Archive for the ‘Ahmad Bradshaw’ Category

Ahmad has it right

September 9, 2009

The national view of your team is sometimes valuable because they take a step back and put things into more perspective. You have to see the forest for the trees. Sports Illustrated does a good job of focusing the offense’s success on the running backs.

Offense> Running Game
Defense> Loads the Box
Offense> Bust the Box

There is a book called ‘Who Moved My Cheese.’ A fifth grader can read this book. The message of the book is simple- things are always changing, adapt to the change and find new answers. When we lost Burress, our cheese got moved.

Here are 5 specific ways to find new cheese:

Box Buster #1
PLAY ACTION BY ELI MANNING

Box Buster #2
SCREEN TO BRADSHAW (AND WARE)

Box Buster #3
MIDDLE SCREEN TO BOSS

BOX BUSTER #4
SLANT TO HIXON and/or SMITH

BOX BUSTER #5
MANNINGHAM IN SINGLE COVERAGE

Note how each one of the prescriptions above leverages DIFFERENT talents of DIFFERENT players. Eli Manning excels in play action. Even the rookie Nicks can get in on some crossing routes here, says Wonder. Bradshaw and Ware have both shown great skill in the open field on screens. Boss has the hands and the big target. Hixon and Smith each have big play ability but you can set that up by using them in slants, where they also do very well. Last but not least, Mario Manningham has shown great skill in getting separation from his defender.

There are more than enough ways that the roster can keep opposing defenses honest. It all starts with the success of the running game and it ends with the effective utilization of this team’s skills to exploit the OPPORTUNITY of 8 men in the box. Yes, it is an opportunity. Most teams and head coaches would die to have an OL and running game that was so good that it would force defenses to overweight the run. This leaves so many ways that an offense can further exploit a defense. This is a GOOD problem to have. Ahmad has it right, it starts with the running game.

Giants 24 Panthers 17

August 18, 2009

Lots of good things tonight. Some of it wasn’t pretty, but overall the Giants did fine, and as far as I can tell, NO INJURIES! If that happens 4 games in a row, we are in GREAT SHAPE.

The Good
1) Bradshaw– doing it all
2) Thomas- good coverage
3) Manningham- executing, got behind coverage on bomb
4) Ware– did well when the run wasn’t getting stacked
5) Osi- the cat gets another sack/strip with Alford’s help
6) Evans- nice sack
7) Sintim- ubiquitous, and had a sack/fumble where he looked like LT around the end.
8) Sintim- held again on pass rushing duties
9) Feagles- this guy puts it inside the 20 like a heat seeking missile
10) LBers- good work by committee, Wilkinson/Goff/Kehl all made plays
11) Tentatively, no (serious) injuries.

The Bad
1) Carr- needs to get rid of the ball when nothing is there
2) Beatty- got beat on a sack, otherwise learning, ok
3) special teams punt blocked– man untouched, safety
4) backup OL- high snaps, weak protection
5) RRPK predictability is OK in preseason, but tonight it was so excessive in H2 that it begins to hurt your OL and QBs, because the game might as well be 11 vs 13
6) Stoney Woodson- got beat badly twice on final TD drive

The Ugly
1) Gruden- calling Gilbride “one of the best in the business.” LOL.

The last two TDs at the end of the game are par for the course. Happy to see the Giants escape with a win, they played a good game. The two stars this evening were Bradshaw and Sintim. Some of the LBers made some nice plays. We got beat around the edge a few times. The RRPK is allowed in preseason but it did make it hard on both Woodson and Bomar.

BOTTOMLINE: Sintim as a pass rusher is going to be scary, considering that this is his rookie preseason game combined with him playing with the likes of Osi, Kiwi, Canty, Tuck. You have to love it when a rookie jumps off the page in his first NFL appearance- a very good sign. It happens infrequently and correlates VERY WELL with future success. Lastly, #44 just gives so much juice to this offense.

Paul Dottino gives color on Giants Training Camp

August 13, 2009

Paul Dottino spoke with John Schmeelk of Giants.com and gave 16 minutes of video commentary on numerous player/unit developments at camp.

Although we strongly recommend that you listen for yourself, here are some quick takeaways:

Uptick/Positive:
1) Defensive Line – “having a terrific summer”
2) Bryan Kehl – biggest surprise is his leadership
3) Ramses Barden – “great hands, two spectacular catches today, I think this guy is going to be really special. Old time folks will remember Harold Carmichael of the Eagles. He kind of reminds me of him.”
4) Derek Hagan – “great camp here in Albany”
5) Danny Ware – “I think he is terrific; he’s got the hands, strength, maturity”

Downtick/Negative:
1) Gerris Wilkinson– It was what Dottino did NOT say. Time is running out.
2) Center depth behind O’Hara

Notes:
1) “5-1-5” Defense
2) William Beatty is “intriguing”… “he will eventually be a starter in this league.”

Ultimatenyg comments: VERY pleased with early encouraging words from both Dottino and Schmeelk on Kehl. Kehl’s draft comments a year ago alluded to ballsmarts and leadership. Beggars can’t be choosers, so we’ll take a LBer making progress from anywhere we can get it. Kehl’s speed was never anything to get excited about. WE NEED SPEED. That was what the promise of Wilkinson was about. That was what the Boley free agent signing was all about. But make no mistake, if we can have Boley, chip-on-his-shoulder Pierce and Kehl out there playing good football together, then this will be a positive development. So much more information will come from the first few preseason games.

Just because Barden is making some very good catches in camp does not mean he will be making an impact this year. We were reminded by the Beckum comments on Monday’s post – if a rookie wants to get on the field he NEEDS to take care of his blocking assignment, not to mention getting past the jam at the line of scrimmage. So while we hope to see Barden see snaps in the red zone, we are cautious to glean too much from the practice catches themselves. In the preseason games, look for how well (quickly) Barden gets separation at the line from his defender, NOT for whether or not he makes the catch. But we’ll end this Barden note on a positive by saying that ANY comparison of a rookie to Harold Carmichael is a GREAT uptick. Good good stuff.

Separately, Q&A with Ahmad Bradshaw noted how the injury not discussed last season was his calf, which slowed him down. He was missing a gear. Wait. Let’s repeat that. He was missing a gear! Good thing we had him out there running back kickoffs instead of Hixon. $%^&*(#@! If we can see more open field speed from #44, all the better.

Camp Comments

August 10, 2009

1) all the flack about the exchange from center is purely because the Giants did not re-sign Grey Ruegamer. No credible backup. Giants almost ‘lucky’ that O’Hara was out so that the first team could see how deficient it is.

2) Defensive tackle Fred Robbins was activated from the physically unable to perform list (PUP) and participated in individual drills. Coughlin said he might begin to take part in team work tomorrow on a limited basis.Anything we get from him will be good,” Coughlin said.

Well, this is unexpected and very good news. We felt that Robbins would be on the PUP at the start of the season, given how difficult it is to get immediate success with microfracture surgery, combined with the knees of an aging DLineman. Looks like we’ll be wrong come Week 1, assuming Robbins continues to make progress. Whether this translates to Robbins making a meaningful contribution is another matter altogether, but it will be impossible for him to make less of a contribution while activated than on the PUP.

3) “Beckum has gotten a little bit better each day,” Coughlin said. “The thing I think he’s started to do a little better is the physical aspect as a blocker.” Let this remark by Coughlin be a sober reminder to all of us that these rookies (Beckum, Barden, Nicks, Brown) are not going to get on the field to make an impact on offense unless they are first able to block up their assignment. It’s good news to see Beckum at least headed in the right direction. So often these guys disappear their first year because they are not fundamentally sound.

4) A little nugget on Bradshaw from Coughlin..

Q. How has Ahmad Bradshaw’s camp been so far?
A. Good.

Q. What’s the biggest challenge as his role is changing?
A. He’s caught the ball well. Obviously, if he can continue to do that, he will help us out tremendously. He runs the ball well, he’s been out there on kickoff returns and punt returns. He’s done a pretty good at picking it all up. Also, his pass protection has really improved. As we go forward, that’s going to have to continue to be a solid part of his game.

We have always felt that #44’s blocking/blitz pickup was improving and that he was okay there. The Achilles.. his fumbling. It is not mentioned here in the Q&A. But without parsing out the words too aggressively, “good” means the caveat is still there- as long as Bradshaw protects the ball, he is going to have a very good season. He should be able to get the touches and this will be explosive for the team when he gets them. We need a guy like this to move the chains, to be a threat out of the backfield. He stretches the opposing defense, causing problems for them the same way that a Westbrook causes problems once the defense has dropped into coverage. Bradshaw does not need to be Westbrook. He just needs to be Bradshaw.

5) Wonder on the Eagles: WOW !! IF, IF, IF the rumors are true, Eagles lost Cornelius Ingram for the SEASON with a torn ACL…if so, HUGE LOSS, not only for this year, but for the future..he’ll never be the same again..I thought he was a STEAL in the 5th round….Eagles keep losing guys…AND their OL is really IN FLUX due to injuries as well…IF so, might be able to overpower their OL and blitz the bleep out of them…and put McNabb on his big old butt…!!

Bradshaw speaks

August 1, 2009

Giants.com interviewed Ahmad Bradshaw

On the opportunity this year to be the #2 behind Jacobs: (wide smile) “one of the biggest years of my life”

On the duties of the #2, catching out of the backfield, screens: “that is one of the biggest characteristics of my game, catching the ball, running outside the backfield, and being able to get around the edge. Our offensive coordinator is helping me and our offense do that.”

"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.

Old Reese quote on Boley

July 9, 2009

A few months ago, Reese defended both Bernard and Boley.

Reese: “It’s really unfortunate that when you’re in pro sports everything gets overexaggerated a little bit,” Reese said. “We don’t condone any kind of domestic violence of any kind in any way, so don’t get me wrong on that. But Michael Boley does all kinds of community service and people never talk about that. It’s really kind of a shame that people don’t say, ‘Wow, this guy’s a really good guy. He does all this kind of community service.’ But the negative things seem to always come up.

“It’s just unfortunate, but when you’re in a high-profile position I guess this is what happens.”

Reese is in a better position to have the kind of information about the person to tip the scales in one direction or the other. None of us can sit here and judge. Just like they did with Bradshaw (or anyone else with a disciplinary history), they need it told to the new player (/in their contract) that if it happens here in a Giant uniform, then the player is gone. Bradshaw has been clean.. it is great to give someone a chance if they show a willingness to admit mistakes and a sincere interest in starting anew. Boley should be on the same notice that Bradshaw was put on.

Some interesting comments from Gilbride

June 22, 2009

Gilbride spoke with the media Thursday after minicamp was over.

He had some cautiously positive spin on where the team is.

He singled out 4 players by name:

Bradshaw and Ware– “..we feel pretty good about some of the guys that have been given a chance to step up, whether it is Ahmad Bradshaw at running back or Danny Ware.”
WRs– “so many young receivers look good”
Manningham– “he’s showing some things that we thought he could do which we never saw last year, now all of a sudden he’s doing it”
Beckum– “you miss this whole time, it certainly sets him back and you don’t want to say he can’t do it, but he will be one of the unusual ones if he can”

It is very good info on the margin to hear that Manningham had a good minicamp. It means he is getting an understanding of the offense, and will be in a position to start playing instead of thinking. We keep hearing this from the coaches and the players… how when you are rookie the playbook is so immense that you are too busy just trying to learn the plays and not screw up your assignment instead of going out there and hitting the ground running. This is why each season you have to pay attention to which rookies are doing well early- it means these guys are keepers. Guys like Gibril Wilson and David Diehl, fifth rounders who came in, started their first rookie game… they can have very nice careers. These are the exception, the notable exceptions, but it gets you excited. So when we hear that Manningham is doing much better, that Nicks is doing well, that Bomar has a great release… it means these players have half a chance of doing something. And when Beckum is in the trainer’s room as a rookie, he needs to make sure he is healthy for ALL of training camp because he is already behind.

Bradshawlic’s Meeting #4

May 7, 2009

Bradshawlics Anonymous Meeting #4 is now in session.

Was Ahmad Bradshaw playing hurt last year, limiting his involvement in the offense?

Was he given less touches because he could not protect the ball?

Could he have made a big difference if given more touches?

Should he be the 3rd down scatback?

Will he get a much larger opportunity this year?

The answer to all of these questions is most likely YES. This NY Giants blog is not ashamed to let it be known what its bias is- seeing Bradshaw out there, stretching opposing defenses. Assuming Bradshaw picks up his blitz assignments and protects the ball, we should be seeing a lot of him this year. The more the better.

Archived
Meeting #2
Meeting #3

Volatility is your friend

February 21, 2009

This week when Brad Van Pelt passed away, there were all kinds of stories that surfaced. One of my favorites was naturally an intersection between him and Goerge Young.

As the story goes, it is early 2004, and Van Pelt has had a very good season. He comes into George Young’s office to plead his case for a raise, without his agent. George Young politely agrees with EVERY point that Van Pelt brings up, openly acknowledging and recognizing the 5-time Pro Bowler’s significant contributions. He concedes every point! But then, in typical GBY fashion, he lowers the boom on Van Pelt: “Brad, you’re right. You are one of the top three outside linebackers in the league. But we were 3-12-1 with you last year. I think we could have done that without you.”

Last night, Bob pointed out correctly how good the Giants were with Derrick Ward. Facts are facts and Ward is a 1000 yard runner. So why the heck do you want to lose that?

The answer is simple: VOLATILITY. When you win and are the Super Bowl Champs, you want the status quo. When you are any of the other 31 teams out there that fell short, it does not matter whether you were a game away or 3-12-1, you LOST. But you can only lose once each season, which means you take your chances. The Giants cannot afford to allocate significant resources to Ward, who will be 29 years old come September. Granted, Ward does not have the mileage of other 29 year old RBs. He certainly was a big reason why we beat the Panthers, our only win in the last 5 games of the season. On paper it does not seem to make sense that you could let a 1000 yard runner go. But as a GM this is still not the place where you want to invest your cap dollars. You want it to go where the resources are needed. You commit to Jacobs, which they did. You already have Bradshaw and Ware, cheap and young. You need to leverage what is left elsewhere on the roster. LB, DL, OT.

This is the opportunity to see what #44 has. We may be wrong about him, but you’ll never know if you don’t try. Bradshaw deserved that much after what he did in 2007. Let’s not forget what other professionals in this league were saying about him. I still do not understand why he did not get more opportunities in 2008, other than watching the idiocy of Gilbrown, a dead horse I do not choose to beat on anymore. The word is he was hurt for stretches this season. That is part of our collective confusion on the subject, given his presence on kickoffs (another insanity, pls use Hixon for this). So let’s simply see what we have here and end the debate. Maybe it forces Gilbrown to adapt to #44 instead of #44 adapting to Gilbrown. Maybe, just MAYBE, it is the way for Jerry Reese to say to the Giants coaching staff that you have no choice now but to see what we have in #44. Let volatility be your friend. Shake it up. Roll the dice. You can only lose once. Championships last forever.