Aug 312006
 

Brandon Jacobs, Mathias Kiwanuka Shine in Win Over the Patriots: The Giants finished the 2006 preseason with a perfect 4-0 record with their 31-23 victory over the New England Patriots on Thursday night. It was the first time the Giants have gone undefeated in the preseason since 1990 – the last season the Giants won a Super Bowl.

“It’s good to get the preseason over with and try to get started on the real season and get started on our goals – our quest to get to Miami this year,” said LB Antonio Pierce.

The Giants’ starting defensive unit did not make a good showing. On the game’s opening offensive possession, the Patriots drove 67-yards in 14 plays to take a 7-0 lead, despite the fact that New England QB Tom Brady did not play. The drive culminated with a 4th-and-goal, one-yard run for the touchdown.

The Giants moved the ball well on their first offensive possession, driving from their own 16-yard line to the Patriots’ 33-yard line. But an incomplete pass on 3rd-and-4 brought out the field goal unit. Unfortunately, PK Jay Feely’s 51-yard attempt was blocked. These two initial drives took up the bulk of the first quarter. QB Eli Manning finished the game 4-of-5 for 35 yards.

“I feel we are where we need to be,” said Manning. “The (first-team) offense today got bad field position and got backed up. We ran the ball decently and had a third down that we did not convert on in the end. We had a field goal blocked, which you don’t like to see. I think everybody is in good shape because we know what we are doing. Now is the time to put it all together and go out there and play a complete game.”

After allowing a 13-yard completion, the Giants’ defense then stiffened, forcing a punt. Near the start of the second quarter, QB Jared Lorenzen then took the helm of the offense on the Giants’ second possession of the night. HB Brandon Jacobs picked up nine yards on two consecutive running plays. Lorenzen then hit WR Tim Carter for a first down on 3rd-and-1. On the very next snap, Jacobs broke off a 57-yard run for touchdown to tie the game at 7-7.

The Giants’ special teams continued to disappoint as Feely booted the ensuing kickoff out of bounds. But on the Patriots’ second snap of the possession, LB Chase Blackburn forced a fumble that LB Carlos Emmons recovered at the Giants’ 44-yard line. Jacobs continued to be the focal point, catching the ball for seven yards and then rushing for 15 more yards on three carries. HB James Sims also chipped in with eight yards on two carries as did WR Michael Jennings with 15 yards on an end around. However, the drive stalled at the New England 11-yard line with two incomplete passes by Lorenzen. Feely hit the 29-yard field goal for a 10-7 Giants’ advantage.

On the Patriots’ fourth possession of the second half, New England completed a 19-yard pass to start the drive. DE Mathias Kiwanuka then sacked backup QB Matt Cassel for a 10-yard sack. The Patriots managed to pick up the first down, but then the drive stalled at the Giants’ 43-yard, forcing a punt. The Giants could not move the ball on their ensuing possession, going three-and-out, with two more incomplete pass by Lorenzen. But the Patriots too were stymied, going three-and-out and being forced to punt.

After a 13-yard pass to TE Visanthe Shiancoe, Lorenzen turned the ball over by fumbling away the shotgun snap with just over a minute to go before halftime. The Patriots recovered at the Giants’ 43-yard line. New England managed to move the ball 32 yards in seven plays to set up a successful 29-yard field goal that tied the game as time expired at the end of the first half.

The Giants received the ball to start the second half. Lorenzen badly overthrew Carter deep and two plays later Lorenzen was sacked for a 6-yard loss, forcing a punt. After a 46-yard punt by Jeff Feagles and a three-yard return, New England gained possession at their own 44-yard line. The Patriots picked up 16 yards on two back-to-back eight yard runs, but then Kiwanuka made his second big play of the night by batting up a pass and intercepting it, giving the Giants the ball at their own 43-yard line. New York then regained the lead by driving 57 yards in six plays. Jacobs picked up 30 of those yards on four runs, including a 3-yard touchdown. Lorenzen also completed passes of 14 yards to WR Michael Jennings and 13 yards to FB Tony Jackson on this drive.

Jacobs finished the game with 15 carries for 130 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 8.7 yards per carry. “He’s been phenomenal,” said HB Tiki Barber of Jacobs. “He got an opportunity because I knew I wasn’t going to play a lot. He was prepared to take the entire load and he showed that he was capable. A couple people criticized him by saying he was only playing against second teamers before and a lot of that first half was against their first-team defense and he excelled. I feel good about him being my back-up.”

The Patriots managed to convert on 3rd-and-11, 3rd-and-4, and 4th-and-1 on their ensuing possession. New England then kicked a 54-yard field goal to cut the Giants’ lead to 17-13. The Giants’ third offensive possession of the second half began near the end of the third quarter. New York drove the football 74 yards in 12 plays to take a 24-13 advantage. On the drive, Lorenzen was sharp, completing all five of his pass attempts for 55 yards. HB James Sims scored from three yards out. Lorenzen finished the game 10-of-15 for 116 yards, no touchdowns, and no interceptions.

The Patriots quickly cut into the lead again as CB Curtis Deloatch was burned on a 42-yard completion that gave New England a first down at the Giants’ 9-yard line. A 15-yard face mask penalty on DE Eric Moore on the play before this did not help matters. New York’s defense held and the Patriots kicked their third field goal of the game. The Giants lead was now 24-16.

But back came the Giants, now with Tim Hasselbeck at quarterback. After four HB Mike Jemison runs picked up 13 yards, Hasselbeck hit WR Willie Ponder for 27 yards. Jemison then picked up five more yards on two carries and Hasselbeck found TE Darcy Johnson for a 26-yard touchdown reception. Giants 31 – New England 16. Hasselbeck finished the game 2-for-2 for 53 yards and one touchdown.

The Patriots only managed one first down on their next possession before being forced to punt with less than three minutes to go in the game – DE Adrian Awasom picked up another preseason sack. The Giants attempted to run out the clock, but on Jemison’s third straight carry of the possession, he fumbled the ball away with New England recovering at the Giants’ 19-yard line. A pass interference penalty on CB Gerrick McPhearson gave the Patriots a 1st-and-goal at the 1-yard line and they scored on the next play. The Giants now lead 31 to 23.

The Patriots kicked off with less than a minute to play. The Giants picked up one first down and then kneeled on the ball to end the game.

Notes and Quotes: The Giants did not appear to suffer any significant injuries although DE Michael Strahan did leave the game after he was hit in the groin.

The following Giants did not suit up because of injuries: LB LaVar Arrington (knee), OC Shaun O’Hara (knee), LT Luke Petitgout (back), OG/OC Rich Seubert (toe), WR Sinorice Moss (quad), and HB Derrick Ward (foot).

LB Carlos Emmons saw his first action of the preseason. “It felt good to finally get back out there not having played since the Philadelphia game last year,” said Emmons. “It felt good to get back out there with my teammates and try to knock the rust off. I felt a little rusty at first, my wind wasn’t that bad. Unfortunately they scored on that first drive but we will only get better from here once everyone gets on the same page.”

Aug 312006
 

August 31, 2006 New York Giants Injury Report: According to Giants.com, the following players are not expected to take the field against the Patriots tonight: LT Luke Petitgout (back), OC Shaun O’Hara (knee), OG/OC Rich Seubert (toe), WR Sinorice Moss (quad), and HB Derrick Ward (foot).

LB Carlos Emmons (burner) and OG Matt Lentz (elbow) are expected to play.

Article on CB Corey Webster: Webster Holds Key to Success of Giants D by Ken Palmer of Giants Insider

Article on TE Wade Fletcher: Rookies Will Learn Soon If It’s NFL or Backup Plan by John Branch of The New York Times

Notes and Quotes: Yesterday, we reported (as did Giants.com and the NY/NJ newspapers) that the Giants’ roster stood at 76 players. There are actually 77 players on the roster. According to a Giants’ official, OG Julius Franklin, despite the fact that he is still on the roster, does not count toward the current roster limit as he was injured in NFL Europe and has not practiced since training camp started. As we mentioned previously, S Claudius Osei is also exempted from the current mandatory 75-man roster count. By 4:00PM on Saturday, the Giants must cut enough players to get down to the final 53-man roster limit.

The following players were awarded for their efforts during the 2005 season at the 40th Annual Giants Kickoff Luncheon, held yesterday in Manhattan:

Offensive Player of the Year and Most Valuable Player: HB Tiki Barber
Defensive Player of the Year: DE Osi Umenyiora
Special Teams Player of the Year: PK Jay Feely
Rookie of the Year: DE Justin Tuck

WR Plaxico Burress on this preseason: “It’s probably one of the longest preseasons I’ve ever been in because we’re just so anxious and we’re anticipating going out and doing well. We just want to get the ball rolling. We’re so excited about the season that the preseason just kind of dragged along for us.”

Coughlin on his goal for home games and the support needed from Giants’ fans: “What I would like is that our stadium become the most difficult place in the world to play the New York Giants. Our goal as always is to make all New Yorkers proud to be New York Giants.”

Aug 302006
 

New York Giants Waive 13 Players; Place One on Injured Reserve: The Giants have officially announced that they have waived the following 13 players:

  • QB Rob Johnson
  • HB Little John Flowers
  • FB Greg Hanoian
  • WR Triandos Luke
  • WR Harry Williams
  • TE Boo Williams
  • OG Ben Herrell
  • DT Sir Henry Anderson
  • LB Thomas Carroll
  • CB Brandon Williams
  • CB Vontez Duff
  • S Jason Shivers
  • P/PK Travis Dorsch

The Giants have also placed CB E.J. Underwood on Injured Reserve, thus ending his season. Underwood has a shoulder injury that may require surgery. “He’d had a really good camp,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “We were kind of closed-mouthed about how well he had been playing and how much information he was able to handle, because he had been playing in those nickel packages and dime packages on the inside. In reality, he learned a couple of positions for us, plus special teams. I really didn’t expect the news that we got either, to be honest with you. I didn’t think it was going to be that serious, but it was.”

The roster officially stands at 76 players, because the Giants have been granted an exemption for S Claudius Osei, a German native who will spend the 2006 season on the Giants’ practice squad after being allocated to the team as part of the NFL’s International Practice Squad Program.

August 29, 2006 New York Giants Injury Update: LB LaVar Arrington (knee), OG/OC Rich Seubert (toe), WR Sinorice Moss (quad), and HB Derrick Ward (foot) did not practice yesterday. OC Shaun O’Hara (knee) and LT Luke Petitgout (back) practiced on a limited basis for the second day in a row.

Good Interview with Phil Simms on QB Eli Manning: Phil Simms on the Art of Quarterbacking by Tom Mackie of Giants Insider

Notes: QB Jared Lorenzen will play after QB Eli Manning departs the game against the Patriots. QB Tim Hasselbeck will then mop up late in the game.

Aug 292006
 

Approach to the Game – New England Patriots at New York Giants, August 31, 2006: In terms of those players who form the starting lineups, this is the least important of all of the preseason games. Most starters will only play one or two possessions. Head Coach Tom Coughlin said his first-teamers will only see 10-12 snaps. The score of this game simply does not matter. What does matter is getting out of this game as healthy as possible.

Since it will be virtually impossible to get a good read on the starters, the focus of this preview will strictly be on what the final roster may look like and the key roster battles yet to be decided.

Quarterbacks: I’m sure many fans are ready overanalyze the five or six throws that Eli Manning will make in this game. All I care about is him getting out of the contest healthy.

The most critical and interesting roster battle on this team is who will be the primary backup to Manning. Just a month ago, who would have thought that Jared Lorenzen may have the inside track to the job? If he plays well against the Patriots, it sounds like the #2 spot is his. If he does not, and Hasselbeck plays well, the pecking order may be the same as last year. I don’t think the Giants will be looking at the waiver wire here.

Running Backs: Personally, I would not even play Tiki Barber. He’s ready. I would give Brandon Jacobs the 10-12 offensive snaps and then let James Sims and Mike Jemison duke it out from there. My gut tells me that Derrick Ward (foot) is still in the picture and that Sims and Jemison probably won’t make it. But this is their chance to shine in case the Giants do put Ward on Injured Reserve. It also wouldn’t surprise me if the Giants do keep a lookout on the waiver wire here if Ward is indeed lost.

Jim Finn will be the fullback.

Wide Receivers: The quad injury to Sinorice Moss confuses me. I don’t understand why it is taking so long to heal, especially since he supposedly originally suffered this injury at the NFL Combine in February. Based on the comments from Giants’ officials, it appears that Moss is still very much part of the offensive plans this year. Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Tim Carter, David Tyree, and Moss are locks. The question remains – will the Giants carry six receivers? If so, whom? Michael Jennings has made more plays as a receiver and returner this preseason so I would guess he is the favorite. I would think the Giants are going to try to hide Anthony Mix on the Practice Squad. This may be Willie Ponders last game as a Giant.

Tight End: Jeremy Shockey and Visanthe Shiancoe are the locks. The remaining battle here is for the #3 tight end spot. Wade Fletcher and Darcy Johnson are the two other tight ends on the roster, but the Giants will probably be searching the waiver wire here for a blocking type.

Offensive Line: Barring injury, my mind has not changed since before camp that the Giants will carry nine offensive linemen and those nine will be Luke Petitgout, David Diehl, Shaun O’Hara, Chris Snee, Kareem McKenzie, Bob Whitfield, Guy Whimper, Grey Ruegamer, and Rich Seubert. The Giants may be VERY undermanned in this last preseason game with Petitgout (back), O’Hara (knee), and Seubert (toe) not likely to play.

The battles here among the backups will be for Practice Squad spots. I think the Giants like OG Matt Lentz and OT Na’Shan Goddard. OC Todd Londot could be in the picture as well.

Defensive Line: The Giants are going to be forced to cut some people here that are going to make it someplace else in the NFL. The ends, obviously, will be Michael Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Justin Tuck. If the Giants do not pick up another defensive tackle off the waiver wire, they will keep Barry Cofield, Fred Robbins, William Joseph, and Jonas Seawright. If the Giants carry nine defensive linemen (which they may not), the last spot is probably up for grabs between DE Adrian Awasom and DT Damane Duckett.

Linebackers: Do the Giants carry six or seven linebackers? I would think seven because of all the prior and current injury concerns. The sure things are Antonio Pierce, LaVar Arrington, and Gerris Wilkinson. I would put Chase Blackburn in that category too. I feel it is likely that Carlos Emmons, Brandon Short, and Reggie Torbor will round out the group, but I would not be shocked to see Nick McNeil steal a spot.

Defensive Backs: I think this is the most competitive area remaining on the team. It’s going to be tough – but not impossible – to carry ten defensive backs. We know that CB Corey Webster, CB Sam Madison, CB R.W. McQuarters, FS Will Demps, SS Gibril Wilson, and S James Butler are the locks. That leaves three, maybe four, spots. I would think the Giants would want at least two more corners and one more safety. However, a guy like Jason Bell – who also excels on specials – can play both spots. Frank Walker and Curtis Deloatch are the veterans at corner; Kevin Dockery and Gerrick McPhearson are trying desperately to make a last minute positive impression. I would think that Charlie Peprah is ahead of Quentin Harris.

Roster Dilemma: Figuring out the final 53 is tough. Three roster spots will be locked up by special teamers P Jeff Feagles, PK Jay Feely, and LS Ryan Kuehl. That leaves 50. If the Giants split offense and defense down the middle, I see them carrying seven linebackers, eight or nine defensive linemen, and nine or ten defensive backs. But what makes that calculation more difficult is that the Giants may decide to carry nine offensive linemen and six wide receivers. With the 11 other offensive spots locked up, that comes to 26. So the big question is do the Giants carry one less player at wide receiver, on the defensive line, or at defensive back? I doubt the Giants do something radical like only carry two tight ends or two halfbacks (plus Chad Morton).

Aug 292006
 

August 28, 2006 New York Giants Injury Report: OC Shaun O’Hara (knee) and LT Luke Petitgout (back) returned to practice on a limited basis yesterday. “They did all right,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “They (seemed) to do all right. I’m sure it’s a ‘work your way back in really slowly’ kind of thing, but they seemed to work all right. They didn’t get many snaps, they didn’t get a whole lot, but what they got, they did ok.”

Not practicing were WR Sinorice Moss (quad), OC/OG Rich Seubert (toe), HB Derrick Ward (foot), and CB E.J. Underwood (shoulder). When asked if there were any new with Moss, Coughlin said, “Nope. You see him over there, riding the bike. The clock keeps running.”

Ward is currently in a walking cast and expects to start running in a couple of weeks.

The injury to Underwood does not sound good. “It’s a serious injury,” said Coughlin. “If he was able to come right back, he would have been out here.” The Star-Ledger is reporting that Underwood has a torn labrum, that he is expected to undergo surgery today, and that he will be placed on season-ending Injured Reserve.

Article on HB Brandon Jacobs: The Situation is This: Jacobs Wants the Football by John Branch of The New York Times

Notes and Quotes: The Giants will announce their first roster cuts of the preseason today. All teams are required to cut down to a roster count of 75 players by this afternoon. Teams then must cut their rosters to the regular season limit of 53 players by 4:00PM Saturday. In addition to the 13 players speculated to have been cut already (see yesterday’s “News and Notes” update), HB Mike Jemison was not at practice yesterday and also may have been released.

Coughlin said the starters would only play about 10-12 snaps against the Patriots on Thursday.

LB LaVar Arrington on LB Carlos Emmons: “It’s real important to have him on the field with us. Carlos is a talent, so whenever you don’t have someone like that on the field with you, it hurts. He’s almost like having a coach on the field. That’s what he means to us…We want to get out there right from the beginning playing well and Carlos is a big part of that.”

Aug 282006
 
New York Giants 13 – New York Jets 7

Game Overview: This game was a mixed bag for the Giants. On the positive side, the first- and second-team defenses continued to play very well. For the second week in a row, the opposition failed to score a single offensive point and was held to less than 10 first downs. That’s outstanding. The offensive line, minus two starters, also blocked pretty darn well and the running game was productive. The negative was that the passing game struggled and there were too many breakdowns on special teams.

Quarterbacks: I was unable to see the game live and followed it through The Corner Forum and the play-by-play at NFL.com. Because of that, I expected to really be down on Manning’s performance (10-of-20 for 107 yards, 0 touchdowns, 1 interception) after viewing the tape. That wasn’t the case. No, Manning didn’t play one of his better games, but he wasn’t bad either. There were extenuating circumstances to most of the five non-scoring drives of the first half.

For example, on the Giants’ first drive of the game, the possession started off well with a well-thrown 13-yard strike to WR Tim Carter. After a 5-yard run by HB Tiki Barber, WR Plaxico Burress dropped Manning’s pass that would have picked up a first down. On 3rd-and-5, RT Kareem McKenzie was beat by DE Shaun Ellis to the outside and Manning was forced to unload the ball too quickly over the middle for only a 3-yard gain. Manning was absolutely fine on this possession.

On the second drive, Barber picked up four yards and then Manning found Carter for four more. On 3rd-and-2, Manning made (in my opinion) his worst throw of the night as he badly overthrew an open Burress for what should have been a first down. The problem was that Manning didn’t set his feet on this throw – he moved in the pocket to his right and tried to throw in an unbalanced position. It’s these poor mechanics that Manning supposedly worked on all offseason. Worse was the fact that Manning could easily have run for the first down on this play as well.

On the third drive, Manning overthrew Toomer deep – it wasn’t a terribly accurate throw, but it was the kind of deep miss you see from every quarterback in the league. It’s not a high percentage throw but you have to take your shots. After Barber was stuffed for a 1-yard loss, Manning just missed hitting a well-covered Barber down the middle of the field for what would have been a first down.

On the fourth drive, Manning correctly decided to hit the open WR Amani Toomer over the middle on 2nd-and-5, but his pass was batted down at the line of scrimmage. On 3rd-and-5, McKenzie was beaten by Ellis to the inside and Manning’s throw was either tipped (I think it was tipped) or Ellis’ big hand forced a higher release point that caused the ball to sail and be intercepted. Burress was wide open on this play, but the fault was McKenzie’s, not Manning’s.

The Giants finally moved the ball well on the fifth drive of the game, moving from their own 20-yard line into Jets’ territory. Manning found TE Jeremy Shockey for 16 yards on 1st-and-15. After three running plays, the Jets dropped a bunch of people into coverage against only a couple of receivers – Manning couldn’t find anyone and threw the ball away (something Coughlin wants him to do). Barber was then stuffed and then on 3rd-and-11, with the Giants expecting blitz, the Jets dropped into coverage and the screen pass called did not have a chance.

The last drive of the first half was an 11-play scoring drive with passes of 14 yards to Shockey (Manning made a nice sidestep in the pocket to his left on this play), 10 yards to FB Jim Finn, and nine yards to Toomer on 3rd-and-8. On the play before the completed pass to Toomer, Eli made a heck of throw as he was under heavy pressure from a free blitzer yet somehow tossed a wonderfully accurate pass into the endzone that almost resulted in a touchdown to Toomer.

Manning’s last drive of the game was the first Giants’ possession of the second half. Manning hit Shiancoe for gains of 25 and 10 yards. On the latter, Manning once again made a nice throw under duress from a free blitzer. The drive ended on 3rd-and-6 when Eli was forced to scramble up into the pocket as Shiancoe got beat by the right defensive end and Manning tried to dump the ball off over the middle to HB Brandon Jacobs by throwing across his body. Now some may argue here that Manning once again used poor mechanics, but he didn’t have the luxury here to reset his feet as he had a bunch of Jet defenders closing in on him.

So the net effect off all of this is that the only throw that really left a bad taste in my mouth was the bad overthrow to Burress on the second offensive possession.

I was really impressed by Jared Lorenzen (7-of-12 for 60 yards, 0 touchdowns, 0 interceptions). He’s come a long way. What I like most about his development is that he no longer is just a strong-armed fat guy – he is starting to make good decisions and throw pretty darn accurately. And for such a big man, he really moves around quite well. When Lorenzen came into the game, the Jets’ first-team defense was still playing. He found WR David Tyree for a 16-yard gain by first looking to his left and then coming off that receiver to find Tyree over the middle. Lorenzen overthrew Tyree deep two plays later and this drive ended with a sack as LT Guy Whimper was overpowered.

On his next possession, still facing a mostly first-team defensive unit, the Giants’ second- and third-teamers embarrassingly (for the Jets) ran and passed the ball 51 yards down the field to get into easy field goal range. I thought Lorenzen’s 14-yard pass to Carter on 3rd-and-3 was a major league NFL-type throw. Lorenzen then found Tyree for six and five yards, and then Carter for seven yards. All of these throws helped to keep the chains moving. Lorenzen did just miss a wide-open TE Darcy Johnson in the end zone for what should have been an easy 18-yard touchdown pass. The drive ended when Lorenzen was sacked again.

The Giants mainly tried to run out the clock in Lorenzen’s last four drives. But he did manage to connect with WR Michael Jennings for 16 yards on a play where he stood tough in the pocket as a free blitzer on a delayed linebacker dog smashed into him as he threw. Later in the game, Lorenzen made a smart decision to dump the ball off quickly to a short receiver as another free blitzer came at him. Lorenzen made a nice throw late in the game on third down when the Giants were attempting to run out the clock, but WR Triandos Luke dropped the football.

Wide Receivers: It’s pretty obvious that Manning still loves throwing to Burress. But it wasn’t a stellar game for a variety of reasons for Burress. Most obviously, he had no receptions. When Burress did get open, the ball didn’t get to him (i.e., Manning’s bad overthrow and the play where Manning’s throw was picked off). There was also one drop that helped to stall a drive. The biggest problem was that Burress lost his cool twice by being flagged with two 15-yard personal foul penalties.

Toomer only caught one pass for nine yards, but it was a big one as it came on 3rd-and-8. He also just missed coming down with a touchdown reception on the play before this. Toomer did drop a pass on the play where he injured his hip.

Tim Carter (4 catches for 34 yard) continues to play well. He played with both the first- and second-teamers. He came down with a 10-yard reception on a pass from Lorenzen on 3rd-and-3. I also liked how he made the corner miss on a 7-yard gain after a quick sideline toss. David Tyree (3 catches for 27 yards) was involved more than usual. He broke a tackle en route to a 16-yard gain in the third quarter. He also made a wonderful catch – albeit after initially bobbling the ball – for six yards later in the game.

Michael Jennings looked fast and quick on his 16-yard reception. Triandos Luke didn’t help himself with a costly drop on 3rd-and-3 when the Giants were trying to run the clock out.

Running Backs: Tiki Barber (11 carries for 60 yards) was…well…Tiki. It’s become commonplace to see him cutback to an opening for good yardage such as his 20-yard gain on the first scoring drive. He’s ready to go and is still the Giants’ best offensive player.

Brandon Jacobs (11 carries for 29 yards, 1 touchdown) still needs to develop his instincts. He’s a bull of a rusher who will punish people. But one gets the sense that he is still not seeing or instinctively feeling the exact hole where he should be shooting through. For example, on a 3rd-and-1 play in the second quarter, Jacobs bounced the play outside despite there being a clear hole at the point-of-attack in front of him for the easy first down. Instead, he tried to make a bigger play by bouncing it outside and was fortunate he was still able to power and twist his way to the first. Still, it is a kick to see him run over people.

Both Jacobs and Jim Finn did very well on their blitz pickups. Jacobs even knocked back a defensive tackle with some force in pass protection. Finn also had a key 10-yard reception on the scoring drive, but was also flagged with a false start.

James Sims (12 carries for 45 yards) didn’t look bad at all. Sims was able to generate a lot of his yardage against the first-team defense of the Jets behind some solid run blocking. He also had a decent blitz pickup. Jemison (2 carries for 8 yards) looked decent when he held onto the ball, but he fumbled a pitch late in the game when the Giants were trying to run out the clock.

Tight Ends: Jeremy Shockey (2 catches for 30 yards) looked sharp catching the football and blocking. Shockey broke a tackle on his 16-yard gain in the second quarter. His 14-yard reception also started the touchdown-scoring drive off on a positive note. Visanthe Shiancoe (2 catches for 35 yards) was a major factor in the second scoring drive with both his 25-yard catch-and-run on the first play of the drive as well as his 10-yard catch on a low throw on 2nd-and-9. However, he did give up a pass pressure on Manning on 3rd down that led to an incompletion, resulting in a field goal attempt instead of keeping the drive alive.

Darcy Johnson made a diving attempt at Lorenzen’s endzone throw but couldn’t manage to pull the ball in.

Offensive Line: Minus LT Luke Petitgout and OC Shaun O’Hara, the first team-offensive line controlled the line of scrimmage and played very well except for a few breakdowns. RT Kareem McKenzie, who played well otherwise, did give up two costly pass pressures – one resulted in a hurried throw and a punt, the other in an interception. The running game worked well in both directions – behind both LT Bob Whitfield and LG David Diehl, and RG Chris Snee and McKenzie. Diehl did miss one block on a play where Barber lost a yard and Whitfield missed the linebacker on a screen pass that didn’t pick up much yardage (he should have been flagged for tripping on this play too). OC Grey Ruegamer was a pleasant surprise both run blocking and in pass protection. He plays with a bit of an attitude.

What was amazing was that a combo second- and third-team offensive line that had Guy Whimper at left tackle, Kevin McAlmont at left guard, Todd Londot at center, Matt Lentz at right guard, and Na’Shan Goddard at right tackle pushed around the Jets’ first-team defense. This was best demonstrated by the productive rushing attack featuring Sims at halfback. I still think Goddard needs work in the weight room, but he’s an interesting guy. Londot also could get stronger. Whimper really is a good athlete – he pulls very well. Whimper was overpowered for one sack and McAlmont gave up a pressure that led to another. Londot was flagged with a bogus holding penalty late in the game but RT Troy Reddick was illegally downfield on the same play.

Defensive Line: I was not impressed with the combination that had Barry Cofield at nose tackle and Fred Robbins at the 3-technique spot. Both got mauled regularly and neither made any plays. (Cofield did get a sack erased on a play where LB LaVar Arrington jumped offsides, but on this play, Cofield’s blocker left him alone for some inexplicable reason). Cofield is still young and will get better – what I really like about him is that he hustles. Simply put, Robbins remains far too inconsistent. He had one good run defense. The Giants need him to play better than this.

Midway through the third quarter, Jonas Seawright came in at nose tackle and William Joseph at 3-technique. I love Seawright’s size, but he got pushed around too much for my liking. He did bat down one ball. Joseph played tough at the point-of-attack on one running play – there was not enough of that from the defensive tackles. Damane Duckett and Marcus Green saw some action too and Duckett got a couple of late pass pressures – but couldn’t bring down the quarterback on one play that should have resulted in a sack.

Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora were pretty quiet, though Osi did flash on the pass rush on a couple of plays. The Giants also continued to demonstrate a pass rush formation with DE Justin Tuck, Cofield, and Umenyiora playing down, and DE Mathias Kiwanuka standing up from the linebacker spot and rushing from a variety of gaps. It wasn’t very successful against the Jets, but it is an interesting formation. Kiwanuka was quiet this week, though he did flash chasing the running back down from behind – the guy is super fast for a defensive end.

In the third quarter, the second-team defensive line of Tuck, Seawright, Joseph, and Kiwanuka faced the first-team offense of the Jets and more than held their own. The Giants really have impressive depth at defensive end. Late in the game, Adrian Awasom played left end and Eric Moore right end, with Duckett and Marcus Green at tackle. Awasom and Moore both flashed on the pass rush, with Awasom getting credit for a 12-yard sack.

Linebackers: The most interesting development was that Gerris Wilkinson started at weakside linebacker. I thought he played well. He has a nose for the football. LaVar Arrington played his longest stint of the preseason. He didn’t make a lot of noise (he impressively deflected one pass), but he’s a big guy and an imposing presence on the field. I also liked the fact that he quickly recognized a quick WR pass to Laveranues Coles and thereby disrupted the entire play. He did jump offsides, however, negating a sack by Cofield. Antonio Pierce looked in midseason form. He’s always around the football and he made a major impact in the game with his 3rd-and-1 stuff at the end of the first quarter. He also was credited with a sack late in the first half on a blitz, helping to keep the Jets out of field goal range.

I continue to be impressed with Chase Blackburn – he’s another linebacker who seems to be always around the football. Brandon Short looked quick on his two sacks – but it is important to note that he was not blocked on either. There was another blitz by him where he was blocked, but the back was forced to hold him, causing a penalty.

Defensive Backs: Except for one big play given up by CB Corey Webster, the starting secondary played well. This was the first extended action that FS Will Demps received and he made an impact. He is extremely physical and aggressive in run support and demonstrated good range in the passing game. Late in the second quarter, he nailed Coles on a sideline pass that caused an incompletion – there is no way Brent Alexander makes this play last year. Demps was around the ball a lot. Defensive Coordinator Tim Lewis really likes to send safeties Gibril Wilson and James Butler on the blitz and both are effective at it. On the sack that Pierce was credited with, it really was Butler who caused it – he simply ran through the back to get to QB Chad Pennington. And Wilson made an impressive effort by diving over the back to sack Pennington early in the game. In the second half, Butler made a great play when he quickly read a WR-screen and impressively attacked the ball, almost coming up with an interception.

CB Sam Madison continues to play well. He recovered a fumble and then tackled a much larger tight end one-yard short of the first down on a 3rd-and-3 pass. Later in the game, he expertly covered a stop-and-go pattern by Coles deep down the field. At the end of the second half, Madison did give up a 16-yard reception to Coles. Webster got beat to the inside on a 40-yard catch-and-run by WR Justin McCareins – Webster needs to tackle better. But he did have good coverage a few plays later on an incomplete 3rd-and-7 pass in his direction.

In the third quarter, CB Frank Walker gave up a 17-yard reception to Coles, but nailed Coles after the catch, forcing him to leave the game. A couple of plays later, CB R.W. McQuarters played perfect coverage on his man out of the slot and picked off a sideline pass. This really was an impressive play. CB Curtis Deloatch had solid coverage on a deep pass late in the game. And safety Charlie Peprah sealed the game with his interception of an overthrown pass.

Special Teams: Not a real impressive effort. The only points by the Jets came off a punt block where it appeared that either Ryan Kuehl or Eric Moore missed a guy rushing right up the middle. The Giants didn’t get much of a kick or punt return game going. Michael Jennings continues to make questionable decisions when it comes to fielding punts (this week he called fair catches when he should not have and visa versa). Meanwhile, P Jeff Feagles was somewhat inconsistent (with almost another punt block too). Curtis Deloatch continues to get down the field quickly as a gunner. The Giants gave up a big 39-yard kickoff return to start the second half. PK Jay Feely played well. His kickoffs were stronger than usual and he was a perfect 2-for-2 on field goal attempts.

(Box Score – New York Giants at New York Jets, August 25, 2006)
Aug 282006
 

First Round of New York Giants Cuts to Be Announced Soon: According to Giants.com, the Giants are expected to officially announce their first roster cuts of the preseason today. All teams are required to cut down to a roster count of 75 players by Tuesday afternoon.

Those speculated (due to cleaned out lockers) to have been released by various NY/NJ newspapers include: QB Rob Johnson, HB Little John Flowers, FB Greg Hanoian, WR Triandos Luke, TE Boo Williams, OG Julius Franklin, OG Ben Herrell, LB Thomas Carroll, CB Brandon Williams, CB Vontez Duff, S Jason Shivers, DT Sir Henry Anderson, and PK/P Travis Dorsch.

August 27, 2006 New York Giants Injury Report: LB Carlos Emmons (burner) returned to practice yesterday for the first time in weeks. “I feel great,” Emmons said before practice. “I’m looking forward to getting back out there.”

“He’s cleared to practice,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said of Emmons. “He made a nice play knocking the ball down and got off his feet. As you can imagine with a back, we’re going to have to see how he is in the morning when he gets up.”

OC Shaun O’Hara (knee), LT Luke Petitgout (back), OG/OC Rich Seubert (toe), WR Sinorice Moss (quad), and HB Derrick Ward (foot) did not practice. Coughlin said O’Hara, Petitgout, and Seubert were “progressing”.

WR Amani Toomer (hip) practiced.

Aug 272006
 

August 26, 2006 New York Giants Injury Report: QB Eli Manning hit his throwing hand on an opposing player’s helmet during the game against the Jets, but Head Coach Tom Coughlin said that Manning’s hand is not injured.

WR Amani Toomer suffered a hip contusion, but the injury is said to not be serious.

CB E.J. Underwood injured his left shoulder during the game and will be undergoing tests to determine the severity of the injury.

WR Sinorice Moss (quad) was expected to return to practice today, but apparently has suffered yet another setback and will not practice. “The problem is that each time he pushed himself to the point where it’s a sprint situation and you would like to be able to think that he can do that on a daily basis, which is what he has to do to play his position, he comes back from a very good workout and has soreness the next day,” Coughlin said. “Therefore, he can’t repeat the workout. Until he can sprint, and do it consistently, they’re not going to give him clearance.”

Coughlin did not have any specific updates on the other players who did not play against the Jets such as OC Shaun O’Hara (knee), LT Luke Petitgout (back), OG/OC Rich Seubert (toe), LB Carlos Emmons (burner), and HB Little John Flowers (hamstring), and HB Derrick Ward (foot). He did say that, aside from Moss, O’Hara and Emmons have not yet been given the green light to practice.

Notes: According to The Daily News, the Giants will honor Hall of Fame LB Harry Carson at halftime during the Giants-Colts season opener.

Aug 252006
 

Defense Looks Sharp, Passing Game Struggles: The Giants are a perfect 3-0 in the preseason after an imperfect 13-7 win over the New York Jets on Friday night.

The Giants’ first-team offense struggled in the first half of the game, only managing one scoring drive late in the second quarter before halftime. The primary culprit was QB Eli Manning and his receivers as Manning finished the game 10-of-20 for 107 yards, no touchdowns, and one interception. Pass protection, despite the absence of two starters on the offensive line, was fine as Manning was not sacked once. The Giants ran the ball fairly well as HB Tiki Barber accrued 60 yards on 11 carries and HB Brandon Jacobs picked up 29 yards on 11 carries, scoring one touchdown.

“The Jets did a good job of throwing some different defenses at us,” said Manning. “They played a lot of two-man, which makes it difficult to throw. We were running the ball so well, we probably could’ve stayed with the run a little bit more to get them out of it, but it’s the preseason and we were mixing some things up with the run and pass. We just couldn’t get a good rhythm. We got something good going at the end of the first half, but the Jets did a good job of making it tough on our passing game by dropping a lot of guys. I probably could’ve run a few more times and gotten some positive yards instead of throwing it away.”

“We got the running game going and it went pretty well tonight,” Barber said. “It’s the preseason, so we were trying a lot of new and different things. It took us a little time to get into a rhythm but getting down there in the second quarter and scoring a touchdown was encouraging.”

After hitting WR Tim Carter for a first down with his first pass of the game, the Giants’ first drive stalled and the G-Men were forced to punt. The next three possessions were not good either – the first ending after four plays, the next after three plays, and the next ending with a bad interception. On the Giants fifth drive of the game, the first-team offense finally began to move the ball, driving from the Giants’ 20-yard line to the Jets’ 41-yard line after picking up three first downs. But that drive stalled and the Giants punted.

When the Giants got the ball for the sixth and final time in the first half, they drove 61 yards in 11 plays to take a 7-0 lead. Manning hit TE Jeremy Shockey for 14 yards, FB Jim Finn for 10 yards, and WR Amani Toomer for nine yards on 3rd-and-8 on this possession. Barber also broke off a 20-yard run. The drive culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by Jacobs.

Meanwhile, the Giants’ first-team defense played very well in the first half, except for giving up one 40-yard pass play. The Jets’ first-team offense was shutout. Their first drive ended with a 6-yard sack by SS Gibril Wilson. Their second drive ended with a forced fumble by FS Will Demps (recovered by CB Sam Madison). Then came two three-and-outs. The Jets threatened on their fifth drive of the first half, with the big play being a 40-yard completion in the area of CB Corey Webster. But the Giants’ defense stiffened and the Jets missed the 49-yard field goal. The Jets’ final possession of the first half was halted when QB Chad Pennington was sacked again, this time by MLB Antonio Pierce. The Giants led 7-0 at halftime.

The Giants’ defense continued to shine after intermission. After the G-Men gave up a 39-yard kickoff return and a 17-yard completion to start the second half, CB R.W. McQuarters ended the Jets’ scoring threat by picking off Pennington. Manning and much of the first-team offense then saw the ball one more time as the Giants drove 40-yards in seven plays to set up a successful 39-yard field goal attempt and take a 10-0 lead. On this drive, Manning found TE Visanthe Shiancoe for completions of 25 and 10 yards.

After a quick three-and-out by the Jets, QB Jared Lorenzen and a mixture of second- and third-teamers for the Giants took the field. This group was able to put together a 13-play, 51-yard drive that ended with a 34-yard field goal for a 13-0 advantage for the Giants early in the fourth quarter. Lorenzen connected with WR Tim Carter on a key 10-yard pass on 3rd-and-3 on this drive.

The next two Jets’ drives were also three-and-outs as LB Brandon Short came up with sacks on both possessions. Lorenzen connected with WR Michael Jennings for 16 yards on 3rd-and-5 on the Giants’ ensuing drive after the Jets’ first three-and-out, but a sack by the Jets helped to end that possession. After going three-and-out themselves, the Giants gave up an easy touchdown as P Travis Dorsch’s punt was blocked for a touchdown – cutting the Giants lead to 13-7.

The Giants’ offense came back onto the field with 5:10 left in the game but could not pick up a single first down. However, the Giants’ second- and third-team defenders again stood strong, forcing yet another three-and-out as DE Adrian Awasom sacked the quarterback for an 11-yard loss on 3rd-and-10.

With only 2:55 in the game, the Giants again could not pick up a single first down after a fumble and a holding penalty. The Jets quickly got the ball back at their own 12-yard line with 2:18 in the game. The Jets were able to move the ball 32 yards, but S Charlie Peprah ended the threat and the game with an interception.

How good was the Giants’ defense? It held the Jets to only nine first downs and 184 total net yards. The Giants also forced three turnovers. “Even though we haven’t given up a point against two very strong teams, I just think that there’s a whole lot of room for improvement,” LB LaVar Arrington. “But at the same time. I think we’re setting a tone and a precedent for the season. The first string defense hasn’t been scored on in two games, so it’s something to keep building on. It’s not the prettiest, but it’s something to keep building on. I know we can get better. That’s the most positive thing about the whole thing.”

Other statistical notables include Lorenzen going 7-of-12 for 60 yards, with no touchdowns and no interceptions. He was also sacked three times. HB James Simms rushed for 45 yards on 12 carries. Carter was the leading receiver with four catches for 34 yards.

Aug 242006
 

August 23, 2006 New York Giants Injury Report: OC Shaun O’Hara (knee), LT Luke Petitgout (back), OG/OC Rich Seubert (toe), WR Sinorice Moss (quad), HB Derrick Ward (foot), and LB Carlos Emmons (burner) did not practice yesterday and will not play against the Jets.

Emmons was examined by doctors in Manhattan yesterday. According to Giants.com, Moss, who has not practiced since July 29, appears close to returning. “He’s been running hard,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “As a matter of fact, I thought he was going to practice today. But for some reason they decided medically they’d wait until Sunday.”

Notes: Gerris Wilkinson may start at weakside linebacker against the Jets on Friday night. Barry Cofield may start at one of the defensive tackle positions as well.