Tag Archives: Tom Coughlin

The Giants lost to the Rams 17-9 this past Sunday. Is there still reason to cheer?

It’s OK, Nick.  I do believe you are telling it like it is.  Having been a Giants fan since 1970, I can remember many more bad years than good.  The past four seasons, as you have stated, have been garbage.

It’s not for lack of trying.  More likely, bad hiring decisions by the Mara/Tisch ownership group.  Starting with the decision to keep coach Coughlin on for too long as well as an aging Eli Manning, management thinking should have turned proactive.  The decisions to hire Ben Macadoo and then Pat Shurmer as head coach were both bad moves.  Neither one of these hires was ready to be a true head coach.  Unquestionably competent as position coaches, they did not operate with the vision needed by a head coach.  Quite frankly, they lacked the overall management skills required to keep their teams together.

Now let’s fast forward to present day.  I actually like what I’ve heard coming out of the mouth of Joe Judge. Coming from perhaps the most respected coaching tree in the league, namely the New England Patriots, as well as the Nick Saban college ranks, Judge will eventually see success in the NFL.  Giants fans of course hope this will be sooner as opposed to later.

Believe it or not, the defense is improving

On Sunday against the Los Angeles Rams, the Giants became closer to becoming a winning team.  Their defense is improving.  Notable stars are emerging on the D-line, in the linebacking corps and in the secondary.  Dexter Lawrence and Leonard Williams are providing some push up the middle. Blake Martinez and Kyler Fackrell are making names for themselves from the linebacker group.  (Who doesn’t like the addition of Martinez, who always seems to be around the ball?).  Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham appears to be doing a good job with his personnel. Although they are likely to be a few players away from being consistently competitive, I do feel the defense is headed in the right direction.

No real threats on offense

With Saquon Barkley in the game (and as was the case when we had O’Dell Beckum Jr. on the team), there was the belief that the GMEN could score on any play in which they touched the ball.  The closest thing the current team can claim to having a home run threat is wide receiver Darius Slayton (3-48 against the Rams). Slayton is off to a quiet start of the season thus far.  The talented yet extremely unreliable Evan Engram is not doing the job at Tight End and the often- injured Golden Tate and Sterling Shepard are, often injured.  Without the game-breaking talent of a Barkley or a Beckum, the current squad is having difficulty scoring touchdowns at the moment.  Kicking field goals, as we know, is a recipe for losing games.  Thus, the 0-4 start with 2 defeats (Bears and Rams) which were winnable games.

The GMEN are still feeling around for their best five offensive lineman. This is something that teams often do during the preseason (oh that’s right, there wasn’t a preseason this year!).  Well, the shuffling around of linemen on the roster is likely to continue until there seems to be consistency on the offensive line with some inkling of ability to run and/or pass block, hopefully both.

I do believe there is talent on the offensive line. If Marc Columbo can unlock the motivational key on Will Hernandez (am I the only Giants fan who thinks that he should be playing better than he is… ?), along with rookies Andrew Thomas, Matt Peart and Shane Lemieux, the core of the offensive line might be set for a few years.  Imagine if the Giants don’t have to focus on drafting offensive lineman in the next NFL draft ?

I know that Pro Football Focus has Cameron Fleming rated as the top offensive lineman for the Giants thus far this season.  If that’s the case, yikes!  I have found his contributions to be serviceable at best. I liken him to a Kevin Booth. (Booth could take up a lot more space though). It will be interesting to see if coaches try to work in Shane Lemieux in to one of the guard positions or swing new Center, Nick Gates out to the Right Tackle position which I believe he played in college.  Inserting Lemieux would bring a bit of nastiness to the offensive line (something we thought would be provided by Will Hernandez) which this team could undoubtedly use.

Back to the offense, the backfield consisting of the newly acquired Devonta Freeman, Wayne Gallman and Dion Lewis is not likely to inspire too much fear in the minds of opposing defenses.  Coaching has to be more creative in using their running back’s best attributes  (screen passes?). Handoffs from the line of scrimmage aren’t going to do the job until the offensive line demonstrates the ability to open running lanes.  Devonta Freeman’s workload should increase each week as he is learning more of the playbook.  The good news is that it appears that he has something left in the tank.

Last but not least

Now let’s talk about Daniel Jones.  Is the glass half-full or half-empty?  Both, I guess. He certainly does appear to be a work-in-progress.  Having grown up during the Phil Simms years, I have seen the evolution of a Giants quarterback.  It took Simms 4 or 5 seasons trading starts with his backup Scott Brunner before he took command of the position and went on to greater things, including a victory and mvp in Superbowl XXI.

So does Daniel Jones have a Superbowl victory in him?  Impossible to tell at this point. You have to believe he is doing his best to control his turnovers at this point.  Improvement on the offensive line will be essential to his development.  We must also see better decision making from Jones, especially in the Red Zone. Personally, I want to see more of the fire that we saw in Phil Simms turnaround as the QB for the GMEN.  Jones needs to take control of this offense and show his linemen that he has the ability to lead this team to winning games this season and beyond.

If the Giants don’t win any games this season, fans will be calling for Jones head on a plate as well as those of head coach Joe Judge and offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.  They are facing an underachieving yet offensively talented 1-3 Dallas Cowboys team this week. Always a favorite rival, this game will be a good barometer of how much the Giants defense has improved thus far in the 2020. season.  Stay tuned and get your popcorn ready…

Huddleball.com welcomes all fan insight and opinions.  If you want to blog with us this season, please email us at huddleball@gmail.com.

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.

 

 

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.

 

Previewing Pats at Giants – Week 10

We all know the well documented history between the Patriots and Giants.

The Giants have beaten the Pats 3 straight times. Twice in the Super Bowl, and once in a regular season matchup in Week 9 of 2011. No team in the Belichick era has beaten the Pats in four straight games.

Also, Giants coach Tom Coughlin is 5-1 in his coaching career against Bill Belichick, with the best win percentage of any head coach going head-to-head with BB.

Having said that, the Patriots enter the Week 10 showdown as one of two teams in the NFL to rank in the top 10 in scoring offense, scoring defense, total offense, and total defense (Arizona Cardinals) to go with their 8-0 record.

Let’s take a look at some of the keys to victory for the Patriots:

On Offense

Get Gronk and Edelman Involved: Obviously Julian Edelman and Rob Gronkowski are always a huge part of the Patriots offense, but last week the Redskins were able to hold the lethal combinations to a respectable 102 receiving yards combined. The Giants give up all sorts of yards through the air (ranked 31st), and just gave up 7 touchdown passes to Drew Brees two weeks ago. The Giants struggle against tight ends and shifty receivers like Edelman. In fact, the Giants have given up the most receptions, receiving yards, and touchdowns to slot receivers this season. The middle of the field should be open for Gronk, Edelman, and the Pats.

Who’s Replacing Dion Lewis?: The Giants defense has struggled so far this season, so this is a good place to start life without Dion Lewis. Dion Lewis was such a huge part of what the Pats were doing offensively as I illustrated in my review of the Redskins game. Everyone will be looking to see who gets Lewis’ snaps as the receiving back. Will it be Brandon Bolden or James White? Either guy needs to be able to win matchups against linebackers in coverage.

Protect Brady: This is a key each and every week, but it’s even more so this week with the matchup against the Giants. We all know how the Giants have slowed down the Pats offense in the past, and that is by getting to Brady. Most would tell you that the Giants do it by rushing just four and dropping seven in coverage, and that their talent on the defensive line allows them to get to Brady anyways. The Giants have had very talented defensive lineman, but have also blitzed Brady 13 times a game in their last four matchups. That’s a decent amount. If the Patriots want to avoid losing four in a row to the G Men they will have to keep Brady upright with this banged up offensive line.

On Defense

How Do You Stop OBJ?: The Patriots will face arguably the league’s best receiver on Sunday in Giants standout Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ is on a historic pace in just his second year in the league. He is both the fastest receiver to 150 career receptions and to 2,000 receiving yards. His 19 receiving touchdowns is the fourth most in a player’s first 21 games. So how will the Patriots slow down Beckham? Well, they can go one of two directions illustrated by matchups against elite receivers earlier in the season. In Week 1, the Patriots opted to let top corner Malcolm Butler shadow Antonio Brown, and lived with the consequences (9 rec, 133 yds, TD). This allowed the Patriots to limit the Steelers other receiving options. In Week 7 against the Jets, the Patriots took a different approach. They doubled Jets top wideout Brandon Marshall with Logan Ryan and Devin McCourty over the top, and held Marshall down to one of his lowest outputs of the season. How the Patriots approach slowing down OBJ is the biggest key to this game defensively.

Get To Eli: Since Eli Manning entered the league in 2004, no quarterback in the NFL has thrown more interceptions. Having said that, he has also thrown the fourth most touchdowns in that span, and has the fifth most wins as a starter. Manning has a passer rating of 96.7 his four matchups with Tom Brady and the Pats. His numbers aren’t stellar against the Pats, but he obviously has done enough to win. The Giants offensive line has improved over the past two seasons, but the key to slowing down any elite quarterback is applying pressure. Based on what I’ve seen of this Giants offensive line, the Patriots front can have their way on Sunday.

“Stop The Run, Then Have Some Fun”: Patriots defensive end Chandler Jones was quoted saying the phrase earlier in the week. It’s a great quote, but it’s also a great way to approach each game. The Giants don’t run the ball well (ranked 24th), so making the Giants one dimensional should be a focus on Sunday.