Archive for January, 2009

Phil Simms on Friday Francesa

January 31, 2009

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.

STOP!!!!

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.

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Motown blogs..

January 30, 2009

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.”

Amani Toomer

January 29, 2009
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.

100,000 hits

January 28, 2009

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.

Simms on the AZ gameplan that beat the Eagles

January 27, 2009

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?!

2009-it CAN’T come soon ENOUGH!!

January 25, 2009

#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.)

CANNOT WAIT FOR THE COMBINE !! WHERE IT ALL BEGINS !!

Nice guys finish last

January 24, 2009

“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.

LB vs WR

January 23, 2009

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.)

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

LINEBACKER:
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.

Dallas and Oakland

January 21, 2009

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.

Bill Sheridan

January 20, 2009

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.