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Archive for October, 2004

Grading Coughlin

Wednesday, October 6th, 2004

Remember when Coughlin said the Giants had to restore their pride and do six things to win:

1. “Effort is the key to success.”

2. “We must win the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball.”

3. “We must run the ball and we must be able to defend the run.”

4. “We must eliminate turnovers. You are not going to beat anybody with a minus-16 . That stat has to radically change.”

5. “We must eliminate costly penalties. You can’t shoot yourself in the foot and expect to win the 100-meter dash.”

6. “Special teams and winning the battle of field position must become our catalyst for victory and not our Achilles’ heel.”

Neil Best from Newsday gives Coughlin high grades on 5/6 but notes that penalties are still a problem.

How bad is the Giants offensive line?

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

Green Bay is trying to figure out how they gave up 245 yards rushing to the Giants. Nick Barnett promised no team would gain as many yards on the Pack as Chicago did in Week 2 (182 yards). The Giants didn’t even need the whole team. Tiki Barber gained 182 yards on 23 carries, nearly 8 yards/carry. I suppose the offensive line deserves some credit too. Sure they gave up 4 sacks but two fo those were really coverage sacks. And there are problems as Neil Best points out:

The Giants continue to struggle in the red zone, in short yardage and on third down. But they have won anyway, in part because of good fortune and timing.

So the evidence is starting to come in. I was right. The Gaints offensive line is pretty good. Kind of makes Theismann and a lot of other “expert analysts” look like morons for saying that the Giants had the worst offensive line in the NFL. As Dr. Z points out, there are lots of bad offensive lines in the NFL. Miami gets a mention. So does Carolina. So do the Redskins. Cardinals, Rams, Bengals. The Giants are not mentioned at all. Are all those teams worse than the Giants offensive line? Probably.

Looking forward to more interceptions

Tuesday, October 5th, 2004

Bob Gosman writes that the Giants knew they could do better against the Packers than Indy and have come a long way since the preseason and week 1. Neil Best offers a fair evaluation of the newest members playing in the Giants secondary: Gibril Wilson, Frank Walker, and Amani Toomer:

Wilson, in his first start since veteran Shaun Williams was declared out for the season, nearly had his third interception in three career games, but it was overturned on a replay challenge. He finished with a team-high 12 tackles, 10 of them solo.

Walker, playing his first game this season after suffering a fractured foot, saw extensive action in dime packages, another byproduct of the fallout from Williams’ injury. The Packers picked on him, but he held his own. He had a 69-yard interception return for a touchdown called back on a pass-interference penalty against him.

Walker seemed to have a chance to break up the touchdown pass from Brett Favre to Javon Walker, but he did not make a play on the ball and Walker completed a 28-yard scoring play.

Was that really Amani Toomer playing safety at the end of the game?

Yes. The star receiver lined up deep to protect against the Packers trying a long play designed to be a jump ball.

Toomer said he last played safety in high school. “It was very weird,” he said, “but anything to win.”

I don’t know about you, but Gibril Wilson is strting to really impress me. And he always plays hard.

Giants hopes

Monday, October 4th, 2004

Terry Bradshaw is eating his words. Bob Glauber writes that Coughlin is too modest. Kimberly Jones says that winning (and not being laughed at) has made the Giants look prouder. The Giants players all seem to believe they can win on any given Sunday. Ron Borges has the Giants on his list of contenders but not in the same league as the Patriots or Eagles. Warner and the offense get some credit for gaining 400 yards, but mostly credit goes to the defense:

New York’s defense has been producing turnovers at a furious rate, but this time they turned over Brett Favre himself. They left him feeling like Oscar De La Hoya felt two weeks ago after being knocked out by Bernard Hopkins.

Favre was on his knees, then on his back, and finally on the bench after a crushing hit left him wondering why he was hearing an ice cream truck bell behind him. The ringing didn’t stop long enough for him to save the 1-3 Packers. The Giants may be mad at Coughlin and his encyclopedic rulebook, but on Sundays they band together and make their opponents pay for whatever grief they had to put up with all week from the cranky coach.

I don’t know the extent of Farve’s injury, but Warner says that after the game Farve couldn’t remember the TD he threw.

John Altavilla also sees reason to hope as he reviews the positives from the Giants Packers game. The Giants should ahve scored more points against a depleted Packers defense, and they would have if Steve Christie had one his job. Neil Best’s blue notes are worth reading too. Dayne had 9 carries for 23 yards. Mike Cloud was active and returned a punt for 23 yards…

Manning money well spent?

Monday, October 4th, 2004

Travis Sawchik writes that Warner’s success means that the Giants would have been better off spending their money on Roy Williams, Robert Gallery or Sean Taylor.

While I was hoping the Giants would figure out a way to land Gallery, I’m not so sure I agree with Sawchik. Gallery just started his first game (at right tackle, not left) and was called for three false starts. There’s no indication he would have beat out Petigout. Maybe he would be starting at right tackle for us, but Diehl has been doing well enough.

I also wanted Sean Taylor more than Manning, but while we could use depth at safety right now, Sean Taylor hasn’t been all that exciting for the Redskins. He made 7 tackles against Cleveland but got beaten by Davis and didn’t stop Suggs from having a big game.

The only player who has reallly impressed so far is Roy Williams, and I did write before the draft that he would be the best receiver of the 2004 class. It would be nice to have him, but Toomer, Hilliard, and Carter are doing well enough and Jamaar Taylor should be able to contribute soon.

Giants win surprisingly low scoring game

Monday, October 4th, 2004

I’m elated that the Giants beat the Packers, but this game reminded me of the Redskins game in that the offense should have put more points on the board. The defense did a marvelous job holding Farve and the Packers scoreless in the first half:

Neither team did much offensively in a scoreless first half, the first time since Oct. 6, 1980, that the teams had gone into their locker rooms at Lambeau Field without any points.

Once again the Giants were able to move the ball but unable to score touchdowns. In addition, Steve Christie was unable to kicka fieeld goal, going 0-3. They don’t talk about all the mistakes on Giants.com’s game review but it seems clear enough:

Neither team scored in the first half, which was particularly frustrating to the Giants, who had better chances to get into the end zone and outplayed the Packers, enjoying advantages of 147-98 in total yards and 10-5 in first downs.

The Packers turned the ball over three times, but like in the Redskins game the Giants offense seemed unable to take adavntage. The Giants defense kept coming up big, stopping Green Bay repeatedly, then knocking Farve out of the game (William Joseph hit). Farve cam back in and threw a TD, but then sat out the rest of the game (something he really didn’t want to do) and Green Bay was done scoring.

Mike Cloud

Saturday, October 2nd, 2004

Lynn Zinser writes that Mike Cloud is good at scoring. He seems like a nice charitable guy, so I’m rooting for him. This from a Giants press release: Q:

Did you see enough of Mike Cloud last week that if you knew going into the game he was your second running back, that he would have a bigger role this week?

A: We certainly saw

Pack fans not too confident

Saturday, October 2nd, 2004

There are grumblings about the Packers defense and the way they handled the cap. Todd McMahon says that Green Bay needs to create turnovers to beat the Giants. He then points out that the Giants have been good at that but Green Bay has been atrocious.

Strahan leads the league with three fumble recoveries but faces a big challenge against Mark Tauscher of Green Bay. While Green Bay does have the ebst offensive line in the NFL, they just lost their center for the season. Their backup is good, but he’s no Mike Flanagan.

The Giants seem much healthier than the Packers. Sure they miss Shaun Williams and Stoutmire, but everyone else seems ready to go, including Dayne, Walker, and Taylor. They may not all be active for the game and so far I haven’t heard who takes Williams’ roster spot. Coughlin says he’ll be placed on injured reserve next week, so I guess he feels he has what he needs to compete against Green bay.

One thing I think I know

Saturday, October 2nd, 2004

I think the Giants will score more than ten points against the ailing Packers defense. Tony Moss thinks I’m wrong:

The Giants have given their fans something to cheer about, but let’s face it, a six-point home win against a Redskins team that committed seven turnovers, followed by a victory over a Browns club that wouldn’t even be the best team in NFL Europe should hardly have G-Men supporters thinking playoffs. The Packers have had their struggles over the past few weeks, but they still have a talent advantage, not to mention the push they will get from being at Lambeau Field. Expect Favre and company to come out with renewed focus this week, against a Giants team that figures to be up-and-down all year. Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Packers 34, Giants 10.

Giants can exploit Packer defense

Friday, October 1st, 2004

The Packers defense is in pretty bad shape injury wise. They are especially weak on the defensive line without nose tackle Grady Jackson and backup James Lee. Packers fans are a bit more optimistic about the secondary improving over their dismal showinf against the Colts, even if Mike McKenzie can’t play (50% chance). Tom Silverstein isn’t so optimistic about the Packers secondary. (subscription necessary). He does report that the fight between the Packers defensive backs and McKenzie wanting to be traded aren’t major distractions. Judd Zulgad places much of the blame on the coaches, (subscription required) especially Slowik the defensive coordinator.

The Packers linebackers are supposed to be their strength, but they haven’t been very successful, especially on blitz packages. The Packers want to get after Warner, but they need to fix their blitzing schemes first:

What the Packers badly need is pressure up the middle because they are getting push from end Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, their sacks leader the last three seasons, but it merely resulted Sunday in Manning stepping up in the pocket. Had the linebackers, or someone else, created some kind of push up the middle, Gbaja-Biamila might have had a couple of sacks.