Archive for August, 2009

Sunday Tom Coughlin Conference Call

August 31, 2009

Here is the transcript to Tom Coughlin’s Sunday Conference Call.

Coughlin’s Positives:
1) Run Defense
2) 3rd down defense (1 for 9)
3) punt coverage.. and physical on kickoff coverage
4) Eli cadence to draw penalties on opposing DL
5) Guys are getting open downfield
6) David Carr, Hakeem Nicks
7) first string OL
8) penalties (4 for NYG, 12 for NYJ)
9) Boley progressing well, perhaps we see him this Thurs(?)
10) Good to see Bernard out there, did some good things

Coughlin’s Negatives:
1) Defense still giving up big plays, altho there were less
2) Offensive kickoff return
3) Punt Return ball drop-in (Crazed Giant Fan correctly alluded to this one)
4) Two minute drill
5) The Hixon tip for Jets INT
6) No turnovers for Giants defense

Kudos to Mitch for being ahead of the game on Nicks. He wanted Nicks (and Manningham) to start and Coughlin spelled out that Nicks was going to be moving up the depth chart. Good.

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NYJ 27 NYG 25

August 30, 2009

There were some good things, there were some bad things, but in the end this game was not enough to make us feel that we have something special brewing this season. Not YET at least. Coughlin echoed this sentiment with a VERY MIXED review of the team’s performance.

1) Mitch commented last evening that he’d rather see Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks line up wide and put Smith in the slot and take our chances. Interesting. VERY INTERESTING and thought provoking, to say the least. Of course we would never see that because that would require “stones.” And as we have seen from the Giants too many times, they do not roll the dice. They are deliberate and patient. Riverboat gamblers they are not. They’ll leave that to Rex Ryan and others to do the dice rolling.

But what of the notion of MM and Nicks? Each of these guys dropped a pass this evening. The Giants WRs dropped 6 passes that I know of. Mario Manningham may be RAW but he has the most talent of all of the Wide Receivers by a “wide” margin. We have been pointing to his play in the prior 2 preseason games:

“Good” Versus the Panthers>”Manningham- executing, got behind coverage on bomb”

Versus the Bears>”Some positives: Manningham is going to create opportunities with his separation.”

And now this evening, Manningham is getting busier once again. His one drop was bad, but he looks like a bonafide threat out there. He can do major damage to a team in one on one. You cannot “teach” that.. either you have it or you do not. And Manningham has IT. What he can be taught is to correct the many mistakes we see him still make. Carl Banks was not complimentary of Manningham on one play, saying he needs to use his body to box out, not his arms. This is the raw part of Manningham. But that does not concern me. And it does not concern Mitch. He’ll just get better each game and let his skills explode on the upside. The intriguing part is the break in his route- it looks like Plaxico Burress out there. The Mitch plan is bold. It is aggressive. The Giants won’t do it. But they should. The reason why is that you play to win championships. Mario Manningham is a bonafide WR with star skills that can make your offense powerful. In a regular season game he will make that catch and then we will all be going gaga over him.

Hixon and Smith are ‘capable.’ I voted for Smith in the poll on the right. Now there is not even a question in my mind that Manningham is the one with the ability to have a breakout season. Yes, Hixon and Smith will probably start and contribute, but these guys are like Buicks compared to Manningham the Sports Car. To be fair, Smith did get behind the defense. But he pulled a Hixon, dropping the TD pass. I’d rather take my chances with the 2nd year and 1st year player dropping passes and growing big time through the season than see Smith and Hixon dropping the same passes. It seems that on almost every play I see Manningham getting separation. Smith is reliable enough- keep him in the slot and shoot the moon with your horses.

Hixon could not make one catch, it bounced off his hands into the hands of a Jet defender on the deflection. Not good. Not inspiring.

As for Nicks, same theory. Let him play. He has been making progress at the end of training camp and made more ‘strides’ this evening (2 TDs). On the first one, he looked like Amani Toomer, slowing down and boxing out so that he could get underneath the ball. It took Toomer three years to learn that maneuver and Nicks just pulled it off in his 3rd game of preseason. Good for him. Does he know all of the playbook and is he ready for the load of a starting job? Doubtful. WR is a very hard task for any rookie to manage. Regardless, he deserves more time.

Other quick comments:
2) We were worried about CC Brown before the game and saw only more things to be worried about. Considering that Michael Johnson is average, our safeties are thin. Absolutely no safety help on this play?
Addendum: transcript of Coughlin: “We gave up some plays in the secondary that we just shouldn’t give up. The one touchdown on the crossing pattern should not have happened. It was a heck of a play by the young quarterback just to stay alive, but the receiver never should have been that open.”

3) OL and Eli Manning did fine. This was a good recovery after the Bears game.

4) Carr has REGRESSED into the Texans Carr. GET RID OF THE DAMN BALL! If he is not careful the Giants will cut HIM and keep Woodson and Bomar. WOOF! Coughlin feels differently, but there continue to be some very disturbing tendencies, including taking too many sacks.

5) Gilbride/Manning threw 3 times that I saw to Boss. We see how great the Bossman is when he is thrown to in the same zip code. The offense needs to give this man so much load, it is frightening. Until opposing defenses start doubling Boss, the Giants should be using him to break the box.

6) Tynes looked good. Not worried about the miss from 50, at least he was accurate. Coughlin knows his range.. that FG kick was done intentionally to see the range.

7) Any predictability in the preseason playcalling should not be a concern just yet.

8) The Giants still have red zone woes. They got one TD because of Eli drawing DL players offsides enough times to cure what ails us. The two Nicks TDs were beyond the red zone, so it was more like the offense was 0-3, because we stalled at the 20 and 8 yd lines in Q2.

9) No big injuries as far as we are aware of. “Ware nicked up.”

Summary: WR misses were troubling. Defensive backs looked out of position on a few big plays. The Giants bounced back and played a better game but Sheridan needs to iron out a few things. The Giants still have questions to answer. Like which WR to play.

Around the NFL

August 29, 2009

1) Inactives tonight: Canty, Boley, Pierce, Tyree, Ross, SWoodson, Thompson

2) Brandon Marshall Headcase was suspended for the last two games of preseason. He wants out. He may get his wish. This is a talented WR, but the Giants will not show interest if he ends up hitting the trade block. It is simply too close to Plaxi-show and the Giants are done with divas for the time being.

3) Speaking about Brandon Marshall, here is a pretty good wrapup of the NFL-preseason. Wait till they get to the Vick segment, LMAO.

Jets Saturday night

August 28, 2009

I’ll be missing this preseason game, but will catch it on tape thereafter. Please everyone.. give color on what happened. Some of the important things to watch vs the Jets:

1) Boss has the Blutarsky (0.0 receptions). Please correct.
2) Manning should play into Q3. Let’s see rhythm, accuracy, YAC.
3) How is the execution of the screen pass? This is the box-buster, practice makes perfect, KG.
4) Diehl and McKenzie should be back to their old selfs, reliable, seen and not heard. Correct?!
5) Snap from center after O’Hara is taken out of game.
6) Of course, WR progress.
7) How many of the walking wounded on Defense play this preseason game?
8) Lane control on run and pass rush addressed and corrected?!
9) Goff/Wilkinson/Kehl MegaMillions LBer sweepstakes.. any winners?!!
10) Tynes adventures in groin babysitting.
11) Improvement by CC Brown needed immediately.

Is Manning Bedrock?

August 27, 2009

There is no escaping the injuries now. With little more than 2 weeks and 2 more preseason games before Week 1, the injuries are now centerstage. Of course the finality of Andre Brown and Jay Alford is known. But what of Robbins, Boley, Canty, Ross, Pierce, et al. What of the others who have missed enough practice time like Webster, Snee, Seubert, Phillips? If the Giants do not heal up quickly and get ready for primetime, then 2009 will be like 2008. That would be sad, because there is every reason to believe that the pieces are there to go all the way. We said after the Bears loss that there is no need to panic, it is just preseason. Believe that. Believe that the Giants will clean up their execution issues in preparation for the Jets. Believe that enough of these pros who are hurt will do whatever is necessary to be ready Sept 13. Believe that the losses of Alford and Brown, while larger than most Giants fans realize (DEPTH, PREPPING FOR EVEN BIGGER CONTRIBUTIONS THAT GET DELAYED BY A YEAR), will not be harmful to a Super Bowl run. Believe that this team’s bedrock (Webster, Jacobs, Tuck, Umenyiora, Snee, and yes .. Boss and Bradshaw) will be there.

Notice the trouble in putting Manning in that category. What do you get with Manning? 2007’s postseason or 2008’s postseason? 2007’s regular season or 2008’s regular season? Manning continues to be an enigma. If he can play with the consistency of 2008’s regular season and 2007’s postseason, wow! Still others will argue he just needs the latter, that the Giants are good enough to get into the playoffs, let’m squeak in and then go on the road so that we keep the guy OUT of the Meadowlands. Is this season going to boil down to the play of Eli Manning? Is it fair to say that the “ultimate” reason we won and lost in 2007 and 2008 was always about Eli?! We’d like to think that that is utterly simplistic in a team sport with numerous coaches and too many other invaluable contributions. But that is not entirely clear. The one thing that is clear is that we need everyone healthy first before Manning can then decide our fate. This sounds like a poll question- does Eli deliver for the Giants in 2009? The answer may very well determine the outcome of this season. If you have the answer to that question, please do share.

Movie Review: Big Fan

August 26, 2009

Big Fan” is not a story about a big Giants fan. It is the story of a compromised 35 year old named Paul Aufiero (Patton Oswalt) who is obsessed with football. Everyone of us knows of a Paul in our lives – a relative, a neighbor, a friend’s neighbor or relative. He’s part of a group of lost souls who are missing something that connects them with the rest of mainstream society.

Patton Oswalt delivers a strong performance as the kid who never grew up. Imagine an adult who never got past the beginning of adolescence and you have Robert Siegel’s screenplay. The backdrop of football is perfect for this character, since his passion for a professional sports team knows no age boundaries. Paul is safe in this world wearing NY Giants Blue until he gets a little more attention than he bargained for.

One day per week we are unable to distinguish between the rabid adult and the mentally compromised. When life resumes during the other 6 days, we see behavior that is as uncomfortable as it is real. Siegel dishes out “uncomfortable” in large portions, which makes the movie difficult to watch. “Big Fan” does not give us exhilaration because it is too busy giving us truth. Give Siegel credit for finding the lost soul; if you’re up to the discomfort of finding it with him, it is worth going to see.

MM

August 25, 2009

Mario Manningham gets out of his break quickly and gets that separation that you crave. So it is time for the QBs to make practice perfect and start hitting this guy in stride. Those WR fears will melt away IF that happens. Watch the replay of Manningham on that pass that Payne breaks up in Chicago Sat evening. It is only one play, but it is part of the problem and represents part of the solution when corrected and executed.

From Garafolo on his initial writeup:
Coughlin might breathe easier when he sees Eli Manning’s numbers: 7-for-10 for 62 yards. But he’s just as likely to throw down his remote control when he looks at the tape of the first drive and sees how Manning missed Mario Manningham on third-and-7.

“Yeah, that’s me,” Manning said. “He ran a good route, we had the good coverage, I just didn’t throw it far enough near the sideline.”

The Giants need Eli Manning more than ever. Maybe when the DL is healthy and the defense is dominant, Eli does not have to carry the team. But with Robbins and Cofield trying to come back from injuries, with Canty nursing a hamstring tear, Alford gone, this team needs execution and fast. LIFT THESE YOUNG WRs UP, Eli. They may not be Plaxico but they are good enough for a consistent passer.

Jay Alford- Torn MCL

August 24, 2009

On Saturday night, we noted re Alford that “they said it was a sprain but it looked worse” and we said to wait for confirmation. It was worse. Torn MCL and partially torn ACL. One of the original email guys (from the precursor to this blog, pre 2006) is an MD and said he was fairly confident it was a torn MCL. And he reminded me that they said the same thing about Osi before revealing the full extent of the injury.

Alford is not a loss on the scale of Osi Umenyiora. But this is the first MAJOR injury of 2009. Remember, DL is not like any other unit. Every person on the roster who is on the DL is a starter. Everyone. They ALL play. Every time you see tongues hanging out it in the Q4, every time you see Osi or Tuck on the sidelines wondering why they are there.. it is because these guys get exhausted getting pounded on by 325 lb. linemen and then chasing after QBs play after play for 60 minutes. So Alford is a big loss.

We also found out yesterday that Canty’s injury is a hamstring tear. This from the DL who has not missed a single game in his 4 year career. It is worth noting that the 3 prime (high profile) free agent signings of Boley, Canty and Bernard have not yielded a single snap so far. Bernard is on the mend and Coughlin hopes that he’ll get practice and minutes this Saturday night, but this is not like any of them are “game ready.”

Coughlin and Motown (last night) remind us we are not deep anymore at DL. How true. Alford: season-ending IR? Not the DL roster solution we were looking for.

One more item.. Alford was a long snapper, so this makes Zak DeOssie’s chances for a roster spot significantly greater. After all, who else on this team is a long snapper?! DeOssie did not add anything to our LB corp, so we were quietly hoping he would not make the squad so that another LBer would.

Bears 17 Giants 3

August 23, 2009

The score was not indicative of how one-sided this loss was. The Giants got their butts kicked.

The bloom is off the rose. Good. Plenty of work for this team to do. We specifically wanted to see how the LBers would handle Forte and the verdict was not good. Carl Banks singled out Blackburn on the 33 yd TD run, where our backup MLB (Pierce out for game) was roasted on the play.

Cross and Banks had this team’s flaws noted well. On Defense, lack of lane integrity meant the Giants got gashed up the middle, taken to school. And that same lack of lane integrity on pass rush meant Cutler carved up the Giants when he ran out of time, quickly going out of the pocket and buying plenty of time to reset plays and kill the pass defense. These are the fundamentals Cross and Banks highlighted as being absent. On offense, McKenzie and Diehl made enough mistakes (2 sacks and 1 penalty) to essentially kill 3 drives. Manning did not have time to throw. Ugly.

Woodson hit Nicks on a 55 yd pass play, but could not finish the drive with a TD. Considering he could not help the team finish the previous drive either, this is not going to help his roster chances.

Jay Alford was carted off the field. They said it was a sprain but it looked worse. Let’s get more confirmation in coming days on that one.

Some positives:
1) Manningham is going to create opportunities with his separation.
2) Tollefson saved a TD and created a FG, so 24-0 instead of 17-3 at the half w/o him
3) Bradshaw behind the 2nd team OL once again looks like he can break it whenever he touches the ball
4) Jacobs looked great behind the sloppy first team OL
5) Ware looked good

Do you want excuses or not? The Giants played poorly. Coughlin wanted to have more than 5 days in between preseason games and the team seemed disorganized. No need for panic. It’s preseason. The Giants won the Super Bowl after getting ripped apart for 80 points in the first two regular season games. Back to fundamentals. Blocking and tackling. Keeping your lanes on the run, keeping the edge contained on the pass rush. It will be nice to get guys like Snee, Seubert, Pierce, Tuck, Bernard and Canty back.

Intragame comments Bears vs Giants

August 22, 2009