Oct 102001
 
New York Giants 23 – Washington Redskins 9

Game Overview: Give the Redskins’ defense credit. Led by DT Dan Wilkinson, DE Kenard Lang, LB LaVar Arrington, and MLB Kevin Mitchell, they came to play and caused all kinds of problems for the Giants’ running game – despite the 142 yards the Giants accrued on the ground. Their defense certainly didn’t play with this same type of fire against the Chargers, Packers, and Chiefs.

As for the Giants, the defense played extremely well – though it’s tough to tell if that is more of an indictment against the Skins’ offense than anything else. If it weren’t for the 52 yard pass that Will Allen gave up in the 4th quarter, Washington would have been limited to a measly 129 yards of offense all day. Offensively, the offensive line was up-and-down and QB Kerry Collins didn’t play very well yet again. Mistakes killed promising drives and kept this game close for three quarters. Head Coach Jim Fassel said it best on Monday:

Offensively we did some things that were good, but it was a good news/bad news thing. We had four drives of 10 plays or more and I am happy about that. Now the bad news of that is that two of those drives ended in turnovers and another one ended on downs when I went for it on fourth down, and we made a mental mistake on that. Otherwise, we would have had a pretty good chance of converting those. So we got 7 points on four drives of ten plays or more. It was good because it occupied the clock, and it changed field positions, but we have got to score points. You think ten play drives most of the time chances are you will get a touchdown or at least get a field goal. All we got was one touchdown…

On special teams, kick-off coverage remains a big problem.

The good news is that the Giants are 3-1 and relatively healthy with a quarter of the season completed. Plus, there is still room for vast improvement in all three areas of the team.

Quarterback: Kerry Collins (15-of-29 for 177 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions) did not play well for the second week in a row. Don’t get me wrong, even on his bad days he’s still a big improvement over Dave Brown, Danny Kanell, and Kent Graham, but I expect more from him. Once again, he seems to be forcing the ball rather than looking for the open man underneath. Though to be a bit fair, there were times when it appeared that no one was open (the Skins have very good cover corners). For example, on the Giants’ first drive, on 2nd-and-1, Collins stood there and stood there, yet no one broke open. Collins also wasn’t helped by some dropped passes. On the Giants’ third drive, the receivers couldn’t get open on first down. On 2nd-and-10, Amani Toomer dropped the football on a slant pass. On 3rd-and-10, Ike Hilliard dropped a pass that should have gone for a 20-yard completion.

On the second to last drive of the first half, Collins hit Toomer for 23 yards on a rollout and later hit Joe Jurevicius for a first down on 3rd-and-5 that seemed to really set the Giants up for a scoring opportunity, but a chop block on Ron Stone stalled the drive. On the last drive, Kerry got the Giants into field goal position by finding Toomer for 22 yards and Hilliard for 15 yards.

But Collins had an inauspicious start to the second half when he tried to force the ball to Dan Campbell on the sideline and the pass was picked off. Most disconcerting was that Joe Jurevicius was open over the middle on the play. The next drive was a good one, but it resulted in no points. Collins hit Toomer for a first down on 3rd-and-5 to start the drive, then found him again on a slant on 3rd-and-4. Kerry did a real good job of stepping up into the pocket and getting the ball to Damon Washington for 16 yards over the middle. Then came an out to Toomer for seven and a short pass to Greg Comella for another first down. But the drive stalled when Collins was sacked on 4th-and-5 (Fassel said a WR ran the wrong route on the play and I think it was Toomer who was supposed to run a slant).

Collins did a good job of patiently waiting for Dan Campbell to come open in the endzone on the next drive for a touchdown, but on the drive after that, he badly overthrew the spot where Ike Hilliard was supposed to be and the pass was intercepted. The Giants could have run off more time from the clock on the next drive if Collins didn’t throw too far in front of Toomer, who was wide open over the middle for what should have been a first down.

Wide Receivers: Up and down. One got the sense that they had some problems getting open at times as Collins was forced to hold onto the ball longer than he should have in some situations. Drops were also a problem, with Toomer and Hilliard both dropping passes.

But Toomer (7 catches for 97 yards, 1 carry on a reverse for 9 yards) had a fairly strong day and was a big factor in picking up first downs. I especially liked his moves and effort on the short pass from Collins on 3rd-and-5 that he turned into a first down – he showed some moves on the play and dove for the extra needed inches. However, I do think it was Toomer who screwed up on the 4th-and-5 play that resulted in a sack. Collins was looking in his direction and his short set-up suggested a slant route; Toomer ran farther down the field.

Joe Jurevicius had only one catch – for a first down on 2nd-and-7 on the second drive of the game. He had another first down catch brought back on 3rd-and-5 due to a penalty later in the half. I was real impressed with his work as a blocker. For example on the Giants’ only TD scoring drive, Jurevicius combined with Comella to spring Damon Washington for 15 yards to start the drive. He later combined with Comella again on Washington’s 22-yarder that set up the ball inside the five yard line. Jurevicius was flagged for a very costly holding penalty after a big run from Comella got the ball down to the 14 yard line; however, the call seemed a bit weak to me.

Ike Hilliard (2 catches for 21 yards) picked up a key first down on 3rd-and-7, but had a big drop over the middle that I mentioned earlier. Interestingly, the Giants employed him on a shovel pass from the backfield on one play, but it didn’t really fool the defense. Ron Dixon remains invisible.

Tight Ends: Dan Campbell eventually got himself wide open on his 1-yard touchdown pass that came in a tight third down situation. His blocking wasn’t as strong as last week, but he had his moments. I spotted him missing a block on a pull on the second drive of the game. Later, Campbell simply wasn’t quick enough to get out and engage Arrington as the latter got in on the play. On the positive side, Ron Dayne ran behind him and Comella for a first down on 2nd-and-1 on the second to last drive of the first half. On the second to last drive of the game, Campbell got a very good block on the defensive end and this allowed Damon Washington to pick up the first down on 2nd-and-2.

Cross blocked well again. He did a nice job of combining with Lomas Brown and Comella on a sweep to left that picked up five yards on the second to last drive of the first half.

Offensive Line: Aside from a few spots, pass protection was pretty strong. However, RG Ron Stone played a terrible game and the entire line had problems generating movement on straight-ahead efforts this week.

First, let’s talk about Stone. Ron is generally so solid that one gets spoiled expecting him to keep his opponent quiet. But Dan Wilkinson gave Stone fits on Sunday as he regularly got penetration into the backfield to disrupt the running game – especially on Ron Dayne carries in the first half. Perhaps, Stone’s shoulder is still bothering him but this is one of the poorest games I’ve seen him play. For example, on the second drive of the game, Wilkinson got by Stone to nail Dayne in the backfield. Two drives later, Stone’s missed block let Dayne get stuffed again. Two drives after that, Stone missed a block on a pitch to Dayne and Dayne got hit in the backfield. To make matters worse, a couple of plays later, Stone got beat by Wilkinson on the pass rush and Ron then chopped the defensive tackle for a 15 yard penalty. This turned a 1-and-10 pass play into 3rd-and-21. On the very next drive, on 3rd-and-goal, Ron couldn’t get any movement (and I think he held) on an attempted running play. He did have one left-side pull to led Dayne for seven yards on the previous play. This all came in the first half. Ron settled down a bit in the second half. Luke Petitgout had his problems with Kenard Lang. The good news is that Luke’s pass protection was solid. The bad news is that he didn’t get much movement on Lang. Luke missed Lang badly late in the game on the play where Damon Washington got hit for a 3-yard loss. On the next drive, he couldn’t sustain his block on Lang and Comella was tackled in the backfield.

LG Jason Whittle had a decent day when you consider it was his first start of the year. The biggest negative on him is that he whiffed on his man on the 3rd-and-7 play on the second drive and this forced Collins to get rid of the intended deep pass faster than he wanted to. Jason is definitely quicker on the pull than Parker – but not as powerful at the point of attack. OC Dusty Zeigler was up-and-down. His pass protection was solid except for one play where I spotted the DT getting by him and pressuring Collins. Unfortunately, this came on first-and-goal at the end of the first half.

The line did start to get more movement in the second half as I think they started to wear down the Skins. Zeigler didn’t sustain his block long enough on the middle linebacker on a second down play on the second drive and this allowed a big hit on Damon Washington. Ron Stone got a good block on Wilkinson a couple of plays later (finally) and led Damon for five. But on 2nd-and-5, Lomas Brown missed a block on a left-side sweep. The 4th-and-5 sack was not the fault of the OL and the RB’s in my opinion – there were more rushers than protectors on the play.

My favorite offensive line play of the game was the 20-yard screen to Comella that came on the scoring drive. Both Whittle and Zeigler got out in front of Comella beautifully and nailed their respective targets. It was a fantastic play that you couldn’t have drawn up better.

Running Backs: Greg Comella had a monster day as a blocker, doing a great job of leading a number of outside runs. He was a big factor in both of Damon Washington’s big runs on the TD scoring drive. Greg also did a good job of following his blocks on his 20-yard screen and looked sharp on the draw play that picked up big yardage that was called back due to penalty. However, Greg did drop a would-be touchdown pass from Collins on a perfect throw. He also fumbled the ball (though he luckily recovered his own fumble). He had a key first down reception on 3rd-and-2 in the second half.

Ron Dayne (16 carries for 39 yards) only played in the first half due to a neck injury. Before he left, he was a bit up-and-down. The up side was that he looked sharp on a couple of cut back runs to left: a 9-yarder on the first drive and a 10-yarder on the second drive (also showed a good stiff-arm on this run). Ron also had a powerful run to the left for seven yards that put the ball on the 3-yard line. However, I wasn’t impressed with his short-yardage run on 3rd-and-1 on the first drive – too reminiscent of last year. He never had a chance on many of his other runs as the offensive line did not make many holes in the first half of the game.

Damon Washington (25 carries for 90 yards) did a fine job in relief of Dayne although he did fumble one ball away and almost did so again later in the game. He also is never going to be a very powerful runner and can’t move the pile. But Damon is very shifty and showed fine vision as he bounced a couple of big runs outside to the right on the TD scoring drive. He also had a big catch over the middle for 16 yards.

Defensive Line: Very strong game by the defensive tackles up front, not as impressive by the ends – though this was to be expected given the strengths and weaknesses of the Skins’ offensive line. Keith Hamilton (4 tackles, 1 sack) had yet another strong game, though the stats may not show it. He was regularly beating double-teams to disrupt the passing game. On the sixth defensive series, “Hammer” fought through a double-team and a chip block from the back to sack Banks. During the next series, he hit Stephen Davis in the backfield for a loss. Keith was all hustle on one play in the second half where he got knocked down, but continued to crawl towards Banks and pressure him from his knees (Banks couldn’t step up on the play because of this). His pass pressure on 3rd-and-6 on the same drive forced another incompletion.

Cornelius Griffin (7 tackles, 1.5 sacks) played his best game of the year. On the first drive of the game, he smashed into Tony Banks on third down. He picked up a garbage sack on the next drive when Brandon Short’s pressure caused Banks to lose his footing. On the next drive, Griff got big pressure again on Banks and forced a hurried throw. Two series later, he hit Banks again. At the start of the second half, Cornelius showed something that I’ve been waiting for: he played stout at the point-of-attack and stuffed the halfback at the line of scrimmage. He immediately followed that up with another pass pressure. On the third series of the second half, another pressure led to another incompletion. On the last drive of the game for Washington, Griffin got yet another pressure on Banks and then shared a sack with Strahan.

Michael Strahan’s stats (4 tackles, 1.5 sacks) look more impressive than they really are. His big sack and forced fumble came on a play where he wasn’t blocked. Jon Jansen kept him pretty much quiet after that except for late in the game. On the 4th series of the second half, Strahan pressured Banks on an incompletion. He did so again two series later during the last drive and then combined with Griffin for a sack on 3rd down. Michael also had an offsides penalty in the game.

Kenny Holmes was stymied by Chris Samuels. Kenny rarely got a whiff of the quarterback – though he did get close on one stunt with Keith Hamilton in the second half. This forced an incompletion on 3rd-and-10. His best play of the game was the fumble recovery on Strahan’s sack. His run defense was up-and-down. At times, he stuck his nose in there and gummed things up. But he also got controlled on the corner on a couple of outside runs. In the second half, he and Jessie Armstead got suckered on a WR reverse.

Cedric Scott and Lance Legree saw some limited playing time. Scott showed good pursuit down the line on one short-yardage play, but couldn’t make the tackle.

Linebackers: Mike Barrow led the defense again in tackles with eight this week. His blitz up the gut on the second series of the game forced an incompletion. He made a big play by forcing WR Rod Gardner to fumble after he picked up what looked to be a big first down. Jessie Armstead (4 tackles) and Short (1 tackle) were quiet. Armstead did a good job of covering TE Walter Rasby on one short pass. But he also got suckered on that reverse and was flagged with a late hit on the quarterback. Short’s pressure led to Griffin’s sack in the first half. He was flagged for holding the tight end on a play however, resulting in a first down.

Defensive Backs: Fantastic game from Jason Sehorn (6 tackles, 2 interceptions) who dominated. He completely shutdown whoever he was covering and seems to be developing a nose for the football when he is covering the slot receiver in nickel coverage. For example, on the third defensive series of the game, on 3rd-and-13, he read Banks’ eyes and peeled off the slot receiver to tip the ball away that was intended for the outside receiver (this was a premonition of things to come later). On the next drive, Sehorn defended well a short pass to WR Michael Westbrook for a short gain. In the second half, he played the ball so well on endzone pass that he looked like the intended receiver and came up with a very important interception (Sehorn later said that because Will Allen and Will Peterson had such effective coverage on the play – they enabled him to be in position to make this play). Then Sehorn put the game away with his interception and return for a touchdown that was very similar to his first break-up. He jumped on the ball from his slot position after reading Banks’ eyes.

It’s hard to get a real good read on Will Peterson and Will Allen as they haven’t not yet faced a real dangerous passing attack (aside from the game against the Broncos). The Skins’ passing game was pathetic on Sunday and much of the credit needs to go to these two however. Still, there were some shaky moments. On the sixth defensive series of the first half, Will Allen made a great play on the ball when he defended a short pass intended for Michael Westbrook. Allen played tight underneath (something he had not been doing) and came over the top to knock the ball away without interfering. However, Allen did get beat by Gardner to the inside for a first down on the play that Barrow forced the fumble. On the first defensive series of the second half, Allen had good coverage on a 2nd-and-10 play. Allen also impressed with his toughness by continuing to play despite literally getting knocked out after a helmet-to-helmet collision. Allen was lucky that he wasn’t flagged on a play in the endzone where he had good coverage, but he didn’t turn around to play the ball; his knockdown did save a touchdown however. Allen did get beat deep for a 52-yard gain by Gardner on a wonderfully-executed play-action fake (incidentally, Allen needs to remember that the receiver isn’t considered down until touched – this isn’t college football).

Will Peterson wasn’t exploited until the last drive. He got beat deep by Gardner for what could have been a touchdown, but the ball was overthrown. He then gave up a 20 yard completion to Westbrook.

The safeties were quiet and I think that is good this week. One didn’t see them getting exploited in coverage (though I wonder who was supposed to provide deep help – if anyone – on Gardner’s 52-yarder). Sam Garnes made a sure, open-field tackle on TE Stephen Alexander in the first half for a short gain. Shaun Williams also had a big hit on Alexander to force an incompletion. The safeties and linebackers did a good job of keeping the Pro Bowl tight end pretty ineffective. Williams broke up a pass in the endzone on the last drive of the game.

Special Teams: Not so hot. I don’t know if it was the wind or the necessity of having a holder, but Owen Pochman’s kick-offs ranged from ordinary to pretty bad. And kick-off coverage was not good at all. For example, the second kick-off went to the 3 yard line, but the ball was returned to the 42. Later, after an Omar Stoutmire offside penalty, his kick-off landed at the 19 yard line and was returned to the 46. Both returns are unacceptable – Christ, the Skins were almost at mid-field after both returns. Another kick-off in the second half landed at the 15 yard line and was returned to the 42 again.

Punt coverage was pretty strong aided by Rodney Williams (43 yard average) continued strong punting. Williams’ 58-yarder late in the 4th quarter right before Jason Sehorn’s pick was a big play. On both kick and punt coverage, Clayton White is starting to make more noise. He forced the fumble after Williams’ punt was partially blocked. The punt was blocked in the first place due to Dave Thomas’ bone-headed play of not blocking his man long enough at the line of scrimmage.

Amani Toomer doesn’t have a feel for returning punts (strange for someone with three punt return touchdowns on his resume). He dances and dances. Amani also made a poor decision by not fielding a punt that landed at the 19 yard line and bounced near the 10.

Morten Andersen was perfect on his three field goal attempts, including a wind-aided 50 yarder.


“Oh, gosh, I went over…

by David Oliver

and said, get your, get your ass up,” Greg Comella was telling us his reaction on seeing Damon Washington get up slowly. Already without Lightning, the Giants lost Thunder at halftime, and suddenly the feature back was Damon Washington. Damon filled in just as if he were an every down back, and his gritty performance, together with a stalwart defensive effort, provided just enough for the Giants to escape the dreaded upset. (Now, who was it that jumped all over me in the off season when I said Damon would fill in quite capably for Tiki? Well, I do know it wasn’t the same contributor(s) who jumped all over me when I said Bernard Hopkins would win his fight with Felix because he had more heart – okay, my hand is now tired from all this patting myself on the back – I won’t do it again (grin).

There were two themes in the locker room following Sunday’s victory over the Redskins. Theme 1 was a well deserved praise and recognition for a Giants defense which is beginning to look the group of the 1980s. The second was recognition of Damon Washington who stepped into some mighty big shoes at a needed time. Comella talked about Damon’s confidence and the team’s confidence in Damon, and Dan Campbell told me, “We did a lot of different things around Ron Dayne, but we kept some things that we did for Tiki, for Pokemon – that’s what we call Damon – he stepped in and did a really good job.”

Both Comella and Campbell acknowledged that the offense did not look particularly good. As Comella said, “All the guys expect more out of our offense…it’s just a matter of continuing to get back, keeping our noses to the grindstone and focus on improvement, because we have the talent, we have the ability to get it done, it’s just a matter of executing.” Campbell flat out said, “We’ve got to open more holes up front, we didn’t do a really good job up front today, and that’s the key.” But Campbell, always the realist, wasn’t down about it, and although not offering excuses, did talk about some of the offensive game plan. He told me that, “We knew if we could come out and play like we can play, hurt them early, they were going to fold up a little bit. They didn’t do that. We gave them hope, they stayed in it, they played hard, they’ve got superstars over there.” Then he mentioned Bruce Smith going down early and a little lull setting in. I asked him if Bruce going down affected the game plan and he told me, “I think it did. We were going to do a lot of shifting on his side with the backs, to kind of help out Lomas, just to shut him (Smith) down a little bit. It might have been one of those things, hey, Bruce is out, and we kind of relaxed a little bit. We woke up there at the end. We left a lot of points and yardage out there on the field, but, like Coach said, the thing about us is that when we have to, we do it.”

Jason Garrett is always one of the most upbeat guys in the locker. He told me that he’s keeping himself ready, that he’s having a great time, and that the QBs are all working together and that he says is “why it works.” We talked about team relationships and discussed Dallas and the Redskins. He said that, “Whenever you have a new Coach and a new system it takes time. Schottenheimer is going to put his plan together and guys are going to respond to it and learn what he’s trying to get done, that’s the process they are going through right now.” Nothing earth shattering in those observations, but we often forget these little lessons in building a winner. On this year’s Giants team, Jason told me, “One of the things I’ve learned, actually Lomas talks about it, is that every team is a different team and the chemistry has to develop.” He talked about last year’s team and said this year was still in the formative process. He went on, “One of the biggest things Coach Fassel talks about is improving every week. We take that as a team, almost improving every day; you go out there on Wednesday and practice well, Thursday, and the whole deal.”

That’s pretty much it for the offense. It didn’t run wild through the decimated Redskins ranks. My son, the genius, laughs as he tells me how really bad the Redskins are – a team without talent, he says. Well, it’s not the team I see. I see a team that’s taken some hits and hasn’t adjusted to it’s new coach. But I did not see the Giants rolling up 40 points or running all day up the middle. In fact, last week on one thread I said I saw a 17-9 game, and I was darn close to the mark. There are no gimmees – ask the Eagles who gained almost 500 yards and still lost to the Arizona Cardinals.

So was it the Redskins D or the Giants O? Well, it was a combination. The Skins played tough against the run – they knew what was coming and they knew the Giants were hurting. The Giants offensive line struggled, but like Dan said, they got it done when they had too. I thought Lomas had a good day. The rest of the line all had good plays, and not good plays. Luke seems to be struggling a little, which puzzles me as all that self-doubt should be behind him. Damon Washington did have 90 yards, so somebody was making some holes. And some of them were pretty big, but it wasn’t consistent.

With all the Skins emphasis on stopping the run, the passing game should have been in high gear. There was a stiff wind coming out of the closed end, so moving in that direction handicapped the passing game. But the other direction was an invitation to mayhem. But 15-out-of-29 for 177 yards is not mayhem – it is fairly anemic for a team supposedly as explosive as the Giants. Kerry is just not finding people – he misses Tiki and continues to look short – Comella is now his target of choice. Toomer had a nice day, catching 7, with a long of 23, which just happened to be the longest Giant completion of the day. Campbell caught the all important 1 yard TD, JJ was silent, Damon made a nice gain on his one and Ike had a couple. When the backs out gain a star receiver, something is wrong. Kerry has a great arm, but right now he’s not using it as his vision is too narrow. There has been some pressure, but he is not getting hit nearly as much, or as hard as Dave brown and Kent Graham did. Those two held the ball forever, Kerry wants it out of there pronto. A lot of viewers say KC doesn’t step up into the pocket, but that’s possibly because the Giants scheme doesn’t create much of a pocket. So maybe that’s the answer – if you’re a pocket passer and there’s not much pocket, you look to the backs too quickly. There are open receivers, but in the medium route passing game, the difference between open and covered is measured in milliseconds. That, and the fact that KC rarely throws to a spot. This has plagued Giants QBs for some time now, they have all waited until a route appeared clear before throwing the ball.

The running game was good enough – it ground out 142 yards on a lat og short yardage battering. The play calling – it hasn’t been very imaginative, but that may be an execution problem. When it clicks, it is a thing of beauty. It all seems to be built around KC and Tiki. When they are hot, the ball moves and every one gets a piece. Without Tiki, Kerry struggles. As good as the Giants receivers are, the Giants need that one break away speed guy. With some greased lightning out there, it is my belief that this would look like a totally different offense. Scary moment – when Lomas went down and stayed seated – even the Redskins came over and offered encouragement. Two warriors like Bruce Smith and Lomas Brown don’t come around often. This was a battle waiting to be waged. It almost seemed that when Bruce went down, Lomas became aware of his own vulnerability. Great combatants often have that affect on each other.

On to the defense. What a game. It’s coming, getting a little better each week. Cornelius Griffin has picked it up considerably. The ankle is healing and he wants to rumble. The man is just exhilarated to make a crashing sack and I get the jumps just watching him come – look in his eyes – he wants it. Hammer is a big, mean thug – a hell of a footballer. When he sets his mind to it, he is an unstoppable force. He frees up a lot for the other guys. Strahan just keeps coming. He goes around, he goes into, he pushes. He is held a lot, and he yacks at the officials a lot. He also yaks at the opposing bench, particularly when he is held for a couple of plays, then beats his man. I’m also starting to see the poetry in Kenny Holmes. He is the silent, but deadly type. He’s beginning to get a feel for the playing style of his partners and he’s getting closer and closer. He will have a breakout game soon.

The Giants had the ball for more than 38 minutes, which is a Parcells-like performance, so the defense didn’t get an opportunity to roll up stats. But 4 sacks in 21 minutes is pretty good, and a whole lot of people contributed tackles, led by Barrow Griffin and Sehorn. Jessie and Short are playing steady, Barrow is a maniac. And then there is Jason Sehorn. Two interceptions, 6 tackles, and put the game on ice. As Will Peterson said, “That’s big time play, big time, (then, laughing), but he gets paid big time money, too, right?” Right you are Will P., so how’s your game, I asked. Well, these kids have confidence. No wonder Phil in L.A. loves them, they sing just as he does. Will told me, “This is ‘just play your game, you’ve been playing it forever, you just have to calm down'” I asked him about the Skins’ receivers and his observations were interesting. He said, “Big bodies, they give you a push and you have to hold your ground”, but he quickly went on, “next week, that’s what we’re looking forward to now.” This is a big test for the young guys and they want it. I asked who would he draw and he told me he didn’t know, as they hadn’t gotten their orders yet. He told me they would be watching a lot of film this week and I asked him about the role of film. His answer was a little different as he told me, “If you want to make big plays, you have to be able to anticipate.” These kids are different. For both Wills, it’s not about speed, or coverage, or just defending; it’s about making big plays – they talk like a pair of halfbacks, and that’s good. Let ‘s hope this week doesn’t change that attitude because it is final exam time.

Oh, don’t worry about Sam Garnes – he’s the QB of this outfit. As the kids in front of him grow, he’ll come around. Shaun Williams – I was right about him – he’s not a safety – the man is a linebacker if ever there was one. I don’t know how Phil in L.A. is always right about these D-Backs – somehow I picture Phil as a short, balding guy, who couldn’t run to the coffee maker. At least I look like the linemen I so admire (grin).

So where does that leave us? Ah, special teams. The specials are better, but I issued a personal challenge to Jack Golden to do something out there so I can get a picture of him tackling somebody. I have enough of him slapping those fools around. Jack promised me something soon. Rodney’s net was down a little today, but he still had one boomer of 59 yards and one inside the 20. He is exciting to watch Pochman struggled a little again today. He is getting loft on the ball but has lost some distance. Michael Bates had a good day Bates and Carter did well, racking up 159 yards with bates getting a 38 yard return. Morten Andersen just keeps kicking them – he had one today, with the wind at his back, that could have gone through from 60 or 70 yards out.

I asked Dhani Jones about specials and he told me, “Special teams is definitely hard, the hardest group to be on.” I asked him why, and he said, “You spend all your time sitting on the sidelines, and you get that one call; the ball may never come to you, like for a couple of weeks, because you have lane responsibilities. The ball may never come to you and when it does, you have to be prepared, like, it’s kind of like being in the line of fire, it’s like the first time you have to shoot somebody, what do you do in that situation?” Now, that’s something I know a little about, so I said, you shoot, and Dhani said, “Yeah, and that’s like, it’s hard.” We talked about Michael Bates and Dhani said, “He’s got great vision”, so I asked him about that and he said, “You can’t teach, a Coach can ask 1,000 times, what were you thinking at that moment. You might not really remember, or what you actually did see – what they might see is something completely different. You have one goal, and that’s to tackle a man and everybody has got to get there.”

So there it is. Was it a good game? Hell, yes. The Giants won. Was it a masterpiece. For the defense it was a Rembrandt. For the offense, maybe a Jackson Pollock. It wasn’t pretty, but in the end, the offense got the job done. Time of possession says this game wasn’t that close, but the scoreboard didn’t look like we all wanted it to look. This week is a real test.

(Box Score – Washington Redskins at New York Giants, October 7, 2001)
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Eric Kennedy

Eric Kennedy is Editor-in-Chief of BigBlueInteractive.com, a publication of Big Blue Interactive, LLC. Follow @BigBlueInteract on Twitter.

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