Archive for September, 2007

The last word before the start of the season

September 8, 2007

Manning.

Tell me how Eli does and I will tell you how the Giant season goes. If he can become the consistent and accurate QB that delivers the ball to his receivers in stride, then even if the secondary fails and we go 6-10 despite his efforts, it will be a successful year. Eli Manning is currently the weakest link, and he needs to be the exact opposite- the player who can win games for us even if we do not get that effort from everyone else. So what do we get this year?

From Marvelous Marv (9.3.2007): “I LOVE ELI –& sense he can be a force. It is most difficult for ANY QB to be playing from behind MOST of each & every game—It puts Eli in MUST completions & that’s NOT what we need for him!! I’m very certain tho–Eli has improved his total game– The ONE area Eli must improve on—FEELING THE FOOTSTEPS — NOT getting balls he’s about to throw hit–or him getting tackled!! …I feel Eli is better than most do!!”

From John Madden (NY Post 9.7.2007): “I think he’s ready to be better this year than he was last year. He knows his problem has been accuracy, and he has been working on that. If they block for him and guys get open, I don’t think Eli is going to be a big problem.”

My view is simple. Show me. He does not deserve or get the benefit of the doubt. Just because a team drafts you number one and makes a huge investment in you does not mean you get the benefit of the doubt. QBs in the NFL take six years to deliver, yet we have seen an important study which says that most NFL QBs hit their general area of sustainable QB rating by the third year. After playing in the second half of 2004, Manning’s rating was a pedestrian 75.9 in 2005 and 77 in his 3rd year in 2006. All this while having talented receivers (including a Pro Bowl TE) to throw to and a Pro Bowl running back to take the pressure off the pass. Not to mention Barber’s considerable skills at picking up the blitz and being a vg checkdown option out of the backfield.

We have seen glimpses of his potential. He has had his moments of brilliance, like in San Diego, or when he changed the play on a blitz call last year and led the team to an OT victory in Philly. He has pocket poise. Until I see consistent accuracy from him he is not our answer and he is the weakest link in our chances for getting an NFL championship.

SEASON PREVIEW AND PREDICTION

September 8, 2007

Too many question marks….
Will Kiwanuka play well at LB?
Will Diehl play well at LT?
Will our shoddy secondary hold it together?
Will Manning be accurate?
Will our RBs handle the pass-catching out of the backfield?
Will our (now) thin OL stay healthy?
Will we find a kicker?

And add a few more questions that will surface during the season, and you see that there are too many things that can go wrong, and everything that needs to go right. Jerry H. remarks that none of these question marks are insurmountable, and that if all can go well we will have a good season. Arnie V. thinks that whenever the glass is 3/4 full we have a lousy season and whenever it is 3/4 empty we get surprised and have a good year. To be fair there is a decent amount of consensus from the media (who almost uniformly pick the Giants either 3rd or last in the NFC East) and those surveyed informally that it will be hard to get a winning a record with this team. I am not bowled over by the Cowboys (never was a Wade Phillips fan… a classic retread coach) or the Skins, but can we take two from either of these teams? No. And we will get swept by the Eagles as long as they are healthy and do not have 4 probowlers on IR. The rest of the schedule is not that hard. They have vulnerable opponents like GB, NYJ, ATL, SF, MIA, DET, MIN and BUF that are ALL winnable games if the Giants are good. There are only 4 games on the entire schedule that I do not think the Giants have a chance: both Eagles game, at Chi and home vs NE. Teams like the Jets and 49ers are on the rise. Those two home games will tell a lot about our season. The Giants need to win both in order to have a good year.

Unless Eli has solved his accuracy problems and can play (well) consistently all year, I see 6-10. If many of the questions above are answered, then we can go 10-6. I do not believe in Coughlin. I do not believe in Eli. I believe we will be 6-10.

TWENTY FIVE MINUTE Windbag

September 3, 2007

Articles like this, books like this, do not come around so often. When they do, you pay attention. They offer rare glimpses into the understanding of how the business of football works, and how it shapes winning and losing in the NFL.

The lead in the article is about how Parcells threw in his hat for the Giants GM job.

More interesting to me is how the Giants, one of the flagship organizations in professional football, did not get their first (or second) choice for head coach. And then they settled on a retread windbag. Talk about a poker tell! If this anachronism was not connecting with Accorsi, how was he going to connect with his players?

And while we are at it, let’s add 1+1. I get 2. What do you get? Well, if you are Accorsi and the Giants, you get ZERO! As in, they botched getting Fox and let him slip through their fingers (this was later confirmed and can be read in an earlier post). And now we see that they botched getting Weis too. There is no speculation about either of these facts. Maybe Accorsi is the real nightmare.

Strahan

September 2, 2007

What an embarrassment. This guy is collecting a check. He is going to get hurt because statistically that is what happens to guys who miss camp. He should not play the first two games of the season, and he should not get those game checks. But Strahan will get a chunk of his fines rescinded, and he will dress for the first games. All of this is a mistake. He hurt himself, hurt the team and will probably get hurt too.

IF he can stay healthy and get up to max productivity, Strahan will help this defense immeasurably. But why does there have to be a conditional next to that statement for a FB player making 4M per year? Strahan chose all of this. If I am the Giants Administration, I am NOT lenient at all on his fines. Why? Because the precedent is that if you make enough money you can piss away a small part of it on fines and it is a cheap price to pay not to have live in a dorm with two-a-days building chemistry with your teammates. Isn’t the timing of his arrival just a little bit bothersome to you? He has conveniently missed all of camp while “deciding” whether to play. Sure, we will see some pr attempts in coming days by him and others to rebuild his credibility and show him to be a sincere man who was trying to find himself. BS. It is all about the money. Fine him the max if it is ‘not’ about the money.