Tag Archives: Eli Manning

It’s not all bad, bELIeve me … by Jade Capristo

Happy 2019 football season to my nonexistent readers!

I can’t believe we’re celebrating 100 years of the beautiful game. It seems surreal – almost as surreal as the critics blaming Eli Manning for the state of the New York Football Giants (again), but I guess that’s just how things are now.

So let’s get into it, shall we?

The Giants have gone 0-2 to start the season, which is disheartening to we fans, but also not the end of the world, contrary to popular opinion. We’re not a sinking ship that is the Miami Dolphins, although we could trend that way if management doesn’t get their s**t together, and benches Eli for his rookie clone, Daniel Jones. We’ve showed signs of hope these past two weeks, and improvement between weeks one and two. And I, personally, don’t believe this current record is nothing the Giants can’t recover from heading into week three. It’ll take a few changes here and there, mostly on defense, but it’s about time New York became a team that fixed its ailments as they arise, rather than upon season conclusion.

But before I touch on the reparations I’d willingly chat with Dave

Gettleman about, let’s start with the blaringly obvious non-issue that is Eli Manning.

For all the fools out there who are blaming yet another subpar kickoff to season on this poor guy, I ask you this: how is it his fault?

No seriously, I’d love to know how Eli has single handedly ensured the team starts 0-2; because I’m pretty sure he’s combined for 556 yards in two games, complete with two TD’s and two interceptions, one of which is still, in my opinion, one of the worst ways to count an interception against any quarterback. Need I remind you that Eli is playing with an entirely shredded receiving core?

Sterling Shepard, out with concussion.

Golden Tate, suspended because he had the audacity to attempt procreation with his wife.

Corey Coleman with a torn ACL.

And now Cody Lattimer, out with a concussion thanks to the Bills cheap helmet-to-helmet shot that literally had him blacked out on the field, but of course wasn’t a penalty against Buffalo’s defense.

So, who the hell is he supposed to throw to? TJ Jones? Never heard of him until yesterday, when Eli tossed him a touchdown pass at the back of the end zone. Is it really the most logical thing to bench a veteran quarterback, in favor of a rookie, in the midst of an injury brigade?

Even without all of his primary receivers, Eli has managed to stay somewhat composed in the Giants semblance of a pocket; he’s even turned on the wheels when needed and become a little more comfortable staying on his toes this season – because he’s had the time. Time in the pocket in football is a luxury indeed, for any quarterback. For Eli, it is absolutely essential, as we all already know he’s not particularly mobile. But since he hasn’t had to be this season, the offense looks improved, despite the injuries. I have very few complaints with the Giants o-line, which is a massive turnaround from last year when Eli was running for his life at every snap of the football.

Saquon Barkley is as ferocious as ever, trucking defenses with ease, and Evan Engram has stepped up in his role as tight end/slot receiver. The offense has gelled, and will continue to do so, so long as the defense can make sure we’re not constantly playing catchup.

Which has been the case of these combined two first games. And Daniel Jones can’t fix that.

Now, we all know the Giants offloaded most of their once-indispensable purchases. Remember when they dropped $206 million of guys like Olivier Vernon, Damon Harrison, Landon Collins? All those guys are gone now. In fact, the only remainder from that massive defensive purchase is Janoris Jenkins. Our defense now looks as Swiss cheesy as our o-line used to – equally as full of holes that opposing offenses hang out in with ease. Against Dallas, we had zero pass rush and no sense of direction in our linebackers. Granted, the Cowboys o-line has been notorious for its impenetrability. But the Giants showed some improvement against Buffalo, getting to Josh Allen twice and almost forcing a turnover.

My father will tell you that none of this is favorable and we can’t expect a rookie defense to come together and be the Big Blue of old. But I still feel the hope that Pat Shurmur has enough of a hold on the locker room to get his guys to push for success. After all, if he could do it last year, midseason, with the offensive line, why not again for his defense?

The NFC East is not yet lost, and the Giants have the tools to turn it around. So long as they disregard the naysayers, stand behind their Iron Man, and work on their defense, I think the Giants can be better than what they’ve achieved thus far.

But maybe that’s just wishful thinking.

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Thanks to our friend, Jade Capristo for allowing us to repost her blog. The link to Jade’s post can be found at:

It’s not all bad, bELIeve me

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A Giant debacle in Dallas

Noone is saying that the season is over for the New York Giants. Not even close. But after their season opening performance in Dallas last Sunday, you have to be thinking it.  The fact is, the Giants were not competitive against a good Dallas team. I’m not quite ready to annoint this Dallas team as being Superbowl ready, but the ease with which they disposed of the GMEN was quite frankly, embarrassing. The final score of 35-17 did not tell the entire story.

After an auspicious opening drive for the Giants which included a 59-yard run by Saquon Barkley and an early touchdown for the Giants, everything went south from there.  The Giants Defense got on the field and Dallas proceeded to answer with their own touchdown, which would be the first of many.  After stopping the Giants on their next drive, Dallas took control of the game. With no pressure whatsoever from the Giants, Dallas was able to find open receivers all day. Three Dallas wide receivers had 100 or more receiving yards.  Dallas had 5 long drives of 50 yards or more. Giants fans had to be wondering what the defensive game plan was and who were these new players who were so ineffective?  I know that I expected more… much more!

The middle of the field must have looked like Candyland for the Dallas Cowboys. All passes thrown in that direction went virtually uncontested.  The Giants cornerbacks and safeties were nowhere to be found.  With all due respect, the Cowboys were working on the opposite side of Janoris Jenkins, the side that saw Antonio Hamilton and DeAndre Baker (the third number one pick selected in the first round by the GMEN).

I know that Hamilton had been recognized as an outstanding Special Teams player for his former employer, the Oakland Raiders.  But to have him cover the Cowboys receivers was a nightmare. He was playing 5 yards off any receiver he covered and could be seen running in the direction of Dallas receivers all afternoon. Hamilton should not be used in the starting defense. Surely the Giants have better players than him!

Baker wasn’t much better.  Quite frankly, he looked lost.  I know he came into this game slightly injured, but this was a college player who did not give up many touchdowns.  Expectations for him were (and hopefully still are) sky high.  This was not an auspicious start.

As for the Giants other first round picks, the story was equally as discouraging.  Rookie Defensive Lineman Dexter Lawrence was supposed to provide pressure up the middle. He did not.  His name was rarely mentioned during the game. Other linebackers and defensive ends expected to make an impact including Lorenzo Carter, Marcus Golden and Oshane Ximinez were also nowhere to be found. No sacks, no pressure.  C’mon James Bettcher, you have to dial up something better than this. How about a safety blitz or 3?

By the way,the Giants star of the preseason, first round pick Quarterback Daniel Jones, entered the game during garbage time. After a few pass completions for short yardage, Jones was welcomed to the big leagues as the ball was stripped from him.

There were some positives on this day for the Giants but unfortunately not many.  The Giants offensive line appeared to be worlds ahead of where it was last year.  Eli Manning had time to pass and the line did some run blocking as well, even with an injury to highly prized right guard, Kevin Zeitler.  Saquon Barkely had his stardard 100 + yard rushing and receiving and appeared to be underutilized during the game.  Likely a consequence of the fact that Cowboys were on offense most of the game dominating the time of possession.

Other positives for the GMEN; Evan Engram started to look good.  If the Giants are going to have any success this season, they will undoubtedly need more of a contribution from Engram. Many of Engram’s yards appeared to have come during garbage time. Getting him involved early and often is essential as he is a wide receiver in disguise on a team that does not have many reliable receiving threats..

The Giants have an opportunity to right their ship in week 2 against the Buffalo Bills.  Not to be taken lightly, the Bills  present their own threats but this much is clear; THE GIANTS MUST FIND A PASS RUSH!. If they don’t receivers will get open and there understaffed, undermanaged or underskilled defensive backfield will get burned repeatedly. And stick to the game plan of offense; give the ball to Barkley and find their ensemble of open receivers including Engram l to keep the Bills off balance.

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Were the ’85 Chicago Bears on the field in Dallas last week?

For anyone who watched last Sunday’s matchup between the New York Giants and the Dallas Cowboys, it would have appeared so.  The Cowboys defensive line played like the ’85 Bears registering 6 sacks and several pressures.  Eli Manning couldn’t throw deep to any of his receivers, rendering O’Dell Beckum Jr. (4-51), Sterling Shepard (3-24) and Evan Engram (7-67) largely ineffective… or so it felt.  His only option was short passes to Saquon Barkley, who set a Giants record for receptions by a running back (14-80).

Regarding all of the offseason talk of General Manager Dave Gettleman’s  offensive line building, the GMEN’s hog mollies looked a lot more like mollies than hogs. (Sorry, I couldn’t resist).  At the end of the game, the final score was 20-13.  The O-line for the Giants was so dominated by the Dallas defense that the score might have just as well been 48-0.

Kudos to Dallas Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli, who clearly deserved the game ball.  Marinelli out coached Giants coach Pat Shurmer and Offensive Line coach Hal Hunter.   Simple D-line stunts and cornerback blitzes wreaked havoc on the GMEN’s offense almost the entire game.  Eli took so many hits that he was probably rethinking his retirement with this current squad of protectors.  It appears that it will be a long season for the GMEN.

The running game was all but entirely negated as well.  Saquon Barkely had 11 carries for 28 yards.  Any gains he achieved was the result of him making multiple defenders miss tackles. There is no run blocking to be found.  Barkley is an exciting rookie with tremendous talent but can’t be expected to do everything himself.  The Giants are averaging 0.8 yards before the running back is touched, ranking last in the NFL in this statistic.  The NFL average is 2.4 yards before contact.  As much as we want Barkley to be the reincarnation of Barry Sanders, we can’t expect this to happen. At least not overnight.

Many are to blame for this monumental Giants collapse.  Let’s start with management who continues to back an aging, immobile pocket passer.   It is easy for Giants fans to drool when watching Pat Mahomes, Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold play the quarterback position.  These stars can evade defenders and still make plays downfield.  Eli’s days of finding David Tyree downfield are likely to be long gone. Fans and the analyst community are likely to believe there is cause to reevaluate the Giants decision to pass on a QB with the second pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.   While Eli Manning has several tools on his offense that other NFL teams would kill for, the question is whether he will have time to get the ball to them.  He also has difficulty beating linebackers who can cover.when he actually has time to find a receiver in the middle of the field.

As for the coaching, let’s not give up on Pat Shurmer and company yet.  It is clearly too soon for that. He has not lost the locker room as was the case with the Giants previous coaching mistake, Ben McAdoo. He has simply lost 2 games and looked awful in one of them against a team that many thought the Giants would beat.  Offensive line coach is another story. Simple stunts and cornerback blitzes can’t nullify your offense as was the case against the Cowboys.  Again, this was NOT the ’85 Chicago Bears defense that was on the field although at times, you wouldn’t have know it.  It is time for both Pat Shurmer and offensive line coach Hal Hunter to step-up their game!

Then there was fullback Shane Smith.  Or should I say ex-New York Giant full back, Shane Smith.  Smith was cut this week after missing 2 key blitz pickups against the Cowboys.  A notable statistic from the Giants game…Smith was solely responsible for 1/3 of the Giants 6 sacks.  Smith was released on Thursday following his horrendous performance which contributed largely to the Giants offensive collapse.

Still, you can’t blame a loss like this on one player. You have to site management for believing Eli could continue to thrive with this offensive line protecting him.  This is naïve or wishful thinking at best.

What Can Be Done Now?   

Any team that plays the New York Giants is going to follow Rod Marinelli’s game plan, bringing pressure early and often from several positions.  Why would you not?  The Giants must fill their holes as quickly as possible. The Giants are going to have to anticipate blitz-happy defenses and find a way to get the ball to their major weapons.

All hope is not lost at 0-2, but one can only hope that we have seen the worse of the New York Giants in 2018. It’s time for a coaches meeting that will not only identify team weaknesses but resolve or make wholesale changes.  Players that can be obtained are usually available for a reason.  Did I actually hear Will Beatty’s name being bandied about again as an offensive line addition?  Didn’t we already give him a second chance last season?

It will be interesting to see what changes are made to this team in Week 3!

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My thoughts about the GMEN after the first two preseason games

The 2018 New York Giants are likely to improve upon their 3-13 record from 2017. I might not be sticking my neck out very far in making this not-so- bold prediction, but there is much to support this thinking.  Although it is too early to tell whether this is a 6-win team or a team capable of winning 9 or more games and potentially making the playoffs, roster changes and the return of star power from injury alone will make this team better. Let’s begin with the offense.

This offense has star power. Saquon Barkely, the first round pick of the Giants and the second overall player taken in the 2018 NFL draft, should be a stud.  He’s a 1000-yard rusher behind a bad offensive line and possibly a 1500-yard rusher if this revamped offensive line gels as quickly as hoped. Did I mention he is a talented receiver and blocker as well?  He is one of several players on this offense who can excel at YAC-ing. (That is, getting yards after the catch). Remember, YAC-ing is a welcomed occurrence in the NFL;  and a bad thing to happen at a New Year’s Eve party.

Few players in the league are as dynamic and dangerous with their hands on the ball as wideout  O’Dell Beckum Jr. The good news for Giants fans is that he appears to be back in form.  Sterling Shepard , another Wide Receiver is a rising talent who can also turn a difficult catch into a big-play. The slot receiver, or third receiver depending upon where they move players around to appears to be Cody Lattimer who was acquired from Denver in the offseason.  Although he flashes on occasion, the jury is still out on him.

Then there is Evan Engram, the Giants 2017 number one draft pick. He’s a wide receiver at the Tight End position.  Think Jimmy Graham or Jordan Reed.  This guy is a playmaker. Let see how good he can be after having an outstanding rookie season.

Now let’s address the revamped offensive line.  Yes, the GMEN spent a lot of money on Nate Solder, the former left tackle for the New England Patriots. I suppose they were tired of hearing the boos for former left tackle Ereck Flowers and chose the best left tackle available in free agency. Who can blame them?

Solder is not an elite player. He gets beaten and looks very ordinary at times. But he is a leader in the lockeroom and should make a big difference protecting Eli’s blind side. Insert rookie Will Hernandez at left guard. Think Chris Snee with slightly worse feet.  Big, nasty mauler who should be able to create running  lanes for Saquon.  At center, John Halapio appears to be the choice over the Canadian, Brent Jones. Time will tell who wins the center position but it looks like it’s Halapio’s job to lose. Patrick Omaneh is the right guard who has played for Giants GM Dave Gettleman in Carolina.  He is somewhat of a journeyman but should still be able to open holes for the rushing attack.   Last but not least, is right tackle Ereck Flowers. It might be a reach for the Giants to think he can perform on the right side better than he did on the left. I don’t blame the Giants for giving him a shot at another position.

And then there is Eli, who looks like he can still hit the open man when protection is present.  Granted, he is closer to the end of his career than the beginning, but he should benefit greatly from the addition of Barkley as a safety valve who can run, catch and perhaps most importantly, block.  Keeping Eli vertical will be essential for having a bounceback season.

On defense, the GMEN unloaded salary in the form of Jason Pierre Paul and let some of their linebackers and defensive backs with big salaries find other teams in free agency.  So why do I believe their defense stands a chance to be better than they have in the past few seasons?

James Bettcher, new defensive coordinator for the New York Giants excels with the ensemble cast theory. He has crafted three top- 6 defenses in the past 3 seasons.  This year could follow suit. He has acquired a group of players in addition to starter Olivier Vernon, who can rush the quarterback including Kareem Martin and Josh Mauro (players he had in Arizona) as well as Connor Barwin and rookie Lorenzo Carter.  Bettcher brings the pass rush early and often.  In the second preseason game, you saw sacks coming from various players including rookie Lorenzo Carter.  Very encouraging.

In the secondary, Cornerback Janoris Jenkins (aka Jackrabbit) and safety Landon Collins are pro bowl players.  Let’s hope that the players the Giants put next to them can rise to the occasion as well.

It might take the Rod Marinelli-like ensemble themed defense a few weeks to bear fruit, but I think they have the potential to be good.  If the offense lives up to it’s potential and the line can open up some running lanes for Saquon as well as protect Eli, the GMEN could be back in contention for the NFC East lead.  Stay tuned.

Larry Finklestein is a self proclaimed ignorantly optimistic New York Giants fan.

 

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If it keeps on raining, the levee’s going to break!

 

 

 

 

 

 

At 1-6, the New York Giants are playing for pride and jobs next season. Some high priced talent appears to be working their way out of New York already.  Which leads to the next question; if you are New York Giants management, what are you thinking at the moment?

Surely noone could have predicted the abysmal 1-6 start to the 2017 season. Perhaps we were a bit overrated after last season but we are not a 1-6 team in 2017, rignt?  You are what your record says you are!

The GMEN’s 1-6 record can be attributed to letdowns in several areas, including:

  • Offensive Line Play
  • Play calling
  • Quarterback play
  • Overall defensive performance (although it is hard to blame the defense when they are on the field for most of the game
  • Failure to acquire talent to backup key positions
  • Key Injuries

Point the blame wherever you want.  It is probably all valid.

So what does New York Giants management do at this point of the season?   Probably nothing.  See who plays hard and still wants a job next season.  Replace General Manager Jerry Reese if you like, if for no other reason than it’s time for a change (just like it was time to replace Tom Couglin).

Is it time to give rookie Davis Webb a try at QB when there is nothing to lose?  Probably not when you are still paying Eli Manning a zillion dollars.

As for the head coach, that is another story.  The Mara family, specifically The Duke (may he rest in peace), has not historically made hasty decisions on their head coaches.  (If they gave Ray Handley two seasons to sink the Giants ship, they surely will give McAdoo another season in light of the fact thay he took the team to the playoffs in his first season as head coach).  Will they really fire McAdoo after what looks to be a disastrous second season as head coach?  Time will tell of course, but this is unlikely if you ask me.

I suppose this decision depends on how the Giants play out the remainder of the 2017 season.  Certainly Giants fans and management alike do not like to face the reality of the 2017 season; they are the second best team that plays in Met Life Stadium.  (How can you not appreciate the Jets swarming defense that repeatedly gets hits on the quarterback… memories of the Strahan and Tuck days).

A strong second-half and player buy-in will go far to secure another season of having Ben McAdoo as head coach.

However, if the levee breaks, and all hell continues to break loose, all bets are off.  Stay tuned.

 

 

No Hope for the New York Giants

The New York Giants are once again one of the worst teams in football. And the hardest part about this season in comparison to other losing years, is the fact that they have the talent to succeed, and yet, they don’t. Big Blue has succumbed to collective piss-poor play on all sides of the football, and the prospect looks bleak.

“A lot of guys are disappointed right now and rightfully so,” coach Ben McAdoo said. “The game continues to teach us tough lessons that we have to learn from and learn from in a hurry and fix.”

The Giants are 0-3 to start the year, after a typical “let’s rally in the 4thquarter” style loss to the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday. Unfortunately this isn’t wholly their fault – some of the flags (or lack there of) truly influenced the outcome of the game. But flags aside, the Giants beat themselves – again. This comes at no surprise, especially because Eli Manning was too busy wondering which direction his next sack is coming from to focus on where to throw the ball. And let me tell you, the solution to this problem is NOT rushing out of the backfield. The O-line can scarcely hold up for two seconds to allow Manning a throw, let alone to allow a decent run.

And the worst part is the Giants will continue to fail until McAdoo makes some serious changes with his O-line.

“Everything adds up in this league,” McAdoo said. “Seven penalties, too many yards, the tempo worked for us as an offense in the ball game, but we had too many formation infractions there that hurt us. The first win keeps getting delayed. We are not playing well enough to win as a football team. We are irritable and we need to find a way to win a game. It’s not going to get any easier.”

At this rate, the Giants should start looking for GM and head coach replacements. This might seem extreme but the Giants have been in desperate need of an offensive line for roughly four seasons now, and there has been little effort to fix it. Sure, Ereck Flowers had a big his rookie debut. But since then, he’s been a total headache, either missing tackles completely or getting called for holding. It’s Jerry Reese’s job to buy talent to fix problems, and it’s Ben McAdoo’s job to coach said talent into a functional football team. The Giants have had issues working together as a well-oiled team since last years’ playoff collapse, and this season is no different. In fact, the only thing oiled about the Giants is McAdoo’s new slick-back hairstyle, which will look great with the “looking for work” sign he’ll need to start carrying if he doesn’t get his guys to shape up.

Look, I know it’s not over yet. Teams have overcome worse odds and undergone random win streaks out of nowhere. But the fact of the matter is this: if Manning doesn’t have the time to throw a touchdown pass because his O-line doesn’t exist, then how in the hell are the Giants suppose to score?

If you don’t score, you don’t win.

But that’s just my opinion.

 

By JADE CAPRISTO // jadesgiants.wordpress.com

The New York Giants Need More than Odell

The New York Giants’ 2017 season debut against the Dallas Cowboys was less-than-stellar, thanks to an underwhelming offense. We all know the Giants’ O-line is Swiss cheese. Last season, the blame could mostly be placed on Ereck Flowers, who had been shaky by either forgetting how to block or getting flagged for holding. Sunday’s game was an improvement for Flowers who managed to not get flagged. But wouldn’t you know – now John Jerry doesn’t know how to block without holding.

So when Eli Manning actually managed to connect to his timid offense, the chains wouldn’t move. And I hate to break it to you, but if you don’t move the chains, you don’t score; hence the brutal 19-3 beat-down.

“No part of the offense was functional [Sunday],” coach Ben McAdoo said.

On top of that, the Giants’ $206 million defense still had trouble shutting down the third and long/third and short. I get it, the Cowboy’s O-line is the best in the league. But giving up critical third and longs is how teams beat themselves, which is exactly what happened.

“At the end of the day there’s not much to hang your hat on, scoring three points and getting beat like we got beat,’’ left guard Justin Pugh said.

Now, I know the prospect seems bleak and everyone wants to win their season debut. But let me explain how the Giants aren’t actually screwed…yet.

First of all, the Giants once again got caught on the wrong side of BS penalties. For example, Janoris Jenkins did not deserve that PI call that ultimately put the Cowboys in the red zone for their first touchdown. While this may seem minor, calls like this add up quickly and result in big points or renewed downs. The Giants were only trailing by two field goals before Jenkins was flagged, but once the Cowboys found the end zone, they also found their momentum.

Secondly, Eli did not play as badly as you all think. Shocking, I know. But here’s why Eli isn’t the problem.

Eli is not blessed with the gift of speed. He’s not a Russel Wilson/Aaron Rodgers type of guy, so when his pocket collapses, he’ll likely go down with it. With the Giants’ O-line being as shaky as it is, Manning has about two seconds to make a decision before he’s facedown on the carpet. Which make his mis-throws more understandable. On top of that, we had a rookie tight end playing in the big leagues for the first time, Brandon Marshall finding his stride with a new offense, and no Odell Beckham Jr.

And finally, Cowboys’ wide receiver Cole Beasley is a slippery son of a bitch and his neck-catch was a testament to his luck rather than skill. But it’s players like Beasley who manage to find the holes on third down that gas the Giants’ defense and make it tired by the fourth quarter.

Luckily, all of these factors can be fixed – except for the refs needing glasses. It is up to Ben McAdoo to bring out the best of his offense, and seal the deal on defense. Sure, the outcome of Sunday’s game could have been 100% better. But let’s give it a few more weeks before we count out Big Blue for good.

“Well, it’s one of 16 games,” McAdoo said. “We have to be careful getting too emotional about one football game. A lot of effort and energy goes into the first game. You’ve got to tip your hat to Dallas and move on to the next one.”

 

Ben McAdoo’s Giant Mistake

Preseason football is dangerous for a number of reasons. Not only does it mean nothing in terms of a teams’ regular season achievement, but it also gives starters the chance to get hurt. Such was the scenario for the New York Giants last night in their matchup against the Cleveland Browns.

Odell Beckham Jr. took a nasty-looking hit that caused the 2017-18 season to flash before the eyes of coaches and fans alike.

“The play wasn’t a penalty, but it’s something everyone knows that is something you don’t do,” said Giants’ safety Landon Collins. “He had about 30 seconds to make a play on the ball in the air. He could’ve made a play on the ball, could’ve hit him high, but he chose a different route. I can’t respect him.”

While Beckham got extremely lucky and walked away with a high ankle sprain rather than broken bones or torn ligaments, you have to wonder why such an impact player was still in the game past the first quarter at all. In fact, head coach Ben McAdoo kept all of his starters – ranging from Eli Manning to Landon Collins – active until Beckham took the cheap shot to the knees at the top of the second.

Beckham is now questionable to open against the Dallas Cowboys for week one.

Like I said before, preseason doesn’t matter. The fact that the Giants are now 0-2 doesn’t matter. Sure, it’s great to throw a W on the left, but what the Giants need is healthy starters come regular season. And they’ll definitely have a hard time of it if McAdoo doesn’t bench his guys as soon as possible.

“If he can play, he will play,” McAdoo said of Beckham. “I can’t answer that question (if it might be more than a sprained ankle) right now. We will take a look at it. We will see what the medical staff says.”

The only silver lining in this situation is the fact that Beckham won’t play for the remainder of preseason, with the hopes he can recover by September 10th. Hopefully McAdoo uses Beckham as a wakeup call and goes easy on his use of his starters. Because no preseason game is worth the loss of impact players.

Reflecting On The Giants Week 13 Win Over The Cowboys- Round 2

That was an epic win on Sunday night against the Dallas Cowboys!  It was particularly great to see the GMEN return to their defensive roots; their defense shut down the only NFL team with an 11-1 record.  Let’s give props to several players who had outstanding games, namely:

Jackrabbit Jenkins:  He shut down Dez. Bryant…lights out!

Romeo Okwara:  Who?  This is the guy who replaced JPP.  How’s 8 tackles and 1 sack for his first NFL start?

Derek Kennard- 6 tackles, 1 sack

Jonathan Casillas- 5 tackles, 1 sack

and the rest of the Giants D. They were outstanding!

Now, for the offense.   Let me start with the most exciting offensive player the GMEN have had in 50 years. If you think I am referring to O’Dell Beckum Jr, you would be correct. After a slow start against Dallas (a slow start for Beckum is having a drop or two), he did what we have come to expect from him…change the outcome of the game.  Beckum took an Eli Manning slant pass to the house, and thanks to the Giants defense, it turned out to be all they needed. See the reaction of fans at Aces, SF, below.

(Video courtesy of huddleball.com).

 

As for the rest of the Giants offense…ugh!  (They own the 31st ranked running attack, 11th ranked passing attack). What remains most troubling to me (and Giants fans everywhere) is the Giants offensive line and their inability to pick up a rushing first down when they need to sustain a drive.  They are simply not opening holes for their running backs.

Left Tackle Erik Flowers appears to be a liability on every play.  His confidence is clearly shaken. He is repeatedly getting beaten by faster pass rushers causing Eli to throw the ball away early or even worse, throw interceptions.  We are seeing too many mistakes out of Eli and it would not be a coincidence if faulty offensive line play had anything to do with it.  The Giants should be welcoming Justin Pugh back to the O-line this week at Left Guard.  Having this quality addition can only help.

If there is no shuffling of players (Pugh to Left Tackle, Flowers to Left Guard?), the Giants should at the least insert a Tight End next to Flowers for extra protection on the blind side.  It can only help matters. Simple solutions like this could show some improved results in both the run blocking and pass blocking areas. Remember the days when we had quality diversity on the offensive line?  It really makes you appreciate what David Diehl was able to do for them over a long career.

With greater stability on the offensive line, perhaps Eli will reduce the number of plays in which he has happy feet and throws some boneheaded interceptions. To Eli’s credit, he has the mentality of a defensive back, or rather, the memory of one.  If he gets burned on one play, he is able to make a great play on the next.

The Giants are in a very fortunate position to be in at the moment at 9-4 and look to be heading to the playoffs as a Wild Card team.  A poor finish the final 3 games could easily derail that.  They must play the way they played this week on defense, and improve their offensive performance in both their running and passing attacks.

Imagine what this team can do if they solve their offensive line problems?  If they figure it out now, and continue to improve into the playoffs, I would expect nothing less than a deep run in the playoffs if not a third Lombardi Trophy for Eli!

So says the most ignorantly optimistic New York Giant fan out there…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Patriots vs Giants Review

No matter the circumstances when the Patriots and Giants get together it always seems to be a competitive game.

Sunday was no different, as the Giants gave the Patriots their biggest scare of the season.

The Pats deserve credit for taking advantage, but for all intents and purposes the Giants handed the Patriots the win.

The G Men had the ball first and goal to go from the Patriots 5-yard line with 2:06 remaining. In the ensuing three plays, the Giants went: incomplete pass (OBJ drop), incomplete pass, sack.

More importantly, they shaved just 16 seconds off the clock due to the two minute warning and the Patriots calling their final timeout with 1:50 remaining.

Poor clock management coupled with Landon Collins’ near interception gave Tom Brady and the Pats too many chances to overcome a 2-point deficit.

After the benefit of film review, let’s take a look some of the highs and lows from Week 10:

On Offense

Julian Edelman Injury: As Tom Brady said Monday morning on his weekly radio hit, you can’t just replace Julian Edelman. Edelman, especially this season, has developed into one of the best receivers in football. In theory, the Patriots have a viable Edelman replacement in Danny Amendola. Amendola can run similar routes to Edelman, and serves as a sure handed target for Brady, but is not close to Edelman in terms of running after the catch. Edelman is one of the league’s best playmakers with the ball in his hands. Edelman has game breaking ability, and that will be sorely missed in the Pats O for the next 6-8 weeks.

Tom Brady Going Deep: Over the last few years as Tom Brady has aged we have seen him struggle with accuracy throwing the deep ball. Brady has been much better in that regarded this season, ranking 5th in the NFL in completion percentage of 21+ air yards (min. 8 att). Brady has a 43.3 comp percentage on passes of 21+ air yards this season, compared to just 24.5 in 2014. If it wasn’t for some breakdowns on the offensive line, Brady could have had a few touchdowns of 50+ yards in this one. In particular, over the last two weeks Brady has gotten on the same page with WR Brandon LaFell. His 54-yard completion to LaFell was a little bit behind the receiver, but a great throw nonetheless considering it went over 50 yards in the air:http://www.patriots.com/video/2015/11/15/highlight-tom-brady-54-yard-pass-brandon-lafell.

Final Drive: Let’s face it, the Giants handed the Patriots a second chance when rookie safety Landon Collins dropped an easy interception. Having said that, Brady and the Pats recovered nicely from the near turnover to get into field goal range. Brady didn’t force the issue after the almost pick, and relied on Danny Amendola over the middle to get them down the field. It wasn’t the cleanest of two minute drills, but it obviously got the job done. The Patriots went 44 yards on the final drive to set up Stephen Gostkowski, and 32 of those yards were on completions to Amendola. The play of the drive was a 4th and 10 completion to DA to keep the game alive. Brady waited until the last possible second to hit Amendola for 12 yards over the middle. Here is the final drive: http://www.patriots.com/video/2015/11/15/patriots-game-winning-drive-vs-giants.

On Defense

Giants Pick On Pats Backups: One part of the Giants game plan that was very obvious was that they liked their chances against Patriots backup linebacker Jonathan Freeny and corner Rashaan Melvin. Both Freeny and Melvin were in the game due to injuries (Jamie Collins, Justin Coleman), and the Giants did a good job of taking advantage. There’s such a big drop off from Collins to Freeny. Freeny filled in admirable, but was beat badly in coverage multiple times and whiffed on a few tackles. Melvin also got beat a few times by Giants WR Dwayne Harris, including a big 30-yard play to set the Giants up in field goal range on their final drive.

Malcolm Butler: The stats weren’t particularly friendly to Butler in this one, but it was mostly because of the 87-yard bomb he surrendered to Odell Beckham Jr. in the first quarter. Devin McCourty overran the play, and took a bad angle to the ball causing the major breakdown. Typically, McCourty makes that tackle preventing all the yards after catch. For the rest of the contest, Eli Manning was just 2-9 for five yards with three pass breakups when targeting Butler in coverage. Butler spent the majority of the day playing press-man on OBJ, so giving up just 5 yards after the big catch to Beckham is a heck of an accomplishment. Butler also made a game saving pass breakup in the end zone on the Giants final drive. It might sound a bit homerish to say, but Butler is turning into a very capable #1 CB.

Pats Ditch Big Dime Defense: Through the first 8 games of the season, the Patriots have relied on their four safeties on passing downs forming a big dime package. On Sunday, they opted to go with a more traditional look. The Pats decided to play Rashaan Melvin and Justin Coleman over rookie safety Jordan Richards (1 defensive snap). Richards was typically a part of the big dime look with McCourty, Chung, Harmon, Butler, and Logan Ryan. The decision didn’t exactly pan out for the Pats, as Eli Manning took advantage of the Patriots lack of depth at CB.

Special Teams

Amendola Punt Return: One of the biggest plays of the game was Danny Amendola’s 82-yard punt return that should have been a touchdown. The return provided a much needed spark for the Pats, and set up a LeGarrette Blount touchdown that got them back in the game.

Stephen Gostkowski: The Patriots have themselves an absolute weapon in kicker Stephen Gostkowski. Having a kicker that is deadly accurate from 55 yards and in is such a great thing to have for any football team. The Patriots started the final drive of the game with 1:47 remaining and no timeouts. Having Gostkowski meant they only needed 40-45 yards to attempt the FG. A 54-yarder is no chip shot, but Gostkowski made it look easy.