Archive for the ‘Tom Coughlin’ Category

They’ll walk through a wall for you

September 15, 2009

1) We talk about how the difference between teams #1 thru #26 in the NFL is not very large. Intangibles like coaching and emotion can make a #26 play like a #1 and we have numerous examples of coaches who turn good teams into underachievers in crunch time (think Marty Schottenheimer, Wade Phillips). It is only Week 1, it does not mean anything YET long term, but they are playing for Rex Ryan so far.

2) Wonder and I discussed the red zone problems. Everyone knows this is not a new problem. Remember the Steelers game last season? 1 for 6 in the red zone, the lone success at the end of the game on.. PLAY ACTION?! The Giants were 0 for 3 on Sunday vs the Skins. SAME STORY.

So what is going on? When the Giants are down by the goal line in 3rd and 1 from the 1 or thereabouts, Wonder reminds us of Marino to Bruce Hardy. The Dolphins would play action OFTEN. Fake handoff into the line.. Marino would hit one of his plethora of putrid and slow Tight Ends in the back of the end zone for a (usually) wide open TD. The Dolphins LIVED on this. And it made their run attempts more effective because it created doubt in the minds of the opponent about what they were going to see.

Part of the problem here is (my apologies for being redundant) predictability. You are not making the job of the OL any easier by using play action infrequently. Wonder swings to the other side of the coin… USE IT OFTEN. PRACTICE IT OFTEN. PLAYERS LOVE ROUTINE. They get comfortable executing it and they want to do it. It should be a staple of your offense, not an exception. Use play action with Nicks, Smith and Boss. And you benefit Eli too, because he needs to be comfortable executing this OFTEN. Wonder is so right about this.. Eli gets very good when he is comfortable back there. You can see a player like him who is long on smarts being every bit as effective as any other QB with this kind of play.

Manning offered this on the topic of 3rd and short: “Coach talked a little bit about it today – we just assume that on third and short we are going to be able to run and be able to get it. We have to throw the ball a little bit more possibly in some of those situations. But down there, we’re a team that is going to be physical, we have a big back, and we should be able to get that surge and should get a first down in those situations.”

3) As for short yardage woes of the Giants to run for 1 yard, be it red zone or otherwise, Wonder suspects it is scheme. Where is the design trap? He puts half the blame on the OL and the other half on Gilbride. He does not put the blame on the RB.

3a) When I asked him about the (Rule #5) pitchout in the red zone, he completely agreed, but noted one minor exception which actually bolsters the rule even more. He said the one time it actually works is when you have a two back set, you fake handoff the ball to Jacobs going right and then very quickly pitchout to Bradshaw on the left side. Everyone including the safety are frozen on the right side and the other RB can usually walk into the end zone. Fwiw, the Giants do not have Jacobs and Bradshaw in a 2 back set.

4) I was ribbing Wonder on Manningham; he is not conceding that one so quickly. But he did tip his hat to Corey Webster. “Impressive” job on Moss.

5) Injury update: “Coughlin said rookie wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (foot) and running back Danny Ware (dislocated elbow) will probably be sidelined a minimum of two weeks and then be evaluated week-by- week.”

6) The Gatorade bath of Sheridan at the end of the game was good to see. Pierce: “He (Sheridan) was deserving of it. (He) called a great game and we went out and executed well.”

7) The fake FG that the Skins scored a TD was Coughlin’s fault. He called for an all-out block.


September 12, 2009

1) Good news yesterday from Tom Coughlin.

a) Nicks is going to have a very big role in the WR rotation

b) Hixon, Smith and Manningham will be the other 3 that are used actively in the WR rotation.

c) Hixon is expected to return kickoffs.

Sounds logical. Sounds good. Sounds GREAT.

2) What do the following players all have in common???
Clint Sintim (minicamp)
Sinorice Moss (minicamp)
Travis Beckum (minicamp)
William Beatty (minicamp)
Chris Canty (training camp)
Rocky Bernard (training camp)
Aaron Ross (training camp)
Kevin Dockery (post training camp)

THEY ALL HAD OR HAVE HAMSTRING INJURIES. Coughlin called injuries a cancer. Well, Tom, if injuries are a cancer, what do you call strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri?

We spoke with our Doctor friend, you know, the one who alerted us to the seriousness of the Alford injury by politely saying that you better wait until Sunday or Monday for confirmation that it was just a sprain. When we asked Ultimatenyg Doctor about the rash of hamstring injuries, whether it could be the staff not giving the players proper instruction, the answer was “VERY POSSIBLE, TOTALLY POSSIBLE.” So we have no evidence, other than 8 players (did I miss any?.. ya have to know we needed an abacus to keep track of them) who all mysteriously have the same problem. Add that guys like Canty have never missed a game (before putting on a Giants uniform), add that three rookies all got it very early, and it sounds like poor professional supervision. We were not the first ones to suggest this. We first read about the notion on the blog from a commenter. It has been there in the open. Coughlin better take care of this ‘cancer,’ because it is man-made.

3) 1 or 2 months ago, a friend (one of the original Giants email group which predates this blog) gets informed by his wife that they will be going out to San Diego on Sept 10-14 to visit her mother. He told his wife, no, that he will not be going out that weekend to San Diego. The wife replies with a look.. Why Not? The husband matter-of-factly explains that the Giants are opening the season that Sunday and that he’ll be watching the game. The wife went to San Diego without him. The husband is distraught (wink ; ) about missing an opportunity to be with his mother-in-law…!! Talk about hitting the exacta.

4) Assuming Phil Simms has signed on for another year of the NFL Now, we’ll be bringing you a recap of his commentary as often during the season as we can. Phil Simms is an unofficial guru of the Ultimatenyg NY Giants Blog for a very good reason- he knows football and shares his insights with a frankness that respects us as listeners. The guru likes the Giants over the Skins tomorrow.

5) Vacchianno (yesterday): I get the sense from the defensive players that they don’t know yet what their identity is, and that it may take a few weeks to establish it.

6) Jeter

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.

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


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…


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:
at DAL
at TB
at KC

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.

Umenyiora bails on Sheridan/practice

September 1, 2009

1) Osi Umenyiora stormed out of practice. It may be over but where there is smoke there is fire. The last thing this team needs is a coordinator/head coach whose authority is questioned. That authority has to be unquestioned. A Pro Bowl player cannot do this. He is a leader. This incident has a chance of disappearing. Let’s hope it is not any bigger than it already is.

Is it me or does this entire situation feel like the 2004-2006 Coughlin era is back? Players vs the coaches. IF the relationship between the coaches and players is anything less than 100% supportive we do not have a chance.

2) Carl Banks on WFAN yesterday.
a) these WRs are able to get open
b) Lack of veteran leadership at WR can be a negative for the young WRs (drops)
c) Giants: “a long way to go and a short time to get there”
d) the NFC East is too strong, the Giants have no choice but to get there

3) Boley is back.

4) 7th round draft pick CB Stoney Woodson was cut.

Sunday Tom Coughlin Conference Call

August 31, 2009

Here is the transcript to Tom Coughlin’s Sunday Conference Call.

Coughlin’s Positives:
1) Run Defense
2) 3rd down defense (1 for 9)
3) punt coverage.. and physical on kickoff coverage
4) Eli cadence to draw penalties on opposing DL
5) Guys are getting open downfield
6) David Carr, Hakeem Nicks
7) first string OL
8) penalties (4 for NYG, 12 for NYJ)
9) Boley progressing well, perhaps we see him this Thurs(?)
10) Good to see Bernard out there, did some good things

Coughlin’s Negatives:
1) Defense still giving up big plays, altho there were less
2) Offensive kickoff return
3) Punt Return ball drop-in (Crazed Giant Fan correctly alluded to this one)
4) Two minute drill
5) The Hixon tip for Jets INT
6) No turnovers for Giants defense

Kudos to Mitch for being ahead of the game on Nicks. He wanted Nicks (and Manningham) to start and Coughlin spelled out that Nicks was going to be moving up the depth chart. Good.

The first day of camp.

August 4, 2009

Kenny Phillips off to a good start
Saed Hindash/Star Ledger

1) Note that we have provided a quicklink to NY Giants camp updates in the upper right hand corner of the blog. As always, we’ll try to cut through the fluff and post the salient comments and developments.

2) In yesterday’s lunchtime update, we noted that Stewart Bradley, the stud LBer with 150 tackles last season, is likely gone for the season with a torn ACL. Hey, the Eagles were not holding a benefit for us when Osi went down last year, so pardon us while we do not shed any tears for them or any of the other 31 teams in the league. Every team deals with these ugly injuries, so why can’t it be some other team for a change?! Let’s remember that starting S Terry Kinard went out during our ’86 run. That Simms went out in the ’90 run. That Kiwanuka (and Ward, altho that brought in #44) went out in the ’07 run. So injuries are a part of the game. Deal with it, Eagles fans. “It’s a major loss,” said Donovan McNabb. Yep.

3) Coughlin: “Sinorce ( Moss) had a nice spring. Steve Smith knows exactly what he is being asked to do at this point in time. Mario Manningham had a nice off-season.”

4) Kenny Phillips had two picks. Coughlin: “Yeah, I was (impressed). Those were two outstanding plays, too. I was back here cheering.” Good color at the end of the video link on his strong progress. If this guy steps up big he is going to make this defense hum.

5) Q&A with Osi Umenyiora:
Q. Does this team have the right pieces for success?
A. Let me tell you…I haven’t seen a team like this, as far as depth-wise since I’ve been here, we’re solid at every position, I mean every position. I mean we look real good on paper right now, but as soon as we get on the field we’ll see what we really have.

Q. Are you referring to just the defense?
A. Defense, offense…we’re solid at every position on the field.

Q. Is this deeper than the team that won it all a few years ago?
A. Deeper? I would say so. I mean from a straight depth standpoint I think we’re definitely better. But I mean are we going to be as good? That remains to be seen.

Q. When you went into camp last year, did you feel the same way?
A. I felt good about last year too. Maybe not quite as strong as every position like we have now, but I did feel good about last year too.

6) We’ve been arguing here on the blog that WR is not the issue for the Giants. Pat Kirwin agrees.

7) I sent an email to a few people yesterday before camp in response to someone asking aloud about who would win the battle between Bomar and Woodson for the 3rd QB spot. Those of you following this blog know what the answer is, given how Wonder was crazy for this kid Bomar two weeks before the draft. If Woodson beats out Bomar for a roster spot (barring injury related reason) I will sing “Hail to the Redskins” to my wife’s Uncle Roger down in Maryland, I will sing “Fly Eagle Fly” to my wife’s stepfather down in Philly, and I will tell Eddie H that the Cowboys are God’s gift to the NFL. But that is Not Happening, folks. From Ralph V today: “Speaking of Bomar … Advantage: him, in the battle for the third-quarterback job. On an off morning for the quarterbacks, he seemed to have mostly crisp, straight, spiral throws.”

8) I have a day job down here in NJ. But Ed Valentine at Big Blue View is there in person at practices in Albany. He is giving very good color. He offered the same strong sentiments about Bomar that Vacchiano gave.

9) Burress shoots the Giants in 2008… Pierce lifts the Giants in 2009. Is #58’s exoneration going to be a metaphor for this season?

The Meeting Room

July 17, 2009 gave us a look into one of the meeting rooms where coaches and players can use state of the art video for teaching.

Tom Coughlin used a little bit of hyperbole, claiming that the team is “in the meeting room twenty times more than we are on the field.” Obviously that is a stretch, but Coughlin made his point. If the new facilities enable the team to review 5% more plays in the same period of time, then maybe that converts on the field to one more play being executed precisely by all 11 players in a game… and maybe, just maybe, that is why the Giants win. Every little bit helps.

Tom Coughlin speaks to Francesa on the FAN

June 20, 2009

Coughlin spoke to Mike Francesa yesterday afternoon. Audio linked.

To Headcoach or Not to Headcoach

June 12, 2009

Your team has just gotten another losing season, the head coach has been fired and it is time to pick a successor who will hopefully turn things around. Who do you hire? Do you hire a new head coach who has previously been a head coach with another NFL team, OR do you hire a head coach who does not have any previous experience as an NFL head coach?

The answer from this blog- take the rising assistant head coach. Roll the dice on the new and unproven. Why? Because the goal is championships, and the data shows that NEW head coaches have won many more Super Bowl championships. If your goal is to restore your franchise to respectability, by all means get a retread. They will win you games and give your fans a playoff appearance. But if you are playing to go all the way, get the coordinator who has done some very good things, give him the keys to the car and let him drive.

HC Super Bowl winners w/ no previous NFL HC experience

HC Super Bowl winners w/ previous NFL HC experience

18 out of 26. 69%. 72% if you count them by total titles.

Here is where we editorialize also. In this blogger’s not-so-humble opinion, Coughlin does not win a Super Bowl unless he is ordered to CHANGE and start communicating better with his players by John Mara after a contentious implosion in 2006. Strahan, Burress and others all noted the difference that Coughlin had made. He changed(see minute ~6:30). He was available to players. He listened to them. In fact, we cited here that one of the reasons why the Giants pulled it all off is that the players asked Coughlin for more rest (more sane practices) as the season wore on, Coughlin gave it to them, and the Giants became the road warriors, winning 11 straight on the road. In short, Coughlin bonded with his players in a way that he never would have done when with the Jaguars OR the Giants in 2005 and 2006. Asterisk.

Belichick had an absolutely horrible situation with an imploding franchise that packed up in the middle of the night to escape town. Every former head coach who is interviewing for a new chance is going to tell you they have the extenuating circumstances that makes them the candidate to come in and win a title. But the numbers say you are better off with a new face.

Some of you are thinking- but what about the fact that in the last 12 years, 6 out of 9 of those coaches had previous HC experience. That this is the new era of free agency… Perhaps it is true that there is less patience on behalf of owners, who see teams like the Rams go from worst to first. The turnover of free agency makes life in the NFL far more volatile. The Raiders fire Gruden (more attributable to Al Davis literally losing his mind) when they are knocking on the door. Every HC that wins after losing elsewhere has a story of redemption. Maybe it is true that you have to pay attention to the extenuating circumstances more, because franchises may be making more mistakes in letting guys go too early. Steve Spagnuolo, Ken Whisenhunt, Rex Ryan… these are the types of guys who will give you the fresh start, the best shot. Mangini with prev experience as a head coach? No.

So, do you go with the last 9 datapoints? Or the first 25 (23 out of 25, pretty scary, eh?). We’ll choose to look at all 34 and say that the new guy gives you the fresh blueprint and supports Rule #11. Of course there are exceptions. If the Giants had a vacancy and John Fox was let go by the Panthers, I would want Fox back here BECAUSE of the work he has done in Carolina. Fox + Reese would be scary good.

Summary: All things being equal, take the new head coach, not the retread. Only take a HC with former HC experience if there are very strong circumstances arguing for why the candidate deserves another opportunity.