Archive for December, 2008

The Jets head coaching vacancy

December 31, 2008

Yes, this is a New York Giants Blog, but it is not every day that your co-tenant is out there looking for a new coach. And it is certainly not every day that Spags gets this much attention nationally. There has been a great deal of news on Brett Favre, not the least of which is that he has a torn biceps tendon that has likely been hurting his throws near season’s end.

Separately, linked is a piece on the Mangini firing that I could not have said any better. Favre still has a shot with the Jets in 2009 considering the injury story, and how that was probably mismanaged too.

Wonder’s head coach list for the Jets, in order of preference:

1) Bill Cowher. Cowher coaches a 3-4, which is the Jets’ defense. And if there is one guy who knows that defense and can save Gholston, it is him. Cowher and the Jets are reportedly going to meet.

2) Steve Spagnuolo. We all know the story here. And the Jets have asked to interview Spags during the bye week.

3) Jim Schwartz. Defensive Coordinator for the Titans. Non-media town for 8 yrs as DC.

4) Steve Mariucci. Would bring the West Coast offense to the Jets, some of which is already there. Would only make sense if Favre is not severely injured (which was confirmed with the mild tear in the tendon) AND if they could groom Brett Ratliff. Wonder is HUGE on Ratliff, fyi, the next long term Jet QB, and a good one.

5) Josh McDaniels. Offensive Coordinator of Patriots. A political hot potato, given Mangini and Belichick and Parcells all coming from NE, so it is doubtful, but would work if they didn’t concern themselves about that issue.

addendum: this was done Monday afternoon with links afterwards, Wonder likes Shanahan on this list also.

Wonder on the NFL- Wild Card Round through to the Super Bowl

December 30, 2008

Wonder is convalescing, still in withdrawal from his Jets’ implosion. He’ll be back to posting eventually, but in the meantime I spoke to him last night and he was full of nuggets and his typical wisdom.

WILD CARD ROUND

1) MINN-PHL. Thinks Minnesota is ‘live,’ likes Minn +3 with Pat Williams playing, and thinks they have a (decent) shot at beating the Eagles. Like all of us, he understands how vulnerable the Vikings are on turnovers, so he says the Vikes have to RUN THE BALL. This will make Jackson’s job a lot easier, less decisions, less opptys for mistakes. And you can run the ball vs the Eagles. Get behind Birk, Hutchinson and McKinnie and just run it. Make the Eagles blitz you and then dump the ball off, small ball, to Peterson, he beats one guy and it is either 20 yards or a TD. On defense, Kevin Williams will collapse pocket and Allen will be on the edge. And Westbrook is always one play away from injury. The DOME is why Minn has a chance vs the Eagles. Minn is playing with house money.

2) AZ-ATL. Arizona to beat the Falcons. This is another reason why it will be so good if the Vikings win.. not only do you knock out Philly, but also there is 0.0 chance that AZ will beat the Giants in the next round.

3) SD-IND. SD has a shot to beat IND. Some of it depends on whether the Tomlinson injury is serious or not. If not, Wonder likes SD a lot more.

4) BAL-MIA. Ravens will win. Miami does not belong in the playoffs, a weak 11-5 team. Separately, Wonder points out that next year you have to love the ‘Under’ for the Dolphins, their schedule is impossible in 2009. AFC East will have Bills healthier and better, Brady back. AFC South was difficult this year, Houston was a good 8-8 team, Jax was decimated by injuries, they will be back. NFC South is top to bottom a tough division, New Orleans was 8-8 in the basement, and then their two other opponents are Pittsburgh and SD with Merriman back. Good luck!

DIVISIONAL ROUND

1) In the NFC it does not matter, form will hold and the Giants and Panthers will both win their games. If there is a prop to take these two coming out of the conference, then go for that.

2) Pitt to beat SD.

3) Titans to beat Ravens.

CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIPS

1) NYG-CAR. The Giants are the team to beat. Barring stellar play by one team or the other, the line should be ~ 3 pts, and the homefield will help the Giants win.

2) PIT-TEN. This is a coin toss. If they were playing in Pit it would be Steelers by 5 or 6 points. Collins to get rattled at some point, is this the spot? Either team can win this one.

SUPER BOWL

Giants have the inside track here. Lots of things, injuries, too far away, but all things being equal will like the Giants. Much tougher game vs the Steelers, but if the Giants faced Tennessee it would be an easier matchup and an easier game.

Misc: Giants get the #45 pick in the draft from the Saints, as they will pick 1 slot higher in Round 2 because of the NFL Draft Tiebreaker Rules. (Separately, the NFL Draft tiebreaker rules are completely flawed. The subject only comes up once per year, but this is my opportunity to deprogram your brains from the Stone Age thinking of the NFL.)

The Road to the Super Bowl

December 29, 2008

You need not be a rocket scientist to already understand that we will likely be facing the Eagles. Having just seen Minnesota up close and personal, barely losing to them in the home advantage stadium without ~half of our roster, we were not impressed. Nor was the betting public, who make the Eagles a -3 FG FAVORITE IN MINNESOTA. As long as the Eagles show up, which they will, they will beat this team. They are perfectly suited for Tarvaris Jackson. Jim Johnson will disguise their looks and throw the blitz at this turnover machine. Jackson will get eaten up, make enough mistakes and the Eagles will head to the Meadowlands. If for some inexplicable reason the Eagles pull a boner (the worst enemy of Andy Reid is Andy Reid) and somehow lose to the Vikings, then all the more power to the Giants… Just expect the Eagles.

We will have plenty of time to analyze another Eagles-Giants matchup on Jan 11th. But for now all we will say is that the NY Giants’ chances for seeing the Vikings again this season is nil.

On the other side of the bracket, the Falcons fly into Phoenix for a game with the Arizona Cardinals. I am sure you are not shocked to find that the Falcons are road favorites there too, -3. The rookie QB will have his moment in the sun, probably beat AZ (but I do believe AZ has a better shot of an upset than MINN does vs the Eagles), and then get his NFL wakeup call vs the Carolina Panthers.

So without getting too far ahead of ourselves, the joy of the bye is that you can fairly see how straightforward the path to the Super Bowl is. Probably face the Eagles. Probably face the Panthers. For those of you who are waving your finger at me for getting the gmen too far ahead of themselves, the Giants have been around the block enough times to know not to look past WHOEVER they face two weekends from now. All we are saying here is that this is not Everest. This is the NFL is 2008, and there is no one who the Giants are not capable of beating. If the Giants should face the Eagles and/or Panthers and lose to either one of them, they are not deserving of ANY consideration. But if the Giants play their hand properly, heal up, take one game at a time, properly game plan each opponent and play with the urgency of the playoffs, the Giants will be more than ready to not only get to the Super Bowl but go all the way. We predicted a Super Bowl victory for the Giants after the Eagles loss in W14 and see no reason why this cannot and will not happen.

Sidenote: in the next 13 days we are going to hear from media pundits about how the Giants have lost 3 of the last 4, how the Eagles (or Falcons) have won 5 of the last 6, how the Giants are not that great, blahblahblah. These people do not know what they are talking about. Fact: the Giants had a Plaxico hangover vs the Eagles, played a stinker, next. Fact: Gilbrown showed his illustrious talent in not adapting to the Cowboys or else we win that one easily. Fact: the Giants got their mojo back vs the Panthers. Fact: the Giants could have easily won yesterday if (to borrow a term from Simms) there was no money in the bank. With the exception of the Dallas game, Coughlin has done a very good job and the Giants are exactly where they are supposed to be.

Minn 20 NYG 19

December 28, 2008

If we are going to have our choice of Kasey missing last week or Longwell missing this week, I take Kasey. And so it really did not matter whether the FG makes or misses today, it makes, this is purely cosmetic. The important thing out of this game was that the Giants played with plenty of second and third stringers and did fine. David Carr played behind a decent offensive line and did well. He hit Hixon (TD) where Eli missed him. Carr’s mobility is good, it gives the Giants a little bit of that Hostetler dimension. I wish Manning would run the ball once or twice per game just to break the back of the defense. He is always given enuf daylight for that. We saw the TE move the chains on a few occasions; keep using that TE.. on the lone TD drive, it is a TE reception by Johnson which keeps the drive alive on a nice 3rd down pickup. Everyone out there who wants to run the ball down the opponent’s throat must realize that you need that TE to extend these drives. Without it, they will not get the touches you want. Butler had some bad plays, but he almost (and should have) single-handedly won the game with his INT. Webster missed a pick-6, but played well. Moss looked very good. He has the speed to stretch the defense, not as big a target as a Boss for that long reception, but use him to keep the defense honest. You have to love those quick slants to these WRs, Manningham. As noted in the intragame comments, Tuck looked very good in stopping one drive for a FG and another on downs. Only loss was Sam Madison, who broke his ankle. Considering how many games he was inactive, this will not be a loss unless our secondary goes thru another injury run like last offseason. Ware looked good. The kickoff coverage is atrocious, put Tynes on the active roster so that we can get some distance on kickoffs. This was a freaking dome that Carney was kicking in, those pooch kicks are an embarrassment. I know we are all biased about the officiating, but I thought the Giants got screwed on more than a few calls today… this is why you have to shoot to get ‘quality’ wins (>10 pts) in the postseason because these refs couldn’t buy a good call if their life depended on it. You can easily argue today’s outcome was caused by the officials. Good thing it does not matter.

Summary: The Giants punched their time clocks today, they played hard, they had all subs in by the end of the game, NEXT. Well deserved and well needed rest, JacobsBossRossCofield all did not even dress, my bet is that all would have played if necessary. Kudos to Coughlin for getting the Giants in there with focus and out of there with their health, building on last week and getting ready for the postseason.

Separately-1: they switched to the Saints, up by 1, and then the kick by Carolina. Some of you may have been looking for Carolina to lose and drop to #5, but for my money, I was rooting for the Saints to get the extra loss and the better draft pick for us.

Separately-2: Dal vs. Phl for a playoff spot. I hope these two teams kill each other, go into quintuple OT and need Garrett and Reid to suit up.

MINN-NYG intragame commentary

December 28, 2008

Phil Simms W17

December 28, 2008

Part I- Showtime Phil Simms

1) Dal-Phl. Philadelphia offense so limited, not going to be able to run the ball. Dallas will be able to get to McNabb. Romo has been borderline fantastic. He’ll make the play, Dallas to win.

2) Pats-Bills. NE will move the ball, NE to win.

3) Denv-SD. SD has weapons at every position, Demver will try first to stop SD’s pass, but SD will be able to run the ball and win the game.

4) Hou-Chi. Bears defense keeps getting shredded all the time. Plus, the Houston offense is terrific. Houston to win.

5) Also likes BAL, MIN, ATL, CAR, no comments in these games.

Phil Simms on Sunday morning. If you have his remarks, fill them in in the comments section.

The Immaculate Reception

December 27, 2008

December 23, 1972. This game cemented my love of football. I was 9 years old. The Giants teams of the 1970s were horrible, and the playoffs meant the Steelers and the Raiders. What games, what rivalries! I looked forward to the divisional round of the playoffs with such anticipation, because all 4 games were going to be feasts. I was only 9, but something told me that the single elimination of football made the playoffs different and special. This one was a classic. Listening and watching it again, I am not sure what is better, the play itself or The Voice of God (aka John Facenda). Long live football.

Brandon Jacobs Day

December 26, 2008

Some very good links to check out, highly recommended Brandon Jacobs-NY Giants history.

The Journey of Brandon Jacobs. Interesting how some of the pieces of the puzzle come together.. all of a sudden a lot of the trash-talking in between plays seemed to disappear in the middle of the season, and now we know why. And now, if you notice, he is actually patting guys on the helmet after the play is over. This guy is easy to root for.

Marvelous, one of the original email group predecessors of the Ultimatenyg New York Giants Blog, was quick to point out what always struck him about getting Jacobs in 2005. “I have NEVER forgotten the words of our GM when asked how he felt his draft selections went… the KEY to this draft was getting Jacobs down there.”

The player I got the most excited over in two days was Brandon Jacobs,” Accorsi said. “The biggest worry that I had is that any time you have a chance to sleep on it and start looking at the board, size and speed usually catches people’s eyes. I was worried sick he was going to get picked.”

Accorsi was referring the resumption of the Draft on Day 2, when everyone could reexamine who was left on the board. Accorsi was nervous to the point of paranoia about someone drafting his nugget before him.

And a quick FYI to the Broncos.. Brandon Jacobs remembers you passing him in the 3rd Round for Maurice Clarett, so you better hope that he is not with the Giants next year because the Giants face you in 2009 and Jacobs has not forgotten.

A Christmas Gift to the New York Giants: Kevin Boss

December 25, 2008

In Sunday night’s recap, we highlighted the significance of Kevin Boss in this offense.

Wonder highlighted the need to get an offensive “rhythm” after Burress was lost for the season.

At this juncture of the season, three players who will have the opportunity to make an impact on the MARGIN are:

1) Fred Robbins, if he can get healthy.
2) Ahmad Bradshaw, if he can get touches as a 3rd down scatback.
3) Kevin Boss, if he can get touches.

Any of these three things will have a big impact on this team. But the low hanging fruit here is clearly Kevin Boss. Kevin Gilbride has to be wondering how he is going to make up for the loss of his best Wide Receiver. Give those touches to Boss. BOSS IS NOW THE GIANTS’ MOST DOMINATING RECEIVING OPTION. Look at the difference he makes in a game.

In games where he has had 3 or more receptions, he has had a TD in those games 6 of 7 times. In games where he has had 1-2 receptions, he has zero TDs. The clear message is that this player turns 3’s into 7’s in the red zone.

In games where he has 3 or more receptions, the Giants are 7-0. In games where he has 2 or less receptions, the Giants are 5-3.

Now contrast those 33 receptions with the numbers from another second year TE, Mark Bavaro in 1986. This is a perfect example of coaching. Ron Erhardt looked at his personnel and said Joe Morris and Mark Bavaro. Boss is still under the radar, he gets singled. Keep using him, and use him MUCH more until defenses realize what we know. If he gets doubled, then you have even more reason to use him, draw a crowd on this guy and run the ball with only 7 in the box. Boss gets 2 receptions per game, Bavaro had 4 per game.

With Burress gone, this offensive personnel looks almost exactly like 1986:
1) a set of WRs without gamebreaking ability (“possesion receivers”)
2) a second year TE with great hands
3) a running game that is near/tops in the league. (#6 in 1986, #1 in 2008)
4) a smart QB who can make plays (#13 in 1986, #14 in 2008)
5) a cohesive OL

The difference is that you have to recognize right now how things have changed, how Boss IS THE MAN FOR LEADING THE TEAM IN RECEPTIONS FROM HERE ON OUT. The running game needs Boss to keep the sticks moving so that the running game can keep pounding the ball. Gilbride has been deficient with the use of his TE, but with Burress gone he has NO CHOICE. If he does not use Boss more, it is a cardinal sin and a complete admission of failure to adjust. He got the ball to Boss 5 times and the result was a win. That is all he needs, 5 passes per game and the Giants will have another trophy.

Btw, Boss sat out practice, ankle. Rest him Sunday if he is not 100%… he’ll definitely be healed in 3 weeks, and you can always play Johnson and Matthews in his place to keep the rhythm going.

World’s Most Expensive Snowball

December 24, 2008

1) pretty expensive piece of snow

2) this talk about what to do with playing the Vikes is moot. Coughlin is going to rest the weary and he is going to play to win with the rest of them. Considering the number of areas the team still needs to improve in, it is what you have to do. Coughlin caught a lot of brown for the injuries in W17 last year, he’ll catch the same brown again after this one too. Confront the brutal facts: the team still needs to improve.

3) Improvement? The Giants are #32 in kickoff distance, LAST place. They are #31 in net yards on kickoff distance.

4) Improvement? the LBers, throwing to RBs, offensive rhythm, pass rush, dropped balls, penalties, Diehl’s pass protection.

5) Why is Feagles going to the Pro Bowl? Because he is #3 in the league in Punt return distance, and it is not because of our gunners.

6) Each division’s non-divisional record:
NFC South 27-11
NFC East 26-11-1
AFC South 25-13
AFC East 26-14
AFC North 17-20-1
and the other 3 divisions are such schtick dreck, it will hurt my hands to type them.

The NFC East is 4-0 vs the NFC South.

7) Jaworski was asked: of the Titans and the Giants, which one has the edge in getting to the Super Bowl? Jaws’ answer was unequivocal- the Giants, because of experience.

8) I am not sure who I’d rather see suffer more, Eagles fans or Jerry Jones. It’s close though. Probably Eagles fans..

9) Giants +6.5 points this weekend, tells you enough about how they expect Coughlin to bench plenty of guys, specifically Tuck.

10) The gmen are the #1 seed, the Super Bowl champs, they have already done more than the 1986 and 1990 teams: they are in the playoffs the year after. They have a better record, they have the focus, resolve and pride to repeat. Enjoy every minute of this.