Archive for the ‘Plaxico’ Category

Burress et al

February 24, 2008

The stresses of keeping together a Super Bowl winner are immense. Reese has the cap room. The players know this. Reese cuts players he does not feel are worth it, so now that he has a bunch of players that are all (on the surface) worth it as ‘champions,’ he will have to sort through the ones he thinks want to be champions AGAIN.

Between UFA’s like Wilson and Mitchell, and guys under contract like Strahan, Umenyiora, and Burress, you have to know Reese is juggling a lot of issues. He’ll figure it out and make work whatever needs to be done. At this point he certainly has earned himself the benefit of the doubt on his decisions.

Divine Intervention

February 6, 2008

The stories coming out of this game are giving new meaning to the oft overused expression “Team of Destiny.” There had to be some sort of Divine Intervention at work here. Evidence? Hmmm…

1) The Bradshaw fumble recovery was nothing short of a miracle. Pierre Woods of the Patriots FALLS ON THE BALL. If this was ANY other game, the whistle blows, the play is over and the ref points his arm the other way for the turnover. But Bradshaw comes over (this period of time felt like an eternity in the pantheon of fumble scrums), sticks his arm underneath his body, pops the ball out of there and recovers the ball. According to an interview with Woods, he somehow never had control of the ball. It almost reminds me of an ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ episode where the ball is “blinked” to another location and everyone else is wondering how it actually became teleported. IF THE REFS CALL THE TURNOVER, NO ONE HAS ANYTHING TO SAY! All I know is I am whistling past the graveyard on that one.

2) The 45 yarder to Boss? Well, it turns out that that one was drawn up on the sidelines by Gilbride just minutes before it was used! We are playing sandlot football at the Super Bowl.

3) We now find out that somewhere in the Q4 Toomer busted (broke?) his hand, and he never knew until in the lockerroom when he was shaking hands with people.

4) The Helmet. The Great Escape. I do not know what they are going to end up calling it, but no matter because they will always be calling the NY GIANTS 2007 Super Bowl Champions. When I watch the tape of that play over and over I am still mystified by how the ball stays in Tyree’s possession despite being held precariously on the side of that damn helmet with ONE hand! How it does not somehow get jarred loose is almost as if G-d has a hand in there holding it in place. I still do not understand it. I see it but I do not understand it.

4a) How does this Manning kid get away from those linemen who have him in their grasp? Manning is not that strong and these linemen are not that weak. He had help from somewhere.

5) And then there is the revelation from Toomer- that David Tyree couldn’t catch a pass in (the last) practice the Friday before the game. The guy who couldn’t catch a pass in practice, the same guy who flubbed the TD catch versus Green Bay that was right in his arms. And now he catches THREE PASSES. One of which is a Touchdown. One of which is off his freaking helmet. The guy had 4 receptions ALL YEAR.

6) I am not even writing this blog until I go online this morning and start reading how Plaxico Burress, all healthy and ready to go (remember the 23-17 boast before boarding the bus, how he was “97%” healthy?), slips in the shower at the hotel the Monday before the game and sprains his MCL. He plays the game almost as a decoy on a sprained MCL and still catches the final TD. He had to be carted off the field to the lockerroom.

THIS SPACE LEFT BLANK FOR MORE MAGIC.

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.

Plaxico Burress

January 29, 2008

1) Plaxico was asked for a prediction- He replied “23-17.” The NY Post sensationalized it with inference that obviously it meant the Giants would win by that score. Sounds to me like a Plaxijoke and more of that NY hype for a story.

2) MUCH MORE IMPORTANT, THE REAL STORY IS THAT PLAXICO BURRESS SAYS HE IS HEALTHY AND PRACTICING EVERY DAY.

The 2 week layover

January 23, 2008

Is the two week layover good or bad for the Giants?

They are the hot team, so conventional wisdom argues that they want to play this weekend. Nope. Incorrect.

They have been going full throttle for 11 weeks straight with their last 3 obviously on the road, and they could use a ‘home game’ this weekend. I am reminded of the Giants-Ravens Super Bowl 7 years ago. A #1 seed with the bye vs a wild card winner that played 3 playoff games, the last two games on the road. The Ravens needed some rest and (in retrospect) many felt that the week off benefitted the Ravens more. The Steelers also won the Super Bowl after winning 3 wild card games and getting the 2 week layover. So the precedent is there for the wild card winner to benefit more.

The only reason to think it will hurt the Giants is that you believe they will lose their edge and not have that focus which has gotten them into the big game. I can only counter that with a sense that this team is confident and they still feel they have a lot to prove. They know their job is not over by any stretch.

In the meantime, guys like Pierce, O’Hara, Burress, Madison, Ross and McKenzie all played through injuries and they will benefit from an extra week off. Seubert, despite having an MRI on a knee sprain, says he will play. Maybe they can get Dockery back. I do not think this layover does anything but help the gmen. Now if you are going to mention the TMZ report about Brady wearing a boot, his leg would have to be broken in 3 different places in order for him to be out of the Super Bowl if it were being played now, this weekend, or next weekend.