Archive for November, 2007

Simply Inexcusable

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

Everything the Giants gained with last week’s victory over Detroit they gave right back in this horrible failure against the Vikings. Down 24-7 at the half, I honestly felt the Giants would make a comeback. Good teams come back in these instances. The Giants are not a good team. The thing is, they should be better with their talent level, but Sunday’s game makes you really scratch your head.  Like Minnesota, Chicago, Detroit, Philly, Arizona, and Washington, they are an average team. Throw all these teams in a bag and pick two for the wildcard and you get the same thing: a team that is just about 8-8 and could maybe win a first round playoff game. And with this loss the Giants are going to be in a struggle to win nine. They aren’t beating New England. Road games in Chicago and Philly will be anything but easy. So the “gimme” games are Washington (home) and Buffalo (away). Wasn’t Minnesota a “gimme”? A chance to increase their lead to three games was pissed away.

Eli Manning: atrocious game. Sure, maybe blame receivers for running wrong routes and I know it’s not all his fault, but you can’t give the other team 21 points via three interceptions. He looked lost. Coaching staff: awful game planning. Why didn’t Bradshaw have some touches in the first half as a chance of pace? Are they capable of making any in-game adjustments? I think the Vikings’ defense threw something at them after that first successful drive and the Giants never reacted to it. They made the Giants look as if they hadn’t practiced or prepared for the game. The defense, which probably deserves a pass in this one, was put in a hole by their own quarterback. But when given the chance to stop the Vikes when it was 24-10 in the third quarter, they let them go on a long, time consuming, nine minute drive to get the three points right back.

This game may be the beginning of the end for Coughlin. Is going 3-5 in the last eight what Jerry Reese is looking for? You know the answer to that. Yesterday’s poor play and coaching is too reminiscent to the last two years. Erratic. Confused. Lost. Is this how you want your team to be defined in a November home game against a 4-6 team? The team again appears to be fading during the stretch run. They have five games to show something or else Reese will jettison most of this coaching staff and start fresh. It starts next week in Chicago.

John Kitna: Look in the Mirror, You Might Not Like What You See

Thursday, November 22nd, 2007

This guy has a lot of nerve. Maybe when he sits down and watches the film of the game he will better understand. To say the Giants had no right beating them and that the Lions are clearly the better team is sour grapes. Perhaps Kitna is feeling the pressure of his 10 win prediction, because as it looks now they will maybe reach eight games. Maybe. Contests versus Green Bay (twice), Dallas, San Diego, and KC make for a rocky ride the rest of the way. But enough about Kitna, who I’ve given too much attention already.

Giants basically controlled this game for the first 55 minutes, and only then did they let up allowing the Lions to get themselves back in the game and nearly let them steal a win. But the defense answered twice in the final three minutes, first James Butler (interception in the end zone) and then Sam Madison picking one off at the Giants’ 30 to seal it. Maybe Mike and the Mad Dog will finally give the Giant defense some credit for coming up in a big spot. Probably not. But you know both would have ripped into the team had they coughed up that lead. I will say Dog gave credit to Strahan for his three sack game, prefacing it by announcing “and you know I don’t like Strahan.”

In reality, this game shouldn’t have been close. The Giants offense controlled the game throughout, and except for two fumbles in Lions’ territory (Jacobs, Moss) the score could have easily been, say 26-3, and prevent the hectic finish. Two three-and-outs in the final two minutes didn’t help. Nonetheless, this proved to be a huge bounce back game for the G-Men. After a disappointing outcome with Dallas last week, a loss to Detroit really could have put the pressure on Coughlin’s crew and rallied the anti-Giant conglomerate. After all, The Lions were 6-3 and 4-0 in the dome and sans Dallas and Green Bay, is the toughest game on the schedule to date. It’s also worth mentioning the nice game for Eli who is the leader of the offense and definitely led the way Sunday. They are now in the driver’s seat for the first wildcard slot in the NFC.

Go Ahead and Crown Their Asses

Friday, November 16th, 2007

Because I attended Sunday’s game, I just recently sat down and watched a tape (DVR) of the contest. You miss so much at a game, particularly replays (only positive plays involving the Giants are shown – an issue for another day) and of course the commentary. What I ascertained was the Giants were playing a pretty good game for the first 28 minutes, which they led 14-10. In fact, they were the better team. But at the two minute warning of the first half, the momentum of the game shifted to Dallas as they clearly begain to control both sides of the line of scrimmage for the rest of the game.

If you had told me the Giants would limit the Dallas running game and hold Witten to just two insignificant catches, I would have smelled a victory. But Dallas was able to give Tony Romo time to make big plays that killed the Giants. Conversely,  they got good pressure on Eli Manning throughout the game and disrupted the Giants’ passing game.

Dallas has rung up big numbers on everyone this year, and given the Giants’ personnel I really don’t think there was much more they could do. The Cowboys are simply a better team at this point in time.  The Giants are another playmaking LB or ballhawking secondary player away from competing against what the Cowboys bring to the table right now. They were only going to win in a shootout, which brings me to my final point.

I was very unhappy with the offensive game plan the Giants implemented Sunday. There were zero long distance throws. There was more “short stuff” than I have seen in the last three years. Sure the Giants offensive line was having more problems than at any other time this season, but Dallas’ main weakness is coverage down the field. You’ve go to be able to fight through it and take a few shots. They never challenged Dallas in this way. Not until the final play of the game, which at that point, was comically too late. Which brings me to my final point.

This is the first time I was dissapointed in Eli Manning in some time. Sure he has played worse games. In fact, glancing at his stats at game’s end would indicate he played decently.  What bothered me more than anything was that, under duress, he was unable to make plays.  The OL did have its worse pass blocking game. I didn’t like the game plan.  But this is when you QB has to make some plays, when things aren’t going by the book. Despite being 23-34, there were some throws that had to be made and weren’t. Dallas is by no means a dominating defense and Eli, at home in a big spot, needed to show more.

Next week’s game versus the Lions in Detroit is huge. The winner gets a stranglehold on the first wildcard. The loser won’t have to look far to see teams in the rear view miror.

Bye Week Thought: Coughlin’s Fate Still To Be Determined

Wednesday, November 7th, 2007

For the third straight year, a Tom Coughlin team is 6-2. That’s very impressive. Many people have obviously recognized this by mentioning his name as a Coach of the Year candidate. He certainly deserves to be included in that arena, especially considering many had the Giants as a last place team in 2007. Now to the flip side. Last year they went a dreadful 2-6 in the last eight. Two years ago, when the won the  NFC East, they went 5-3 and bowed out without a fight in the playoff game versus Carolina. One could make the arguement, and I agree, that injuries had a huge role in those dissapointments.  However, how the team finishes this year will determines Couglin’s fate.

General Manager Jerry Reese without a doubt wants to see how the team performs down the stretch, particularly because this year’s team is for the most part injury free and in position to earn a playoff berth. Reese wants his teams to be playing well in November/December when the stakes become high and playoff teams assert themselves. I don’t want to get into how many wins out of the remaining eight the Giants have to win to get Coughlin an invite back. I do think they need to make the playoffs. A playoff win? That’s debatable. Playing at a high level is what Reese is looking for the rest of the way and not the stumbling, lacking confidence team which finished out 2006. Reese knows he has a relatively young team which can be good for the next three to four years. Most every offseason question mark has been answered with an exclamation point. The last question he wants answered is whether Coughlin is the man to guide the team over that span.