Did you notice that the Giants are 3-0? Nice. Hmm, let's see who they beat.
a) the Redskins, who BARELY BEAT the Rams (0-3) 9-7 and then proceeded to lose to the Detroit Lions! So this is a 1-2 Redskin team that has barely escaped after facing teams that are 1-5. Not impressive.
b) the Dallas Cowboys, who beat the TB Bucs (0-3) and barely beat the Carolina Panthers (0-3). If Steve Smith does not cut off his route in Q4, Newman does not get that pick 6 and the Panthers can potentially (not likely, but possibly) march down the field to win the game. In Jerry's Palace. In Dallas.
c) the TB Bucs (0-3), who beat nobody.
This is not the Giants fault that they have not faced greatness thus far. And it is not the Giants fault that the teams they have faced have not faced greatness thus far either.
All the Giants can be right now is 3-0. WHICH IS PRECISELY WHAT THEY ARE. We simply have to recognize that this 3-0 team we are rooting for has not yet played a very good football team yet. We as fans must be sober and recognize that our team has a lot ahead.
Playing TB, KC and OAK is paradise for a team that needs to heal and come together. On the job training for guys like Rouse and CC Brown. Work Study for guys like Bruce Johnson. It's a shame that guys like Nicks and Sintim (OUR #1 and #2 picks, for heaven's sake!) have been out! What an oppty to get snaps.
Without showing too much disrespect for the Chiefs and Raiders, these next two games can be preseason warmups for the team if they do not look past them. Or else, yes, in THIS CASE, they will be trap games. Take care of business. Improve. Get healthy. And get ready for tougher opponents now by simply executing fundamentals better every game. Today Francesa called the Giants an "elite team." Maybe. In due time. Enjoy it all, one week at a time. I love Kansas City Barbeque.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Did you notice that the Giants are 3-0? Nice. Hmm, let's see who they beat.
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Wonder's observations after W3:
1) Playing TB was equivalent to a bye. They have no homefield advantage, half the stadium is transplanted NYers, nice to play them there.
2) TB and CLE are the two worst teams in the league. If you put them in the Super Bowl the score might be 0-0 in March before anyone scored.
3) Man-Idiot fined a player something like $1700 for taking a $3 water out of the minibar. This head coach is a psycho. He buses his rookies from Ohio to Hartford (against CBA rules) for a football camp. He has a secret about who his starting QB is. Again. Setting the over-under on how long he lasts- 2 years.
4) "There are NO GOOD TEAMS in football right now. All teams have flaws."
5) If they had to play the Super Bowl RIGHT NOW, it would be the Saints and the Ravens. Just like everyone else, these two have flaws, but right now they would be there.
6) "Andy, you're right, this kid Manningham is the real deal. Fluid hips, cuts on a dime."
7) The AFC West and the NFC West should be forced to play in the Arena League.
8) If there is one team that has less flaws than anyone, it would be Minnesota.
9) My Jets have loads of flaws- a rookie QB, D'Brickapussy can't run block, Faneca can't block period, and we only have one WR. (Note Wonder did not comment on the defense, which is playing well w/o arguably their best player, Pace.. "well, best besides Kris Jenkins.")
10) Eagles flawed- They are the best 2-1 team out there, but they lost bookend Tackle Shaun Andrews to IR, they can't pressure the QB the way they used to.
11) Best QB in the game is Peyton Manning. If he is #1, then #1a is Drew Brees. Brees is '1a' because we'll take Peyton when the pressure packages come, Peyton is better against pressure because he has seen it all, knows exactly where to go with the ball when that happens.
12) Steelers at 1-2 are better than a lot of teams.
13) Denver at 3-0 is the biggest fraud. They might be the worst 3-0 team in history. Coach too.
14) AZ is crumbling because their line play has deteriorated from last year. Their LT and RT are not good.
15) If Urlacher did not get hurt, the Bears could have won their division. Very positive on Cutler.
16) The Giants have the greatest potential of any team in the NFL, but this win against TB means very little. Tell me where this team is when Canty is back, when Boley and Tuck are 100%. Until they can get healthy, stop decent teams, they are not completely there. Remember, there are NO GOOD teams in football right now.. if the Giants do get their act together, they can be the team to beat, but right now after W3, no.
17) Baltimore has a very solid OL. Together with a solid defense that plays well together as a unit, they are the 'least flawed' AFC team.
18) "If I am the coach I fine Sanchez for that submarine TD run of his- he could break his neck and be out of football, must protect himself, too valuable."
19) Look at Percy Harvin on the turf.. could you imagine what he would be like with Peyton Manning?!
20) Even though Morris has a HORRIBLE team and a HORRIBLE o-line, watch Josh Johnson keep "the other Josh" Freeman on the bench the whole year.. unless coach gives into "public pressure."
21) "At least Favre admitted" he did not know who he was throwing to on the winning pass to beat the 49ers!
Sunday, September 27, 2009
That was a clinic. Of the good kind. Tampa Bay is a bad team, but all wins are good and any road win is a very good win. Ring it up, collect, next. Buying time for the team to heal up. But unfortunately McKenzie (knee) and Seubert (shoulder) left the game. So while some get better, others get hurt. Otherwise a very good all around performance.
1) The Defense shut down Tampa Bay so badly that they took 40 minutes of game clock to make their first 1st down. Props to Sheridan and the DL for cleaning up and fixing their lanes.
2) The offense improved in the red zone, 3-5. Some sloppy playcalling but you have to accent the positive, which is IMPROVEMENT.
3) Bradshaw got 104 yards on the ground. 7.5 avg per carry. He makes the most of his opportunities. Coughlin: "Yards after contact, he was EXCEPTIONAL."
4) This kid Bruce Johnson is playing well, came up with two stops on 3rd down, even when he got beat in garbage time he was right on the ball.
5) Steve Smith and Mario Manningham get separation and continue to deliver for the Giants.
6) No news is good news from the Safeties.
7) Gartrell Johnson looked good in scrub time.
Not excited about:
1) Lawrence Tynes missed a FG from extra point-land. One kickoff barely went to the 15 and it was not intentional.
2) Jacobs looks like he's in midseason slowdown speed. Yes, he picks up 3.5 yd/carry (92 yds on 26 attempts), but he is dancing and not getting North-South. Darryl Johnston: "He stops his feet too much." Agreed.
3) playcalls to Hedgecock. Is he 0 for '09? why not Beckum?
4) Osi's lack of pocket contain on his pass rush
1) McKenzie knee injury? How bad?
If McKenzie's injury is minor, this was a great day for the Giants. We'll assume the Seubert shoulder is minor for the moment. He was dressed on the sideline so that would tend to mean he could have gone out there again in an emergency. The team is 3-0, TB gave us some TIME to sort out our problems, address them and put on a clinic. Next.
We've heard it mentioned no less than a half dozen times this week that this is a "trap" game. Bullbrown. THIS IS NOT A TRAP GAME. When your team is hit hard by injuries, gets GASHED for 250 YDS (!) in the running game, gives up 31 points the prior week, cannot make any conversions in the red zone all season, there are NO ILLUSIONS that the Giants are a very good team right now. Trap games occur when GOOD teams who are playing WELL have a letdown vs a bad team. The Giants know they are not playing well, so if they lose it will not be because they were 'trapped'... it will be because they did not fix A LOT of problems from last week that they are FULLY AWARE OF.
If the Giants
1) play better run defense
2) get better red zone efficiency
3) get modest coverage at Safety
they will win the game.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Canty, Sintim, Ross, Nicks, Ware
Tuck, Hixon, Dockery, Koets
Ultimatenyg (Burned Out, 5 stages of Grief Depression stage) Preview: Giants -7
Showtime Phil Simms:
Simms takes NY Giants
Simms praised the Giants offense, which "can do just about anything" (except score in the red zone), can still rush the passer and Leftwich holds the ball too long. Sapp does not understand what has happened to the DBs/defensive schemes of Tampa.
Friday, September 25, 2009
Phillips is out for the year. I really did not want to even post today. Losing Osi last August was worse than this, but this is up there. Francesa said it is big, very big. He did not back away, kept on repeating how big a loss this is for the Giants. And he is right.
A quick word on Phillips- this injury could mean his playing days are in jeopardy. This is no layup. Good luck to him and may he successfully rehab his knee.
This blog is about one thing- championships. Can we win a title without Kenny Phillips. It will be much harder, but not impossible. It means we will need more help from the offense, and that means we'll need Gilbride to remove his head from his butt and get this offense to operate at great efficiency while the defense gets out of intensive care.
Let's list the problems that need to be addressed in order for the Giants to win a title in 2009-10:
1) GET HEALTHY
2) FIX THE RED ZONE
3) FIX SHORT YARDAGE
4) PATCH UP SAFETY
5) FIX THE RUN DEFENSE
6) FIX KICKOFFS
7) FIX KICKOFF COVERAGE
Safety is not, I repeat NOT, a critical position on the field. These guys are some of the lowest salaried people in the league. But go try telling that to the Steelers after they lost Troy Polamalu. Or the Colts w/o Sanders. When you have a player like Phillips who was coming into his own this year (See link above, Coughlin said he was on course for a Pro Bowl season) IT IS A BIG LOSS. But this loss is not a death blow.
HOWEVER> IF the other problems listed above are NOT addressed satisfactorily, the loss of Phillips WILL be a death blow.
There are simply too many things that need to be straightened out before the Giants can be considered contenders. Fwiw, Wonder still thinks the Giants will win the next 3 games with the B team. IF, IF the Giants can GET HEALTHY, IMPROVE THE RED ZONE EVEN MODESTLY, FIX THE GAP/LANE RESPONSIBILITIES ON DL, GET HIXON BACK ON KICKOFFS in time for the Saints, there is a reasonable expectation the team can be 4-1 at worst, or 5-0 and be in a position to move forward.
How many losses on Defense can the team get handed before the whole ship implodes? Alford, Phillips, ... Canty, Tuck, Boley, Ross, Dockery. Folks, that is almost an entire unit! Let's take care of TB this weekend, buy some more time, fix the problems, get people back healthy, keep improving and somehow get to the point where the team can legitimately vie for a title. The season is very early. That is the opportunity. Potential.
We saved the best for last. I am not going to link to everything that was said here on the blog, the regulars know this to be true. We asked for help at Safety 1) before the Draft 2) after the Draft 3) warned about it before Camp as one of 5 issues for the team 4) during camp when we saw CC Brown 5) after camp was over when the roster only had 3 safeties 6) again after seeing CC Brown vs the Redskins AND 7)THEN FINALLY WHEN IT WAS DISCLOSED THAT PHILLIPS WOULD POSSIBLY BE PLAYING INJURED ALL SEASON. Reese has done a great many things right, but he blew it here. There may have been slim pickings out around the league, but this was not a new problem. Now we have a guy named Aaron Rouse (Wonder: "decent fill-in, obviously no star") as the PRIMARY backup on Sunday and he has never worn a Giants jersey. This was not handled well, not at all. Maybe in the next 3 weeks CC Brown will learn the defense well enough to at least be okay out there. If we were playing Brees this weekend, it would be a clinic.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
1) This sounds like fun:
a) Tuck possibly out (?) w/ a torn labrum. Vacch: "long shot."
b) Canty likely out (?)
c) Derrick Ward and Cadillac Williams know how to run
d) AT Tampa Bay
e) 1PM start
"Mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the mid-day sun." Add Giants Defensive Linemen. Better have lots of those IVs ready at halftime. Will they be lucky enough to make it that far? These are the games where you love to have ALL of your linemen for rotation. For the Giants to be w/o two of them is nothing short of cruel... for the others that are left. This is where I get to segue to one of my favorite NFL video shorts, the one about Fran Tarkenton. When you get to the clip with Deacon Jones, you'll understand. Merlin Olsen's remarks weren't bad either.
Back to this Sunday's game, the Giants DL has my condolences. If they thought it was hot at the Palace in Dallas, wait'll they get to Raymond James. Forecast- 89 degrees and a 40% chance of precipitation/scattered thunderstorms. Rain never sounded so good.
2) Garafolo is not sure how serious a shoulder injury is with Mario Manningham.
3) All injury issues aside, is there anyone in their right mind who could think that Hixon should be ahead of Manningham on the depth chart?
On Monday Russ drew extra attention to a comment by
Raymond Sultan: "I think that making (Hixon) a kick return specialist and, for a while at least, only a situational receiver might actually really boost his confidence and get him back to a place where he's a serious every-game difference-maker for the team."
Russ: "Brilliant! Sometimes we find our niche (like Joba Chamberlain when he was a reliever) and we don't even know it. Time to resurrect the big-play Dominick."
That is a really nice observation, Raymond. Simple and powerful. Hixon's track record already shows him to be brittle anyway, so keep his plays down and he can come in and make some plays off the bench. And FOR GOODNESS SAKE, GET HIM BACK THERE RETURNING KICKOFFS PLEEEEEEZE! I do not know what was more insane, the Miami dive on 3rd down or (the emperor not having any clothes and) not having Hixon on kickoff duty. Frightening. Absolutely frightening.
4) Want a rookie LBer? Maualuga and former USC teammate Cushing have 4 starts, 30 tackles, a sack and 2 forced fumbles between them. Good thing these guys are only rookies.
5) They have these Weekly Power Ratings and they are mostly as useful as toilet paper. This week is no exception. Having the Ravens as the #1 team after beating two AFC West teams is a joke. Yes, beating the Chargers in SD is respectable, but let's face it, it is Norv Turner. And Norv Turner is the same retread loser (think: Wade Phillips) we saw in other hotspots like Washington and Oakland. He is 78-96-1 in his career. My apologies in advance to Charger fans and Ravens fans, but there has to be more to it than that. The fact that they can have the Giants #2 is another joke. Not at the Giants or at #2, but the whole exercise is flawed because there are too few data points to even know enough about the team. I would classify many of the commenters on this site as extremely knowledgeable about this team and all of us would to a man agree that there are still so many issues and variables that remain to be settled before we can anoint this team. Health? Defense? Gilbride? Red zone? Short yardage? SHERIDAN? Special teams on kickoffs? To see the Giants even ranked is a joke- it should be "I," as in INCOMPLETE. To be determined. Needs more games. Right now you could put the Giants #1 or put them #10 and I could make arguments for either. Which is why this Weekly ranking system this early is ... toilet paper.
6) Nobody asked me, but I'll tell you anyway.. the two teams at this moment who are impressive are the Saints and Jets. Brees has the same potent offense with a little more defense. And the Jets have given up spit on defense this year. It's not how you start, it's how you finish. Those two teams (and of course the Giants, to name just three) have the raw material to be contenders down the stretch. There is so much football to be played, let's try to figure out who is even DRESSING this weekend! G-I-L-F!
7) Toni Monkovic of The Fifth Down asks for ideas or solutions for freezing of kickers with a few seconds left. Leave it alone, it serves one good purpose.. it is very good at identifying the loser head coaches who are desperate enough to be grasping at straws.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
1) Papa and Banks reviewed the Dallas win with a 23 minute recap. Good stuff.
2) Vaccaro has a nice piece on how Manningham got to the place he is currently in. He mentions the Wonderlicht score; concerns about MM's ability to learn the offense were there. What Vaccaro did not mention was how Manningham got hurt in training camp in 2008. That is a big setback for ANY rookie. They need to get up that learning curve. But for Manningham, it was a death spiral. He spent the rest of the year trying to play catchup, never learning the offense.
It wasn't until the offseason that he had the opportunity to make progress- he needed TIME. Our first BIG clue was given by Gilbride, which was passed along on June 19th at Ultimatenyg. We saw in preseason how he was being coached on the field by Manning in where he needed to put his body. But just as importantly, we saw in preseason that beautiful separation he seemingly gets on EVERY play. Manningham's ascendency to the X receiver will not be without some 'growing pains.' But the way this NY Giants blogger sees it- THE MORE HE PLAYS THE BETTER HE GETS. By the end of the season he will be much improved. And wait until he has another camp- I'll go on record and say that as long as Mario Manningham is not injured, he will be a tremendous WR in 2010.
3) "THINK"- As Manningham plays more, he will be thinking less.. that is when it will get scary, because he just went for 150 yards and was actually thinking out there. Thinking takes time. Not sure who said it (Simms?), but the paraphrased quote is that in the NFL, you want (defensive) players to think because that slows them down before they can actually make the play. For offensive players like MM, you need their moves to be automatic. This game is not yet automatic for Mario Manningham. When his game becomes automatic, lights out, he'll get even more open than now because he'll be making the right reads.
4) What is good for Manningham should be good for Corey Webster (and the other CBs) too. Practice makes perfect.
5) It is nice to see Vacchiano talk so candidly about some items. Vacchiano is an example of a beat reporter who has a lot of things to say but holds back because he needs to appear unbiased and get his access. This was caught late yesterday and belatedly linked it to the Tuesday remarks on Phillips, which were similar in vain.
6) I concede. How many of you out there in football land saw the Dolphins vs the Colts on Monday night? I saw the end of the game, and my estimation of Tony Sparano just went down a peg, maybe two pegs. Here is the setup:
MIA has the ball and is driving, 3rd and 6 from the IND 30 (4:33 to go), score tied. What do you do?
To say the Dolphins ran was not correct. It was more like a dive to CONCEDE the end of the possession so that they could get a few yards extra to make the FG more manageable. WRONG WRONG WRONG. As soon as they did that, I was going nuts. If the Giants did this, you can bet your sweet buns that Nature and I would have been throwing a hissy. It is tantamount to Fassel kicking the FG on 3rd down. But there were 4:33 to go, an eternity for Peyton Manning. And what about that Herm (un)Edwards line- YOU PLAY TO WIN THE GAME. How about trying to actually get the FIRST DOWN???! What a radical concept. How about still trying to score SEVEN on that drive. Pathetic. They kick the FG, which incidentally would have easily been good from another 5-10 yards, having hit the back net. Peyton dissects the Dolphins (and Gibril Wilson, who got roasted multiple times) and scores 7 in a heartbeat, so amazingly the Dolphins actually have time to put a drive together, but clock management was abysmal and the Dolphins lost. The replays of the game all focused on the clock management, but the Dolphins sin was on the previous possesion when they conceded.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I know a lot of you hate Dallas, making this a particularly sweet win. So let's enjoy this one a little more before moving on.
So many great comments yesterday.. we'd need 3 blog posts to recap them all.
1) I liked Dallas to win the game on Sunday, especially if Kenny Phillips could not play. Thankfully we did not see a lot of CC Brown. Given how important Phillips was (even playing HURT!), is there anyone who thinks we win that game WITHOUT him?!
2) The two things that held me back from calling for a Cowboys victory were:
(a) the road warriors. One blog commenter emailed with a remark that Eli Manning's 5 best games have come on the road. This is just a guess, but I'll hypothesize that this is indeed logical because Eli is the un-QB, the guy who is so laid back that you have to check to see if he has a pulse. Maybe when he is on the road he has to focus more on running the team, crowd noise and all. Remember him playing the Chargers in Qualcom 4 years ago, to all of the venom and noise from the crowd that did not take well to being spurned at the Draft Altar? That was his first whale of a game. Lambeau field in the playoffs? He just seems to focus more in the hardest playing conditions.
(b) Wade Phillips. If you flipped a coin a week before the game and gave this guy his pick of either team to coach, he could lose it for either side you gave him. When was the last time you felt his team overachieved? Simply stated, you are never out of it when he is on the other sidelines. Right now he seems inexorably tied to the misfortunes of Romo, but maybe it is the other way around.
3. The crew at ESPN (Chris Berman, Tom Jackson, Ditka, Johnson and Carter) had a little bit of a lovefest for the Giants last night. But this is where you have to appreciate the national perspective. They noted how the Giants got ripped to shreds on both sides of the line of scrimmage, but were stepping over themselves to point out how the Giants know how to win. This was a hallmark of the Parcells teams. They talked about the "look" of Eli on that last drive, that you just knew he was going to take the team down the field. I'll tell you who else "knew" ... Marvelous. He sends an email to three people as the final drive is beginning: "We have 2 plays to make 6 yds. Giants will NOT kick if we are stopped on 3rd down. NOTE--Giants are GOING to WIN this game." Sometimes you just know.
4) A few words on the good teams finding a way to win. How many times were we on the losing end of that kind of game where we win everything EXCEPT the game? You take these games and YOU MOVE ON. How many of you remember a game the 1990 Giants played against the Cardinals in Week 6? The Dominant Giants were 5-0, playing the 2-3 scrubs of Phoenix. Except the Giants came out as flat as a pancake, working so hard to be 5-0 and then about to lose to schtick dreck, at home no less, 19-10. It was ugly, pathetic. But out of nowhere with very little time left the Giants drive down the field and score to make it 19-17. They need the ball one more time, somehow they get their hands on it and make a 40 yarder with ~no time left on the clock to win the game. The Giants had NO BUSINESS WINNING THAT GAME, yet they did. The Giants got whooped for the first ~55 minutes and somehow pulled it out. Far be it for us to draw too many parallels between that game and this one two nights ago. We'll leave it with the understanding that teams that win championships will win games like this along the way.
5) Defense wins championships. Is Sheridan going to be able to fix it, coach these guys up? As long as you are winning now and improving, you can get into the playoffs and hopefully be playing the best football at that time. The Indianapolis Colts in 2006 had a garbage defense but won enough with Peyton to get to the playoffs.. then Sanders came back just in time to help fix the defense and the rest is history. We need our players back/healthy and then we'll see if they can gel.
6) The play-as-you-go payment plan is still in effect. We now play 3 teams that are 1-5 (and the one win coming from 2 of the teams playing one another). If anyone saw the destruction that the Saints delivered to the Eagles, you'll know that Week 6 is where this season really begins and we can start truly assessing what is under the hood.
7) The question posed by Nature on (who is all around better than Osi at) Defensive End is answered by Wonder:
Justin Tuck, Mario Williams, Julius Peppers, Jared Allen, Schobel (BUF)...REAL underrated...John Abraham, WHEN HEALTHY, is a STUD...Ogunleye (CHI), and so far Odom (CINC) has been a BEAST...Avril is "on his way" in another year or two...love Freeney's motor... Ty Warren MUCH BETTER RUN STUFFER and can pash rush if in a 4-3...still like SEYMOUR better all-around...also, Vandenbush is REALLY GOOD...and Jason Jones is Titans' "next up and coming stud DE."
Abraham is not my guy, he disappears too much. Schobel was on TV last Monday night vs NE, he is stuck in that no-name market; if he were in NY he would be Knighted. So interesting to see Wonder single out the 3-4 DEs who would have such an easier time as a 4-3 end. Playing anywhere on the DL in a 3-4 is the most thankless job. Speaking about DL, did you guys see how NT Jay Ratliff roasted us alive on Sunday night? He could not be stopped, he took our OL to school. The Giants have trouble with these disruptive NTs. If it starts at the DL, then the DL starts at NT.
8) Eli brilliance was worth revisiting. Wonder asks us- how many times did Brady get sacked on Sunday? Zero. How many times did Eli get sacked? Zero. But look at how Eli had no happy feet, completely calm, confident. Wonder could not stop raving about how well Manning played. In this blogger's opinion, some of the Eli over Brady comparison from W2 is a Wade Phillips vs a Rex Ryan blitz. Ryan has that unpredictable 'Ravens' scheme. Mike Martz broke down the film and compared Eli's calm leadership of the offense to that of Kurt Warner. We'll throw one last bone to Bradshaw- look at how he picks up the blitz perfectly on this drive.
Monday, September 21, 2009
This was a great win, warts and all. Yes, there are a multitude of problems that need fixing, but there were MANY positives gained from this victory. We have been saying since the middle of preseason that the defense needed time to come together- they are buying time with wins. Phil Simms said before the game that the Giants defense gives up the big play and that that would cost us the game. Well, he was right, but he did not know that the Giants would have a +4 turnover ratio. Dallas beat themselves with those turnovers, so DO NOT try giving back this win with all the warts we had. Collect a nice win, move on to next week, fix the problems, get PEOPLE BACK HEALTHY and improve the defense.
1) The Giants have their #1 Wide Receiver, his name is Mario Manningham (10 catches for 150 yds) and to quote Al Michaels, he is their "budding star." Look over to the right side of the blog and give yourselves a pat on the back- you saw Mario Manningham as the breakout WR for the Giants this year, LONG BEFORE ANYONE ELSE. (Okay, let's throw a bone to Peter King, he was there too.)
2) Eli Manning (330 yds, 2 TDs) was tremendous. Cool as a cucumber in the 2 minute offense. Evaded pressure with poise in the pocket all night. He did it all.
3) Steve Smith (10 catches for 134 yds) is the Rock of Gibraltar. You can lean on him, clutch, reliable, money. Did you see that move he put on Scandrick for the TD? He left him in a different zip code.
4) The Bruce Johnson INT for a TD is how you win on the road. Make impact plays and make the home team pay for their mistakes. That was a huge lift for the team because this game could have been a rout early, the way that Dallas was dominating. Antonio Pierce is slowing down on defense but he changed the defense when Romo audibled and that set up Johnson.
5) Pass protection was good. Wonder and I disagree on this one. Wonder felt the protection was not good and that Eli Manning's pocket presence did it all, that there were plenty of times Dallas guys were getting through. There were no sacks, that is GOOD enough for us.
6) PLUS FOUR TURNOVER RATIO.
7) Ahmad Bradshaw was a jack of all trades. Picked up blitzes, pushed the pile, got respectable yardage when Jacobs was having trouble.
8) The defensive secondary did enough things well to be on the other side of Romo going for 13 for 29 with 3 INTs. Romo may have been tied with Eli for the Giants MVP, but the DBs played well in pass coverage. Phillips was playing hurt or else this unit will look better in run coverage. We could have used Gibril Wilson out there to clean up all of the run defense mistakes.
1) OL run blocking did not get the surge. Wonder asks aloud if these guys have lost something from last year. Jacobs likes getting the handoff about 28 yards behind the line of scrimmage so that he can have a running start and a head of steam, but the problem is that he was getting greeted at the line of scrimmage too often and the plays look too slow-devloping.
2) Kickoff returns
3) Kickoff coverage
The Ugly (aka "warts")
1) RUN DEFENSE was GASHED repeatedly. The DL was blown off the ball, Osi overpursued (creating wide gaps), our LBers are too slow. Boley was gassed and was out there far longer than he should have been, considering it was his first game back. Yes, it was hot and hurt both DLs, but there is no excuse for 251 yards. Would we have been aided by rotation with Tuck and Canty? Yes. But it has to improve.
2) This game, like the Redskins game, could have been over much earlier in the evening if the Red Zone offense could do better that 0 for 3 for 2 FGs.
3) Gilbride did not call Kevin Boss's number ONCE in the red zone. Instead, in this mission critical area, we get balls thrown to Hedgecock and pitchouts to Bradshaw
(See Rule #5, AGAIN!). Brilliant. NOT.
4) If Tuck's injury is serious.
Yes, the Giants were dominated at the line of scrimmage. When you have difficulties running the ball AND you give up 251 yards at the point of attack, you will not survive for very long if that does not get straightened out.
We have been complaining about the inadequacies of Kevin Gilbride for over a year now, but it has gotten so bad that even Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth now are talking about it on National TV.
Re kickoffs, each team was getting a runback of ~22 yards per kick. But their kicker makes us start from 2 yards inside the endzone while ours (thanks to Tynes' weak leg) makes our coverage of kicks start from the +10 yard line. So we get out to the 20 and they are at the 32. Bad.
With all of this, the game is still in the WIN column. GOOD FOR THE GIANTS. COLLECT THE "W" and move on to the next game. Thankfully the playoffs do not start for another 16 weeks, so there is PLENTY OF TIME TO IMPROVE. We need time to heal. We need time for Boley to get his legs. We need time for Canty, Ross, Dockery and Sintim to get back. This win was well deserved and well earned in a great fight. The most exciting part of the game is watching Mario Manningham grow up before our very eyes. This has very good long term implications for the team.
Sunday, September 20, 2009
1) NYG vs Dallas: The Boys got pushed around on defense when they played TB. (Gilbride said the heat had a lot to do with it.) That is the game. You can push around that Dallas DL. The Giants can and need to do that. On offense, the Dallas pass protection was not up to the standards they are used to. On both sides of the ball the Giants have the advantage and you would think that the Giants can win. BUT, the new stadium, the Giants have shown they are capable of giving up the big play on defense.. "Cowboys will find a way to win a close game."
2) Chi-Pitt: Steelers w/o Troy Polamalu is a big deal. His speed and versatility are the essence of why the Steelers defense can confuse a team. He has such big range that you do not know where he will end up on the field. Similarly, Urlacher is a big loss for the Bears because of his PASS defense. Urlacher is one of the few LBers who is tall with long arms- he does a lot in the middle of the field. The Bears were missing 2 DBs or else they beat the Packers last week. Cutler grief is in this moment.. he'll work out well for the Bears by the time the season is done. The Bears already racked up 6 BIG plays on offense last week, how many big plays did they have ALL SEASON?!! #1 key to the game: can the Bears "average" (at best, he was being kind) protection stop the pressure from the OLBers of the Steelers.
3) NE-NYJ: NE not a fast defense, and unlike the Ravens (and now the imported Jets defense a la Rex Ryan) and Steelers, they do not disguise their looks. So Sanchez will not be facing a tough defense. Sanchez should do well vs the Pats today.
4) Phil Simms the teacher (this is why Ultimatenyg loves listening and sharing his thoughts, keep learning): when you are playing against a team that disguises their looks, you need to spread out your formations. This forces the defense to declare their intentions. (Think about that also on 3rd and 1 when the Giants are going into a very tight formation, where Banks gets to the same conclusion in reverse.. that it is harder to pass out of that formation, so it gives the defense an advantage because they can crowd the box and then go into coverage if needed.)
Short version: Wonder sees all else equal, that the Giants lose 27-20, but does NOT rule a win out by ANY means. He sees the Saints beating the Eagles EASILY in the Linc, assuming Kolb starts.
These picks for division winners are not a surprise
Wild Card: Phil, Atl, GB (2 of 3)
SLEEPER TEAM: 49er's or ARIZ
South- Colts maybe!
Wild Card: Jets/Balt/Tenn (2 of 3)
Sleeper: NONE....IF FORCED, Jags
Back to today's games: "I have Brees...they have Kolb..?? What's that you say ?? But 2-7 on the road ?? and Phila is a REALLY good team, right ?? True, but that's why they make this RIDICULOUS LINE*....the NFL is about QB's !!!! and Saints' D is getting better...this MAY be a rout after the iglets' pack it in after Kolb's 4th turnover....soooooooo, If jints can HANG IN THERE until after their adrenalin dies down, they may be the only unbeaten team in the NFL EAST after the day is out."
* Ultimatenyg ridiculous line warning. Thanks Wonder, just saw what you were referring to, the Eagles are ONLY laying 2 points? Whaaattt?! This is a classic TRAP game if I ever saw one. So easy to take the Eagles at home. This is why the Saints should win the game outright.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Thursday: Phillips was back to practice (even making a few INTs).
Friday: Phillips misses practice; status for Sunday questionable.
NY Times: Among the injuries to the secondary, the most worrisome seemed to be the one to Phillips, who could be hampered all season. “We are going to manage this for the year, yes,” Coughlin said of Phillips’s knee injury.
When asked if he would play Sunday, Phillips said: “I hope so. It kind of gets you down a little bit. It’s up in the air right now. I want to make sure, if I play, I’m 100 percent.”
If Phillips is out and we have to rely on CC Brown as a starter against a fairly potent passing attack led by Tony Romo/Jason Witten et al, this will definitely be a MAJOR obstacle to winning on Sunday.
As we stated 2 months ago, depth at Safety was one of the 5 issues this team faced this season. Now that Coughlin has disclosed that Phillips has an injury which will need attention all season, it means Safety depth is now a season-long reality, no longer just a blip on the radar. Master of the obvious- Reese is looking everywhere for roster help at Safety.
Alford, Canty, Boley, Phillips, Ross and Dockery. ENOUGH ALREADY!
There is good news: Osi is back in 2007 form, Boley is practicing well, Bernard is contributing and the knee guys at DT (Robbins and Cofield) seem to be doing well.
Tomorrow night's keys to the game.
Friday, September 18, 2009
1) Read it and weep: Canty (calf) is out for the game on Sunday.
2) Dallas Game Preview
Wonder Game Plan for the Giants defense:
a) Do NOT let WR's get "over the top"
b) Treat WITTEN as a WR
c) POUR in on ROMO...he does NOT like pressure
d) RUN BLITZES should also do well
e) ATTACK CONSTANTLY; their Oline is not as good as it was
And Ultimatenyg will add one more:
f) Maintain pocket integrity because if you let Romo out of the pocket he buys time and is far more effective.
As far as the Giants offense is concerned:
a) Give help to Diehl on DeMarcus Ware
b) Exploit a vulnerable Dallas defense that will try to stop the run
Mike Francesa points to the limping Giants secondary for why he likes Dallas to win the game. Considering the Boys are home and favored in their new stadium, that is not an outrageous call. Phil Simms likes the Cowboys. Add that weaker handicapper Warren Sapp likes the Giants, and it is not particularly encouraging. Simms is not infallible, but all else equal we'd rather have him on our side.
No forecast from us, but two reasons why you should not count the Giants out: the road warriors and Wade Phillips.
3) Did you ever ask yourself why sportswriters, during the game, have TWO recaps being written, one for each possible result of winning and losing?
How convenient it is to have two versions of the game, one dialed in for a view with rose-colored glasses when they win, one with a coroner's autopsy glasses when they lose. How come no one rips these journalists for that bs? At least around here, we take shots at the Offensive Coordinator, win OR lose! Today we'll just let Banks do the dirty work for us instead. Take it away Carl...
4) Papa and Banks Show on Giants.com- Carl Banks on why the team struggles and is 10% below league average on short yardage/red zone (see minute 12:30):
a) spread out your formations so that you are not predictable
b) pass more
Thursday, September 17, 2009
1) Patrick Crayton hates the Giants. Brandon Jacobs hates the Cowboys. DeMarcus Ware hates the Giants. Chris Canty is being asked to hate the Cowboys. What else is new?
2) Lots of turnover in the Giants roster. Gone are Douzable and Reyes. The Giants have flopped a set of Johnsons (Michael, Bruce, Gartrell). Wonder color on the new roster addition:
RB Gartrell Johnson: a STEAL off the waiver wire..solidly built 5-10 or so 220-225....quick and strong...was a FOURTH round pick... Chargers SCREWED UP trying to "store him" on practice squad...like Jets did with Derrick Ward...hope he does as well !!
Separate and independent confirmation from Cody:
"I love this G Johnson kid. GREAT addition; I remember watching him @ Colorado St. He can run straight through people. I think this is a total steal. GMen were at the right place, right time with this one. Reese is a total stud. He isn't the fastest guy out there - but he is a one cut runner (perfect for the Giants run blocking scheme) and will absolutely run through people. He might be a factor and I think he can definitely play the Brandon Jacobs bone-crusher role for those inevitable weeks that B.J. is nicked-up. The lesson as always: In Jerry R we trust."
We have noted this before. It is not as if the Giants need a RB and then look at who is out there. They are constantly evaluating other team's rosters and practice squads so that they are ready when (a) a player goes down on their team or (b) someone else cuts a player of interest from one of the other 31 rosters. It shows in the way they got Hedgecock, Hixon, Ward and now Gartrell Johnson.
We play the Chargers later this season. Ya think Johnson is going to be fired up and have something to prove? He needs plenty of carries that game.
The Giants also added two new players to its practice squad..
TE Bear Pascoe: rookie "journeyman" type TE who won't amount to anything...but maybe gives them some blocking depth if needed
CB Michael Coe: 190 lb... mediocre...played some for Colts...won't provide anything
3) Oh yah, I forgot. Will someone pls explain to me the insanity of the ruling/rules where Louis Murphy (where did you hear that name before?) catches his first of two rookie TD passes on Monday night, only to have it disallowed? You catch the ball with possession, you get two feet in bounds, that is a catch. This is ludicrous. It is enough to drive Al Davis insane. Oh wait, he already is.
4) Speaking of insane, Michael Crabtree needs his head examined. He drops from where he is expected to go, ~3rd to 5th in the draft, to the 10th spot and gets selected by the 49ers. So now he wants Heyward-Bey 7th-draft-pick money. YOU WERE PICKED 10th! Get over it. This is right in line with Jerry Rice's rant on the state of the WR in professional football. Nothing professional about it.
If Crabtree keeps cutting his nose to spite his face and re-enters the draft in 2010, he'll blow all the countless millions he would have made this year and will not even be able to work out for any of the other 31 teams. PLUS, and this is where it gets really browned up, he'll drop in the draft FURTHER next year and then... he'll want SOMEONE ELSE'S MONEY ABOVE HIM AGAIN?!!! He and Plaxico should compare notes- they're both WR divas without a team, out of football, trying to save themselves thousands when it ends up costing them millions. Our free advice to Crabtree, a la Adam Schiff (Steven Hill) of Law and Order: "Make the deal."
5) Don't look now, but here comes Shockey in Week 6. I'll never forget the quote he made after around 3 or 4 seasons in NY when asked about his latest injury. Paraphrased, he said that you were not playing hard enough if you were not playing hurt. Whereas everyone else in the NFL was trying to take care of their bodies, Shockey was looking to pound on enough opponents to make sure he was not. Maybe Brees and Payton have been reprogramming that pea brain: "I've come to realize that being healthy in this game is a privilege," he said. "You've got to work on it to earn that privilege." I was always a big proponent of Shockey while he was here. He was not coached properly. Where was the coaching staff to knock some sense and discipline into someone who openly admitted he needed to be playing hard enough to assure he was hurt? Yah, and I could see Parcells tolerating that, as well as those 1st down celebrations. Not. The revamped TE hosts the Giants Week 6.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
1) Hat's off to Jim Zorn on the Fake FG at the end of the half. He's down 17-0, the argument you always hear from the broadcasters (ie Madden) is that you have to get those first points, they'll kick the FG and be happy to go into the H2 with something to build on. Instead they faked and scored a TD. Rule #8, Do the Unpredictable. There were 77,000 people in the stadium that were completely faked out. Half of our section was already filing out to the bathroom. If the fake does not work, you can rest assured that everyone will be questioning it, but you know on this blog that one of the things we like is shooting the moon. Taking chances. You can only lose the game once. Zorn was smart enough to know his offense was going to need a little help. He gets his team to within one score and an onside kick in part because of this fake.
Parcells faked the punt with Gary Reasons vs the 49ers, or else I am afraid there are probably only two Super Bowl titles up there at the top of this blog instead of three. You can only lose the game once.
Doing the unpredictable, taking a gamble.. has other side benefits. It tells the team you are there to win. It tells the team you as a coach have skin in the game. Every player has to know that Snyder is watching Zorn. So if that does not work, Zorn is going to have a lot of egg on his face. Or does he? Maybe because it was the right thing to do, he earned himself some respect. Now as for that offense of his, that is another piece of egg..
2) One great way to learn is (as an example) listen to Michael Strahan on the voiceover of the Super Bowl DVD. The entire set is worth it just to be able to hear his commentary. He noted how the coaches emphasized to the players to "do the ordinary" things... collectively if they all did those things it would amount to something extraordinary> winning the Super Bowl! What ordinary things? BLOCKING AND TACKLING. Staying in your lane, not abandoning your assignment.
3) Notice how (in the same link above) Umenyiora fessed up on the opening 37 yard running play by Portis. Do you think that mistake happens because, in part, it is Osi's first game (not counting preseason) since the Super Bowl?! You have to give him that. And the defense too. Look at Chris Canty: "It felt like I played 50 plays and I only played 20. I was a little gassed," Canty said. "It's hard to simulate game action in practice. It's something I was glad to have an opportunity to experience. If I had my preference, don't miss preseason. Preseason is important." That was fantastic giving Canty enough plays to tire him but not enough to injure him. The coaches will step up Canty's plays again this weekend. Pierce wants to see a lot of Canty against his old team.
4) We noted yesterday that the Jets had won only one game. So did Simms. Simms is the trusted voice of reason amidst the hyperbole.
5) The Giants picked up RB Gartrell Johnson off of waivers (Chargers). They released Allen Patrick from the practice squad.
6) Is it me, or are there plenty of poor decisions on fielding punts inside the 10 and returning kickoffs from inside the end zone? Go to minute 1:50 and watch McKelvin return the kickoff. The setup is even more important, because with ~2 minutes remaining the kickoff team of the Bills has a number of players up at the 40 yard line IN CASE OF AN ONSIDE KICK. So why is your return man taking the ball out when 6 to 8 of his ten men will clearly not be set up properly for a normal return AND the kick is 3 yards deep in the end zone? Of course we get to Wednesday morning QB that one, but with two minutes left in the game you have to be protecting the ball and the game.
7) Another big loss for the Eagles.
8) Giants are +3 this weekend in Dallas.
9) Justin Tuck- NFC Defensive Player of the Week. He was saddled with injuries on the back end of the 2008 season, so this is nice to see. Is there anyone on this team (on either side of the ball) who is able to play at a higher and more consistent level than Tuck? I don't think so. If you do, pls share. Guys like him do not even get much discussion because you know what you are going to get. When we discuss how great the defense can be, it ASSUMES that Tuck will be his typical disruptive self and that we just need the others like Canty and Boley to come around and assist.
10) Speaking about getting the defense to be dominant, healthwise we still need Ross, Sintim and Dockery back. Ross is (99%) out again this weekend. Between Coughlin being pleased with Bruce Johnson, Thomas aok and the chances for Dockery coming back, it seems rather reasonable to let Ross heal that hamstring.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
1) We talk about how the difference between teams #1 thru #26 in the NFL is not very large. Intangibles like coaching and emotion can make a #26 play like a #1 and we have numerous examples of coaches who turn good teams into underachievers in crunch time (think Marty Schottenheimer, Wade Phillips). It is only Week 1, it does not mean anything YET long term, but they are playing for Rex Ryan so far.
2) Wonder and I discussed the red zone problems. Everyone knows this is not a new problem. Remember the Steelers game last season? 1 for 6 in the red zone, the lone success at the end of the game on.. PLAY ACTION?! The Giants were 0 for 3 on Sunday vs the Skins. SAME STORY.
So what is going on? When the Giants are down by the goal line in 3rd and 1 from the 1 or thereabouts, Wonder reminds us of Marino to Bruce Hardy. The Dolphins would play action OFTEN. Fake handoff into the line.. Marino would hit one of his plethora of putrid and slow Tight Ends in the back of the end zone for a (usually) wide open TD. The Dolphins LIVED on this. And it made their run attempts more effective because it created doubt in the minds of the opponent about what they were going to see.
Part of the problem here is (my apologies for being redundant) predictability. You are not making the job of the OL any easier by using play action infrequently. Wonder swings to the other side of the coin... USE IT OFTEN. PRACTICE IT OFTEN. PLAYERS LOVE ROUTINE. They get comfortable executing it and they want to do it. It should be a staple of your offense, not an exception. Use play action with Nicks, Smith and Boss. And you benefit Eli too, because he needs to be comfortable executing this OFTEN. Wonder is so right about this.. Eli gets very good when he is comfortable back there. You can see a player like him who is long on smarts being every bit as effective as any other QB with this kind of play.
Manning offered this on the topic of 3rd and short: "Coach talked a little bit about it today - we just assume that on third and short we are going to be able to run and be able to get it. We have to throw the ball a little bit more possibly in some of those situations. But down there, we're a team that is going to be physical, we have a big back, and we should be able to get that surge and should get a first down in those situations."
3) As for short yardage woes of the Giants to run for 1 yard, be it red zone or otherwise, Wonder suspects it is scheme. Where is the design trap? He puts half the blame on the OL and the other half on Gilbride. He does not put the blame on the RB.
3a) When I asked him about the (Rule #5) pitchout in the red zone, he completely agreed, but noted one minor exception which actually bolsters the rule even more. He said the one time it actually works is when you have a two back set, you fake handoff the ball to Jacobs going right and then very quickly pitchout to Bradshaw on the left side. Everyone including the safety are frozen on the right side and the other RB can usually walk into the end zone. Fwiw, the Giants do not have Jacobs and Bradshaw in a 2 back set.
4) I was ribbing Wonder on Manningham; he is not conceding that one so quickly. But he did tip his hat to Corey Webster. "Impressive" job on Moss.
5) Injury update: "Coughlin said rookie wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (foot) and running back Danny Ware (dislocated elbow) will probably be sidelined a minimum of two weeks and then be evaluated week-by- week."
6) The Gatorade bath of Sheridan at the end of the game was good to see. Pierce: "He (Sheridan) was deserving of it. (He) called a great game and we went out and executed well."
7) The fake FG that the Skins scored a TD was Coughlin's fault. He called for an all-out block.
Sunday, September 13, 2009
For those of you who watched, you know the final score was not indicative of the way the Giants outplayed the Redskins. This was a very good win for the Giants in every way except the injuries.
1) Just like the Giants lost to Philadelphia last year in W14 20-14, the Skins got beat by the Giants in much the same way. Both games saw a special teams TD at the end of the half (punt block by Giants, Skins fake FG), both teams got off the schnide at the half after getting outplayed, both teams scored a late TD w/o much hope of winning and both teams lost by 6. This time we were on the other side of that type of game, a nice win.
2) Every win is a good win early in the season while the defense comes together. We're buying time.
3) Did Mario Manningham look like Plaxico Burress out there, or what?!! He looks so good against single coverage. He has the separation. He has the moves. 3 catches for 58 yards. Eli Manning on Manningham: "He has a lot of talent, a lot of ability."
4) How many times have we mentioned what great hands Kevin Boss has, that he is the secret weapon for the entire season?!!! 3 catches for 62 yards. 1 of those catches was an improvised checkdown from Eli, so Gilbride DOES NOT get points for dialing this guy up. HE NEEDS MORE THAN 2 CALLS OF HIS NUMBER. If Manning and Boss have to go over Gilbride's (vacuous) head to get it done with more checkdowns, more power to them. At least Gilbride had him out in a route, that is an upgrade from chaining him to the line of scrimmage every play.
5) The Rules For Winning in the NFL... Rule #5- Pitchouts do not work in the red zone. So there it is, the pitchout to Bradshaw on 3rd and short, stopped for no gain. Red zone efficiency was a problem last year and it will continue to be a problem when you make blatantly BAD playcalls like this one. Folks, this was written years ago, the observation has been made from over decades of anecdotal evidence. It is a slow-developing play that is being called in an area of the field that has no luxury of time. Next.
6) DeAngelo Hall taketh and giveth away. He is an opportunistic Cover 2 cornerback that is in the right place at the right time for his INT, but he missed the tackle on Mannngham's TD and he gets roasted by Steve Smith for the big catch (3rd and 5, 26 yard reception) in Q4 that seals the game.
7) Eli Manning was very good today. He had one delay of game when he got to the line with 10 seconds left on the playclock that was his fault. The fumble turnover was a face mask 15 yarder that the refs conveniently missed. The INT was reminiscent of him throwing off his back foot in the end zone of the Eagle playoff game last year to Asante Samuel. This time a tip was needed to cause the INT, but it still was a floater which started the same problem. (Even Eli himself notes how he has to step into that throw. See transcript link in (3) above.) Otherwise, he did a great job everywhere else and was the leader of a strong offensive performance. You can't put the red zone woes on Manning. The score is a much wider margin of victory if he has help there (see points 5 and 12). Marvelous said before the game that he loved Eli today, and boy was he right on the money. Eli was particularly sweet on the Smith 26 yarder when he looked off the safety before threading the needle on a great pass. That pass was money and the setup was just as important.
8) Let's throw a bone to the USC boys. Terrell Thomas got nicked on one Randle El play but did fine otherwise. Steve Smith was 6 for 80, a big part of this win.
9) Defense Wins Championships. We saw a lot of uneven play from the defense, but this was EXACTLY WHAT WE EXPECTED. We KNEW the defense was not going to be air tight today by any means. Simms also alluded to it this morning. This is a work in progress. But in the meantime, we will single out three players who were noteworthy:
a) Tuck, who stopped the Redskins after the Hall INT set them up at the 11 yard line. A loss of 6 on a run play on 1st down. A sack on third down. That is how you win games and win championships, with impact plays like that. That is LT-glory-days defense.
b) The Osi-Trifecta. The sack-strip. The fumble recovery. The TD. We were transplanted back to 2007's 49er win. A good omen. We miss those plays. Nice to have him back.
c) Corey Webster. Let's read Santana Moss's line stat from today: 2 receptions for 6 yards. I do not give a rat's a** who goes to the Pro Bowl at CB, I love Webster, the silence from his corner of the field is deafening.
10) We'll talk about the injuries as we get more definitive information. As we understand it right now, Ware is the serious one and the rest do not look as serious but need more eval.
11) Cooley 7 receptions for 68 yards. You have to know that the Giants are vulnerable to a good TE. We see Witten next.
12) Let's not get too crazed this early in the season about the playcalling. We'll make it very simple for now- get Boss more involved in the red zone.
13) Canty is going to see more work next week. He did fine this week in limited snaps.
14) CC Brown was garbage on the last TD. Is there anyone better out there we can get at Safety? We threw out some ideas of Bernard Pollard, Emanuel Cook, Kevin Kaesviharn and Brian Russell. I'd bring them all in for tryouts and put one on the roster to compete with Brown. At the moment we have ONLY three Safetys. Why does this guy have a free pass?
15) Osi, this may sound like nitpicking, but pls no Leon Lett's with the ball as you are about to cross the goal line.
It's a swan song appearance today for Andy at the "old" Meadowlands in Section 307.
Is our OL able to get to the second level (LBers) on run plays with Haynesworth and Daniels potentially blowing things up? Is the DL of the Giants playing cohesively, keeping Campbell inside the pocket, staying in their lanes and winning that battle? How well conditioned are the Skins and Giants in Q4? (Big break for these big guys to be playing at 415PM instead of 1PM.) How is Bruce Johnson doing, are the Skins picking on him? I'll leave it to Nature to police our friend Gilbride. See you after the game.
Phil Simms was blunt with his (paraphrased) comments:
1) GIANTS- "Very curious" (to see) about this team. I saw them do a lot of good things in the offseason, they looked good on paper. But I did not see it, not even a glimpse of it in preseason. I saw big passing plays against them, I saw lots of time, too much time, for the opposing QB. This team still needs that big play WR and I do not see it there yet. Eli Manning needs that. This is a tough matchup for the Giants later today vs the Skins. "I have more concerns for the Giants at this point than I thought that I would." (Note that Simms picked the Giants to win the game on Showtime... this is why I am thinking the Giants can somehow eek out a narrow win.)
2) Sanchez- the real deal. Franchise QB. VG thrower of the football. Good feet. Good character. Not surprising that he won the job from Clemons, he was not handed it, he earned it. Simms thinks he is going to have a very good career.
3) Upticks and positive comments on: Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, Matt Hasselbeck, Gerrard, Brady, Cutler, Seattle team, Patriots team.
4) Negative (neutral at best, which was not perceived as positive) comments on: Jake Delhomme, Brett Favre, the rest of the Bears offense helping Cutler enough (singled out Pace), the Panthers offense.
5) Believes we will see more wildcat early this season but that it will fade (again) as the season wears on.
"Giants 24-14 today. The Giants have a lot to prove. We will be tested. It is up to us to take this game to the Skins. We must be aggressive out of the gate in Q1. If Gilbride gives Eli a chance and plays to Eli's strengths, we will be ok. One way to do that is to give Eli the 2 minute drill at the beginning of the game, he is very good with that. If the Giants come out with a sense of urgency we win 24-14. Re Mario Manningham, I know him from (seeing a ton of him in) college, he is a special kind of player. He is going to be very good. Get him involved. I am sold on Nicks. Do not pussyfoot around, get these kids in the game- I'd start Nicks and Manningham. I am not sold on Heyer and I think Samuels has lost a lot, so the Giants can eventually get to Campbell because the OT position of the Redskins can be a battle we win. I love Eli today."
The poll for breakout WR is closed, the winners are Manningham and Nicks. Play these guys. Only one team wins the title, the other 31 lose, so shoot the moon, by the time the end of the season is here you'll have answers instead of more questions.
Carl Banks was on WFAN Friday with Roberts and Benigno. Go to the middle (~55% or 60% of the way through) of the audio clip to start listening to the section on the Giants.
Quick summary: Giants should be a playoff team, the back 7 of the defense has the question marks and the upside to determine the fate, good or bad, with the team.
Banks believes the WR issues are overblown. He specifically singled out Nicks and Manningham as having breakout potential.
On Hakeem Nicks: "He's a fighter now. I like the way he fights back and makes tough plays."
On Mario Manningam: "Mario Manningham is a guy who Eli Manning HAS to get adjusted to... If you watch Ocho Cinco- the best route runner in football. He gets in and out of cuts great. This Mario Manningham has the potential to be that because he is in and out of his breaks. He is ..starting to run crisp routes, but he's got quick feet and he runs a screen or an out cut.. ELI HAS TO TRUST THAT THIS KID IS GOING TO BE OUT OF IT. He's got to throw the ball, can't wait, because he'll be behind him."
On the Linebackers, very positive remarks on Wilkinson IF he can stay on the field. Wilkinson can play all three LBer positions and is MORE ATHLETIC, smart. Especially with Boley still out, who do you want covering the TE or the RB in passing situations? Carl Banks trusts Wilkinson's speed. The LBers are younger, but they are better than last year.
Xtian correctly remarks that technically speaking, yes, the LBers are not 'younger' with Clark and Pierce out there. The assumption here is that Clark is a placeholder and Pierce is slowing down (especially as each season continues).. the very near future of the LBers will be looking something like Sintim/Boley/Wilkinson/Kehl. The Giants need this move toward the younger and less experienced LBers because they have more range.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Kind of scary that with Dockery looking to be out, Rookie Bruce Johnson will be the nickel back. You still want to lay -6.5 points and say this is going to be an easy win? I hope the Giants win 30 to nothing, but anyone who thinks tomorrow should be an easy meal ticket game is not paying attention. This is also Terrell Thomas's first start. While we are high on him and believe he is ready, he will not be spotless. Add a young LBer corps and this defense will have breakdowns tomorrow. How many? Do not draw conclusions about the Giants from Game 1.
1) Good news yesterday from Tom Coughlin.
a) Nicks is going to have a very big role in the WR rotation
b) Hixon, Smith and Manningham will be the other 3 that are used actively in the WR rotation.
c) Hixon is expected to return kickoffs.
Sounds logical. Sounds good. Sounds GREAT.
2) What do the following players all have in common???
Clint Sintim (minicamp)
Sinorice Moss (minicamp)
Travis Beckum (minicamp)
William Beatty (minicamp)
Chris Canty (training camp)
Rocky Bernard (training camp)
Aaron Ross (training camp)
Kevin Dockery (post training camp)
THEY ALL HAD OR HAVE HAMSTRING INJURIES. Coughlin called injuries a cancer. Well, Tom, if injuries are a cancer, what do you call strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri?
We spoke with our Doctor friend, you know, the one who alerted us to the seriousness of the Alford injury by politely saying that you better wait until Sunday or Monday for confirmation that it was just a sprain. When we asked Ultimatenyg Doctor about the rash of hamstring injuries, whether it could be the staff not giving the players proper instruction, the answer was "VERY POSSIBLE, TOTALLY POSSIBLE." So we have no evidence, other than 8 players (did I miss any?.. ya have to know we needed an abacus to keep track of them) who all mysteriously have the same problem. Add that guys like Canty have never missed a game (before putting on a Giants uniform), add that three rookies all got it very early, and it sounds like poor professional supervision. We were not the first ones to suggest this. We first read about the notion on the nj.com blog from a commenter. It has been there in the open. Coughlin better take care of this 'cancer,' because it is man-made.
3) 1 or 2 months ago, a friend (one of the original Giants email group which predates this blog) gets informed by his wife that they will be going out to San Diego on Sept 10-14 to visit her mother. He told his wife, no, that he will not be going out that weekend to San Diego. The wife replies with a look.. Why Not? The husband matter-of-factly explains that the Giants are opening the season that Sunday and that he'll be watching the game. The wife went to San Diego without him. The husband is distraught (wink ; ) about missing an opportunity to be with his mother-in-law...!! Talk about hitting the exacta.
4) Assuming Phil Simms has signed on for another year of the NFL Now, we'll be bringing you a recap of his commentary as often during the season as we can. Phil Simms is an unofficial guru of the Ultimatenyg NY Giants Blog for a very good reason- he knows football and shares his insights with a frankness that respects us as listeners. The guru likes the Giants over the Skins tomorrow.
5) Vacchianno (yesterday): I get the sense from the defensive players that they don’t know yet what their identity is, and that it may take a few weeks to establish it.
Friday, September 11, 2009
It is the Friday before Week 1. All this talk, now it is time to play the games. THE REGULAR SEASON IS HERE! God, I love football.
The Skins game. We chatted with some folks over at DC Pro Sports Report to get a sense of what we will be seeing on Sunday. Here are the answers to our questions.
1. Why should we expect the Redskins offense to be better than it was in 2008, when it was anemic? Who is going to make the difference?
A: Maybe you shouldn't. The Redskins offense is a big unknown. The offensive line should be better, with the addition of Derrick Dockery at guard and some health at offensive right tackle. However, the depth is young and completely unproven. Any injury could be a disaster and the only offensive line I know lucky enough to go a full season [or more] without a serious injury is the Giants offensive line -- which is both lucky and good. If Washington's offense improves in 2009 it will be because the offensive line does not collapse under age and injuries, as it did in the second half of 2008.
2. Everyone knows and respects Haynesworth and Daniels. What should opposing offenses do to attack the Redskins defense?
A: Attack the linebackers in pass coverage. London Fletcher is a tackling machine and a real stud against the run, but he's not a speed demon and quicker running backs can really exploit him. WLB Rocky McIntosh isn't great in pass coverage either. SLB Brian Orakpo is extremely quick, but he is still learning the position after starring as a defensive end at Texas, and he looks a bit stiff in pass coverage. The more the Giants can make Orakpo play pass defense instead of rushing the quarterback, the better off the Giants will be. Rookie or not, the Giants must watch Orakpo carefully in all passing situations. He's scary fast.
3. Is Kelly good enough to play opposite Moss? How do you beat a defense that gives help over the top against Moss and lets the other WR get singled?
A: Kelly fell in the draft last year because of well-known concerns about a history of knee injuries and those concerns were justified when he missed 11 games to injury. He's healthy now, though, and his decent speed, good hands and great size [6'4" and 220 lbs] make him an ideal complement to Santana Moss. Of course, whether or not Kelly can stay healthy long enough to do some real damage is another matter entirely. The Redskins can move the ball through the air, even with Moss doubled, with TE Chris Cooley, who caught over 80 passes last year. However, they can't beat a good team like the Giants with just Moss and Cooley. Someone else will have to step forward -- a wide receiver like Malcolm Kelly. If the Redskins receiving options are Moss and Cooley again, Washington's 2009 offense will look a lot like the 2008 edition.
4. Clinton Portis has had his share of injuries. Will he last the season?
A: Who can say? Portis is still only 28 [hard to believe], but he's had a ton of carries. If he's healthy, he's a top running back who can do everything. The Redskins plan to spell him more this season with Ladell Betts who ran for over 1100 yards in 9 starts in 2006 when Portis missed half the season. The idea is for Portis to get the ball about 300-315 times this year instead of 350 or more. It would help Portis a lot if the offensive line could stay healthy. When the OL was healthy last year, Portis was leading the NFL in rushing. When it fell apart in November, Portis' health and productivity went with it.
5. Who wins? What score?
A: Washington has more weapons offensively and defensively than it did last year. The offensive line didn't allow a single sack of Jason Campbell in the preseason, but let's see how they do in a real game against a big-time defensive line. The Giants are a good team and are playing at home. They should win. I don't expect a romp like the season opener last year, but I think the Giants win in a close game, something like 20-17. I expect a hard-hitting NFC East battle.
Ultimatenyg back here again. I think the Redskins are fortunate to be playing the Giants in Week 1. It is not who you play but when you play them. And the Giants are vulnerable here early in the season because the defense has not played together. All it takes is ONE miscommunication on defense or one play where CC Brown is subbing in for Johnson/Phillips and all things can go south. If we know Gilbride is dialing up Bradshaw and Boss as an important part of the passing game, if we know that our defensive players are healed, if we know that Wilkinson's speed is going to be used over Blackburn (who will be "starting") on passing plays to neutralize Portis/Cooley.. the Giants can roll easily. But if the Giants make a few mistakes and Daniels/Haynesworth wreak havoc, the Skins will be in the game and have a shot. I'll predict the Giants win a tight one. Wonder likes the Giants to win and cover.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
One of the things to do OBJECTIVELY when ascertaining what kind of record your team will have in the coming season is to look at your team's OVER/UNDER + all the oppositing teams' OVER/UNDER.
Giants 10 wins over/under
The way the objective system works is that you add 1.5 games to whoever is playing at home and whoever has the higher total wins the game. As an example, when they play WASH at home, the Giants have 10 + 1.5 = 11.5, which is > than Washington's 8 total wins this season, hence a win.
OPPONENT O/U W/L
WASH 8 W
at DAL 9 L
at TB 6.5 W
at KC 6 W
OAK 5.5 W
at NO 9 L
AZ 8.5 W
at PHL 9.5 L
SD 10 W
ATL 8.5 W
at DEN 6.5 W
DAL 9 W
PHL 9.5 W
at WASH 8 W
CAR 8.5 W
at MIN 9.5 L
Using this metric, the Giants collect 12 wins, in part because they are playing TB, KC, DEN and WASH on the road, and they do not lose a game at home. Is that realistic? We know that Eli is not necessarily a force at home, so perhaps he loses one in December that the system is inking a win for, making the team go 11-5. Considering Las Vegas has them winning 10 games, 11-5 is plausible. So this objective system is not bad in getting to a ballpark estimate.
At this point making a prediction on the number of games the Giants will win this year is full of too many question marks. We simply do not know about the health and effectiveness of their two most important offseason acquisitions: Boley and Canty. Remember that Reese saw a need to open up the wallet and go after his first two high profile free agents in 3 years as GM. That should tell you how important these two players are in addressing needs he felt the Giants had this offseason.
THESE TWO MEN HAVE YET TO PLAY A SINGLE DOWN FOR THE GIANTS!
Anyone that can tell us unequivocally how the gmen will do this season is guessing about the impact these guys make. Did these guys heal? If so, do they gel with the defense? When do they gel? If anyone knows the answer to these questions, pls do share. We can see scenarios where the Giants are anywhere from 9-7 to 13-3. Wonder has them subjectively at 11-5 or 12-4. As was mentioned earlier in the week, Week 6 vs the Saints is the first test, and you can see how the numbers also verify that... the Saints are 9 +1.5 = 10.5 which gives them a win 'objectively' over the Giants. We will learn about Boley and Canty in the first 5 weeks, so Week 6 is the first big test. Of course we will learn plenty about the team vs their 2 divisional rivals too, but those datapoints will not mean as much because those 2 players will not be making an impact. (Boley does not even dress in W1.)
Summary: 11-5 or 12-4 is plausible, but Canty and Boley will determine a lot more as the season unfolds.
(1) Terrell Thomas to start on Sunday. Were you surprised???
(2) "Loaded box" "opportunity" "GOOD", didn't we just say this?!
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
The national view of your team is sometimes valuable because they take a step back and put things into more perspective. You have to see the forest for the trees. Sports Illustrated does a good job of focusing the offense's success on the running backs.
Offense> Running Game
Defense> Loads the Box
Offense> Bust the Box
There is a book called 'Who Moved My Cheese.' A fifth grader can read this book. The message of the book is simple- things are always changing, adapt to the change and find new answers. When we lost Burress, our cheese got moved.
Here are 5 specific ways to find new cheese:
Box Buster #1
PLAY ACTION BY ELI MANNING
Box Buster #2
SCREEN TO BRADSHAW (AND WARE)
Box Buster #3
MIDDLE SCREEN TO BOSS
BOX BUSTER #4
SLANT TO HIXON and/or SMITH
BOX BUSTER #5
MANNINGHAM IN SINGLE COVERAGE
Note how each one of the prescriptions above leverages DIFFERENT talents of DIFFERENT players. Eli Manning excels in play action. Even the rookie Nicks can get in on some crossing routes here, says Wonder. Bradshaw and Ware have both shown great skill in the open field on screens. Boss has the hands and the big target. Hixon and Smith each have big play ability but you can set that up by using them in slants, where they also do very well. Last but not least, Mario Manningham has shown great skill in getting separation from his defender.
There are more than enough ways that the roster can keep opposing defenses honest. It all starts with the success of the running game and it ends with the effective utilization of this team's skills to exploit the OPPORTUNITY of 8 men in the box. Yes, it is an opportunity. Most teams and head coaches would die to have an OL and running game that was so good that it would force defenses to overweight the run. This leaves so many ways that an offense can further exploit a defense. This is a GOOD problem to have. Ahmad has it right, it starts with the running game.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
You have to know that this NY Giants blog hates puff pieces. Here is a piece on Sheridan that has some of the puff but does help us to understand what we'll look like this season.
A few takeaways:
1) There is no substitute for motivation. If Sheridan thinks he can figure it all out and let the X's and O's do all the talking, he is in for a rude awakening. The last time we heard this kind of laid back X's and O's w/o the motivational element, it was none other than Ray Handley. Keep in mind that Handley was a head coach, not a coordinator, so there is room in there for the defense to get their motivation from others like Coughlin. But there is no getting around the fact that the players loved playing for Spags. You saw him on the sidelines with all of that energy he was feeding his players. Never underestimate the importance of motivating these professionals. There is little to separate 45x32=1440 players on game day. Every ounce of motivation puts you over the top or else it leaves you shy. Coughlin, to his credit, wanted Sheridan on the field, down and dirty, there with the players. Good. No remote control detachment.
2) "Sheridan said his linemen and linebackers would charge ahead more to stop runs and passes and not be responsible for as much coverage of receivers." Did you notice the comments made by Wonder last week on how he would attack the Giants defense? He said "Opp teams max protect and air it out against the D...plus run screens, bubble screens, quick slants." Max protect thwarts the pressure and the screens and slants are exactly what OUR offense needs to do to other teams to stop the loaded box. If the Giants defense is going to be using more pressure at the line, they must get there. There is a great deal of faith in Phillips, Webster and Thomas as part of this plan to handle their responsibilities inside this scheme. That confidence drops off a little with Johnson and it drops off a ton with CC Brown.
Do not forget that Thomas will have growing pains- he'll get beat from time to time. All CBs do. Since we keep seeing more and more improvement from Thomas, there is the expectation that he can be solid back there. And dare we say, very solid by the end of the season if his improvement continues. You can get away with more pressure when guys in your secondary are handling their assignments well.
One of the ways the 'Sheridan pressure plan' will work better as the season wears on is by having guys like Canty, Kiwanuka and Boley helping the pressure and by having guys like Thomas covering better. As 2007 taught us, it is not how you start, it is how you finish. You have to expect the defense to be disorganized at the beginning, making breakdowns, not getting to the QB and getting exposed. But by the end of the season, you have to see the pressure working better and the defense getting stingy.
The way the schedule unfolds, do not read into the first 2 games vs WASH and DAL. And the next 3 vs garbage opponents (TB, KC and OAK) will give the defense the time to come together. The measuring stick for whether this team is really ready to be contenders for a Super Bowl title will come AT NEW ORLEANS. They will be going against an improved team that plays well at home, with a veteran QB that WILL rip the team to shreds if the pressure is not working OR if the secondary is not excellent.
Yes, we need to take one game at a time. The Giants need only think about Week 1 vs the Skins. But for us as fans, do not get too negative OR too positive until we see what we have in Week 6. That will be the first true test of how Sheridan and his defense is doing.
Pat Hanlon notes that Hakeem Nicks led the NFL in receiving yardage in preseason.
Monday, September 7, 2009
Bomar made it through to the practice squad. Good for the Giants. GROOM HIM for 2010 backup if Carr cannot be re-signed reasonably.
Enough of the future, back to the present...
The Giants need a Safety. Bernard Pollard, Emanuel Cook, and Kevin Kaesviharn are mentioned as three possibilities. The highest profile Safety cut on Saturday was Brian Russell. At this point I am willing to suit up Moe, Larry or Curly back there as our 4th on the depth chart. 3 Safeties will not do it unless these guys stay very healthy, because Spagnuolo was always rotating them in and Sheridan to our knowledge has not indicated any significant changes to that general approach. If they are tightening up the rotation, we'll find that out in six days. Then, they could bring one of their two Safeties held up on the practice squad (Anderson, Rashad) onto the roster on an as-needed basis. But given the (lack of) progress to date of CC Brown, a new body would at least bring more stability AND some competition for Brown.
Last item: the rich Patriots get richer. The Raiders traded a #1 in 2011 to the Patriots for Richard Seymour. (1) The Raiders paid a hefty price, considering Seymour is seeing more injuries in recent years and has only one year remaining on his contract. When is the NFL going to step in and declare Al Davis mentally incompetent? Just to name a few more insanities, picking
(2) Heyward-Bey at #7? If you like a guy looking to go in the 20’s, TRADE DOWN and pay him A LOT less too
(3) DeAngelo Hall for a #2 draft pick (#34 in the draft), MONSTER contract, then released after ~8 games
(4) Gibril Wilson MONSTER contract, then released after first year
(5) Randy Moss for a 4th Round Pick
LOL- Seymour from NE for a #1, Moss to NE for a #4. The Patriots are fleecing Al Davis. In broad daylight.
The Raiders organization is self-destructing. Correction- it already self-destructed. Maybe Jerry Reese can get Al on the phone and offer him a third rounder for Asomugha. Wait, that is too high, see if he'll just take a 4th rounder in 2015. If Goodell is going stand idly by while the Raiders get systematically taken apart, the Giants might as well get in on the looting.
Sunday, September 6, 2009
Rhett Bomar was cut from the NY Giants. First let's listen to the words of Tom Coughlin: "I think you have to make a very difficult call when you decide to go with two (quarterbacks). That roster spot can be utilized by a worthy player, a player that deserves to be on your team. We’ve found, as we go forward with 32 teams, that it’s very difficult later on to find a quality player, a guy that can come in and help if you need one. So you are much better off to try to protect those that you have that are currently on your squad that can play the game at a high level. You’re more inclined to try to do whatever you can to take care of your roster and keep as many good players as you can."
This is the era of free agency, salary caps, resources, roster spots, WIN NOW. The operative word in the explanation from Coughlin is "currently." Everyone understands that Bomar was not going to be contributing to the team in 2009 in any meaningful way, especially considering that Manning has played in 71 straight games and that Carr is a capable backup.
But consider these words from a very knowledgeable contributor to this blog, Marvelous, who said early yesterday (before the cuts): "He has it ALL. I LOVE his arm, guts, talent. Do you see his running? Like a wounded BULL. Power, speed, authority, gumption. The full package. He is going nowhere. Carr has one thing on him-experience. Other than that, NOTHING. He is a talent, the Giant scouts knew it. He throws, releases quicker than MOST NFL QB's NOW. Sturdy, confident and raring to go. He's a keeper."
Except the Giants did not keep him. Make no mistake, the Giants want him back on the practice squad. IF the Giants are able "sneak" (a word chosen by more than a few media accounts) him back onto the practice squad, they will do so.
So the real question is: is it worth the risk to expose a guy you like just to have that extra roster spot? The Giants answer was yes. They enjoyed the fact that they could carry only 2 QBs on the roster last season. It certainly is a strategic advantage. And if Bomar clears waivers it is a great move. This NY Giants blogger feels that the risk was too great, because you must make a commitment to a QB like this, to groom him. If the position were different, like a WR or an OL or what have you, we could certainly understand and not bother discussing it. But QB is different. QBs can make or break a franchise.
Why is Bomar different? What makes him worthy of protecting? The answer here is that quick release. You cannot teach that. Either you have it or you do not.
Carr is under a 1 year contract and he may look to go elsewhere next season. Everyone knows how important QB is to a roster- these guys do not grow on trees. Bomar is a cheap call option. Parcells: "It’s a very easy thing to say, ‘Go get a backup quarterback.’ Now tell me where to get them. You just can’t dial them up."
Saturday, September 5, 2009
David Tyree, Andre Woodson, Rhett Bomar (ps?), Robert Henderson, Maurice Evans (ps?), Sha'reff Rashad, Anthony Bryant, DeAndre Wright (6th round pick, ps?), Cliff Louis, Kenny Ingram, Jeremy Clark, Travonti Johnson, Orrin Thompson, Vince Anderson, Shaun Bodiford, Dwayne Wright, Tommie Hill, Allen Patrick, Terrance Pennington
ps?= practice squad possibility if clears waivers
Traded: Michael Matthews (to NE for conditional draft pick)
Results of roster cuts: at this moment in time Moss and Hagan are still on the team, BUT DO NOT EXPECT THIS TO BE FINAL. AT THE MOMENT THERE ARE 53 + Boley. That means they have to cut one more when Boley is added and because they are with only 3 RBs and 3 Safeties, you would expect the Giants to be trying to pick up 2 of those from other teams, meaning 3 more cuts coming.
Update: trade rumors with Moss.
Two items today, the roster cuts and AN IMPORTANT OBSERVATION.
1) Roster- Today they will make some cuts that some people will like and some will not. The only cut today that would not make sense is Bomar. Every other cut is a numbers game. Coughlin on Bomar after the Patriots game: "a gutsy performance."... "He made some nice plays, pulled the ball down and ran. It was a good night for Rhett."
2) Now onto much more important things. It's the 3 day weekend, no one is even online except you because everyone else is at the beach (me too tomorrow), but this may be the most important comment before the season starts...
THE GIANTS CATCH A HUGE BREAK BY PLAYING A LOT OF WEAK TEAMS EARLY. THIS ALLOWS THE WALKING WOUNDED TO HEAL AND TO COME TOGETHER ON DEFENSE WHILE WE PLAY.
Canty hamstring. Boley hip flexor. Cofield knee. Osi MCL. Ross hamstring. Robbins knee. Pierce foot. Alford knee (season-ending IR). Heck even Phillips did not suit up vs the Pats, although he should be fine. But the point is that these guys need to get into season shape, they need to play with each other AND they need to make sure they are on the same page with their new defensive coordinator.
Here comes THE GIFT:
Forget that Dallas is going to have trouble with their defense this year and that that game is winnable. Even if the Giants lose to Dallas, they rate to be 4-1 before the schedule accelerates. WE PLAY THE AFC WEST, a gift that will keep giving, especially when we are less than stellar early on yet win vs the likes of KC and Oakland. TB just fired their offensive coordinator, they have a rookie Head Coach, so we are not worried about them. Ditto KC, the OC was let go there too. And while we are at it, the rookie head coach Cable Guy threw a punch at one of his coaches, so that is more of the same. If we cannot beat Washington at home (-6.5), well we have bigger problems. So we can be 4-1 or 5-0 and allow this defense to get its act together.
At this moment in time we have way too many (HEALTH) question on defense. We can get answers by getting guys like Boley and Canty on the field and getting a little cohesion. On the job training. This does not mean the team is out of the woods. It means the defense has the chance, the OPPORTUNITY, to buy some time and find its rhythm. We need to be 4-1 or 5-0 AND IMPROVING. If you can tell us that all of the above mentioned players recover and are all playing at 100% of their abilities by Week 6, I will tell you we are in great shape to vie for a Super Bowl title.
Note how we do not even mention the offense in this context. Sure, we want to see Manning get more rhythm with his WRs etc. But let's remember the LAST RULE, Defense Wins Championships. If this team is going to have a chance to win ANYTHING, it starts with defense. As more than a few commenters have noted here, what was our strength on paper is now in flux. In the end it is always about defense. People like to remember that it was Manning to Tyree and Plaxico (and SMITH ON 3RD AND 11!) to win the Super Bowl, but it was the defense that held the 18-0 offensive juggernaut to FOURTEEN POINTS which enabled the Giants to still be in the game.
This (relatively) easy start is what the doctor ordered. Coughlin is very good at getting across the message of always building on what you have done and improving the level of play every game. This will be necessary, as NO, AZ, PHL, SD and ATL are waiting immediately thereafter. How would you like to have those 5 games first?! Ya think Brees, Warner, Rivers, Ryan and McNabb would have problems scoring points against us right now? Ya think? Time heals all wounds. Let's hope it heals the Giants'- it could be a huge positive for this team's chances. It's not who you play, it is when you play them.