Archive for the ‘Michael Johnson’ Category

Meat and Potatoes Football, bullbrown rules

September 17, 2009

1) Patrick Crayton hates the Giants. Brandon Jacobs hates the Cowboys. DeMarcus Ware hates the Giants. Chris Canty is being asked to hate the Cowboys. What else is new?

2) Lots of turnover in the Giants roster. Gone are Douzable and Reyes. The Giants have flopped a set of Johnsons (Michael, Bruce, Gartrell). Wonder color on the new roster addition:

RB Gartrell Johnson: a STEAL off the waiver wire..solidly built 5-10 or so 220-225….quick and strong…was a FOURTH round pick… Chargers SCREWED UP trying to “store him” on practice squad…like Jets did with Derrick Ward…hope he does as well !!

Separate and independent confirmation from Cody:

“I love this G Johnson kid. GREAT addition; I remember watching him @ Colorado St. He can run straight through people. I think this is a total steal. GMen were at the right place, right time with this one. Reese is a total stud. He isn’t the fastest guy out there – but he is a one cut runner (perfect for the Giants run blocking scheme) and will absolutely run through people. He might be a factor and I think he can definitely play the Brandon Jacobs bone-crusher role for those inevitable weeks that B.J. is nicked-up. The lesson as always: In Jerry R we trust.”

We have noted this before. It is not as if the Giants need a RB and then look at who is out there. They are constantly evaluating other team’s rosters and practice squads so that they are ready when (a) a player goes down on their team or (b) someone else cuts a player of interest from one of the other 31 rosters. It shows in the way they got Hedgecock, Hixon, Ward and now Gartrell Johnson.

We play the Chargers later this season. Ya think Johnson is going to be fired up and have something to prove? He needs plenty of carries that game.

The Giants also added two new players to its practice squad..
TE Bear Pascoe: rookie “journeyman” type TE who won’t amount to anything…but maybe gives them some blocking depth if needed
CB Michael Coe: 190 lb… mediocre…played some for Colts…won’t provide anything

3) Oh yah, I forgot. Will someone pls explain to me the insanity of the ruling/rules where Louis Murphy (where did you hear that name before?) catches his first of two rookie TD passes on Monday night, only to have it disallowed? You catch the ball with possession, you get two feet in bounds, that is a catch. This is ludicrous. It is enough to drive Al Davis insane. Oh wait, he already is.

4) Speaking of insane, Michael Crabtree needs his head examined. He drops from where he is expected to go, ~3rd to 5th in the draft, to the 10th spot and gets selected by the 49ers. So now he wants Heyward-Bey 7th-draft-pick money. YOU WERE PICKED 10th! Get over it. This is right in line with Jerry Rice’s rant on the state of the WR in professional football. Nothing professional about it.

If Crabtree keeps cutting his nose to spite his face and re-enters the draft in 2010, he’ll blow all the countless millions he would have made this year and will not even be able to work out for any of the other 31 teams. PLUS, and this is where it gets really browned up, he’ll drop in the draft FURTHER next year and then… he’ll want SOMEONE ELSE’S MONEY ABOVE HIM AGAIN?!!! He and Plaxico should compare notes- they’re both WR divas without a team, out of football, trying to save themselves thousands when it ends up costing them millions. Our free advice to Crabtree, a la Adam Schiff (Steven Hill) of Law and Order: “Make the deal.”

5) Don’t look now, but here comes Shockey in Week 6. I’ll never forget the quote he made after around 3 or 4 seasons in NY when asked about his latest injury. Paraphrased, he said that you were not playing hard enough if you were not playing hurt. Whereas everyone else in the NFL was trying to take care of their bodies, Shockey was looking to pound on enough opponents to make sure he was not. Maybe Brees and Payton have been reprogramming that pea brain: “I’ve come to realize that being healthy in this game is a privilege,” he said. “You’ve got to work on it to earn that privilege.” I was always a big proponent of Shockey while he was here. He was not coached properly. Where was the coaching staff to knock some sense and discipline into someone who openly admitted he needed to be playing hard enough to assure he was hurt? Yah, and I could see Parcells tolerating that, as well as those 1st down celebrations. Not. The revamped TE hosts the Giants Week 6.

"The rookies" enter their 3rd year

July 22, 2009

A little while back I went to check a particular play from the Super Bowl, something jumped out at me… the first TD drive of the Giants at the beginning of Q4. With the exception of Tyree’s TD catch culminating the drive, every play was handled by a rookie!

Boss 45 yd pass play
Bradshaw 4 yd run
Bradshaw 2 yd run
Smith 17 yd pass play
Bradshaw 7 yd run

These guys are now entering their 3rd year, if they can all make the jump, it will be a very good year. It also underscores how all hands have to be on deck- in today’s NFL you need your rookies to hit the ground running, to be able to help the team out later in the year. Rookies who start at the beginning of the year get tired by the end because they are not ready for the grind, which can be twice as long as college. But the three rookies featured above are noteworthy for a few reasons.. (1) they all saw limited action for the first ~3/4ths of the season and (2) were all on the list of players who needed more playing from Gilbride last year and certainly need it this year in order for the team to make the jump. Everyone here knows full well that the jump from 2nd year to 3rd year pro in the NFL is usually a make or break proposition. We see no reason why the tremendous rookie class of 2007 cannot and should not make a quantum leap in production for this team.

In descending order of confidence:

Boss- once Plax went down, this man needed to be the center of the offensive passing attack. We argued for it late last season, it did not happen, but we do not see any reason (other than Gilbride neglect) why this kid cannot have a huge year. HUGE. But you don’t have to listen to us, just listen to Bavaro, get him the damn ball.

Smith- he’ll be taking Toomer’s spot at the possession wideout. Looking for big camp and big year.

Bradshaw- protect the ball and the rest is all downhill. There are no excuses for him or the coaching staff this year. NONE. Ward is gone, the snaps will be there, carry that ball high so that it does not get stripped. Run for daylight every single snap. Stretch opposing defenses the way it was done in the 2008 playoffs.

Johnson- surprised? It is more about bodies back there than anything else. Losing Wilson after 2007 and Butler in 2008 leaves a fulltime starter spot open for this guy with less rotation than the past two years.

Ross- ??..did he have a sophmore slump? Is it me, or did he come on like gangbusters early in 2007, only to get more yawns than impact thereafter? Yes, the Giants use a lot of press coverage, so without the DL to keep up the pressure as last season wore on, we saw Ross exposed. Time to make that big jump. At stake is nothing less than a Super Bowl, because with the superior depth of our DL in 2009 and the potential for bookend corners in Ross and Webster, this defense can be awfully stingy. At this point, it is not clear to me whether Thomas can offer even greater upside, given how he came on. So let’s see Ross do it, but we’d take either. Or both.

Alford- That sack of Brady still has us worshipping this guy! What can we say. We did not see a lot last season, and with Cofield and Robbins playing hurt, he had an opportunity and did not exactly bust the door down. With the depth this year, does he make the team?

DeOssie- Specials guys get cut if they are not competing for starting jobs by their 3rd season. But this guy is a long-snapper; is that enough to keep him on the roster? By the numbers, he is in trouble. Alford is a long snapper too, so one of them likely stays. With Boley hurt, Sintim hamstring(?), LBer is not exactly teeming with competition for roster spots. So it is up to DeOssie to stay on the field.

More Draft

May 1, 2009

1) I like it when Wonder gets to reply to another draft analysis that is contrary to his own thinking. We see how they think and perhaps collectively we can get better insight into whether one of them is missing something.

Wonder likes, not loves Nicks. He is not excited about Sintim and certainly does not like him IN THE SECOND ROUND. In walks a KC Joyner critique of Nicks and Sintim that is very positive. What are we missing?

Wonder: “Nicks will be playing against a LOT of press coverage which makes these numbers irrelevant..however, he should be able to learn to use his big body to shield and catch..like Keyshawn somewhat…and the CB’s are a LOT faster and better.

“As for Sintim…I really don’t agree with Joyner…I think he’s actually pretty good against the run..but not FAST enough to be an OLB/pass rusher in the NFL.”

2) Separately we asked Wonder about Sintim in light of his comments about not having the speed to be a SAM in coverage, but being able to rush the QB.. why not just make him a MLB? Answer: “Yes…I think it’s his ONLY chance for Jints.” The Giants are pretty smart about player development. They will figure out what they need to do to get this player on the field.

3) “Wonder”

At 2:11AM (Between Day 1 and Day 2 of the draft) he emails: “as for tomorrow, ….would LOVE Turner for Jets…also, I like Murphy for Jets..BUT the real Home Run for Jets is SHONN GREENE..I would even trade my 6th and 3rd to get the 1st pick tomorrow and RUN to the podium (if not, maybe A.Brown)…I must admit, IF he’s gone, Jets MIGHT go for Michael Johnson..it’s a BIG gamble..but if he “fills out” w/o losing his speed, he would be a stud DE.”

At 2:27AM he emails another time: “my god…I’ve lost my mind…I forgot about Gilbert…for Jets..IF Greene not available…I would take either him or M. Johnson depending on how the Jets evaluated them…”

Well, at 10AM the third round opened up. The Jets trade up to the #1 pick of Day 2 and take ..SHONN GREENE. Note also that Gilbert went 4th and Michael Johnson went 6th. So the three people he keyed on were selected in the first six spots of Day 2. The Jets needed to pay their 3rd, 4th and 7th to move up, which is more accurate than just a 3 and 6. Nonetheless he was right on target for what the Jets ‘should’ do. People are already saying that Rex Ryan is aggressive- so is Wonder, and it should not surprise that he is in synch with the coach. The only thing that remains now is to see how Greene does in the pros.

Btw, note how Wonder was keyed on Andre Brown if Greene was gone by the time they picked at 76. The Bmen got him a round (and a half!) later at 129. This was a good day for New York teams getting running backs.

4) Speaking about “and a half,” let’s remember that Reese has been drafting from the back of the line for two years now. Considering we have filled in the blanks (Edwards asking too much, Maclin trade to move up 9 spots) it is not as if he is asleep at the switch. On the contrary, he is playing poker with much weaker position and is still doing a good job of getting a lot of good people in.

5) Speaking about Maclin, as much as the Ultimatenyg mantra was against taking a WR in the first round, as much as the last minute thoughts before the draft asked that the Giants did not trade up even higher for a WR (I was worried about them doing that for H-Bey), if Reese would have grabbed Maclin you would have to be COMPLETELY ON BOARD with that move. Maclin was a lot of value at that spot. I will go further and say that the Eagles got a very good player. Ralph Vacchiano may be correct to point out that the Giants will not necessarily see him hurt them initially at WR, but I think he overlooks the more important impact… I am particularly concerned about his special teams contributions he will make. I do not watch a lot of college football, but the one game I did catch was scary– it was very obvious that you had to do everything in your power to keep the ball away from this guy on specials. The opposition did that well, until one play in the second half, and boom the game was over, he broke open a close one with one touch of the ball. All I can think about is the line from Deacon Jones, a must-see video.

6) Speaking about the Eagles, we will have a recap of all 32 teams’ drafts next week.

Pre-camp ideas and things to watch for

July 24, 2008

1) Safety? Butler. Johnson. Knight. Phillips. Pick 2. At this point people are saying that Knight and Phillips have the best shot to be the starters this season, but this position is WIDE OPEN. I hope there is enough depth so that Butler is cut. But in a strange way, I would not be surprised if he started! This is because all 4 are imperfect. They each have strengths and weaknesses.

Butler (see previous post’s remarks from Spags) is a good tackler who knows the system but is freaking slow.

Johnson is entering his sophomore year and he should rate to grow with a nice jump in comfort in Spags’ system. He has the starts (5) from last year to put him incontention for a lot of playing time.

Knight is the veteran with experience, intelligence and strong run stopping skills in the box. But he is weak in coverage and is new to the system.

Phillips is the classic wild card. Rookie #1 pick who everyone will be watching. The level of his play in camp and this season will not only dictate how strong we are at this position but how strong the entire defense is and by that comclusion how well the entire team plays. Remember that when rookie #1 Aaron Ross got inserted into the starting lineup (literally H2 of the Redksins game in W3), the tone of the defense accelerated and the team never looked back. So if Phillips hits the ground running, his presence can be felt QUICKLY.

2) ELI MANNING. Weakest link? Star QB who overshadowed the performances of 4 straight Pro Bowl QBs en route to the Super Bowl? If new Eli is with us in 2008 this team will be a bear. Eli has been talking exactly like what you want to be hearing this offseason- knowing full well about the games where he was weakest link and that he can do a lot to improve to get the team to be ultracompetitive this year. Eli never got too high and that works to his advantage in not coming crashing down to earth. Eli is not resting on his laurels.

3) Do we have any speed at LB?

4) Does Diehl’s play at LT improve? We cannot afford to have the 2nd highest sacks allowed and expect (playoff) competitiveness this season again.

5) Can we get Woodson or Carr to become a credible backup? If I know the Giants they will probably cut Wright in deference to the promise/pedgiree of newest arrivals. Otherwise it would mean an immediate admission of error in the draft pick or reclamation project.

6) Do the rookies of 2007 ascend and make the dramatic impact in 2008 we are hoping for? This holds so much promise for the team.

7) How does the team shut down the run w/o Strahan?

Defensive Coaches outtakes

May 23, 2008

Waufle on Strahan: “I called him last week and I told him, ‘I’ve been doing these cutups and I have made this phone call to you already and I have said that you had one heck of a season.’ And I said, ‘I’m going to tell you again’ Because he really did, he played really well, especially at the end. What a way to finish it.”

Waufle on Umenyiora: “Osi has really improved on is his run defense. He is very consistent at it. In fact, I was showing the rookies a particular alignment today which Osi plays. He is playing really well.”

Q: How do you feel about the potential replacements for (weakside linebacker) Kawika Mitchell (who signed with Buffalo as a free agent)? Is Gerris Wilkinson the number one prospect?

Sheridan: “I think going into the spring practices he will be, just because he is coming back and Danny Clark (signed on March 13) is coming from outside. I think both of them understand that the position is wide open and (fourth-round draft choice) Bryan Kehl would be considered in the mix, too. We are not going to necessarily pigeonhole Bryan as a SAM or a WILL, so I think he will do some of both in the spring and if he can make a splash he will be considered as well.”

Q: How is Mathias Kiwanuka (who fractured his left fibula in Detroit on Nov. 18) coming along?

Sheridan: “I anticipate him taking all of the reps in the spring. I think he is fully ready to go and very anxious to do it.

Re Kiwanuka at LB: “I think he will be much, much further along. I think when he got hurt he had showed so much improvement every week and I think he would have continued to go and get better had he not gotten hurt and been able to play for the rest of the season. I think he is a lot more confident in the schemes and the Xs and Os. He will continue to just get better with becoming familiar with playing the position and the pass coverages. I anticipate him being an excellent player.”

Sheridan on Goff and Kehl: “I did like both of them going into the draft. I had evaluated both guys and I had gone to Jon Goff’s senior workout at Vanderbilt. They are both big. They are all of 6-2 plus, almost 6-3, they are both 240 lbs. So just walking in the door they are great size guys and both of them are really smart. Maybe you hear that all the time and you think it is trite, but it is so much easier to win with guys that are really smart, and they are. We interviewed them both at the combine and watching film with them, and they know football, they can talk football, they can explain football, and in the short time that I have had to visit with them and meet them here they understand exactly what we are installing. They can reiterate back to me what I just told them five minutes ago, they understand when we go and do some walk-thrus and jog-thrus, and even in the rookie mini camp they did a great job. They are really smart guys.”

Giunta on Webster: “Yes, very confident, very confident that he will continue to develop and get better and better.

Giunta on another year for McQuarters and Madison: “Oh yeah, absolutely. Those guys both have stuff left in the tank.”

Q: Is Kenny Phillips a guy who is as NFL ready as one can be?

Merritt: “Yes. Kenny came out early as a junior. But this kid, in the classroom, has shown unbelievable recall for the defense. We put in things early in the mini-camp and he is able to recall it back to me a week or two later. Safeties are the quarterbacks of the defense, they control all the coverage, they get them in and out of checks, and this kid was able to recall a lot of the information and things that we had spoken about weeks before. As far as his smarts and his intellect I am very, very excited about that. Now there is some stuff as far as on the field that I will work with him with as far as understanding angles and how he approaches certain routes and things like that, but that is my job as a coach. As far as his God-given ability mentally the kid is very good.”

Q: In a perfect world does Sammy Knight play the strong safety and Kenny Phillips play the free?

Merritt: “Don’t disregard Michael Johnson and James Butler because Michael Johnson started for us last year a couple of games and James Butler started for us a majority of the season. Other than his hamstring injury James Butler came out of the Super Bowl as the starting strong safety, and that is what is going to happen this year. Right now no matter what happens (going into the OTA’s and mini-camp) James Butler is the starting strong safety with Michael Johnson right now being the starting free safety. What I am doing with the guys here this spring is I am playing left and right safety. Sammy Knight is going to have to learn how to play free safety just as well as strong safety. That way they are able to learn the entire defense. Once the season comes along we will start to weed it out and put the guys in their position, but right now we would like for these guys to learn it all; both positions.”

Do you start in your first game as a rookie?

May 5, 2008

With the exception of QB, ultimatenyg believes that the question a franchise should ask itself when picking that first rounder is- WILL THIS PLAYER START GAME ONE AS A ROOKIE? Some players are shot out like a cannon. They enter into the league and instead of fighting for a roster spot or playing time, they start game 1. And then they never leave. If it takes time to get settled into the league and a rookie takes a few games or a full season to break into the starting rotation, that is not a stain. No shame. But your #1 pick is different. This is one of the ~32 best players in the country by your own evaluation. Considering there are almost 1700 players on the roster for NFL teams, if you cannot find a player that can break in as a starter, then something is probably wrong. (DE is a second position next to QB that is extremely difficult for 22 year olds to physically manage, thereby making drafting one in the first round a true test of whether the choice is merited.)

This is not an ironclad rule. Matthias Kiwanuka is a good example of a very good pick at #32 in the first round. At DE, he was not expected to supplant two players (Umenyiora and Strahan) who went to the Pro Bowl the preceding year.

Here is a list of starters in Game 1 of their rookie season for the New York Giants in the past ten years.
2006 Cofield
2004 Wilson
2003 Diehl
2002 Shockey
(If you can comment on a player I may have missed, appreciated. My database does not give granularity, so a mistake is possible here.)

The point is that guys like Ronnie Lott and Lawrence Taylor, two notables who started their first game as a Pro and never left, cannot be held back. They move at a different speed and the pro game almost adjusts to them and not the other way around. Shockey was the same way, knocking over bodies in 2002’s preseason like bowling pins en route to an easy Pro Bowl selection. (…which is why I still maintain to this day that he is a resource which is woefully mismanaged.)

Will Kenny Phillips start for the Giants in Game 1? This will go a long way to determining whether he is a good pick for the Giants. The Giants have the following coming to camp at this position:
1) Butler- a starter noted for his efficient tackling but slow speed
2) Johnson- a #7 rounder who started a handful of games as a rookie after others got hurt, plays with aggressiveness (a polite way of saying that he is playing hard but does not necessarily make all the right decisions yet)
3) Knight- a smart veteran who plays strong up at the line yet (because of age) can get beat by a TE in coverage

The logic is that this is not a particularly deep set of incumbents. If Phillips is any good he should be starting against Washington on Thursday night in the Meadowlands.

THE ROOKIES (Part II)

February 20, 2008

On February 2, a day before the Super Bowl, Ultimatenyg quickly ran through the rookies from the Draft Class of 2007, pinpointing them as a big reason the Giants were in the big game. With the Super Bowl in the record books, is there any doubt that the rookies were also a big reason the Giants WON the big game? They made an impact on the biggest stage of all.

Any credit given to the rookies has to start with the front office and Jerry Reese. All of the great successes in professional sports are due in part to the front office finding talent and getting the support players who allow those stars to excel. Men like Carmen Policy (blogger’s note- originally stated Eddie DeBartolo, the owner, my mistake), Bobby Beathard, Ron Wolf, George Young and the Rooneys are the lifelines for how these organizations can make championships possible not only once but again and again.

Ernie Accorsi set the table for Reese and Tom Coughlin by locking up a number of key players for a long time, simultaneously passing down a salary cap that was in very good shape. The Giants’ cap room is the best in the N.F.C. East and is in a very good position to keep Reese competitive with new signings where he deems fit.

Where Accorsi ended, Reese began. Reese was also the director of player personnel, so the result of the 2007 draft was going to fall squarely on his shoulders.

It was historic and seismic. Reese’s draft made him instant royalty. The first-year impact players became known as “Reese’s Pieces.” Super Bowl or not, Reese’s crop of kids made such a big splash that it was almost uncomfortable for him to accept such inordinate praise. He went out of his way to compliment the young group of players. He redirected accolades to the coaching staff for enabling the draft class to assist the team so positively and so quickly.

The new Giants were not all along for the ‘Parcells ride,’ where rookies are seen but not heard. With the exception of Adam Koets, every other rookie drafted (and even a few who were signed as UFAs) made significant contributions. This added up to a record number of rookies getting Super Bowl rings.

How do the Giants win if #1 pick Aaron Ross is not providing tremendous coverage all season? As soon as Ross started playing meaningful minutes, the defense tightened up. Everyone remembers the second half of the first Redskins game, but does everyone remember that that was the first time Ross stepped in to play corner? He was there knocking Marion Barber down with a separated shoulder. He was there to save the Jets game when the rest of the team was flat. He was not immune to getting beat, but he had mostly excellent coverage and could also be physical. Add that he played through multiple injuries, had Madison, Dockery, Webster and McQuarters rotating in and out with their injuries, and you can see how significant his efforts were in getting the team to a championship.

For a second pick, Steve Smith was almost all-world. If not for a midseason injury, he would have been putting up numbers all year. He caught four passes in the Super Bowl, none bigger than the play sandwiched between David Tyree’s helmet grab and Plaxico Burress’s game-winning TD. On 3rd and 11, Smith caught a pass in the right flat, came to a complete stop to avoid going out of bounds, ran another 3-4 yards up field for the first down, then went out of bounds to stop the clock. That kind of play would have been excellent for a seasoned veteran like Amani Toomer, but for a rookie who did not even play half the games this season, it was nothing short of spectacular. It will be overlooked in history, but Giants fans who appreciate the rookies will remember Smith’s grab and key first down as long as they remember the Super Bowl XLII win.

Jay Alford (#3) plays a tough position for any rookie, DL. But he was good enough to provide rotation relief among the veterans. And his entire career may already be remembered for the sack on 2nd down of the final series that buried Tom Brady and the Patriots’ chances.

Zak DeOssie (#4) put the finishing touches on the 1990 championship season’s analog by being the long snapper and impact special teams player for a Giants Super Bowl winner just like his father 17 years before. It was enough to bring Steve DeOssie to tears.

Kevin Boss (#5) filled in for injured TE Jeremy Shockey. His great hands made him an instant threat and kept defenses off balance as soon as he went into a route. The Boss catch-and-run for 45 yards at the beginning of Q4 of the Super Bowl ignited the offense and set up the first go-ahead score. Imagine a rookie doing what Welker, Moss, Burress and Toomer could not do! Boss’s chemistry with Eli Manning was so impressive that it forced others to question whether Shockey was already yesterday’s news. That conclusion is most likely unfounded, and the Giants are poised to reap many rewards from a two TE set with double threats.

Michael Johnson (#7a) filled in and started for the Giants when other safeties were hurt. He never lost his aggressiveness and was instrumental in the team’s drive to 6-2 earlier in the season. At one point he and undrafted rookie Craig Dahl were each patrolling the defense’s deep waters … a large responsibility that proved critical along the team’s path to a Super Bowl. Coughlin went out of his way to point out that it was Johnson who got the McQuarters nightmarish fumble vs. Green Bay knocked away so that Domenik Hixon (another great pickup by Reese) could recover the ball.

Ahmad Bradshaw (#7b), the last Giant pick, was taken only a few spots from the end of the draft. Bradshaw was featured early and often on ultimatenyg because his speed, cutbacks, quickness to the hole, north-south running, pass catching and ability to pound defenses was a total find. It took an injury by Brandon Jacobs (on top of Derrick Ward already being on IR) for Bradshaw to get up on the depth charts high enough to be seen. His impact on the team’s late-season and postseason drive was nothing short of stunning. In the second half of the Bills game W16, when everyone knew the Giants were running the ball, Bradshaw told his teammates during a timeout that if they made their blocks he would take it the distance. One snap and 88 yards later, he helped sew up the team’s playoff berth. The accolades he received from competitors was a reminder that Bradshaw can be special for quite some time if he remains healthy. His only weakness was a lack of experience and knowledge in how to pick up the blitz. This may get squared away in 2008’s training camp, affording him the opportunity to be the starting RB. He is that good.

The Giants made a very special run to collect their third Super Bowl title. It is next to impossible to envision how this could have happened without the major contributions delivered by this fine rookie class. As a group, they exhibited maturity and experience beyond their years. The draft of 2007 can be the backbone for many playoff runs to come.

Coughlin spoke w Francesa today

February 8, 2008

Coughlin mentioned two rookie “unheralded” plays… (1) when McQuarters fumbles away one of those late punt returns vs the Packers, one guy from GB is trying to pick it up and flubs, and it is Michael Johnson who pops it out of there so that Hixon can recover. (2) In the Super Bowl, when Ahmad Bradshaw fumbles, he gets back his own fumble with cool resourcefulness.

When the subject of Tuck came up, Coughlin praised Tuck immensely and pointed out that last year when he got injured, the team really missed him and Michael Strahan.

Separately, nothing to do with this interview, they have an 18 minute version of Super Bowl highlights on NFL Films, and they showed that on the very first play of the game- a kickoff to Hixon, he only gets to ~near the 20 yard line. Hixon was face masked for SECONDS and it would have been 15 yards.