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Archive for November, 2004

Giants Defense vs. Eagles offense

Sunday, November 28th, 2004

Mike Garafolo writes that Terry Cousin is more or less ready to play safety. Gibril Wilson is not expected to play. Neil Best describes the problems Tim Lewis faces and praises the work he did against Atlanta. The only good injury news is covered well by Dan Martin who describes the effect Barret Green’s return ot the defense will have.

In another piece, Best gives some credit to Will Allen and Will Peterson. Will Allen talks about being ready for T.O., but Allen has been beaten for too mnay touchdowns this season if you ask me.

Unlike Best, T.O. doesn’t think much of the Giants. He expects to win. The Eagles offensive line has suffered some injuries, but Paul Flannery still expects the line to play well thanks to smart personnel decisions. Nick Fierro gives us a nice history lesson of the Eagles offensive line, which despite the injuries seems to be in better shape than the Giants line right now. Unfortunately I don’t think the giants makeshift defensive line will be able to dominate the Eagles somewhat depleted offensive line.

I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Will Allen get beaten a few more times. So while I expect the Giants defense to play better than in the opener, I do expect the Eagles to get some points on the board.

Manning’s second half effort not enough

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

The Falcon’s won 14-10 although Manning’s second half performance made it interesting. Carlos Emmons was flagged for a key roughing the passer penalty (questionable call) in the fourth quarter and didn’t fare too well against the Falcons tight end who caught two TD passes.

Vic Carucci was unimpressed by Manning’s slow start and dud finish. He also notes that Manning was only sacked once, but the Giants were very conservative on offense. This conservatism has been a criticism for a while now; stretch the field, keep the defense scared of the big play.

What amused me with Carucci’s article was the blame he places on Manning for the dropped balls:

Granted, Manning wasn’t helped by numerous dropped passes in the first half, but some of that was part of the learning experience, too. He will find out that he must deliver the ball in certain ways to certain receivers. He will develop better timing and rhythm with all of his pass catchers.

Call me an idealist, but come on! An NFL receiver can only catch balls thrown a certain way? I wish I could say that Carucci was kidding! The receiver has to catch the ball, not drop it. Simple, but the Giants didn’t do it.

Kurt Warner’s future

Monday, November 22nd, 2004

Naturally, Giants fans are more curious about Manning’s future than Warner’s since we ahve so much riding on Manning. But let’s take a look at Warner’s future.

Remember when I asked if he was fumbling away his comeback? The answer may be yes, although Gary Myers of the Daily News writes that Warner gave the Giants as much as they expected. He also notes that Warner (according to his agent) wants to be a starter. How many choices does he have?

The QB-needy teams going into the offseason are the Dolphins, Cardinals, Bears, Browns, 49ers, Cowboys and Redskins. But will any of them be interested in Warner, who will be 34 next June? “Teams that will be looking at him are in disarray,” one GM said. “He’s shown he can’t help teams in disarray. Could there be two or three teams interested? Yes. But I think now he’s going to be more realistic about who he is and where he is in his career. The bottom line is he’s not controlling his own destiny.”

By the way, Giants fans like me have to smirk when they see Dallas and Washington on that QB needy list…

Anyway, the point is that Warner can only be a starter on a relatively bad team (let’s not mention that Arizona and Chicago both beat the Giants). It’s also interesting to note Warner and his agent saying that Warner can still play and that it’s evident on film – leading “the worst team in football” to 5-2, etc. We’ll see what personnel men say during the offseason, but things don’t look bright for Warner, if you ask me.

Manning’s first start

Sunday, November 21st, 2004

It’s not exactly revolutionary, but here’s an article about how Manning needs to play well for Accorsi to look good. Of course odds are he won’t play well considering all the QB busts out there. What Sawchik lacks is an analysis of Manning’s talent which of course will have some effect on how well he plays against the Falcons, certainly Manning’s talent must be more relvant than QB draft history.

A more interesting story is this one which compares the pressure faced by Manning to the pressure faced by Vick. I wouldn’t be surprised if Manning looks more competent than Vick considering how Vick has struggled this season. Then again as this article rightly points out, we might not see much of Manning at all if the Giants offensive line plays the way it has been.

Neil Best writes that the Manning family doesn’t talk football much, but that they do talk a lot. Perhaps being around football players ahs kept Manning calm. As Steve Serby wrote, the Giants are in good hands because “He’ll play poised, smart and decisively, and he’ll adapt quickly to the speed of the game.”

Osi Umenyiora

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

I wrote the other day about why the Giants lost to Arizona. Osi Umenyiora was not one of the reasons why the Giants lost. According to Neil Best at Newsday, Umenyiora and Lance Legree were the starting ends but the Giants spent much time in the dime because of the Cardinals three receiver sets. Umenyiora and Torbor often played end in the dime, while Hand, Bromell, and Wiley didn’t see much action.

So Umenyiora saw a lot of playing time. How did he do? In some respects it’s hard to say. Torbor is easier to run at (and Arizona did run at him), but that’s not saying much because Torbor’s a 250 pound pass rush specialist. Mike Garafolo gave the defense a B and creditied the play of both Umenyiora and Torbor. I think Best is right to point out that Arizona was able to run at Torbor and that Garafolo should ahve at least given it a mention if not in his gradebook then at least in his piece about Umenyiora and Torbor.

But I digress. Back to Umenyiora. Four tackles, one sack, one forced fumble. Here’s an interesting article from George O’Gorman about Osi’s value and his mistakes in covering gaps. You would expect mistakes to decrease as playing time increases. O’Gorman though Osi would start in Strahan’s old spot, but Paul Schwartz got it right (it’s easier after the game): “Osi Umenyiora started at right end in place of Washington. There was plenty of mixing and matching to find a combination that worked.”

Ernie Palladino also seems to give more credit to Torbor than to Osi, but I think Osi played better. I wouldn’t call Umenyiora a run stuffer, but he’s not the liability that Torbor is. He may be average against the run now, but that’s not bad for a second year guy from a small school. He’ll become a better run stopper. He’s a quick pass rusher and will improve with expereince.

From the scouts’ quotes on ESPN:

“The Giants lost, I know, but I can see now why Ernie (Accorsi, general manager) didn’t want to give up that Osi guy (defensive end Osi Umenyiora) in the Eli Manning-Philip Rivers trade. I watched him pretty closely and he’s going go be a good player. He’s active, real quick off the ball, a guy who will get you 10 or 12 sacks every year when he matures.”

Manning’s fantasy value

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Peyton might be setting the fantasy leagues on fire, but the suggestion here is not to start Eli. Of course this is more an indictment of the Giants passing game overall (receivers and line) than Manning himself. For more questions about Manning and the Giants passing game, see my previous post.

Eli Manning

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Eli Manning is the new Giants starter. Archie Manning plus all Giants fans will be watching according to Steve Serby in the New York Post. Steve Politi in the Star Ledger hopes that Giants fans aren’t expecting too much from a rookie QB. Andrew Marchand reports that Phil Simms says Coughlin will keep things simple for Manning.

Peter King thinks that he thinks that Warner should still be starting. He says that Kurt Warner hasn’t lost his job yet. If getting outplayed by Craig Krenzel doesn’t mean losing your job (and it didn’t for Warner) than we live in a crazy world. King has some very nice things to say about the Falcons pass rush which spells trouble for the Giants.

Now I’m not going to make any predictions or comparisons (they like making comparisons in Pittsburgh) but I will pose a few questions for Manning’s start against the Falcons.

1. Will the Giants go deep?

Sure we’d all love to see a deep ball but why haven’t we been seeing them recently? If Warner’s arm was the problem, we can expect Manning to throw deep. If conservative play-calling is the problem, the switch to Manning means nothing.

2. Will Manning get sacked 6+ times?

Maybe Warner holds on to the ball too long and Manning doesn’t. Then we won’t see as amny sacks against the Falcons. Maybe the offensive line is just hopeless in pass protection and we’re screwed no matter who the QB is.

3. Will Manning imitate Peyton?

Maybe the play action pass will become a factor in the giants game. I’m sorry to say it hasn’t been so far and considering how scary our running game is, it shoud be a factor. Maybe the play-calling is a problem here.

Maybe Manning will read the defense like his brother, and be able to beat the blitz or the zone or wahtever. Maybe he’s just a rookie who needs time to develop.

4. Will Manning make rookie mistakes?

Maybe Manning will show up Roethlisberger (who has a better line and better receivers than the Giants). Maybe he will look like all the other rookie quarterbacks who have struggled in their first few games over the years.

5. Will watching Manning be more exciting than watching Warner?

Yes.

Why did the Giants lose again?

Tuesday, November 16th, 2004

Neil Best writes that Emmit Smith hurt the Giants as a Cardinal just as he used to as a Cowboy. In another piece Best writes about Emmit’s reactions to questions about his age; he is 35. Smith is one reason the Giants lost.

Here’s another: Bertrand Berry had two of his four sacks in the fourth quarter when the Giants gained only 35 yards.

Berry notes that Warner holds onto the ball longer than most quarterbacks. He didn’t cause any turnovers, so we can’t quite say that Waner is one of the reason’s we lost. Nevertheless Shaun Powell wants to see Eli Manning play.

We can blame the passing game overall:

New York’s Tiki Barber rushed for 108 yards on 21 carries, but had only 28 on nine attempts in the second half.

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Monday, November 15th, 2004

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Giants defense vs. Cardinals offense

Sunday, November 14th, 2004

The Cardinals have three good, young receivers. What will the Giants have to stop them? The Will’s received some credit earlier in the season, but Will Allen needs to stop giving up big plays. Curry burns will be active because Jack Brewer is injured.

Norman Hand is confident that the Giants defensive line will play well, but the Cardinals will be looking to take advantage of the Gaints injury situation. The problem will be getting pressure on McNown so that Fitzgerald, Bouldin, and Bryant Johnson won’t have all day to get open. Emmit Smith might pick up the 17 yards he needs to reach 18,000 but the Giants should be able to keep him in check.