Nov 302010
 
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November 29, 2010 New York Giants Injury Report – Aaron Ross Undergoing Tests: There was no major or terribly encouraging news provided by Head Coach Tom Coughlin on the injury front during his conference call yesterday. But CB Aaron Ross said he will be undergoing testing on an apparent stomach/kidney issue.

CB Aaron Ross (stomach/kidney): “Aaron Ross seemed to have some discomfort that was a result of some of the intestinal issues that he had been having and so we’ll continue to hopefully clear that up and get that taken care of,” said Coughlin.

“It’s not an illness and I’m not injured either,” said Ross. “It’s something with my stomach and my kidney. I’ll find out (on Tuesday) what’s really going on.”

CB Brian Jackson (hand): “Brian Jackson broke his left hand and he’ll have to play in a splint,” said Coughlin. “He did come back in and seemed to perform very well with that.”

DE Dave Tollefson (burner): “Dave Tollefson had a little burner and hopefully he’ll be able to come back strong with regard to that,” said Coughlin.

OL Shawn Andrews (back): “I don’t have any more information for you on that,” said Coughlin. “The way it worked a week ago was one day he felt good and the next day he didn’t, so until there is some real concrete evidence that he can maneuver and that he is pain-free, there won’t be a whole lot to say.”

OL David Diehl (hip/hamstring) and WR Steve Smith (pectoral): “I don’t have anything today,” said Coughlin.

Giants Will Sign Defensive Tackle to Practice Squad: According to The Star-Ledger, the Giants will sign DT Joe Joseph to the Practice Squad, filling the spot vacated last week when the Giants signed CB Michael Coe to the 53-man roster.

DE Justin Tuck on WFAN: The audio of yesterday’s interview of DE Justin Tuck on WFAN is available at CBSNewYork.com.

Article on the Giants’ Offense: G-Men to Keep Offense Simplified by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on Defensive Ends Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora: Speeches Get Rolle Fired Up by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Nov 282010
 
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Giants Come From Behind to Save Season: It wasn’t pretty. But the Giants and their fans will take it. The Giants scored 15 fourth-quarter points to come from behind and defeat the Jacksonville Jaguars 24-20 earlier today at New Meadowlands Stadium. The Giants improved their record to 7-4 with five games left to play.

The Giants were without their two starting wide receivers and offensive linemen Shawn Andrews, David Diehl, and Shaun O’Hara.

The Giants trailed 17-6 at halftime as the Giants’ offense had trouble scoring touchdowns in the red zone and the defense had problems stopping the Jaguars’ running game. The Giants were 0-of-3 in red zone opportunities, settling for short field goals on all three occasions, including twice in the first half. Jacksonville rushed for 145 first-half yards, and finished the game with 207 yards rushing and 26 first downs. Jacksonville ran 73 offensive plays to the Giants’ 50. The Jaguars also dominated time of possession, holding the football for over 35 minutes while the Giants had it for less than 25 minutes. Jacksonville was 10-of-16 (63 percent) on their third-down conversion attempts.

But the Giants, who entered the game with a League-leading 30 turnovers, did not turn the football over. There were no interceptions and no fumbles by the Giants.

Not counting the Giants’ final drive in the first half where they received the ball with only 19 seconds left before intermission, the Giants only had the ball three times in the first half. Their first drive was an 11-play 75-yard effort that stalled when HB Ahmad Bradshaw was stuffed for a 2-yard loss on 3rd-and-2 from the Jaguars’ 3-yard line. New York settled for a 22-yard field goal by PK Lawrence Tynes.

The Giants went three-and-out on their second possession. On their third possession, the Giants drove the ball 64 yards in seven plays, but again were forced to settle for a short field goal. After a 27-yard run by Bradshaw and a 29-yard reception by H-Back Travis Beckum, QB Eli Manning hit WR Mario Manningham for what looked to be a 9-yard touchdown pass. But the touchdown was erased by an offensive holding penalty on TE Kevin Boss. The closest the Giants could get was the Jacksonville 5-yard line, and Tynes kicked a 29-yard field goal.

Jacksonville also only had the ball three times in the first half. But they scored on all three possessions. After the Giants went up 3-0, the Jaguars drove 75 yards in nine plays to take a 7-3 advantage. Sixty-four of those yards were on the ground. The Jaguars then went up 10-3 on their second offensive possession as they drove 85 yards in 15 plays. After the Giants cut the lead to 10-6, the Jaguars then drove 71 yards in 13 plays to score their second touchdown, a 5-yard scramble by QB David Garrard for a touchdown on 3rd-and-goal.

The Jaguars led 17-6 at halftime.

The Jaguars received the football to start the second half and the Giants immediately got the ball back as Garrard was intercepted by CB Terrell Thomas at the Jaguars’ 39-yard line on Jacksonville’s first offensive play of the half. The Giants managed to drive to the 9-yard line, but could not gain another yard on three subsequent plays and settled for a 28-yard field goal by Tynes. Jaguars 17 – Giants 9.

The Jaguars gained two first downs on their second possession of the second half, and then were forced to punt. The Giants could do nothing on their second possession and went three-and-out. The Jaguars continued to win the battle of field position on their third possession by gaining two more first downs before punting near the end of the third quarter.

Then came the comeback.

Starting at their own 12-yard line, the Giants drove 88 yards in five plays to score their first touchdown of the game. Manning hit Boss for 17 yards. HB Brandon Jacobs gained 17 yards. Manning to Boss for 25. Jacobs up the middle for three yards. And then Manning to Manningham for 26 yards and the touchdown. Bradshaw scored on the two-point conversion attempt and the game was tied 17-17 early in the fourth quarter.

But the Jaguars immediately responded with a 10-play, 42-yard drive that set up a successful 42-yard field goal attempt. Jaguars 20 – Giants 17.

New York went three-and-out, and then so did Jacksonville. With less than six minutes to go in the game, the Giants trailed by a field goal. The Giants started the game-winning drive at their own 31-yard line. Jacobs gained one yard. Manning found Manningham for 18. Jacobs then ran up the middle for 18 yards. After an incomplete pass and a no-gain run by Bradshaw, Manning hit Boss for a 32-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-10. Giants 24 – Jaguars 20.

However, the win was not yet secure. The Jaguars drove from their 27-yard line to the Giants’ 29-yard line with just under two minutes to play. But three straight sacks by the Giants’ defense ended the threat and the game. First DE Justin Tuck and S Antrel Rolle split a sack on 1st-and-10 from the 29-yard line. On 2nd-and-21, DE Jason Pierre-Paul sacked Garrard and forced a fumble that the quarterback recovered. On 3rd-and-25, Thomas sacked Garrard and forced a fumble that Rolle recovered. Game over.

“I give Justin Tuck a lot of credit, he gave a halftime speech for the ages,” said DT Barry Cofield. “I was teary-eyed running back on the field. I was just ready to get back out there. I can’t repeat it, but a lot of it was about we have to protect our house. You don’t let a team come in here and run the ball like that. This was, in the first half, was against everything we’ve worked for as a Giants defense. The second half was more like it.”

Highlights of the game are available at NFL.com.

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were WR Steve Smith (pectoral), WR Hakeem Nicks (leg), WR Devin Thomas, OC Shaun O’Hara (foot), OL David Diehl (hip/hamstring), OL Shawn Andrews (back), LB Phillip Dillard, and CB/Returner Will Blackmon (chest).

The Giants broke a 12-game losing streak in games in which they trailed after three quarters.

The Giants did not score a first-half touchdown for the third consecutive game, the first time that has happened since 2004.

The Jaguars are the fourth Giants opponent this season to score a touchdown on its first offensive possession.

The Giants did not allow a second-half touchdown for the third time this season.

The Giants did not allow a sack for the fourth consecutive game, their longest such streak since 1972, when they also played four games in a row without allowing a sack.

The Giants did not have a turnover for the first time since December 21, 2009 at Washington.

This was the 15th time QB Eli Manning has led the Giants back from a fourth-quarter deficit to win a game (13 regular season, two postseason).

Nov 282010
 
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New York Giants Sign Michael Coe to 53-Man Roster, Waive Alex Hall: The Giants signed CB Michael Coe to the 53-man roster from the team’s Practice Squad yesterday. To make room for Coe, the Giants waived DE Alex Hall.

Articles on HB Brandon Jacobs:

Article on OL Rich Seubert: From 8-Point Bucks to a 3-Point Stance by Mark Viera of The New York Times

Article on DE Justin Tuck: Tuck Wearing Reminder by George Willis of The New York Post

Nov 272010
 
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November 26, 2010 New York Giants Injury Report – Andrews Still in Hospital: Not practicing yesterday were WR Hakeem Nicks (leg), WR Steve Smith (pectoral), OC Shaun O’Hara (foot), OL David Diehl (hamstring/hip), OL Shawn Andrews (back), and CB Aaron Ross (illness). Of these six players, Ross is “probable” for the game on Sunday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, Andrews is “doubtful,” and the other four have officially been ruled out of the game.

As of yesterday, Andrews was still in the hospital although he expected to be released today.

“He had texted (Vice President of Medical Services) Ronnie (Barnes) late (Wednesday) night saying he was having a lot of pain and so when he came in Thursday morning nothing had changed,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “So they wanted to make sure what they were doing – sent him to the hospital. They thought they needed to keep him there to treat him. So he has been there and he continues to be there…He experienced so much discomfort that he was having trouble sleeping. That affected him. So they tried to relieve the tension.”

There was some good news on Diehl. “He is running and working and making good progress,” said Coughlin. “And hopefully we will have something to report next week.”

CB/Returner Will Blackmon (chest) practiced on a limited basis and is “questionable” for the game.

DE Justin Tuck (quad), DE Osi Umenyiora (knee), and LB Gerris Wilkinson (hand) all fully practiced and are “probable.”

Article on HB Brandon Jacobs: Big Blue Choosin’ A Bruisin’ Back by Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on H-Back Travis Beckum: Receivers Depleted, Beckum May Benefit by Aditi Kinkhabwala of The Wall Street Journal

Nov 262010
 
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By Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com

Approach to the Game – Jacksonville Jaguars at New York Giants, November 28, 2010: With the avalanche of injuries, especially concentrated at wide receiver and the offensive line, it’s easy for Giants’ fans to start feeling sorry for themselves.  Only two weeks ago, many were calling the Giants the best in the NFC.  Now unless they finish the last six games 5-1 or 4-2, they probably won’t make the playoffs.

Fans can afford to feel this way.  The coaches and players can’t.  At 6-4, the Giants are very much still in this thing. If – and it’s a big if – the Giants can just scrape by the next two games and get to 8-4, they might start getting some of the walking wounded back.

It’s easy for the players to get down. With one injury after another, it’s like the Big Guy upstairs is plotting against the Giants.  But Tom Coughlin and his players have to be like Lieutenant Dan shouting at God in the movie Forrest Gump when the Hurricane strikes the shrimping boat.

“You’ll never sink this boat!  Come on!  You call this a storm?  Blow, you son of a bitch, blow!  It’s time for a showdown – you and me!  I’m right here – come and get me!  You’ll never sink this boat!”

So if Fate wants to keep hitting the Giants with injuries, so be it.  Bring it!  It’s time to climb the ships mast and laugh at Fate.  The Giants are not feeling sorry about themselves.  They don’t want your pity.  Unlike 2009, they will fight to the bitter end.  So who’s with them?  We only want the crazy ones who are ready to laugh at the storm.

Giants on Defense: The defense has to carry the team for the next few weeks.  Let’s say it again.  The defense has to carry the team for the next few weeks.  It’s not enough to get off the field.  The Giants have to get some turnovers, and ideally take some of those to the house.  They have the talent to do it.  Get it done.

The key to defending the Jaguars is obviously stopping the running game and halfback Maurice Jones-Drew.  The Jaguars are sixth in the NFL in rushing.  Jacksonville only wins when they can run the football.  Stop the running game and they struggle.  This is not the time for the Giants’ run defense, which has played well for the most part this season, to come up with a stinker.  On the contrary, it’s time to pick it up even more.  That includes the defensive line, linebackers, and secondary.

When the Jaguars puts the ball up, much depends on which version of David Garrard shows up.  In some games, Garrard looks terrible; in others, he looks like world beater.  Obviously, if you take away his running game, and get after him with the pass rush, his life becomes much more difficult on gameday.

The biggest threat in the passing game might be Mercedes Lewis, a huge tight end who can really make plays on the football down the field.  The Giants have done a good job of defending the tight end this season, but they really will be challenged by Lewis who already has eight touchdown receptions. Reserve tight end Zach Miller can also catch the football.  And Jones-Drew is dangerous out of the backfield.

The receivers on Jacksonville are an ordinary group.  Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas, and Aaron Ross must shut these guys down.

Giants on Offense: The amount of bashing Eli Manning has taken this week for one bad game is unbelievable.  But that’s the nature of being the Giants’ quarterback.  Like Phil Simms, many won’t appreciate him until he is gone.

The offense struggled to both run and pass the football last week against the Eagles.  The injuries are catching up with this team.  This isn’t a video game.  You can’t just plug in one reserve after another and not expect it to have an impact on the quarterback and running game.  But people can’t seem to connect the dots.

Until they get some guys back, Tom Coughlin, Kevin Gilbride, and Eli Manning have to change their offensive philosophy.  They are not the same offensive team they were a month ago.  They must adjust.  Be more conservative on offense.  That does not mean just run the football, but use more conservative passing plays.  Use the tight ends and running backs as receivers.  Eli needs to be less of a gunslinger and more of a game manager.  If no one is open, throw the football away or take a sack.  Punt.  Don’t put the defense in a bad spot.  It’s not going to be pretty.  It’s not going to be exciting.  But there is no shame in winning a 16-7 game.  Just get the win.

Assuming Shawn Andrews cannot play this weekend, the Giants will have to rely on Will Beatty to play left tackle, as Kevin Boothe also remains at left guard.  By using a more conservative passing attack, less pressure will be placed on these two as well.

Jacksonville’s defense really is a no-name group.  They don’t really have any dynamic defensive linemen who can rush the passer.  They also are not very good against the run either.  But given the injuries on the offensive line, the Giants can’t take anyone for granted.

The Jaguars are terrible at defending the pass, being 28th in the NFL.  But without Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks, the strategy of the Jaguars is obvious.  They will stack the line of scrimmage with extra defenders, focus coverage on Mario Manningham, and dare the other scrubs to beat them.  I would.  Why should Jacksonville fear Derek Hagan, Duke Calhoun, and Michael Clayton?

Brandon Jacobs has regained the start running back job.  But he needs good blocking up front in order to get going.  Given the state of the Giants’ offensive line – relying on two players who have not practiced much at all this season – can the Giants run the ball against a defense loaded up to stop the run?  Questionable at best.  But the Giants have to try.  Maybe they should not run in obvious running situations and pick up short gains in the passing game.  Short pass on first down.  Come back with a run on second down.  Keep the chains moving.  And at all costs, do not turn the football over!!!  (Keep in mind that Jacobs has had some fumbling issues this year too).

Dial it down Tom, Kevin, and Eli.  Play it more safe.  Don’t turn the football over.  Don’t put your defense in a bad spot.

Giants on Special Teams: Special teams are crucial in tight ball games, especially low-scoring defensive affairs.  Matt Dodge has been up and down all season.  They need more ups than downs from here on out.

Prediction: I’m one of the crazy ones ready to climb the mast and laugh at the hurricane of injuries.  I don’t know how, but this team will be 8-4 in two weeks.

Nov 262010
 
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November 25, 2010 New York Giants Injury Report – More Back Problems for Shawn Andrews: Not practicing yesterday were WR Hakeem Nicks (leg), WR Steve Smith (pectoral), OC Shaun O’Hara (foot), OL David Diehl (hamstring/hip), OL Shawn Andrews (back), and CB/Returner Will Blackmon (chest).

Andrews missed practice on Thursday despite practicing on a limited basis on Wednesday. According to The Star-Ledger and The Daily News, Andrews was in so much pain that the team sent him to the hospital.

DE Justin Tuck (quad) and DE Osi Umenyiora (knee) practiced on a limited basis.

LB Gerris Wilkinson (hand) fully practiced.

Article on the Giants’ Defense: Justin Tuck, Giants Defense Know How Tough The Next Few Weeks Will Be by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on WR Michael Clayton: Manning, Clayton Hope Old Chemistry Clicks by Hank Gola of The Daily News

Nov 252010
 
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New York Giants Claim WR Devin Thomas, Madison Hedgecock to IR: The Giants claimed WR Devin Thomas off of waivers from the Carolina Panthers yesterday. To make room for Thomas, the Giants placed FB Madison Hedgecock (hamstring) on Injured Reserve. Hedgecock’s season is officially over.

Thomas was drafted in the 2nd round of the 2008 NFL Draft by the Washington Redskins, but thus far has proven to be a huge bust in the NFL. The Redskins waived him October and he was claimed by the Panthers. The Panthers waived him on Tuesday.

The Giants also signed TE Jake Ballard and CB Woodny Turenne to the Practice Squad. Ballard played for the Giants against the Eagles after being signed off of New York’s Practice Squad last Saturday. The Giants waived him on Tuesday when the signed WR Michael Clayton. Turenne was waived by the Chicago Bears shortly before the current season started.

Brandon Jacobs Regains Starting Job: Head Coach Tom Coughlin announced to the press yesterday that Brandon Jacobs has regained the starting halfback job over Ahmad Bradshaw.

“We’re going to have Brandon start this week, but as I said, there are plenty of carries to go around,” said Coughlin.

When Coughlin was asked if the move was due to Bradshaw’s fumbling issues, Coughlin replied, “Well, the number one consideration is to try to stop beating ourselves. That’s one area that we should be able to improve. It’s very frustrating not to improve in that area…(Bradshaw is) not happy, but he’s going to fight his way through it. Why it would be a total surprise to anybody is beyond me.”

“We’re going to try to get Danny Ware some work as well,” said Coughlin.

“They said a change has been made, and I’m doing whatever is good for the team,” Bradshaw said.

“To me, it’s just temporary,” Jacobs said. “I think people are making a little too much of it. We know what Ahmad means to this football team. His character, his heart, his hard work. And he knows that as well. If you ask me, it’s just temporary. I don’t know what the reason for the whole thing is or what they’re trying to prove, but it’s temporary. And I’m just going to get in and do what they ask me to do.”

Injury Update: Not practicing yesterday were WR Hakeem Nicks (leg), WR Steve Smith (pectoral), OC Shaun O’Hara (foot), LT David Diehl (hamstring/hip), DE Justin Tuck (quad), DE Osi Umenyiora (knee), and CB/Returner Will Blackmon (chest).

When asked about how Nicks’ fasciotomy went, Head Coach Tom Coughlin replied, “He did well. According to what has been reported, the situation was well done, well handled and he’s optimistic about a speedy recovery.” But Coughlin did say that Nicks is still expected to miss three weeks.

“(Tuck is) sore – got a helmet in the thigh area and that type of thing,” said Coughlin. “He’s better. He came in this morning, got his work in and he was a little bit better, so I’m thinking tomorrow will be a better day.”

LT Shawn Andrews (back) was limited in practice.

Article on WR Michael Clayton: Once An Afterthought, Giants Now Depend On Michael Clayton To Contribute by Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger

Article on the New Stadium: Riddle of the Wind at New Meadowlands Stadium by John Branch of The New York Times

Nov 242010
 
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BBI Online Live is an internet radio show dedicated exclusively to coverage of the New York Giants. The show is co-hosted by Eric Kennedy of BigBlueInteractive.com (BBI) and John McDevitt of Side Kick Productions. This week’s guest was New York Giants offensive lineman David Diehl. Eric and John will discuss the New York Giants 27-17 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles and the upcoming game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Nov 242010
 
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Philadelphia Eagles 27 (7-4) – New York Giants 17 (6-4)

by The Hack for BigBlueInteractive.com

Game Summary: What a difference a couple of weeks make.  Before taking the field against a wounded and demoralized Dallas team at home two weeks ago, the Giants were not only in first place in their division but held the overall first seed in the NFC.

Two weeks later, after two error filled performances, not only are the Giants looking up at the Eagles in the NFC East, they no longer hold a playoff spot.  Such is the 2010 season for the New York Giants.  As Eric From BBI likes to say, “You’re never as good as you think you are and you’re never as bad, either…the truth is somewhere in between.”  Hopefully that’s the case and the Giants are able to recover enough to find 4 more wins out of the 6 games left on their schedule and make the playoffs.  Unfortunately, at the rate Giants offense players are falling by the wayside, it may not be possible.

The Giants made a litany of mistakes throughout the game, but still had an opportunity to win it at the end.  New York held the lead with less than 5 minutes to go and had the Eagles on the ropes facing a 4th and 1.  In a flash, however, it was over as within the next 3 minutes Philadelphia scored 11 points and the Giants turned the ball over 3 times.

To be fair, Philadelphia also made a host of mistakes, yet they were able to tighten up and made less at the end than the Giants did.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin put a lot of the blame on a “callous disregard for the ball” by the Giants on Sunday night, and it would be hard to disagree.  Five more turnovers have now put the Giants at 30 on the year.  That’s nearly 3 times as many as they had all season just 2 years ago.  Clearly, if this continues, it really doesn’t matter if the Giants make the playoffs because there’s no way they’ll overcome those in the playoffs.  There will be no Carolina’s, Detroit’s, or Houston’s in the playoffs.

For the second time this year, the Giants were dominated on the stat sheet.  Philadelphia rolled up nearly 200 more yards than the Giants, ran 15 more offensive plays, and chewed up nearly 9 more minutes of clock.

Folks, it’s that time of year again.  The optimist can look at what transpired on Sunday and see a bounce back game from the defense against a potent offense.  The pessimist can look at what transpired and see a Giants offense that’s only been able to muster 17 points against middle of the road defenses.  Special teams issues remain.  Turnovers are a huge problem.  Injuries have gotten to the point of the absurd.  It truly may rest on the defense’s shoulders as to whether this team will be able to muster enough to make it to the playoffs.

Offense: What do you get when you take two Pro Bowl offensive linemen, a Pro Bowl wide receiver, and another WR who’s playing at a Pro Bowl level out of an offense?  Well, when you start a left tackle who needed an epidural just to get on the field, a left guard who came off the PUP list just couple weeks ago, put a man in the slot receiver position after signing him off the street earlier in the week – you get the mess that was the Giants offense on Sunday night.

Too many errors and turnovers destroyed any chance for continuity on the night, especially early and late.  Too many dropped balls by the likes of Duke Calhoun, Kevin Boss and Brandon Jacobs.  The Giants were unable to sustain any sort of running game, completely abandoning running to the left.

Inexplicably, with two starting receivers out and Nicks hobbled for much of the second half, the Giants completely abandoned going to the backs on flairs, screens and wheel routes.

On the day, the Giants only mustered two drives of more than 6 plays, and they were the only two that lasted for more than 2:45.  After the Eagles’ first touchdown, the Giants responded with a 14 play drive that ate more than 8 minutes of clock, but they were forced to settle for a field goal after getting to a first and goal situation.  On second down, Jacobs followed a pulling Chris Snee and Kevin Boothe to his right.  Snee came around end but whiffed completely on the MIKE linebacker who filled the hole and dropped Jacobs for no gain.  On the next play, Boss was interfered with in the end zone (and at the least there was illegal contact), but the ball was thrown so far behind Boss it may have been ruled uncatchable.

The second “sustained” drive of 6 plays was really a matter of good fortune for the Giants as on 3rd down and 14 Manning forced a deep ball into double coverage to Manningham in which SS Quinten Mikell misplayed the ball and interfered with the receiver.

The Quarterback: QB Eli Manning easily had his worst night of the season.  Easy E seemed to be in a funk from the very beginning and it got worse as the game went on.  It appeared he was going to come back from it when early in the 4th quarter he converted two quick passes for the go ahead touchdown.  Unfortunately, Eli could not sustain the momentum.

With 10:18 to go, Manning took over and after a short Bradshaw run and an incomplete pass on 2nd down, he converted a 3rd and 8 pass to Nicks that gave the Giants a 1st down at their 47 yard line.  Manning didn’t make another play the rest of the game, completing just 1 more pass, throwing 2 interceptions, and making the fateful fumble on the final drive of any consequence.  It’s very unusual to see Eli melt down in the 4th quarter.  Following that 3rd down conversion to Nicks, with just under 9 minutes to go with the lead, one has to feel confident that it’s Eli Time.

On the day, Manning completed 20 of 33 passes for just 147 yards, 2 touchdowns, 3 interceptions and a fumble.  In an unbelievable bit of déjà vu, Manning for the second time in two years, against the same team, fumbled a ball in which he decided to dive head first, untouched, instead of sliding.

The Running Backs: None of the Giants running backs were able to get into any type of groove on Sunday night.  HB Ahmad Bradshaw rushed just 12 times for 29 yards, a 2.4 ypc average.  Take out his long of 17 yards, and his average dropped to just 1.1 yard per carry.  Bradshaw also had a costly fumble that was turned into a Philadelphia field goal and nearly had another after a catch for -7 yards where he was fortunate that his forearm was down before he lost the ball.

Bradshaw has now had as many touches on offense threw the first 10 games of 2010 as he had in the previous 32.  His yards per carry average has fallen like a rock the past three games, but it’s not completely his fault as the offensive line has been reshuffled mercilessly.  This correlation does not necessarily imply causation, but there is some evidence that it has.  It may be a combination of the two variables or it may be one or the other.  At any rate, something is wrong with the running game.

Brandon Jacobs had a rough night as well, only carrying 5 times for 10 yards.  The Giants were held to a season low 61 rushing yards, 22 of them from Eli Manning.

The Wide Receivers and Tight Ends: Going into the season, the Giants had such a glut of wide receivers, they allowed one of their better special teams players, Derek Hagan, go.  Since that time, the Giants have lost Sinorice Moss, Domenik Hixon, Victor Cruz and Ramses Barden to IR.  They also have lost Steve Smith for an undetermined amount of time.  Apparently, the BBI Giant of the Year curse has extended to the entire wide receiving corps and half the offensive line.  Seriously, what else could it be?  At any rate, a team strength has become a barren wasteland in just a few weeks.  As such, the Giants welcomed back Derek Hagan to take Barden’s place.

The Giants wide receivers, despite all the injuries, got a full work load on Sunday, as they were targeted on 23 of 33 passing plays.  If you consider that Eli dumped off three passes to his backs, you could make the argument that Manning was trying to get to his wide receivers on at least 26 passing plays.  The Eagles played a lot of cover two and single high safety and rotated to double Hakeem Nicks for most of the game.  Nicks caught 6 of 9 passes thrown his way for just 68 yards.  As Mike Garafolo of The Star-Ledger pointed out in his review, it looked like Nicks had possession of the long pass thrown on the third play of the game as his right foot was on the ground when he caught the ball, but was out on the second step with the right foot.  After reviewing from a very good NBC camera angle, which probably wasn’t available to the coaches up in the booth, it is clear that Nicks had his right foot down in bounds with clear possession.  Many people on over at The Corner Forum have been on Nicks for a lack of discipline and ‘lazy’ play.  Granted, the big WR needs to realize that the ball must be protected and stop carrying it so far from his body.  His fumble could have been a killer but thankfully the Giant recovered it.  People need to remember that Nicks, in just his second year, is performing at a Pro Bowl level and to expect much more for him at this very early stage in his career is not wise.

To add injury to injury, Nicks himself will miss three weeks with a ‘compartment injury’ to his lower leg that required a procedure to release pressure on the nerves and blood vessels in the area.  Now Derek Hagan (3 catches on 9 targets for 10 yards and 1 TD), who was asked to play the slot despite not practicing much with the Giants since training camp, must step up that much further and possible become the number two for a few weeks until Nicks (hopefully) can make it back.  Hagan didn’t play poorly, but there was an obvious lack of timing between him and Eli, which should be able to be worked out rather quickly.

The person everyone expected to step up in this game, Mario Manningham, was nearly nonexistent as he was thrown to just 3 times, catching them all for just 24 yards.  Once again, Manningham failed on one of his catches to get beyond the sticks on a 3rd and 8 play in the first quarter.  Manningham ran a quick hook but instead of extending the play beyond the sticks before he cut, he cut right at the line and came back for a 5 yard catch and was dropped in his tracks.

Duke Calhoun.  He was on the field, and that’s about the best thing that can be said about him.  He turned a bubble screen – that was set up fairly well – too far inside after the catch and only gained 4 yards.  The only other pass thrown his way was a quick out that he dropped, and in fact, nearly tipped it into the defenders’ hands.

One thing that can’t be stressed enough is how much the Giants miss Steve Smith’s blocking in the running game and from the slot on the smoke screens.  The Giants’ running game is suffering because the receivers are not getting involved.

New York started the game in a very curious formation.  The Giants gave a two TE look on the first two running plays of the game, but who the TEs were was the puzzling part.  Bear Pascoe was covering Kareem McKenzie and Will Beatty was covering Shawn Andrews.  Interestingly, Kevin Boss was not on the field.  For the most part, the tight ends were not much of the game plan.  Boss caught 2 of 4 balls thrown his way with 2 drops, though one wasn’t entirely his fault because he was hit early (end zone throw on the field goal drive).

Offensive Line: There is going to be a lot of churn in The Corner Forum with what I’m about to write about the offensive line and Shawn Andrews in particular.

First the good news: The offensive line had a very good day in pass protection, as they did not allow a sack for the 3rd straight game and once again Eli was not credited with a hit against though he was under pressure at times.  That’s the first time the Giants have gone three games without giving up a sack since 1972.  Manning does help out the line by getting rid of the ball quickly when pressure does come, he also has two backs that excel at blitz pickup, and Manning has become very adept at ‘feeling’ the pocket as he’s done a terrific job of moving with the flow of the line.  That’s not to take anything away from the line.  They really have done well with their protection against some very good fronts.

Now the bad:  The Giants run blocking was absolutely horrible on Sunday night.  To illustrate the point, see the breakdown of the 2nd and goal run I mentioned above where Chris Snee missed his block.  That is happening with regularity.  Shawn Andrews, for all his worth in pass protection and neutralizing Giant killer DE Trent Cole, is a liability right now in the run game.  On the Bradshaw fumble, the Giants attempted to run left and had what appeared to be a perfect call on.  Kevin Boothe did a great job of taking the DT inside allowing Seubert to get to the second level and get a helmet on the inside linebacker.  Pascoe hit the hole and neutralized the outside backer.  Unfortunately, Andrews whiffed on the DE who crashed down and forced Bradshaw to cut back across the grain right into the teeth of where the rest of the line were blocking their men.  The result was a one on three battle and they ripped the ball from him.  This was just one example of Andrews missing his block.  The Giants completely abandoned running left, which had been a strength of this team.  They ran left just twice all game, for no yardage and Shawn Andrews held on one of those plays (one of two Andrews holds on the day).

No one on the line had a very good day.  On the first two plays of the game, third string center Rich Seubert failed both times to stay with his block, allowing no room for Bradshaw to get going.  Once was off right guard, the second was off left guard.

The Giants really, really need their two Pro Bowl linemen back and back soon.  The running game has digressed for three straight weeks and must get untracked if they expect any receivers to get open.  The Eagles were able to completely shut down the running game without committing and 8th man in the box.

Defense: Though there was a good fortune cast their way as the Eagles made as many, if not more, mistakes than the Giants made, the defense played an inspired game Sunday against a very dynamic offense that’s put up a ton of points against the Giants in recent games and had just hung a 50 spot on a decent Washington defense.  Though the overall yardage looks significant, the final stats are misleading. 90 yards of offense came on two plays within the final 4 minutes of the game on the back breaking 50 yard 4th down touchdown run and another 40 yard scamper on the drive following Eli’s fumble.  Before those two runs, the Giants had held the Eagles to just 50 yards rushing, and 34 of those had come from Michael Vick.

The Giants also continued to do a good job on 3rd downs, holding the Eagles to a conversion rate of 21% (3 of 14).  The problem was, they allowed two 4th down conversions, and the Eagles scored 10 points off those drives.

New York did a masterful job of keeping the game close early, holding the Eagles to 1 for 5 in the Green Zone.  In what could’ve been a rout early, the Eagles were up just 13 points before the Giants mounted their comeback.

The most impressive part of the defense was their ability to get to Vick.  On the day, he was sacked 3 times and hit in the pocket another 3 times.  That’s a bit misleading, however, as Vick was also hammered a number of times but since he had committed to the run they’re not counted as hits.  By my count, however, Vick was hit approximately 14 times on Sunday night.  There is no doubt Vick spent time in the cold tub on Monday morning.  The Giants jarred the ball loose twice, but were only able to recover the fumble once.

Front 7: After a tough game against Dallas, the Giants front seven played one of their better games of the season against probably the best one-two punch QB in the league.  Justin Tuck, after going off with an injury early, played a monster of a game registering 7 tackles, 3 sacks, another QB hit, 2 forced fumbles, 2 tackles of McCoy behind the line of scrimmage and another QB hit.

The rest of the defensive line had very good games as well.  DTs Chris Canty and Barry Cofield and Rocky Bernard shut down the interior and got tremendous push in the pass rush helping to force Vick to his right.  Cofield’s fumble recovery set up the Giants’ go ahead touchdown.  Osi Umenyiora had a great night against the run, but wasn’t a huge factor in the pass rush.  He just missed swiping the ball away from Vick on the 50 yard go ahead touchdown run by McCoy.  Had he gotten there a split second earlier, this review would probably be a victory review.

One negative, however, was when the Giants just sent four against Vick he had seemingly all day to look for his receivers down field.  While Philadelphia wasn’t in max protect often, the Giants played a lot of nickel and some dime packages that obviously were designed to get Vick to throw into coverage.   Once the Giants decided to throw all caution to the wind and attack Vick from the defensive right side with overload, corner, and safety blitzes, the sustained push in the middle and Tuck’s relentless pursuit from the other side caused Vick a lot of headaches.  The DTs also did a tremendous job of reading and reacting to the Eagles’ potent screen game, which had one decent gain all night.

Continuing a somewhat disturbing trend of late, the New York linebacking corps of Michael Boley, Jonathan Goff and Keith Bulluck did very little on Sunday.  Relegating to dropping into coverage, no one stood out (no passes defensed, no QB hits, no sacks, no turnovers created) and no one made a game changing play.  Even Deon Grant did very little from his hybrid spot.

Jonathan Goff may be hitting some sort of wall, as he’s not playing with the authority and decisiveness he was playing with just a few weeks ago.  Since this is his first full year as a starter, it could be that he’s becoming fatigued.

Defensive Backs: The Giants’ strategy for most of the second half of the game (and for those that say the Giants don’t adjust, this is a prime example of how they DID adjust) was to send a safety or nickel back in from Vick’s left side and force him to either move to his right or get the ball out quick.  Due to this, the Giants’ cornerbacks allowed a ton of cushion to WRs Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson.  It was obvious the Giants were determined not to get burned deep.  The Giants played single high safety for most of the night, but did show a cover two shell on occasion.  The strategy worked, as the Giants shut Vick down well in the second half.  Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster (and to an extent Aaron Ross) gave up receptions but for the most part sure tackling limited them to short gains on the outside.  Only when the Giants sent four guys in on Vick did the Eagles convert their intermediate crossing passes.  With the speed and athleticism of the Eagles’ receivers, if you give them 4+ seconds to get open, they will.  No CB in the league can stick with Jackson and Maclin for that long.

Antrel Rolle had a very solid game for the Giants as he by hook or by crook made desperation dashes to get to Vick and throw off his timing on the pass rush.  Rolle is credited with just one QB hit, but he caused at least half a dozen plays to be broken and either tackled Vick as he ran or chased him in to another defender.  In the rematch, look for the Eagles to try and take Rolle out of the game by applying special attention to him.  Rolle was an absolute pest to the Eagles on Sunday.

Kenny Phillips had several big plays from his safety spot as well.  He blew up one screen and made a couple sure tackles in the secondary.  Phillips nearly came down with an interception on a deep pass to Maclin, as well.

Special Teams: Does anyone want to read anything more about Matt Dodge?  I’m just going to say that he continues to be a liability.  He punts the ball 67 yards into the endzone when he needs to punt it 25 and out of bounds.  When he’s deep in his own territory and a 67 yarder is in order, he shanks them for 25.  And he has now dropped three snaps.  The guy is not doing a damned thing to help this team.  The only positive in the whole mess was that Jackson was only able to return one punt for 9 yards.  Granted, the first punt was the equivalent of a 40 yard return due to Dodge’s ineptness, but hey, Jackson didn’t get credited with the yards.

Kickoffs and kickoff coverages were very good and could have been considered awesome had Tynes not inexplicably kicked a ball off out of bounds.  It’s like this unit cannot stand a little success.

The return games continue to be fair to poor at best, and Will Blackmon nearly cost the Giants big time when he tried to pick up a bouncing ball with three Eagles bearing down on him just yards away.  The ensuing fumble, thankfully, was recovered by the Giants.

If you want to see the return game at its futile best, watch a replay of the Eagles’ first punt.  When Blackmon catches it at the 12 yard line, wait two seconds and pause your DVR.  Count how many Eagles you see in the picture.  If you got 6, good for you!  Now count the Giants.  If you count 1, Will Blackmon, again good for you!  Seriously, all you can do is shake your head and laugh.  How after 10 games they can’t get this corrected is beyond silly.

One bright spot was the blocked punt just before the half.  Even that was eventually turned into a mistake as Webster was caught by holder Sav Rocca (who tackled him by the facemask and went unpenalized for it) and didn’t have the wherewithal to lateral to Aaron Ross who was right behind him.

Coaching: There is a lot of talk over in The Corner Forum that HC Tom Coughlin should have taken a time out before the Eagles’ final FG attempt of the first half with around 30 seconds to go.  While it turns out it may have been the smart play, you can’t anticipate a blocked field goal attempt nor do you necessarily want to try to set up a kick return when the Eagles will most likely pooch it to a player more prone than the deep backs to fumbling.

Perry Fewell made some very good in game adjustments to dial up pressure to Vick’s left and nearly pulled this game out of the fire.

Offensive Player of the Game: There wasn’t a ton to like from the offensive side of the ball, but Rich Seubert did get downfield 18 yards to recover Hakeem Nicks’ fumble and he also recovered the Samuels fumble following his interception.  So even though he only played a fair game at center, he gets the game ball.

Defensive Player of the Game: Although Antrel Rolle set up a lot of what happened to Vick with his relentless pursuit from his FS position, Justin Tuck gets the nod for his tenacious game.  Tuck played his best game of the year.

(Box Score – New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, November 21, 2010)
Nov 242010
 
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New York Giants Sign WR Michael Clayton: The Giants have signed street free agent WR Michael Clayton. Clayton was drafted in the 1st round of the 2004 NFL Draft by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Buccaneers waived him in September. Since late October, he has been playing in the UFL.

To make room for Clayton, the Giants waived TE Jake Ballard, who they signed from the Practice Squad last Saturday. If unclaimed, the Giants will probably re-sign Ballard to the Practice Squad.

Eagles Sign Cornerback Off of Giants’ Practice Squad: The Philadelphia Eagles have signed CB Brandon Hughes off of the Giants’ Practice Squad. Hughes was signed by the Giants to their Practice Squad in September after he was waived by the San Diego Chargers.

Notes: The Giants lead the league in turnovers with 30, including 16 interceptions and 14 fumbles.

The Giants have not allowed a sack in any of their last three games, their longest streak keeping the quarterback upright since November 1972, when they played four games in a row without allowing a sack.

QB Eli Manning is the seventh quarterback in history to throw at least 20 touchdown passes in six consecutive seasons.

OL David Diehl on WFAN: The audio of yesterday’s interview of OL David Diehl on WFAN is available at CBSNewYork.com.