Archive for the ‘Aaron Ross’ Category

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.

Aaron Ross

August 22, 2009

From Garafolo Thursday:
1) Bernard practiced.
2) Out Saturday: Pierce, Seubert, Canty, Snee, Phillips, Ross. Possibly Out:Tuck, Webster, Bernard.

This makes it two games for those players in bold.

From Vacchiano Friday: positive comment on Hixon.

Of particular note is Aaron Ross. We have mentioned in past posts during training camp and even before camp that Ross was potentially at risk for losing his starting job to Terrell Thomas. Now he has lost TWO OF THE FOUR PRESEASON GAMES. We’ll go on record here and say that Thomas is now ahead of Ross and it is HIS JOB TO LOSE. Why? Because
(1) Thomas is practicing and playing well
(2) Coughlin does not like rewarding players who miss too much of camp
(3) the edge that Ross had over Thomas was not that large before camp started.
(4) Maybe this is the kick in the pants that Ross needs to get refocused, a la Webster in 2007. Let Ross lose the starting job for even one game and make him earn it with good play.

If the pass rush is as good as the early billing, both Thomas and Ross will be fine back there. But when the pass rush is NOT there (which is going to happen sporadically), who do you prefer after the jam is over? Thomas looked good on Monday night. He is going to get beat, just like ALL CBs get beat. Thomas is not a finished product. He has not been tested game in and game out. But he has worked himself into a very good place and deserves the opportunity to show us even more.

Note how we’re not making the same distinction with Webster. He has missed a lot of camp too, yet the alarm bells are not ringing there because he is solidly entrenched as the #1 CB on this team. It’s his job. Unless he keeps missing camp and is out of practice so long that he has clearly lost skills, he is going to start. In the Vacch link at the top, Webster is reported in team drills, so that is a positive.

For tonight’s game, look for more of the same we discussed before the Panthers game. Watch how the LBers deal with Matt Forte. Cutler will not have the rhythm with his WRs that we will see later on this season, but let’s see how our DBs do against better passing than we saw from Delholme. For a more detailed discussion of what we’ll be seeing tonight from the Bears, visit Windy City Gridiron.

Terrell Thomas, Antonio Pierce, Amani Toomer

August 5, 2009

1) Training camp video highlights.

2) Every now and then we are able to get it right once in a row.

July 22nd
Ultimatenyg
“Ross- ??..did he have a sophmore slump? Is it me, or did he come on like gangbusters early in 2007, only to get more yawns than impact thereafter? Yes, the Giants use a lot of press coverage, so without the DL to keep up the pressure as last season wore on, we saw Ross exposed… At this point, it is not clear to me whether Thomas can offer even greater upside, given how he came on. So let’s see Ross do it, but we’d take either. Or both.”

August 4
Vacchiano
“Speaking of closing fast, don’t discount the possibility that CB Terrell Thomas could eventually beat out Aaron Ross. Thomas is having a great start and closed very fast to step in front of Mario Manningham to pick off a Carr pass.”

3) Can you name four prominent first round draft choices who were lost to injury for the Giants during successful championship seasons for Super Bowl XXI, XXV and XLII? Yesterday we mentioned three: Kinard, Simms and Kiwanuka. But there is a 4th player, also a first rounder, who was lost to injury for one of these three championships. And he was a Pro Bowler too. Who did we leave out?! Hint, it was Super Bowl XLII… Jeremy Shockey. Almost a trick question, given how he was wasted as an asset that year anyway. Do you see a pattern– good TEs not getting enough touches? naah, couldn’t possibly be.

4) Pierce: “I am eager to go out there,” he said. “Like every year, I always come up with ways to push myself and ways to push my teammates and with everything that happened last year with the negative play in the playoff game and things that were said about me, I’m looking forward to looking those doubters in the eyes again and, like I always say, shut them up.”

We have the utmost respect for Pierce. He is an overachiever, an undrafted LBer who made it to the Pro Bowl and earned himself a championship ring. He has been the on-field General of this franchise’s defense EVERY season. As an avid studier of film, he knows formations and tendencies and will call out plays before they happen to fellow teammates, making everyone around him better. Case in point was LaVar Arrington, who was downright crestfallen when word got to him that Pierce had left the Redskins to go to the Giants in 2005. It took Arrington one year to get his tail up to NY to be with his former teammate in the middle. Before the fateful Achilles injury in Dallas that season, the Giants in 2006 had the early seeds of what could have been the most dominant defense in the league. The injury bug ripped through the team, one game after the next. Tuck and Strahan both were lost.

With all of that said, it is now 2009, not 2006. This is now the aging veteran Pierce. The one who got beat on the pass interference call to Watson which set up a 1st and goal for the Pats first TD of Super Bowl XLII. The one who could not handle Brian Westbrook out of the backfield. Spagnuolo adjusted and put a Safety on the RB on third down/obvious passing downs. Sheridan was the LBers coach, so he knows EXACTLY what he has and what he does not have in Pierce. Cold? Heartless? Age is not kind to LBers.

So Pierce has a chip on his shoulder. He’s playing with something to prove. He does not have anything to prove to us, his loyal fans. He simply has to prove to opposing NFL Offensive Coordinators that he won’t lose that half step in the second half of the season.

5) Amani Toomer has landed a job with the Chiefs. Hail Toomer. Warrior to the end. And just a reminder, you have not seen the last of him- we play the Chiefs Week #4.

6) Who is Vince Anderson? Garafolo reports that his stock is rising and he is competing seriously for that last Safety spot behind Phillips, Johnson and Brown:

“And finally, I mentioned Anderson up top and waited to the bottom to tell you he had an awesome afternoon. The undrafted rookie from Webber International (Fla.) got in front of Nicks on a fade and easily won a jump ball to knock it away. A few minutes later, he picked off a pass from Woodson that was badly behind the intended target. And finally, he showed good concentration to intercept a ball from Bomar that went through Moss’ hands. Nice way for Anderson, who converted to safety when he arrived in Albany, to get on the coaches’ radar.”

"The rookies" enter their 3rd year

July 22, 2009

A little while back I went to check a particular play from the Super Bowl, something jumped out at me… the first TD drive of the Giants at the beginning of Q4. With the exception of Tyree’s TD catch culminating the drive, every play was handled by a rookie!

Boss 45 yd pass play
Bradshaw 4 yd run
Bradshaw 2 yd run
Smith 17 yd pass play
Bradshaw 7 yd run

These guys are now entering their 3rd year, if they can all make the jump, it will be a very good year. It also underscores how all hands have to be on deck- in today’s NFL you need your rookies to hit the ground running, to be able to help the team out later in the year. Rookies who start at the beginning of the year get tired by the end because they are not ready for the grind, which can be twice as long as college. But the three rookies featured above are noteworthy for a few reasons.. (1) they all saw limited action for the first ~3/4ths of the season and (2) were all on the list of players who needed more playing from Gilbride last year and certainly need it this year in order for the team to make the jump. Everyone here knows full well that the jump from 2nd year to 3rd year pro in the NFL is usually a make or break proposition. We see no reason why the tremendous rookie class of 2007 cannot and should not make a quantum leap in production for this team.

In descending order of confidence:

Boss- once Plax went down, this man needed to be the center of the offensive passing attack. We argued for it late last season, it did not happen, but we do not see any reason (other than Gilbride neglect) why this kid cannot have a huge year. HUGE. But you don’t have to listen to us, just listen to Bavaro, get him the damn ball.

Smith- he’ll be taking Toomer’s spot at the possession wideout. Looking for big camp and big year.

Bradshaw- protect the ball and the rest is all downhill. There are no excuses for him or the coaching staff this year. NONE. Ward is gone, the snaps will be there, carry that ball high so that it does not get stripped. Run for daylight every single snap. Stretch opposing defenses the way it was done in the 2008 playoffs.

Johnson- surprised? It is more about bodies back there than anything else. Losing Wilson after 2007 and Butler in 2008 leaves a fulltime starter spot open for this guy with less rotation than the past two years.

Ross- ??..did he have a sophmore slump? Is it me, or did he come on like gangbusters early in 2007, only to get more yawns than impact thereafter? Yes, the Giants use a lot of press coverage, so without the DL to keep up the pressure as last season wore on, we saw Ross exposed. Time to make that big jump. At stake is nothing less than a Super Bowl, because with the superior depth of our DL in 2009 and the potential for bookend corners in Ross and Webster, this defense can be awfully stingy. At this point, it is not clear to me whether Thomas can offer even greater upside, given how he came on. So let’s see Ross do it, but we’d take either. Or both.

Alford- That sack of Brady still has us worshipping this guy! What can we say. We did not see a lot last season, and with Cofield and Robbins playing hurt, he had an opportunity and did not exactly bust the door down. With the depth this year, does he make the team?

DeOssie- Specials guys get cut if they are not competing for starting jobs by their 3rd season. But this guy is a long-snapper; is that enough to keep him on the roster? By the numbers, he is in trouble. Alford is a long snapper too, so one of them likely stays. With Boley hurt, Sintim hamstring(?), LBer is not exactly teeming with competition for roster spots. So it is up to DeOssie to stay on the field.

The Giants, the Eagles and the secondary

November 6, 2008

1) Hall was cut. Everyone with half a brain will wait for him to clear waivers and become a free agent before talking to him. After that it could get a little interesting. If the Giants could do an Arrington-type of contract which is heavy on the incentives and light on the commitment, it would make sense. Remember that (a) with nickel and dime packages on the field so often, you can never have enough good corners (b) Dockery (nickel) and Butler (S) got hurt this past weekend.

Just got off the phone with Wonder, and he is outspoken as ever…

2) Wonder: Cowboys or Pats will end up with Hall. Giants should go for him. They need A LOT of help at Secondary. “THE GIANTS SECONDARY S***S.” We saw from Cleveland that when the pass rush is not there, the Giants secondary gets abused by any reasonable QB. Aaron Ross is woeful. (I got Wonder to concede that..) Webster is playing ok. I think that Hall will end up in New England.

3) Wonder on the Giants: Because the Giants secondary is bad, the way to beat their defense is you have to max protect and give a few of your options the oppty to challenge them. You must negate that Giants DL in order to have a chance. Run flares, screens, play action. Despite this weakness in their secondary, the Giants are still the most well-balanced team and they will be favored in a Tenn-Giants Super Bowl because even if the good Tenn OL thwarted the pass rush, they don’t have the passing options (only Mason) to hurt the Giants. The Eagles (on the other hand) have Curtis back, DeSean Jackson and Westbrook out of the backfield, that is a problem for the Giants. This is why the Eagles are my #2 NFC team next to the Giants. Even if the Eagles lose to the Giants they are definitely making the playoffs. McNabb is playing well, you better rush him, hit him and disrupt him or else he is going to do well Sun night. (The Skins would be nowhere except for the weak second half schedule they have.)

4) The Eagles know the gmen well. They will run blitz, they will pass blitz, they will force Eli to beat them. Eli will have receivers singled up and will have to find them. If the Eagles have 8 men in the box it will be up to the Giants to throw first and run second. This is NOT the Bengals where you can run against 8 men in the box, wake up with 5 mins left and charge down the field to get a score for a win.

5) What works really well against run blitz and pass blitz? SCREEN PASS TO WARD AND BRADSHAW. It won’t be Bradshaw because Gilbride has him buried in the depth chart, but Ward has improved a lot in his pass catching (still not as good or as fast as #44) to be a threat.

6) Tyree was put on season-ending IR.

Wonder on the NFC at Week 7

October 15, 2008

NFL guru Wonder on all the happenings around the NFC, the trade deadline, etc. Tomorrow, Wonder on the AFC.

1) How much did the Giants players bet on the Browns? The Giants simply did not come to play. The only unit that showed up and played well was the offensive line. I blame Coughlin for not having them ready to play.
2) Please, do not ever mention Aaron Ross in the same sentence as Darrelle Revis again.
3) The Cowboys are in DEEP TROUBLE. Pacman Jones suspended indefinitely, Romo out, Newman sports hernia, AllPro Punter Briar out, Felix Jones strained hamstring (probably/maybe out thru the bye). Deep trouble.
4) Giants play the Boys before bye, you must win that game, if not there is something wrong with your team.
5) Why oh why did the Giants NOT take Gonzalez for a 3rd or 4th rounder? The first bad move I have seen Reese make.
6) Dallas gave up too too much for Roy Williams. 1,3,6 for him and a 7? The Lions did well. And with Romo out, he won’t be in synch with his QB until late enough in the season that it diminishes the need at the deadline. Jones must have thought that with the Giants losing last night that he could still go for it, but Jones paid too much, desperate. No one else in the league makes that trade except Jones, Jones was bidding against himself.
7) Hasselbeck is hurt again, Arizona is breezing into the playoffs.
8) Wonder sticking with his orig opinion that Skins are still going to have hard time. Boys will be 5-4 at the bye, they need to go 5-2 after bye, the best they do now is 10-6. That skins loss is going to kill them on the tiebreakers.
9) Eagles have a shot at 7-3 to finish 10-6.
10) Giants will finish 11-5 (or if they play really well 12-4) and win the division.
11) Minn (I told you so) has Gus Frerote. GB still is coming out, 9-7 wins that division. If I am wrong it is Minn coming out. Tiebreakers will be scary.
12) Saints- Colston and Shockey losses hurt. Saints sb breezing 6-0 yet are 3-3. Lost to Washington and Minnesota, had no business losing either. Against Denver that FG costs them the other. They should still come through. With Dallas taking the pipe (and not having a very strong record), this opens up Carolina/Saints for a second wild card spot.
13) At this point it is Giants-AZ or Giants-second place NFC East team for the NFC Championship. Giants-AZ regular season game is going to have a lot of playoff ramifications for home field, byes, playoff games.

New York Giants 44 Seattle Seahawks 6

October 5, 2008

‘NATURE’ WAS AT THE GAME

This was a clinic against a team that is not that bad. The Giants simply dissected them and took them apart piece by piece. Fantastic. Bravo. Great HOME performance for the fans, who have not seen a QUALITY win like that in a while. Great post-bye performance. So many great contributions from almost everyone on the squad (those that did not simply were not on the field or dressed).

1) Eli Manning was excellent. He was like a kid playing a video game, doing as he pleased with complete control and confidence, which stemmed from…

2) the Offensive Line, which was incredible. Pass, run, it did not matter. McKenzie out with concussion, no problem. It was so bad that the play action had Manning sitting back with all day to go anywhere he wanted. The pulling guards and blocking on the move were textbook execution.

3) HIXON! I am shocked! Not! We have been saying here on the blog that Hixon is ready for prime time ever since he broke out with some Toomer toe sensational receptions versus Cleveland in preseason.

4) Moss! This praise for one player after another is going to get tiresome. Limited snaps obviously went way up this game and he made the most of them, with 2 TDs and a lot of fine play. (Why bother mentioning how well Toomer and Smith played when that is like old news bread and butter?! Okay, okay, Smith had a fantastic sideline grab of a high Manning pass.)

5) Jacobs/Ward/Bradshaw. Plug and play. Scary.

6) Defensive line. They shut down the run, they put the pressure on, Spags had Tuck coming from the inside to mix things up. Kiwi even beat Jones in garbage time. (In the last 5-10 minutes why weren’t the starters ALL benched already?!!! There is 7 mins left and I am looking at Diehl, Snee, Seubert and O’Hara, get them out of there. Granted it was nice to throw Carr a little bone, but NEXT.)

7) Webster/Ross. One looked better than the other. (Webster got called for a holding penalty early which was a figment of the zebra’s imagination. Not only was it NOT a penalty, it was excellent coverage to boot.)

I could mention a half dozen other positives, but completely unnecessary. This was a surgical demolition of a team that was 1-2 and in need of a win. Gilbride was great in attacking from the start, stretching the field.

This 15 yard penalty rule on the face mask is pissing me off. If you look at the face mask they call you for 15. It is getting out of hand. Guys hands incidentally slap the helmet as their hands and arms get moved by the OTHER TEAM, and the flag goes out. This rule has to change.

Oh my goodness, the road warriors go back on the road. Hixon will be out with a concussion and we’ll have Burress back. WR Hydra. NEXT.

New York Giants 16 Washington Redskins 7

September 5, 2008


Meat and potatoes win. Yes Wonder, the Redskins stink. They are learning a new system, their offense is woeful and they have a lot of injuries. Their two minute offense wouldn’t scare a college team. It is not who you play but when you play them. They will get a lot better- every team improves from W1 to W17.

Offense: Manning was not present for all 4 quarters, but he looked good. He used the pump fake and looked off the safety on more than a few occasions, which was vg. Burress was excellent. Steve Smith picked up right where he left off with his terrific 3rd down possession catches which kept moving the sticks. Jacobs was punishing… he always looks good at the beginning of the season when he has fresh legs. Ward looked very good too… and as good as we have ever seen him catching the ball out of the backfield. When Jacobs has fresh legs it is hard to argue for Bradshaw. With the exception of a pass or two out of the backfield that screamed for #44, any of the three of them could get this job done. John Madden was having a lovefest with the offensive line.. I was surprised he did not suit up to join them down there. Great play call by Gilbride on the naked bootleg at the 1 yard line. As we mentioned in preseason, Manning should run ONCE per game just to keep the defense off-balance.

Defense: the DL was fantabulous. Pick a lineman, they all played great. I saw #21 all over the field. He made a great play to stop a first down by making an open field tackle of rookie Devin Thomas just short of the sticks. Webster played very well. Alford got called for a big 15 yarder which was horsebleep. They say it is a rules change but Alford totally missed his face mask anyway. Ross looked bad on the Moss TD, but he may have been in zone, so I won’t judge that one too harshly. (The real culprit on that drive was…

Specials: Not good, folks. No hang time on kickoffs gives them good field position. Carney will work until Tynes can come back. Costly roughing the kicker by McDougle was a turnover insanity.

The Giants had to win this game, they did win, NEXT. The first 4 weeks are exactly like this, schtick dreck competition where the gmen must get their business done. The Giants benefit from this 10 day layover because everyone makes mistakes in W1, the Giants get to iron them out after a win and become a better team. Wilkinson and Kehl got a lot of playing time and looked fine with the exception of each taking a bad penalty… the coaches will take a scalpel to each of these guys if they keep making boneheaded mistakes like those. (Kehl had the illegal block on kickoff, Wilkinson had the unnecessary roughness.)

Brett Favre, Aaron Ross and Sanya Richards

August 4, 2008

1) Yesterday Goodell reinstated Favre. What this means now is that the ball is in the Packers’ court. The Packers tried unsuccessfully to buy Favre out by offering him $25M in a lifetime personal services contract; Favre turned it down because Favre wants to play (we can take that for face value… this is where all the oldtimers chimed in about offering their services). So now the Packers have to decide if they pay Favre $13M per year to ride the bench or trade him to someone else. The Vikings are rumored to be the ones most willing to pay up for a trade. What a mess.

Time is against the Packers, unless there is a high profile injury. If (as an example) Eli Manning went down for the season in a preseason game, would the Giants be willing to trade for him? For a one year solution to his injury, absolutely they should. That is how the Packers might play it, simply willing to use the insurance until someone outside of the division is willing to pay up for his services. It is easy to understand why they would not want to move him to Minnesota, but if they get a credible offer from someone in the AFC, the deal will come together quickly. Considering that every year a prominent QB or two gets hurt in a manner that destabilizes the team (because of lack of credible backup), I would not be surprised to see something happen along this path.

2) It would certainly be interesting to watch Aaron Ross race Sanya Richards in the 200 Meters. They should stage it promotionally for charity. Even Ross admits he doesn’t know who would win. She will certainly be getting a lot of attention at training camp (and obviously the Olympics).

Inside the mind of a draft guru

April 26, 2008

1) Wonder is getting out the message: “These General Managers and Directors of Player Personnel are simply not ready” for the new time rules that govern this draft. All you have to do is listen to Wonder speak for ~ 2 minutes on the topic to understand why. Your ear goes numb as he rips off 85 things that these GMs have not anticipated. He starts rattling off scenarios at who is available at draft pick #X for team A and then by implication who should be talking to who on Thursday, NOT Friday, and certainly not Saturday when it is TOO LATE. These guys are unprepared. When you think of the myriad angles to plan for, it is very clear these organizations have not planned for them. And now it goes to 10 minutes.

2) Wonder philosophy: (a) he gets a significant amount of his opinion from film (b) he is a VALUE guy. If he knows the consensus #93 pick in the draft is a Future Hall of Famer, he will still go apes**t if HIS team takes him with the 36th pick. “These people do not understand the draft,” says Wonder. “You must pick players you like when appropriate, not just because you like them. Not picking for value is easily the most common draft mistake.”

3) On Cornerbacks: “Revis and Ross are what the new NFL is all about. Press coverage, bump and run, tackling, bigger and stronger guys.”

4) On judging a draft: “You need at least 3 years to judge a draft. Obviously more for a QB. Bryant may be the best NT in this draft and we will need 3 years to judge him. For MLB and RB, all you need is 1 year… either they are good in Year 1 or they don’t have it.”

5) On the draft/coaches dynamic: “There is a sleeper NT Frank Okum (Texas) who will go in the 5th or 6th Round. He has talent, but was out of shape at the Combine. If he loses 30 lbs. and hits the weight room he could be terrific. If he is taken by a softie like Herm Edwards he’ll last 3 days and be out of the league.”

6) On rules changes: “The NFL is so cheap.. no 60 year old refs. This ‘force out’ rule is going to be a nightmare. This covers up pathetic refs who cannot rule on a WR being out or not. The new rule will encourage safeties to drive receivers out of the field of play. Insane. And the ‘icing the kicker’ is ridiculous and should be banned.”

7) On spygate: “Goodell was a moron. Image is everything. The league was made to look very bad. The Patriots should have lost the higher of the 49er/NE #1 pick, so here they are still picking #7.”

8) On rookie salaries: Something must be done about rookie salaries in the Top 10 draft picks, because it is ruining the balance that once existed to help weaker teams get first crack at the best talent. Now they have to pay them an exorbitant amount of money, hurting their cap and making it harder for them to KEEP the successful veterans they need on their roster to be competitive. Of course Wonder has a plan for how to bring it all back in line, but if Gene Upshaw and the Players Union continue to be mindless then none of it really matters.

Wait till this afternoon when the actual drafting begins. Wonder is first getting warmed up. 3PM EST.