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Archive for October, 2006

Kubiak says Carr starting against Giants

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Gary Kubiak said he is going to start Carr next week against the Giants. If the Giants can get some pressure on him, he will fumble. He also has a bad habit of trying to force balls into tight coverage. If the Giants can manage tight coverage we may be able to get a few turnovers that way.

Giants beat the Bucs 17-3: game summary

Monday, October 30th, 2006

The Giants defense played strong early (Gibril Wilson had a couple of nice stops) and the Giants offense had good field position. The Giants were able to move the ball but 3rd and long situations were tough with the wind making the passing game pretty risky.

Eli overthrew Burress on one play but did manage to get some yardage with relatively low-risk passes. Thanks to the short field and the passing game, the Ginats scored a TD on their second position (Burress made an awesome catch on this play). That was big – because of the wind, both teams were able to put a bunch of guys in the box. The Bucs couldn’t run at all and we could only run a little.

When the Bucs got the ball back the Giants D continued to look good. Strahan showed that he’s the best DE in the NFL right now. A bit later Kiwanuka had a sack – that was sweet to see. He’s going to be a player!

With about 12 minutes to go in the second quarter, Tamp Bay had to punt from their own 4 yard line (an awesome feagles punt stuck them down there and solid D made sure they stayed stuck – another Giants rookie, Dockery, made a nice play to knock down a pass). The Giants got the ball on the Tampa Bay 41.

The Giants didn’t go very far, as Shockey dropped a 4th down pass. Luckily when the Bucs got the ball back they fumbled and the Giants recovered at the Bucs 30. A crazy pass (damn wind) to Buress, a Tiki run, and Jacobs slams it into the endzone from the 1. The Giants were up 14-0. A significant lead when passing is very risky.

Tampa Bay started to come alive after a squib gave them decent field position. Cadillac Williams had a first down run. Then Galloway helped us out with a pair of drops, including one when he burned Corey Webster and should ahve picked up big yards. On 3rd down it looked like Pierce was covering him (badly) but luckily Galloway dropped it again.

The Bucs did manage a field goal before half time. The Giants pass rush vanished and the Bucs should have had a TD when Webster got burned again (by Clayton this time). The pass didn’t connect and Webster had a nice blitz to stall the Tamp bay drive. The Giants went into halftime up 14-3. The score was fine but was the momentum shifting?

Seems so, because the Bucs came out and played well in the 3rd quarter. Our offensive line couldn’t handle their pressure and our defensive line couldn’t bring it (thanks to short passes where Gradkowski got rid of the ball quickly). The defense held and di start getting some pressure. The Bucs defense was very aggressive and the Giants and Bucs played the field position game in the 3rd quarter. Short left the game so Wilkinson came in. He did make a big play stopping Tampa bay from getting a 1st down and looked pretty good overall.

When the 3rd qurter ended, the Giants defense needed to regroup as the Bucs were putting together a solid drive. Strahan got some good pressure to end that drive. Eventually the Giants did put together a decent drive. They had been running Barber left for no gain all day, but Brandon jacobs provided a spark with a very tough run. He’s fun to watch. Not so fun when he gets called for taunting thoguh. Of course he had just taken a helmet to helmet hit but the refs didn’t call that even though it looked dirty. The drive stalled at the Bucs 13 and Feeley was good from 31 for a 17-3 lead. More importantly, the Giants had taken some time off the clock.

With less than 4 minutes left in the game, the Bucs needed two TDs. Considering the wind, the game was pretty much over.

Campbell’s click for cans

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

Go to the Campbell’s Soup click for cans page, vote for the GIants, fill in the number, and submit your vote. Right now we’re last in the NFC East and near the bottom of the league so go donate some cans of soup!

Giants can stop the Bucs

Sunday, October 29th, 2006

With Osi out, the Giants will need Kiwanuka and all the other defensive linmen to stp up. Of course Fred Robbins has already stepped up big time. I think his excellent play is one of the reasons Cofield looks so good so early.

Sam madison is another guy doing better than I expected. I didn’t think he’d be as good as Will Allen because of his run support, but interceptions sure are nice. He said he’ll play against Tampa Bay – but if there’s a chance that playing might aggravate the injury he shouldn’t. The Giants need him all season long.

Strahan is playing as well as we expect him to. He’s getting some pass rushes and he’s strong against the run. That’s rare for 4-3 defensive ends these days. Most seem like little pass rush specialists who get pushed back on running plays.

The bottom line is that even without Arrington the Giants should be able to stop the Bucs weak offense.

What will the Giants do at SAM and DE?

Friday, October 27th, 2006

Osi is listed as questionable but he probably won’t play according to Coughlin. Tuck is listed as questionable and Coughlin says “we’ll see.” It seems that Kiwanuka is going to start. Awasom may be signed off the practice squad to provide depth at DE. The Giants are unfortunate that what was once their strongest position is now desparately in need of depth. 2 out of 4 DEs injured is tough to take. Kiwanuka talked about becoming an every down player some:

“Normally, if the coach sent me in, it was because they were going to pass, so I didn’t have to do much thinking on my own,” Kiwanuka said. “Now that I have to be out there the entire game, I have to think through what their formation is, what’s the situation, down and distance. It’s going to be a little different.”

With Lavar Arrington out, the two options at SAM seem to be Emmons if healthy and Torbor if Emmons isn’t ready. The Kiwi article I linked to above names Emmons the starter so hopefully he’s better. The New York Post article quotes Emmons who says he’s ready to replace Arrington.

There are more articles on the topic, but they’re not real informative. Here are some anyway: Newsday, the Daily News mentions a few other hurt guys like Madison and Demps.

And for a trip down Giants linebackers memory lane, remember when LT changed football?

Giants 3-0 in the NFC East after beating Dallas on the road

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

The Giants are sitting pretty in the standing having beaten all of their NFC East opponents on the road. A Cowbiys blog places most of the blame on Dallas; they don’t have the talent to compete with good teams like the Giants. The blog rightfully puts alot of blame on the offensive line. While this article takes too narrow a view, blaming TO. No doubt the 4th down drop hurt, but TO played well most of the game while the Dallas offensive line was roughed up by the Giants defense.

Fred Robbins played real well (even picked up his second interception). Strahan tied LT (officially anyway – not all of LTs sacks made it into the official record books) in total Giants sacks and he still plays the run well; clearly the best DE in the NFL right now. Osi looked good but was hurt. 6 sacks overall tells the story. So does 4 interceptions.

Arrington was having a breakout game until a ruptured achilles knocked him out of the game and probably the rest of the season. Dallas got something going for a while when Arrington went down, but it didn’t last. They also remind us that “cornerbacks Sam Madison (cramps) and Frank Walker (hamstring) also were sidelined by game’s end.”

Unlike the Cowboys’ offensive line, the Giants offensive line is playing real well. Dallas had the #1 rushing defense in the league but the Giants averaged 4+ yards / carry (27 for 114 yards from Tiki, 10 for 40 yards from Jacobs). Dallas was able to get some pressure on Manning, but every offensive line gives up pressures and the occasional sack.

Basically, we saw the Giants outplay a good team in a division game: “They out-played us, they out-coached us, they out-everythinged us,” Parcells said. “I am ashamed to put a team out there that played like that. I apologize to the people that come out and watch that. That is not good football.” The Cowboys are now desperate.

Here’s an article on how NFL officials are monitored. It’s not quite satisfying because it doesn’t ask why there seems to be no accountability. Plus there’s no discussion of the Giants – Cowboys game.

5 questions with a Cowboys blogger

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

I recently swapped questions with Dave from Blogging the Boys. Check out his blog for my answers to his questions. Below are his answers to my questions.

1. Dallas’ linemen, backers, and safeties are all runstoppers. Is the only way to beat the Cowboys defense through the air?

So far, that’s been the case, The Cowboys run defense has been phenomenal, no team has been able to establish any kind of consistent running game against Dallas. Fred Taylor had 74 yards in the first game of the season and that’s been the high-water mark for opposing running backs. On the other hand, the Dallas secondary is no push-over, for the most part they’ve been solid. Jacksonville was able to get something established in the air in the first game, and the Eagles shredded our pass defense for huge plays. But even the Eagles game was deceiving, because a couple of the big plays in that game can be traced back to our starting FS, Pat Watkins, who is a rookie and played an awful game. So if you want to attack Dallas in the air, going after our rookie FS Pat Watkins and our SS Roy Williams, who is excellent against the run but ordianry at best in coverage, may be the place to start.

2. Is the Dallas offensive line as bad as it looks?

Actually, they’re not as bad as most fans from other teams think. Because I follow the Cowboys so closely and I break down their game film each week, I can tell you that they are an erratic group in pass blocking, but are very good in run blocking. Most people saw the failures against Philadelphia and could easily conclude that they stink. But what the game film shows is that they weren’t getting beat physically, they were getting beat because of mental errors, especially Flozell Adams. So there is the hope that they can get their blitz protections schemes worked out. They gave up 7 sacks in the Philly game, but only 5 sacks over the other 4 games. Against Houston last week, another blitzing team – although nowhere as talented as the Eagles – the Cowboys did much better in recognizing blitzes and blocking them. In the running game, they are actually quite good.

3. Do the Cowboys have one of the better running attacks in the league? Compared with the Falcons running game, will it be easier or more difficult for the Giants to stop the Dallas running game?

The Cowboys do have one of the better running attacks in the league. Julius Jones is 3rd in the league in yards per game (98.8) and the Dallas rushing offense is tied with the Giants for 3rd in the league at 151.8 yards per game. Stopping the Dallas rushing attack is different than the Falcons run game. The Falcons rely on zone blocking up front and expect Warrick Dunn to find the cutback lane. They also rely on Michael Vick to pitch in quite a few yards per game. The Giants did a good job of schemeing against that by bringing the blitzes from the outside and hemming Vick into the pocket and the front four showed discipline and stayed in their lanes. Dallas uses the more traditional run blocking scheme of man-on-man and they also pull their guards and center alot, and loop the tackles to the outside while letting the TE’s block down on the end. Dallas also uses 2-TE sets often and usually puts one TE in motion to act as a fullback. So I don’t know how much harder it is to stop the Dallas running attack, but the Giants will have to use a different scheme than last week to some extent.

4. Do you expect the Cowboys to try a trick play at some point during the game?

I’ve been expecting them to try one for the last few games but so far they haven’t. We traditionally use the flea-flicker a few times a season and most of the time it works. The WR target is Terry Glenn who is already very fast, so if they can get the CB and safety to take one step forward to attack the run on a flea-flicker, Glenn will take it to the house. I would also say if Skyler Green dresses, he was our punt returner last week, he’s a good candidate to be involved in a trick play. If he’s in on an offensive play, watch out for a gadget.

5. What are Cowboys fans most concerned about regarding the Giants? For example is the main concern the pass rush getting to Bledsoe, Tiki and co. establishing the run game, or something else?

For me, there are two keys to Dallas winning this game, and you just mentioned both of them. First, we have to protect Drew Bledsoe. It’s no secret that when Bledsoe has time and a clean pocket to throw from, he can be an elite QB. But when he faces even an average amount of pressure, things get dicey quick and the turnovers usually follow. It’s not even the sacks that worry me the most, it his penchant for throwing interceptions when he ‘s pressured. The number two priority is to control Tiki Barber. I watched the Giants destroy Atlanta with off-tackle plays, especially on the left side of the Giants line, for runs where Barber wasn’t touched until he hit the secondary. Our OLB’s and DE’s have to stand up the blocking and force Barber back into traffic. If we can be successful in those two areas, I like our chances.

Bonus Question: Are most Cowboys fans still supporting TO?

I get asked this one every week. My standard answer is that Cowboys fans are all over the map on this issue. Some love him, some hate him, and most of us tolerate him. Now, if he produces 3 TD’s like he did last week, then I’m sure a lot more will start to love him. I just wish we could install a “Mute” button into his mouth and brain. Really, we don’t need to know every single thought that enters his brain.

Pierce fined for hitting Vick

Sunday, October 22nd, 2006

Pierce hits Vick out of bounds (certainly not by much) and just got hit with a $12,500 fine. Brrokings hits a defenseless Eli (Eli is being propped up by two Falcons linemen) leaving his feet and leading with his helmet. Has he been fined?brookings-helmet-to-helmet-eli.jpg

Anyway, bring on the Cowboys! I think we’re ready for them.

Tiki Barber retirement talk

Friday, October 20th, 2006

Gary Meyers disapproves of Tiki Barber’s timing in announcing his retirement. Will Tiki Barber’s retirement talk be a distraction for the remainder of the season? I don’t know, but I hope Meyers is wrong. Hopefully instead it will drive home the “must win now” mentality that we need.

Giants make a statement in beating Falcons

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Before the game, I mentioned that the Giants needed to score first to force the Falcons into passing more. Well the Giants did score first, but 3 points with about 7 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter wasn’t going to scare the Falcons. It probably should have been a touchdown on that drive, but the Giants inexplicably put Jacobs in the slot leaving an empty backfield. Then McKenzie and Shockey let John Abraham smack Eli who was totally helpless on the play. It was ugly, but the Giants got their three.

The defense played real well in the first half. Sam Madison came up with a couple of big turnovers. Osi Umenyiora and Fred Robbins were both blatantly held but nothing was called. I give them credit for beating their guys and blame the officials for calling a crappy game. What else do you expect?

Anyway, Vick was put in some 3rd and longs. A couple good blitzes did that for us. The Falcons had trouble here until late in the second quarter, on the drive after the Giants field goal. After the 2:00 warning, Vick broke a big run up the middle for a touchdown to put the Falcons ahead. That was set up by a Dunn run where Strahan was very badly and obviously held. Again, no call. On the Vick TD, Osi was clearly held. No call.

Losing by 7-3 score was certainly not what we had in mind when we said the Giants needed to get a lead and force Atlanta to abandon the run. Going into halftime I was worried. The officials were killing us. Right before halftime they even called a hold on Snee that wasn’t as bad as one of the 4 very blatant ones they let Atlanta get away with. Our offense hadn’t gotten many points on the board and Eli didn’t throw a lot of good passes in the fist half. On the bright side, Tiki was in his usual MVP form and the defense was playing well despite our defensive linemen getting held (it was like the Falcons offensive linemen were middle school girls on their first date and watching their first scary R rated movie – they were hanging onto the Giant defenders with fists full of jersey). Brandon Short was having himself a game. Vick was getting hit and fumbling. It hadn’t burned Atlanta yet, but I had reason to hope.

Not as much reason to hope after Warrick Dunn’s 90 yard TD run. Looked like Arrington was tripped on that play but no flag. Will Demps has no excuse though. A lot more hope after the Giants answered with a TD of their own. I will admit that the refs finally made a decent call on the pass interference that gave us the ball at the 1.

Then the Giants got the ball back deep in their own territory. The Giants did a great job spreading the ball around to everyone but the receivers: Tiki (MVP), Jacobs, Shockey, Jacobs some more, Shockey with a huge 3rd down catch, Tiki with a big run down to the 2 (originally ruled a TD but the Falcons won their challenge), Shockey with a TD catch! That was an exciting drive.

Then we had some exciting defense as Cofield and Robbins got a sack. That’s just sweet when your two defensive tackles get to the QB. Cofield looks like a player, very nice 4th round pick. Robbins is obviously playing well, but is it because he needs another contract? He didn’t seem to be working this hard last year…

The giants put together a nice little field goal drive. A TD might have sealed the game by putting Falcons in pass only mode. We couldn’t quite get that kill shot (Eli overthrew Plax) but we kept adding pressure.

The defense came up big again, with Osi sealing the deal by sacking Vick (who fumbled and was slow getting up). Atlanta recovered the fumble, but the Giants got the ball back after a punt. Shockey had a big catch on 3rd and 4 on this drive. Tiki did some more MVP type stuff. Brandon Jacobs had a real nice run too. Shockey came up with the game sealing TD. The game was never really in doubt after the point after put the Giants up 27-13.

Great game overall. Eli certainly made his share of bad throws, and the 90 yard TD run was annoying but we outplayed them on offense and defense. Not really on special teams which were decent (Feeley had a good game, Feagles started off weak but got better – his last punt was sweet and downed at the 6, Morton didn’t do much of anything), but we definitely outplayed the Falcons on offense and defense.