Archive for the ‘Antonio Pierce’ Category

NY Giants 33 Dallas 31

September 21, 2009

This was a great win, warts and all. Yes, there are a multitude of problems that need fixing, but there were MANY positives gained from this victory. We have been saying since the middle of preseason that the defense needed time to come together- they are buying time with wins. Phil Simms said before the game that the Giants defense gives up the big play and that that would cost us the game. Well, he was right, but he did not know that the Giants would have a +4 turnover ratio. Dallas beat themselves with those turnovers, so DO NOT try giving back this win with all the warts we had. Collect a nice win, move on to next week, fix the problems, get PEOPLE BACK HEALTHY and improve the defense.

1) The Giants have their #1 Wide Receiver, his name is Mario Manningham (10 catches for 150 yds) and to quote Al Michaels, he is their “budding star.” Look over to the right side of the blog and give yourselves a pat on the back- you saw Mario Manningham as the breakout WR for the Giants this year, LONG BEFORE ANYONE ELSE. (Okay, let’s throw a bone to Peter King, he was there too.)
2) Eli Manning (330 yds, 2 TDs) was tremendous. Cool as a cucumber in the 2 minute offense. Evaded pressure with poise in the pocket all night. He did it all.
3) Steve Smith (10 catches for 134 yds) is the Rock of Gibraltar. You can lean on him, clutch, reliable, money. Did you see that move he put on Scandrick for the TD? He left him in a different zip code.
4) The Bruce Johnson INT for a TD is how you win on the road. Make impact plays and make the home team pay for their mistakes. That was a huge lift for the team because this game could have been a rout early, the way that Dallas was dominating. Antonio Pierce is slowing down on defense but he changed the defense when Romo audibled and that set up Johnson.
5) Pass protection was good. Wonder and I disagree on this one. Wonder felt the protection was not good and that Eli Manning’s pocket presence did it all, that there were plenty of times Dallas guys were getting through. There were no sacks, that is GOOD enough for us.
7) Ahmad Bradshaw was a jack of all trades. Picked up blitzes, pushed the pile, got respectable yardage when Jacobs was having trouble.
8) The defensive secondary did enough things well to be on the other side of Romo going for 13 for 29 with 3 INTs. Romo may have been tied with Eli for the Giants MVP, but the DBs played well in pass coverage. Phillips was playing hurt or else this unit will look better in run coverage. We could have used Gibril Wilson out there to clean up all of the run defense mistakes.

The Bad
1) OL run blocking did not get the surge. Wonder asks aloud if these guys have lost something from last year. Jacobs likes getting the handoff about 28 yards behind the line of scrimmage so that he can have a running start and a head of steam, but the problem is that he was getting greeted at the line of scrimmage too often and the plays look too slow-devloping.
2) Kickoff returns
3) Kickoff coverage

The Ugly (aka “warts”)
1) RUN DEFENSE was GASHED repeatedly. The DL was blown off the ball, Osi overpursued (creating wide gaps), our LBers are too slow. Boley was gassed and was out there far longer than he should have been, considering it was his first game back. Yes, it was hot and hurt both DLs, but there is no excuse for 251 yards. Would we have been aided by rotation with Tuck and Canty? Yes. But it has to improve.
2) This game, like the Redskins game, could have been over much earlier in the evening if the Red Zone offense could do better that 0 for 3 for 2 FGs.
3) Gilbride did not call Kevin Boss’s number ONCE in the red zone. Instead, in this mission critical area, we get balls thrown to Hedgecock and pitchouts to Bradshaw
(See Rule #5, AGAIN!). Brilliant. NOT.
4) If Tuck’s injury is serious.

Yes, the Giants were dominated at the line of scrimmage. When you have difficulties running the ball AND you give up 251 yards at the point of attack, you will not survive for very long if that does not get straightened out.

We have been complaining about the inadequacies of Kevin Gilbride for over a year now, but it has gotten so bad that even Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth now are talking about it on National TV.

Re kickoffs, each team was getting a runback of ~22 yards per kick. But their kicker makes us start from 2 yards inside the endzone while ours (thanks to Tynes’ weak leg) makes our coverage of kicks start from the +10 yard line. So we get out to the 20 and they are at the 32. Bad.

With all of this, the game is still in the WIN column. GOOD FOR THE GIANTS. COLLECT THE “W” and move on to the next game. Thankfully the playoffs do not start for another 16 weeks, so there is PLENTY OF TIME TO IMPROVE. We need time to heal. We need time for Boley to get his legs. We need time for Canty, Ross, Dockery and Sintim to get back. This win was well deserved and well earned in a great fight. The most exciting part of the game is watching Mario Manningham grow up before our very eyes. This has very good long term implications for the team.

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
“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
“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.”

Lunchtime Special: Pierce not indicted

August 3, 2009

Pierce not indicted.


and Burress was just indicted. now that one is a shock. not.

Rocky Bernard has a "non-football injury"

August 3, 2009

1) The info on the margin is that with camp starting today, Rocky Bernard has a non-football injury.

That Coughlin himself was caught by surprise is a candid admission from the coaching staff that they were blindsided by this. A guy goes away ~6 weeks ago, comes back with a non-football injury? When? How? Why wasn’t it reported to the Giants medical staff? Barring the injury occurring within the last two days, the lack of communication is disappointing.

2) Coughlin referred to Pierce’s legal situation as “serious.” If Pierce was involved with obstruction, then that would be legitimate. But if it is not that, then it sounds like political grandstanding at its worst.

3) In case you missed it from the comments section a few days ago, a special shout out to Russ Wellen for providing a link to an article in the Atlantic Monthly from last October. Not a good article, A GREAT ARTICLE. MUST READ. Must read for Giants fans. Must read for football fans. Must read for people who want to understand where the game was and where it is. And by the way, the NFL Network and NFL Films are missing a great opportunity if they do not have one of these shows all the time on breaking down film of the classic games with coaches today. Thanks Russ.

Pierce distraction

July 29, 2009

Pierce to be indicted by DA for involvement in the Plaxishmoe debacle.

John Mara defends Pierce and spars with the DA.

I am not trying to spread rumors. My only logical guess for where this could come from is that Pierce was the one who asked the hospital employee to not report the gunshot wound. It would be the only reason why the DA is not charging the worker, instead letting her roll on Pierce. “Morgenthau did specify that no New York-Cornell medical personnel would be charged for failing in their obligation under state law to inform police about Burress’ gunshot wound.” Why? I would have to believe the DA is after someone else. With Plaxico Burress not mentioned at all in this light, the next person would seem to be Pierce. This is PURELY CONJECTURE. We have no evidence to suggest this other than what you are reading here.


July 28, 2009

1) 5 days till camp, 6 days till first practice.

2) Morgenthau wants as many as two years from Plax.

3) The NY Post says Pierce is ‘still on the hook‘ for his involvement in the Plax mess.

4) Vick has been reinstated, and Myers thinks he will become a Redskin.

5) Westbrook out until mid August. He went under the knife June 5th.

6) The Giants top 3 picks have not yet signed. Here is a link to keep track of all of the first round signings.

7) ESPN’s lack of coverage of Roethlisberger’s civil rape case and Marvin Harrison alleged gun shootings?!!! The parade continues.

NFLN previews the Giants

July 20, 2009

NFLN video link previews the Giants for 2009.

Jamie Dukes smartly downplays the issues at WR. Between all of the talent they have, there is no reason why they cannot get it done this year. If they do not, it is either because of injuries, Gilbride or a combination of both. Moss is playing better, Manningham is playing better, Boss needs lots more touches, Nicks looks like he make a significant rookie contribution, and Hixon and Smith have already proven (when healthy) they have the game.

What is missing is a serious discussion of two items.

1) LBer. The injury to Boley sets this unit right back to 2008. Where is the speed? Where are the impact plays? Where is Pierce after midyear when he slows down? Sintim pulled a hamstring in OTAs, so he better be very healthy and very active in camp. Kehl? Waiting for GodotWilkinson?

2) Lack of depth at Safety. Knight and Butler are gone. Johnson and Phillips should be fine. But this unit always had rotation, and now there is CC Brown and that is about it folks. If they stay healthy, okay. If they do not, trouble.

And as a footnote Giants fans, if #10 can play at a consistently high level for an entire season, the Giants can collect a title ‘EASY.’ In 2007 Manning played at that consistently high level for 5 consecutive games. It was the right 5 games. So let’s start putting some pressure on Eli Moneybag$. When he signs that contract to be the highest paid player in the NFL, he better know the responsibility needs to be there. Jerry Reese said so.

Busy day in OTA land, plaxi-shmoe

June 6, 2009

Ralph Vacchiano reports that

Cofield “may” have had micrfracture surgery too. Read the note by Ralph that says how the Robbins blog deleted the word “microfracture” from the Robbins site. Too late, the cat’s out of the bag. I always find it stunning how people try to delete history. Saturday Night Live had a great skit back in November of last year with the Big 3 automakers on C-Span in front of Congress asking for 10’s of billions of dollars. The plan was to get more and more money every few months with no end in sight. These comedians (and the public) had this one figured out well before we pumped in 50B-60B to see GM still go to bankruptcy anyway. Why mention this? Because you can no longer find the video on the SNL website. NBC pulled it. The truth (be it to the gov’t or to the ad clients) hurts.

Lots of passing at Friday’s OTA

Antonio Pierce lost a gear last year. 31 in October? Ouch. This is what happens to ALL LBers. A few are able to sneak by until 33, but most get to 31 and the downhill slide is unforgiving. Boley will help his game, but remember that Boley will probably be thinking too much to be making an impact, at least in the first half of the 2009 season. Pierce’s days are numbered. If he is able to find the fountain of youth and play effectively for one more season, it would be a huge gift. This was why we were so keen on beefing up LBer. I really hope Sintim can help this team, but his hamstring certainly does not help. At least he’ll be able to rest it from mid June to the end of July.

Someone is going to have to explain why it all of a sudden has dawned on plaxi-shmoe that he needs to do a deal NOW to keep him in the 2009 season. He had this at the end of March and passed. Two more months have gone by and he is NOW figuring it out? For his sake the grass better be greener with the Jets/Bucs/Bears.. in 2010?

Locker Room Voice

May 28, 2009

Q: Who is the voice of the Giants?

a) Antonio Pierce
b) Justin Tuck
c) Brandon Jacobs
d) Shaun O’Hara
e) Eli Manning

Well, this one is debatable. On any given day it may actually be any one of these people. Pierce is the spokesperson and onfield leader of the defense. Thomas George of puts his vote here with AP.

But Pierce became noticably more quiet after gun-gate. And his unspectacular play has been less than leader-like. Jacobs is certainly the alpha male right now, the emotional pregame huddle guy who this blogger believes gets the nod.
Tuck is the young Pro Bowler who is speaking out more.

Don’t sell Eli completely short, as he is gaining in seniority. ALL of his WRs, TEs and RBs have less experience than him. And only O’Hara and McKenzie have more years.

Without getting too nostalgic, Strahan was THE voice. But that is the past. Given how short the career life of a RB is, combined with Pierce having seen his best days, and Tuck could become THE voice quicker than any of us think.

Is this discussion window dressing? Leadership is critical for championships. Strahan joked how old he was, still playing football in 2007. Yet he was the one who was stomping them out in the pregame huddle. There is never enough good leadership in the lockerroom, sidelines or on the field.

Around the league…

NYG 35 Dallas 14

November 3, 2008

Boss TD in Q1 was a great playcall, a great pass, a nice catch and nice feet for the TD.

Thanks everyone for the color. I just got in, saw around 25 mins of clock time in the airport, it was 28-7 when I boarded the plane and nice that it pretty much ended that way. I may not have a chance to watch the rest of the (videotaped) game, the sports bar I was at was noisy and we intermittently lost the feed too. But here are the takeaways at first blush:

1) Above all else, the Giants got their business done against a weak opponent. The most important thing you do to weak opponents is remind them who they are- the drive near the end of H1 to make the score 21-7 was fantastic because you cannot dominate the half with only a 7 pt lead to show for it. Do not give weak opponents hope! (See Bengals game)

2) Yes, kudos to Gilbride. Just because we trash the guy for being the loser he is when he makes egregious mistakes does not mean he is incapable of change and getting it right. He did more than a few things this game which he simply did NOT do last game:

a) He was much more willing to pass, especially against this defense (which was extremely depleted in the secondary). Rob emphasized this in Saturday’s post, and Gilbride had the correct game plan. (ESPN’s Tom Jackson was lauding the Giants in the red zone for being 5-5, for running the ball into the end zone, but the last time I checked, they scored their first THREE TDs on this defense by THROWING IT INTO THE END ZONE. The answer is to try to do BOTH.)
b) He used Ward much more in (H1) the red zone.
c) He broke tendency. After a first down pass, Dallas was playing run, they bit on play action perfectly and Manning had all day to connect. The pass sailed high, but I DO NOT CARE- it put the Giants in a great position to succeed AND makes the RUN NEXT TIME LESS STACKED TOO.

3) This was a complete win in all categories.

4) If and when Dallas gets healthy again, which we assume will be for the second game in Dallas, the tone of this game will be entirely different. The Dallas offense today was ugly, and the Giants defense did just about everything right. Romo was sorely missed. When Romo comes back, many things change instantly. Simms has said in the past that he is continually amazed at how many times Romo single-handedly makes plays for the entire team. So to see the Dallas OL become very average is not surprising in this light. Romo has tremendous pocket presence and leverages what he has in his OL to extract whatever advantage he possibly can. He adlibs very well. Johnson and Bollinger cannot do that, so the warts become visible quickly. My hope is that Romo has some rust when he first comes back, digging as deep a hole for that franchise as possible. That team is not dead with a QB like that. Some have pointed out that Romo may yet be fatally flawed, that he will crumble when the going gets very tough, but in the meantime w/o him the Cowboys are simply awful.

a) Even if it is for only a few days or their entire bye week, at least ‘5-4′ will put a nice smile on our faces. How ’bout ‘dem cowboys, Jerry?!

5) Winning without the consistent and strong contributions of Burress is certainly possible, but all things being equal is not desirable. Manning and Burress must get on the same page. I read after the game that they say that pick was Manning’s fault, but it does not matter- it is both of their faults. If we can get the two of them clicking again, my goodness it will be frightening. Gaudy upside riches possible here.

6) Yes, the kickoff field position was nauseating. Carney is going to be on social security soon, but if he makes all of his FGs I guess you make that deal. As soon as he starts missing then you have (the) Tynes (accuracy) and Tynes gets the nod because Tynes is deeper on kickoffs. Between both of these guys, at least we have some overall credibility, unlike in other years when our FG kicking parade of new contestants was worse than Murphy Brown’s weekly search for a secretary.

7) The 4 sacks that the OL gave up were were much more about Manning holding onto the ball too long than the OL getting beat. I think at least three sacks were excursions of Manning into the town of Moonachie. LOL, who does he think he is, Tony Romo? (Now if we could only convince him to run ONCE per game.)

8) Quietly all year Webster has done a great job at corner. Those two INTs were not so quiet. He has given up some plays some of the time, but most of the time the silence you hear is him quietly shutting down yet another good WR.

9) TURNOVERS! Pierce’s strip was fantastic. We mentioned the two from Webster above, the Butler pick. Awesome way to play. This is what was missing earlier this year. VERY ENCOURAGING.

10) LB is a our weakest unit on the team, but w/o a Dallas QB it was certainly easier for Clark to focus on Barber. Nice job. Suffocating these players and plays is what games like these are all about- not letting them get in a rhythm.

11) At the end of the game, there was Coughlin being the nitpicker. “The only thing that is the real negative for me right now is the turnovers. The turnovers kind of take the heart right out of the game so to speak. The timing of those things were very bad and we haven’t been doing that, so it is something we do have to improve upon. We are very, very thankful for the win, excited about that, we are 7-1, and I think we can play better.” This is the magic recipe for winning a title. Win a big game and emphasize how the team can still get better for next week’s game. All good.

12) I read how some were praising Jacobs. Yes, he played well, but even Jacobs is smart enough to praise the real guys who are getting it done EVERY WEEK, that OL: “Our offensive line did a great job of knocking them off the ball.”

13) Justin Tuck is outstanding.

14) Giants are +3 vs PHL. While I think realistically that you have to expect a split vs PHL this season (which implies the more realistic loss in PHL), I would not bet against the Giants in either game. With Westbrook playing, the Eagles are a formidable team, and the line should be respected. But so should the gmen.

Summary: Great win all around. It is not who you play, but when you play them. The Giants played a weaker team but they still had to go out there and get it done. Nice quality win. Nothing left to chance.