Archive for the ‘Michael Boley’ Category

The regular season is here!

September 11, 2009

It is the Friday before Week 1. All this talk, now it is time to play the games. THE REGULAR SEASON IS HERE! God, I love football.

The Skins game. We chatted with some folks over at DC Pro Sports Report to get a sense of what we will be seeing on Sunday. Here are the answers to our questions.

1. Why should we expect the Redskins offense to be better than it was in 2008, when it was anemic? Who is going to make the difference?

A: Maybe you shouldn’t. The Redskins offense is a big unknown. The offensive line should be better, with the addition of Derrick Dockery at guard and some health at offensive right tackle. However, the depth is young and completely unproven. Any injury could be a disaster and the only offensive line I know lucky enough to go a full season [or more] without a serious injury is the Giants offensive line — which is both lucky and good. If Washington’s offense improves in 2009 it will be because the offensive line does not collapse under age and injuries, as it did in the second half of 2008.

2. Everyone knows and respects Haynesworth and Daniels. What should opposing offenses do to attack the Redskins defense?

A: Attack the linebackers in pass coverage. London Fletcher is a tackling machine and a real stud against the run, but he’s not a speed demon and quicker running backs can really exploit him. WLB Rocky McIntosh isn’t great in pass coverage either. SLB Brian Orakpo is extremely quick, but he is still learning the position after starring as a defensive end at Texas, and he looks a bit stiff in pass coverage. The more the Giants can make Orakpo play pass defense instead of rushing the quarterback, the better off the Giants will be. Rookie or not, the Giants must watch Orakpo carefully in all passing situations. He’s scary fast.

3. Is Kelly good enough to play opposite Moss? How do you beat a defense that gives help over the top against Moss and lets the other WR get singled?

A: Kelly fell in the draft last year because of well-known concerns about a history of knee injuries and those concerns were justified when he missed 11 games to injury. He’s healthy now, though, and his decent speed, good hands and great size [6’4″ and 220 lbs] make him an ideal complement to Santana Moss. Of course, whether or not Kelly can stay healthy long enough to do some real damage is another matter entirely. The Redskins can move the ball through the air, even with Moss doubled, with TE Chris Cooley, who caught over 80 passes last year. However, they can’t beat a good team like the Giants with just Moss and Cooley. Someone else will have to step forward — a wide receiver like Malcolm Kelly. If the Redskins receiving options are Moss and Cooley again, Washington’s 2009 offense will look a lot like the 2008 edition.

4. Clinton Portis has had his share of injuries. Will he last the season?

A: Who can say? Portis is still only 28 [hard to believe], but he’s had a ton of carries. If he’s healthy, he’s a top running back who can do everything. The Redskins plan to spell him more this season with Ladell Betts who ran for over 1100 yards in 9 starts in 2006 when Portis missed half the season. The idea is for Portis to get the ball about 300-315 times this year instead of 350 or more. It would help Portis a lot if the offensive line could stay healthy. When the OL was healthy last year, Portis was leading the NFL in rushing. When it fell apart in November, Portis’ health and productivity went with it.

5. Who wins? What score?

A: Washington has more weapons offensively and defensively than it did last year. The offensive line didn’t allow a single sack of Jason Campbell in the preseason, but let’s see how they do in a real game against a big-time defensive line. The Giants are a good team and are playing at home. They should win. I don’t expect a romp like the season opener last year, but I think the Giants win in a close game, something like 20-17. I expect a hard-hitting NFC East battle.

Ultimatenyg back here again. I think the Redskins are fortunate to be playing the Giants in Week 1. It is not who you play but when you play them. And the Giants are vulnerable here early in the season because the defense has not played together. All it takes is ONE miscommunication on defense or one play where CC Brown is subbing in for Johnson/Phillips and all things can go south. If we know Gilbride is dialing up Bradshaw and Boss as an important part of the passing game, if we know that our defensive players are healed, if we know that Wilkinson’s speed is going to be used over Blackburn (who will be “starting”) on passing plays to neutralize Portis/Cooley.. the Giants can roll easily. But if the Giants make a few mistakes and Daniels/Haynesworth wreak havoc, the Skins will be in the game and have a shot. I’ll predict the Giants win a tight one. Wonder likes the Giants to win and cover.

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Schedule Preview and Prediction

September 10, 2009

One of the things to do OBJECTIVELY when ascertaining what kind of record your team will have in the coming season is to look at your team’s OVER/UNDER + all the oppositing teams’ OVER/UNDER.

Giants 10 wins over/under

The way the objective system works is that you add 1.5 games to whoever is playing at home and whoever has the higher total wins the game. As an example, when they play WASH at home, the Giants have 10 + 1.5 = 11.5, which is > than Washington’s 8 total wins this season, hence a win.

OPPONENT O/U W/L
WASH 8 W
at DAL 9 L
at TB 6.5 W
at KC 6 W
OAK 5.5 W
at NO 9 L
AZ 8.5 W
at PHL 9.5 L
SD 10 W
ATL 8.5 W
at DEN 6.5 W
DAL 9 W
PHL 9.5 W
at WASH 8 W
CAR 8.5 W
at MIN 9.5 L

Using this metric, the Giants collect 12 wins, in part because they are playing TB, KC, DEN and WASH on the road, and they do not lose a game at home. Is that realistic? We know that Eli is not necessarily a force at home, so perhaps he loses one in December that the system is inking a win for, making the team go 11-5. Considering Las Vegas has them winning 10 games, 11-5 is plausible. So this objective system is not bad in getting to a ballpark estimate.

At this point making a prediction on the number of games the Giants will win this year is full of too many question marks. We simply do not know about the health and effectiveness of their two most important offseason acquisitions: Boley and Canty. Remember that Reese saw a need to open up the wallet and go after his first two high profile free agents in 3 years as GM. That should tell you how important these two players are in addressing needs he felt the Giants had this offseason.

THESE TWO MEN HAVE YET TO PLAY A SINGLE DOWN FOR THE GIANTS!

Anyone that can tell us unequivocally how the gmen will do this season is guessing about the impact these guys make. Did these guys heal? If so, do they gel with the defense? When do they gel? If anyone knows the answer to these questions, pls do share. We can see scenarios where the Giants are anywhere from 9-7 to 13-3. Wonder has them subjectively at 11-5 or 12-4. As was mentioned earlier in the week, Week 6 vs the Saints is the first test, and you can see how the numbers also verify that… the Saints are 9 +1.5 = 10.5 which gives them a win ‘objectively’ over the Giants. We will learn about Boley and Canty in the first 5 weeks, so Week 6 is the first big test. Of course we will learn plenty about the team vs their 2 divisional rivals too, but those datapoints will not mean as much because those 2 players will not be making an impact. (Boley does not even dress in W1.)

Summary: 11-5 or 12-4 is plausible, but Canty and Boley will determine a lot more as the season unfolds.

Extras:
(1) Terrell Thomas to start on Sunday. Were you surprised???
(2) “Loaded box” “opportunity” “GOOD”, didn’t we just say this?!

Bill Sheridan

September 8, 2009

You have to know that this NY Giants blog hates puff pieces. Here is a piece on Sheridan that has some of the puff but does help us to understand what we’ll look like this season.

A few takeaways:

1) There is no substitute for motivation. If Sheridan thinks he can figure it all out and let the X’s and O’s do all the talking, he is in for a rude awakening. The last time we heard this kind of laid back X’s and O’s w/o the motivational element, it was none other than Ray Handley. Keep in mind that Handley was a head coach, not a coordinator, so there is room in there for the defense to get their motivation from others like Coughlin. But there is no getting around the fact that the players loved playing for Spags. You saw him on the sidelines with all of that energy he was feeding his players. Never underestimate the importance of motivating these professionals. There is little to separate 45×32=1440 players on game day. Every ounce of motivation puts you over the top or else it leaves you shy. Coughlin, to his credit, wanted Sheridan on the field, down and dirty, there with the players. Good. No remote control detachment.

2) “Sheridan said his linemen and linebackers would charge ahead more to stop runs and passes and not be responsible for as much coverage of receivers.” Did you notice the comments made by Wonder last week on how he would attack the Giants defense? He said “Opp teams max protect and air it out against the D…plus run screens, bubble screens, quick slants.” Max protect thwarts the pressure and the screens and slants are exactly what OUR offense needs to do to other teams to stop the loaded box. If the Giants defense is going to be using more pressure at the line, they must get there. There is a great deal of faith in Phillips, Webster and Thomas as part of this plan to handle their responsibilities inside this scheme. That confidence drops off a little with Johnson and it drops off a ton with CC Brown.

Do not forget that Thomas will have growing pains- he’ll get beat from time to time. All CBs do. Since we keep seeing more and more improvement from Thomas, there is the expectation that he can be solid back there. And dare we say, very solid by the end of the season if his improvement continues. You can get away with more pressure when guys in your secondary are handling their assignments well.

One of the ways the ‘Sheridan pressure plan’ will work better as the season wears on is by having guys like Canty, Kiwanuka and Boley helping the pressure and by having guys like Thomas covering better. As 2007 taught us, it is not how you start, it is how you finish. You have to expect the defense to be disorganized at the beginning, making breakdowns, not getting to the QB and getting exposed. But by the end of the season, you have to see the pressure working better and the defense getting stingy.

The way the schedule unfolds, do not read into the first 2 games vs WASH and DAL. And the next 3 vs garbage opponents (TB, KC and OAK) will give the defense the time to come together. The measuring stick for whether this team is really ready to be contenders for a Super Bowl title will come AT NEW ORLEANS. They will be going against an improved team that plays well at home, with a veteran QB that WILL rip the team to shreds if the pressure is not working OR if the secondary is not excellent.

Yes, we need to take one game at a time. The Giants need only think about Week 1 vs the Skins. But for us as fans, do not get too negative OR too positive until we see what we have in Week 6. That will be the first true test of how Sheridan and his defense is doing.

Extras:
Pat Hanlon notes that Hakeem Nicks led the NFL in receiving yardage in preseason.

THE GIFT

September 5, 2009

Two items today, the roster cuts and AN IMPORTANT OBSERVATION.

1) Roster- Today they will make some cuts that some people will like and some will not. The only cut today that would not make sense is Bomar. Every other cut is a numbers game. Coughlin on Bomar after the Patriots game: “a gutsy performance.”… “He made some nice plays, pulled the ball down and ran. It was a good night for Rhett.”

2) Now onto much more important things. It’s the 3 day weekend, no one is even online except you because everyone else is at the beach (me too tomorrow), but this may be the most important comment before the season starts…

THE GIANTS CATCH A HUGE BREAK BY PLAYING A LOT OF WEAK TEAMS EARLY. THIS ALLOWS THE WALKING WOUNDED TO HEAL AND TO COME TOGETHER ON DEFENSE WHILE WE PLAY.

Canty hamstring. Boley hip flexor. Cofield knee. Osi MCL. Ross hamstring. Robbins knee. Pierce foot. Alford knee (season-ending IR). Heck even Phillips did not suit up vs the Pats, although he should be fine. But the point is that these guys need to get into season shape, they need to play with each other AND they need to make sure they are on the same page with their new defensive coordinator.

Here comes THE GIFT:
WASH
at DAL
at TB
at KC
OAK

Forget that Dallas is going to have trouble with their defense this year and that that game is winnable. Even if the Giants lose to Dallas, they rate to be 4-1 before the schedule accelerates. WE PLAY THE AFC WEST, a gift that will keep giving, especially when we are less than stellar early on yet win vs the likes of KC and Oakland. TB just fired their offensive coordinator, they have a rookie Head Coach, so we are not worried about them. Ditto KC, the OC was let go there too. And while we are at it, the rookie head coach Cable Guy threw a punch at one of his coaches, so that is more of the same. If we cannot beat Washington at home (-6.5), well we have bigger problems. So we can be 4-1 or 5-0 and allow this defense to get its act together.

At this moment in time we have way too many (HEALTH) question on defense. We can get answers by getting guys like Boley and Canty on the field and getting a little cohesion. On the job training. This does not mean the team is out of the woods. It means the defense has the chance, the OPPORTUNITY, to buy some time and find its rhythm. We need to be 4-1 or 5-0 AND IMPROVING. If you can tell us that all of the above mentioned players recover and are all playing at 100% of their abilities by Week 6, I will tell you we are in great shape to vie for a Super Bowl title.

Note how we do not even mention the offense in this context. Sure, we want to see Manning get more rhythm with his WRs etc. But let’s remember the LAST RULE, Defense Wins Championships. If this team is going to have a chance to win ANYTHING, it starts with defense. As more than a few commenters have noted here, what was our strength on paper is now in flux. In the end it is always about defense. People like to remember that it was Manning to Tyree and Plaxico (and SMITH ON 3RD AND 11!) to win the Super Bowl, but it was the defense that held the 18-0 offensive juggernaut to FOURTEEN POINTS which enabled the Giants to still be in the game.

This (relatively) easy start is what the doctor ordered. Coughlin is very good at getting across the message of always building on what you have done and improving the level of play every game. This will be necessary, as NO, AZ, PHL, SD and ATL are waiting immediately thereafter. How would you like to have those 5 games first?! Ya think Brees, Warner, Rivers, Ryan and McNabb would have problems scoring points against us right now? Ya think? Time heals all wounds. Let’s hope it heals the Giants’- it could be a huge positive for this team’s chances. It’s not who you play, it is when you play them.

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.

Old Reese quote on Boley

July 9, 2009

A few months ago, Reese defended both Bernard and Boley.

Reese: “It’s really unfortunate that when you’re in pro sports everything gets overexaggerated a little bit,” Reese said. “We don’t condone any kind of domestic violence of any kind in any way, so don’t get me wrong on that. But Michael Boley does all kinds of community service and people never talk about that. It’s really kind of a shame that people don’t say, ‘Wow, this guy’s a really good guy. He does all this kind of community service.’ But the negative things seem to always come up.

“It’s just unfortunate, but when you’re in a high-profile position I guess this is what happens.”

Reese is in a better position to have the kind of information about the person to tip the scales in one direction or the other. None of us can sit here and judge. Just like they did with Bradshaw (or anyone else with a disciplinary history), they need it told to the new player (/in their contract) that if it happens here in a Giant uniform, then the player is gone. Bradshaw has been clean.. it is great to give someone a chance if they show a willingness to admit mistakes and a sincere interest in starting anew. Boley should be on the same notice that Bradshaw was put on.

Boley battery

July 8, 2009

Michael Boley will serve a one game suspension at the start of the season.

Once we get past the shock of a new player already getting a suspension, in the grand scheme of things this does not have to be anything that affects the team greatly. For starters, it happened over a year ago when Boley was a Falcon. Second, Boley is in rehab after hip surgery and will not be effective at that (early, W1) juncture anyway.

In a larger sense, you simply cannot ignore all of this reprehensible conduct. We are reminded of the George Young quote which seems to accurately sum up football players: “We are not in the business of well-adjusted human beings.” Be it Burress, Stallworth, Vick, McNair, Leaf, Ingram, Boley… the list never ends. In fact, there is one site that has a regular PARADE of players on the police blotter. So we’ll casually dismiss the Boley battery in Giants terms, but we can never ever dismiss it in human terms.

Boley out 8-10 weeks, Part 2

June 25, 2009

Yesterday we learned that Boley had hip surgery and is out 8-10 weeks. Is this the death of this LBer’s 2009 season? I’m feel like I am going through the 5 stages of grief.

Anger- What the brown? Browning LBers!?!!! Let’s blow them all up and start over.

Denial- How can he need SURGERY WHEN HE HASN’T EVEN HAD CONTACT WITH ANYONE YET?

Bargaining- I’ll trade you a Boley hip, a Sintim hamstring and a damaged goods Wilkinson for ONE healthy LBer.

Depression- What I am going through right now. I thought having a FAST LBer behind this potentially awesome DL would have meant a possibly dominating defense. How can this defense be dominating if Boley is barely going to get enough reps to be out on the field, nonetheless making an impact?! Everything is predicated on TIME. It simply, realistically takes TIME to get this player acclimated to a NEW system so that he can be at the full speed the defense will need. Such a bummer.

Paul Schwartz echoes these thoughts(see Part 1 yesterday): “This is a blow to the defense, because Boley, after four years with the Falcons, needed all the time he could get getting acclimated into the new scheme.

Acceptance- Well, it is June, so it is hard to be completely down about anything related to football. It could be worse, we could find out about this in camp and not get this guy back until the end of October. Here is to hoping he is a fast learner so that he is playing well by the end of the season, which is realistic and perhaps fortuitous for a playoff run.

SINTIM, WILKINSON, GOFF, KEHL …. heeellpp! SOMEONE PLEASE STEP UP AND SAVE OUR LBer crew.

Boley out 8-10 weeks

June 24, 2009

Boley had hip surgery. Uggh.

Problem here is that Boley needed the reps in training camp to get comfortable with the defense… ie stop thinking and start playing. Barrow and Pierce both were very intelligent linebackers and both took ~ half a season to get in synch with everything to the point where both were making an impact. Between the injury and missing camp, this means Boley will likely not make the kind of impact we were expecting in 2009. He’ll be out there but it just means LBer is still a Giant weakness.

Giants interviews, Jerry Jones

March 20, 2009

Michael Boley

Chris Canty

Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon

Separately, a parody of Jerry Jones in Dallas.