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Saturday, January 31, 2009

Phil Simms on Friday Francesa

To be honest, I could give a rat's brown about the handicapping of the Steelers vs the Cardinals. To me, it is all about listening to Phil Simms talk football. He does not talk down to the fans, he tells it like it is and either you get it or you don't. Simms is the teacher and I (we, if you agree) am the student. He is constantly educating us on how football works, and boy do we get a steady dose of it in his chat with Francesa yesterday.

The advantage of listening to Phil Simms this weekend is that the Giants have played both teams. You learn more about the Giants when you hear about them tangentially. For instance, Simms talks about how the Steelers defense is lining up vs the Cardinals with 7 men in the box, and he adds that only two times this year did the Steelers not use 7 men to stop the run. (1) vs the Titans and (2) A LOT more "cheating" vs the Giants. Simms mentioned as an aside how the 2008 Giants were one of the best running teams he has ever seen.


What does not add up here?

Everyone would give their left brown for having one of the best running games ever. And yet we ground to a halt. It was all #17's fault. Right, and I am the Easter Bunny.

Let's rewind the tape for a moment and go back to the Giants-Steelers game. This was one of those nitpickers specials, where the team won 21-14 and yours truly was going browning nuts in the middle of the game, saying clearly that the Giants win DESPITE that meathead. So now, THREE MONTHS LATER, we get some perspective from Simms, how the Steelers were cheating and loading the box to stop the run, and how we saw a Steeler defense with 8 men (which is like any other team with NINE) making the Giants go to the air. And let's remember, what else happened in this game? How about 5 trips to the red zone with 4 FGs?!!! And this game was WITH Burress. We FINALLY saw the play action to a wide open TE Boss in the end zone on the 6th trip in there.

And a remark about that word by Simms called "cheating." What Simms did NOT say which I know he MEANT (to say) was that it was a Steelers defense that was there with 8 men in the box and there were 2 others with a half a step ready to make it TEN men in the box. They were playing to stop the run all day, especially in those red zone tight situations where the field was shortened and they could gamble and use their speed to recover quickly if they took a half step the wrong way. Play action punished the gamble because the half step cheaters became one and a half step VIOLATORS.

James Allen: There's nothing wrong with Jacobs per se, but when the entire world knows you are handing it to Jacobs on 3rd or 4th and 1 and they stack 8 in the box and predictably stuff it, it shows they should mix it up a bit more in short yardage.
In the end they are probably going to win this game, and the 4th quarter will make most people forget the first three. Let's hope the Giants and Gilbride look at the 4th quarter film and do more of that.

Here it is October, and we already know exactly who the enemy is. This may be a redundant story, but when we see it from more angles, with more corroboration, it simply solidifies what we know.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Motown blogs..

Jacobs commented today regarding coulda, woulda, shoulda:

"If we have Plax on our team, we go 15-1 and we win the Super Bowl. I'm not afraid to say that and I'll say it to anybody on any team," Jacobs said. "We had a different identity with him and we didn't have enough time to change our identity to be effective at what we wanted to do - try to play a team differently. Teams - I'm not going to say stopped the run - but they did a little better each week because they had that eighth guy in the box."

Jacobs suggested it was much too late in the season to adjust to life without Burress on the field. When asked if the Giants need to make a move next season to replace Burress if he's not back, Jacobs replied, "I'm not going to say I think we should (because) then we would have our identity at the beginning of the season and not have to find a new identity late in the season. That's kind of hard. If we know he's not there, we set our identity to what we're going to be all season long instead of trying to change it."

Again this is damning to the coaching staff.....can't make adjustments due to the loss of one player! Just hope his teammates aren't as gullible as he is. I guess there is a reason he has that running style and how it has affected his mental acuity.

I am frustrated more by the fact that it looks more and more like we will go through what we went through after they choked against SF in the playoffs.....wasted a year to change.

Ultimatenyg here: Finding a new identity???!!!??? The point is that this is precisely what coaches have to do all year, to ADJUST to changes, changing defenses, emergence of personnel, loss of personnel to injury. Coughlin and Gilbrown both get an F for not adjusting to the week 14 wakeup call they got. Problem was that instead of waking up they hit the snooze button. (Okay that was not my line, I borrowed it from someone else, but I liked it too much.) If I understand it correctly, you build your identity early in the season and then you play that hand? No adjustments? The adjustments were simple and straightforward enough, we talked about them ad nauseum, no need to mention them for the SEVENTEENTH time. Motown's parallel to 2002 and SF is very interesting.

Separately, Simms likes the Steelers on Sunday. "Their speed (on defense) will catch the Arizona Cardinals by surprise."

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Amani Toomer

Toomer Toe Alert

Amani Toomer's role in the offense dropped. The team lost 4 of its last 5 games. He is an unrestricted free agent without any interest from the Giants. He is a 13 year veteran with many of the Giants' (wide) receiving records. Add all of this up and the frustration comes out. He tried to retract a few remarks on his website, but his thoughts after 2 1/2 weeks of silence are the true thoughts and true emotions of a veteran tossed aside.

When you read in between the lines, clearly SOME of this is the playcalling. Where was the SLANT to Hixon, Smith AND Toomer in those waning weeks? They were singling those WRs because of the manpower directed inside that was (a) trying to stop the run and (b) disrupt Manning. Jimmy Johnson was upfront in W14 AND the playoff game that they were going to make Eli beat them. So what do you do with your WR? Arizona answered this with SHORT patterns. Why? Because the Eagles did NOT give Warner OR Manning a lot of time to sit back in the pocket. Get rid of the ball. When there is wind preventing you from throwing the ball way out into the flat, you have to go with the slant. Given that the WRs were singled, the pass to Toomer on the slant was there. If Toomer was not able to get separation, then that is another matter, but this is a very short route where timing is more important than accuracy because by the time the WR blinks it is in his breadbasket. A half a step is all you need to make this route work (think Tyree SB touchdown catch) because the corner is always trailing. Gilbride seemed to be playcalling for as many throws vertical as short... the vertical ones were a liability for Toomer's decreasing speed. Toomer did not help his own cause because he dropped his fair share of balls this season. While this is no way for a 13 year veteran to go out, it means the Giants want more speed and need to move on.

Burress is in jail/out. Toomer is gone. It is time for the rest of them to step up. And if Reese is not comfortable with being aggressive in free agency, then one of these guys is going to have to fill the vertical void. If not, then Boss is going to have be Bavaro '86 and lead the team in receptions, which TE-challenged Gilbrown is not excited about doing. Can Moss/Smith/Hixon/Manningham step it up? On sheer body count ALONE, Reese is going to have to make some moves. If you want a 'Boldin' then it is going to take Reese doing something he has never done before... opening the wallet for an outsider.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

100,000 hits

Today this blog crossed over the 100,000 hits milestone. So celebrate with Ultimatenyg as we usher in a stronger 2009 with a hungrier Giants team that will play with increased resolve to win a title.

This week is the Super Bowl. Robbins likes the Steelers... I think these guys in the trenches have a better feel for the game than most, so I take note of those calls. (If you have a strong opinion on the Super Bowl winner, let us know.) Next week we have the 3rd Annual Ultimatenyg Awards. The week after is the Combine when Wonder gets into high gear. (I know less than zero about the college players, since I only get the NFL and March Madness.) A lot of NFL teams will be trying to re-sign their players who are about to become UFAs during this period. Two weeks later it will be the end of February, with Free Agency upon us. We'll have plenty of time to ruminate the possibilities of whether or not Reese, in his 3rd year of the Free Agency market, decides to flex it or remain in virtual hibernation.

And the holy of holies, the DRAFT.

So as we cross this milestone, there is a lot coming. Thanks for being part of the 100,000.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Simms on the AZ gameplan that beat the Eagles

On Sunday morning, Simms spoke with Francesa on the NFL Now.

1) His remarks on how Arizona gameplanned the Eagles were once again a reminder of some of the failings of Gilbrown.

Simms said it was a (paraphrased) clinic on how to playcall and gameplan vs. blitz and pressure. "Perfect."

6 screens called, maybe 7. The Cardinals were 5 for 6, or 6 for 7. 1TD and many (5?) first downs picked up with those screens.

Got a first down on 3rd and 18 when Warner hits a backside SLANT.

What they did NOT do? They did not go deep! Except for the fleaflicker, they were patient underneath. They waited. They built the whole game on PHL's pressure and blitz. Rutledge, Grimm, Haley, Whisenhunt, Carthon... between all of them, they had enough brainpower to figure out how to beat the predictable pressure of PHL.

2) Ben Roethlisberger and Kurt Warner will both (likely) end up in the Hall of Fame. Warner has it all but sewed up, Roethlisberger (at his implied pace) will do it too. Says Warner throws the ball better now than when he was playing in St. Louis and the Rams beat the Titans. His hand strength wasn't what it once was, he went to the glove. He learned, he worked, he improved and over time he got better. Giants Stadium was not built for Warner.

3) On the Roethlisberger-Whisenhunt relationship, how they did not get along when in Pittsburgh... Simms speculates it was a difference of opinion on how to get it done. Whisenhunt was the Offensive Coordinator, he did the job, his offense got it done. The QB takes orders from his coaches. Period. And obviously Whisenhunt has called it well. Simms went a step further, reminding everyone that it was Cowher himself who gave credit to his assistants, that Cowher was the conservative one who had his assistants telling him that they needed to be aggressive in the playoffs. Simms went out of his way to make a point of this, that this was an important message for ALL COACHES: YOU CANNOT BE CONSERVATIVE IN THE PLAYOFFS.

4) Simms very positive on Rex Ryan. handles the players, forceful but not to the point of irritation. Like Parcells. He drives his players, but not so far that they stop playing for him. Players like him, they believe in him. Rex Ryan will give the players plenty of reasons to like (playing for) him.

ULTIMATENYG comments: (1) Simms gets it, time and again. You heard the Gilbrown criticisms here first. Carl Banks corroborated them indirectly AND directly. And now Simms offers more evidence by noting the screen calls. (2) Re conservative playcalling, that is the Marty Schottenheimer/Herm Edwards method. What works during the regular season does not work in the postseason? Why? Because if you play conservatively during the regular season and emphasize not beating yourself, the hapless teams will implode in front of you and you will win enough times to get to the postseason... but NOW what do you do once you are in the tournament? Do you play a style that waits for the opponent to implode, or do you go out and take the game to THEM? Playoff teams are consistently more disciplined and will be using far more concentration than you saw in the regular season. They will not make the mistakes you saw and feasted off of in October. Interesting how it took Cowher CHANGING in order to finally break through. So we look back in retrospect and learn that Cowher's win in the post season was because of aggressiveness and his losses were due to conservatism. What does that say about the offensive gameplan vs the Eagles, as well?!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

2009-it CAN'T come soon ENOUGH!!

#1: NONE of the RB's in this draft are worth a #1 !! Wells, Moreno, McCoy,etc.. are ALL mediocre...stay AWAY from them even if we lose Ward
#2: SPEED KILLS in the NFL nowadays...particularly on DEF!! and that's what we NEED...so, there are some EXCELLENT LB's that MIGHT be available in first two rounds...and at end of first, if Cushing available, grab him..but NOT Lauranitis...Orakpo, Curry, and Maualuga will be LONG gone...however, IF Mau drops to 20-30 range, we should MOVE up to grab him..he's a perfect MLB/Tackling Machine for us...again, VALUE....I also will remind all of those that I, WONDER, GUARANTEED that Cromartie would be a star, and was BEGGING my jets to grab him instead of Gholston..you CANNOT TEACH SIZE OR SPEED !!!...soooooo:
#3. It's becoming a PASSING LEAGUE and every team needs at LEAST 3 reasonable corners..particularly TALL ONES...sooo, if V. Davis or S. Smith available, GRAB HIM...NOT D.J. Moore OR Alph. Smith...Jenkins will be long gone
#4. WR's: CRABTREE, CRABTREE, CRABTREE !!!! This guy is the REAL DEAL: TOUGH, BIG, GREAT HANDS, SPEED...think ANDRE JOHNSON (who this writer BEGGED the Jets to Draft!!)...personally, I would ACTUALLY trade our #1 this year AND next AND maybe a 3rd round pick to KANSAS CITY IF HE's there at #3 !! HE's THAT GOOD and would make us forget Plaxico REAL QUICK..KC has a TON of needs and Pioli LOVES TO STOCKPILE draft picks when building a team..have this deal IN PLACE in case he's avail at #3..TRUST ME !!! after that, MEDIOCRITY..although I think Macklin will be a good pro...

Lastly, if nothing falls our way, there are a LOT of pretty good tackles to be had...Diehl's doing it with mirrors and McKenzie is slowly wearing out...also, IF, IF, nothing looks good, TRADE DOWN...better yet, TRADE AWAY our #1 if some moronic team will give us their #1 next year and a #2 or #3 this year (depending on "where" they draft, etc.)


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Nice guys finish last

"Nice guys finish last." - Leo Durocher.

"Nice guys don't get laid, they get married." - Raj, a senior imparting his wisdom on a sophmore and freshman.

Another nice guy bit the dust yesterday, Herman Edwards. But we won't be crying for him. You see, he deserved it.

He mangled not one but two franchises.

He is the 'player's coach,' which is tantamount to a death sentence in professional sports.

He is a masterful purveyor of the prevent, evidenced in its full regalia in January 2005 in a WIN. Yes, as coach of the Jets, Herm's team won a wild card playoff game before bowing out the following week. But as this New York Giants Blog will always preach, it is not about winning or losing, it is about CHAMPIONSHIPS. And Herm's sins in this game were a signature for how not to win in the NFL. Utterly disgraceful, he was in a game of footsie vs another master-of-playoff-disaster, Marty Schottenheimer. You win, said Marty. No, I am a nice guy, you win it, said Herm. No, said Marty, we go way back, you win. No, said Herm. This game went back and forth until finally one of them was going to HAVE to win. What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? You could see before your very eyes the laws of physics trying to bend, trying to find SOME WAY for both coaches to lose the game! This game set back the NFL 20 years. Schottenheimer, for his part, would lead his team to a 14-2 record two years later, only to bow out of the playoffs in their first game. Again. Herm would lose his job the following year...

And somehow get traded to the Chiefs for COMPENSATION. That move set back the Chiefs franchise years, and sealed Cunningham's fate. Now Pioli comes in, and it took all of 9 days (he passed his first test as GM, comment #7) for them to figure out that the Chiefs were going in a new direction. Yes, it is called winning. Pioli wants to win. He wants to win CHAMPIONSHIPS. Coaches like Edwards are nice guys, and nice guys do not win Championships.

Friday, January 23, 2009

LB vs WR

As we head into free agency and the draft, every other word out of the mouth of everyone who comments is either LBer or Wide Receiver. Let's look at the drafting of WRs and LBers in the first two rounds from 1996 on. (Why first two rounds? Because those are the consistent producers who make the impact.)

2- Amani Toomer (1996)
1- Ike Hilliard (1997)
2- Joe Jurevicius (1998)
2- Tim Carter (2002)
2- Sinorice Moss (2006)
2- Steve Smith (2007)

none. zippo. nada. zero.

Six versus zero. Yep.

We have had discussions about the Linebacker trends in the NFL. The change in NFL rules certainly makes passing easier, making WRs more important(?) and LBers less so (as they play more nickel vs 3 receiver sets etc..), but does it mean that LBer is less important? Try telling that to LaMarr Woodley and James Harrison.

Every time we have to worry about Gilbrown, the reason why is that chickenbrown takes no responsibility for winning games. Why does Gilbrown matter in going after LBers? Because the Giants lost their identity as a strong defensive team ages ago. If your team doesn't have the offensive will to attack, it NEEDS to hold opponents TO NO SCORING AND SHUT'EM DOWN. Ya think that maybe the Giants lost their defensive identity when they stopped drafting LBers? Ya think that maybe we wouldn't be getting torched on these 3rd and 20's when we have a FAST and talented LB around who is going to have a nose for the ball and make the play? Spagnuolo outsourced LBer because he had no choice. Wilkinson+Goff+Kehl+Blackburn+Clark = schtickdreck. And Pierce's overachieving tank (31 this coming October) is running low.

Now I can hear how many of you are saying: but Andy, we had a great defense last year, and that is how we won the Super Bowl. Incorrect. We had a great defensive line that played out of their minds in the Super Bowl, Belichick was outcoached, Spagnuolo used smoke and mirrors, and Tyree caught a pass off his helmet. I still watch as Pierce is trailing Ben Watson in the end zone, gets called for the pass interference, and NE scores. Pierce. Pierce and Barrow. If not for these two free agent pickups we would truly have browned for ~8 years. (..and do not get me started with the miracle of Armstead in the 8th round or else you're talking a lot longer than that.) This Linebacker neglect is defining the team. It lacks the glue holding the promise of the secondary (Webster!, Phillips, Thomas, Ross?) together with the stars of the DL (Tuck, Umenyiora). ADD YOUNG FAST IMPACT LINEBACKER, STIR AND MIX, LEAVE IN OVEN FOR ONE SEASON, DOMINANT DEFENSE. The Giants have a #1 and two #2's. Use TWO of those three picks on LBer. And stop worrying about WR because Gilbrown browns and will waste his offense anyway. Defense wins championships. Draft with defense for the first 5 picks, no arguments here.

Kanavis McGhee 1991. Carl Banks 1984. Frightening.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Dallas and Oakland

The trouble in Dallas. Not the most flattering picture of an organization that is completely dysfunctional. Is Garrett a part of the problem or the solution?

Al Davis is interviewing all kinds of people for all kinds of different staff positions.. pay no attention to the man behind the curtain. This is kind of like the way Snyder ended up with Zorn.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Bill Sheridan

I think you guys nailed it. Your comments on the selection of Bill Sheridan were exactly where I was. The fact that Spags was likely going to hire Sheridan away from the Giants was a clear indication of Sheridan's worthiness. The points about continuity and sticking with the attacking schemes of Spags is a plus. I do not care if Mortenson of ESPN was completely wrong or not about his story on Capers, because I am just glad that he was not selected by Coughlin. Capers is the kind of guy who can get it 'done,' but will he innovate and have a dominating defense? Probably not. You take a chance on Sheridan the same way you take a chance on Spags- he is new and can only lose, but he CAN win. With Capers and these other retreads, how do you shoot the moon? Simply put, the upside is greater in Sheridan than Capers. Take chances. Make mistakes. Championship or bust.

I like what the players had to say....
"It's good to know that there will not be many changes," said linebacker Antonio Pierce. "Bill is a hard worker and is very familiar with the defense. Obviously, we did great things on defense over the last two seasons, and I am looking forward to what Bill will bring as defensive coordinator."

"Coach Sheridan has been very in tune to everything we've done on defense over that last two seasons," defensive tackle Fred Robbins said. "He should have no problem adjusting to his new role as defensive coordinator. It's good that we will not have to start this whole defense over. We've been in it for two seasons and we've had success, we all know the system and it will be good to continue to work in it."

"Coach Sheridan is a very knowledgeable football guy," added defensive end Justin Tuck. "He's a quality coach. It's good that we kept it in-house so we can continue to improve on a successful defense. I'm very excited to see what coach Sheridan will do in his new role."

And one more thing... maybe the fact that our guy is a LBers guy means that he can have some sway in getting a #1 or #2 LINEBACKER in the draft.

Monday, January 19, 2009

I can only speak for myself..

I can only speak for myself, but a lot of healing went on for me yesterday.

1) For starters, I got to watch my most hated team, the Philadelphia Eagles, go down 32-25. It would have been particularly nightmarish to have them win the title, knowing they went through us and WE LET THEM THROUGH. Now that they are gone, I am going to sleep easier.

2) Secondly, and much more importantly, we got to watch what a REAL OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR DOES WHEN GIVEN PRESSURE LOOKS FROM THE OPPONENT. It was such a pleasure to see how the Cardinals, who actually HAD THE Plaxico option in their WRS corps, still play intelligently and go to the small ball stuff to burn the Eagles. As we mentioned in the comments last night, we saw AZ give the Eagles EVERYTHING that was required:


How many screens did the Cardinals run today? Maybe more than the Giants ran all season?! And I am lmao when On 3rd and goal from the 8 when the Cardinals are down 25-24, they ran a screen(!) to Hightower for a TD! The screen works all day to slow down the pressure, the blitzing. And they even used one to deliver a TD too!

A breath of fresh air.

It gives me, for one, a lot closure to see how someone with half a clue can keep the chains moving, how UNDESERVING WE REALLY WERE. The contrast was so stark. I am so proud of how the Cardinals played, how they beat that garbage pressure. At least SOMEONE was able to unmask the Eagles gimmicks. Like Crazed Giant Fan joked about last night in the comments- this was a revolution in playcalling. NOT!

I must have been six years old- we had this game where it had these mini prerecorded disks for football plays. It was a 2 player game, and each kid would switch from defense to offense after each possession ended, just like in the real game. The offense would pick a play and the defense would pick 1 from an assortment of many defenses to choose. Then the disc went into the audio box and you would listen to the outcome. You quickly learned that the draw and the screen beat the blitz like a drum. This was not rocket science. We were barely able to read and we knew that pressure meant appropriate counter-responses. So to see on one drive alone how the Cardinals used a draw, checkdown dumpoff, and screen was just so sweet. That drive ended in a TD. The Cardinals are deserving of their invite to the SB, they did what the Giants would not do, and I applaud them.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Capers, Phil Simms- Conference Championships, Eli Manning

1) Giants first: Dom Capers is being targeted for Defensive Coordinator. I do not like the choice. Would have preferred the younger, hungrier assistant, like Spags. It took a miracle CHANGE in an older Coughlin retread to get us a title. So I think you have a better shot when you take someone new, someone in the present, not in the past. How is Capers going to innovate? All I can say is that the Giants won three Super Bowls with a first time head coach (Parcells), a first time Def Coord (Belichick, Spagnoulo), and a head coach who had to become something new (Coughlin).

Phil Simms:

2) The hiring of Raheem Morris (in the league for 2 years as a position coach, 32 yrs old) as the Head Coach at Tampa Bay... "Remarkable. Unbelievably impatient league." Continuity is in the toilet. They want youung guys, this is a bad development, says Simms. John Harbaugh and Mike Tomlin are youung guys who are just as hard and smart as Coughlin and Parcells, they keep the players at arms length, but they are young. Denver almost hired Morris.

3) Jets want the def coord of the Ravens, Rex Ryan. Will be good with the fans and media in NY, because he is honest and upfront. Good fit. Can he get the staff? Simms recommends staying with Brian Schottenheimer to make the team's offensive transition smoother.

4) Cardinals-Eagles. AZ has changed up their defense. One of the reasons why they won was they were doing things (on defense) that were not expected. Will be interesting to see if Fitzgerald can do damage on the talented secondary (which has not given up a passing TD in 7 games) of the Eagles. Jimmy Johnson relieved about playing the Giants w/o Burress, well, today he is going to have to deal with TWO tremendous receivers. Thought the Eagles got worn down by the Vikings and lost a lot of battles, but that the Vikings refused to win.

5) Steelers-Ravens. Tenn Titans had a big physical OL that could beat the Ravens, but the Steelers OL not nearly as good, so Simms will be watching to see if the Steelrs can at least manage that part of that the game. Flacco will be throwing the ball deep today. If the Ravens win, they will win it with passes down the field. Can the Ravens pass protect long enough to give Flacco the time, because the Steelers will rush and blitz with those great LBers (Harrison and Woodley). Parker healthy now for the Steelers, a big plus for them.

SIMMS FROM FRIDAY WITH BOOMER AND CARTON (go to the end, last ~20%) for important remarks on the wind and Eli Manning:

6) >Eli lost confidence in the wind. A couple of bad passes, it changes a lot of things. Work on it on the offseason. Always things you can do mechanically, change your grip. You are able to control the football better. Donovan McNabb did it better in the wind than Eli Manning and that is why the Eagles won. When it is windy like it was (last weekend), no, you cannot overplay the wind factor, it was a HUGE factor. Simms' secret advantage was realizing he WAS going to throw like cr*p in the game, the other QB had no clue how bad HIS day was going to be.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Spags new HC of the Rams

Spags signed as new HC of the St. Louis Rams The St. Louis Dispatch broke the story. No one is surprised. Happy for him. Jerry- Keep building the defense up (from a personnel standpoint), because it is likely going to have a dropoff without Spags.

Thanks Steve for helping the NY Giants to win a Super Bowl Championship, maybe even two if other things had gone well.

Conference Championships

Tomorrow are the conference championships. The chances for an all-Pennsylvania 'Steagles' Super Bowl are pretty strong. I think I speak for nearly everyone when I say that the thought of watching the Eagles in the Super Bowl is simply revolting. I do not know if I will be able to watch the Eagles win the Super Bowl. I already have enough disgust for that coordinator of ours, so I do not need anymore.

Onto bigger and better things, yes, the discussion is already morphing into what the team needs to do to get back to the championship. Good. Let these young players live with the disappointment this offseason. Let the Giants coaches live with the failure they wrought. My respect for the work of Tom Coughlin is already weakened by his role in what took place a week ago, but it will weaken further if nothing is done to improve our OC, ie removing Gilbrown.

There are many needs out there for this team in order to get BETTER. LB, interior DL, WR, OC, QB tight spiral, replacing Spags after he is lost. What is YOUR #1 need? What need has not been listed that you believe is crucial? Is Terrell Thomas coming along well enough for the Giants to be finished at CB for the time being? What about another OT? Wonder thinks you do not let Plaxico Burress come back- do you agree? (I agree, but the players seem to have enough trust in him. Next to the link, there is a Daily News poll, and it is dead even. We are going to see what you think on the right side of the blog with a poll of our own. Maybe the viewers here are a little different.) How does this team get back to the Super Bowl?

Friday, January 16, 2009


Any of you ever listen to Bill Maher ? he has a portion of his show he calls "NEW RULES"...well, here..ON MY BLOG, will be THE WONDER RULES...they may be amended from time to time, they may replaced or deleted..they may even from time to time be augmented..BUTTTTTTT, they WILLLLLLL be adhered to as long as I the GIANT KING!! capese ? sooooo:

1. We will NOT, under Any condition considering having a player on our team who either:
a. Quit on his team (football equiv to "pulling a Manny")
b. Commited a seemingly, alledgedly, or actual unlawful or immoral act REGARDLESS of whether or not he gets off "scott-free"...where there's smoke, there's fire unless PROOF otherwise...so Michael Vick, Tank Johnson, PLAXICO, Pacman etal...GO HOME..LEAVE US ALONE
c. WHOSE actions make it clear that HIS desires, HIS ideas, HIS, HIS, HIS is above the good of the NYG !!! bye T.O. !!

Now, while these WONDER RULES may be applied to NFL players, they may ALSO, at the discretion of the scout and the degree of transgression of the student athelete, be similarly applied for draft purposes...with the ADDITIONAL weight of:

a. were you a team player who came to practices with RESPECT for the coaches and seemed to grasp WHAT is WAS they were trying to teach you..
b. did you actually come to college to LEARN something OTHER than football, and how has that impacted your studies, practices, perspective...did you graduate/or about to...
c. did you PRODUCE while you played...did you play hurt/are you tough/...were you a WINNER during a "high-pressure" bowl game...
d. did you have friends/family growing up...how did that impact you...

THESE are the Questions which consititute the WONDER DOCTRINE of "NFL ROSTER" imperatives...trust me, there are others, but we shall begin the off-season with this small sampling to let you know the basic WONDER philosophy...I'm not saying I'm always right..after all, wouldn't you have wanted Antonio Bryant on your team this year ?? I'm just saying I'm sticking to my guns, right or wrong..I want SMART, DEDICATED, UNSELFISH F.O.O.T.B.A.L.L. players...of course I need to find TALENT, but those attributes will invariably make them a BETTER player for the team..so where do we get these guys :

1. WE do a THOROGH evaluation of every player on the team..NO ONE IS ABOVE REPROACH...in many cases, an organized, yet CALM HC and staff can criticize or point out a player's shortcomings if they do so in a calm, PRIVATE, setting...do you really think ELI would be adverse to DAN MARINO or JOHN ELWAY spending a few weeks in the off-season doing NOTHING but showing ELI he MUST work on his footwork, specifically leading "thru" with your left foot "pointing" at your target...would Eli Object ? only a fool would object...and this scenario can go on and on for EVERY player on the team...LEARN THE OLD TRICKS FROM THE OLD DOGS !!!

2. WE do a CONSISTENT job of telling EVERYBODY on this team what their expectations on...DON'T CHANGE YOUR BASIC GAME PLAN except for external, debilitating forces...such as snowstorm, etc...Do NOT change b/c your afraid what they made do..NONSENSE...LINE UP and DARE them to BEAT YOU...if you're really good at what you do, you've already the battle...now you just have to win the war...Players like to be CREATURES of HABIT...do NOT confuse them with relative nonsense that most likely will be irrelevant..

3. Now..the BIG ONE...we MUST give up the way we draft...in a league preaching mediocrity, one must be GREAT to approach Greatness...how , then, you ask ? you will find out NEXT blog when WONDER'S DRAFT RULES hit this blog..till then, go JINTS !!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Showtime and Terrell Owens

1) Well, not Showtime for the Giants. I watched most of the showtime program last night for any remarks from Simms on the Giants' implosion, and all I saw was him being playfully mocked and derided for last week's picks. You see, he was intelligent enough, or stupid enough depending on your perspective, for actually thinking that teams like the Titans and Giants were better than their opponents! Imagine that!

Imagine the nerve of Simms to actually think that he had to prognosticate that Alge Crumpler and LenDale White were going to cough up the ball and the game to the Ravens. Yep, the Ravens beat up the Titans allright, even questionably taking out their RB Chris Johnson. You know, Johnson, the one that was mopping the floor with the Ravens until he got crunched like an illegal pretzel.

Imagine the nerve of Simms to actually think that he had to prognosticate that Manning would throw a moronic pass right into the hands of Asante Samuel! Go figure that the Giants defense would give up ~35 yards up until near the end of the half, the Giants defense would get a safety and an INT runback into ~FG position. Or that the opening kickoff would give the Giants the ball at the other team's 35?! Or that 2 FGs would be missed. OR THAT THEIR OFFENSIVE COORDINATOR WOULD NOT KNOW HOW TO GET HIS TEAM A SINGLE TOUCHDOWN?!

Yah, Simms got it ALL wrong, he poo-poo'd the wild card winners and went with the 4 best teams and got derided by Collinsworth. Wonder and I obviously were thinking Simms-like as well, so we were just as wrong. I guess if I have to think rationally and be wrong, I'd rather go that route than plan for my offensive coordinator to have learned ABSOLUTELY NOTHING from the Week 14 IDENTICAL matchup that we discussed DAYS BEFORE the game!

2) Separately, the Showtime reporter had a story that goes like this: it is going to be either Garrett or TO that goes bye-bye in Dallas. Jerry Jones essentially will have to choose between the two, because word is that Garrett cannot put up with the Owens insubordination anymore. And the sense from the reporter was that TO would be gone, because Garrett has the support of almost the entire team.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wonder's autopsy and other remarks

We all are trying to move on. But Wonder's view is always worth listening to, because he educates us as to what is going on. (Wait till you get the skinny on his draft board. I used to listen to the Kiper's of the world, but none of the them are as good as Wonder. He is BRUTALLY FRANK about who is garbage and who is the real deal. This is why blogs work.)

THIS Jints' Loss REALLY irks me..WHY ? Because the Lombardi Trophy was there for the taking...have you EVER seen a worse collection of teams headed to a poss SB? Did ANYBODY believe that Ariz could come to the Mead. and win? No...Warner back here in THE COLD ? They can't run/stop our RUN, and we would light him up !! They had NO CHANCE...and what do we do ? Lie down and die like an old elephant headed for his burial site...The Eagles ? PLEASE...they would have gotten killed by a really good 49ers/Cowboys early-mid 90's team..Pitt ? great D..NO OFF LINE...Ravens? same thing..very good, but NOT GREAT D, and a mediocre, at best, offense...do NOT blame the DEF...they played unbelievable the first half, except for the last 2min "prevent you from winning" prevent defense...up to that point, they had 34 TOTAL YDS OF OFFENSE !!!..let's face it: I said BEFORE the game my biggest fear was AVANT converting a critical 3rd and 10..guess what..?? it was 3rd and TWENTY !!! We're up 11-10 and BOTH TUCK and Kiwi had a chance to SACK McNabb..instead, PLAY OF THE GAME- escape and drop-off to AVANT, who was TOTALLY UNCOVERED and who scampers for another 10+yds for a total of 21 and a first down..PATHETIC...again, NO SACKS !! However, a fair amount of pressure on McNabb...buttttt, the real culprit was the three-headed monster of Manning, Carney, and Gilbrown...c'mon, are you KIDDING ME ? You keep Tynes on the ACTIVE ROSTER and don't use him for 46,47yd FG attempts ? And as for Eli, he MUST learn/be taught HOW TO STEP INTO the ball using his LEFT LEG when throwing in a windy game..I said that EXACT THING earlier in the season..and it came back to haunt us...as for Gilbrown, GET A CLUE!! You have a great running game, a QB who can't hit the broad side of a barn, and you keep THROWING the ball to "confuse" Jimmy Johnson's troops.. the only ones you confused were your FANS..US !!! 1st and 5 after a penalty at the Eagle (roughly) 25 and you THROW 3 straight times ? How'd that work out for you Gilbrown ?..and has he EVER even THOUGHT of a draw, screen, flareout for Bradshaw ? Or how about a quick slant to Smith ? How about a clearout by the WR and a quick 7yd dumpoff to Boss in the vacated area? And SNEAKING Manning was ABSURD...you don't think JACOBS was/is 99% to gain 3in. right up the middle? COME ON !!!...in conclusion, we all want to blame the loss of one MORON (Burress) for our off. woes and the end of our season..WRONG !! This will sting a LONG time and go down on my SHORT list as one of the WORST losses in Jints' history.

A few things are for sure: 1) It will probably take the first snap of the 2009 regular season before I have 'completely' moved on. 2) As everyone has pointed out, the Giants beat all four of the remaining teams. 3) Burress is already in the news, as Tuck et. al. are already welcoming him back for next season. 4) I cannot bear to watch ESPN this week. 5) At least 'some' people covered the obvious, that our friend Gilbrown is the weakest link: Garafolo and Monkovic. Garafolo's article is endorsed highly in these corners, as his post-mortem dovetailed many of the ultimatenyg new york giants blog remarks in the latter part of the season. 6) Hope springs eternal- offseason maneuvers are already being discussed. 7) Another shout-out to the Chiefs contingent of loyal ultimatenyg bloggers, you got yourself a good man for the front office. I cannot imagine anyone who is rational thinking that Pioli will put up with Edwards for TOO long. Maybe a year for continuity? Even that is a mistake- you have to move forward, the quicker the better. That is Pioli's first test.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Arnie V's perspective

The email, phone calls and comments keep pouring in. And I can tell you, it ain't pretty. Everyone needs a Giants grief counselor right now, including yours truly.

Here is one from Arnie V., a diehard Giants fan for 7 decades. Arnie was interviewed by the blog a while back, and I felt it appropriate that his perspective be shared with the ultimatenyg giants blog.

In trying to get over the frustration of yesterday's game, I thought that I would take the long view of Giant disappointments. I have been a Giant fan since 1940, and we have only won 4 championships in those 68 seasons (1956, 1986, 1990 and 2007). Before the Super Bowl in that span, the Giants lost 8 Championship Games (1941, 1944, 1946, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962 and 1963). They therefore were 1 and 8 in that era in playoff games.

Since the Super Bowl started in the 1960s, the Giants have been in the playoffs by my count 14 years (1981, 84, 85, 86, 89, 90, 93, 96, 2000, 02, 05, 06, 07 and 08), with a record of 16 and 11. However, 10 of those wins were in the 3 Super Bowl Championship years. They therefore lost their last game 11 years out of the 14. Some of those losses were very painful:
1989- The Flipper Anderson TD to end OT
1993- The 44-3 loss in SF, which was LT and Simms' last game
1997- Blew the game to Minn. at the very end
2000- Terrible loss to Baltimore in the Super Bowl
2002- The 39-38 loss in SF, maybe the worst of all
2005- Blowout loss to Carolina
2006- Close loss to the Eagles by a late FG
2008- Giants were the better team and should have beaten the Eagles yesterday

With this summary, you have to conclude that being a Giant fan will most times result in end of season frustration and disappointment. That is why you have to particularly savor the winning seasons like 2007. Lets hope another one comes along sooner than the 17 years between 1990 and 2007.

We all are smart enough to know that you cherish the wins. I think the thing that is most painful about this loss is that we beat ourselves A LOT MORE than the Eagles beat us. You cannot take away anything from the Eagles. But you have to accept the fact that the Giants let one get away. The Flipper Anderson game for me was cured only by the 1990 championship. The SF 39-38 loss was cured by the 2007 SB XLII title. Call me a poor sport, call me in grief 'denial,' but it is going to take more than time for me to close this chapter. Right now I would settle for Gilbrown being booted. That is not happening, for the same reason that Fassel stayed and Fox went. The Giants love that loyalty. I love that thing called championships. This New York Giants Blog is about championships, and when you do not close on a year like this, it is a sin far greater than Detroit 0-16. I never 'accepted' the Flipper Anderson result. Neither did Parcells or his players. That gave them plenty of hunger to climb back for a title. Maybe that is what this team needs right now- to not "accept" the outcome in the sense of rededicating themselves to not wasting their opportunities this coming season and to remember the feeling right now as a motivating factor for next year.

Yes, I saw the interview by Michael Strahan of Earth, Wind and Fire on the Fox pregame. And when Bradshaw answered truthfully (with a coy smile) that he did not want BOTH Jacobs AND Ward back, I had a coy smile too. Bradshaw may or may not be the answer next season, but at least we are going to TRY and FIND OUT, which is a lot more than our friend Gilbrown did THIS season.

Monday, January 12, 2009

That bitter taste, a day after

Short version: A day later, 1-Gilbrown still browns, 2-underachievement should never be "accepted," 3-this loss will be right up there with Flipper Anderson, 4-the loss had little to do with the defense, 5-the Giants played with intensity and 6-Eli Manning will be judged by his record.

Longer version: The intragame comments, postgame comments, email and phone conversations were flooded with unflattering remarks about Gilbrown. Everyone kept on bringing up the series where it was 1st and 5 later in the game. That was certainly one of the more egregious moments. Wonder articulated it simply: the offense need(ed) to have a rhythm. For lack of a better word, it is converting 3rd downs. When your QB is having problems, you need to use the slant and shorter passes to make his job easier, give him more confidence. But we have talked about this EXACT same issue immediately after W14. So why the surprise? "Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me." WHO WAS FOOLED BY WHAT HAPPENED YESTERDAY?! "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it." We are disappointed (to put it mildly) that our coaches made the same mistakes again. A rhythm was established in the Carolina game, and it was quickly lost. Was Gilbride getting "cute?" I think it is more about him being clueless.

These kinds of games are killers because of the simple fact the team beat itself. Everyone who understands football knows that there was more than enough on this team to win a championship. Watching the season end in this manner is particularly nasty. I am grateful that there are at least a few sane people out in cyberworld who have afforded us the luxury of knowing that we are not the ones who are mad. And when I spoke with Wonder, he independently remarked about "your buddy Gilbride." It was Wonder who said that he was one of the three MVPs of the game for the Eagles, I had to borrow that. Gilbrown= underachievement.

The 5 stages of grief may call for "acceptance," but we as fans do not have to accept underachievement. It is up to Coughlin, not Reese, to cut Gilbrown loose. We have heard about GMs who ask for assistants to get let go, but I do not believe the Giants ever operated this way. So Coughlin is the one who is responsible in Reese's eyes, and if it doesn't get fixed at a certain point, Reese would have a problem with Coughlin, not with one of his assistants. As we all know, Reese is VERY smart. I am sure he knows exactly what is going on. He'll be hearing excuses from the coaches, but he was not born yesterday either. He knows that the Giants loss was just as UNACCEPTABLE as the Titan loss 1 day prior.

Some of the remarks about the defense causing problems in the loss were imo incidental. THE DEFENSE PLAYED WELL ENOUGH TO WIN. Gilbride's unit did not get it done and SCORED THREE POINTS ALL GAME. The Giants defense gave up 16. Deduct 2 points for the safety, 3 points on the Robbins INT, and all they did was give up 11 points. This game was NOT on the defense.

As for Jacobs' remarks about not having the same intensity as the Eagles, I completely disagree. In the first half, all I saw was the Giants defense playing with fire, giving up 3 points the entire half, and the offense simply falling (Manning INT) apart and not finishing drives. The Giants had plenty of intensity, more than enough to win. If you want to argue that Manning did not play with "intensity," I won't argue with that, but since when he has ever showed 'any' intensity ever? He always plays at the same speed, whether it was last year's playoffs or this year's playoffs. Speaking of Manning..

I was struck by a rather accurate assessment made by Cris Carter of ESPN on Eli Manning. Carter said that Eli Manning was going to have deal with the fallout from this loss along with his big win last season. Essentially, what he is saying is that the Joe Montanas of the world did not play down and bring their teams to defeat in BIG PLAYOFF games. This is just a reminder that you are what your record is, and he is going to be remembered for having left plenty on the table in the 2008 season.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Eagles 23 Giants 11

First off, congratulations to the Philadelphia Eagles. They played hard and were able to capitalize on the opportunity.

The MVP of the Eagles today was shared by three people: Eli Manning, John Carney and Kevin Gilbrown. While I will not take anything away from the Eagles, THE GIANTS BEAT THEMSELVES TODAY. Like we said this week, there will be no excuses if this team loses because they were afforded all the opportunities with advanced warning of how the game would play out. Indeed, there were no surprises! The only surprise, which really should not be one, is how cranially-challenged Kevin Gilbrown really is. But we will get to that in a bit.

1) I have said it here after we won Super Bowl XLII--> Eli Manning has a free pass for life. He won me, he won you, he won all the Giants a championship. So I will not serve him up and skewer the guy. I have no animosity or anger at #10. It was what it was for him. He played very poorly today. His longest pass, a connection to Hixon, was another backfooted prayer that happened to be fortunate enough to randomly hit Hixon. A broken clock is right twice a day, and that was Eli, who was guessing with his throws all afternoon and came up inaccurate too often in too BIG a game. Jim Johnson told the FOX TV crew that he was putting it on Eli by committing to stopping the run. ELI DID NOT ANSWER. If Eli answers the Giants win. If Eli does not answer, the Giants lose. It is not that complicated. When you think back to the "pick 6" by Manning throwing off his back foot into the wind in Q1 to Samuel, Manning effectively did not contribute ANYTHING offensively. 6 of the 9 points were set up by a Bradshaw kickoff runback and a Robbins INT. Technically speaking, that makes Eli essentially NEGATIVE FOUR POINTS WHILE OUT ON THE FIELD.

But Eli had some help in this crime of the Giants being beaten by themselves. He did not have any help from the dartboard poster child of this New York Giants blog..

2) Kevin Gilbrown. For those of you who do not know, we have been calling Mr. Gilbride "Gilbrown" because 'brown' is short for Dave Brown, the official curse word of the 2008 season here at ultimatenyg. Gilbrown was brown today. In such a big and horrendous way. All you have to do is go back to Carl Banks' discussion on WFAN which we painstakingly detailed 5 days ago. Banks spelled it out- the playcalling was hampering the team. The red zone inefficiency (0 for 3) and 3rd down inconsistency (3 for 13) was going to come back to bite you in the playoffs if you were in the wrong place (tight game) at the wrong time (ie Eli Manning playing poorly). We discussed in detail many weeks ago that what is needed as the antidote for opposing teams committing to stopping the run (WITH BURRESS NO LONGER ON THE ROSTER) is to do the following:

a) run flares to the RBs
b) run screens to the RBs
c) run delayed TE screens
d) draw plays
e) play action
f) quick slants

WHERE WERE THESE PLAYS TODAY? There wasn't a single screen. THERE WAS NOT A SINGLE SLANT!! So when your team is in the red zone 3x and comes away with 9 points, it is going to be a killer.

3) John Carney. This one is on the coaching staff, actually, squarely on Tom Coughlin. If there is one thing everyone knew, it is was that the 40something Carney did not have a long leg. So Coughlin is smart in activating Tynes for kickoffs, but why not use Tynes for the long FGs that Carney cannot make? Yes, they were with the wind, but you use Tynes because it was Carney who missed the LONG ONE two weeks ago vs Minnesota. This is not Monday AM QB. We have been asking (more than few times this season) for both FG kickers to be dressed for these reasons. Carney missing these FGs is more a symptom of the Manning problem/Gilbrown disease than anything else.

The rest of these items are subplots to the loss:
4) Matthias Kiwanuka was invisible later in the season and was once again unable to make the impact we needed.
5) The DL lack of push up the middle from Robbins and Cofield in pass rush was clearly a problem, especially after some early (Q1) effectiveness disappeared.
6) Jacobs running wide (getting strung out way too many times for no impact and NO POUNDING) and not north/south was a symptom of the Gilbride disease.
7) Bradshaw's # was not called a single time all game. Egregious misuse of personnel. At a certain point you have to accept the fact that Bradshaw can break a big play, and he got ZERO touches. 0.0. Those plays mentioned about were a perfect way to put him out there in space to utilize his skills. It was absent. Instead, all we got was one pass (ALL GAME!) to Ward in the flat that Ward dropped.
8) Boss got a lot more balls thrown to him, but Manning missed him also on 3 occasions that I can recall.
9) Manning needs to learn to throw a tight spiral beginning NOW. In the offseason. Simms changed his mechanics to make the Meadowlands in Nov/Dec/Jan an advantage. Until he does so, you can easily argue that it is a DISADVANTAGE to be playing at home. Indeed, what is Manning's playoff record at the Meadowlands? 0-2 I believe.
10) I am tired of watching LBers chasing RBs. Spags had more safeties on them this game, and it worked, but Spags will be gone soon and these slow LBers will not. Pls draft FAST LBers by committing stronger resources (high <#1, #2> picks) toward this position.

There are so many other items that could be discussed in this recap, but it will have to wait for coming days. After all, we now have plenty of time in the offseason to examine the responses needed. Certainly, it was not the Giants coaching staff's fault that Plaxico Burress essentially undermined this season. But it was the Giants coaching staff's fault that proper adjustments were not made to put the Giants in the best position to win. Gilbrown and (ultimately) Coughlin will have to deal with that. One of the things said here back in September and October when the Giants were kicking major brown on opposing teams was that the offense and the team were winning DESPITE GILBROWN, not because of him. When Burress was lost, this put more pressure on Gilbrown to work with less and adapt to the new hand being dealt. He was not equal to the task.

Ultimatenyg is a home to many people who are passionate about football and the New York Giants. I will put on a new hat right now: Ultimatenyg Grief Counselor. We have had a death in the family, a Giant death. The 2008 Giants season. So that you can manage this painful process, I offer you a personal journey through this bitter and painful period. The 5 stages of grief are:

1) Denial- I cannot believe we lost and are out of the playoffs. What happened?! Was this a bad dream? Someone wake me up from this bad dream and tell me it wasn't real.

2) Anger- That Motherbrowner Gilbrown. I hate him.

3) Bargaining- If I promise to be good and not send a letter bomb to Kevin Gilbrown, will the Giants be nice enough to release him?!

4) Depression- Sorry, not there yet. In a few days when I have to deal with the thought that the Eagles and Cardinals are playing for the NFC Championship, I will start to get nauseous and depressed.

5) Acceptance- The Giants were given plenty of advanced warning about what they needed to do back in W14 in order to win. They did not take advantage of their enormous opportunity and they have to learn from this if they want to win next season. Losing guys like Strahan, Umenyiora and Burress are body blows that are hard to come back from, so let's regroup for the draft and win it all in next season.

Thanks everyone for a great year.

Intragame comments- NYG vs PHL

Saturday, January 10, 2009


How many of you saw this one coming?!! I certainly did not. Of the eight teams that played last weekend, only the Ravens had anything worthy of serious respect. And they should have lost today. The Cardinals?! No way. The ramifications are


The #2 seed in the NFC, gone. The #1 seed in the AFC, gone.

If we can beat the Eagles tomorrow, we play the Cardinals??!!!! You gotta be kiddin' me!

Dominique Rodgers Cromartie, the love of Wonder's life, is a rookie corner that gets better every game. As Moose and Goose suggest, the DBacks of the Cards found something in the passing game of Delhomme, because the INTS look like a tell or some kind of scheming advantage. Of course in H2 the Panthers effectively had to abandon the run, making INTs more possible, but still the results are astounding.

So you wanted the Eagles to lose so that we could play ... the Cardinals?!! Well, ya got the Cardinals if ya can get past the Eagles tomorrow!

The message: take care of the ball tomorrow (turnovers killed both higher seeds) and take care of your business. One game tomorrow. Plenty of time to think about the Cardinals. Plenty of Eagles FIRST. GO GMEN!

Baltimore 13 Tennessee 10

These are the games that give you nightmares. You are the better team and you lose. The Titans self-destructed. They marched up and down the field a million times (nearly DOUBLE THE YARDAGE, 391 yds to 211 yds) and kept on sabotaging themselves over and over. Yes, the Ravens deserve credit for hanging in there and doing what they needed to win, but it was Tenn who lost the game. Collins makes one very bad pass off the back foot for an INT, and then TWO fumbles in the red zone kill potential TDs, one of them at the 1 yard line. Am very grateful that wasn't the Giants out there. We've had our share of playoff games where we were the better team that came up with less points. Flipper Anderson. SF 39 NYG 38. Those are two that come to mind. Many Giants players felt the Flipper Anderson year was a Super Bowl team. I agree. And the Jan 2003 loss to SF was a wound that was only healed by the Super Bowl XLII win. I still feel that the offense that year was so potent, that anything was possible on the upside.

They will be talking about the delay of game that was not called on the final Raven drive (Heap 23 yard reception for key 3rd down conversion). This is the kind of brown that I talk about when you shoot for quality wins of more than 10 points instead of the prevent. Now obviously this was not a game where Tenn was ever in the prevent, but the point is that when you blow chances, other insanities out of your control will kill you.

And what about the loss of rookie Pro Bowl RB Chris Johnson?!! If he does not go down with a sprained(?) ankle, the Titans may STILL win this game going away! YOU NEED LUCK. The Ravens got this one with heart and effort and HAD PLENTY OF HELP FROM THE FOOTBALL GODS. They are not a good enough team to win it all because (a) their offense (which we saw earlier this season) is not strong enough and (b) their defense, while very good, can get gashed (as teams like the Giants and even the Titans today proved). No, we should not look past the Eagles tomorrow, but I would not be afraid of facing the Ravens in Tampa should that occur. (Talk about Deja Vu 8 years later?!! There already has been plenty for the Ravens, beating the Titans in the divisional round when they were not the better team THAT year either!) If the Steelers win tomorrow, they will handle the Ravens, barring another series of incredible Titan-like events.

Separately, I was really pulling for the Titans today, because I am a big Collins fan. He made some poor decisions throwing into double coverage downfield, but barring that, he played very well and did what needed to be done for his team to win. Without a credible running game in the second half he carried the team on his back and two fumbles by teammates killed his oppty to get back to the big game. Tenn, the #1 seed is gone. I hope the Giants were taking notes on how important it is to execute and FINISH.

Breaking Tendency- Jim Johnson and Bill Walsh

NFL.com has a very good article on Philadelphia's zone blitz scheme.

There are two words which define the article: BREAKING TENDENCY.

Even an old veteran defensive coordinator like Jim Johnson knows that he may have a good system that works, but it is useless if it is predictable. If you do not break tendency in this league you are dead. There is enough film study and statistics going on for these players on both sides of the ball to get an advantage from your formation and playcalling tendencies. What makes the play of the Giants offensive line so valuable is that they as a unit can sniff out these maneuvers and adjust on the fly. Now the Giants have on film an example of where the Eagles will run that blitz out of their base defense. And know that truly anything is possible. While that makes it harder for Johnson to truly 'surprise' the Giants, it also gives Johnson a general WIDER edge: his defensive tendencies are muddled enough to keep the Giants off-balance and unable to rely on any given assumption. THAT IS THE GOAL. The best pattern is NO pattern. Look at your own playcalling and make sure it is not embedded with tendency.

One of my favorite plays demonstrating the vital importance of tendency was the interception and TD by little-used LB Jack Squirek of the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl XVIII. The Redskins used a play earlier in the year with 3 WRs and scatback RB Joe Washington. The Raiders studied the play and spotted the change in personnel near the end of the first half. They put in Squirek (who was better in pass coverage) and told him to play Joe Washington on tight man coverage. The result was an easy pick for an INT TD to turn the game into a 21-3 halftime rout on their way to a 38-9 win.

Brian remarked a while back about how we may be able to see 3 HOFers from one draft class of 4 people. Well, as Parcells (and others here) would bark, Webster and Jacobs have a long way to go before they get to Canton, and Tuck has a little more work to do, while we are at it. That reminded me of the story of Greg Cook. Greg Cook is the poster-child for warning anyone before they anoint any budding star in the NFL. Cook's rotator cuff makes Sehorn's ACL/MCL tear seem like child's play. It is a reminder of how we plan and the game of football laughs.

Inside the mind of one of the greats, Bill Walsh.

The article above retells the story of Cook, but also delves into the discussion of tendencies. Walsh lets you inside the mind of a great game planner. The setting up of the ball underneath just as soon as he pushes the LBers out in coverage is critical to understanding how you scheme an offense. Madden remarked in the Carolina-NYG game how he does not understand why teams don't run the play again if it worked. You can do that, as long as THAT is a NEW tendency, not to break old tendency. What, do you think Pierce is not going to recognize the exact same formation and call it out to the entire defense for what is coming? Bill Walsh won three Super Bowls and his immediate successor won a fourth. He did it by staying one step ahead of the opponent.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Deja Blue All Over Again

I am at peace. I have serenity within my Giant madness...

So many things about this game are IDENTICAL. THE GIANTS GET A DO OVER.

This is a total gift, having seen them in the exact same conditions. We get to turn back time and play the exact same game over again and prove that W14 was a bad day at the office, that THIS Sunday is the real Giants. This game is a gift. If we waste the gift, nobody to look at except ourselves. And since the Gmen are the better team they will take advantage of this gift and win.

The wind means it will be a tighter game, less points likely. No bet, the gmen could win a bleeder as much as they could win big. Could be Giants 13-10. The wind means Eli will only be able to burn them deep/stretch the field when they load the box in 2 out of 4 quarters. It shortens the game, just like W14. But Jacobs will be back and he will be bad, they'll need 8, prob 9 to stop him, so Eli will have opptys. In the wind, you simply have to do the things we talked about ad infinitum. If my friend Gilbrown has learned ANYTHING from W14, he should be fine. and we should kick their brown. W/o the wind I really felt good about the outcome, with the wind, I feel we will have some struggling moments but should come out on top nonetheless. The giants are the better team... The Giants had the same exact opponent in the same exact stadium with the same exact manpower loss (Burress) and the same exact weather conditions.... ya think they could learn about what they did wrong and what they need to correct? OF COURSE.

NO EXCUSES, it is ALL on the Giants and their coaches for not getting it done if they somehow fall short. They will get it done, I have enough confidence in all of them, and in this spot, I do have (barely) enough confidence in Gilbrown because he had 5 weeks to figure it all out. If he does not get it now, then shame on him. But with the better skilled players, Spags will certainly figure out ways (esp with Cofield and Pierce and Robbins (and Tuck?!) healthier) to stop McNabb and Westbrook.

A shout out to Ron, who points out that "McNabb is most dangerous when he runs outside on 2nd down and gets his 8 or 9 yards rushing to set up a short 3rd down play..and since he has turned his game around after the benching he has been doing that every game."

Reread the postgame of the Eagles in W14 for some perspective on what was learned. Wake up and smell the Bradshaw. There are so many ways to improve from the last game we played vs this team. It is all there for them to figure out. Rest easy, Giants fans. The element of surprise is essentially gone. Coughlin is always stressing preparation. They should be prepared and the the Giants will win. Bring it! Next stop, NFC Championship.

Some comments from your questions

Someone questioned Tomlinson's future in SD...and Chargers in general..first, let me restate the age-old axiom that RB's get OLD overnight...LT was GREAT/AWESOME..but as he gets to the wrong side of 30, the hits and the injuries take their toll...the knee last year was bad enough..but the TOE injury this year almost made him invisible/slow at times..and when he finally seems his old self, he pulls/tears a groin tendon..pretty sad for him..as for SD, they will be OK if, and only if, they remember Bennett is part of their team..they MUST run the ball up the gut a little to keep Pitt honest..but keep Sproles for kick returns, draws, flares, etc...also, SD must THROW the ball to win..which means PASS PROTECT..if they can, they have a puncher's chance...they will need to sign a free agent runner or draft a "big" guy as Sproles CANNOT carry the load...let LT carry about 15 times a game if he heals ok...now, back to our JINTS !!!

Another reader questioned the Eagles' LB corps vs. the NY LB's..sorry, guys, but it's not close..the PHIL LB's are MUCH more athletic and capable of "dropping into coverage" or covering the RB out in the flat..Pierce is great as a leader and run-stuffer, but he CANNOT RUN..the good news is that Spags KNOWS this and his DEF game-plan does NOT call for him OR the other LB's to "cover" very much...but he does want them TO HIT after short Phil. completions...as for our game, I EXPECT THE G-MEN to come out smoking on BOTH lines of scrimmage..run Jacobs, soften up their D, and then go play-action...I think "waggles" to Boss will work EXTEMELY well as they overpursue...play fake to left, semi-rollout/bootleg to right, and have Smith and/or Boss coming from the LEFT/strong side across the field..at same time, have Smith in slot to right, and run a double move to a "skinny post"..the pressure on the safety will be IMPOSSIBLE to handle and Jints should exploit this at least 3-4 times during the game..also, the ONLY guy that really worries me is NOT Westbrook...he will be "game-planned" for..and it's not Jackson as he's a "home-run" hitter we MUST contain..but AVANT can MOVE THE CHAINS...and we CANNOT let McNabb convert those 3rd down plays with passes to AVANT for 8-10 yds...they WILL NOT be able to run...soooo, stop the checkdowns/screens to Westbrook, the deep bomb to Jackson, and focus on Avant on 3rd down...and Jints rule..one note: Robbins/Cofield MUST collapse the pocket...if this is done, EASY NY WIN...if they blow their assignments, it will be a battle...but we SHOULD BE ABLE TO CONTROL THE LINES

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Eagles, Giants, and the NFL

1) Not a complete surprise that a ny giants blog would have ~80% of its respondents lining up to vote for them to win the Super Bowl. But how biased is this group? The online odds to win the Super Bowl paint a different picture, one where essentially the Steelers, Panthers and Giants are viewed almost equally. Considering how the Giants are the favorite, it should not be so unreasonable for the sample to be skewed. There is also a little bit of that battle for respect still working here- the variance between 7 of the 8 teams is very small. The Giants are only ~twice as likely to win the Super Bowl as the 7th best team. It's bunched up- at least that is what the money says, not what we say.

2) The Browns hired Mangini. What am I missing? Maybe I can coach for 30 mins a game too and get a job.

3) Everyone loves Gilbrown. This guy can't buy an interview, let alone a head coaching job. But others think he is such a great coordinator, why don't they buy a franchise and give him the keys. It isn't happening. I certainly hope he does a good job with the offense this Sunday, but it is very clear AROUND THE LEAGUE that the Giants are where they are because of Reese, Coughlin and Spagnuolo. They win despite Gilbride, not because of him. How many times do you hear defensive players praising Spags? All the time. How many times have you heard the offensive players (going out of their way) lauding Gilbride? Almost never. I'll tell you why- because they are in the huddle and they know first hand how Manning is busy changing out of the playcall- CORRECTLY- because Gilguy has them in the wrong set. I'll be more than happy to sing his praises if he calls a good game, and we certainly have this season on more than a few occasions. But let's not kid ourselves- the silence with this guy's consideration for a HC job is DEAFENING. How many draft choices do we need to give away to have someone take him off our hands?

4) What kind of owner is there to fire his head coach who had a winning record, clearly making a statement that he was committed to winning a championship, then disappears for the interviews with candidates the week after? That never happened with the Maras, because they are football people. Even though the GM was in charge of the hiring, they were on the front lines all the time. Could you imagine Well Mara being out of the country while his team just fired its coach? Away on business? Football WAS Mara's business. I cannot speak at all to whether Johnson's presence had anything to do with Cowher saying no, but how can you blame him? All he knew was the Rooneys, another football BUSINESS. It starts from the top. Brown rolls downhill.

5) I am tired of the analysis of this Eagles Giants game. Let's fast forward to Sunday already so we can play the game.

6) 20-25 MPH winds forecast from the Ultimatenyg Meteorologist. He was 15-25MPH on Tuesday, so this looks pretty firm.

7) Simms on Showtime: "Tennessee won't be favored if they face the Giants (in the Super Bowl). I believe the Giants will be the favorite no matter how they play in the playoffs and regardless of who they face in the Super Bowl." His pick in the game this weekend- The New York Football Giants. Phil also takes the Panthers and the Titans, but cannot select in the SD/PIT game because he is announcing for that one.

8) Jacobs as good and healthy as he has been since he hurt himself in W3. "You can hear him," Snee said. "He's very vocal and he's enthusiastic. He came in Monday in here and he was rip-roaring and yelling. I said to Brandon, 'We don't play until Sunday at one,' and he looked at me like I was crazy. He's fired up and I love it."

9) Time to cut the low hanging fruit from the sickly Cowboy tree- Pacman Jones is gone. Is there anyone on the team that was more representative of how we all (including myself) saw this massive assemblage of #1 draft pick talent, and how it did not come together? Jones killed the Giants when he was at TENN, but not here.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Good news for Giants fans: Robbins is ready

Yesterday, Fred Robbins spoke on his blog for the first time in 3 weeks. If you read #98's comments this season, he has been open about plenty of stuff... not the usual Eli Manning platitudes.

Why is Fred Robbins so important? If you have to ask that, (1) welcome to the blog world, where we explain stuff like that (2) you probably have not been following the gmen that closely.

Robbins is one of the keys to the game on Sunday. Since he is good on run defense, and since the Eagles can't run the ball well, we know and expect the Eagles to be passing a lot. It is imperative to get the push up the middle on McNabb so that he (a) cannot step into the pocket on his throws (b) cannot step up to avoid the pass rush AND (c) cannot buy time for his dumpoff/checkdown/flare to the RB/TE. "Critical," says Wonder. Agreed.

Now let's listen to what Robbins had to say:
We can’t make mistakes against a team like Philly. They’re hot and they’ve really been claiming the line of scrimmage, so it’s going to be a typical Giants-Philly game and could come down to who has the ball last.

A lot of people have been saying that we could be rusty after a couple weeks off, but I don’t think so. We got in a lot of good work this week and last week. We haven’t relaxed, or taken the foot off the gas pedal. It’s playoff time! There’s no tomorrow and no get ’em next week. Each play really counts, and if you lose you have to wait a whole year to play again.

We’ve worked too hard for this to be the end of our season. We’re still hungry.
I didn’t take the day off against Minnesota even though I’ve been banged up because it could have been tough to get back in the groove going into the playoffs after not playing for 3 or 4 weeks. I wanted to sharpen my technique.

My shoulder is feeling healthy, about 95 percent. I’m finally able to do the things I was able to do at the start of the season, and I’m ready to pick up where I left off before I hurt my hands and my shoulder.

When we played Philly last time I had missed the week before with the shoulder injury and I think I rushed back too soon. My shoulder was not healthy enough for me to have been out there playing. I didn’t want to miss that game, but I wasn’t able to perform up to my capabilities.

If this guy is healthy and playing to "where I left off before I hurt my hands and my shoulder," it is lights out, my friends. Robbins had 5.5 sacks in his first 6 games before he got hurt, and enabled Kiwi and Tuck to do what they do best. Watch Freddie on Sunday, because if he is getting the push, he doesn't even need the sacks (although of course they are the bonus). He just needs to push up the middle so that McNabb is disrupted with hurries/knockdowns/Tuck.

SEPARATELY: ASK WONDER. Do you have a question for Wonder on the Gmen or Eagles? On the matchups between CAR-AZ, SD-PIT, TEN-BAL? Who is the player to watch on a particular team? He'll field your questions (email or comment) with a post for Friday. Btw, nice job by Wonder early Sunday in alerting us to Minnesota's chances dropping big when Pat Williams was unable to play.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Bob Papa and Carl Banks

Bob Papa was quite frank in expressing the viewpoint that the Giants SHOULD WIN this weekend as long as they take care of their business. Papa is always understated, so even though he is a company guy, he is not sticking his neck out. He brings up the following points:

1)They needed this bye week. Offseason was compacted by SB win this past year. Bye week 3+ months ago. Mental rest important and helpful.

2) Giants let game get away from themselves in W14. "For some reason" the Giants reversed to Manningham.. "This (reverse) is not part of the Giants offense."(read: what the brown are you doing, Gilbrown?)

3) Hixon drop, squandered opportunities.

4) Do not put Pierce on Westbrook.

5) Tuck had the flu.

6) Jacobs banged his knee, once he got hurt it went downhill.

7) The more chances you give Westbrook and McNabb, the easier it becomes for the Eagles to win.

8) Vikings could not run the ball because the Eagles knew the Vikings had no passing game. Tarvaris Jackson was an amateur out there yesterday. Manning is no Jackson. Manning changes plays, has poise, knows the Eagles defense, has much more command of the offense.

9) Carton paraphrased: "If the Giants do what they do, they should beat this Eagles team." Papa:"I agree with you. If they run the ball the way they can run the football and the way ..they have with Ward and Jacobs.. they are going to be very tough to beat in this football game."

Carl Banks

Giants and their fans should be nervous about the Eagles. The things you do not do well get magnified to the highest level in the playoffs.

Giants are inconsistent at best in the red zone, it is a problem where the Giants have to be good. If the Giants have a bad game in the red zone, they will come back and be ok in the next game... these are the things which will come back to haunt you though because in the playoffs there is no next game and you have to do it consistently. Third down and manageables.... where are the difference-makers? Third and 5, a fielder's choice, they have to look at the plays they are calling... defenses do not know what you are going to call. This was the difference in the game W14. On 5 or 6 occasions they had these situations and flopped.


Giants were 27% converting these. Giants had 5 third and manageables last game and did not convert. This is it. When you have these opportunities, the play calling has to be very good, the execution has to be very good. When you move the ball on 1st and 2nd down, you need to get the first down and complete the drive.

When you have the opportunities, get ahead of the Eagles. Make Westbrook strictly a passing back. They don't run it well anyway. Don't let Westbrook get into a rhythm.

Giants also at a disadvantage in punt returns.

This should be a close game. The Giants need to take care of their housekeeping. That is Kevin Gilbride, Tom Coughlin, Ahmad Bradshaw, the Offensive Line.

Avant is a sleeper, runs very good routes, effective in the red zone. Giants need to be wary of him.

Giants tidy it up. The Giants have enough time to clean it up. The way they got beat last time, they should have the pride to turn it around this time, and if they do that they will make it tougher for the Eagles.

Ultimatenyg New York Giants Blog comments: Banks' number one issue in this session was the RED ZONE OFFENSE. He could not have been more pointed in his criticism of Gilbrown while being employed as the radio color man for the Giants. HELLO KEVIN BOSS. With Boss on 3rd and manageable, he is the player who you get the ball to to move the chains. And in the red freaking zone? Boss leads the team in TD receptions with 6, and he should have many more because if they simply throw him the ball (tied for 25th in the league, are you kidding me?!!) with the PLAY ACTION it works every time. Banks mentions execution, meaning CATCH THE BALL when it is thrown. Boss catches the ball, great hands. The Giants are as inconsistent in the red zone as Gilbrown's inconsistency in using the TE.
0-2 receptions in 8 games, Giants 5-3 record.
3+ receptions in 7 games, Giants 7-0.
When the Giants are in the red zone 6x vs the Steelers and win, it is Boss who finally gets the ball on the LAST of those 6 possessions (see video~ minute 6:13) . On play action. (I am not sure who loves what more, me with the TE, or Wonder with the play action. On that one we had both.) WAKE THE BROWN UP. GET CONSISTENT IN YOUR USE OF THE TE AND WIN THE SUPER BOWL.

Nature asks yesterday, hey why should we be so confident when Gilbrown keeps us at bay with his mistakes? It is a very good point, and I am optimistic that the last game which Boss played (Carolina, where Boss got 5 receptions) is the wakeup call where the offense got in rhythm. Wonder thinks the push by Robbins is more important than the use of the TE, but I think they are both equally important. At this point if we have either we will win the whole thing. If we have neither and Gilbrown is found dead from a letter bomb, send them to me, I will be the first suspect.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bring'em On- NO EXCUSES

Now that we have reached the beginning of the playoffs, you can post your selection of who will win Super Bowl XLIII on the right column of the blog -->


If the Gmen lose, they do not deserve to be Super Bowl Champions. Why? Because we saw the Eagles' hand already. Twice. And if you count the same lessons that Gilbrown had to learn yet again vs the Cowboys, three times. There should be few (if ANY) surprises. You have to know about 90%-95% of what they are going to try to do to stop you.

The Giants will play better.. A LOT BETTER than W14. And if they get torched by Westbrook on that checkdown/screen by a LBer getting beat instead of a Safety, then we deserve our fate. As long as the Giants have learned ANYTHING from that W14 matchup, the Gmen will be fine and will win this game. The Eagles have no real running game. I'd be in nickel all day, and dime on 3rd down. The Vikings w/o Pat Williams had no push up the middle, so McNabb had all day. Pls Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield, get that push and we will be fine. Kiwi and Tuck, contain that pocket.

The offense has new rhythm now that it did not have 4 weeks ago, and if Gilbrown is moronic enough to not realize that (a) the Eagle undersized defensive line needs a steady diet of Jacobs and (b) the looks they will give us mean BOSS to move the sticks/red zone, then we deserve our fate. Since major adjustments are not anticipated, the Giants should be able to outphysical this team and win.

Look back to W14's loss. Remember that the Eagles had the 10 days of rest and were jacked. Now we have the rest and we are the team that will be jacked. Remember the missed blocks? The dropped balls? The Giants were flat that day and they will be much more focused this time.

The people who make the comparisons to the Giants '07 and Steelers '05 for what the Eagles '08 allegedly look like are missing a key DIFFERENCE. The Gmen were 8-1 at this point as ROAD WARRIORS. The Steelers were 7-2 at this point as ROAD WARRIORS. The Eagles? They are 4-4-1, having beaten SF, SEA, NYG (*which we have discussed above and know all about), and MINN. Road warriors they ain't. They will be 4-5-1 and sent for early January golf after this coming Sunday.

No excuses. Unmask this team right here, right now. They caught us snoozing in W14, but this time it counts, 100% focus, 100% win.

The Giants are -4. The Giants will win and cover.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


As advertised, no Pat Williams= no pressure up the middle= comfortable McNabb passing for 300yds and victory..but the JINTS will NOT allow him such luxury...stop the run+ collapse the pocket+ contain Westbrook = VICTORY....again, I see all the top seeds prevailing...Carolina has easiest game...Balt will play Tenn tough...SD will have trouble against Pitt Def. in the cold...

BIG, HUGE hit to Vikings...Pat Williams is inactive...don't like Minn's chances here...but we can HOPE that AP goes for 150+yds...and Jarred Allen gets McNabb...going to be real tough..would much rather face AZ next week as they have NO chance against us...

Simms Sunday Morning QB

Phil Simms WFAN/Showtime commentary can be found on Ultimatenyg New York Giants Blog.

1) SD wins over IND. Norv Turner coached, managed, called the plays as well as I have ever seen him. Colts cannot run the football. Chargers defense was more aggressive. People simply not worried about the Colts running game anymore. SD defense bailed the team out. SD was refusing to win. Rivers was not comfortable, uneasy. Guys were wide open downfield, but the Chargers offensive line could not pass protect well, Rivers had no confidence that he could hang in there long enough to go downfield. On the 3rd and 2, Colts go empty backfield(!), Chargers were man to man with one extra guy short zone for the slants, would have picked off Peyton Manning. Result of a sack was caused by the extra defender on the 1st choice slant... would have been an INT if Manning threw it.

2) Jets players re Favre. The amount of attention Favre receives anywhere is extraordinary. So players on his team felt left out and unloved. Not surprised.

3) BAL-MIA today. Simms doing game. Keys.. Balt on defense is smart, hard to read, tough matchup for Dolphins. Miami tries to widen field for Williams and Brown. Simms admits to be wrong about the Ravens, they are a very good team. Cam Cameron doing well for the Ravens under Harbaugh. Matt Ryan hit the wall, Flacco is bigger and stronger and has not hit the wall. Flacco like Eli, unemotional and calm. Dolphins will try to pressure Flacco to force him

4) AZ-ATL. Weakness of ATL run defense was exposed because generally speaking, when ATL is ahead it takes away the opponent's ability to patiently run the ball on that team. AZ won because they (despite being a bad running team) were able to run the ball later in the game.

5) MIN-PHL. Jackson has settled in. Both teams with West Coast Offense are similar. But MIN has a chance to do things that the Eagles cannot. People forget that just two weeks ago the Eagles scored only 3 points vs the Skins. Phil likes the Vikings.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Well, guys..it's that time of year..when we all hope our team is "in the hunt"...but, even the most die-hard fans know, deep down, that only a few teams really have a decent chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy...except for our Jints last year, when did a "true" underdog win the SB ? I'll tell you...the Pats against the "invincible" Rams...but as history proved, the Pats were no fluke and the Rams were short-lived..The experts may minimize the #1, #2 seeds, but the extra week to heal cannot be underestimated... and to have the FIRST game at home is huge...not just b/c of your fans, but b/c the team is COMFORTABLE and has a better chance to handle the emotions and adrenalin of its first playoff game..this year, more than in recent times, I do believe that the 4 top seeds stand an excellent chance of emerging...with all that, I shall give you my prognosis:

1. NO CHANCE: Ariz, Mia, ATl, Minn....I actually believe AZ has a good chance to "surprise" and beat ATL, which is decent team but game is NOT in a dome, and they're "inexperienced"...Cards are the ultimate HOME team...after which they'll get killed...Mia is the worst 11-5 team I've seen in a long time...they MAY keep it close against Balt, but I doubt it...Vikes stand a chance against Phil (I like +3) IF they can RUN and NOT TURN ball over...but they have little hope to prevail in the SB....

2. A LITTLE CHANCE: Phil, SD, Balt...it's just not that easy to win 3 games to get to SB, much less with at least 2 on the road..that's what makes the Jints and Steelers SB victories recently so special..granted they were good teams that peaked at the right time, but it's just HARD TO DO...and while a lot of the so-called experts are jumping on the Eagles' wagon, need I remind them that only a short while ago McNabb was BENCHED and the team was 5-5-1...and they CAN'T run the ball or stop the run consistently...SD is interesting and IF LT, GATES can play at 90% today, I give them a reasonable chance to upset the COLTS....but that "IF" re: health is a BIG concern and a bad secondary against Peyton will make it tough..and then have to beat Pitt and Tenn on road? not likely...Balt is pretty interesting b/c I think they have the EASIEST opening game and that DEF is in rhythm...no matter what, if you want to beat Balt, you better bring your hard hats and "A" game on BOTH sides of the line...

3. A "DECENT CHANCE": IND, TN....this was a hard category for me...I realize IND is playing well (9 straight)..BUT who have they really beaten except a close, lucky, game at home vs. the PATS ? granted, SD and Pitt as well (VERY lucky in ALL 3 games)...but they have not been TESTED in their last 5 "gimme" games...I know how good Peyton is..BUT if you take a good look at IND off., it's NOT what it was..they really don't have the "big play" dynamic they used to have..in addition, their inability to run or stop the run will be their downfall in bad weather...as for TN, if Mia is the worst #3 of recent times, TN is the worst #1...whatever "it" is, they don't have "IT"...yeah, I know...they beat Pitt when they needed to...it won't happen again..the best thing they have going for them is Chris Johnson and a solid def...but they are a little banged up (haynesworth, vanden Bosch) and I do not believe they are "ready" for that next step...that being said, a team has to BEAT TN... b/c they usually don't beat themselves...

4. A PRETTY GOOD CHANCE: CAR, PITT...If one defines this category as WINNING the SB, I think both these teams have the attributes...first, Car has a solid, all-around team...their one flaw is INCONSISTENCY on offense, which may be directly attributed to their QB Jake...stop their running game, and pressure DelH while "doubling" steve smith, and he's just not good enough to beat you...also, while I respect their D, I don't FEAR their D, and that's a big difference...as for PITT, if they had the Jets' O-line, much less Car, Den, or the Jints, Pitt would be scary..BUT, they don't...and that leads to an inability to run the ball and crippling bigben...their D is awesome AND scary...soooo, DON'T turn the ball over (more than once in a game) and you will beat them

5. A REAL GOOD CHANCE: JINTS....I don't want to hear about losing 3 of 4...this is the DEFENDING SB CHAMPS..they have experience and confidence as well as talent on their side.. simply put, they can RUN and STOP the RUN better than any other team..in the cold, that gets you TO the SB...as for the actual SB, you also have to be able to pass due to better weather... I believe Eli has come a LONG way to where he is UNDERESTIMATED by his opp AND the so-called experts..he is a SILENT ASSASSIN...effecient, consistent, and cool under pressure... the only problem I see for our Jints is the HEALTH of Jacobs and the DL...Jacobs MUST be his normal smashmouth self and the DL MUST get back to RUSHING THE QB!!....I also feel having both NFC games at home is HUGE...and I do NOT fear the baby Eagle(t)s !!...I think the Jints' toughest task will actually be the SB itself... GO JINTS !! more next week, WONDER


O'Hara: This team knows how to step it up when it is time to do so. Get something out of the rest, practice in pads next week to get faster to be ready for the game. Key to spags is that he is not afraid to blitz, and his players love that because it means that he trusts them, and they want to reward that trust.

Fassel: Definitely interested in HC job. Ravens will win, bad matchup for dolphins. Nothing good to say about tarvaris jackson. Peyton manning very special, sd could have played ind in conf championship if brackets broke differently, that is how good these 2 teams can be.

simms: AZ, SD, MINN

Giants had 13 turnovers, a record low for 16 games. 1 was from Jacobs (the hurdle at PHL) and 12 were from Manning (10 INTs and 2 lost fumbles). Amazing stat. If the Giants can somehow keep protecting the ball the way they have, it may be exactly what is necessary to put them over the top.

Latest Spags is Denver, Lions, Browns and Jets. No one will know anything significant until some/other teams start dropping out of the picture by announcing they are hiring someone else. Word is that Spags is #1 on the Jets list. And word is also that Shanahan is not preferred either. Shanahan has gone on vacation for 2 weeks to get some perspective before he sets out to determine what he wants to do. Richard Neer (WFAN) makes a good point.. why is WOODY JOHNSON out of the country? We should be reminded that the Maras and Tisches were certainly involved in the Giant's coaching selection, interviewing candidates etc.

BEWARE OF CONSENSUS. The consensus geniuses like the Colts, Ravens and Eagles. If all of them (and the world) were right, Las Vegas would be dead. To quote a local who lives off the Strip, "this town wasn't built on winners." Take the Chargers, Dolphins and Vikings. You will be correct on a minimum of two out of three. Why? Because betting is not this easy. And the easy thing to do is take the Colts, Ravens and Eagles. Nothing in life is free. You can argue that there is a point spread too, but in one of the games there isn't and the other two they would take them anyway, FG or no FG. Bottomline is there is such strong consensus that it should wake us up to the fact that the other team is 'live.'

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