Archive for September, 2008

Tom Brokaw on the NY Knicks

September 30, 2008

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

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

Gray: “Why not…What bothers you?”

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

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

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

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

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

The bye hangover explained

September 30, 2008

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

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

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

Eagles lose

September 29, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

September 28, 2008

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

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

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

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

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

Ultimatenyg featured on New York Times Fifth Down

September 27, 2008

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

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

The Good

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

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

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

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

The Bad

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

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

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

The Ugly

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

ESPN: Burress and Giants will make financial settlement

September 27, 2008

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

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

The late George Young on agents- “Cockroaches.”

I’ll let you connect the dots.

Half Ironman

September 26, 2008

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

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

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

I guess that bonus check cleared

September 25, 2008

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

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

Non-divisional NFL records

September 24, 2008

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

NFC EAST 8-0
NFC NORTH 2-6
NFC SOUTH 5-3
NFC WEST 2-4

AFC EAST 4-2
AFC NORTH 1-4
AFC SOUTH 2-3
AFC WEST 2-4

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

Keep It simple, Meathead

September 23, 2008

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

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