Archive for the ‘Donovan McNabb’ Category

Deja Blue All Over Again

January 9, 2009

I am at peace. I have serenity within my Giant madness…

So many things about this game are IDENTICAL. THE GIANTS GET A DO OVER.

This is a total gift, having seen them in the exact same conditions. We get to turn back time and play the exact same game over again and prove that W14 was a bad day at the office, that THIS Sunday is the real Giants. This game is a gift. If we waste the gift, nobody to look at except ourselves. And since the Gmen are the better team they will take advantage of this gift and win.

The wind means it will be a tighter game, less points likely. No bet, the gmen could win a bleeder as much as they could win big. Could be Giants 13-10. The wind means Eli will only be able to burn them deep/stretch the field when they load the box in 2 out of 4 quarters. It shortens the game, just like W14. But Jacobs will be back and he will be bad, they’ll need 8, prob 9 to stop him, so Eli will have opptys. In the wind, you simply have to do the things we talked about ad infinitum. If my friend Gilbrown has learned ANYTHING from W14, he should be fine. and we should kick their brown. W/o the wind I really felt good about the outcome, with the wind, I feel we will have some struggling moments but should come out on top nonetheless. The giants are the better team… The Giants had the same exact opponent in the same exact stadium with the same exact manpower loss (Burress) and the same exact weather conditions…. ya think they could learn about what they did wrong and what they need to correct? OF COURSE.

NO EXCUSES, it is ALL on the Giants and their coaches for not getting it done if they somehow fall short. They will get it done, I have enough confidence in all of them, and in this spot, I do have (barely) enough confidence in Gilbrown because he had 5 weeks to figure it all out. If he does not get it now, then shame on him. But with the better skilled players, Spags will certainly figure out ways (esp with Cofield and Pierce and Robbins (and Tuck?!) healthier) to stop McNabb and Westbrook.

A shout out to Ron, who points out that “McNabb is most dangerous when he runs outside on 2nd down and gets his 8 or 9 yards rushing to set up a short 3rd down play..and since he has turned his game around after the benching he has been doing that every game.”

Reread the postgame of the Eagles in W14 for some perspective on what was learned. Wake up and smell the Bradshaw. There are so many ways to improve from the last game we played vs this team. It is all there for them to figure out. Rest easy, Giants fans. The element of surprise is essentially gone. Coughlin is always stressing preparation. They should be prepared and the the Giants will win. Bring it! Next stop, NFC Championship.

Good news for Giants fans: Robbins is ready

January 7, 2009


Yesterday, Fred Robbins spoke on his blog for the first time in 3 weeks. If you read #98’s comments this season, he has been open about plenty of stuff… not the usual Eli Manning platitudes.

Why is Fred Robbins so important? If you have to ask that, (1) welcome to the blog world, where we explain stuff like that (2) you probably have not been following the gmen that closely.

Robbins is one of the keys to the game on Sunday. Since he is good on run defense, and since the Eagles can’t run the ball well, we know and expect the Eagles to be passing a lot. It is imperative to get the push up the middle on McNabb so that he (a) cannot step into the pocket on his throws (b) cannot step up to avoid the pass rush AND (c) cannot buy time for his dumpoff/checkdown/flare to the RB/TE. “Critical,” says Wonder. Agreed.

Now let’s listen to what Robbins had to say:
We can’t make mistakes against a team like Philly. They’re hot and they’ve really been claiming the line of scrimmage, so it’s going to be a typical Giants-Philly game and could come down to who has the ball last.

A lot of people have been saying that we could be rusty after a couple weeks off, but I don’t think so. We got in a lot of good work this week and last week. We haven’t relaxed, or taken the foot off the gas pedal. It’s playoff time! There’s no tomorrow and no get ’em next week. Each play really counts, and if you lose you have to wait a whole year to play again.

We’ve worked too hard for this to be the end of our season. We’re still hungry.
I didn’t take the day off against Minnesota even though I’ve been banged up because it could have been tough to get back in the groove going into the playoffs after not playing for 3 or 4 weeks. I wanted to sharpen my technique.

My shoulder is feeling healthy, about 95 percent. I’m finally able to do the things I was able to do at the start of the season, and I’m ready to pick up where I left off before I hurt my hands and my shoulder.

When we played Philly last time I had missed the week before with the shoulder injury and I think I rushed back too soon. My shoulder was not healthy enough for me to have been out there playing. I didn’t want to miss that game, but I wasn’t able to perform up to my capabilities.

If this guy is healthy and playing to “where I left off before I hurt my hands and my shoulder,” it is lights out, my friends. Robbins had 5.5 sacks in his first 6 games before he got hurt, and enabled Kiwi and Tuck to do what they do best. Watch Freddie on Sunday, because if he is getting the push, he doesn’t even need the sacks (although of course they are the bonus). He just needs to push up the middle so that McNabb is disrupted with hurries/knockdowns/Tuck.

SEPARATELY: ASK WONDER. Do you have a question for Wonder on the Gmen or Eagles? On the matchups between CAR-AZ, SD-PIT, TEN-BAL? Who is the player to watch on a particular team? He’ll field your questions (email or comment) with a post for Friday. Btw, nice job by Wonder early Sunday in alerting us to Minnesota’s chances dropping big when Pat Williams was unable to play.

The Eagles

November 28, 2008

Behind enemy lines in Philly, spoke with a family friend who is a lifelong Eagles fan. He knows the Eagles inside out, goes to all the games. This is what he said:

1) After 10 years of Reid, he has to be removed.

2) Reid as head coach AND General Manager is not a good combination.

3) Eagles have never had a FB, it kills their short ground game. Reid is the GM, the blame goes back to him for never having one.

4) Yes, Jackson is good, but opposing defenses are going over the top (cover2) now to limit him. He has ONE TD all season, the Giants end-around, so as good an impact as he has made, he is still a rookie and is now reaching a ceiling. Lack of WR is going to be traced back to Reid as GM.

5) Short yardage a killer for the Eagles all season, Bears, Giants, Ravens games only a few examples. The reason why is that their Center and Guard (Jackson and Herremans) are bad, Andrews is terrific but he has been in and out of the lineup due to injury (only 2 starts this season). Andrews can cover up for them when he is in, but only so much. These guys are better in pass protect, but cannot run block to save themselves. Pretty nasty derogatory remarks about Herremans in particular.

6) Reid has lost his mind. When McNabb came into the league, Reid orchestrated McNabb’s introduction very carefully, picking the week after a bye when the opponent was a weak Redskins team. Contrast that with how he now put in Kolb… against a stronger Ravens defense at halftime! Not helping the rookie one bit with that move.

7) Eagles fans unfortunately may have to see McNabb go somewhere else (Vikings?) and then watch as he becomes successful there, the same way Cunningham became successful with Carter and Moss. This is not preferred to see McNabb leave.. keep him for another coach and see how he does.

8) The moves by the Eagles to trade their first round pick down to the second round are very good, but the problem is that the Eagles are still poor evaluators of talent and the draft is not benefitting them nearly enough. And since Reid is the GM too, the blame once again goes right back to him. Add the fact that he is a terrible in-game manager and the worst clock manager, and his time is up. You spend 10 years as a head coach and you do not win a title, time to move on.

Phil Simms and Wonder in total agreement on Game Plan for Sunday

November 9, 2008

Giants-Eagles. Simms harped on the same thing that Wonder said Friday night (which I will paste below)- the most important thing Simms wants to see is how the smaller/faster DL of the Eagles (as compared to prev years) deals with the Giants OL. Can they stand up to the Giants running game? Is there enough size and strength? (The Skins wore them down, remember?!) Does the Giants OL have the power to do that? The Giants are the better team, but Simms implied that the Eagles were very good, very close. Simms separately notes that both QBs handle the blitz well and showered the Giants front four with the typical praise we understand. Simms would NOT make a call on the game- he was not specifically asked, but that does not stop him from laying it out there, so this tells us what we already know- a tight game. (Simms laid it out there two weeks ago and told us he felt the Giants would win vs the Steelers under similar circumstances, as road +3 dogs.)

Wonder from Friday night email: “ANDY… game plan on sun. should be …RUN JACOBS…with the intent that the o-line and having to tackle that load will take its toll on their d-line so that they don’t have anything left in the tank to rush Eli later in the game..then go play-action.. Phil. is more “quick” than powerful…so Bradshaw not good option early on (other than screens, flares, etc…)…I also think it will have extra bonus of keeping OUR D off the field and fresh to KILL McNabb…and when we have the chance, MUST TACKLE him..no “escape” plays down the field !! we MUST win Time of Poss battle..and Jacobs is the key…if he runs for 90+ yds on about 18-20 carries, mail it in…Jints win…their strength is pass rush and secondary…make those little f***s have to TACKLE Jacobs a few times…they won’t like it…will also “shorten” the game and keep the crowd out of the game as McN won’t have that many poss to dev a rhythm…trust me on this one !!”

Just like Rob was quick to point out that you have to pass vs the Dallas secondary, Simms and Wonder are clear that there is an oppty (NEED for RUN!) vs the smaller Eagles DL. I still want to see some Ward mixed in too (we’ll never get Bradshaw in for the screens, where his speed will certainly be necessary for this group), but yes Wonder, okay, we hear you, more Jacobs this game is fine because of MATCHUPS. Generally I feel Jacobs gets too much of the offense, but tonight I can easily understand why you want to out-physical that DL. The Skins did it, and so can we.

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.

Non-divisional NFL records

September 24, 2008

After three games we have our first look at the records of each division OUTSIDE of their respective divisions.

NFC EAST 8-0
NFC NORTH 2-6
NFC SOUTH 5-3
NFC WEST 2-4

AFC EAST 4-2
AFC NORTH 1-4
AFC SOUTH 2-3
AFC WEST 2-4

Now, it is only 3 weeks into the season. Too early to be making broad sweeping conclusions about ANYTHING. But the early returns are in and we can see some trends- the NFC EAST is clearly for real. No rush to judgement. We all want to condemn certain divisions as kaput, but the data right now is still too small. To have an outlier like 8-0 is significant for the NFC East though. We knew that with McNabb healthy at the end of last season and that team finishing at the bottom at 8-8, that that meant trouble top to bottom. Even the Redskins are playing a little better than a new head coach would normally imply. This is all good for the Giants. You want a strong division. Let three of the four teams make it to the playoffs. That would be the third consecutive year that that has happened from the NFC East. A good thing. No sleepwalking for the Giants through the division.

Phil Simms Week 3 Around The NFL

September 21, 2008

1) If you noticed from Friday’s Q&A with Wonder, I was in a little disagreement with him on whether the offenses of the Eagles and Cowboys were that good as opposed to the defenses being that bad. Simms (who covers the Eagles today vs the Steelers)came to my side, at least on the Dallas offensive part of the story, by his remarks about Tony Romo. Simms argues that Tony Romo is a very special QB who continually makes plays. Versus the Eagles, Simms counts no less than 8 fantastic plays he made. He does it on his own, says Simms. He adds that Romo is a terrific thrower of the football, with an underrated (strong) arm.

2) Praised Roethlisberger and said the Pittsburgh offense is perfectly suited to him and his talents. Feels that Big Ben could also fit into almost any scheme, but that the situation in Pitt is perfect. Separately, he felt that Roethlisberger did great in the very windy conditions he faced last week.

3) Desean Jackson is the real deal. Very good route runner, As good hands as you will see. SO much better than he expected. Jackson puts the Eagles over the top. They now have the receiver for Donovan McNabb.

4) Francesa ripped Romeo Crennel, and Simms politely deferred but did seem to concur that the decision to go for the FG on 4th and 7 vs the Steelers was wrong. I did not see it, but checking back, I do not know what planet Madden and Michaels were on to say the decision was a good one— to quote Simms, going for the FG “gave you one way to the win the game and going for the first down gave you two.”

5) As a quarterback , YOU NEVER TRASH YOUR OFFENSIVE LINE. Holt opened his mouth, and even though Bulger was not as bad as Holt, it was not a positive at all. Damage that comes from this is irreparable.

6) If the Jets cannot throw it versus the Chargers defense, they are not going to be able to throw this year. I would not go that far, given that Favre and Coles are still learning their timing, but I would agree that this has to be a day the Jets can (and should) rip apart that defense. Favre has called this a must-win game(saying they are all must-wins), obviously sensing the opportunity.

7) And under the category of what is UNSAID by Simms and everyone else… when the NY Giants are the biggest favorites of the week there is little to say about their matchup. Play for 60 minutes and destroy this team.

Ram-Giants preview

September 14, 2008

The Giants are giving -9 on the road. I know that everyone reading this understands that just because the Rams laid an egg in W1 does not mean they will necessarily do so when they return home to play the Giants today. With that said…

It really is quite simple: if the Giants play for 60 minutes they will cover that spread and still manage this game comfortably. If the Giants play footsie they will make this closer than it should be. ALL THE GIANTS NEED TO DO IS EXECUTE AND THEY WILL WIN THIS GAME HANDILY.

The single most talented player on the Rams is Steven Jackson. But he held out this summer. So to watch the rust of Week 1 in their ugly defeat at the hands of the Eagles was obviously a confluence of events. You can rest assured the Rams will be far more organized because they will have had this opportunity to review their mistakes and execute far better. CASE IN POINT: RB Blitz pickup was sloppy- the Rams gave up two sacks to the Eagles because of RBs doing a poor job on those assignments. You have to expect them to do a better job on that this week.

Overall the Rams offense was not that bad last week. It was their defense and specials that stunk up the joint. Specials gave up poor field position constantly. The Eagles offensive line gave McNabb the time (ZERO sacks in 39 pass attempts) and the defensive back 7 of the Rams were picked apart all day. The Rams leading tackler, LB Witherspoon hurt his groin in preseason and was not effective in Week 1. The Rams did not gang-tackle last weekend and they KNOW they need to gang-tackle Jacobs this weekend to survive, so no low hanging fruit expected here.

But here is where it gets good for Giants fans- the Giants made plenty of ugly mistakes in their first week win vs the skins, and were busy sorting all that out for TEN days to get ready for Week 2. So look for a focused effort today where the Giants do their part to out-physical each line of scrimmage of the Rams and win the game where it is always won.. in the trenches.

The thing to watch for is that it is always possible for the Giants to come out of the blocks slow when they are on the road. And yet we see them dig in and slowly/steadily reassert their will. The Giants gave up 7 to TB early. They had to come from behind vs the Bears. It happened a lot last season. Ideally the Giants assert themselves early, take that Dome crowd out if it and win easily, but if it is one thing we have seen from the Giants it is that they do not like getting it done easily. How about a QUALITY (>10 point margin) win this weekend? If they play 60 minutes, we’ll get one.

The view from across the Delaware

May 15, 2008

The view from across the river in Philadelphia is always a mixture of rabid hunger and violent depression. This is why I find these takes on the prognosis of the Eagles so amusing.

These stats on the record of the Eagles the past three seasons (0.500) are incredibly deceptive. McNabb, Westbrook and Kearse all have had major injuries at various junctures, and the team MUST be viewed in that context. Before anyone gets too in love with our ‘superior’ Giants, you must remember that we SQUEAKED by this team the past few games with MANY EXTENUATING CIRCUMSTANCES. I can hear it already—‘ya call 6 sacks from Osi extenuating?’…. YES I DO! Osi had the joy of going up against rookie Winston Justice and for some BIRD-brained reason they did not give him help. Maybe some of that reason was that the Eagles so injury-riddled that they could not hide anywhere else either. This was the debut of the 4-headed monster rush where Spags started sending Kiwi and Tuck up the middle while Strahan and Osi went on their own missions. But the big picture here is that the Giants had such a huge advantage over this team because of injuries. And then when we played them again later in the season we beat them by a FG and Akers could have sent it to OT if not for a narrow miss when he hit the right upright.

This is a game of inches, and while our memories of this wonderful season will last a LIFETIME, do not forget that we were not exactly dominant over ANYBODY. About the only game that you could have comfortably lit up an Auerbach cigar for was against Atlanta. Even the 49er game was a travesty of missed opptys until Osi broke it open. So the message here is simple- do not underestimate Philadelphia one bit, because if they are healthy they are a bear. I like it a lot because I have always been advocating that a strong NFC East will be good for the Giants… I see a strong NFC this year and that means that someone from our division can go very far because they will be tested and ready.