Monday, June 30, 2008

OL Depth

The Giants are tightly knit cohesive unit that finally lived up to their potential last year with their Super Bowl win. But thinking about it more and more everyday there is one thing that concerns me about the New York Giants.
The GMEN bolster an offensive line that blocks as a unit and they are arguably one of the best in the NFL. But what if one of those guys were injured? Speaking of Guy, Guy Whimper is the only Giants OL who they trust to play incase of injury. He can play Left Tackle or Right Tackle and he could fill in on the spot. He is inexperienced though, but with the Giants Super Bowl run you can tell Coach Coughlin is not afraid to play rookies or inexperienced veterans.
Outside of that though, I wonder if Snee, O'Hara or Seubert were injured, who would be able to take their spot and help the running game. Gray Reugamer has veteran experience and can play anywhere inside. But he is an older veteran who may not be able to play for long stretches at a time.
Although this is my one and only concer they still do have an offensive line that many other teams in the NFL would envy. Other franchises would also be jealous of the depth that the Giants have at every position. This really gives credit to Jerry Reese and also Ernie Acoursi before him.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Giants Notes for the Day

In the late afternoon NFL Network was showing a replay of the Giants vs. Pats Week 17 showdown. Some things I noticed from that game that I didn't notice when I attended it..
Gerris Wilkinson is a pretty good LB. Some people are worried about the loss of Reggie Torbor and Kavika Mitchell at OLB. Wilkinson had tight coverage against Randy Moss and had a pass broken up against him in the end zone, even though it hit off of his helmet, but none the less he showed me some cover skills. He has played on special teams and always seemed to be in there making plays. I look to see him contribute and possibly start.
Watching this game made me remember the atmosphere in East Rutherford on that actually mild December night, it reminded me of how great Giants fans are. It seemed like a playoff atmosphere even though Big Blue had nothing to play for. I have said this before, but maybe 20-30 years from now Tom Coughlin's move to play everyone and try and win will go down as the greatest coaching move in the history of sports. They went from playing mediocre, inconsistent football to consistent and almost turnover free football.
Some other notes..
The GMEN have had some guys who need some cheese with their wine. Seriously though give Plax a raise. Javon Walker is making some big money next year and frankly I don't see his Super Bowl ring. Plaxico is underpaid and was a leader of that Giants team. He barely practiced all year but was still able to give solid performances on Sundays.
Shockey is another story though, I don't understand what he wants. Does he want more credit for being an excellent TE or does he just want out of New York. He plays with heart, passion and unlike other great pass catching Tight Ends he takes pride in his blocking. I say that they shouldn't give in but rather let him have his starting job back after threatening him with starting Kevin Boss. I think Jeremy will be motivated to help Big Blue repeat and for him to get a ring.
I was on the Giants website and looking at the pictures of the new stadium. The Stadium looks like it will be truly one of the best, possibly better than University of Phoenix or Lucas Oil which is slated to open for the Colts for this season.
Get ready BIG BLUE NATION for a great training camp period coming in a month at SUNY Albany.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Eli Manning needs to improve upon consistency

An NFL executive once said that in order to evaluate a QB you must look at him and say "can he lead your team to victory in the 4th quarter of a Super Bowl". Everyone at this point obviously knows the answer to that for Eli, and that obviously is yes. Eli in the big spot is great, we all know that. In this years Super Bowl he became the 2nd QB ever to throw 2 touchdowns in the 4th Quarter, the first is Joe Montana. That is pretty good company for Eli Manning.
The problem for Eli and the Giants was not his play in the playoffs, but rather his play in the regular season. The way I look at it is he played his best ball against the Patriots and Cowboys who were the top seed in each of their respective conference. In these 5 games, including playoffs Eli threw 13 touchdowns, which is at more than 2 a game, that pace could result around 41 or 42 touchdowns for the season. That would then put him up there with his brother Peyton and Tom Brady for what could be the tops in the NFL next year.
In six games aginast 7 or 8 win teams last year (Lions, Vikings, Bears, Bills, Eagles (twice)) he threw 5 touchdowns in 6 games. We all know that those type of numbers will not help the Giants achieve greatness again.
Manning needs to show that he can avoid the pesky fumbles and interceptions which really hindered the Giants offense at times last year. If he is able to limit his mistakes then the Giants offense could click on all cylinders. The run game will be able to be dominated by Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad Bradshaw. The O-line will be able to block as a cohesive unit. Manning has a wide array of talent on offense and if he plays consistently well the team will make the playoffs and possibly go to repeat.
What I think Eli will do next year? He will probably pass for 3700 yards, 26 TD, 14 INT. That should be enough coupled with the Giants defense for them to win 10 or 11 games even in the toughest division in football of the NFC East.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Random Giants notes, evaluations

Ok, finally the Hefty Lefty has been cut from the Giants. It is a shame because the Giants could have tried to incorporate him on QB sneaks during short yardage situations. But I guess Andre Woodson will take his place on the roster as a back up for Eli Manning.

I was reading an article on under the fans take section, and it talked about the week 17 decision to play all of the starters. And that had me thinking that for the Giants to have success again, they must take risks. This includes bringing high pressure with the pass rush. But was it the best coaching move of all time? I think so because even in a loss it directly lead to them turning up the level of their play going into the playoffs. Tampa essentially took 2 weeks off to rest after clinching the mediocre NFC South title. This should show coaches, managers that you can ride momentum to a championship, also see the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Giants Rookies transitions to 2nd year players

The Giants success last year was largely contributed to by rookies. As these rookies now become 2nd year players some of them could see increased role's in the locker room and in the field.

Aaron Ross showed last year his toughness as well as his cover skills. Ross can one day be an elite CB in this league, along with Corey Webster they could be what earlier in the decade the Giants wanted with Will Peterson, William James ( the former Will Allen). Ross will help to try and shut down WR like TO, Santana Moss and whoever the Eagles elite WR is. Overall this year I look for Ross to take a higher role in the team leadership, especially on the defensive side of the field.

Steve Smith the Giants 2nd round pick in 07 showed that he is an absolute gamer. He will be the reciever who on 3rd and 7 will get you 8. Smith will be the 3rd WR behind the disgruntled Burress and Toomer. Smith had 4 of his 5 catches for first downs in the Super Bowl. Look for Smith in a full season to maybe catch around 50 balls for the season.

Ahmad Bradshaw, I have mentioned his off the field problems but he has talent. Just turn on the tape, he has all of the tools to be a successful RB in this league. He average over 5 YPC in the season/post-season. He will be a regular in the backfield along with Brandon Jacobs for 2008. Look for his numbers to be around 150 carries, 700 yards and 5 touchdowns.

Kevin Boss, to be honest is a physical monster, at 6'7 over 260 pounds. He will see a lot more playing time this year because he showed he can play and stretch the field even if Shockey is playing. I look to see him catch 30 balls and maybe 4 touchdowns.

The bottom line is this, you win championships though building up your team through the draft, having players develop. Jerry Reese under the tutelidge of Ernie Acoursi became one of the best talent evaluators at the college level. These players showed signs that they could be starters for the next 10 years but they must improve.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Ahmad Bradshaw

O no! Ahamad Bradshaw, my favorite player in the NFL as of week 16 against the Bills when he had an electric game in the stormy weather in Ralph Wilson Stadium, is in trouble with the law. This was the reason that he fell so far in the draft to the 7th round.
He has so much potential to be an elite Running Back, he plays with passion, runs tough and has no fears of taking on stronger defenders. He really can't be pulling these kind of stunts that will turn him into the former Pacman Jones.
Bradshaw was a cult hero for all of my Giants fan friends because of the excitement he brought to the game. During the Super Bowl he dragged Pats DL Ty Warren after a powerful run. He really does have the ability to be a special player for the Giants.
Someone needs to tell him that there isn't room in his career for this and that he needs to behave. Hopefully at training camp he will be focused on the season and ready to have his talent outweigh his off the field baggage.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

All Quiet on the Giants front

Not much news on the Giants front except for a few random points that I was thinking of...

Strahan obviously will be missed more than his production on hte field but the Giants will need to have new in the locker room, someone like a Justin Tuck or Osi. Pierce will continue to step up his leadership as any fellow Arizona Wildcat should.

Who will be receiving kick-offs? Domenick Hixon had a return TD last year. Bradshaw who is my favorite player in the NFL did a very nice job throughout the whole season. They could also give Sinorice Moss a shot if he wants to stay on the team. David Tyree even deserves a shot. That is wide open.

Who will Eli's backup be? David Carr should probably be the guy because Andre Woodson's development will not occur right away. The Giants have collected QB's just like John Gruden and the Bucs and should cut Jared Lorenzen and fellow veteran Anthony Wright.

The Giants seem to be ready for camp to open up in another 5 weeks or so at SUNY Albany and I hope the players are ready for Tom Coughlin's military type of camp. As mentioned in my last post the Giants last year were fueled by adversity and conflict so I hope that they continue to do that.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Giants need to have same attitude as last year

Last year the Giants employed a simple attitude of "Us against the World". Everyone doubted this team, this quarterback and this coach. Boy did the band-wagon get full though when the Giants flew into Skyharbor Airport in Phoenix, Arizona. Coach Coughlin was able to motivate players by simply saying using adversity to win a Super Bowl. Adversity is the ultimate unifier, and no one will face that more than Eli Manning. He is the guy that if the Giants falter the media will blame it on his inconsistent play. In my books he doesn't ever have to do anything again after his playoff run this year for the Giants.
In training camp at SUNY Albany Big Blue needs to focus on listening to coordinators Spagnuolo and Gilbride. The Shockey Controversy is something that could've been avoided by dealing him to the Saints but it is not a bad thing to have a top 5 NFL Tight End on your roster.
So far this offseason I have loved Shaun O'hara's off the field leadership, his philosophy has been to get your but in camp (like Osi, Chris Snee) have done and the Giants will eventually take care of you.
Plaxico does deserve a new deal but the Giants are a classy, well run organization who heavily believe in a player honoring the contract they have signed.

Review of Last season

With this being my first blog of my New York Football Giants Report, I will reflect my personal opinions of last season, including all of the experiences I went threw during the roller coaster type of season for The New York Football Giants...

The 2007 New York Football Giants as my Grandpa still refers to them 50 years now after his beloved Baseball Giants left, will be looked back as a team that not only won the title but seemed to revitalize, and grant the sweetest taste of redemption for fans, players and front office members. Starting college in Arizona before the season I hoped to be just as big of a fan as before I left. For every 1:00 game I would wake up at 9:30 and go to the local sports bar here and watch my beloved Giants play a 10:00 game. As I continue to grow up I have realized how this team has been not only something I was brought up on by my family but also it is a huge part of my culture. Going into the season this team had glaring holes: such as who would step up at running back? I realized that this team would be criticized and it would be a rough one. Adversity though it a way of uniting players and the coaches a like to show that it is US against the EVERYONE.

This team throughout the season had leaders, it had vocal leaders and it also had many great team players. Reuben Droughns, a tailback who just 2 years ago was coming off back to back 1200 yard campaigns was allocated to the 4th string guy but he had no problem with being a core player on special teams. Team players are able to get it done: a more glorified team player was Justin Tuck who from game to game would line up at Nose Tackle, a 3- Technique Defensive Tackle and also as a Defensive End. This team did WHATEVER Head Coach Coughlin, Coach Spangnuolo, Coach Gilbride and the rest of the staff said. The Giants should be looked at as not only a role model in sports but also a role model to everyday people. Whenever I hear Antonio Pierce’s name the only thing I can think about is one word: LEADERSHIP. After opening the season with 2 loses and Coach Coughlin facing more scrutiny than any other figure in New York, Pierce comes out with the air horn and while some in the media felt it offensive he realized that this problem will be handled in house and that the media would have no part in what was going on in the locker room. In the 4th quarter of the week 3 game the Giants defense stepped up and proved that this team was a Unit working as one and stopped the bitter rival Skins on 4 consecutive plays from the Giants 1. That game right their proved the resiliency of New York because many teams would have just folded but not this one. “ Every time you put on this uniform you put it on for each other.” Michael Strahan says that before every game and this time it was true. I also realized they are putting it on with 83 years of history representing New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and now Arizona. My Grandpa had seen them play at the Polo Grounds, my Dad had seen them at Yankee Stadium and I have seen them in New Jersey. That lead to a 6 game win streak in which Eli Manning and sack masters Umeryoira, Strahan, Tuck, Kiuwanuka were on top of the world.. The next week left me with a bitter, bitter taste because I felt while Eli Manning is a good quarterback, Tony Romo is just that much better and for the next 8-10 years, twice a year I THOUGHT I would have to live with that. The Vikings game that followed really made me mad because Manning just looked like he had never played a game of football before when the Vikings intercepted him 4 times and watching the Defense let Tavaris Jackson look like Tom Brady. That was the Sunday after Thanksgiving and I was back in New York with family and the flight back to Arizona all I could think about is how are we going to beat the Bears at home the next weekend? Some people do not realize that this used to be a premier NFL rivalry with them meeting multiple times in NFL title games in the 1920’s, 1930’s, 1940’s, 50’s. This Bears game really stands out to me as a season defining game. Manning continued his poor play to start the game and the defense looked very porous. But in the 4th quarter Manning stepped up and was able to put his torrid first 3 quarters behind. Leading the Giants on 2 touchdown drives in the final 7 Minutes to win 20-16. After the game I ran around screaming to my neighbors who were Giants doubters, Bears fans “ Ya’ll can’t tell Eli Manning NOTHING.” The rest of the regular season went by as a blur, until December 29th where I was in New York for the Christmas and New Years holiday and got a ticket and went with my cousin to watch a historic game. This game proved that Manning and his teammates when up for a challenge had the balls to play with any team.

The first two rounds of the playoffs went by so quickly and I just had an outstanding amount of confidence in this team. Despite a sluggish first quarter in Tampa, I was reminded that the last team to have negative total yardage for a quarter in a playoff game went on to win the Super Bowl: The Ravens. In the Cowboys game though one of my claims had been reversed and Eli Manning had out-played Tony Romo. This defense did not break but it was bent by some of the long Cowboy drives. Finally though in the 4th quarter pass rush got to Romo. The next week though it just seemed like it must be Brett Favre’s time. It was a perfect set up: the mystique of Lambeau field, all of Brett Favre’s followers, the Packers having owned the Giants in NFL title games of the past including winning the previous 2 in 1961 and 1962, something had to give. That game proved to myself that this team is a special one. The adversity of playing in the 3rd coldest game in NFL history and seeing Tom Coughlin’s face completely red. This team proved the adversity and toughness I knew they had all along. Plaxico Burress showed how tough he was in roughing up a Pro Bowl Corner and somehow making cuts that someone with an ankle injury shouldn’t be making. When Tynes missed the first two field goals in regulation and then came back and nails the longest field goal by a visiting team in Packer playoff history it just showed how mentally tough this team is. Corey Webster was a guy who had been in the coaches’ dog house but when called upon he stepped up with a huge Overtime interception. This game truly made me appreciate the Giants, when they hit the winning field goal I had tears of joy. Sure they had made it in 2000 but that was when they were the #1 seed. This time they were the #5 seed and I realized that this team has been a part of my family, myself and my whole culture of growing up a New Yorker despite now living in Arizona. In the weeks wait for the Super Bowl I listened to WFAN, watched NFL Network and ESPN for countless hours to try and get any insight I could on how to end the Patriots 18 game winning streak. The night before the Super Bowl I went to sleep at 4 am and woke up at 8 am. All I thought about was the great upsets in sports and David vs. Goliath. I was also very disappointed to not be at the game because it was being played 110 miles Northwest of where I live in Arizona. This game culminated how rookies and veterans were able to step up. I realized how well Jerry Reese did at the draft. I looked at the Offense and saw the Kevin Boss, Steve Smith and Ahmad Bradshaw would all play crucial roles. I saw on defense that Michael Johnson and Jay Alford would be backups who would get playing time. I saw on special teams that Zach Deossie would be handling the long snaps on punts, his father Steve won a Super Bowl with the Giants would be playing a key role. Rookies on other teams are usually relegated to the practice squad, but not here it was an injection of youth going for these Giants. Before the Super Bowl the fact that they all wore all black really showed they were a team and not just individual super stars. The whole game I was a mental reck, I watched the game with two other friends, 1 originally from New York like myself who was a Jet fan so these were his 2 most hated teams, and a Lion fan who envied the opportunity the Giants had. Throughout the game I think about the Sports Illustrated cover saying “ Can the Giants get to Brady?”. They sacked him 5 times and knocked him down on 26 of the 47 pass attempts. Before the game Strahan claimed that there Offensive Line was “the best ever, and this Quarterback can’t be hit.” With a little bit a luck and the emergence of career special teams player David Tyree the Giants had granted 3 generation of my family what they wanted: a Super Bowl win. The catch by David Tyree and play by Eli Manning just summed up how this team would do anything to win. Even two months after I still remember jumping up and saying “dual possession, DUAL POSSESSION, MOVE THOSE CHAINS. What went under the scenes was Steve Smith dragging Harrision off of Tyree. Then Steve Smith made a play on 3rd and 11 that a rookie has NO business making, making sure when he caught the ball he stayed in bounds long enough to get the first down and then ducking out of bounce. Then Bob Papa’s voice “Manning throws a fade to Burress, TOUCHDOWN!! We had done it all we needed was 35 more seconds. Before the last Patriots play FOX showed the Giants championship hat and I said “Put it away” l didn’t want to jinx the outcome The GIANTS HAD DONE IT!! This whole game, let alone the whole season I was so sick of hearing Troy Aikman bash Eli Manning. I just couldn’t hold myself back and I declared this the greatest moment in my life. Sure I had seen Yankees championships a team who I adore but besides the one in 1996 they were expected to win. This team just exemplified everything I love about sports in the teamwork and perseverance they showed. It was a roller coaster ride and somehow they pulled off one of the greatest upsets in sports. Every morning I wake up to the picture of Manning holding the Lombardi trophy and I just realize how he shut his critics up and just played the best he could. This championship is for the true fans, it’s not for the people who doubted this coach, this quarterback or this team. This Super Bowl fulfilled destiny and fait, before I left for Arizona in August my Dad and Grandpa both said that this team will follow you there. They found there place in the Valley of the Sun as champions. In the post-game show Plaxico Burress getting interviewed by Rich Eisen and saying “WE DA BESS”! just showed how Burress had matured from a rookie in Pittsburgh to a leader with these Giants. These Giants will go down with LT and Phil Simms and Bavarro, Carson, Banks.