Sunday, October 26, 2008

Giants - Will the Giants finally get respect?

First, I must apologize for not posting in a while, it has been busy with my new job but that is not a good excuse, and in fact is the kind of an excuse a Cowboys fan would give, so again I apologize.

Now to the substance ...
Coming in to this week, if you went on to any of the Espn boards or anywhere else, the Giants were continually being called "overrated", particularly by Cowboys fans, Eagles fans, and Steelers fans, among others. These naysayers predicted that the Steelers would stomp us out. Just look at, where the 5 out of the 8 "experts" picked the Steelers (and I could swear Mortensen originally picked the Steelers), and where three Sunday Countdown personnel picked the Steelers (3 picked the Giants, but one included Mortensen who was double counted). But most importantly 60% of US picked the Steelers in Sportsnation.

And if you look at some of the fans comments in
Espn's Rapid reaction, there are Steelers and Cowboys fans trying to blame this on injuries and bad calls. First, injuries are part of the game and if you cannot overcome them, then that is part of your weakness. More than any other sport, depth is key to winning a championship in football. And depth is exactly the reason why I believe in the Giants so much this season. At Running back, we have three very good backs in Jacobs, Ward, and Bradshaw, at Wide Receiver, we have very solid starting 3, Burress (our star), Toomer (a great route runner and master at the sideline catch), and Smith (master of the slot route), but then our depth provides even more support with Domenik Hixon, Mario Manningham, and Sinorice Moss, all of whom I have liked when I have seen them play. And this is just a few positions. I would say the only positions where we really lack depth are linebacker and cornerback.

Also, many Steelers fans most often cited the injury to their long snapper, which led to James Harrison throwing the ball over the punter's head and leading to a Giants safety. Keep in mind Steelers fans, Cowboys fans, and other Giants haters, we were about to get the ball back anyway, and just as we drove the field after the free kick we probably would have done so anyway even if the Steelers got the punt away.

And to those who would cite bad officiating or miss calls, I have many responses.

First of all, as my wrestling coach once told me, if you leave your fate in the hands of the officials, you will lose. If you want to win you must take control of the match (game) and make sure there is no doubt.

Second, I did not see one missed call against the Giants, but I will admit I am biased.

Third, I did however, see plenty of bad calls or missed calls that went against the Giants. First, in my opinion Jacobs crossed the plane on 4th down at the goaline (though I understand it was questionable and hard to overturn on replay). Second, I saw a play where on a long third down, Steve Smith just missed catching a ball, but during his route the cornerback blatantly grabbed his jersey and a defensive holding should have been called, yet there was no call. Third, on one of our many field goals inside the redzone, Burress's jersey was also held on a second down throw, in a throw that was just past his reach. Again that should have been defensive holding and an automatic first down.

But fourth and most importantly, the Giants dominated the Steelers offensive line. Yes the Steelers ran for a total of 95 yards (though 32 of that came on one play), which is a respectable 4.52 yards a carry, but if you take away the one touchdown play by Moore (which you cannot completely discount but helps show how we did for most of the game), then the Steelers only managed a weak 3.1 yards a carry. We also sacked Roethlisberger 5 times, and most importantly knocked him down about 16-17 times out of 33 dropbacks. That is phenomenal pressure. Oh, and the Giants also had 4 interceptions. Basically with the exception of two bad plays (which again you cannot ignore) we shut them down.

On offense, we did not do that well against their superb defense. We only ran for 84 yards and passed for 199 yards (though that was the most against the Steelers all season). However, even though the Steelers did a remarkable job of stopping us in the redzone, we easily could have scored 4 touchdowns given how many times we marched down the field and got into the redzone in the first place, or had our defense and special teams get us there.

With the exception of the Browns game, the Giants look to be a very good football team. And even though we lost to Cleveland, every team loses a game, with the exception of the 18-1 Patriots who remarkably did not manage to lose a game during the regular season (which was only the second time ever, and then they lost the most important game anyway). So even great teams lose to teams they are better then (I remember the undefeated Broncos lose to a much inferior Giants team a few years ago). So for all you Giants haters, you cannot say the Giants are not a good team because they lost to the Browns and now you have no claim that we have not beaten any good teams.

Now in the eyes of many, the Giants cannot really win next week. If they lose, Giant haters will say, wow Brad Johnson beat you, just imagine what happens when Romo comes back. If the Giants win, haters (mostly Cowboys fans) will just say, oh well, when they have Romo back the Cowboys will beat the Giants. It is just too hard for some to admit the Giants are a damn good team.

On another note, I just have a little Arm-chair quarterbacking to do. Why oh why will we not run Bradshaw? I love Jacobs and the way he runs over linebackers, cornerbacks, and safeties, but sometimes he is not effective. He does not have alot of vision and it seems whenever there is a man in front of him he just lowers his shoulders and for the most part does not try and make a man miss. I also love Ward, who has much more vision and the ability to make man miss but while he is faster then Jacobs he does not have electric speed. Bradshaw, on the other hand has explosive speed, good vision, and the ability to make people miss.

For some teams the big back will work better (particularly teams with faster, but smaller linebackers), but against the Steelers who are big and pretty good speed, it is going to be hard to run over them, and so a back like Bradshaw might be more effective. They should have tried to put Bradshaw in a few plays to see if he could do anything especially after Jacobs wore teams out a little (this is the reason Jacobs should always start because he pounds defenses), but we need to put in Bradshaw more.

But it is hard to question Coughlin, Spagnuolo (especially him), and Gilbride as they have the Giants 6-1.

Now to switch gears.

I have to ask, what are the Cowboys doing????

You add Roy Williams, one of the biggest me-first, whining, prima-donna wide receivers to a team that already has one of the other big me-first, whining, prima-donna wide receivers in Terrell Owens. They do this after already having made a failed gamble on perennial trouble maker, Pacman Jones. Basically they now have two wide receivers who complain they never get the ball enough, how can this possibly work in the long run?

Second, the Cowboys need serious defensive help with Williams, Jones, and others out. Now while they shutdown a moderate offense in Tampa Bay, I just do not see a team who got run over by Stephen Jackson and the Rams as well as the Cardinals the week before, being able to stop strong offensive teams. I cannot see them beating the Giants, Redskins, or even the Bears or Eagles for that matter. They should have traded for some secondary help.

Third, they gave up three draft picks to make this move, including a first round pick. See what happens Detroit when you get rid of Matt Millen? You make the first move on your long way to recovering as a team.

As a Giants fan, I love this move, especially considering what they had to give up (1 1st round pick along with two other picks). I just hope that we run them over last night and take them out of contention in the NFC East.

But hopefully the Giants get some respect and that the naysayers and Giants-haters shutup because they lose all their usual Giants hating talking points. Until next week.

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Travis Henry I Remember

Posted by Geoff

Less than a month ago, Travis Henry was arrested and charged with trafficking cocaine.

I remember watching him play with broken ribs when he was with the Bills. Between possessions, he would come to the sideline and take off his shoulder pads so that the trainer could wrap duct tape around his midsection before he went on the field again. He never complained, never took a day off even when the Bills were out of contention. He would just come to the sideline, add another layer of tape, and head back onto the field. He was incredible between the lines.

It was off the field that Travis Henry struggled. Of course, we never saw it in Buffalo… not the illegitimate children, not the problems with drugs, not the mental anguish. Only the commitment of a man playing through daily pain. Only the talent that kept him in demand in the NFL. Only the athlete we admired from safely outside the lines.

People talk about Travis Henry like he’s a story that has already been told. The fall from greatness: Michael Vick, Marcus Vick, Rae Carruth. The incredible athlete whose talents were overshadowed by off the field problems: O.J. Simpson, Maurice Clarrett, Adam “Pacman” Jones. The troubled star: Jamal Lewis, Ray Lewis… The list goes on, longer than I care to recite. Long enough that it stops being novel. Long enough that it stops being about a person and starts being about a stereotype.

Of course, Travis Henry isn’t a stereotype. He’s a person, just like you or I. A person with friends and a family. And for those four years he was in Buffalo, he was a man among boys between the lines. He was a player’s player. He was a fan’s player. He deserves more than being a punch line to a bad joke, more than being cast aside lightly as another example of a life wasted. His fans deserve more.

But we don’t always get what we deserve. When people look back on Travis Henry, if they look back on Travis Henry, it will probably be more for what ended his career than what composed it. At least for now, I still cling to the Travis Henry I remember, the man between the lines. The player we longed to be like who never knew how much we believed in him. The player I still long to be like. So tonight, as I lie down to sleep, I mentally pull a roll of duct tape around my memories of Travis Henry rushing down the sideline. My spirit aches; I lower my shoulder and hit the pile. I try to remember the Travis Henry I knew, and try to forget the Travis Henry everyone else knows.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Links I find amusing

Posted by Taz:

One of these days, I'll actually write something about the Cowboys. But until then, here are some more links.

Tony Gonzales can be had for as little as a third. The Giants and Eagles are interested.

ESPN won’t tell us why Kellen Winslow is
in the hospital. PFT will. Is this because ESPN is trying to respect Winslow’s privacy, or because ESPN and “investigative journalism” do not go together? And is Winslow’s injury better or worse than Terence Newman's?

For anyone who wants to learn how to run the
Wildcat Offense.

Something not NFL:
another reminder why the BCS is the hands-down dumbest way of determining who plays for the national championship.

lets you create your own team highlight film. What I find more amusing than the ability to play executive producer is mocking the cuts because of 1) the inability to write one sentence at a 3rd grade level and 2) content (I see that Brett Farve fans are keeping busy).

In the “how the heck do these people get jobs writing for major publications” category, Dennis Dillon earns his paycheck by
telling us that LT needs to do better. Wow Dennis, what amazing insight you are providing to us dumb NFL fans. What next? That the team that scores the most points wins?

I wonder if
this was the key concession that enticed Farve to play for the Jets this year.

Brady Quinn
tries to stay in the spotlight. Either that, or he is trying to turn his backup quarterback gig into one of those cushy federal jobs in which he can use our tax dollars to buy this girl lingerie and "light refreshments."

Monday, October 6, 2008

Links I Find Amusing

Posted by Taz

So I'm finally getting settled in from moving and starting work. I'll post in the next few days, but for now I'm going to leave you with some links.

Only the Lions could seriously believe that someone who puts up
these stats are worth 1 DeMarcus Ware or 2 first round picks.

Of course, getting Roy Williams for DeMarcus Ware would be much better than trading for
this former Bills running back.

While the above statement is true, you probably thought I was talking about

Ok fine…
here's the article you expected about a former Bills legend at running back getting in trouble with the law.

In case you approved of Brett Favre trying to single-handedly take over ESPN’s football coverage over the course of the last two months,
here's some more footage, complete with inspirational music and subtitles.

Then again, results like
this remind me that Favre is more than just a male diva.

ESPN has an interesting in-depth look at the sack record prior to 1982.

In the “Captain Obvious writes for the Dallas Morning News” file, Tim Cowlishaw thinks
that Tony Romo needs to cut down on mistakes. It’s on par with other such insightful observations as “St. Louis is a bad NFL team” and “the loss of Tom Brady had a major effect on the Patriots.”

EAGLES- In Deep Shit...

Posted by Alli


There is really nothing for me to say right now other than to spit out some bitterly incoherent grunts of frustration. Not that I won't still yap on for several paragraphs as I'm prone to do (just ask my roommates). To think how things have taken a turn for the worse since my last post! It's hard to decide where to even begin in discussing/lamenting the last 2 games, particularly this most recent ridiculous pig-slop of a performance versus the Redskins. The offense was terrible; the defense was miserable. The lone gem in an otherwise revoltingly nauseating game was DeSean Jackson's punt return TD in the 1st quarter. I recall my enthusiasm after the Rams game in week 1 that we finally had a legitimate punt return threat, and my apparently-naive optimism in comparing the punt return game in week 1 of the 2007 vs. 2008 seasons. DeSean Jackson may be one hell of a punt returner, but when the rest of the team plays as atrociously as they did yesterday, it's totally wasted effort. Hell, the Eagles could rarely even force a punt in the first place for the last 3 quarters of the game.

I had the misfortune of being at the game yesterday, and the circulating fury towards Andy Reid's playcalling (and his generally being outcoached by rookie head coach Jim Zorn) was astoundingly evident in the crowd throughtout the second half. And no, I don't want to be reminded that the Phillies beat the Brewers to advance to the NLCS. Yes, I like the Phillies. No, their win does absolutely nothing to alleviate the pain and misery of the Eagles' loss yesterday. Too many things about this season are beginning to resemble last year, when you couldn't shake that feeling that they were a better team than their 8-8 record suggested, and yet that doesn't really matter at all when you find yourselves at the bottom of your division. AGAIN. Les Bowen of the Philly Daily News wrote an article today to that effect, highlighting all those unsettling things that are forming lumps in the throats of every Eagles fan, after our team once again starts division play 0-2 in a division we once owned.

Perhaps the most mind-boggling aspect of yesterday's loss was the run defense. I couldn't say enough good things about the league's top run D, even after the Birds' loss to Chicago. How does a team that was only allowing 2.6 yards per carry (against the likes of Marion Barber, Willie Parker and promising young rookie Matt Forte) give up a whopping 203 rushing yards to the 'Skins? Can that front 7 recover from such a devestating blow and rebound next week against Frank Gore and the Niners? Was I premature in buying my brand-new Stewart Bradley jersey? So many important questions now exist about the future of this team (and the future of my #55 jersey), both for the duration of this season and in coming years.

Truthfully, I have a better feeling about next week's game at San Francisco than I did going into this one, which probably has a lot to do with the fact that the Redskins of late appear to possibly be the best team in the NFC. Sure, the Eagles almost never win their last game before a bye week, but if the last 2 weeks weren't the kick-in-the-ass that these guys need, then nothing is. Maybe it's a little early to be talking about must-win games, but if yesterday's game wasn't one then this next one surely is. The 49ers aren't a terrible team, but they're a team that the Eagles must be able to beat handily if they want to remain a contender in the division.

The offense NEEDS to make a statement this week, because the only apparent statement they've made since the Dallas game is along the lines of "we can't score for shit in the red zone". McNabb started the season strong but has been faltering since. Reggie Brown and L.J. Smith were both back yesterday, so the excuses for not throwing the ball more effectively are growing thin. Brian Westbrook, the team's far-and-away most important weapon, played yesterday after sitting out last week with an ankle strain but then broke 2 ribs during the game. Frankly, if he doesn't play next week against the Niners, it could be anyone's game given the recent play (or lack thereof) on offense. And when, dear god, is Shawn Andrews coming back?

And while I'm ranting about how the Eagles are sucking at nearly every area, what in the hell is wrong with David Akers? Scratch that- I don't actually care what is wrong with him. I don't care if it's his leg, his psyche or anything else. I just know that he is absolutely worthless beyond 40-45 yards these days. Was I the only one cringing when they brought him in to attempt a 50-yarder yesterday? Was I the only one who would have bet their life that he was going to miss? Was anyone else praying Andy would just punt the ball and try to pin the Redskins inside their own 10? I'd actually rather see the Eagles go for it on 4th and, say, 20, than have Akers try a FG from beyond the 30 (or heck, maybe even the 25). The minute he stepped on the field, I knew the 'Skins would momentarily be given the ball at the 40; sure enough, he missed, and Jason Campbell proceeded to drive the team down to the Eagles' 23 where Shaun Suisham kicked a 41-yard FG. And then just in case us Eagles fans didn't get the point, he eventually kicked 2 more, of 48 and 50 yards, reminding us how nice it used to be to have a reliable placekicker. Oh, those were the days...

Since I've done nothing but whine the entire post so far, I will end with some optimism: I do see things going up from here, although whether it's too little too late is yet to be determined. I should also note that my optimism springs more from the Eagles' upcoming schedule far more than from my optimism that this team will suck less down the road. True, we still have 4 division games in the second half, but 2 of those are against the Giants- although I have no doubt that both will be hard-fought, tough games, I feel better about playing the Giants than I do the Cowboys and Redskins. The Cowboys-Steelers-Bears-Redskins stretch was by far the hardest chunk of the season. And who do they have left to play outside the division? 49ers, Falcons & Seahawks are the next 3... I'm already salivating over that stretch of games. Then later they've got Cincy, Baltimore, Arizona and Cleveland. Not to say that they'll go 7-0 in those games, but the Ravens and Cardinals are the only 2 teams that really pose much of a threat, and the Eagles are more than capable of beating both of them. Therefore, if they can at least somewhat boost their level of play, hope still remains. And let's not forget that Kevin Curtis, who had over 1100 receiving yards last season, will be back either this coming week or after the bye.

Let's just hope the Birds play well on at least one side of the ball next week.

REDSKINS- An Inside-the-Beltway Perspective

Posted by Geoff

I saw a street walker in downtown D.C. on Friday wearing a Redskins cap with feathers sticking out of it every which way. Who knew that the hat would be so prophetic of the Redskins’ out-and-out assault on the psyches of Eagles fans in a game that should have easily gone to the home team?

The way the NFC East has shaken out thus far just doesn’t make sense.

The Eagles are a better team than the Redskins. The Eagles offense should be able to rely on Donovan McNabb, Brian Westbrook, and DeSean Jackson to put up 35 points every week.

The Cowboys should be able to blow out the hapless Cincinnati Bengals. That bears repeating…the Cowboys should be able to destroy a winless team that barely scraped by the Cleveland Browns.

The Redskins shouldn’t be able beat any of the teams in their division. The Redskins certainly shouldn’t be able to beat the Eagles if Santana Moss is held without a catch all game.

Eli Manning isn’t ready to lead his team to victory on a consistent basis. The Giants shouldn’t be able to overcome the loss of the their two best defensive lineman to retirement and injury.

Here’s how to make sense of the year so far. Go back and reread the last four paragraphs and add these two words at the end of each sentence: “on paper.” That’s the thing about the Cowboys and Eagles…they’re better on paper than they will ever be on the field. And the reverse is true for the Redskins and Giants. We could attribute this to coaches. We could attribute this to luck. But what it really boils down to is killer instinct. The Redskins and the Giants have it; the Cowboys and Eagles don’t.

Of course, the news isn’t all bad for the Cowboys and Eagles. They still have two of the best teams in the NFL. They just need to find a way to play the rest of the season on paper.