have such a large voice, I'm wondering if you have spoken to the commissioner or team officials.”

Brokaw: “No…..He certainly knows how I feel about the Knicks…and their ownership. As a season ticket holder for a long time, I won’t renew because I don’t like the attitude that that ownership has brought to the community.”

Gray: “And you have been in the front row or close to it for a long time.”

Brokaw: “I was in the front row for a while and then three rows back but not next year. I just think that they have failed their obligation to the city. I think that we have great sports franchises in New York. I think Fred Wilpon of the Mets and George Steinbrenner of the Yankees measure up and they bring to the community winning teams as best they can and make real statements about being supportive of the community. I don’t think that the Dolans have done that and I think the Garden has lost a lot of its luster as a result of their ownership and this is the first time that I have really said that out loud. But I feel very strongly about it and I think that it's the least we can expect. They get these huge prices for people to sit in those seats, all kinds of tax advantages to owning the Garden and yet they operate as if they were a sovereign country and want to play only by their own rules. So I’m not very happy about that.”

The bye hangover explained

The Giants are 4-15 after the bye. They are 1-3 under Coughlin. Why do the Giants routinely do so poorly after the bye?

My guess is urgency. In those 19 years, the coach who had the most impact on the bye history was Fassel. The stats under his regime are interesting and revealing. The Giants went 1-6 under Fassel for the bye. The lone year they actually won was 2000, the year they went 12-4 on their way to the NFC Championship. This was a total microcosm of the post bye failure. The 2000 team was good enough and had enough leadership within the lockerroom (read Glenn Parker) to not give away a game. What happened the other six years? A combination of being much more ordinary AND Fassel being a player's coach who did not work the players hard enough. Fassel was famous enough for (at least some if not all of the years) giving the players a day off for each win they got before the break. They came back happy and fat. COMPLACENCY KILLS. When players have been interviewed about the reason/s for bye troubles, the common answer I have heard is that they were not ready or adjusted to the speed of the game.

Handley was 0-2 (Once again, SHOCKING! Not.) for the bye. Reeves and Parcells were a combined 2-4.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Eagles lose

Eagles settle for FG after gtg to red zone earlier in Q4, 21-20. Bears get FG to make game 24-20.

Eagles get the ball for what will end up being the last shot at winning the game. They drive the ball down to the Bears 4, 1st and goal. 2nd and goal at the 1. Stopped 3 more times. Score holds up. Eagles 2-2.

With the Eagles and Cowboys both losing this weekend, it is a reminder that the NFL stands for Not For Long. The Bears offense is never going to scare anybody, so you have to be purposeful and get your points where you can with that Bear defense. If Tommie Harris is healthy that entire team becomes much tougher. The game was winnable for the Eagles, but obvly that was not enough- you have to convert your chances and play 60 minutes vs that team. (Duh, the obvious implied, that the Eagles without Westbrook are a completely different team.)

The Giants don't face the Bears this year, but the lessons are there. There just is not that much difference between ANYONE in the NFL. If you want to win you better play 60 minutes. I think the Skins got extremely lucky, because I did NOT see them play 60 minutes, and yet they still managed to hold on. Let's remember the Giants won their last 9 games last year by the following margins: 3, 6, 5, 3, 17, 10, 3, 4, 3. There was plenty of mental toughness alongside of the physical will, as all of those wins were on the road. (Good thing, as we did not win any at home. Scary.) The Giants play with an urgency on the road that they do not have at home. The offense does not attack all game when they are at home. That will need to change. The Giants are in better position now to stretch their lead before the schedule gets tougher. If they play with urgency and remain healthy they will be very competitive. We saw some warts this weekend from teams like the Eagles and Cowboys. The Giants had a few warts as well vs the Bengals but escaped. Right now there is an opportunity for ~ 8-10 teams to step up and grab this championship. The Giants are in the mix. That's all you can hope for thus far.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How does it feel to be in sole possession of FIRST PLACE IN THE NFC EAST?

Was very impressed with the Redskins and Jason Campbell. We were fortunate to have played the Skins in Week 1 when they were still looking like they were in preseason. I did not see a lot of the game, but what I did see was good for Washington.

Rob: In the H2, the skins shut'm down. The 7 minute drive in Q4 which put the Skins up by 9 put some nails in the coffin. Dallas got called for 12 men on the field, gave the skins an important first down on that drive. The Dallas defense is not all there yet. Portis was able to get yards behind a good offensive line. Skins slowed down the Dallas defense with dink screens to keep blitzing schemes to a minimum. Some critical holding penalties took away 4 points from a red zone possession for the Skins but it did not cost them when they got the onside kick.

I saw a little too much prevent by the Skins in this game, but they had enough for the win.

Once again, another Jerry Jones special grimace of pain at the end of the game. I'm all broke up.

NYG 3-0
WSH 3-1
DAL 3-1
PHL 2-1

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ultimatenyg featured on New York Times Fifth Down

Today the New York Times Fifth Down featured Ultimatenyg's Bye Week Update.

Giants at the Bye Week: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

The Good

The offensive line. There is a reason the offense is third in the league with a gaudy 400 yards per game. It is called winning the game in the trenches. The Giants are third in the league in yards per carry, making this a very efficient and accomplished running game.

The defensive line. Who leads the league again with 13 sacks? The G-Men. Who leads them? Tuck? Nope, Robbins has four. That’s right, Giants fans — Fred Robbins is leading the team in sacks. This is a GREAT SIGN FOR THE TEAM. Along with the solid play of Barry Cofield, the interior line is very stout. When Kiwanuka is 100 percent — he had a sack Sunday despite being less than perfect — this line is still the leader in defensive impact. An interesting thing to note about the importance of defensive pressure: the top six teams in the N.F.L. so far this year (total of 68 sacks) are a combined 14-4, the bottom six teams in sacks (total of 14) this year are a combined 0-17. The Ernie Accorsi blueprint for success is alive and well: the best thing is a good QB, and the second best thing is a good defensive end/line to disrupt him.

Road Warriors, Part 2. The Giants play with focus and concentration on the road. They are the diesel that may or may not start quickly but they always finish well.

Hixon and Phillips. These two are making a difference with limited snaps.

The Bad

2-7. That is the record of the teams the Giants have beaten so far this season. If Kenny Phillips doesn’t make that tackle at the end of regulation we are 2-1 and there are more questions. So let’s not get too giddy yet.

Our linebackers, if Pierce gets hurt. Wilkinson got an outstanding vote of confidence in preseason. Not. First, when Osi went down, they moved Clark over to Strongside to fill Kiwanuka’s vacated role. Then Wilkinson couldn’t even win the weakside job. He shares it with the rookie Kehl. It is vital that Pierce remains healthy. Without him, we are extremely vulnerable. He does it all and helps cover up the weakest unit on the team. Reese — how about drafting a linebacker No. 1 for this franchise for the first time in 24 years?

The distraction that is Burress. I do not want to hear any excuses. You cried all off-season for a new contract and got one. Show up for work and stop acting like a 3-year-old.

The Ugly

Kevin Gilbride. When the G-Men won the Super Bowl, did you notice how everyone was raving about Spags and not a word was said about our offensive coordinator? His stubbornness in not adapting to the Bengals (who used eight- and nine-man fronts frequently to derail Jacobs) and simply going vertical was frightening. To quote one commenter on the blog, I now understand why Buddy Ryan punched Gilbride. He has one of the best offensive lines in all of football, a choice of running backs to use, a plethora of excellent wide receivers, a tight end with great hands and a quarterback entering his prime with supreme confidence and composure. And he wastes it. That the offense put up 16 points versus the Redskins and had 16 points against the Bengals through 55 minutes is an embarrassment. When the attack lights went on out of necessity, the offense woke up, almost too little too late. One more thing: Please start your best running back, Ahmad Bradshaw.

Friday, September 26, 2008

ESPN: Burress and Giants will make financial settlement

Chris Mortensen reports the Giants and Burress will settle their disupte. The one game suspension will remain, but the fine will get cut in half and Burress won't lose bonus clauses due to suspension/conduct detrimental to the team.

The late George Young on players- "It's about the money. And when they say it's not about the money, then it is DEFINITELY about the money."

The late George Young on agents- "Cockroaches."

I'll let you connect the dots.

Half Ironman

Is a Half Ironman like "half" of an event? Not! This being the bye week, we take a planned break from the non-stop football blogging to bring your attention to the Longhorn Ironman 70.3 Austin, being held on Sunday October 5th. I am just an insane football fan plugging insane triathletes.

A half ironman is:
Swim 1.2 miles +
Bike 56 miles +
Run 13.1 miles
... which is half ironman distance.
Consecutively one after the other.
The same day.

Go try swimming 0.2 miles instead of 1.2 miles. Then multiply that times 6. Then ride the bike for 3-4 hours. Then run half a marathon. Get the idea? These people are phenomenal athletes. And speaking of phenomenal phenomenal athletes, check out Shannon Cutting, my sister's coach. Scary good. If you ever need someone to help you with fitness or training, she's the one. Shannon holds the female course record at Silverman (Nevada), which has been branded the toughest full distance triathlon by Dave Scott - he'd know!!!!!! Go Jayne, Go Shannon. Go to Austin for the Half Ironman, it is going to be a great day.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I guess that bonus check cleared

I was wrong. I thought that Burress showed tremendous heart in playing hurt all year; he carried the offense on many a Sunday. So when he wanted a new contract, I felt the guy deserved it. But to go back to his old ways and get suspended, what kind of immature bs is that? It is but three games after getting the new contract and he disrespects himself, his teammates, the entire organization, the league and lastly us as fans. What excuses could Plax have this time? NONE. There is no defending him. In fact, he is the last player on the team who should be doing something like this. When you consider how deep this team is at WR, he will not be missed (well, ok, he'll be missed, but not a lot). What kind of example is this to the younger players? This comes from one of your star players? He is a quiet guy, so ... leadership by example..? Plax's leadership boils down to this- that bonus check cleared, kiss my diva a**.

We hear Plax is appealing, because he feels the fine is excessive. Whatever happened to missing work and calling in to explain? Coughlin did the right thing- no player is above the team. Ridiculous. No winners in this one. Except the Burress bank account.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Non-divisional NFL records

After three games we have our first look at the records of each division OUTSIDE of their respective divisions.



Now, it is only 3 weeks into the season. Too early to be making broad sweeping conclusions about ANYTHING. But the early returns are in and we can see some trends- the NFC EAST is clearly for real. No rush to judgement. We all want to condemn certain divisions as kaput, but the data right now is still too small. To have an outlier like 8-0 is significant for the NFC East though. We knew that with McNabb healthy at the end of last season and that team finishing at the bottom at 8-8, that that meant trouble top to bottom. Even the Redskins are playing a little better than a new head coach would normally imply. This is all good for the Giants. You want a strong division. Let three of the four teams make it to the playoffs. That would be the third consecutive year that that has happened from the NFC East. A good thing. No sleepwalking for the Giants through the division.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Keep It simple, Meathead

As much as we would like to make this game complicated, it does not have to be. 7 men in the box? 8? 9? Gilbride- if they put 11 men in the box every play do you think that maybe we should pass a little more? Sometimes you don't have a choice... last year in Buffalo the playing conditions were so horrible that we HAD TO RUN in H2or else Eli would have thrown 10 INTs. Yesterday, playing conditions were PERFECT, the announcers joked at how the Meadowlands had 3 mph winds, unheard of. Dierdorf was constantly pointing to 8-9 men in the box. Maybe we should have been passing a little more? Ya think? So instead, Lewis schemed and got Jacobs stopped for 14 carries for 35 yards. This was NOT Jacobs' fault. You have to react to what the defense gives you and PUNISH THEM for trying to derail Jacobs. It's not like we have Danny Kanell, Cab Calloway, Kevin Alexander and stonehands Cross!!! We have a good QB (who can be great if he plays with urgency), a PLETHORA OF QUALITY RECEIVERS, a TE with great hands, a RB who can catch out of the backfield (#44, hint?) and we are going against a DEPLETED SECONDARY. Rocket science? I think not. More like conservation of mass- there can only be 11 defensive bodies in 11 places, and if they are playing to stop the run, you call pass. Poor Eli, did you notice how many times he was audibling or trying to audible or running out of time constantly? Gilbride's playcalling had him batty.

The beauty of this offense is that it is capable of winning with the pass OR the run. No, we all understand that the Giants would "LIKE" to establish the run and not force Eli to throw the ball 40x per game. BUT, if guys are going to want to take away the running game, PUNISH THEM. Pass first and then set up the run when they REACT TO THAT.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Below is a great article. Ultimatenyg blog comments in bold. See halftime post yesterday for additional comments.

Giants kept running but finally passed test late by Johnette Howard (Newsday, Monday September 22, 2008)

The Giants can put lipstick on a pigskin, as Eli Manning and the offense did by the rousing end of their escape yesterday against the Bengals with two late game-deciding drives. But the Giants didn't have to rally for their 26-23 overtime win because they underestimated the still-winless Bengals.

"Flat? Awww, don't gimme that," Giants coach Tom Coughlin justifiably growled. The Giants' formidable "power of will" - the phrase Coughlin coined a second later to better explain how they won - both saved the offense, yet nearly cost the Giants the game.

The Giants were absolutely determined to run the ball against Cincinnati. That is the understatement of the year, if that is possible. When that didn't really work, they insisted on trying to run it some more. Good Johnette, keep going, love ya babe. They ran in the first half with Brandon Jacobs, who had his first sluggish game of the season. And when that didn't work, they ran it with Derrick Ward, who started the second half in Jacobs' place to try to supply a spark.

The Giants insisted ( great choice of words!) on running the ball even though the Bengals were missing 50 percent of their starting secondary and using a couple of rookies, one at safety and one at cornerback, against the formidable receiving duo of Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. (Hmm, maybe Johnette is onto something here?!!) Then the Giants kept emphasizing the run late into the fourth quarter because they wanted to keep Cincinnati's high-powered offense off the field as much as they wanted to score points themselves. But when the Giants didn't score, all that running the clock did was help keep Cincinnati in this game. Brilliant, Lewis. He's thinking- 'I'll be a genius because I can be dumb but not as dumb as meathead.'

You can see how it could happen. A week earlier, the Giants had shredded St. Louis for more than 200 yards rushing. The Bengals' defense had been coughing up about the same amount of yardage during an 0-2 start. But you could also see that this game didn't finally tilt the Giants' way until Manning began winging the ball late out of grim necessity as the final minutes bled away with the Giants down by four. (Please see halftime post, Johnette is putting in print what we ALL KNEW!) "It's good to know we can still do that," Manning said. "We find a way to get past my coordinator's horrendous playcalling."

The Giants' moronic game plan really was awe-inspiring for its stubbornness. Stubbornness?!! Ms. Howard is so flattering to Gilbride. How about inane? But it was frustrating for them at times, too, after dropping 41 points on the Rams, and talking the previous two weeks about taking the next step and becoming a big-play offense that strives for blowout wins.

With the talent and playmakers the Giants have, they can still get there. Just get rid of Meathead. All this game suggested was the goal remains a work in progress because the chances of Meathead getting fired are somewhere between zero and nonexistant. As good and magical as Manning and the Giants offense become in the clutch, they have a bit of a split personality at times, too. Split, as in split between all the talent wanting to explode with points versus the ineptitude of Gilbride wasting the talent. Sometimes they swagger around like worldbeaters. And sometimes, even in their own minds, they seem to revert to the heroic plodders who shocked the world by winning the Super Bowl. As Burress put it, "It's not always easy for us, and it's not always pretty." READ: Meathead- you are UGLY, let Eli throw the ball when they have 13 men in the box.

The Giants have talked a lot about not getting much respect. But if anything, the Giants might have given Cincinnati's offense a little too much for far too long. The Giants didn't look at their patchwork secondary and test them again and again - especially deep (operative word, a pass greater than 8 yards) - until late. They didn't say, "You worry about stopping us." Their approach was ambitious, all right, but in a different and more convoluted way: The Giants wanted to score some and chew up the clock and deal with their anxiety about what Cincinnati's offense might eventually do.

But when the Giants' running game didn't exactly produce the comfortable margin they would've liked, the Giants didn't abandon the plan until they absolutely had to. Frightening. But give the Bengals credit., for their coaches were genius in understanding how neanderthal Gilbride the Meathead is. Toomer and Coughlin said their defense changed a lot of things they'd shown in their previous two games. "They hardly did anything we'd seen them do before," Toomer said. "And that happens. But it took us awhile to adjust." Awhile, as in, WE"RE GONNA LOSE THE FREAKING GAME IF WE DON"T PASS IN OUR LAST POSSESSION!

The Giants did - just in time. Manning and Burress, Toomer and tight end Kevin Boss were the difference on their touchdown drive at the end of regulation, and then on the field-goal drive to win it. But the Giants struck just the right tone afterward as they looked ahead to their coming bye week and the rest of the season beyond that.

One offensive player after another (yes, the ones on planet earth as opposed to planet Meathead Neanderthal) echoed what Burress said: "There's a lot we can improve." Yah, like giving Gilbride a lobotomy.
Remaining unbeaten while they're still figuring it out isn't a bad place to be. Amen.

This article by Johnette Howard was excellent. She has to get access to the players and coaches, so she cannot directly call the Meathead a Meathead. That is our job.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

New York Giants 26 Cincinnati Bengals 23


3+ months from now in January when the Giants have enough wins to get into the playoffs, we won't remember or care that they won by 3 in OT like today or 28 like last week vs the Rams in a blowout. A win is a win.

Maybe this can serve as a wakeup call that you cannot mail it in. The Giants tried to mail it in again. If this team is the road warriors, they are the home hospitality. They lack the intensity and urgency at home. We saw it vs the Skins in W1 as the home opener. Trap game? Was the Viking game last year a trap game? Manning seems to be the leader of that unevenness. Rule #23 of Carl Banks. Where was the sense of urgency? None in the first half! We were lucky we did not lose in regulation.

Let's focus on some of the positives-
1) The Giants offense can be brilliant when it wants to be. If it plays in attack mode for 60 minutes we can be in the game against any team.
2) Amani Toomer's Toes should be enshrined in the Hall of Fame.
3) Hixon is terrific and needs to start in front of Toomer. He willed a first down and had his man beat on overthrown ball behind the defense. He also made a very nice block for Smith when Smith scampered on the right sideline for a nifty first down.
4) Boss's hands are great. He was instrumental in this win and maybe Gilbride can use him more.
5) Ward was fantastic today, he moved as well as I have ever seen him.
6) Carney was there for the gmen and we needed every little bit.
7) Like we said before, the Giants are 3-0. They will get better too.

There was a reason why the gmen were the biggest favorites of Week 3. They are a good team. But the complacency was there and we knew back in camp that every team would be ready for us. The Bengals certainly were ready for us today. Putting a team into an 0-3 hole is tough, but the Bengals got some self-respect out of this loss. I wouldn't want to play them next week because they know they can play now and they are every bit as wounded at 0-3.

1) Manning burns two H2 timeouts because Gilbride has the wrong playcall and he cannot change the play at the line of scrimmage in time.
2) Where is Bradshaw?
3) WTF are you doing calling a pitchout (to Bradshaw) in the red zone? (See Rule 5.)
4) WTF are you doing calling Jacobs to run wide in the red zone on 1st and Goal from the ~3? (Wonder was apoplectic about that one as well, lol. USE Ward OR Bradshaw, either is far more competent on that playcall in close environs. NYG convert the TD on third down pass to Boss, but putrid setback nonetheless.)
5) Was Ross hurt?
6) See previous post for Meathead's ugly gameplan/playcalling, etc...

Cinc 13 NYG 10 Halftime

Sloppy first half. We could EASILY be getting beat badly in this game, as the score could be 21-10 if not for a few stops inside the red zone. Sure, in those stops we had a pretty good example of Ross releasing his man and making the open field tackle and a Kiwi 3rd down sack. But let's get right to the problems:

1) Dockery and Butler looked bad this half. The Bengals are clearly attacking these guys. Chatman has 5 receptions in the first half for a reason.

2) Gilbride's game plan has been terrible. The Bengals have injuries and are depleted in the secondary, and yet we run the ball despite consistent effort on the part of the Bengals to have 8-9 men in the box. Eli does not have the time to be audibling every play at scrimmage (there are enough penalties as it is by our team this half). WHEN WE PASS WE WIN AND WHEN WE RUN (A LOT) WE LOSE. We moved the ball easily when the ball was aloft.

3) Gilbride's playcalling has been utterly predictable. When we have been in 2nd and short after a first down pass, the chances of the gemn running is like 103%. They pile the men in the box too.

4) Plax had a bad drop early but I believe he was in bounds for the TD. Dierdorf and everyone are looking at the WRONG foot. Everyone in looking at Foot 3. Yes, foot 3 was out of bounds... Foot 2 was in AND foot 1 was already in with the ball in possession.

5) If Coughlin calls another timeout in the 2 min warning of the first half while he does NOT have the ball waiting for the opposing team to get stopped a down or two later, I am going to scream. He did the same bonehead mistake in the Super Bowl, and thank goodness for the Tuck strip and Osi fumble recovery before the end of the half. This time it gives the Bengals an extra 30 seconds and all that time to march down the field. It probably did not matter, as the same 3 goes up, but it could have easily cost us 4 more and who knows if the Robbins block of the FG makes them miss it from just a little further out.

Summary: Beware of Dockery and Butler as the un-dynamic duo. PASS TO WIN this game.
(btw, Boss has the hands, get him the ball more. Ahmad Bradshaw against this defense with pass catching out of the backfield could be lethal. So far he has played zero except specials. kudos to Fred Robbins, Boss, Cofield sack. Hixon and Smith should be ahead of Toomer on the depth chart.)

Phil Simms Week 3 Around The NFL

1) If you noticed from Friday's Q&A with Wonder, I was in a little disagreement with him on whether the offenses of the Eagles and Cowboys were that good as opposed to the defenses being that bad. Simms (who covers the Eagles today vs the Steelers)came to my side, at least on the Dallas offensive part of the story, by his remarks about Tony Romo. Simms argues that Tony Romo is a very special QB who continually makes plays. Versus the Eagles, Simms counts no less than 8 fantastic plays he made. He does it on his own, says Simms. He adds that Romo is a terrific thrower of the football, with an underrated (strong) arm.

2) Praised Roethlisberger and said the Pittsburgh offense is perfectly suited to him and his talents. Feels that Big Ben could also fit into almost any scheme, but that the situation in Pitt is perfect. Separately, he felt that Roethlisberger did great in the very windy conditions he faced last week.

3) Desean Jackson is the real deal. Very good route runner, As good hands as you will see. SO much better than he expected. Jackson puts the Eagles over the top. They now have the receiver for Donovan McNabb.

4) Francesa ripped Romeo Crennel, and Simms politely deferred but did seem to concur that the decision to go for the FG on 4th and 7 vs the Steelers was wrong. I did not see it, but checking back, I do not know what planet Madden and Michaels were on to say the decision was a good one--- to quote Simms, going for the FG "gave you one way to the win the game and going for the first down gave you two."

5) As a quarterback , YOU NEVER TRASH YOUR OFFENSIVE LINE. Holt opened his mouth, and even though Bulger was not as bad as Holt, it was not a positive at all. Damage that comes from this is irreparable.

6) If the Jets cannot throw it versus the Chargers defense, they are not going to be able to throw this year. I would not go that far, given that Favre and Coles are still learning their timing, but I would agree that this has to be a day the Jets can (and should) rip apart that defense. Favre has called this a must-win game(saying they are all must-wins), obviously sensing the opportunity.

7) And under the category of what is UNSAID by Simms and everyone else... when the NY Giants are the biggest favorites of the week there is little to say about their matchup. Play for 60 minutes and destroy this team.

Friday, September 19, 2008


Ultimatenyg: The best division in the NFL?

Wonder: "The NFC East. Not even close. Are you kidding me?"

Ultimatenyg: Second best division?

Wonder: "AFC East. Bills are for real."

Ultimatenyg: "Any feelings this weekend on the NFC East games?

Wonder: "Washington on TOs, will harass Kurt Warner, he'll make a few mistakes. If even on turnovers, Ariz will win the game. But I expect them to turn over the ball and Wash will win. Pitt plays defense, the Eagles don't, I like Pitt. GB to win the game because Dallas is the better team but on a short week GB will win the game. Emotional Monday night game, tough comeback game for Dallas."

Wonder: "I was impressed with the Giants on Monday night."

Ultimatenyg: Explain.

Wonder: "Neither team (Dal or Phi) could stop the run or pass, the Giants have the best defense in the NFC East, and that will give your team an advantage. At some point they will play a close game that matters and the Giants' defense will be the difference.

Ultimatenyg: But both offenses made those defenses look weak.

Wonder: "BULLBLEEP! It's simple- great defense always will give a great offense fits. What kind of s*** is that that Desean Jackson or TO gets behind the defense by TEN YARDS! Neither team looked good defensively up the middle or on the edges. Poor tackling. Horrible! Couldn't pressure the pocket.

Ultimatenyg: But both team have excellent offensive lines..

Wonder: "Dallas yes, but the PHI offensive line is overrated, susceptible. Defensive line and defensive pressure are what separates the Giants. If DeMarcus Ware does not get to the QB then Dallas does not get to the QB. The Giants just line up and beat you one on one and that will be the difference. The Eagles defensive pressure can only beat you with schemes and blitzes. Your team is a lot better than I thought w/o Osi. They are the most well-rounded team in a very tough division."

Thursday, September 18, 2008


1) Needell says to Coughlin: rest Kiwi's ankle. It won't happen, which is why I did not bother mentioning that Wonder said the same exact thing last weekend.

2) Fact: the 3 best teams in the NFL at the current time reside in the NFC East. That is a little easier to say with Brady gone, the other Manning missing all of training camp (not to mention Sanders out 4-6 weeks), SD off to its typical slow start, Jax decimated by injuries, PHIL to beat PITT this weekend ...

3) Prediction: the NFC East will have 3 teams in the playoffs for the second consecutive year.

4) Prediction: the NFC East will represent the NFC in the Super Bowl.

5) Another I-told-you-so from Wonder.. it took all of 2 games for the Vikings to bench Tavaris Jackson.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Giants players believe in Coughlin

... and why shouldn't they? By now everyone realizes that Coughlin made some big personal changes in the way he interacted with the players in 2007- the players felt they were being treated better and that the Coach was genuinely listening to them. Along the way, something else happened that paid big dividends for the team last season with the title, and continues to pay big dividends now: the focus on continually improving every week.

If you think that’s a coach nitpicking after a lopsided victory (against the Rams), consider that Coughlin had disciples in every corner of the locker room who were voicing similar concerns. One of the most vocal was Eli Manning, who merely completed 20 of 29 passes for 260 yards, those three touchdowns and a regular season career-high passer rating of 131.4.

Whether it is the preseason where teams barely play starters, the new preseason rules with a smaller roster, free agency or the salary cap, one thing is painfully clear- every year teams have to rebuild their rosters from scratch and that means sloppy football and plenty of mistakes. Coughlin is correct to emphasize improvement each week, because the worst team in week 17 is probably playing better than the best team played in Week 1. Given that it is true for all 32 teams in the NFL that they must improve, it becomes the anti-complacency cry of the teams with early success... rest on your laurels and you will go south in a hurry.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

post Rams thoughts

1) The Eagles-Boys game last night was a slugfest. Do not be fooled by all the scoring. I would not draw the conclusion that both teams have bad defense. The only thing that was very clear is that if they stay healthy, someone from the NFC East is going to the Super Bowl.

2) Lots of good things came out of Week 1 and 2 for the Giants, but the real stuff is coming.

3) Always amusing to see how Tuck gets the highlight reel for the INT runback for a TD, but meanwhile the reason he will go to the Pro Bowl is because he is such a tremendous force every play. Run or pass. Held constantly. Multiple sacks. After ALL of that, he is humble, gets interviewed after the game and throws all the credit to the team.

4) The Charger screw at the end of the game is why Norv Turner is cursed and why you need to go after the "Quality Win" so referee insanities do not cost you.

5) From Vinny DiTrani: "Coughlin said too much was made last week of Bradshaw not getting any carries against Washington in the opener. "Some things happen that can't be revealed," he said.

Apparently in Bradshaw's case it was a leg injury he suffered the two days before the game. It got him on the injury list the final day but virtually went unnoticed. And when he failed to show his oomph returning kickoffs, he did not get to play from scrimmage."

6) Wonder was inconsolable re his Jets. "Mangini should be shot. His offense was in the wrong game plan. With slow LBers and a weak secondary (no Gay and Samuel), you must pass ~35 times."

7) It is obvious that 10-6 indeed will be needed to get a wild card because the NFC East rates to have both teams.

8) The Giants are reading their press clippings, but at least they know they have to keep improving each week. As long as they focus on the latter more than the former, I am less worried about complacency.

9) The Giants can still improve on penalties. A couple of holding penalties killed drives, and unnecessary ones in both games are easily forgiven in wins but costly in losses. One of the reasons the Giants won last year was because they were reduced significantly. This is certainly an area the team can improve on.

10) If you are my team, you're down by 7 and you have just scored a late TD, PLEASE DO NOT GO FOR THE TWO AND THE WIN. Get the tie and go to OT. It worked for Shanahan but it is stupid football. The 2 pt conversion is a 30% proposition. OT is 50%. Take OT. Last season it was 30 out of 61, or 49%, actually surprisingly high. I feel like the Giants' odds are like 25% historically, but that is just a guess. You better have the play call ready for it. One of the best ones I ever saw was Kerry Collins under Center for the Gmen, they go empty backfield and Collins QBsneaks it in when the Mike moves out to cover the RB. Great call because the Giants simply don't use that play and it broke tendency. If YOUR team is one of those that brings DOWN the average then do not go for it unless absolutely necessary.

11) Speaking about Kerry Collins, notice how Collins thrived in the wind from (the former Hurricane) Ike blowing the wind around in Cincinnati? He throws that strong tight spiral which makes him such an asset when there is wind.

12) Speaking about breaking tendency, remember how Ultimatenyg lauded meathead Gilbride for making a great call on the first TD the Giants scored vs the Skins when Eli bootlegged it in? I should have known better- it was not a design QB bootleg. Matthews was supposed to be out there for a pass to the TE on the right side of the end zone, but when LeRon Landry came up to the line he had no choice but to block him. His quick escape to go out into his route was blown up and Eli had no choice but to run the ball in.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Ahmad Bradshaw 14 Rams 13

Okay, so Bradshaw had some help from the other 44 players suited up, and the New York Giants beat the pulp out of the St. Louis Rams 41-13. (See last paragraph for more Ahmad.)

The Giants showed up for 4 quarters and kicked some a**. The Rams are a bad team but the Giants are a good one too. I do not care who you beat, when you win on the road it is a very nice win. The NFC East will be 6-2 after this weekend and both losses will be at the hands of other NFC East teams.

Justin Tuck is on a magic carpet ride to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl as long as he stays healthy.

The Giants had a Jerry Rice (Jan '87) moment when, early in Q1, Steven Jackson is about to score a TD but the turf stops him.

The Giants announced after the game that they released Plaxico Burress because of his personal foul for excessive celebration. Okay, that was a joke merely to point out that that 15 yarder was probably the only real blemish on an otherwise great team performance. The Giants dominated the Rams on both sides of the ball. Two FGs by the Rams at 54 yards masked the difference. We know it is a dome, but if either is missed the Giants have field position at the freaking 44 yard line. The Rams kept themselves in the game with those scores, and then needed another piece of freakiness when Phillips played great on turning himself around to bat away a bomb to Holt- only to see that the the ball deflected right into Holt's fallen body for a TD. Meanwhile, there was little the Giants did not do right today. Domenik Hixon was a beast. Plax and Amani were terrific. Was Smith touched on that play his YAC was called back? I thought he was not. Manning (outside of a few poor passes that may just as easily have been poor routes run) was solid. Webster and Ross were good. No, I do not like it when nickel Dockery hands off coverage to Butler, let me not watch that too often. Clark (nice play to set them back 3 yards for a 54 yarder which still made) and Pierce were effective. The defensive line was dominant, with Robbins and Tuck (who even Aikman admits, was being held the entire game) both collecting two sacks. Perhaps the only lineman who was having a tough day was Kiwi, who was playing on a gimpy ankle. (Wonder told me the Giants should bench him this past Friday, he was right as usual... that call was based on a belief the Rams were putrid and that the gmen would win without him. Looked like that was exactly what took place.) The offensive line protected Manning well for most of the game.

And then there is our friend #44. The guy plays for the last 10 minutes of the game, he gets 5 carries for 52 yards and 1 TD, 1 pass for 18 yards and 1 TD, hmmm 1/6th of the game, 70 yards 2 TDs. On the play where he runs for 31 yds and the score we are still waiting for Jacobs to get back to the line of scrimmage. Carl Banks: "shot out of a cannon... just another dimension to this running game." On the play where Bradshaw does the catch and run, this is precisely the open space playcalling which can make this guy a menace, because his scamper is textbook. This play ended the game, folks. And Ward and Jacobs are not able to score on that play. What about having this guy in on 3rd down? Now you have him out of the backfield, Smith, Toomer and Burress all who can move the sticks. Lethal. Kind of remarkable that this guy goes the first 110 minutes of regulation not even taking a snap. Will someone please tell me when this guy starts? Hey, Jacobs went 15 for 93 yards, and Ward went 8 for 58 yards. Both looked very good. But Bradshaw is still this team's best back.

some Simms remarks

Francesa reported multiple sources saying that Lane Kiffin will be fired tomorrow morning whether the Raiders win or lose. Typical Al Davis stuff. Word is they are fighting over money, Kiffen won't step down, wants his money. Shanahan is still waiting for 600K, lol, same Davis.


Simms likes Boys for revenge vs Eagles on Mon night. Like Steelers over Browns. Thinks the way you test Casell today is not necessarily to blitz him that much because when a QB gets blitzed they have to think less- make Casell think more. Says that Matt Ryan's honeymoon is over today in TB, that the same easier passes from last week will get picked off by TB this week. Believes Colts will get the W in a hostile and difficult Minnesota dome.

Ram-Giants preview

The Giants are giving -9 on the road. I know that everyone reading this understands that just because the Rams laid an egg in W1 does not mean they will necessarily do so when they return home to play the Giants today. With that said...

It really is quite simple: if the Giants play for 60 minutes they will cover that spread and still manage this game comfortably. If the Giants play footsie they will make this closer than it should be. ALL THE GIANTS NEED TO DO IS EXECUTE AND THEY WILL WIN THIS GAME HANDILY.

The single most talented player on the Rams is Steven Jackson. But he held out this summer. So to watch the rust of Week 1 in their ugly defeat at the hands of the Eagles was obviously a confluence of events. You can rest assured the Rams will be far more organized because they will have had this opportunity to review their mistakes and execute far better. CASE IN POINT: RB Blitz pickup was sloppy- the Rams gave up two sacks to the Eagles because of RBs doing a poor job on those assignments. You have to expect them to do a better job on that this week.

Overall the Rams offense was not that bad last week. It was their defense and specials that stunk up the joint. Specials gave up poor field position constantly. The Eagles offensive line gave McNabb the time (ZERO sacks in 39 pass attempts) and the defensive back 7 of the Rams were picked apart all day. The Rams leading tackler, LB Witherspoon hurt his groin in preseason and was not effective in Week 1. The Rams did not gang-tackle last weekend and they KNOW they need to gang-tackle Jacobs this weekend to survive, so no low hanging fruit expected here.

But here is where it gets good for Giants fans- the Giants made plenty of ugly mistakes in their first week win vs the skins, and were busy sorting all that out for TEN days to get ready for Week 2. So look for a focused effort today where the Giants do their part to out-physical each line of scrimmage of the Rams and win the game where it is always won.. in the trenches.

The thing to watch for is that it is always possible for the Giants to come out of the blocks slow when they are on the road. And yet we see them dig in and slowly/steadily reassert their will. The Giants gave up 7 to TB early. They had to come from behind vs the Bears. It happened a lot last season. Ideally the Giants assert themselves early, take that Dome crowd out if it and win easily, but if it is one thing we have seen from the Giants it is that they do not like getting it done easily. How about a QUALITY (>10 point margin) win this weekend? If they play 60 minutes, we'll get one.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Not good.. A GREAT SHOW.. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED. Strahan, Manning and Coughlin. 6 Parts. One great story produced by the NFL Network. And you'll hear a few more nuggets that you never heard before.

America's Game Part 1- The 2007 Giants

America's Game Part 2

America's Game Part 3

America's Game Part 4

America's Game Part 5

America's Game Part 6

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Canton Hall of Fame comes to the Sports Museum, NYC this Saturday

Sports Museum

Weekly Wonder

Wonder is a stitch. He knows the NFL scary good, and here are his comments below...

Giants- Underrated. They mailed it in vs the Skins because the Skins are so bad. If they had to play a better opponent they would have played a more complete game, but (typical of the) Giants play down to their opponent. They should be focused on the road enough to handle the Rams. If the Giants show up and play a complete game they will BLOW THE RAMS OUT... Rams are so bleeping horrible, the Giants should be able to dominate both lines of scrimmage. See remark on Rams by Wonder before last weekend. Giants have more depth than the Cowboys but the Boys have better starters. The Giants should pick up TE Pociask- he was signed by the Patriots, but they had 4 TEs and cut him.. he can block and he can catch, the Giants can easily use him, better than Matthews and Johnson.

Panthers- Good win for them was not helpful for the Giants. (See Saints below, net neutral.) Fox got his players to play w/o Smith and beat SD in last play of the game. There are 8 teams fighting for 6spots: DAL/PHI/NYG, CAR/NO, GB/MIN, and 1 schtick dreck from the west. So Carolina squeaking out a gut-check win really helped their chances this season. It looks like you will need to be 10-6 this year to make the playoffs as a wild card.

Seahawks- The injuries they sustained put them in serious trouble. RB Morris out, Burleson out for season, Branch out, Engram out, Obomanu out.. a total of 4 starting WRs out. Sims (OL) reportedly out for season too, they are in deep trouble and this opens the door for Arizona... not that Arizona is a good team, but just that they are the best of the least. And on top of everything else, bulging disc issue for Hasselbeck means they are one hit away from losing their QB.

Saints- news Wed that Pro Bowl WR Marques Colston out 4-6 weeks hurts them. They also lost Hollis Thomas for season, BIG loss. Saints vulnerable now to downside too.

Skins- Samuels should have been fined for that hit on Kiwanuka.

Jags- they are in serious trouble, lost 2 starting Guards after playing w/o starting Center, David Garrard will be running for his life. W1 they gave up 7 sacks and rushed for 50 yards, offensive line is a shambles now. "Their year is over...can u imagine the g-men losing O'Hara, Snee, Mckenzie ?? and backup OT gone also ??"

Cowboys- Felix Jones, ugh, the rich get richer. Jones AND Barber AND THAT OFFENSIVE LINE? Ya gotta be kiddin' me.

Colts - loss of Saturday was difficult. He called out all the protections for Manning.

Patriots- "...not to mention my favorite injury, you know..to that supermodel...(or was it her boyfriend?)"

Chargers- you think they missed (the real) Merriman not pressuring Delhomme? Now they will officially be missing him the rest of the season.

"Right now, the big 'winners' in NFC were the Cardinals and Panthers...on the injuries to their competition...also, Garcia out this week also...Giants cannot afford another big blow..whereas the Jets were NEVER deep enough to afford ANY...if any of the Jets OL starters goes down, so do their hopes...I never realized rooting for your team nowadays means simply rooting for your stars to walk off the field, win the war of attrition, and hope you can make a "healthy" run at your division the last 8 games...amazing !!!

"BIG SUNDAY FOR JETS, JETS, JETS !!! If they don't win, don't try to find me...I'll be living in OBLIVION, TEXAS !!!"

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Be careful who you cut, you might have to play against him

Hedgecock: "There was a player the new coach (at St. Louis) wanted to keep, a guy he had been familiar with before, and so I was just the spare tire. I knew I was a better player. Heck, everybody on the team knew that. But I was the one who got cut. So now we play the Rams in our second game this season? Out there? Good."

I would not want to be in Hedgecock's way this weekend, he sounds like he wants to spit razor blades.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Bradshaw part 62

This time it is Garafolo's turn to look for Mr. Bradshaw. As soon as Jacobs slows down and loses that 1/4 step (which turns into 1/2 step by midseason and a full step by the end of the season), Bradshaw should be starting. I would say he should be starting right now, but with Jacobs playing well, the Giants can certainly win with #27. Jacobs makes the Giants a much more physical team, and that is great. But Bradshaw is not exactly a pussycat out there... he runs very hard, just ask Ronde Barber. From my perspective, why not use Bradshaw in the slot, or even line him up wide? He has shown he can haul in a pass very well, and with Jacobs in the backfield, I would bet Bradshaw can throw a block as well if not better than any wideout. Not to mention the attention he can command out there in space. Everyone implicitly understands that Bradshaw can break a big one for 6 if given the carries and playing time. The Giants offense NEEDS him out there to spread the defense. Ward is a nice back, but does Ward spread the defense? No, he does not. This issue probably will not matter right now, but as the season progresses, if we are not seeing a lot of #44 it will be the coaches not having the best players on the field.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Week 1 review

The loss of Brady for the year is quite devastating. Seismic. I thought their defense was suspect (aging LBers and thin secondary), so now you have to realistically think the curse of the SB bridesmaid will continue.

The blitzkrieg of the Eagles and the Cowboys was impressive. Considering that Dallas did it on the road vs a credible team means more, but none of us should jump to huge conclusions on one week in the schedule. It certainly means something, but only the next few weeks combined with that will tell us just how significant these teams' chances are. The Eagles play Dallas on the road next Monday night... that should be a good one to watch.

The Bears defense was always good when it was HEALTHY. Guys like Brown and Harris were dominant, so it is only a question of whether they can reestablish that Pro Bowl form assuming they do STAY healthy. Last night we got to see that old Bears defense.

Is there any doubt that the presence of a guy like Brett Favre changes the outlook of a team? There answer is NO, there is NO doubt. So for 3.5 quarters they look fine, are up 20-7 on their way to a win, and then the Prevent Offense and Prevent Defense arrive. The Prevent Offense is the complete opposite of why you have Favre. Everyone can say- 'oh, but it did not matter, they won 20-14,' but that is not how it works. It works with QUALITY WINS by more than 10 points so that you do not have to worry about something stupid happening at the end of the game, like a jump ball being come down with in the end zone by the WRONG player. This time it was a Jet, next time vs a better opponent it will be by the opposing player. WHY mention this on a Giant blog? Because if the Giants hung on to win that game 20-14, I would have been going nuts the same way. There is simply no need to make the game that close... all you need to do is play the game with 5 minutes left the same way you played it for the first 55... but NO, Mangenius does the R-R-R-K routine. Forget that he has an experienced professional at QB. Instead the Dolphins are a play away from winning that game. Disgusting. I do not care if it is with 3 minutes left in the Q3 of a playoff game in SF in Jan 2003, if there is 0:14 left vs Dallas on Monday night in Sep 2003, if there is 9:27 left vs Dallas on Jan 13, 2008, these are the ways you lose games. PLAY 60 minutes. Not 42 minutes, Not 59:46, Not 50:33.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Around the League- Phil Simms style

Phil Simms is always knowledgeable and relevant. Some comments from this week and this morning:

1) Giants have a fast defense, powerful, still believes the Giants defense can get it done w/o Osi and Strahan. Expects Eli to be better this year. They can definitely get to the playoffs. The offense should be better than last year. Kiwanuka has that same look as Osi, will help them get it done.

2) Usually specials are crazy in first 4-5 weeks of the season because players trying to make the team are busy there in preseason. (This makes sense for explaining the Giants' specials, which were sloppy early last year and were also weak on kickoffs in W1 this year.)

3) He says the Dolphins may present a challenge today against the Jets because their regulars in preseason were already playing specials- they'll have an advantage there.

4) Thought Jets were going to be a playoff team BEFORE Favre was added to the team.

5) Ricky Williams is (still) the fastest guy on the field. Dolphins have a revamped defense, good offensive line. This is not a freebie for the Jets today at all.

6) With Gay and Samuel gone and them starting a rookie at CB, the Pats are vulnerable on defense. (This echoes Wonder, who says to throw at the Patriots and bet over in every game they play.)

7) Brady and Peyton Manning, despite not playing in preseason, will be able to win their team's first games because they are not playing against good teams (KC, Bears). It is not who you play, but when you play them... if the Pats and Colts were playing tough W1 teams, they would have been more vulnerable.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bradshaw found

Many times the Giants.com articles are so vanilla that they are not worth reading. This one was. Lots of good stuff in it, and salient comment from Coughlin on the disappearance of Bradshaw....

Brandon Jacobs had 21 rushing attempts and Derrick Ward had nine. But Ahmad Bradshaw, the Giants’ leading postseason rusher, did not carry the ball from scrimmage.

“That was my fault,” Coughlin said. “I didn’t get that rotation worked out the way I really would want to. … When we were making yards they were tough yards and I was pleased with some of the things that were happening with Jacobs and then with Derrick Ward. Not that I am not pleased with Bradshaw, no that is not the case, but I just didn’t get the right rotation.”

Wonder predictions for 2008 Season, Part II

ariz 7-9 will win some as dogs, lose some as favs
atl 3-13 actually a "good" future-looking year..go RYAN !!
balt 5-11 where's McEnroe...Flacco?ARE you SERIOUS ???
buff 9-7 could go 7-9 to 10-6...JASON PETERS ?? hello ??
car 9-7 make or break year Fox...Stewart/Williams STRONG
chi 4-12 lovie's last year..UGLY
cinc 5-11 BYE MARVIN...DEFENSIVE genius ??
clev 9-7 woulda's, shoulda's, could's..CRENNEL?? wake up ?
dall 12-4 IF T.O. plays 16 games...plays in S BOWL !!
denv 7-9 time to get a new coach
det 6-10...not so bad..they're "moving forward"
GB..9.5-6.5 they get "docked" .5 for Favre fiasco
Hou 6-10...not as bad as it looks..TOUGH SCHD!!!
Ind. 11-5...BETTER than their record..MAY go to SBOWL!!
Jag 11-5 ..tiebreakers decide fate of colts/jags
KC 4-12..and actually worse than their record..go away herm
Mia 5-11 start off 0-5 and actually right the ship..
Minn 9.5-6.5..they get "bonus" for Favre fiasco..TIEBREAK !!
N.E. 12-4..God do I hate BeleDICK and the PRICKriots
N.O. 11-5 IF Sean gets it PERFECT, headed for big dance
NYG 10-6 IF start out STRONG..brutal end of schd
NYJ 10-6 start out1-2..rattle off 4 straight wins..end 4-1
Oak 5-11..sleeper team? are you KIDDING me !!
PITT 10-6 despite BRUTAL schd...BIG BEN YEAR !!
SD 12-4(or 10-6)IF Merr AND LT play HEALTHY (and well)
SF 3-13..bye nolan..oh, where have you gone JOE/JERRY??
SEA 10-6 easiest over on the board..nice division to play in
ST.L. 4-12 bye scott..nice knowing ya..
T.B. 9-7 MEDIOCRE despite EASY schd
Tenn 8-8 GET vince some RECEIVERS !! (NINE IN THE BOX!)
Wash 6-10 welcome to the NFL MR. ZORN

Friday, September 5, 2008

Kiwanuka has a few words for Samuels

It was the last play of the game, and thankfully for Kiwanuka he was able to walk off the field without any aid. But Kiwi was not happy with Chris Samuels. Desperation to keep Kiwi from getting to the QB? An intentional attempt to injure? I feel it was both. Samuels has been in the league for far too long to not know exactly what he was doing.

The jeering and boos at halftime were Giants fans turning their ire at Steve Tisch (PSLs).

Thursday, September 4, 2008

New York Giants 16 Washington Redskins 7

Meat and potatoes win. Yes Wonder, the Redskins stink. They are learning a new system, their offense is woeful and they have a lot of injuries. Their two minute offense wouldn't scare a college team. It is not who you play but when you play them. They will get a lot better- every team improves from W1 to W17.

Offense: Manning was not present for all 4 quarters, but he looked good. He used the pump fake and looked off the safety on more than a few occasions, which was vg. Burress was excellent. Steve Smith picked up right where he left off with his terrific 3rd down possession catches which kept moving the sticks. Jacobs was punishing... he always looks good at the beginning of the season when he has fresh legs. Ward looked very good too... and as good as we have ever seen him catching the ball out of the backfield. When Jacobs has fresh legs it is hard to argue for Bradshaw. With the exception of a pass or two out of the backfield that screamed for #44, any of the three of them could get this job done. John Madden was having a lovefest with the offensive line.. I was surprised he did not suit up to join them down there. Great play call by Gilbride on the naked bootleg at the 1 yard line. As we mentioned in preseason, Manning should run ONCE per game just to keep the defense off-balance.

Defense: the DL was fantabulous. Pick a lineman, they all played great. I saw #21 all over the field. He made a great play to stop a first down by making an open field tackle of rookie Devin Thomas just short of the sticks. Webster played very well. Alford got called for a big 15 yarder which was horsebleep. They say it is a rules change but Alford totally missed his face mask anyway. Ross looked bad on the Moss TD, but he may have been in zone, so I won't judge that one too harshly. (The real culprit on that drive was...

Specials: Not good, folks. No hang time on kickoffs gives them good field position. Carney will work until Tynes can come back. Costly roughing the kicker by McDougle was a turnover insanity.

The Giants had to win this game, they did win, NEXT. The first 4 weeks are exactly like this, schtick dreck competition where the gmen must get their business done. The Giants benefit from this 10 day layover because everyone makes mistakes in W1, the Giants get to iron them out after a win and become a better team. Wilkinson and Kehl got a lot of playing time and looked fine with the exception of each taking a bad penalty... the coaches will take a scalpel to each of these guys if they keep making boneheaded mistakes like those. (Kehl had the illegal block on kickoff, Wilkinson had the unnecessary roughness.)

Burress signs new contract with NY Giants at 4PM

Burress signs new deal. Excellent news. Right before the 'deadline' for his first paycheck. Good for him. Good for the Giants. We always thought he deserved to get paid, because he delivered, stopped showing up Eli and played hurt all season. If he did not get that fluke MCL in the shower before the SB we may have beaten the Patriots a lot easier.

GO GMEN! Kick Redskin butt this evening.

Wonder's NFL predictions for 2008 season- Part 1

1) NFC WEST: Seattle a lock over +8.5. This division is putrid. SEA under the gun with suspensions at beginning of season but will still get 9+ wins.

2) NFC SOUTH: Vilma will fit in with the Saints and have a good year. So will the Saints, who will "hands down" win their division. Only the Panthers are a real threat. Panthers have a very good running tandem in Williams and Stewart but they only have one WR, and he is out the first two games with a suspension. Play 8 in the box and they are done. If Carolina's defense can show up and play well they might challenge the Saints, but more likely they are on the outside looking in for winning their division AND also coming up short for a wild card.

3) NFC NORTH: Pack is still back. 37-1 (Super Bowl XLIII) is a big overlay on them. Minnesota wild card? Can Adrian Peterson stay healthy? Peterson was injured in college and injured as a rookie, so this is a continuing question. Why oh why did Minnesota not get help for 2nd year starter Tavaris Jackson? As this kid goes, so goes the Vikings, a big bet Wonder does not make... why didn't they get another QB to help the team and to help Jackson, Wonder asks.

4) NFC EAST: Dallas is winning the division and going to the Super Bowl. The only question is whether PHL and NYG both go to the playoffs as wild cards. The toughest division in football right now. Philadelphia's schedule is so easy, it is very hard to see how they are NOT in the playoffs. Dallas will get derailed if they lose TO or Romo. The achilles heal is that Dallas only has one WR, so if TO is lost the entire team collapses. The Giants still have a shot, but Osi's loss was horrible... if the Giants get another big injury they are done. Most teams cannot survive a big injury like Osi, but the Giants can... they just cannot afford another one. Burress and Smith need to stay healthy. McDougle was a reasonable signing. Because the Giants play SEA at home, they will sweep the NFC West. The Eagles get CLE/PIT at home and CINC/BAL on road, which Wonder thinks is a much easier path to 3-1 or 4-0 than the way the Giants have it, which is the exact opposite. Wonder saw 9.5 games for the Giants before Osi went down, still sees 9, maybe 10 wins now. Says the Giants better/will KILL the Skins in Week 1 or else they are in trouble. Skins awful. Giants have huge advantage in 10 day layover after week 1 to get kinks out and be even stronger. Back to the wild card, PHL (Westbrook?), MINN and NYG all one injury away from disaster.

AFC NORTH: Pittsburgh. Cleveland is a good team but Crennel is a lousy coach.

AFC SOUTH: Indianapolis. They are the most balanced, play tough at home, tough in the dome. Jax? Tenn? Wild cards?

AFC EAST: Patriots. NE has huge problems. If you want to beat the Patriots throw against them 30-40 times. Their defense is slow, aging, Samuel loss hurts their secondary, make their LBers play in space, the LBers cannot cover. Bet 'over' in every game that the Patriots play. Jets can fight for a wild card. Just like the Giants must kick serious butt in week 1 vs the Skins, he sees same imperative of the Jets kicking serious butt on the Dolphins. The Jets cannot afford to lose to the teams that they are expected to beat. If they beat those teams they are 10-6 and a wild card. If they lose to 1 or 2 of those teams they are out. Sleeper of the NFL resides in this division- Buffalo. Buffalo will steamroll SEA on opening day. If they do not then they are poorly coached. Buffalo will be better than people think. Can defense gel? Trent Edwards?

AFC WEST: Chargers. KC had good draft but they stink. OAK and DEN nowhere.

SUPER BOWL XLIII- Dallas vs. Indianapolis with a tight 3 point spread for either one.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Marvelous on the New York Giants versus the Washington Redskins

No confidence in them. Very concerned about them winning the game on Thursday. Lucky we are playing the Skins as opposed to playing the Eagles or Boys. Thinks the Giants going after McDougle was a way to maybe enable them to get Kiwanuka back to LB if McDougle can aid at DE. "I am worried about Clinton Portis. I do not like our LBers. The defense with Clark and Pierce is not fast." Marvelous puts himself in the shoes of the Redskins and says that if I am the Skins I go after those guys (at LB).

LBer is easily the weakest unit on the team. One can argue that they were the ones who suffered the loss when Umenyiora went down, but the reason the Giants moved Kiwanuka back was because they knew he would make more of an impact at line. So what does THAT say about him as a starter at LB? The Giants should play a 5-1-5 and stop the charade. Unless it is 3rd and ~2 or less that is what they will be in.

The New York Giants' Schedule in 2008

The two tough ones this year to peg for wins are AT CLE and AT PIT. With New Eli and Osi, we can win one or even both. At this moment I am not so sure we win EITHER.

WASH ..win
AT STL win
CINC ..win
SEA ...win
AT CLE ....loss
SF ....win
AT PIT ....loss
DAL ........loss
AT PHL ....loss
BAL ...win
AT ARZ win
AT WSH ??? ???
PHL ...win
AT DAL ....loss
CAR ...win
AT MIN ....loss

I am not a big believer in new coaches in their first season. So the Giants have an oppty vs the Skins to sweep. If they do they can go 10-6. If they lose, they are 9-7.

Note how the first three games are against schlock, and the fourth is vs a team which should rate to lose to us on the road. So we will rate to be 4-0... a nice start. But this is the weakest part of the schedule, so DO NOT GET EXCITED simply because we got out of the blocks. Get excited if we see the NEW ELI. Get excited if we get "QUALITY WINS."

The Eagles have a very weak schedule (AT CHI, ATL) with the right teams (CLE, PIT) at home. If the Eagles show up they are 11-5. If they have a good season they are 12-4 or 13-3. (If Westbrook goes down, kaput 8-8 again. I will assume the Eagles stay healthy and finish 2nd in the NFC East.)

Tomorrow, Wonder's assessment around the NFL before the start of the NFL season.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Questions for 2008

1) New Eli or Old Eli? What we saw in preseason was more of the inaccurate Old Eli. In PS-3 when Hixon made those two Toomer toe TDs, some of it was Eli being there but some of it was Hixon taking poorly thrown balls and pulling them in. ELI CAN HELP HIMSELF AND BE MORE ACCURATE.

2) David Diehl liability in pass rush protection.

3) Depth at TE? I was surprised the Giants did not go after someone else. Matthews and Johnson both were criticized by their own coaches. Boss better stay healthy.

4) Does Bradshaw start (at some point) this season? We know he is not starting in W1, but if he is not starting eventually it means this offense is not playing to its maximum potential.

5) Does the Defensive Line survive the loss of #92 AND Osi? Does it manage to thrive? Kiwanuka and Tuck are both very good players, but neither has done it on a full time basis.

6) Is LB the big liability we see in W1, or does Pierce play with younger legs, Kehl get the kind of playing time to make a difference, Wilkinson play well and Clark do adequate stopgap? Lots of questions here, few answers.

7) Does Kenny Phillips make an impact? Does Ross/Webster/Thomas et al grow into a great set of corners, or do they slip back?

8) Is FG kicking a liability?

9) Do specials leave off where they left us last year, or do they start where they started last year? Tale of Two Cities.

Before Osi went down I was looking for 10-6 and playoffs. The bottom line for volatility here is - tell me how Eli's, Diehl's and Pierce's season are and I tell you how we do. If these three veterans do well, we do well, if two of them do well we do ok, if 1 of them do well we do poorly. There are many other variables, because if the second year players make that leap then we are in vg shape... but we still need those three to get it done. The weakest link on defense is LB. The weakest link on offense is Diehl's pass protection. The most inconsistent part of the team is Eli's play. Pierce seems to always start well and end slowly. He is generally playing/hurt by the end of the year, and then at that point it is like watching him with molasses under his feet. And as helpful as Diehl is in playing a position he is not meant to play, he exposes us to the speed rush. These questions this year are not as cloudy as they were last year, but they are important enough in determining the success of the team.

If you can tell me we have new Eli all year, the one who is playing 4 quarters, not disappearing in between games... if you can tell me Bradshaw and Boss are not wasted assets by Gilbride's meathead neglect... if you can tell me Pierce is fast all season... THEN THE GIANTS ARE LIVE AS MUCH AS ANYONE IN THE NFL. We will know much more after the first 3 games. Right now I have to make them 9-7.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Odds and Ends

You probably saw that McDougle was signed to the defensive line when the Eagles cut him. Refreshing everyone's memory, the Giants liked him in 2003, but when he went before our pick, we were left to pick William Joseph. Both guys have been mostly invisible in the NFL, so the gmen are taking another stab at the Miami Draft of 2003.

Coleman is correct- Whimper was put on IR, not cut. Thanks.

Wonder was telling us a while back (August 15th, #11) that the Jets are loaded at TE, that they should pick up Pociask if he gets cut, because it is all about #s in that situation, not ability. Well, it took all of a day or so for the Pats to grab him off waivers.

We avoided the Burress soap opera as long as possible... so it should not shock completely that he is getting into game shape as the first game of the season rolls around. He has gone through three complete practices and has gone at 'full speed' for one. Manning to Burress is the biggest connection in the NFL over the last 3 years, so this is what we needed to see.

QB Andre Woodson, OL Na'Shan Goddard, OL Kurt Quarterman, DE Wallace Gilberry, DT Jeremy Clark, CB Geoffrey Pope and WR Marcus Monk were signed to the practice squad.

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