Archive for the ‘Gilbride’ 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.

Nobody asked me, but

February 9, 2008

We won the Super Bowl. We have been savoring this win for almost a week now. Everything is wonderful. There are no worts on this team. Or are there? Eli gets a free pass, I know, I know, I promise not to do the 56 game rip when he had a 74 QB rating and could not play consistent quarters let alone consistent games, playoffs et al…

What I speak to now is, before anyone anoints Gilbride, I have a few bones to pick. (1) What is this under-use of the TE? First it was Shockey, now it is Boss. At least your malfeasance is non-discrimatory. (2) And why is it that you never took Bradshaw out of mothballs? One again 9 carries for Bradshaw for 5 yds/per, Jacobs 14 carries for 42 yards… 3 yds/per. Hmm, like has been said before, in a game of inches, we see the difference in feet and yards. (3) On the subject of Bradshaw, ya think we might just have gotten LUCKY when a slow and lumbering Jacobs makes it back to the line of scrimmage and barely gets that first down on 4th and 1? Why not use Bradshaw so he can kick out if necessary- in fact a kick out and we get 10-20 yards or possibly a TD. (4) I heard some math- that 90% of the run calls were between the tackles…. what is UP with that? We knew that the NE linebackers had one weakness, slowing speed due to age. We practically played into their hands.

THE GAME DID NOT HAVE TO BE SO TORTUOUSLY CLOSE.

Super Bowl quick takeaways

February 2, 2008

A list of reasons for why the Giants will lose the Super Bowl:

1) The Patriots offense is as good as the ’99 Rams, maybe better.
2) Tom Brady is one of the best QBs of our generation.
3) Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches of our generation.
4) The Patriots have too many ways to win a ball game.
5) Umenyiora and Burress- talk is cheap.
6) A Pats win means the ’72 Dolphins crybabies can finally go away.
7) Is Coughlin/Gilbride ready for primetime?

A list of reasons for why the Giants will win the Super Bowl:

1) The Giants played NE already and know what it will take to win.
2) Toomer and Strahan: The Giants are here to win the game.
3) You cannot plan a ring. Seau and Barber both get denied.
4) The road warriors are on the road.
5) Confidence.
6) 18-0. The bigger they are the harder they fall.
7) The Patriots defense is the chink in the armor.
8) This team is resilient. Bruschi on the gmen: “…incredible mental toughness.”
9) 1990 analog.

Analysis of Super Bowl XLII

January 30, 2008

There are going to be many battles within this war on Sunday night.

WHEN THE GIANTS HAVE THE BALL:
1) Burress vs Samuel/Hobbs. There are two reasons why Plax opened his mouth with “23-17.” One is because he has S*** for brains. The second is that he is genuinely pumped to be in this game and feeling about as well as he has felt in a long time. He has a 7″ height advantage on these guys, played well against them before and he clearly has an.. EDGE NYG.
2) Steve Smith vs Randall Gay. I would normally say Gay has the advantage, but Smith is getting better every game and one would think he will make plays.
3) Giant OL vs Patriots DL. Wilfork is very important to this team, but the Giants have demonstrated time and again the ability to control the line of scrimmage. Pickup of Vrabel on the blitz is imperative… this is how they get to the passer. EDGE NYG.
4) Jacobs/Bradshaw vs Seau/Bruschi/Vrabel. Ability vs Experience. Jacobs has shown a tendency to fumble the ball after a layoff.. please protect the ball. Bradshaw’s speed is a HUGE advantage over this aging group of experienced veterans if the Giants are smart enough to leverage it often. EDGE NYG.
5)Manning vs Belichick. Belichick is smart and will not let Manning sit back there with time. He will mix up coverages a lot more than the Packers did, and do his best to confuse and fluster Eli. The old Eli would not be up to the task. The new Eli has shown he is because Gilbride has smartly mixed up playcalling (when they are not ahead in Q4) and made the game shorter so that Manning is not back there so long that he can have that turnover. Manning does best with LESS time and MORE reflex. He is best when he has to throw to a spot before the WR is there. I see no reason why Gilbride will change this- it is a quicker game and Manning does best in it. The edge will go to Belichick in deference to his myriad # of SB successes, but Manning can control this outcome if he keeps doing what has gotten him here. EDGE PATS.
6) Giants offense vs Patriots defense summary- Bradshaw and Burress have the distinct advantage that must be leveraged. If the running game gets on track, then Manning’s play action becomes lethal too. EDGE NYG.

WHEN THE PATRIOTS HAVE THE BALL:
1) Moss vs Webster/double team- Any need for discussion? The Giants need to be physical and force him inside. Webster has improved but this is in need of help(doubling) and that means EDGE PATS.
2) Welker vs Ross- The Giants must be very physical here and do the 1991 Super Bowl ‘Andre Reed redux’ by kicking the living snot out of this player. He lives near the line of scrimmage on short stuff, so you have to pound him and disrupt the timing. Welker likes coming back to the ball (as all good WRs must do), and then he curls around to break the first defender’s tackle. It was really helpful that the Giants saw this guy already, because they know all about how he kills teams. EDGE PATS.
3) Pats OL vs Giants DL- Earth to Osi Umenyiora, Earth to Osi Umenyiora, come in please?!!! It is time for us to see Umenyiora make an impact. I know he is getting doubled, but he often gets singled too by Light, so GET TO BRADY please and cause havoc. This is the most pivotal matchup of the game. When Flozell Adams buckled in Q3 of the Dallas game, the Giants went from needing a miracle to win to getting that miracle and winning. Good pitching beats good hitting, good OLs beat good DLs. Strahan is going to play the game of his life. Will Umenyiora? I think not. The only hope for the Giants is Tuck on mismatches with a Guard. EDGE PATS.
4) Maroney/Faulk vs Pierce/Mitchell/Torbor. Maroney was held in check, but Faulk never is. Faulk must be blanketed or else he will kill you on those 3rd down conversions. EDGE PATS.
5) Brady vs Spagnuolo. Thank goodness for Spags. Otherwise this would not even be a contest and I would not be wasting my time typing this entire analysis. Brady is there with Montana and the great ones of all time. Spags and this Giant defense have seen Brady-Garcia-Romo-Favre the past 4 games, so the good news for the Giants is that they are not getting a shock to the system. Spags will put as much pressure on Brady as possible and Brady will still win. EDGE PATS.
6) Patriots offense vs Giants defense summary- The trick to beating the Patriots is to bend but not break here. They are going to score points. They just cannot score 35-40 points. EDGE PATS.

SPECIAL TEAMS:
Tynes benefited greatly from making that big 47 yarder. Confidence is everything. Hixon and the kickoff unit put a great deal of pressure on the opposing team and they just get better and better every game. EDGE NYG.

COACHING:
Edge Belichick, EDGE PATS.

GAME SUMMARY:
Objectively speaking, the edge that the Giants offense has over the Patriots defense is not as great as the edge of the Patriots offense over the Giants defense. Specials will give the Giants a shorter field than the Patriots, but will that be enough? My two keys to the game are: 1) GILBRIDE MUST ATTACK EARLY AND OFTEN AND KEEP PUTTING PRESSURE ON THE PATRIOTS DEFENSE FOR 60 MINUTES.. NOT FOR ONLY 50:33 .. NOT THE LETUP WE SAW IN W17 WHEN WE HAD A LEAD. 2) UMENYIORA MUST GET TO BRADY. I will go out on a limb and say that if either of these two things happen the Giants will win the game. I do not think that that happens because I have seen Umenyiora mostly quiet vs the better Offensive Tackles these past 4 games, and I have not seen Gilbride use Bradshaw as much as he needs to and use the offense in the 4th quarter (unless they are behind).

It is there for the taking for the Giants. How badly do they want it? No one gives you anything. Championships are won, championships are not not lost. There is an opening here for the Giants to be physical and win, but everything must go right. You must be bold and not be afraid to lose. I have my doubts about what the playcalling will be like in Q4. We know that if you fall behind vs the Patriots it is going to be hard to win, so what if the Giants actually have a lead in Q4? Do you want a 3-4 pt lead vs Brady in Q4 and have Gilbride put the brakes on and think that R-R-P-K is going to win you a Super Bowl? He needs to understand that the only way you are going to deny Brady a chance to win is with you running out the clock, and that means keeping up the attack offense, getting first downs and keeping the ball until the game is OVER. How much respect do you have for Mr. Brady, Mr. Gilbride? No lead is safe, and if the Giants did not understand that from playing him already, then we deserve to lose. But if the Giants are able to realize that the best defense vs Brady is an offense that stays on the field ALL the time, then we do have a very realistic chance.

Bill Belichick gets it

January 27, 2008

From Today’s NY POST: “Patriots coach Bill Belichick mentioned rookie RB Ahmad Bradshaw as a key player to stop, which is quite remarkable considering Bradshaw barely played at all until the 15th game of the season.”
This blog has had a fairly consistent message for a number of weeks now- (1) get the ball to Bradshaw as much as possible, and (2) get him on the field because he stretches defenses and enables THE GIANTS to dictate the terms of engagement. In August, despite a sloppy preseason, we spotted something to get excited about- a rookie named Ahmad Bradshaw. He fumbled in W2 on a kickoff and was sent to the doghouse. He came back in W16 versus the Bills when Jacobs was hurt, and the team has not been the same since. His minutes have risen. TOO SLOWLY. Gilbride, the great misuser of talent, is waiting for years from now to use him? If Jacobs did not get hurt we would not even know if Bradshaw existed! (He was not even dressed for a number of games in midseason.)

THE FUTURE IS NOW! Next season this budding star RB could tear his ACL and his career is over, a footnote in Giants history, a trivia question in the back of a sports almanac. WIN THE CHAMPIONSHIP NOW WITH BRADSHAW.

BUCK AND AIKMAN ASKED ALOUD FOR THE WORLD TO HEAR IN H2 OF THE PACKER NFC CHAMPIONSHIP GAME- WHY ARE THE GIANTS NOT GIVING MORE TIME TO BRADSHAW?

AND NOW WE HAVE BILL BELICHICK SAYING THAT BRADSHAW IS A “KEY PLAYER TO STOP.”

The Giants understand that you need to pitch a perfect game to beat the Patriots. The Giants have that perfect game, and it means maximizing your talents and playing Bradshaw as much as possible. This means playing Jacobs too, but it means 20+ touches for Bradshaw. Even when Bradshaw is on the field and not getting the ball, he is doing his work, pressing the Patriot defense to cover much more of the field due to his threat. BILL BELICHICK GETS IT. WHY DOESN’T COUGHLIN AND GILBRIDE?

Keep it simple- dictate the terms and win the game by playing Bradshaw.

Super Buzz

January 21, 2008

Deliverance from Corey Webster!
1) Ever wonder why Spagnuolo gets all the attention and buzz for a head coaching job and Gilbride gets none? Could it be the underutilization of Shockey to the point where his loss to IR is barely noticed? Could it be the underutilization of Ahmad Bradshaw, to the point where we now have Joe Buck and Troy Aikman even second guessing why he is not getting more playing time? Add “9:27 left” and the prosecution rests. Gilbride has done some nice playcalling this year, but then he hasn’t.
2) Spags is the man. I am still wondering how Ryan Grant and the vaunted Packer YAC (they led the league, more than the Patriots) was stopped COLD. The Giants DL had enough push to force Favre to get rid of the ball, almost too quickly in retrospect. Ever notice the in-game adjustments by Spags to tighten up the defense?! It has been like that for most of the year.
3) Maybe he was playing hurt, or maybe I am just out to lunch for not noticing sooner, but Butler runs the 40 almost as fast as Marvelous. On a good day.
4) Re the Pats… “We know how good they are,” Manning said. “But we also know what it takes to beat them. Hopefully we can make it happen this time.”
5) I mentioned in an earlier post last night, and it is worth repeating with the ultimatenyg megaphone: AHMAD BRADSHAW DID NOT EVEN PLAY VERSUS THE PATRIOTS.
6) Road Warriors to the end: The gmen became the first NFC team to make it to the Super Bowl by winning three playoff games on the road. 10 straight, an NFL season record. Note that the Giants will be raising ticket prices so that we can see them lose at home next year.
7) I could not look at the two FGs that were missed. My Tynes-meter was scary. And when he went to go out for the 46 yarder, I thought he had a better shot at it because there would be a little less pressure to make this distance. And Coughlin said that the FG unit RAN onto the field (grateful for an oppty for atonement), which was a good sign.
8) “It’s Giants football,” added receiver Amani Toomer. “We want to make sure our fans have some good, healthy blood pressure going into our games.”
9) When OT came, the Giants lost the toss and Favre got the ball. ‚ÄúThat’s what we wanted, trust me.” Pierce said. For the job Pierce and the defense did last night, I think you have to trust him. The tackle he made busting up the screen pass to the left flat when there were 4 blockers and 1 Giant was one of the most inspiring efforts of the game.

the glass is three quarters empty

May 6, 2007

Before the sugar-coated one-sided pr pieces come out on how wonderful every player is through minicamp and preseason, let’s list objective reasons for why we are going to suck this year.

1) You cannot teach accuracy. There is plenty of room for Manning to improve, but the studies show that QB ratings start leveling off in Y3, and Manning’s was FLAT. Unfortunately we are not going to see a serious jump in his production.

2) Jerry Reese’s plan for Left Tackle is a bust so far. He has been trying to get Cleveland’s LT, but even that would be yet another “stabilizer.” Speaking of stabilizers…

3) LB Kawika Mitchell, DT Marcus Bell, DB Michael Stone, QB Anthony Wright, K Marc Hickok, P Cory Ohnesorge.

4) We still do not have a kicker. Another stabilizer coming.

5) There are still medical questions about lisfranc foot injuries in terms of Strahan’s ability to come back at the same pro-bowl level of play. He is 36.

6) There are no medical questions about ACL injuries- Toomer will not be ‘effective’ in his first year back. Considering his age, he is headed toward being cut or becoming that classic “third-down” possesion receiver.

7) You lose something when you take your most recent #1 (Kiwanuka) and try to change his position. Dialing up this guy’s weight like a video control and making him into a different player is rarely pulled off at the level of the NFL. I agree that it would be good to have Kiwanuka and our pro bowl ends on the field at the same time but Kiwanuka is not likely going to be a pro bowl LB, certainly not this year. In fact, he is going to make a few mistakes during games that will cost us.

8) Gilbride and Palmer are retreads. Gilbride deserved a promotion after being part of the problem in Manning’s lack of improvement? Someone explain to me how THIS GUY is going to help Manning. Was Hufnagel the root of all evil and Gilbride blocked from succeeding? I doubt it highly.

9) Coughlin is a retread in a retread year. No one wants to play for us this season because we are dead Coughlin walking. I do not think he motivates his players properly. He treats them equally and that is a mistake. His undoing will come in the latter part of the season when he has them out in pads yet again in practice, sucking whatever energy they have so that they can get the first score and pack the rest of the game in.

10) We still have the same problems at LB and Secondary that we had last year. We are getting the 2006 history lesson that the Lewis system was truly a harm to Webster (and Pierce and Wilson) making plays. I am hopeful this can be the case and that our new coord will make a difference… but either Webster is going to make big improvement or he is gone.

Please note that I specifically did not list the departure of Tiki… I am very bullish on Brandon Jacobs. Of course he will not be able to fill Tiki’s shoes but he will do a very good job wearing down defenses.