Archive for the ‘Fassel’ Category

Giant Myths in 2007 and 2008

February 23, 2008

Let’s see if we can list some Giants (and NFL) myths and then quickly debunk them.

1) A Training Camp Holdout Works. Not. Most holdouts are disasters. Many end up in injury. In the case of Strahan, he was needed in Game 1 and was not able to help with impact until ~ Game 4-5. Show up at camp and if the coach has any clue he will not overwork a veteran who is 35 years old. And in the case of a contract holdout, the team loses, the player loses, and the free agent is generally the only winner because he shows toughness (for all the rest of his clients) and kills the player and the team in the process.

2) We were never winning a Super Bowl with Tiki Barber. Coughlin would not listen to Barber. The Maras (as a result, in my opinion) told Coughlin to change and listen to/communicate with his players better. If Barber had been playing this year with Spagnuolo doing his magic tricks and Manning throwing the ball better, who is to say what would have happened? I have stated before and will reiterate it here- Reese’s removal of the BIGGEST penalty offender in Luke Petitgout probably was the single largest addition by subtraction the Giants had. (and I never understood that until it happened.)

3) We were never winning a Super Bowl with Shockey. See previous posts for this myth getting rejected. To quote vanilla Eli Manning, that is a stupid theory.

4) The experts were wrong about (not predicting) the Giants success this year because they were ignorant of the facts. NOT! The Giants had two new coordinators, a new defensive system, a new Left Tackle, lack of depth at OL, no proven pass-catching out of the backfield, a mediocre QB who remained mediocre for the first 15 out of 16 games, a veteran holdout, a new FG kicker who could barely make (and missed many) extra points, a new LB playing out of position, and a secondary which our own GM was the first to admit was our most glaring weakness. Oh, and did I mention that we had a once-in-a-generation rookie draft class that no one, not even Jerry Reese could have predicted would make such an enormous impact? Excluding Washington W3, the Giants did not beat a team with a winning record until Tampa Bay in the Playoffs. Pierce can use the self-righteous indignation ‘us-against-the-world’ stuff (GREAT- it helped us win a title!), but until W16 Buffalo and W17 Patriots, this team was inconsistent, half-baked, and COUGHLIN HIMSELF ADMITTED HE HAD NOT SEEN A GAME ALL YEAR WHERE HIS OFFENSE, DEFENSE AND SPECIALS ALL PLAYED WELL ALL ON THE SAME DAY. That changed W17. Logically and rationally, W17 was the change when (not so coincidentally) Manning started playing great.

5) Gilbride’s ring proves he has the answers for us on offense. His playcalling was often unpredictable and therefore positive, but beyond that I see mismanagement of Shockey/Boss and Bradshaw, not to mention no help for Eli correcting mistakes which he repeated too many times until near season’s end. Not sold on him at all. Someone explain to me why we never ran outside in the Super Bowl? Can anyone justify RunRunRunKick vs Dallas at 9:27 left with a 4 point lead? This offense is better than Gilbride.

6) Coughlin can’t change and is not capable of winning the big one. The Giants ordered him to communicate better and listen to his players, he did and the rest is history. I thought he was a dead end, and I was dead wrong!

7) We can convert Kiwanuka into a good LB. Well, to be fair, this one has not been totally busted. Yet. Incomplete. When he handles Witten I will admit I am wrong on this. My mantra is very simple- You draft players in the first round to be an impact and you select players in rounds 3-7 to do the other work surrounding THEM. Asking a DE to go into coverage is okay once in a while to confuse a QB, not okay for every down assignment.

8) Eli Manning is too inconsistent and too inaccurate. Out of nowhere he busted us nattering nabobs of negativity. FREE PASS FOR LIFE.

9) The Giants can’t beat anyone with a winning record. Until they beat 4 of the best in the league, all in the playoffs, to win the Super Bowl!!!!

10) Now that the Giants are Super Bowl winners, their tougher schedule will be a large obstacle to them doing well. Ever since the league realigned into 8 divisions, there are only 2 games in each team’s schedule which get matched for strength of record from the previous season. For the Giants this means we play Minnesota and Carolina. THEY WENT 8-8 AND 7-9 THIS PAST YEAR. So the Pete Rozelle scheme of having the dregs play the dregs and the best playing the best has been diluted and it is Minnesota and Carolina that have to worry about the Giants, not the Giants worrying about them.

11) The Giants (a year) after the Super Bowl always get torched and this coming year we will get torched once again. Look at the circumstances… 1986 was followed by a strike year when Mara was naively last to the party to lock up replacements. 1990 was followed by the Parcells screw defection in May 1991 when we inherited a poor choice from Young in Ray Handley. Between Handley and Rod Rust, it sent the organization back about 20 years back into 1970’s Giants depression. 2000 was demonstrated to be a semi-fraud year where our 12-4 record was pumped up with the inflated steroids of a weak division which we whipped 7-1, while only going 5-3 vs everyone else. This was an above average year and Fassel could never handle any prosperity because the strength of schedule came back the next year to expose his team. Summarized- there is no strike in 2008, there is no coaching change in 2008, and there is no fraud since we whipped the best. The youth (improving) should give us more legs to have a very competitive year.

The Crucible of the NFC East

February 18, 2008

Ray Rhodes, Andy Reid, Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Vince Tobin, Dave McGinnis and… Bill Parcells.

This a list of the coaches the Giants faced in the NFC East in Jim Fassel’s tenure from 1997-2003. See a pattern? Other than Reid and Parcells, it was an endless parade of misses. Wasn’t this a great thing for the Giants? One would think so, but on further inspection it is survival of the unfit. The lack of strong and consistent competition within the NFC East set back our franchise, and the rest of the NFC East along with it.

Fassel floated from year to year. It was annoying to find that the Giants could not handle any prosperity. Under Fassel, as soon as the playoffs were attained, the schedule got harder and the team took on water. The Giants were unable to have two consecutive years in a row of winning records. How could it be that Fassel could lead the gmen to the playoffs three times in those seven years and be so far away from a championship?

Year 1997 Record 10-5-1 Division Record 7-0-1 Non-Division 3-5
Year 1998 Record 8-8 Division Record 5-3 Non-Division Record 3-5
Year 1999 Record 7-9 Division Record 3-5 Non-Division Record 4-4
Year 2000 Record 12-4 Division Record 7-1 Non-Division Record 5-3
Year 2001 Record 7-9 Division Record 4-4 Non-Division Record 3-5
Year 2002 Record 10-6 Division Record 5-1 Non-Division Record 5-5

Note how the Divisional Record vs the weak NFC East was 31-14-1 during this time and the Record vs the rest of the NFL was a mediocre 23-27.

and then the wheels came off:
Year 2003 Record 4-12 Division Record 1-5 Non-Division Record 3-7

Coughlin this year before the Super Bowl:
Year 2007 Record 10-6 Division Record 3-3 Non-Division Record 7-3

For six years from ’97 thru ’02, the NFC East covered up a multitude of NY Giants sins. When Parcells joined the NFC East in ’03 combined with Reid (and the weakling Cardinals no longer in the division), the team crumbled like a house of cards. Coughlin inherited an NFC East division that was was no longer a doormat. Despite Snyder’s attempts to make the Redskins an easy mark, Joe Gibbs was at least going to force you to earn your way. During this period, Reid’s Eagles had a near miss at a Super Bowl win, and Phillips inherited a Dallas team strong in personnel. In 2007 the Cowboys were 13-3, the Giants were 10-6, the Redskins were 9-7 and the Eagles were 8-8. The result was a 3-3 record this year vs a division which did not have a single losing team.

There is a very big difference between divisional games and non-divisional games. Your divisional opponents know you and all of your tricks. The games become much more about who can be physical and who can execute. Add a division that is strong from top to bottom and your divisional games become an even greater test. So it is that the divisional playoff game between the Giants and Cowboys took on so much more meaning. By many accounts, the Dallas Cowboys and NY Giants were the two most physical teams in the NFL. The Dallas offensive line was dominant. I will go as far to say that the single biggest moment in the entire playoffs was in Q3 versus Dallas when Flozell Adams went down. Before that time, the Dallas Cowboys were not allowing the Giants to get pressure on Romo and a win was not happening. After that moment, Umenyiora was able to handle Adams and the floodgates opened.

That which does not kill you makes you stronger. The Giants were well served by the trials in the NFC East. Conversely, perhaps those doormats of the Bills, Jets and Dolphins in the AFC East did not help the Patriots as much as one would have thought. When you consider that the ’86 Giants had the soon to be ’87 Super Bowl Skins to fight with, how the ’90 Giants had the soon to be ’91 Super Bowl Skins to fight with (not to mention the Eagles, who stopped our undefeated season), and how the ’07 Giants had two other NFC East playoff teams to contend with, it becomes readily apparent that a strong NFC East is in the best interest of the Giants in order to win championships.