Archive for the ‘Steve Smith’ Category

NY Giants 33 Dallas 31

September 21, 2009

This was a great win, warts and all. Yes, there are a multitude of problems that need fixing, but there were MANY positives gained from this victory. We have been saying since the middle of preseason that the defense needed time to come together- they are buying time with wins. Phil Simms said before the game that the Giants defense gives up the big play and that that would cost us the game. Well, he was right, but he did not know that the Giants would have a +4 turnover ratio. Dallas beat themselves with those turnovers, so DO NOT try giving back this win with all the warts we had. Collect a nice win, move on to next week, fix the problems, get PEOPLE BACK HEALTHY and improve the defense.

The GOOD
1) The Giants have their #1 Wide Receiver, his name is Mario Manningham (10 catches for 150 yds) and to quote Al Michaels, he is their “budding star.” Look over to the right side of the blog and give yourselves a pat on the back- you saw Mario Manningham as the breakout WR for the Giants this year, LONG BEFORE ANYONE ELSE. (Okay, let’s throw a bone to Peter King, he was there too.)
2) Eli Manning (330 yds, 2 TDs) was tremendous. Cool as a cucumber in the 2 minute offense. Evaded pressure with poise in the pocket all night. He did it all.
3) Steve Smith (10 catches for 134 yds) is the Rock of Gibraltar. You can lean on him, clutch, reliable, money. Did you see that move he put on Scandrick for the TD? He left him in a different zip code.
4) The Bruce Johnson INT for a TD is how you win on the road. Make impact plays and make the home team pay for their mistakes. That was a huge lift for the team because this game could have been a rout early, the way that Dallas was dominating. Antonio Pierce is slowing down on defense but he changed the defense when Romo audibled and that set up Johnson.
5) Pass protection was good. Wonder and I disagree on this one. Wonder felt the protection was not good and that Eli Manning’s pocket presence did it all, that there were plenty of times Dallas guys were getting through. There were no sacks, that is GOOD enough for us.
6) PLUS FOUR TURNOVER RATIO.
7) Ahmad Bradshaw was a jack of all trades. Picked up blitzes, pushed the pile, got respectable yardage when Jacobs was having trouble.
8) The defensive secondary did enough things well to be on the other side of Romo going for 13 for 29 with 3 INTs. Romo may have been tied with Eli for the Giants MVP, but the DBs played well in pass coverage. Phillips was playing hurt or else this unit will look better in run coverage. We could have used Gibril Wilson out there to clean up all of the run defense mistakes.

The Bad
1) OL run blocking did not get the surge. Wonder asks aloud if these guys have lost something from last year. Jacobs likes getting the handoff about 28 yards behind the line of scrimmage so that he can have a running start and a head of steam, but the problem is that he was getting greeted at the line of scrimmage too often and the plays look too slow-devloping.
2) Kickoff returns
3) Kickoff coverage

The Ugly (aka “warts”)
1) RUN DEFENSE was GASHED repeatedly. The DL was blown off the ball, Osi overpursued (creating wide gaps), our LBers are too slow. Boley was gassed and was out there far longer than he should have been, considering it was his first game back. Yes, it was hot and hurt both DLs, but there is no excuse for 251 yards. Would we have been aided by rotation with Tuck and Canty? Yes. But it has to improve.
2) This game, like the Redskins game, could have been over much earlier in the evening if the Red Zone offense could do better that 0 for 3 for 2 FGs.
3) Gilbride did not call Kevin Boss’s number ONCE in the red zone. Instead, in this mission critical area, we get balls thrown to Hedgecock and pitchouts to Bradshaw
(See Rule #5, AGAIN!). Brilliant. NOT.
4) If Tuck’s injury is serious.

Yes, the Giants were dominated at the line of scrimmage. When you have difficulties running the ball AND you give up 251 yards at the point of attack, you will not survive for very long if that does not get straightened out.

We have been complaining about the inadequacies of Kevin Gilbride for over a year now, but it has gotten so bad that even Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth now are talking about it on National TV.

Re kickoffs, each team was getting a runback of ~22 yards per kick. But their kicker makes us start from 2 yards inside the endzone while ours (thanks to Tynes’ weak leg) makes our coverage of kicks start from the +10 yard line. So we get out to the 20 and they are at the 32. Bad.

With all of this, the game is still in the WIN column. GOOD FOR THE GIANTS. COLLECT THE “W” and move on to the next game. Thankfully the playoffs do not start for another 16 weeks, so there is PLENTY OF TIME TO IMPROVE. We need time to heal. We need time for Boley to get his legs. We need time for Canty, Ross, Dockery and Sintim to get back. This win was well deserved and well earned in a great fight. The most exciting part of the game is watching Mario Manningham grow up before our very eyes. This has very good long term implications for the team.

Wonder on the Giants and the NFL

September 3, 2009

Guest commenter Wonder throws in his remarks on developments with the Giants and around the league.

1) Recap of Giants-Jets preseason game: “DON’T look at stats…Eli played GREAT…best I’ve seen him look in AGES…Nicks is NOT the answer THIS year…in spots, yes..but Smith still the most solid…and yeah, I know he dropped a PERFECTLY thrown bomb…Hixon MUST catch that ball..terrible..sh*t happens but NOT THAT..your QB will get “cold feet” throwing that pass to you…and Boss is not “awesome”…he’s a good player who is often the beneficiary of being in the right place at the right time…O-line and D-line will be great…BUT, they MUST get SOMETHING out of their LB’s..and their secondary is a real issue…Phillips…as I stated, he’ll be ok-good..but “really good-great” ? NEVER…any plays he makes will be due to DL pressuring the QB….if I were Jints, 2 things worry me:

1. Opp teams load up the box and dare the WR’s to make plays; and
2. Opp teams max protect and air it out against the D…plus run screens, bubble screens, quick slants

I think the Jints need a GAME PLAN that includes screens, short circle routes and dumpoffs to Bradshaw and Ware…I also don’t believe they run NEARLY enough play action with crossing routes to take advantage of opp LB’s “creeping up” to protect against the run..of course, they executed perfectly the play action post bomb to Smith that he dropped..but don’t give up on that…”

2) Andre Smith INJURED: “Gee, what a shock…that a FAT, OUT OF SHAPE PIG would get hurt trying to do something “athletic”….do you think he was working with a kick*ss personal trainer the last 5 months?? duh, I don’t think so…I can’t think of ANYBODY who thought that he was “overrated” in the draft..can you???

3) When I commented to Wonder about wanting Maualuga but did not know about the ‘roid use, he had an interesting comeback: “You WANT guys who HAVE already “roided up”…so they don’t NEED TO DO IT IN THE PROS SO THEY DON’T TEST POSITIVE !!!!!….as long as they keep “working out”, they keep MOST of their built up muscle mass…BUT, they can’t just stop or take a vacation..or they might “lose it”…soooooo, I think MAU would have been a stud classic 4-3 MLB TACKLING MACHINE….critical in a good 4-3.

Ultimatenyg here. MORE screens. MORE play action. To Gilbride’s credit, he uses play action, but NOT ENOUGH. You cannot overuse it if the defense is loading the box as much as they did late last season and as much as you know they will be doing again this season.

"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.

Giants interviews, Jerry Jones

March 20, 2009

Michael Boley

Chris Canty

Steve Smith and Domenik Hixon

Separately, a parody of Jerry Jones in Dallas.

New York Giants 44 Seattle Seahawks 6

October 5, 2008

‘NATURE’ WAS AT THE GAME

This was a clinic against a team that is not that bad. The Giants simply dissected them and took them apart piece by piece. Fantastic. Bravo. Great HOME performance for the fans, who have not seen a QUALITY win like that in a while. Great post-bye performance. So many great contributions from almost everyone on the squad (those that did not simply were not on the field or dressed).

1) Eli Manning was excellent. He was like a kid playing a video game, doing as he pleased with complete control and confidence, which stemmed from…

2) the Offensive Line, which was incredible. Pass, run, it did not matter. McKenzie out with concussion, no problem. It was so bad that the play action had Manning sitting back with all day to go anywhere he wanted. The pulling guards and blocking on the move were textbook execution.

3) HIXON! I am shocked! Not! We have been saying here on the blog that Hixon is ready for prime time ever since he broke out with some Toomer toe sensational receptions versus Cleveland in preseason.

4) Moss! This praise for one player after another is going to get tiresome. Limited snaps obviously went way up this game and he made the most of them, with 2 TDs and a lot of fine play. (Why bother mentioning how well Toomer and Smith played when that is like old news bread and butter?! Okay, okay, Smith had a fantastic sideline grab of a high Manning pass.)

5) Jacobs/Ward/Bradshaw. Plug and play. Scary.

6) Defensive line. They shut down the run, they put the pressure on, Spags had Tuck coming from the inside to mix things up. Kiwi even beat Jones in garbage time. (In the last 5-10 minutes why weren’t the starters ALL benched already?!!! There is 7 mins left and I am looking at Diehl, Snee, Seubert and O’Hara, get them out of there. Granted it was nice to throw Carr a little bone, but NEXT.)

7) Webster/Ross. One looked better than the other. (Webster got called for a holding penalty early which was a figment of the zebra’s imagination. Not only was it NOT a penalty, it was excellent coverage to boot.)

I could mention a half dozen other positives, but completely unnecessary. This was a surgical demolition of a team that was 1-2 and in need of a win. Gilbride was great in attacking from the start, stretching the field.

This 15 yard penalty rule on the face mask is pissing me off. If you look at the face mask they call you for 15. It is getting out of hand. Guys hands incidentally slap the helmet as their hands and arms get moved by the OTHER TEAM, and the flag goes out. This rule has to change.

Oh my goodness, the road warriors go back on the road. Hixon will be out with a concussion and we’ll have Burress back. WR Hydra. NEXT.

Wonder at Week 5

October 5, 2008

Wonder comments on the NFL. NY Giants comments sprinkled in.

1) a fan of Jason Garrett, and yet thinks he got outcoached this past weekend vs the Skins. Dallas needed to go to counters, draws and reverses to battle the overpursuit of Washington, and they simply did not make the adjustments. 9 running plays? with that offensive line? they were outcoached.

2) the Dallas defense (“like I said after the W2 eagles mon night game”) is over-rated. You give up 37 points to the eagles and then you let Washington control the ball like that? bad. It is not about the players. Schemes are not good.

3) Add (1) and (2) –> Wade Phillips is the weakest link (something Ultimatenyg has been arguing for a while).

4) Colts have a gigantic amount of injuries

5) Justin Tuck was terrific in laying the blame squarely on Burress and saying it was deserved. Vocal about responsibility. On the money.

6) Eli Manning will get better. If he can be more accurate in putting the ball at the right angle and right stride (read: be like Joe and Tom) he’ll go to the sky.
Get the ball to Ahmad Bradshaw out of the backfield in stride and the right angle. Get the ball to Steve Smith in stride and at the right angle and watch his yardage go up too.

7) Pittsburgh’s problem? No Alan Faneca.

8) Not sure what is wrong with Asante Samuel, but now that he has gotten beaten (‘like a drum’) in Chicago and Dallas, we have to start watching closely if this is the exception or that more inconsistency is the rule.

9) The titans and bills are the most overrated 4-0 teams imaginable.

10) If Jeff Fisher is coaching the Cowboys, they don’t lose to the Skins.

11) The Skins, despite the big win this past week, are NOT going to make the playoffs. The Eagles, Giants and Cowboys are all making the playoffs.

12) The Eagles will kill the Skins this weekend.

13) How the Eagles lost to the Bears… unbelievable.

14) The NY Giants are the best team in the league right now. (re their weak schedule thus far..) You can only beat the teams you play. Was there EVER any doubt that your team was going to drive the field and score vs the Bengals to go up 23-20? Not in mine. And that is what the good teams do. Ultimatenyg was dead right with the Gilbride analysis. Gilbride will make the adjustments and figure it out, he is not great but he will get it corrected. Simply stated, the Giants are the most well-rounded team in the league right now. There might be some better defenses and a few better offenses, but the Giants have strong units in both categories.

Wonder on the NFL, A to Z

August 15, 2008

1) The Steven Jackson holdout does not make sense. He is the best RB in the league inside the tackles. Trade?

2) The Giants are CRAZY not to sign Burress. Shockey is gone, Burress won you a Super Bowl, he played hurt for you- what kind of message is that to your other players? How can you not reward him? (you had me at hello, Wonder)

3) Matt Ryan can be very good in the NFL as a top 10-15 QB but you cannot rush him along… with that fast turf in Atlanta they will have DEs running around end killing him. Where else did something like this happen?… None other than …

4) David Carr. David Carr is a GOOD QB. He got annihilated like no QB ever before. Crippled by OL and because he was rushed into service. Same thing can happen to Ryan if Atlanta feels the Vickless shadow too much.

5) The Jets QB kid Ratliff has a bazooka arm. Wonder almost went nuts last year when they put him on the practice squad and left him vulnerable to being picked up by anyone willing to scoop him up.

6) Don’t fill rookies’ heads with all this information. Example: stop teaching DE’s the entire playbook and keep it simple. Point them to the QB and say “kill.” Let them PLAY! The inundation of all the complexities of the schemes is overkill for these kids and it can ruin them. (The Giants, to their credit, kept it simple for Kiwi in his first season and did not put him in too many early downs, preferring to use him to simply rush the QB.) Wonder specifically does not like the tentativeness of Gholston… he wants the Jets to just let their #6 pick in the draft go North to the QB.

7) WR Hardy, taken in the second round, looks great.

8) He is a little surprised by the early word on Phillips, but admits it looks good.

9) SIGN BRANDON JACOBS. I disagree with Wonder here. Wonder simply believes Jacobs won’t (necessarily) get hurt, admitting that would be the only way it (signing him now) does not pay to do that. I think that Jacobs runs too high, he will get hurt, so make him take care of himself and if he makes it through the season w/o gtg hurt and has a great year, you pay the man.

10) Big mistake for the Giants to cut Moss. We went through the math and the conclusion was in yesterday’s post that you have to put Tyree or Manningham on IR.

11) If the Giants are lacking depth at TE, look at what the Jets may be forced to do, because the Jets are loaded at that position. Get Pociask if/when he is cut by the Jets.

12) Olivea is a load.

13) Dallas was smart to go Felix Jones over Mendenhall because Jones is a much more different look vs Marion Barber.

14) Dallas is a LOADED. The only spot they are not deep at is WR, so as long as Owens stays healthy they are ok, the achilles for them is if something happens to Owens. As long as Owens ok, Dallas is going to the Super Bowl. They will be 13-3 at a minimum, more likely 14-2 or 15-1. No one in the NFC will stop them. They pratically have a bye into the Super Bowl.

15) Steve Smith will have a GIGANTIC year for the Giants. He’ll be pushing Toomer for that #2 depth chart spot. VERY BIG ON SMITH.

16) Josh Johnson of TB will be a very good QB in 4 years.

17) Lynch forced out, cut by the Denver Broncos. What does this say about picking BARRETT in the 7th round?!!! It means they have to like how things are going, because they certainly feel comfortable with the rookie as a second stringer already, doing that move so early in preseason.

18) Confounding draft day move… Jax trading up to #9 for Harvey and then NOT signing him? Sign him already. You wanted to go up to the top 10 where the prices for rookies is insane? TFB, now pay up for that move.

19) Giants and Jets both to win ~9.5 games. Giants are a very good team but they are playing in a division that is loaded, so the math means they have to lose games.

IMPROVEMENT ON OFFENSE

May 27, 2008

Yesterday we noted the story of Tavaris Jackson eyeing the Giants game vs the Vikes last year as evidence of how his team could climb the mountain. The response here is that the Giants know they can improve in many areas… if they do they can EASILY repeat. Here is some LOW HANGING FRUIT FOR HOW TO IMPROVE ON OFFENSE:

1) NEW ELI HAS TO STAY. That 41-17 monstrosity that Jackson refers to is Old Eli at his worst. The Super Bowl run is NEW ELI at his best. At this moment in time you have to think we have New Eli coming back in ’08. That would be an immediate and HUGE improvement over ’07, because Manning was awol for more than a few of these games, and certainly awol for many halves of games. The frightening thing is that if we do indeed have New Eli for good, he will put so much pressure on opposing offenses to score more points vs our defense that it will have incredibly positive effects all around. THE GIANTS WILL BE IN THE TITLE MIX IF NEW ELI IS WITH US IN 2008 AND NOTHING ELSE IMPROVES.
2) CAN DAVID DIEHL IMPROVE AT LT? This is the player who is the weakest link on the starting team right now. Tell me he improves, that he drops from 13.5 sacks allowed to something like 8 or 9 and I know we can be in very good shape. Every sack is going to range from a drive killer to a turnover, so if this liability is shored up 2008 can be bright.
3) MORE BRADSHAW. The rookie is not a rookie anymore. In camp he is going to get even more experience in the offense and will learn even more about blitz pickups. This is not a complicated game. The more snaps he is on the field and the more touches he gets, the better this team will be.
4) MORE AND BETTER PASS CATCHING BY RUNNING BACKS. Please stop throwing RB dumpoff passes into the ground Eli! If you want to talk about how the Giants can improve, look no further than the RB passing game. There was so much left ‘on the field.’ This offense can become a juggernaut if/when this element is able to click. And get the ball here to Bradshaw, he is electric in space.
5) TWO TIGHT END SET. Shockey is still a Giant and that is logical if no team is willing to pay what he is legitimately worth. So use him with Boss and punish teams with this set. It provides matchup nightmares galore. Imagine the dropped passes to Matthews becoming catches to Boss.
6) BURRESS AND SMITH HEALTHY AT THE SAME TIME? There will always be injuries, so 2008 will offer subtraction elsewhere. The prospect of having these two healthy at the same time will make for large problems for the opposing defense.

defensive improvements tomorrow

Wide Receiver and the NFL Draft

April 28, 2008

This past decade has belonged to the Wide Receiver. Players like Randy Moss and TO were big. The Draft sucked in more WRs into Round 1 during this decade to meet the demand of the easier pass catching rules of the NFL. So there was WR inflation all around.

The 2008 draft brought that trend to a screeching halt. Could it be the new “force-out” rule is going to stop the pass-happy NFL? Or could it just be that evidence proves that “the NFL’s 32 teams finally seemed to learn a lesson long known to those who have (been paying attention): first-round wide receivers fail more than players at any other position, including quarterback.”

Ultimatenyg has been arguing to anyone that would listen that you do not build a champion with WR #1 draft choices. These players are available in free agency (Moss, TO and Burress) and integrate quickly into your offense (unlike linemen, that require a few years of chemistry before getting efficient in execution). Even less heralded WRs like former Giants David Patten and Joe Jurevicius went to other teams and won rings.

Taking a WR like Devin Thomas was interesting because at #31 he was virtually a second round choice, home of players like Toomer and Smith. His consensus and internal value here merited attention. Manningham may indeed end up being an even better pick than Thomas because it allowed the Giants to focus on defense early and still get a good risk/reward from a late third rounder. VALUE VALUE VALUE.

The trend in WR has not ‘ended.’ There were still 9 WRs taken in Round 2. But this is a start. 8 Offensive linemen went in R1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Linemen win the game- just ask Randy Moss.

Michael Jennings, Wide Receivers and the draft

April 5, 2008

Eisen revisits with Michael Jennings. This kid is why the Giants do not need to press early for WRs in the draft. Reese preaches getting good competition at each spot so that training camp turns out a stronger roster, so you never know with him. Between guys like Jennings and Smith (and Moss on the outside looking in) I feel like there will be enough improvement and opportunity for the Giants at this position. I will be disappointed if the Giants go high (picks in first three rounds) with a WR, all else equal. Defense wins championships. Our biggest loss in the offseason was on defense. So I want the first two picks to be defense. The only exception to this thinking on offense is at Left Tackle. Diehl is now that unit’s weakest link.