Nov 222006

November 21, 2006 New York Giants Injury Report: DT Barry Cofield suffered a groin injury against the Jaguars. Head Coach Tom Coughlin said the injury was not serious but that Cofield may not practice today. “I don’t know that he will (practice),” said Coughlin. “We’ll see. It depends on how much he improves. He’s limited. He will be limited and if he can go it will be probably limited, but nevertheless, we’ll see.”

Coughlin said SS Gibril Wilson and RG Chris Snee suffered minor injuries, but he did not specify what those were. Neither is expected to miss time.

Coughlin does not expect DE Michael Strahan (foot), DE Osi Umenyiora (hip), LT Luke Petitgout (leg), or CB Sam Madison (hamstring) to be able to play this Sunday against the Titans. The status of LB Brandon Short (quad) is less certain. “I have not been given the green light on any of them,” Coughlin said. “I know they’re going to continue to work with Brandon Short and he may make some progress here that I’m not aware of, but we’ll have to see.”

Regarding WR Sinorice Moss (quad), Coughlin said, “He has made some progress and he’s getting more confident. We have to see him more (in practice).”

November 21, 2006 Tom Coughlin Media Session: The following is the transcript of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s media Q&A session from yesterday.

Q: When you looked at the film this morning, were there any more encouraging signs than the performance you saw, or was it as bad as you thought it was last night?

A: Well, it was pretty bad. To be honest with you, there were times that I thought the pass protection was pretty good. The last couple of kickoff returns, two or three kickoff returns, I thought were encouraging. We drove the ball down a couple of times only to have the inability to get it in the end zone. As poorly as we played, if we were able to connect on the long post ball – which was challenged and overruled – had we had that ball, possibly in stride and then been able to do something with the two other times we were down late in the game, we may have been able to make a run right at the end of the game. But other than that, there wasn’t a lot to be encouraged about.

Q: At this point in dealing with Eli Manning’s slump, do you think it’s more technical in terms of him and what he’s doing throwing the ball, or is it just mental decisions and he’s just not making very good ones?

A: There obviously were poor decisions made last night. I think the first interception, if the ball was thrown a little further, you may get a classic scramble drill reception for a relatively big play, a 40-yard play. But it’s just slightly underthrown, and those are the consequences. The second interception, I don’t know that there’s any real way that you can excuse that. The defender is clearly planted in front of the receiver. The ball goes there and it’s an interception. It’s a bothersome thing. I think that there’s certainly some fundamental work to be done, but I think what really – and I have to spend some time thinking about this, because early in the year when the offense was playing well and the defense wasn’t playing well, it was an idea – the thought was to help the defense, to help them help themselves by returning to the kind of football we wanted to play. And we were able to do that. We ran the ball better, we held the ball longer, the defense did a better job of getting on and off the field, and also giving us the ball, and special teams contributed as well. Now you’re looking at the opposite, in my opinion. You’re out of sync, you’re out of whack. There’s not momentum. There isn’t any flow to your game because the offense is not playing well. While the defense did not play well last night, the defense had been playing well and had improved over the course of weeks to show that. So now we’re in a situation where I have to spend some time thinking about how we might be able to get back in sync and playing together again – offense, defense and special teams. It would be easy for me just to sit here and say if we get our running game going, we’re going to be able to do that a little bit better, take a little bit of pressure off the defense. But I’ll spend some time thinking about how we’d go about that.

Q: Is any of that play calling? You said last night you didn’t think you ran as much as you should have.

A: That’s an easy thing to say after a game when you’ve only run the ball 14 times. I would like…And that’s not the play caller. It’s the same sense that you had when you were watching the game, that we weren’t making any yardage with the run. We were not in sync offensively. Our passing game had no rhythm and we needed to do something, which we’ve done in the past effectively, to help our tempo and to allow for Eli (Manning) to get into some type of a rhythm. With regard to that, when we go to the no-huddle, we do run the ball out of the no-huddle, but we obviously throw a lot more than we run it. Now, I think the real issue again is the fact that there are no first downs – there are 13 first downs, and the fact that there’s 31 percent on third down and there’s only 56 plays again. Now, there were only 56 plays a week ago, as you know. These are the areas – I don’t – it’d be nice to be able to say, yeah, we needed to run the ball more, which we do. But that wasn’t the sense that you had or I had in watching the game as the game unfolded. It was more of a need to do something about our tempo and not necessarily the play-calling or the ratio of run-to-pass as much as to get the quarterback and the offense in some kind of rhythm – to hold the ball longer, to do something with the ball. Our defense, to be honest with you, had done – to prevent touchdowns and force them to kick field goals – had done a decent job of that. But we didn’t stop the run. We didn’t stop the play-action pass. We didn’t run the ball. We turned the ball over. We didn’t keep the ball and we did not have a lot of rhythm offensively. The first thought on my behalf was to try to create some way in which we got into a little bit more sync offensively, increased our tempo, and perhaps got some points out of that type of play.

Q: That’s the second week in a row you’ve mentioned the tempo issue. What can you do, besides the drastic measure of going to a no-huddle?

A: I think if we go…If you rush the ball, or if you try to rush the ball and you do a good job of at least threatening that, you do have the play-action pass option. You stay away – we didn’t have many penalties last night, but you stay away from those difficult first-and-20-type situations and perhaps you use some of your check down approach, if you will, a run. Our screens were pretty effective last night and they were in conjunction with the way in which the game was going. We came out from behind a really big down-and-distance deficit to make a first down in the second half. But I think you have to be able to go ahead and rush the ball with some consistency to give yourself some opportunities and play-action pass to create a little bit of a sense of consistency in terms of your execution, which is where we are not. I mentioned to the players last night, as probably I mentioned to you, I think we’re somewhere…We’re definitely leaving a number of plays on the field compared to the number of plays that we make. Now whether it be last night’s epidemic of dropped balls or whatever, we’re not making plays in the ratio where seven, eight, nine to one, in terms of making plays rather than not making plays. Certainly execution, at this time in the year – there’s nothing like it. I didn’t…I thought that the opponent last night executed well enough offensively to keep us somewhat off-balance, to keep a number of players down in the box, to throw the individual play-action passes when they needed to. So it’s an execution thing, I think, at this time in the year. I went back earlier last week because I wanted to see how in the world the Chargers came back from behind 28-7 to Cincinnati to win, and I thought I was going to find something magical. There’s nothing magical. It’s just execution – throwing a check down, running the power-play, throwing some semis, getting some speed-out cuts. Just methodically doing a good job into the blitz. It’s execution right now. Although I say we pass-protected fairly well, we certainly have the yardage when we did run the ball that gave us the advantage down and distance. More often than not in that number, the small number of snaps that we had last night with the run, it was second-and-8.

Q: Some coaches for a change of pace or to try to kick-start things, have taken over play-calling. Have you thought about that at all?

A: I don’t think that’s the issue.

Q: One of the things Eli’s teammates and coaches have said is that he doesn’t get rattled and he doesn’t get frustrated, but the last couple of weeks – especially last night — he looked rattled and frustrated. Is that the case? Is he?

A: I don’t think…I’m certainly…I know that he’s concerned. I do not think that he gets rattled. I know that he was frustrated a couple a couple of times at some of the opportunities that he had that didn’t prevail, both on his – with regard to his situation, and then with the dropped balls. I think there probably is frustration. I think any normal human being would be frustrated when things consistently don’t go your way, and that was the case last night. I think everybody’s frustrated. He does not have the (market cornered) on frustration. He doesn’t…I wouldn’t say that I would look hard for that, but I don’t think that ‘rattled’ was necessarily the case. I think he’s anxious about making a play.

Q: Do you see that anxiousness translating into he’s losing his mechanics a bit and the fundamentals that he was talking about?

A: I don’t know that you…Those kinds of things are just speculation. You can see sometimes when he’s moved out of the pocket he’s either thrown the ball high or he’s underthrown a deeper ball, if you will. It may be…He may be just a little bit off on where exactly in a perfect world you’d like the ball to be. Still, I think it has to be categorized as catchable. Nevertheless, (it’s) not always the simplest of catches. Certainly I think a week ago when we did have a couple of high throws, those were mechanics. He’s very much aware of that. So we continue to work on that. You’re looking for – and I understand it. I understand that you’re concerned and that you want to have something concise to write with regard to this, but I don’t think it’s that simple. I don’t think I can just sit here and give you two lines that tell you exactly what’s going to be corrected and how it’s going to be corrected. We’re going to have to fight our way out of this just like we fought our way earlier in the year out of the predicament we put ourselves in then. It’s not necessarily simple. Maybe it’s not that complex, but to explain it verbally is not necessarily going to give you the kind of answer you want.

Q: Knowing all of that, do you remain committed to letting Eli work this out, or is a change something you’d consider at all?

A: No, I think what we have to do is get the improvement, get Eli back on track.

Q: Were there any injuries to come out of the game last night?

A: The only injury that I think was discussed with you was (Barry) Cofield, and it really…It’s not as much a knee as it is a groin. I think you guys had it as a knee. He did get a bump on the knee, but that didn’t turn out to be much. – But he does have a groin.

Q: Were Chris Snee and Gibril Wilson OK? They were limping and being worked on a little after the game.

A: I think they are. They both are going to be on the report, but they’re not going to miss anything.

Q: On the injury report with what injury?

A: They got bumped, that’s all. And they’re not going to miss a thing.

Q: Do you expect Barry Cofield to practice tomorrow?

A: I don’t know that he will. We’ll see. It depends on how much he improves. He’s limited. He will be limited and if he can go it will be probably limited, but nevertheless, we’ll see.

Q: Are you expecting any of the guys that didn’t make the trip to come back this week?

A: On paper, no. I have not been given the green light on any of them. I know they’re going to continue to work with Brandon Short and he may make some progress here that I’m not aware of, but we’ll have to see.

Q: Sinorice Moss did make the trip and he was inactive, nevertheless. Was that basically a game-time decision? You didn’t see enough of him doing what you want to see in warm-ups, or…?

A: No, no. As you know, you’re not supposed to warm anybody up that’s on that list. That’s not always followed, but we follow it. No, it was…He has made some progress and he’s getting more confident. We have to see him more. I thought he practiced every day last week, he earned the right to be on the trip and that I would make a decision based on our status and if we were healthy and if the receivers that had been working were going to get up game day morning and feel good and there would be no illness or anything like that, then I would stay with Sinorice being inactive.

Q: Knowing how you feel about the traditions of football, how did you feel about Jack Del Rio and Mike Nolan wearing the suits on the sideline?

A: I read about that earlier in the week and from my understanding it was a tribute to the coaches who had in other days, had worn coats and ties, and that was – I think Mike Nolan was the first to mention it and he wanted to do it out of respect for his dad. That being the case, I think it’s a wonderful way to pay tribute.

Q: How did Bob Whitfield do in place of Luke Petitgout this week?

A: He did all right. There’s always some things you’d like to have back. He had the one holding penalty and he did have a false start, but I thought he did a pretty good job and obviously we all need to do better.

Q: He didn’t do anything there that would entice you to go to Plan B?

A: Not at this moment, no. You know, you’re asking me a question like that and at this point in time, no. It is a short week, but at this point in time, no.

Q: When offenses struggle, coaches tend say let’s find five or six things we do well and let’s do that. Can you do that?

A: Well, that certainly is one thought-process and hopefully we’ll…We may be able to do something along those lines. I’d like to discover something…I’d like to do something well, offensively do something well to encourage everyone, including our defense.

Q: We all know what a high work ethic Eli Manning has. As he tries to work himself out of this slump, how much harder can he work, or what things can he work on knowing that he already pushes himself to the max?

A: Well, we like to put him in those situations in practice where he sees exactly what he’s going to see in the game, and then to have him carry over with those things in reality at game time. I think we can continue to work along those lines. I just think it’s a matter of he has to work his way out of it. He has to play his way out of it.

Nov 212006

Eli and Giants Fading: The Giants lost 26-10 last night to the Jaguars in Jacksonville in a game that was not as close as the final score. The Giants were lucky to be trailing only 10-3 at halftime as the Jaguars out-gained the Giants in the first half 215 net yards of offense to a measly 73 yards. The Giants finished the game with an embarrassing 25 yards rushing. QB Eli Manning was dreadful and his supporting caste was not much better. Blocks were missed, receivers dropped passes. The play-calling was questionable. The Jaguars held the ball over 40 minutes of the game and ran 75 offensive plays. The Giants, on the other hand, had the ball less than 20 minutes and only ran 56 plays. The Giants only picked up 13 first downs all game – a season low (and two of those came as the result of penalties). The Giants’ defense ended up surrendering 414 yards of offense, including 165 rushing yards. It was a pathetic all-round performance.

The Giants have fallen to 6-4, tied for first place in the NFC East with the surging Dallas Cowboys. The two teams are heading in opposite directions.

“There aren’t enough words in the dictionary to describe how bad it was today and how we played,” OC Shaun O’Hara said. “As professionals, it’s inexcusable. It can’t happen. We should all turn our paychecks back in.”

“It was a pretty pitiful performance all the way around,” said HB Tiki Barber, who rushed for only 27 yards on 10 carries. “We made a lot of mistakes. It’s unacceptable. We didn’t execute. I’m shocked that our running game could be this unproductive. It’s the first time in a long time we’ve been a non-factor. That’s how I felt today. Like a non-factor. We didn’t run the ball. We didn’t even attempt to run the ball.”

“The last three halves in a row we haven’t played the way we’re capable of playing,” Head Coach Tom Coughlin said. “There are an awful lot of plays being left out on the field in my opinion. We made some plays. But the number of plays that are being left out there vs. the plays we’re making – we’re just not making any plays. We just didn’t play well. There is no excuse for it. We expected to come in and play well. We were leading the division and we had a lot at stake and we didn’t play well. So we need to go back to work.”

Manning (19-of-41 for 230 yards, 1 touchdown, and 2 interceptions) played his second terrible game in a row. He looked gun-shy, made questionable decisions, and was inaccurate. “I didn’t play well,” Manning admitted. “I’ve just got to start playing better football.”

“He’s frustrated,” said Coughlin of Manning. “He’s trying to make something happen, and he’s looking for someone to help him make something happen…With no run game, we threw the ball maybe more than we should have. And we didn’t have the results.”

The tone for the offense’s ineptitude was set on their first possession of the game. After the Jaguars began the game in terrible field position and were forced to punt from their own 1-yard line, the Giants’ offense only picked up two yards in three plays and New York settled for a 40-yard field goal. The Jaguars, on their second possession, then drove 52 yards in eight plays to set up their own successful 39-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3 in the first quarter.

The Giants went three-and-out on their second possession as HB Brandon Jacobs was stuffed for a 1-yard loss on 3rd-and-1. Jacksonville then picked up two first downs, but was forced to punt. The Giants went three-and-out again on their third possession. On the Jaguars’ ensuing drive, Jacksonville marched 57 yards in eight plays to take a 10-3 lead as HB Fred Taylor scored from 10-yards out right up the gut of the Giants’ defense.

The Giants went three-and-out on their next possession. Four possessions – NOT ONE SINGLE FIRST DOWN! New York finally picked up one first down on their fifth “drive,” but Manning then threw the ball right at a Jaguars’ defender and was picked off. The intended target on the play – WR Plaxico Burress (who also had a very costly drop of a deep strike) – failed to tackle the defender and the Jaguars picked up another 24 yards. Jacksonville should have taken a 17-3 lead at this point as Fred Taylor was stripped of the football as he was about to score after a short pass. The Giants recovered the fumble in the end zone. The Giants picked up their second first down on the first half on their last possession. At halftime, the Jaguars led 10-3.

In the third quarter, New York went three-and-out again on their first possession. The Jaguars then moved 41 yards in eight plays to set up a 24-yard field goal. Jaguars 13 – Giants 3. When the Giants got the ball back, New York was extremely fortunate that an illegal use of the hands penalty was called on the Jaguars on a play where Manning fumbled the ball away. The defensive end picked up the loose ball and scored from 18 yards out, but the play was nullified due to the penalty. The drive continued and the Giants cut the lead to 13-10 as Manning found Burress for a 25-yard touchdown on a quick pass and some nifty after-the-catching running.

The Jaguars responded with a 12-play, 59-yard drive that ended with another short field-goal. Jacksonville now led 16-10. Three-and-out again for the Giants. Then the Jaguars took charge of the game for good as QB David Garrard found WR Matt Jones for a 49-yard gain on 3rd-and-7. On the very next play, HB Maurice Jones-Drew scored from three yards out as the Jaguars now were ahead 23-10 early in the fourth quarter.

Manning was intercepted for the second time on the ensuing possession (again, throwing right at a Jaguars’ defender) and Jacksonville then picked up a couple of first downs and then kicked a 48-yard field goal to take a 26-10 lead with less than six minutes to go in the game. The Giants successfully moved the football from their 40-yard line to the Jacksonville 8 on the ensuing series, but WR Tim Carter fumbled the ball and the Jaguars recovered. The Giants got inside the 20-yard line again near the two minute mark, but could not score.

Injury Report: DT Barry Cofield appeared to have injured his right leg or groin early in the game against the Jaguars and was limited for much of the rest of the night.

OG Chris Snee injured his left knee in the game. No word on the severity of the injury.

Post-Game Notes: This was the first time the Giants have lost back-to-back games since 2004.

The 25 yards rushing by the Giants was the lowest ever for a Tom Coughlin-coached team. The last time the Giants were held to that low a figure was 2003.

The Giants did not record a sack in the game.

Inactive for the Giants were LT Luke Petitgout (fractured fibula), WR Sinorice Moss (quad), DE Michael Strahan (foot), DE Osi Umenyiora (hip flexor), CB Sam Madison (hamstring), LB Brandon Short (quad), LB Tyson Smith, and QB Tim Hasselbeck (third quarterback).

Nov 192006

November 18, 2006 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing yesterday for the Giants were DE Michael Strahan (foot – out), DE Osi Umenyiora (hip flexor – doubtful), LB Brandon Short (quad – questionable), CB Sam Madison (hamstring – doubtful), and LT Luke Petitgout (leg – out).

WR David Tyree (groin – questionable) returned to practice after missing Friday’s practice. LB Carlos Emmons (groin – questionable) and WR Sinorice Moss (quad – questionable) practiced all week.

Nov 182006

November 17, 2006 New York Giants Injury Report -– Tyree Now “Questionable”: WR David Tyree did not practice yesterday due to a groin injury and is officially listed as “questionable” for the game against the Jaguars on Monday night.

Also not practicing were DE Michael Strahan (foot – out), DE Osi Umenyiora (hip flexor – doubtful), LB Brandon Short (quad – questionable), CB Sam Madison (hamstring – doubtful), and LT Luke Petitgout (leg – out).

When Head Coach Tom Coughlin was asked if Short would play, he replied, “No, but he feels better every day. He didn’t practice today, but he feels…He’s out here running. You probably saw him running in pre-practice. He runs all over the place, so he’s getting closer… He’s not ready to come back, but he does seem to make progress. They thought for awhile that he might make it this week, but he just couldn’t quite get back.”

Continuing to practice were LB Carlos Emmons (groin – questionable) and WR Sinorice Moss (quad – questionable). When Coughlin was asked if Moss would play, he merely said, “We’ll see. We’ll see.”

Quotes: WR Plaxico Burress on helping out QB Eli Manning: “We need to protect him up front – that’s the biggest thing right now. Get him in the position where he feels comfortable so he feels that he can deliver the football. We need to protect him so he can feel comfortable and so he’s not rattled early. When he gets rattled early, it kind of throws us all off…We all need to help (Manning) out. We all need to rally around him. And we just have to all just concentrate on the little things that are slowing us down from reaching our potential.”

WR David Tyree on helping out QB Eli Manning: “We didn’t play well in the passing game top to bottom (against the Bears). Us receivers could have run routes better, we could have blocked better, and Eli, he knows what he has to do. It’s important for all of us to pick up the slack.”

CB R.W. McQuarters on CB Corey Webster: “Look, Corey’s a playmaker. You look at the games, he really hasn’t given up anything deep. I know he’s given up some third downs and 20-yarders, and you wish it didn’t happen as a defense. But ultimately he’s a good player. He’s just in the process of learning. That’s how you grow up.”

Nov 172006

Approach to the Game – New York Giants at Jacksonville Jaguars, November 20, 2006: I’ve learned my lesson. Last week I mocked the Football Injury Gods and those Gods responded by burning my team with lightening bolts. “So you don’t think we can sink your boat?” laughed the Gods, “Let’s see how you respond when we break Luke Petitgout’s fibula, aggravate Sam Madison’s hamstring, injure Tiki Barber’s thumb, and force season-ending surgery on Justin Tuck!”

OK, OK, OK…you win. We Giants’ fans tremble at your mightiness and now beg you to leave our team alone. Whatever we’ve done to tick you off, we sincerely apologize for. We are truly penitent. If you could move along and bother some other team, we would be eternally grateful.

Giants on Offense: The Giants’ offense is supposedly the strength of the team. It has to start playing like it. In the last three weeks, the offense has scored 17, 14, and 20 points. More productivity across the board is needed. The time is now. The Eagles and Cowboys are only one game back.

This is a big game for Eli Manning for a few reasons. The Jaguars are a very good defensive football team who are quite capable of causing problems for the Giants’ ground attack. Jacksonville is likely to stack the line and dare Eli to beat them. Secondly, with injuries continuing to be a factor on defense and offense, Eli’s team needs him to perform at a higher level more now than ever before. While he will be a better quarterback in future seasons with added experience, he has played in enough games now to expect him to play like the first player taken in the 2004 NFL Draft. Thirdly, a significant portion of the team’s fan base is starting to turn on him. Phil Simms experienced the same thing. And the only way Phil silenced most of those detractors was going out and winning a World Championship.

Defensive tackles Marcus Stroud and John Henderson are the strength of the Jaguars’ defense. Stroud is “questionable” with an ankle injury while Henderson is “questionable” with a hamstring injury. Both players are big and disruptive. Stroud normally will line up over the right guard (Chris Snee) while Henderson usually plays over the left guard (David Diehl). Of course, the issue outside is LT Bob Whitfield against the quick outside rushers. Losing DE Reggie Hayward for the year was a blow to the Jaguars, but reserve Bobby McCray (6 sacks) can rush the passer. He can play both end spots so both RT Kareem McKenzie and Whitfield may have to deal with him (though he mostly has played over the right tackle in place of Hayward). Paul Spicer is the other end. He’s a bigger player and not as strong at rushing the passer.

The linebacking corps, due to the absence of Mike Peterson, who is on Injured Reserve, is an ordinary group. Ex-Giant Nick Greisen and Clint Ingram start outside and Daryl Smith is the middle linebacker. He’s their best linebacker and leading tackler. The Jaguars do blitz a lot so blitz pick-ups by the offensive line, backs, and tight ends will be critical. The thumb injury to Barber could be an issue here.

Personally, I think it’s time to take some of the heat off of Manning and Whitfield and focus on what the Giants do best and that is run the football. If Barber’s hand is an issue, Brandon Jacobs is quite capable of carrying the load and serving as a spark for this team. I would run, run, run. Pound the football and wear down Jacksonville. Coughlin had Manning throw too much last season (third-highest in the league in terms of passing attempts) and I think they are over-emphasizing him now this year too. Run the damn football!

When the Giants do put the football in the air, it won’t be easy. Jacksonville is only given up about 180 passing yards per game (fifth best in the NFL). Manning and the coaching staff have to do a better job of getting the ball to Shockey. I’ve talked about this all season, but it’s crunch time. Barber is the offense’s engine, but Shockey is the spark plug. Get him involved. It will fire up the entire offense. I also would start passing to Barber more. I have no idea why the Giants don’t use him more on underneath routes anymore. Snap the ball, drop back quickly, and get the ball to Shockey and Barber. Everything doesn’t have to be a down-the-field effort in the passing game.

Plaxico Burress will face RCB Brian Williams, who is a bigger, more physical corner and thus, matches up fairly well with Burress. However, Williams doesn’t always make plays on the football and Burress should be able to adjust and out-fight him for the football. Plaxico also needs to step up now. The other corner, Rashean Mathis, has six interceptions. He had five last year so the guy has a history of making plays on the football. He’s a big, fast, athletic corner who shouldn’t have many problems with Tim Carter (who does?). We may see a lot of passes thrown to David Tyree again this week against the nickel corner. SS Donovan Darious, an outstanding run defender, has been bothered by a knee injury. Ex-Panther Deon Grant is the free safety.

Giants on Defense: Jacksonville made a quarterback switch to David Garrard three weeks ago. The Jaguars didn’t ask him to do much passing in their two wins against the Eagles (17 attempts) and Titans (22 attempts), but last week Jacksonville got behind the Texans. Garrard threw the football 34 times and he was intercepted four times (though two of these interceptions were deflections off of a receiver’s hands). Garrard is a big (but not tall), powerful quarterback with a very strong arm. He is mobile and can hurt a defense with his scrambling. However, he is not terribly accurate. The key for the Giants’ defense is to stop Jacksonville’s power running game (sixth best rushing attack in the NFL) and prevent Garrard for hurting the Giants with his feet. If they do those two things, they will be in good shape.

Khalif Barnes is the left tackle. He was inactive last week after been arrested for DUI, but he will return this week. He will face Mathias Kiwanuka and that should be a fun match-up to watch. The guards – LG Vince Manuwai and Chris Naeole – are inconsistent players. Brad Meester is a good center. RT Maurice Williams is a quality right tackle. I would think the Giants would want William Joseph to start at left end again since the Giants are facing another running team. It would be nice if Carlos Emmons would return (he practiced on Thursday). It would be great if Brandon Short did as well (he did not practice on Thursday).

The feature running back is Fred Taylor, a very good cutback runner with a nice combination of power and quickness. He’s averaging an impressive 4.7 yards per run on a team that doesn’t throw the football well. Maurice Jones-Drew is a short, but stocky fireplug who is averaging 4.5 yards per carry. The Jaguars will throw to both out of the backfield (a total of 44 catches) so linebacker coverage will be very important. The Giants also need to keep an eye on H-Back George Wrighster (22 catches).

The Giants will miss Sam Madison. The man under fire for his poor performance last week is Corey Webster, who will mainly face WR Reggie Williams. Williams is Jacksonville’s leading receiver with only 27 catches. But he’s a big target (6-4, 223 pounds). He doesn’t get deep much so Webster needs to play him tighter to the line of scrimmage than he did Muhsin Muhammad last week. R.W. McQuarters will line up over Matt Jones, another huge receiver who has been somewhat disappointing for the Jaguars. In fact, there is talk that Jones may lose some playing time. Still, Jones is a HUGE receiver (6-6, 240 pounds) and his size can cause problems. The Jaguars can also create some big mismatches (pun intended) when 6-4, 223 pound Ernest Wilford is on the field against the 5-8 nickel back Kevin Dockery.

Giants on Special Teams: Alvin Pearman is averaging a very respectable 10.6 yards per punt return. Maurice Jones-Drew is averaging almost 24 yards per kickoff return. P Chris Hanson is bothered by a hamstring injury and the Giants might be able to take advantage of that.

Chad Morton broke off his first big punt return of the season last week. Derrick Ward was slightly better on kickoff returns, but he did fumble one kickoff. Jay Feely needs to nail every field goal under 40 yards – he missed a 33-yarder against the Bears.

Nov 172006

New York Giants Sign DE/DT Lance Legree: The Giants have signed DE/DT Lance Legree. Legree played for the Giants from 2001-2004, mostly as a defensive tackle, but he has also played defensive end and the Giants will use him at end now due to all of the injuries that have hit the Giants at the position. In 2005, Legree signed a 5-year contract with the Jets as an unrestricted free agent. He was waived by the Jets in February, signed by the 49ers in August, and then waived by the 49ers in early September.

“Lance was in a position where he was the highest-rated player that we could bring in and so we did,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.

“I am very excited,” Legree said. “I am very glad to be back over here. It’s a great organization. I know a lot of the guys. It’s a good situation for me.”

To make room for Legree, the Giants officially placed DE Justin Tuck (Lisfranc foot injury) on Injured Reserve.

Injury Update: LB Carlos Emmons (groin) and WR Sinorice Moss (quad) both practiced yesterday. Emmons also practiced last Friday and Moss practiced all of last week. Both remain officially “questionable” for the game against the Jaguars on Monday night.

Not practicing were LB Brandon Short (quad), DE Osi Umenyiora (hip flexor), DE Michael Strahan (foot), CB Sam Madison (hamstring), and LT Luke Petitgout (leg). Short is “questionable;” Umenyiora and Madison are “doubtful;” and Strahan and Petitgout will not play.

Nov 162006

DE Justin Tuck Out for the Season: The Giants officially announced yesterday that DE Justin Tuck will miss the remainder of the 2006 NFL season due to his foot injury. Tuck will undergo surgery to repair a Lisfranc injury that will involve inserting screws into Tuck’s foot.

Tuck was originally injured in the October 23rd Monday night game against Dallas. The Giants had hoped that surgery would not be necessary, but a follow-up examination performed earlier this week revealed little progress had been made.

Tuck will most likely be placed on Injured Reserve shortly, joining LB LaVar Arrington (Achilles) and WR Amani Toomer (knee).

New York Giants Sign Offensive Tackle to Practice Squad: The Giants yesterday signed OT Jonathan Dunn to the Practice Squad.

New York Giants Worked Out a Few Players: Not only did the Giants recently work out WR David Boston and WR Peter Warrick, as we reported yesterday, but according to various media reports, the team also worked out WR Marc Boerigter and QB Shaun King.

Injury Update – Is Strahan’s Injury Worse Than the Giants Are Letting On?: The Giants did not practice on Tuesday or Wednesday, but they did issue an updated injury report.

LB Brandon Short (quad), LB Carlos Emmons (groin), and WR Sinorice Moss (quad) are listed as “questionable” for the game against the Jaguars on Monday night.

DE Osi Umenyiora (hip flexor) and CB Sam Madison (hamstring) are “doubtful.”

DE Michael Strahan (foot) and LT Luke Petitgout (leg) are listed as “out.”

Regarding Strahan, Dr Elton Strauss, the Chief of Orthopedic Trauma and Adult Reconstruction at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan told The Daily News, “I would be shocked if he’s back this season. That Lisfranc injury is a bad injury. Phil Simms had the same injury in ’90. It’s a bad sprain because you need the mid-part of your foot to really push off. And for a defensive lineman who’s got to charge the ball every time, I would be shocked if he’s back.”

“You have to get in a stance and push off,” said Strahan. “You’ve got to be able to get on your toes. You’ve got to cut, you’ve got to be able to plant your foot and hold it. (With) bad knees, bad legs, (or) bad feet, there’s really not much you can do when it comes to playing any football out there.”

Quotes: QB Eli Manning on getting TE Jeremy Shockey more involved in the offense: “We tried to do it last week a few different ways. The Bears did a good job of keeping a watch out on him so we have to try to get him some catches. We call plays and we expect to get him the ball but defenses go to a different style of coverage and you have to go through your progressions. It’s just a matter of calling the right plays at the right time…Shockey is a good teammate. He is good in the huddle and on the sidelines. He tells me what he thinks and what he thinks is working and how defenses are playing him. He’s a good teammate and he works hard and we have to figure out ways to get him more involved.”

Nov 152006
Chicago Bears 38 – New York Giants 20

Game Overview: The doom-and-gloom surrounding this loss is amazing. Many fans and sports reporters are overreacting. The Giants lost a football game. Period. They are 6-3 and still in good shape if they can survive the next two games and get some of the walking wounded back in time for the big game against the Cowboys.

It sounds like sour grapes, but I am still not all that impressed with the Bears. Despite all of the Giants’ injuries, I think New York would have won had it not been for: (1) the 26-yard draw play late in the second quarter, (2) the fluky 108-yard return off of the missed field goal, (3) the injuries to LT Luke Petitgout and CB Sam Madison, and (4) QB Eli Manning playing his worst game of the season (though the Bears’ defense obviously had something to do with the latter).

The most important thing for everyone to realize is that this loss is just one loss. It happens. It’s time to focus on Jacksonville put another winning streak together.

Defense – First Half: Except for the Bears’ last drive of the first half, you couldn’t ask for a stronger effort by a defensive unit that was missing two Pro Bowl defensive ends, a primary back-up defensive end, and both starting outside linebackers. Up until the last Bears’ possession, the Giants had allowed a measly five yards rushing on 10 carries and 44 yards passing. It was a dominating performance.

Up front, William Joseph (4 tackles) started at left defensive end and played well. He combined with LB Reggie Torbor to stuff one run for a 4-yard loss. Weakside defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka (2 tackles), on a zone blitz, dropped into coverage and intercepted QB Rex Grossman and returned the ball 32 yards down to the 1-yard line, setting up the Giants’ first score of the game. Later he penetrated down the line and nailed the back after a gain of only two yards. Inside, Barry Cofield (5 tackles) and Fred Robbins (6 tackles, 1 sack) were very stout against the run. Cofield played a great first half, clobbering the opposing running back twice behind the scrimmage – once for a 1-yard loss and an later for a 5-yard loss. Robbins’ pass pressure on Grossman led to the interception by Kiwanuka and he later helped to sniff out a screen pass that lost two yards. Robbins was flagged with a roughing-the-passer that was a bit touchy and did enable to Bears to move barely into successful field goal range.

At linebacker, Antonio Pierce (15 tackles, 1 pass defense) set the tone with his 1-yard run stop on the Bears’ first play. In the second quarter, he pressured Grossman on a blitz and then sniffed out a 3rd-and-8 draw play along with Reggie Torbor (5 tackles) that only picked up two yards. Pierce was all over a screen pass that lost two yards as well and caused an incompletion with a big hit on WR Mark Bradley. Torbor caused a 4-yard loss on one run and then did a nice job of defending a swing pass that lost another yard. Gerris Wilkinson (8 tackles) wasn’t as visible, but he did seem to do a nice job in coverage.

Except for the last drive, the secondary played well. Corey Webster (5 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 2 pass defenses), for as much grief as he deserves for his second-half performance, played well in the first half. He knocked away one deep ball to WR Muhsin Muhammad and later helped to cause another incompletion on a shorter pass to WR Rashied Davis. SS Gibril Wilson (9 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 1 fumble recovery, 2 pass defenses) played well. He caused an incomplete pass on another short pass to Davis and then did so again on a short pass to the fullback. Wilson made a huge play late in the first quarter when he stripped the halfback of the football and then recovered the fumble – a superb play. Sam Madison blew a chance at an easy interception on a poorly thrown football on the ensuing drive. R.W. McQuarters (3 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble) was blitzed quite a bit with good success. He pressured Grossman to help cause one incompletion on the Bears’ first drive. On the ensuing drive, he was credited with a sack when he stripped Grossman of the football, forcing a punt after the Bears had entered Giants’ territory. McQuarters also helped to cause a screen pass to lose two yards. FS Will Demps (8 tackles, 1 fumble recovery) was there with Robbins on a blitz on the play where Kiwanuka picked off the pass.

Where it all went wrong for the Giants was on 3rd-and-22 with 1:30 left in the first half. It is absolutely inexcusable to allow a draw play to pick up the first down in such a situation and that’s exactly what happened. Even on 2nd-and-15 and 2nd-and-20, I was shouting at the TV, “Watch the draw!” Pierce said, “Third-and-22, everybody in the league runs a draw or a screen. We had guys in position to make tackles and we didn’t…That was probably the play of the game…But guys just have to make tackles in that situation. We had two guys right there.” I hope Pierce is accepting some of the blame on that play because he is indeed stating the obvious – it was situation that begged for a draw or screen pass. But Pierce and McQuarters were cleanly blocked out of the play and Demps missed an open-field tackle. If the Giants stop the Bears there, New York is ahead 13-3 or 16-3 at halftime.

What made matters worse, was that Madison then gave up two huge passing plays – a 22-yarder on deep crossing pattern to Muhammad and then a 29-yard touchdown pass to Bradley on a go route. On the latter, to add injury to insult, Madison aggravated his hamstring injury and was forced to leave the game.

After a near-perfect first half defensively, much of that effort was washed down the drain with an unfathomable brain fart on 3rd-and-22 and then two bad plays by Madison.

Defense – Second Half: For whatever reason, the Giants’ defense softened in the second half. Personally, I think it was a simple matter of the Bears’ starting to execute better. No doubt, the scoring drive right before halftime gave their offense some confidence. The Bears’ opening drive, despite not resulting in points, hurt dearly as it dramatically changed the field position battle in favor of the Bears. On the Bears’ first play, Muhammad caught a 19-yard pass (despite a strong pass rush by Kiwanuka) as there appeared to be a breakdown in the Giants’ zone coverage. The Bears were then able to generate their first power runs of the game with gains of 5 and 10 yards by HB Thomas Jones. The defensive line and linebackers were simply not playing as stout. Robbins jumped offsides, but Pierce helped to stop the bleeding with a tackle behind the line for a 1-yard loss. On 3rd-and-5, the Giants blitzed nickel back Kevin Dockery (the same kind of blitz the Giants used in the first half with McQuarters, but now McQuarters was forced outside due to the injury to Madison). Webster, who played an absolutely atrocious second half, was badly beaten by Muhammad for 21 yards. To his credit, Webster did strip the football and Demps recovered the fumble. The Giants momentarily dodged a bullet. On the pass to Muhammad, for some unknown reason, Webster was playing a mile off of the line of scrimmage against a receiver not know for his speed.

When the Bears got the ball back, their next drive started at the Giants’ 43-yard line (see how losing the field position battle hurt?). Things looked good as Wilson, who played a strong game in run defense, stopped Jones for two yards. On 2nd-and-8, William Joseph made a very impressive bull-rush, shoving his blocker right back into Grossman. Grossman looked like he was blindly dumping the ball away, but miraculously Jones caught the football and turned the play into a 4-yard gain. Worse, Joseph was then flagged with what I thought was a ridiculous roughing-the-passer penalty. So instead of 3rd-and-8 from the Giants’ 41-yard line, the Bears now had a 1st-and-10 at the Giants’ 22-yard line. I thought this fluke play was one of the costliest of the game. McQuarters bit on a pump-and-go route and smartly held the receiver for a 5-yard penalty instead of allowing a touchdown. But then the inside-run defense softened again as the Bears picked up good yardage inside on three running plays. On 3rd-and-3 from the 10-yard line, Webster was playing far to soft on Muhammad again and both he and S James Butler got burned badly for a touchdown.

The Giants turned the football over and Chicago’s next possession started at the Giants’ 21-yard line. Webster stopped one run for a 2-yard gain. McQuarters played too soft on Bradley giving up an easy 6-yard reception. On 3rd-and-2, the linebackers, Kiwanuka, and Demps were easily blocked on an 11-yard run down to the 2-yard line. Grossman then hit the tight end for a touchdown – either Wilkinson or Pierce screwed up in coverage. Bears 24 – Giants 13.

The Giants’ then cut the score to 24-20. The defense came out on fire as McQuarters had good deep coverage on Muhammad, causing an incompletion. Robbins and Demps then nailed the running back in the backfield for a 3-yard loss. On 3rd-and-13 with the crowd going nuts, Webster gave up a killer 13-yard reception. It was very tight coverage by Webster and he just missed knocking the ball away as Grossman threw a perfect pass to Muhammad. The problem was in such a situation, with the receiver that short of the first-down marker, Webster should have played it safe, not tried for an all-or-nothing play, and simply made the tackle. Instead, the drive continued and the field position battle started to change again. On the very next snap, Webster was beaten badly out of the slot by Davis for a 26-yard gain. At this point, it was blatantly obvious that the Bears were picking on Webster as they saw him as the weak spot in the defense. However, Robbins’ play stalled this drive as he first nailed the running back for a 1-yard gain and then sacked Grossman for a 9-yard loss on 3rd-and-9 (Robbins was playing right end on this play). (On a side note, the Giants never did stop blitzing in the second half as many claim – this is another play where the Giants sent a defensive back).

After the Bears were up 31-20 and Manning had thrown his second bad interception of the game, the run defense held on the first play. But Webster got abused again as Bradley caught a 38-yard pass down to the Giants’ 7-yard line. This play, combined with 108-yard return on the missed field goal, appeared to take the life out of the Giants’ defense. Three plays later, Chicago scored again, making the game 38-20. When the defense got on the field again with seven minutes to go, they laid down like dogs and allowed the Bears to embarrassingly run out the clock with nine straight positive running plays.

Offense – First Half: After an exceptionally promising start on the opening drive of the game, the offense struggled for the remainder of the first half. My first reaction to all of this while I was watching the game was that the Giants should have run the ball more. However, to be honest, the Giants didn’t run the ball well at all after the first possession. And they clearly did not pass it well either as Manning finished the first half 10-of-18 for 74 yards, zero touchdowns, and one interception.

On the first drive, Manning hit WR Plaxico Burress for 16 yards, Burress again for 13 yards (an illegal formation penalty erased this play), and HB Tiki Barber for five yards. On this drive, Barber broke off impressive runs of 18 and 21 yards.

But for the remainder of the first half, Barber only accrued 15 yards on nine carries (and six of those yards came on a draw play at the end of the half). Clearly, the Bears shut down the Giants’ running game. In many instances, the Bears simply crowded the line of scrimmage and dared the Giants to beat them with the passing game. Manning and his teammates failed this challenge. “Obviously it was not a good game for (Eli) – he didn’t play well,” Coughlin said. “He warmed up well, he felt well going into the game. He thought he was sharp in terms of what he was looking for. He felt like he saw the coverage well. Obviously, there was pressure and there were some throws that he couldn’t make because of that.”

Interestingly, Coughlin seemed to imply in his Monday press conference that Manning was at least partially to blame for the unproductive games by TE Jeremy Shockey and WR Tim Carter. Speaking of Shockey, Coughlin said, “You have to get the ball to the people who can make a difference and we weren’t able to do that last night. Our passing game wasn’t very effective.” And on Carter, Coughlin said, “He won his one-on-one battles. He did some good things. He got himself into position. He should have gotten the ball on occasion. As I said, we didn’t have a very good night with the passing game.”

The strong opening drive stalled with two poor passes by Manning – a sideline pass to WR David Tyree that was almost picked off and a 3rd-and-5 pass to Burress that was thrown far too high. Jay Feely missed the ensuing field goal.

Eli’s next pass, a deep pass to Burress, was underthrown and easily picked off, setting up a field goal for the Bears. ONE-AND-OUT. On the Giants’ next possession, Barber was stuffed, a pass to TE Visanthe Shiancoe did not pick up a yard, and Manning’s 3rd-and-8 pass to Tyree was deflected and fell incomplete. THREE-AND-OUT. When the Giants got the ball back, a pass to Tyree picked up seven yards, Barber lost two yards on a running play, and a somewhat jumpy Manning drifted backwards in the pocket and his 3rd-and-5 pass intended for Tyree was knocked away (this was one of those plays where Manning falls backwards in order to avoid contact). THREE-AND-OUT.

After Gibril Wilson forced and recovered a fumble, the Giants got the ball at the Bears’ 31-yard line. On the first play, Barber was stuffed again and OC Shaun O’Hara was flagged with holding, putting the Giants in a 1st-and-20 hole. Manning then hit Barber for four yards on a swing pass, miraculously got away from a sack and completed a pass on a play where Shockey allowed immediate pressure (this play was wiped out due to offsetting penalties), hit Tyree for nine yards, and then had no chance on 3rd-and-7 as RT Kareem McKenzie allowed immediate pressure (McKenzie did not have a good first-half in pass protection). Feely did manage to hit the 46-yard field goal so at least the Giants got some points off of the turnover. But they didn’t even pick up a first down on this “drive.”

The next possession started off with a 9-yard run by Barber, then a 1-yard loss by Barber. On 3rd-and-2, Manning found Shiancoe for four yards and the first down. He then hit Burress for another 10 yards. Barber was then stuffed again, RG Chris Snee gave up a pressure that helped to cause Manning to pass under duress, and then on 3rd-and-10, McKenzie gave up another pressure and Tyree dropped the ball. Punt.

The Giants’ final viable possession of the first half started on the Bears’ 31-yard line after the 36-yard punt return by Morton. Again, the Giants were forced to settle for only three points despite such outstanding field position. Barber was stuffed again, Manning found Burress for 12 yards and a first down. Barber then got stuffed again. On 2nd-and-9, Manning hit Burress for what should have been a first down at the Bears’ 5-yard line, but Burress fumbled the ball away. Luckily the Giants maintained possession as Snee stripped the defender of the football but a holding penalty on Bob Whitfield, who was subbing for the injured Petitgout, turned what could have been a 1st-and-10 at the Chicago 13-yard line into a 2nd-and-19 at the Bears’ 27-yard line. Shame on Burress and shame on Whitfield – this was a really costly series of events for the Giants that has not been talked about much. After a Manning pass to Barber picked up seven yards, the Giants oddly called a running play on 3rd-and-12 that lost two yards. The field goal gave the Giants a 13-3 lead.

Many Giants fans argue – rightly or wrongly – that Coughlin should have called more running plays. The Giants had 31 offensive plays in the first half. They ran the ball 13 times and passed 18 times. After the first drive, Barber was shut down. The Bears were crowding the line of scrimmage and Tiki could not get past the line. Perhaps the Giants should have brought Brandon Jacobs in for a change of pace, but the biggest problem the team faced that it kept finding itself in long down-and-distance situations due to stuffed runs or penalties. There should have been more opportunities in the passing game, but pass protection was inconsistent as was Eli Manning. The fumble by Burress and the holding penalty by Whitfield were killers as was the holding penalty on O’Hara. Starting two drives at your opponent’s 31-yard line and coming away with only two field goals is not good. Had it not been for Kiwanuka’s interception, the Giants most likely would not have scored a touchdown in the first half. Personally, after seeing Barber get repeatedly stuffed, I would have switched to Jacobs to see if his style was more productive. But it is not a given that it would have been.

Offense – Second Half: Except for the touchdown drive in the third quarter, the Giants’ offense was abysmal in the second half of the game. And Manning only completed FOUR passes in the final two quarters of the game, as he was 4-of-14 for 47 yards. Now to be fair to Manning, he didn’t get a lot of help from his teammates. The Giants’ first drive of the second half started in a dangerous situation off of the goal line. O’Hara missed a block and Manning was immediately pressure and his pass intended for Burress was deflected at the line. Barber was stuffed on the next play. Then on 3rd-and-11, Manning fired a nice pass to Burress and Burress was clearly hit before the ball arrived, but the officials did not throw a flag. This was a big non-call.

On the second possession, Barber fumbled the exchange and recovered his own fumble (Barber injured his hand early in the game and didn’t appear completely comfortable out there – another argument for running Jacobs more). On 2nd-and-10, Manning was stripped of the football from behind as Bob Whitfield was badly beaten for a sack, despite also being flagged for holding on the play. This was a terrible turnover for the Giants as it set up the Bears at the Giants’ 21-yard line. Four plays later, the scored is 24-13. Don’t blame Eli for this one.

With the game slipping away at this point, the Giants did manage to put together a quick, impressive touchdown drive. Manning threw behind Tyree on first down for an incompletion. Barber was stuffed on 2nd-and-10 as Shockey missed his block on LB Brian Urlacher. Then on 3rd-and-10, Manning found Shockey for the first and only time of the game for a critical 15-yard completion. Barber then broke off his longest run of the season on a 46-yard cutback run behind good blocks from Whitfield, David Diehl, and Tyree. On the very next snap, Jacobs scored untouched from eight yards out behind good blocks from McKenzie, Snee, Rich Seubert, and Jim Finn.

When the Giants got the ball back, the score was still 24-20 with plenty of time in the game. The running game, which had dramatically sprung to life in the previous drive, remained somewhat productive as Barber ran for 5, 8, and 9 yards. Manning also finally found Burress again for 10 yards and then made a heck of a play by getting away from a free blitzer and hitting Tyree along the sidelines for 12-yard gain (this was an excellent catch by Tyree despite somewhat of a poor route). But what killed this drive and directly led to the biggest disaster of the game (the 108-yard touchdown return off of the missed field goal) was Whitfield getting beat again for a sack that caused a 14-yard loss. The Giants couldn’t overcome this play despite the aforementioned 9-yard draw by Barber. On 3rd-and-15, Eli appeared a little rattled and tried to force the ball to Burress down the field instead of taking a little more time to find an open receiver. The two sacks given up by Whitfield were catastrophic – the first led to a Bears’ touchdown and the second not only ended what looked to be a promising scoring drive when the Giants had regained momentum, but also led to the 51-yard field goal attempt.

When the Giants got the ball back, they were down by 11 points with 11 minutes to go in the game. I felt that the coaching staff panicked here. There was still enough time to overcome that deficit and the Giants should have gotten into their hurry-up offense and run some of those Tiki Barber draw plays. Instead, the Giants called three straight passes and Eli was way off the mark on two of them. The first he had to throw away as a free blitzer gave him no time whatsoever. Then he badly missed Tyree for what should have been an easy completion and then badly overthrew an open Carter on a pass that was picked off. It was a terribly display of quarterbacking.

When the Giants got the ball back for the final time, the game was over as New York trailed 38-20 with eight minutes to go. Barber picked up 19 yards on a draw (should have called this on the previous drive), Eli found Tyree for 10 yards. Barber missed Urlacher on a blitz pick up (Tiki did this a couple of times in the game) and Manning was hit as he unloaded the ball, causing an errant throw. Manning then horribly overthrew Shockey and threw the ball away on 3rd-and-10 as O’Hara again gave up an inside pressure (it wasn’t a good game for O’Hara either).

Eli played like crap. The breakdowns by Whitfield on the two sacks in place of Petitgout were catastrophic. The holding calls on Whitfield and O’Hara really hurt in the first half. Shockey and Jacobs were underutilized. I felt the coaching staff got away from the run too soon in the fourth quarter.

Special Teams: Aside from the 3rd-and-22 draw play, the costliest play of the game was the 108-yard return for a touchdown off of the missed 51-yard field goal. Stating the obvious, that was clear coaching mistake. Trailing by four points with almost 12 minutes to play in adverse weather conditions, the percentage play was to punt and pin the Bears back. For some odd reason, Coughlin chose the low percentage play, and it cost his team dearly. That said, the players on the field did a piss poor job of realizing the situation and preventing Devin Hester from scoring. “It looked like people were kind of relaxed,” said Shiancoe. “We didn’t know it was going to be short like that. That’s no excuse, though. We should cover that. We practice that every day.” Not only did this play regain the momentum for the Bears, but it devastated the Giants’ morale. Emotionally, they never recovered in the game.

Feely missed a 33-yard field goal. That’s not acceptable. He did hit from 46 and 40 yards out. His kickoffs were fielded at the 33 (squib kick after a stupid unsportsmanlike penalty on Jacobs), 5, 9, 3, and 7. Kickoff coverage was OK with returns being held to 11 (David Tyree on the tackle), 23 (Feely), 17 (Adrian Awasom), 33 (Feely), and 16 (Chris Claiborne). Obviously, it’s not a great sign when your kicker is making two tackles.

P Jeff Feagles did a nice job of limiting any potential damage by the dangerous Devin Hester. He punted five times for a 40.4 yards-per-punt average and pinned Hester along the sidelines three times. Punt coverage was also excellent as Hester only had returns of 3 and –3 yards.

Derrick Ward had returns of 21, 30, 12 (almost a disastrous fumble by Ward before halftime that Ward fortunately was able to recover), 25, 21, 27, and 15. Chad Morton broke off a 36-yard punt return that set up a field goal. His other return picked up nine yards.

(Box Score – Chicago Bears at New York Giants, November 12, 2006)
Nov 152006

November 14, 2006 New York Giants Injury Report: General Manager Ernie Accorsi told The New York Post yesterday that LT Luke Petitgout will not be placed on Injured Reserve. Petitgout might be able to return to the playing field in 4-8 weeks, depending on how fast his fractured left fibula heals. “I’ve heard everything,” Accorsi said. “Four weeks I think is a little bold. Players have had these injuries and come back. You want to at least give it a chance to happen. He’s been a good healer. It depends on how fast it mends. There’s a chance, yeah.”

New York Giants Work Out Receivers: The Star-Ledger is reporting that unrestricted free agent WR Peter Warrick worked out for the Giants on Monday, but Warrick’s agent told the paper that no deal was imminent. The Journal News says Warrick worked out Tuesday with the Giants.

WFAN is reporting that the Giants also worked out unrestricted free agent WR David Boston.

Notes: When the Bears outscored the Giants in the second half 28-7, it was the first time this season the opposing team scored more points than the Giants after halftime.

Nov 142006

Giants-Titans Game Moved to 4:15PM: The Giants-Titans game has been moved from a 1:00PM start to a 4:15PM start on November 26th as part of the NFL’s new flexible scheduling policy.

November 13, 2006 New York Giants Injury Report: There was still no official word on the status of LT Luke Petitgout, who suffered a fracture in his left fibula against the Bears. But Head Coach Tom Coughlin did not sound optimistic yesterday. “I have not had a chance to really talk to the doctors or collect all of the information,” Coughlin said. “Let’s just say that that discussion is forthcoming and the injury is a serious injury. It will require a certain amount of time, obviously, just for recovery. But the final decision on that (whether it’s a season-ender) has not yet been made.”

HB Tiki Barber sprained his thumb against the Bears, but Coughlin said he will play against the Jaguars on Monday night.

CB Sam Madison aggravated his hamstring injury in the game. Coughlin and Madison both claim that the injury is not as bad as the original one he suffered against Dallas that kept him out of two games, but it is not currently known when he will be able to return to the playing field. “The first week (after the initial injury), I wasn’t able to walk. It was that sore,” Madison said. “At least now, I’m able to move around. It’s not as bad as it was when I did it a few weeks ago.”

DE Michael Strahan (foot) still believes he will be back on the field sooner rather than later. “(Team physician Russ Warren) is more on the cautious side,” Strahan said. “He wants to make sure we’re smart with it and that’s why I’m still in a boot, staying off of it…I have an idea (of when I should be able to return), but I’m not telling you guys. Nothing’s ever out, but if I don’t make it back by the time I want to, I will be disappointed.”

Giants Work Out WR Peter Warrick: Adam Schefter of The NFL Network is reporting that the Giants have worked out unrestricted free agent WR Peter Warrick.

Quotes: OT Bob Whitfield on his play against the Bears: “I was angry when it was happening. To have four big, game-changing plays – two sacks, a holding penalty, and not getting the tackle on the field goal return – that weighs heavily on my damn heart. I don’t take it easy or take it lightly. I feel like I lost the (bleeping) game. I feel like I let the team down…I’m a shut-down tackle. So I’ve got to start playing like that at every opportunity, whether I know I’m going to start or whether I’m coming off the bench in crunch time. You play like you’re a shut-down guy at every opportunity and then you walk off with a smile on your face. But until this Jacksonville game, I’m one angry mother(bleeper).”

PK Jay Feely on the Giants’ lack of coverage on the 108-yard return play in the game against the Bears: “We didn’t cover it with the enthusiasm we should have.”

TE Visanthe Shiancoe on the 108-yard return: “It looked like people were kind of relaxed. We didn’t know it was going to be short like that. That’s no excuse, though. We should cover that. We practice that every day.”