SOTI’s New York Giants Report
by Someone on the inside
In keeping in line with Coach Fassel’s quarterly breakdown of the season, I thought it might be the appropriate time for a look at what’s going on with the Giants and to respond to a few comments and questions that have been raised at BBI.
Obviously, the good news is that the team is 3-1. Remember, as I’ve said before, there are no polls or BCS in the NFL. A win is a win and the most important objective on Sundays is to get the W no matter how “ugly” it may be getting it.
The next quarter of the season should be very telling as there are two difficult games against St. Louis and Philadelphia and two easier games, at least on paper, against Washington and Dallas. Given the results around the league, however, there really are no automatic wins or easy weeks.
In speaking with several of the players of late, I think it is fairly obvious that this team is much different then previous ones. The level of maturity and mix of veterans, rookies and younger players is a good, solid one. The team has veteran, clear cut respected leaders (Armstead, Strahan, Brown, Garnes, Sehorn, Barrow, etc) that not only seek out the younger players but are sought out by them as well. The veterans and leaders of this team play an important part in keeping the newer players on their toes, keeping them focused and helping them learn what it takes to be an NFL player. This team, on and off the field, has a very different mix and feeling tone to it which I think you see more strongly manifest itself to you as the season goes on. This will prove to be a very, very important factor in their level of success this year.
Charles Way’s role in working with the players as to how to handle things off the field should be noted as well. Charles has also helped out in working with special teams this year.
One of the things I’ve seen on the board is several references to Kenny Holmes not playing well. I think you’ll find that each week, as Cornelius Griffin gets healthier, the play of the defensive line as a unit will improve as they learn to play together. Keep in mind that weekly matchups are different; players will have good weeks and bad weeks – they’re not robots, they’re human beings! Kenny, however, has added a tremendous amount of quickness and speed in working to the inside on running plays and is getting to the middle of the field much faster than Cedric Jones did in years gone by. He’s a better athlete who has really fit in well here. Again, it’s not just about sacks but about pressure, containment, quickness and speed. Kenny brings a solid game to his side. While not as vocal as Strahan or Griffin, Kenny’s a good guy, a solid citizen and is fitting in quite well here.
I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s very different watching a game on television then in person, as you are no doubt aware. Things happen in certain defensive formations that you may be unable to see (because they aren’t showing it to you at home) that influence coverage match-ups that may make a player look bad that are actually someone else’s responsibility. Yes, Sam Garnes has missed a few tackles, but he’s a highly respected an important member of the secondary who’s not about to lose his job to Clarence LeBlanc as someone suggested last week. No one, I repeat, no one on the team (players or coaches) is unhappy with Sam’s play. The major disapproval seems to lie at BBI. Again, yes, he’s missed a few tackles (on a slippery field, I might add) but his coverage hasn’t been as bad as you think. Remember, there are two new guys back there in the nickle and everyone hasn’t always been in the right place at all times!
Will Allen and Will Peterson have done a good job to date but are not without weaknesses that most rookies have, according to players I converse with. Every once in a while they’re going to get burned. Allen needs to wrap up better on his tackles as he has a tendency to launch himself at a players legs and undercut them in lieu of tackling them. He goes for fakes too much at times and needs to be a bit more patient. This week will be quite a learning experience for both of them, no doubt.
Allen is a very mature individual off the field and seems to be a dedicated family man. By the way, his wife is pregnant, as is Mike Barrow’s.
Rodney Williams is quite a character and has added a new level of humor to the locker room. He refers to Jessie Armstead as his “uncle” as Jessie as taken to give him advice from time to time. The coaches are still working on having him get rid of the ball quickly as he has a tendency to wait a bit sometimes. I’ll say one thing, this kid knows no fear on the field.
Back to Mike Barrow for a moment. He really is playing on a different level right now, bringing his “A” game week after week, day after day. If you watch carefully, you’ll find him in on almost every play; he rarely, if ever, gets fooled. Mike has been a tremendous asset to this team. In addition, he organized a weekly Monday evening prayer meeting at his home that is moving to larger quarters at a local hotel this week. His influence on the younger players should not be overlooked.
Let’s move on to some of your questions. Remember, the viewpoints or impressions come from either myself or the players…not from the coaching staff.
To The Old Sage!: You don’t see more of Campbell because the tight end just isn’t in the Giants playbook that much any more….that’s one of the reasons Pete Mitchell left. As for Rosenthal, in a word – “disappointing.” If they had someone better, he’d be gone.
To PeterS: Marcellus Rivers hasn’t shown much of late that would earn him more playing time. In fact, he’s been bounced on and off of several special teams spots of late. Remember, before you get a shot in a game, you’ve got to do it in practice and earn the playing time.
To HopeJ: I didn’t see the player you speak of, so I don’t know who you mean. The only players I noticed on Sunday, without really looking for anyone, were Banks, McConkey and Morris.
To dschwarz in westchester: For now, Jurevicius is the starter, having earned the position. Ike will certainly see more and more playing time, as the situation dictates and he gains back his health. I do not know what the future will bring; so much depends upon how things go in free agency. My hunch is Jurevicius stays and Ike leaves – again, just my hunch. As for Parker and Stone, Ron will leave if he gets a better offer elsewhere in my opinion. I’m not so certain on Parker or what his contractual status is.
To FatMan in Charlotte: Michael is not one to complain about the officials. He’s been getting held for years and figures is just part of the game as to whether it’s called or not.
To Bob in Newburgh: Great observation on Sam. As the rookies around him get better and improve and make less mistakes, the entire defensive backfield team concept will get stronger, as you’ve mentioned. It’s not that his role will change, it’s just that the defense will play better as a unit, working with one another.
To gmanjoe: I have no idea what’s holding back the offense; my personal feeling is the OL has been inconsistent. As for the D, Griff looking pretty healthy yesterday and is getting stronger every day. He’s just going to have to play through any discomfort. The “bear” defense is not used every play, it’s one of several defensive schemes. No idea how Fox feels about the Wills as I have no contact with him, only the players. Lastly, I don’t know if anyone else “monitors” or visits BBI.
Larry in Lauderdale: see my comments above on Kenny. Rodney Williams is happy to be here; it’s to early to rejoice in statistical standings, winning is more important to everyone right now as this is a team oriented group. Yes, Kerry badly wants to do better and feels he will. No idea on his mechanics.
To walterb: My opinion is Kerry is just in a slump. I have noticed, however, that he seems to be locking in on one receiver and not scanning the entire field. I understand this is something the staff is working with him on.
To The Turk: Fassel’s goal is to go 3-1 in each quarter. Obviously, division games mean more but no one “circles” a specific game or games.
To MotownGiants: The objective is to mix things up and find the best opportunity for each running back as the game dictates. Again, keep in mind that winning is the number one team priority.
To rockythompson: At this juncture, I’d say Palmer is the heir apparent. By the way, women are going to really love this guy although I see he has a very attractive lady friend.
To Second CVA: I haven’t heard any grumblings from any individuals – that usually happens on losing teams. As for a dearth of talent, you can never have enough choices.
To Ed A: I’m very, very surprised Dixon has not been given more of a chance to date as a receiver. I was under the impression they were going to use him yesterday as a deep threat; perhaps it was changed due to the wind. Dixon himself is getting anxious as to not get any game opportunity.
To jdf: Much of the problems on special teams relate to the change of individuals. Take a look at whose out there…there are quite a few inexperienced bodies. They’ll get better with time.
To Milton: the players are pretty high on Palmer. The guy’s got a cannon for an arm and is very accurate. In addition, he’s picked up on the playbook fairly quickly. Down the road, he’s going to be the real deal…assuming, of course, we have an OL that can block for him!
To D HOS: There are certain basic goals that each unit sets for itself, initiated by the coaches, of course. While they may change from week to week, the framework is the same every week. I don’t think it would be proper to get into specifics.
Again, keep in mind that while Allen and Peterson have done well, they’re still rookies and are going to make some big mistakes out there. I’ve had a few errors already pointed out to me by players. Let’s not Canton-ize them just yet. In addition, keep in mind this is a team to whom the most important thing is winning and getting to New Orleans. No one is that hung up on individual stats such as sacks, tackles, catches, etc….including the coaches.
I trust I’ve touched upon some things you’re interested in; again, I’m just trying to give you the players look at things.