Archive for the ‘Justin Tuck’ Category

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 NFL.com 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…

Chris Canty and the Defensive Line

March 1, 2009

How aggressively do the Giants go after Chris Canty in the wake of Rocky Bernard being signed? What are the chances of the Giants signing him?

Pros:
1) The perfect mix of age (26) and experience (4 yrs)
2) Able to play both DE and DT well
3) Cofield and Robbins both underwent arthroscopic knee surgery this winter, so need for depth important
4) Canty grew up in NY (Bronx) and would like to come back here, all else equal
5) Best free agent DL out there (next to Haynesworth)
6) You can never have enough good defensive linemen, because every single dressed player gets snaps in the rotation
7) Lack of pressure up the middle in second half of season a big reason why the Giants want to upgrade the DL
8) Kiwi did not have the year we expected of him, and Canty can line up at DE

Cons:
1) It’s always the money, and this signing won’t come cheap
2) Bernard’s signing clearly alleviates the need for depth
3) Plenty of other teams strongly interested in him
4) Given that Boley is a 5yr/25M signing, Reese still has not made the big ticket free agent signing
5) With Osi back, Tuck can rush inside and give the push up the middle that was missing
6) Osi, Kiwi, Tuck, Robbins, Bernard, Cofield, Tollefson, Alford (and Henderson, Douzable, Bryant, Clark) make for a pretty crowded roster and enough competition

Summary: the Bernard signing really lowered the chances for this signing, but Canty wanted to play here… he would already be out of town visiting the next team by now if not for his interest in returning to NY. It still looks like Canty will play somewhere else, but all Reese has to do is offer him numbers in the vacinity of Smith and he will be in blue this season. It is up to Reese.. we’ll respect his judgment.

Wonder’s autopsy and other remarks

January 14, 2009

We all are trying to move on. But Wonder’s view is always worth listening to, because he educates us as to what is going on. (Wait till you get the skinny on his draft board. I used to listen to the Kiper’s of the world, but none of the them are as good as Wonder. He is BRUTALLY FRANK about who is garbage and who is the real deal. This is why blogs work.)

THIS Jints’ Loss REALLY irks me..WHY ? Because the Lombardi Trophy was there for the taking…have you EVER seen a worse collection of teams headed to a poss SB? Did ANYBODY believe that Ariz could come to the Mead. and win? No…Warner back here in THE COLD ? They can’t run/stop our RUN, and we would light him up !! They had NO CHANCE…and what do we do ? Lie down and die like an old elephant headed for his burial site…The Eagles ? PLEASE…they would have gotten killed by a really good 49ers/Cowboys early-mid 90’s team..Pitt ? great D..NO OFF LINE…Ravens? same thing..very good, but NOT GREAT D, and a mediocre, at best, offense…do NOT blame the DEF…they played unbelievable the first half, except for the last 2min “prevent you from winning” prevent defense…up to that point, they had 34 TOTAL YDS OF OFFENSE !!!..let’s face it: I said BEFORE the game my biggest fear was AVANT converting a critical 3rd and 10..guess what..?? it was 3rd and TWENTY !!! We’re up 11-10 and BOTH TUCK and Kiwi had a chance to SACK McNabb..instead, PLAY OF THE GAME- escape and drop-off to AVANT, who was TOTALLY UNCOVERED and who scampers for another 10+yds for a total of 21 and a first down..PATHETIC…again, NO SACKS !! However, a fair amount of pressure on McNabb…buttttt, the real culprit was the three-headed monster of Manning, Carney, and Gilbrown…c’mon, are you KIDDING ME ? You keep Tynes on the ACTIVE ROSTER and don’t use him for 46,47yd FG attempts ? And as for Eli, he MUST learn/be taught HOW TO STEP INTO the ball using his LEFT LEG when throwing in a windy game..I said that EXACT THING earlier in the season..and it came back to haunt us…as for Gilbrown, GET A CLUE!! You have a great running game, a QB who can’t hit the broad side of a barn, and you keep THROWING the ball to “confuse” Jimmy Johnson’s troops.. the only ones you confused were your FANS..US !!! 1st and 5 after a penalty at the Eagle (roughly) 25 and you THROW 3 straight times ? How’d that work out for you Gilbrown ?..and has he EVER even THOUGHT of a draw, screen, flareout for Bradshaw ? Or how about a quick slant to Smith ? How about a clearout by the WR and a quick 7yd dumpoff to Boss in the vacated area? And SNEAKING Manning was ABSURD…you don’t think JACOBS was/is 99% to gain 3in. right up the middle? COME ON !!!…in conclusion, we all want to blame the loss of one MORON (Burress) for our off. woes and the end of our season..WRONG !! This will sting a LONG time and go down on my SHORT list as one of the WORST losses in Jints’ history.

A few things are for sure: 1) It will probably take the first snap of the 2009 regular season before I have ‘completely’ moved on. 2) As everyone has pointed out, the Giants beat all four of the remaining teams. 3) Burress is already in the news, as Tuck et. al. are already welcoming him back for next season. 4) I cannot bear to watch ESPN this week. 5) At least ‘some’ people covered the obvious, that our friend Gilbrown is the weakest link: Garafolo and Monkovic. Garafolo’s article is endorsed highly in these corners, as his post-mortem dovetailed many of the ultimatenyg new york giants blog remarks in the latter part of the season. 6) Hope springs eternal- offseason maneuvers are already being discussed. 7) Another shout-out to the Chiefs contingent of loyal ultimatenyg bloggers, you got yourself a good man for the front office. I cannot imagine anyone who is rational thinking that Pioli will put up with Edwards for TOO long. Maybe a year for continuity? Even that is a mistake- you have to move forward, the quicker the better. That is Pioli’s first test.

New York Giants 34 Carolina Panthers 28

December 22, 2008
Ward and Boss, the TWO keys to the Ultimatenygame
This was as gutty a performance as I have seen from this team since the Redskins W3 2007. The similarities were many- 2 consecutive losses, lots of doubters, a double digit deficit. When the Giants defense was getting manhandled early, giving up 3 TDs on the first 3 drives, down 21-10, there was no realistic way we were going to win this game. That this team came back from that proved so many things to us. But most importantly, the victory proved so much to themselves. It reminded them of what they have done this year in winning 11 games prior. It reminded them of what they have done last year, when they could come from behind and win despite so much adversity.

Victory tonight was icing on the cake. That the Giants somehow managed to tie the game was a mini-miracle. There were so many positives that were going to come from this game, and the recap was going to take that angle, the Patriots Week 17 Angle, where that loss was a BIG POSITIVE. If Kasay hits the FG, there is still a lot to be positive about. That the kick misses and the Giants go on to win in OT may very well be the luck needed to make this team go all the way. Wins like this galvanize a team. The Giants may have to play this team again, but they will not be afraid. They took this team’s best punch, got knocked down, got back up and were the last team standing. The Giants got the confidence back that they lost when Burress was removed from the roster, and they are learning to how to win with who is left. Barber, Strahan, Umenyiora, Shockey, Burress? How many daggers do you put in this team? It keeps coming. The Giants have faced NINE consecutive teams with winning records, a combined 82-51-2. Every team took their best shot. The Giants are 12-3, they have the all-important bye to heal up, they have homefield through the playoffs. And they have the resolve and the resiliency of a team that is capable of anything they believe in.

THE POSITIVES WERE MANY:
1) The offense is back. Wonder talked about the Giants offense getting into a new rhythm now that Burress is no longer there. They did exactly that. They stayed with the run. But they were able to do so because, unlike in Dallas, down and distance was manageable enough. Manning held the ball less, threw into shorter routes, and this way there were not the countless debilitating sacks that caused horrendous 2nd and 3rd downs.

2) Eli Manning found his wind legs. He managed the wind, threw shorter passes, stepped into the passes, and threw the ball a little lower on shorter routes to keep the ball from sailing. This was important, dare we say vital, for Manning’s confidence. And once again he led his team down the field to score near the end of Q4, got the 2 pt conversion pass to Hixon (what a play fake, we were sold on the ball being handed off to Jacobs along with all of the Panthers!) to tie the game, and then led them again in OT. Everyone knows that Manning is capable of anything at the end of a game. His confidence after the game was obvious: “You never know what the weather is going to be like here. We’re used to playing in those cold and windy games and I would like to think we would have the advantage in some of those. I think it will be fun playing the games at home.”

3) Derrick Ward, Brandon Jacobs and the offensive line were excellent in the running game. Gilbride gets credit for not giving up on the run. How do we begin to discuss the superlatives of Derrick Ward, who gashed this team time and time again, amassing 215 yards from scrimmage as the backup?!!

4) Gilbride found his Tight End! Kevin Boss lives. In my humble opinion, this was the real key to the game. In order for Ward to run his highlight film in Q4 and OT, there HAS TO BE BOSS first, moving the chains. It is the middle of Q3, 21-13 Panthers. The Giants have the ball at their own 16 yard line. When the Giants get into a 3rd and 10 after a 5 yard penalty, and Madden is sentencing the Giants offense to death (now that Burress is gone), we are yelling for Bossssss! And to Boss it went! And on the exact type of play that Witten and Garrett killed us on last week that we needed so desperately! One game late, but good enough to save us! Boss makes his chip block, then after the delay on the right side of the line, runs out across the middle to the left, catches a 5 yarder and runs for daylight, 11 yards, and the first down. Small ball, but an important first down. You need those types of plays to keep the rhythm, because how else can you keep going to the run? The Giants controled the ball for 8:36. 5 first downs. Ward with a big 22 yarder. And when it was 3rd and Goal from the 3, who was there to clean up and convert? Kevin Boss in the end zone. So many key plays.

Boss must become the 1986 Mark Bavaro of this offense. In 1986, the Giants WRs were nothing spectacular. Indeed, guys like Lionel Manuel, Bobby Johnson and Stacy Robinson couldn’t shine shoes for most teams. How on earth did the ’86 team keep the pressure off the loaded box? How did they move the chains? The answer was Bavaro, who LED THE SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS IN RECEIVING YARDS THAT SEASON. That is your blueprint for success, that is the rhythm they found. Everytime the Giants were in a big spot, Boss was the answer. Your TE can get you big plays all over the field, but especially in the red zone, and especially on third down. Let’s remember, who was the player that awoke the Giants offense at the beginning of Q4 vs the Patriots in the Super Bowl? Kevin Boss for 45 yards. USE THAT TIGHT END to get you a fresh set of downs so that you can have that patience in the running game.

5) I admit to being wrong about Jacobs. The Giants need the moose more than I thought. He has that attitude necessary to impose your will on an opposing team. While I still want #44 to get lots of touches, 3rd down and red zone, it is apparent more than ever how the battering of Jacobs sets up Ward on the change of speed.

6) Gilbride made the adjustments. Even when the Giants tried a RB flare which did not work, it was fine, it was stretching the LBers. The gmen used the quick slants, the draws out of the shotgun, the TE delayed pass, mixing it up enough to allow the running game to keep going, pounding away at them.

7) Webster was once again excellent. He covered Smith most of the game, but Smith only had 3 catches for 47 yards, and on 35 of them it was a zone coverage (and more accurately, a failed blitz pass rush) that got beat, not Webster.

The Negatives:
1) Still no pass rush. We’ll be generous and put some of that on Tuck’s leg, vomit and the flu. Without Tuck (who was valiant in effort) making an impact, you have to figure the DL becomes very average very quickly. Tuck and Robbins need two weeks off now to rest for Jan 10-11. Kiwi needs to watch tape of how Strahan does not try to overpower linemen on run defense, he sheds them.

2) To say our linebackers are mediocre is a compliment. Without Tuck and the DL at full strength, these sack of potatoes were victimized constantly. Spags gave them more help in the second half and it stemmed some of the bleeding. My kingdom for a LBer #1 in the draft. And #2 also.

3) Diehl has regressed. Is he playing hurt, or tired? If it is either, get him some rest, because he is not playing the edge nearly as well as he was playing earlier in the season.

4) Pierce is ineffective in coverage beyond a few yards past the line of scrimmage. He simply lacks the speed. On one key 3rd down conversion, a Panther player comes into the middle of the field PRECISELY where Pierce’s zone of coverage is, and he still does not make the play. Unacceptable.

Misc:
1) I thought when the Giants won the toss in OT, I would have taken the wind. Manning’s reaction to the decision to take the ball almost looked like he agreed. But the team did not blink, and ran it down their throats.

2) To be filed under the category of why you do not bet: Let’s say you took Carolina, taking +3 points. There is almost no chance in hell of you losing your bet at any point until the very end of OT. You’re up 21-10, still up 21-20, then 28-20 in Q4. The only way you will lose is if by some miracle the Giants get a TD, get the 2 pt conversion, and then somehow win with a 6 pt TD in OT.

Beauty Contest

December 17, 2008

Before the fans started voting in the Pro Bowl, it was actually a better assessment of talent.. your peers knew who was better than the outsiders. The fans now count for 33%, so the Pro Bowl is a little bit of a Beauty Contest. So last year when guys like Snee got snubbed, we noted it and moved on. This year, the Giants making the Pro Bowl are

Shaun O’Hara
Eli Manning
Chris Snee
John Carney
Jeff Feagles
Justin Tuck

I do not mind the offense outweighing the defense, but where the brown is Corey Webster? On the offensive side of the ball, the only person as deserving or more so is Manning and Snee. And at some points thru the season, only Snee. So that is life in the popularity contest section of the world. Heck, even the Giants media barely gave any attention to Webster until he got his new contract. The GMs know, money talks and Reese’s money talked. I would not have given Carney the nod. Very reliable at modest range but he simply does not have the length on kickoffs to get my vote. Some are going to cry about Jacobs, but (lol, at the risk of encouraging Nature!) he did not play at a Pro Bowl level. When you get first downs on short yardage, when you make people miss and extend plays, that is what gets my attention. I know that in the Q4 when the defense is beat up, that is when you benefit from the big man, but a lot of RBs hit hard AND make people miss. Jacobs hits harder but doesn’t.

Sidenote: Spags still has the “All Joes,” Gilbrown still has more responsibility despite the loss of Burress.

Summary: I am sorry for wasting everyone’s time with this comic book post. You could give us 25 Pro Bowl nods and it doesn’t mean jack BROWN unless you win championships. Last year? 1 Pro Bowl nod and 1 Super Bowl, that is my kind of score tally. This year? 6 Pro Bowl nods and ??? Super Bowls? Those 6 do not mean ANYTHING. The only thing that we count on the Ultimatenyg NY Giants Blog is Super Bowl titles.

On other more important matters, Jacobs said he was ready last Sunday but was not allowed to play, and McKenzie’s status for the Panthers is in question.

SIGN WEBSTER NOW

December 12, 2008

A little while back we did a post on Corey Webster, bringing attention to the quiet but great job he is doing at cornerback. Pastime and Mitch noted he becomes a free agent soon… The message here is simple: re-sign him NOW before he enters free agency this coming March. The Giants cannot afford to lose this player. I did not like losing guys like Wilson last season because they were part of the answer, not questions. At a certain price, all players ultimately become questions, and the Giants were totally outbid. But the same thing will happen again if Webster goes to the free market. There are other teams out there that will see a #1 CB who has 4 years experience, is 26 (will be 27 the day after free agency starts) and is in the sweet spot of his career. He knows (just as Wilson did) that you only get one good crack at that monster signing bonus and new contract, and this it. Only if you are a Pro Bowler do you get 2+ shots at that nice new fat contract. And speaking of Pro Bowl, what happens if Webster gets voted in this Tuesday? He is playing for the 11-2 Giants, he is playing the second best on defense next to Tuck, so why shouldn’t he get the attention and possible selection? If he does, his price is only going to go up. If I am Webster’s agent, I am telling him to WAIT until March. If the Giants wait until March they will find themselves $2M+ per year below the market, and Webster will probably choose the market. You only get one crack at the free agency market like this; if the Giants make this mistake, the player should leave and take the money elsewhere. Buy low and sell high.. this is the top of the market for a healthy 27 year old who can cover stars in the NFL. That will be a sad day..If I am Jerry Reese, I want him signed NOW to avoid that scenario.

Summary: We have two pathways, the Tuck blueprint and the Wilson blueprint. Sign Webster now because if he enters free agency it will likely be too late. Reese is smart enough to sign him. Is Webster’s agent as smart as Wilson’s? For our sake, I hope not.

Potpourri

December 7, 2008

1) THE MAIN STORY FOR TODAY’S GAME: WIND. “Northwest winds 15 to 20 mph with gusts up to 30 mph… Increasing to 20 to 30 mph with gusts up to 50 mph this afternoon.” This will shorten the game, as two of the 4 quarters will limit offenses. If I were a betting man, these conditions favor the Eagles covering that large (+8) point spread. The Giants have won and covered 7 straight games, so that mitigates it somewhat. But as we mentioned earlier this week, they brought the line out to try to compensate for that. We’ll be happy if they kick the snot out of the Eagles, but if these conditions deteriorate as the game goes on, why lay so much wood? There is going to have to be much more running, the clock will tick. And wind gusts will happen in mid play, creating more volatility on thrown balls. Welcome to December.

2) Rob points out the draft of 2005: Corey Webster (2), Justin Tuck (3) and Brandon Jacobs (4). Ernie lives. Not bad, considering you DID trade away the (1) and (5) and only had 4 picks that year! 3 out of 4 pro bowl players, if not in name. Pretty impressive.

3) With Burress gone for the year, you have to expect the Redskins (and Arizona and Bengals) defensive approach to keep resurfacing now. The Eagles learned that they are not big enough to beat us with a 7 man front, so with Burress out, I expect more 8-man fronts. If you have a 100% chance of losing with a 7 man front (because the Giants will run it down your throat), then why not make Eli beat you with an 8 man front, where your chances for losing are only 85%? As we said earlier this week, you pick your poison against this Giants offense; w/o Burress and the double over the top, you have to play more 8 man fronts and take your chances. Hopefully by now, Gilbride has figured this out and knows what he needs to do, namely passing about 70-75% of the time if that hand is dealt to him. PUNISH THEM. Hixon et al can punish them.

4) Mike Francesa is ready to b(r)own Manning, Francesa is in love with him now, “he just wins.”

5) Steelers face Dallas with Demarcus Ware (probable) and Marion Barber out (did not even make the trip). Those two would be huge losses. With Barber out, the edge is already with Pitt, but if Ware is out also I would fully expect the Steelers to win the game. Even if Ware plays, it does not look like he will be 100%.

6) After the Dallas-Seahawks game, Ware and Romo on the sideline..
DeMarcus Ware: “Your were hot, you were hot today boy. I’m glad I’m not chasin’ your brown out there.”
Romo: “Me too.”

7) Yes, Westbrook will be healthy. That is a problem. Just like the Colts are a different team with and without Sanders, so it goes with a (HEALTHY) Westbrook.

8) Robbins, O’Hara and Bradshaw are Probable, Webster is Questionable. Webster practiced Friday but he remains a gametime decision.

9) The Steelers right now are perceived to be the #2 team in the league. The Dallas game will tell us a lot about the AFC and NFC, strength-wise.

10) No love lost between Burress and the bartenders at the Latin Quarter. “Burress was an a**. He was rude and disorderly and didn’t acknowledge anyone unless they were in the VIP section. He didn’t treat anybody with respect. I’d rather work with regular customers. Celebrities like Plaxico just cause more problems. He gives the club a bad rep,” the bartender said.

11) Ultimate timing: The tickets for today’s game against the Eagles have which player on them? You cannot make this up.. yes, Plaxico Burress.

12) Fwiw, I’ll be at the game, and if they name the defensive starters, I will be one of those supporting Pierce. After all of the misery he has been put through by that moron, he needs to know that Giants fans appreciate his efforts and are 100% behind him.

13) Another year, another Eagles game. Get ready for some fights in the stands.

Drink, Eagles fans, drink, on the road to binging-spree!
Fight. Fight, Fight! Score a sucker punch one two three!!
Hit em low, hit em high,
and watch our fists fly!!
Fly Eagles Fly, on the road to penitentiary!
A-N-I-M-A-L-S, Eagles!

The Carom

November 18, 2008

Everyone knows this. I do not like to forget.

The score is 20-10, the Giants have not scored in a bit, and Flacco is getting comfortable back there because there is no pass rush and the Ravens have figured out that to move the ball you need to sit back and pass (more). So what do they do? They pass again to Mason. On the left side. Carom. Jack-Tatum-esque-bounce-oh-look-what-I-found-Ross-TD.

Game over.

It was not Gilbride’s fault that Manning threw the pick near the end of the H1. So this game could have easily been 23-10 or 27-10 at that point. The point here is that it WAS 20-3, then 20-10, then 20-10 with Flacco moving that team, and somewhere the URGENCY was lost in the offense. The Ravens were hanging around.

The defense has been doing a great job on run defense in almost all situations this season. But even when the DL can pin its ears back and gear up for pass rush, there have been more than a few games this season where we have not seen it from the DL. Robbins (hand) has been playing hurt. Tuck gets doubled.

When Robbins gets healthy and this DL can impose its will on teams with 4 pass rushers consistently again, then we can argue about which unit on the team is better. But right now, it is not even close. Not by a country mile. The OFFENSE is the most dominant unit on the team, it is the best offense in the league (I do not care what the Gilbrown-impaired stats say about New Orleans or whoever) and it needs to put away opponents with the same urgency at 20-3 that it does when it is behind the Bengals at 20-16 or when it kicking Seahawk brown.

I’ve said it here before, 40 points per game. There is no reason this offense cannot score 40 points a game. We just played the Steelers, Eagles and Ravens and this offense (read: OL) imposed its will on ALL OF THEM. Take responsibility for 60 minutes and blow out the score. EVERY GAME. EVERY OPPONENT. Why leave anything for chance with your DL’s inconsistent pass rush? I have not begun to look at the Cardinals (last time I saw them was small vs the 49ers and vs the Jets), but that game could be a shootout. If the NY Giants offense plays 60 minutes, it can outscore anyone. You may or may not like it because it is not “old time Giants football,” but that is the hand you have been dealt. This Giants OL is unlike anything I for one have ever seen, so have no mercy on opponents and go for the jugular EVERY possession, annihilate these teams, put them ALL away ALL the time. Skill players everywhere at every offensive position. That offensive line is a royal flush, play it for what it is.

Flag Football

November 4, 2008

Roger Goodell has a very big problem. Football is a contact sport, in case any of you did not notice. I just reviewed the tape of that Tuck hit on Bollinger. (Q3 5:55 left, incomplete pass, 15 yard personal foul.) It is a sad state of affairs for the league when a referee can even THINK of calling a penalty on that play. Tuck’s hit and subsequent penalty are part of a much bigger trend (CAMPAIGN?) in trying to rein in hits and injuries. You might as well whip out another 94 flags and place one on each player’s hip so we can remove hitting altogether. This is quite simply madness and someone somewhere needs a wakeup call.

Rumors and theories are circulating more violently than any of these hits. Allegedly the league is trying to protect players as it expands the regular season to 17 games and reduces preseason to 3. If this is the cost, then someone needs to realize quickly that this is 6% forward to go -106% back.

Football is a violent sport. I grew up watching Dick Butkus and Deacon Jones. I just checked their weights, and the Sports Encyclopedia lists them as 245 lbs. and 272 lbs. respectively. Is the game bigger and faster? Yes, certainly at the line of scrimmage. But Strahan was slimmed down to 255 lbs. in his last year as a pro. He played most of his career at 275 lbs., but the point is that the game has not gotten that much bigger and faster. Tuck’s hit on Bollinger looked softer than garden variety LT. Granted that no one ever saw anyone with the size and speed of Taylor when he came into the league, but the point here is that if the league is so worried about preserving the health of players, then DON’T have a 17th game!

The economy is in a recession. Television networks are releasing earnings- ad revenue is dropping. If the NFL teams and players experience a reduction in their revenue and salaries too, well, welcome to the rest of the world. Please don’t become like baseball and manufacture synthetic growth at the cost of the product. The NFL is so much better than this. Or is it?

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.