Sep 292007
 

September 28, 2007 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing yesterday were WR Plaxico Burress (ankle/sprained left pinky finger), HB Derrick Ward (ankle), WR Steve Smith (scapula), and FB Robert Douglas (knee).  Burress, Ward, and Douglas are all listed as “questionable” for the game against the Eagles on Sunday night.  Smith will not play.

“Plaxico is following the plan,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “Just try to get him to where he is feeling the best he can feel on Sunday. He still is doing all the different kind of shoes that were brought in, all the different types of insoles and things like that; he is still doing a lot with that, trying to find something that makes him feel the best.”

Burress has a very painful sprained pinky finger that was an issue in last week’s game too.  “I’m all messed up,” said Burress.

But Burress continues to insist that he will play against the Eagles.  “I’ll play, there’s no doubt about it,” said Burress.

“Ward was sore today again,” said Coughlin. “We worked him yesterday and he was sore today. I expect he will be, but we didn’t work him today.”

HB Brandon Jacobs (knee) practiced, but is listed as “questionable”.  “Brandon did everything,” said Coughlin.  “He looked okay. He moved around pretty good.”  Coughlin indicated that Jacobs’ availability will be a game-time decision.

Jacobs, however, sounded like he was not going to play on Sunday. “It’s not my week to jump out there,” said Jacobs. “I’ll wait until next week and see what happens…They want to make sure things are right, which I don’t blame them. I’m not holding it against them because they’re holding me out for this week. I want to play, but it’s a long season…You don’t want to be out another two or four weeks because you aggravate it again.”

QB Jared Lorenzen (ankle) was limited in practice and is listed as “probable”.

Article on the Giants’ Defensive Line: Giants Bend Rules of Geometry to Stretch Defensive Line by John Branch of The New York Times

Sep 282007
 

by Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com

Approach to the Game – Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants, September 30, 2007: The Giants partially stabilized their sinking ship last Sunday against the Redskins, and they could really right the ship with a win against the Eagles this week.  But it won’t be easy.  Both teams are desperate and both are a bit banged up.

I’m always reluctant to label a game a “must game” because I think history has demonstrated that games you felt at the time were “must games” ended up not being so.  I felt last week’s game was a must game because if the Giants went 0-3, I thought the wheels would start coming off.

I don’t think this week’s game is a “must game” but I do think it is darn close.  There is a big difference between being 2-2 (and 2-1 in the division) and 1-3 (and 1-2 in the division).  This is especially true with the Cowboys excelling.

Giants on Special Teams: The Giants’ special teams units have been hurting them more than they have been helping them thus far in the season.  There was a turnover, a missed field goal, and too many big returns given up on both kick and punt coverage.  And the Giants have not broken a big return of their own yet.  This needs to change if the Giants are going to produce a winning record.  The bad news is that PK David Akers is one of the best in the NFL.

Giants on Defense: The Eagles run a West Coast Offense that focuses heavily on the short-passing game, including passes to the backs and tight ends.  The big worry here is that this is the weakness of the Giants’ defense as the Giants’ linebackers and safeties have not excelled in coverage.  Particularly troubling is the match-up of HB Brian Westbrook against any linebacker.  Westbrook has been bothered by an abdomen injury, but he will play.  As Antonio Pierce mentioned earlier this week, Westbrook always seems to be on the injury report and then comes out and kills you.

To be blunt, I don’t think any of the Giants’ linebackers can stay with Westbrook.  Since the Eagles appear to have reverted back to a pass-first team again with Donovan McNabb back at quarterback, if I’m the Giants, I actually play my base defense with five defensive backs.  My new nickel would be six defensive backs.  Get the better athletes on the field in coverage.  This is something that Colin at the Great Blue North Draft Report has been lobbying for and I think he is right.  Take last week for instance.  With the Redskins trailing and desperately needing a score, why was LB Kawika Mitchell on the field covering WR Santana Moss on 4th-and-8?  That’s stupid.

Take out a linebacker and get another corner on the field.  Have a corner shadow Westbrook.  He’s the key to the game defensively.

The Giants must also keep an eye on the other short and intermediate targets such as TE Matt Schobel, HB Correll Buckhalter, and FB Thomas Tapeh.  TE L.J. Smith (groin) will not play.

Another potential scary match-up for the Giants is WR Kevin Curtis, who is coming off of a monster game against the Lions (11 receptions for 221 yards and 3 touchdowns), against CB Aaron Ross or CB Corey Webster.  Ross may start and this will be a tough test for him.  The Giants should keep it simple for Ross and allow him to play aggressive man-to-man defense against Curtis, who is not a very physical player.  The Giants desperately need CB Sam Madison to hold his own against WR Reggie Brown.

The Giants’ defensive line seems to be coming out of its shell somewhat.  The Eagles have a good offensive line however.  LT William Thomas (foot) may not play, but the Eagles have a former high draft pick (Winston Justice) to fill in.

Giants on Offense: The Eagles love to feast on Eli Manning.  Of Manning’s 74 career sacks, 22 have come from Eagle defenders.  Plus, the Eagles are currently leading the league in sacks.  LT David Diehl will be on the spot against DE Trent Cole.  Diehl held his own against Cole in last year’s playoff game, but Cole is a guy who has really hurt the Giants in the past.  RT Kareem McKenzie faces the tough DE Jevon Kearse.  Inside, former first-round draft picks Mike Patterson and Brodrick Bunkley make this an athletic and dangerous starting front four.  Worse, the Eagles’ depth is outstanding with guys such as Darren Howard, Juqua Thomas, Montae Reagor, and Kimo von Oelhoffen coming off the bench.  Howard would start for most teams.  The Eagles come at you in waves.

I’ve always felt the way to attack the Eagles is to run the ball at them.  Pound the ball between the tackles and off tackle.  Philadelphia is athletic, but they are not real big and stout.  This would have been a perfect game for Brandon Jacobs to play in.  The Giants will have to count on the somewhat gimpy Derrick Ward (ankle) and possibly an expanded role for Reuben Droughns.  I like what I’ve seen thus far from FB Madison Hedgecock – he’s a big boy and he can hurt you.  Pound the ball.  I would also take advantage of the Eagles’ aggressive defense with screens, draws, and maybe even a reverse.

The Eagles’ secondary is a bit beat up with FS Brian Dawkins (neck) and CB Lito Sheppard (knee) nursing injuries.  However, given the importance of this game for both teams, I expect these two to play.  Sheppard will face Amani Toomer while CB Sheldon Brown battles WR Plaxico Burress.  Burress’ ankle is a worry.  He admitted this past week that he wasn’t sure he could finish the game against the Redskins.  The Giants need him because not only is he the Giants’ best offensive player (with the possible exception of Manning), but Burress has been a big thorn in the side of the Eagles in recent games.

With Steve Smith still out, there remains pressure on the other receivers – Sinorice Moss, Anthony Mix, and David Tyree – to perform.  Jeremy Shockey needs to play well against the Eagles – no more drops Jeremy!

Lastly, knock on wood, Eli has been pretty darn sharp thus far this year.  He seems like a different quarterback – confident, poised, in control.  His accuracy has been good as has most of his decision making – though I didn’t care for the interception last week against the Skins where he just threw the ball up for grabs.  That crap has to stop.  This is the type of game where the Giants need Eli to take control and out-play McNabb.

Sep 282007
 

September 27, 2007 New York Giants Injury Report:  The Giants yesterday issued the following statement by Vice President of Medical Services Ronnie Barnes on WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), who did not practice on Thursday for the second day in a row:

“Plaxico and I visited with Dr. Robert Anderson in Charlotte yesterday. Dr. Anderson reviewed Plaxico’s MRI results and administered his own physical exam of Plaxico.  Dr. Anderson confirmed our findings, which is that Plaxico has a serious sprain to his right ankle.  Following the exam, Dr. Anderson conferred with Dr. Warren and it was determined that at this point, we will continue the course of treatment and therapy that we have used since Plaxico reinjured the right ankle when he was stepped on during the Green Bay game. Plaxcio will continue his modality therapy, and we will explore all options regarding the most appropriate shoes, orthotics and braces.  The best prescription for this injury is rest, and as a result, Plaxico’s practice time for the immediate future will be limited.  For the time being, we will continue to evaluate Plaxico’s injury on a day-to-day, week-to-week basis.”

“I can’t make it any worse from a structural standpoint,” said Burress. “It’s just going to be sore, which is something I have to deal with. It will be sore after the game. But I can’t make it worse than it already is, and that was the real positive thing that the doctor told me…It’s really the worst kind of ankle sprain you can have, because it’s real severe. I just have to keep trying to rehab it and trying to get better.”

“There’s no question, I will play (against the Eagles),” said Burress.  “It’s really frustrating, because I really want to get out there and practice. That’s what really makes me feel more comfortable going into the game on Sunday…I really don’t want to have another letdown (like I did in the first half of the Redskins game). My attention to details has to go up a little higher, my focus has to go up a little higher. Because I’m probably going to be a half-step slow, that means I have to do a little more studying to get as many advantages as I can.”

HB Brandon Jacobs (knee) and HB Derrick Ward (ankle) both practiced on a limited basis yesterday. “(Jacobs) has just been cleared to practice, so we are just going to gradually work him in a little bit more; more conditioning work, that type of thing,” said Coughlin.  “Ward was…limited…and hopefully should be ready to go.”

“I did a little running and cutting, I got a little burst out in the field,” said Jacobs. “I stopped toward the end because it got kind of stiff on me…Maybe not this week, but definitely next week. I feel great, I feel better than some of the guys playing right now. I feel like I can play this week, but I don’t get very much input into that decision.”

QB Jared Lorenzen (ankle) was also limited in practice.  WR Steve Smith (scapula) did not practice and will not play this weekend.  FB Robert Douglas (knee) did not practice for the second day in a row.

Article on WR Plaxico Burress: Burress Becoming Big Blue Go-To Guy by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Sep 272007
 

September 26, 2007 New York Giants Injury Report:  WR Plaxico Burress (ankle) did not practice yesterday.  Burress and Vice President of Medical Services Ronnie Barnes were in Charlotte yesterday with a renowned foot and ankle specialist.  Burress originally sprained his right ankle on August 2 and missed most of training camp and all of the preseason.  He re-injured the ankle and sprained a finger against the Packers in Week Two.  Burress did have arthroscopic surgery on the left ankle in the offseason, but it is the right ankle that is bothering him.

“He really didn’t practice a whole lot last week,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “And then, of course, when he plays, it gets sore again, and it has been a kind of a continuous nagging thing. So he is going to have it evaluated by (the specialist).  Hopefully (we will get) some further recommendation as to what can be done to relieve the issue. Plaxico actually the other day said to us that he has to practice. He has got to practice. He is not practicing and he is coming into the games. To his credit he knows his assignments, but obviously he is not as sharp as he could be.”

“I don’t want to miss practice, because when I practice that’s when I see myself getting better,” said Burress on Monday. “When I practice I feel comfortable going into the game. But my body hasn’t been able to practice.”

Plaxico added ominously, “I really didn’t think I was going to make it through the whole game (last Sunday).”

When asked if Burress would play against the Eagles on Sunday, Coughlin responded, “There is no more to say until we hear what the doctor says. I don’t know what to tell you. He is going to have a further evaluation and they are going to try to tell him how to manage it better. But who knows what will happen?”

HB Derrick Ward (ankle) did not practice and is listed as “day-to-day”.  “I’ll be good,” Ward said. “I know my body. I know I’ll be able to play the whole game if they need me to on Sunday.”

HB Brandon Jacobs (knee) increased his “non-practice” activity but did not practice.  WR Steve Smith (scapula) did not practice and will not play this weekend against the Eagles.

QB Jared Lorenzen (ankle) is improving, but was limited in practice.  FB Robert Douglas (knee) did not practice.

Another Practice Squad Move:  According to The Daily News, the Giants have added DE Marquies Gunn back to the Practice Squad.  Gunn started the season on the Practice Squad, but was signed to the 53-man roster last Wednesday, then waived on Saturday.  Who was waived to make room for Gunn is not clear, but the Giants.com roster page is no longer showing WR Todd Lowber on the Practice Squad.

Notes:  Anthony Mix and David Tyree shared snaps at split end with the first team in practice yesterday with Plaxico Burress out.

CB Aaron Ross practiced with the first-team defense in place of CB Corey Webster.

QB Eli Manning has been sacked 74 times in his career – 22 of those have been by the Philadelphia Eagles.  The Eagles are currently leading the NFL in sacks.

Sep 262007
 

New York Giants Add Linebacker to Practice Squad:  The Giants have signed LB Rory Johnson to the Practice Squad.  Johnson was signed by the Packers as an undrafted rookie free agent out of the University of Mississippi after the 2007 NFL Draft.  The Packers waived him in early September before the season started.

Article on WR Plaxico Burress:  Plaxico Burress Ready for Giant Role at Receiver by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Sep 262007
 
New Giants 24 – Washington Redskins 17

by Damon Micalizzi for BigBlueInteractive.com

In Brief…

For the third time in as many games the Giants Defense was the story. This story however, had a happy ending. While the season is still very young, this was a must win game for the Giants and they showed up to play. The Offense was far from explosive. Special Teams were at times shaky and the Defense gave up a few big plays, but when it was all said and done, it appears at least for now, that the ship is being righted. We hope.

Quarterbacks

In what was far from his finest outing, Eli Manning still was able to lead the team up the field to three second half touchdowns. He didn’t have much help in the first half, with at least 5 dropped passes that probably left points off the board. That coupled with a brutal hit from the blind-side that led to his fumble and a Redskins’ TD two plays later, was a recipe for disaster. Yet, he still seemed to show a bit of a confidence that we might not have seen under similar circumstances in years past.

Just before the half, Manning threw into traffic, trying to thread the needle to Jeremy Shockey between three Redskins defenders. London Fletcher hit Shockey before the ball got there and ended up with the interception. No flag was thrown. Probably because the pass shouldn’t have been thrown in the first place. In the second half, Manning was intercepted again. This time in the face of a pass rush, Eli tried to go deep to Burress. With the defender in his face, Manning was off balance and couldn’t get full extension on his throw and under-threw the ball to Sean Taylor. These were two bad interceptions. However, in both instances Manning was visibly irritated with himself afterwards. It was a mild show of emotion that has been something we haven’t seen much of from the young gunslinger.

In spite of the drops, hits, and interceptions, it was Manning who marched the Giants up field for three TDs, completing a litany of third and long throws to keep the chains moving.

Running Backs

Remember when Tiki Barber would gain 40 or so yards on a drive only to have Brandon Jacobs come in and punch it in the endzone from one or two yards out? That formula seems to be working well in Brandon’s absence as Reuben Droughns did a very nice job on the goal line getting two second half scores lowering the shoulder and plowing through.

It’s becoming very clear that Derrick Ward is a more than capable running back in this league. Ward continues to pick up big yards and move the chains, while getting that extra one or two yards when encountering tacklers in the open field. I love his toughness. Ward seems to have a sense of where the first down marker is and is able to grind out that extra yardage regardless of who is holding on to his legs.

Ward still needs to hone his receiving skills as he dropped a screen pass for the third straight game. He also got stuffed on 3rd and 1 at the end of the first quarter. Makes you wonder if Droughns will get those 3rd and 1 carries in the future so long as Jacobs is out.

Madison Hedgecock did a nice job opening holes for Ward throughout the afternoon. Hedgecock does a good job of keeping his pads low and getting underneath the defender. On 3rd and 5 from the 11 yard line, Hedgecock was key in opening up the hole for Ward on the draw for Ward to pick up seven yards and the first down. He also was the lead blocker on both of Droughns’ TD runs.

Wide Receivers

One of the prime candidates for GOAT, had the Giants lost this game was sure to be Plaxico Burress, who had three passes go through his hands in the first half essentially taking at least 10 points off the board. Any questions as to whether he shouldn’t be playing because of his lingering ankle injury or not having his head in the game were answered emphatically as Burress redeemed himself in the second half, to catch five balls for 86 yards, including what turned out to be the game winner, a 33-yard quick slant of which he grabbed the ball in the face of the defender and averted getting hit, to then jaunt down field for the score.

It was a quiet yet steady afternoon for Amani Toomer. He is still Manning’s safety net with four grabs for only 24 yards. After a false start penalty left the Giants at 1st and Goal from the 11, Toomer’s catch at the one-yard line set up Droughn’s second TD run. It should not go unnoticed though that Toomer’s blocking downfield on Burress’ long catch and on a catch and run by Sinorice Moss was exceptional.

Moss’ one catch of the day was impressive. On an under route, Moss turned a short catch into a 17-yard gain thanks to some quick moves and some good downfield blocking. Even if Moss only gets a few touches a game, plays like that will ensure that defenses make sure he’s accounted for.

Tight Ends

With some of the catches Jeremy Shockey makes, you wonder how he could ever drop a pass. Shockey’s catch coming out of the half near the goal line that set up Droughn’s first TD, was a thing of beauty. On 3rd and 8 from the 22 yard line, Manning threw a perfect pass where only Shockey could get it and Shockey slipped in front of the safety, knowing he was going to take a big hit and came down with the ball. In the 4th Quarter though, Shockey dropped a perfectly thrown ball by Eli that might have been a TD had Shockey stayed on his feet. Had the outcome of this game been different that was one of the what if plays we’d be bullet pointing on Monday.

Offensive Line

When Andre Carter was in the backfield before David Diehl was out of his stance, I saw the season flash before my eyes, as Eli took a pretty hard hit from the blind side and a hit to the head from Marcus Washington who came in from the other side. Thankfully Eli was okay. This was really however, the lone glaring blemish for a unit that for the most part kept Eli on his feet (just 2 sacks), and with a reasonable amount of time to throw.

I talked to someone who was at the game who said that they had never heard the place so loud. That probably played a part in Carter’s huge jump on the sack and Chris Snee’s false start penalty. Still though, this unit did a very nice job keeping an aggressive pass rush in check and opening holes for Derrick Ward. Taking nothing away from Ward, it is probably not a coincidence that feature backs running behind this core unit have faired fairly well under the current regime.

Defensive Line

I don’t know how the coaching staff is going to justify bringing Justin Tuck in off the bench, when he seems to make an impact almost every time he enters the game. Case in point: The Redskins’ first drive. After three consecutive big plays, the Skins’ were seemingly on their way to a score as they had marched effortlessly to the Giants 18 yard line. Rotating in at end for Osi Umenyiora, Tuck shot the gap with ease bringing down Ladell Betts for a four-yard loss. Two incompletions later, the Giants had escaped the opening drive unscathed as Shaun Suisham hooked the field goal attempt wide left.

The D-Line is no doubt the strength of this unit and for the first time this season, they were able to keep pressure on the backfield consistently throughout the game. A Quarterback with lesser mobility than Jason Campbell would have been in the grass a half a dozen times at least.

Fred Robbins is quietly having another solid year on the interior, shooting the gaps well and getting into the backfield. On three separate occasions, Robbins was able to get a push and get close to Campbell although Campbell was able to escape. Michael Strahan still seems to be finding his way out there but appears to be getting his stamina back getting his lone stop midway through the 4th Quarter, getting penetration and stopping Clinton Portis after he gained just a half a yard. Strahan looked to get stronger as the game wore on, almost getting to Campbell two times in a row with less than three minutes to play.

Linebackers

Before halftime, I had already planned that this would be a Kawika Mitchell roast piece, calling for Chase Blackburn or Zak DeOssie, or Gerris Wilkinson to start in his place next week. I am still in no way, shape or form, sold on Mitchell. He still continues to be a step too slow, out of position, and missing tackles. However, he did play a part in every aspect of the game winning goal line stand. He did appear to make a play on second and goal on the roll out to Mike Sellers, although I think he got lucky that the pass was low and hit his hand by chance. On third down though, Mitchell shot the gap and stuffed Ladell Betts with a vicious collision. And on 4th and goal Mitchell dove on top of Betts after Aaron Ross made a great tackle. I say this because it appeared that Mitchell was in position to make the play should Ross have not been able to bring down the runner. (Pierce, Umenyiora and Tuck were all there as well.)

The learning curve may be flattening out for Mathias Kiwanuka who maybe had his best day as a pro against the Redskins. Two sacks, three tackles for a loss, eight tackles and when he was in coverage, he was not tested. Steve Spagnuolo, is moving Kiwi all over the field blitzing him off the edge, and lining him up on the line both at tackle and at end. Wherever he lined up on Sunday, Kiwi looked comfortable.

Antonio Pierce was quiet against his old team save for a fumble recovery. His timing was impeccable though as that fumble recovery set up the game winning TD. He only finished with two tackles, but he didn’t have many opportunities in the middle as most of the plays were to the sidelines.

Cornerbacks

It most definitely had a lot to do with the fact that the front seven got a lot of pressure on the QB, but the secondary looked pretty good on Sunday. Sam Madison really had a helluva game. In the first half, Madison got the Giants off the field by jumping a hook route to almost come down with an interception, (one of three INTs Madison almost had) and had several key tackles. He really appears to be embracing this new system where he’s starting up near the line of scrimmage instead of playing 15 yards off the receiver. Whether he was tackling the receiver before the first down marker, or stopping the running back on the screen pass for a four-yard loss, Madison was everywhere. He also would have had a sack on a perfectly timed blitz where he hit Campbell just as he was letting the ball go. Had Campbell completed the pass, there was a lot of room for Ladell Betts on the right side to get big yards. Instead, the Skins had to punt. He also had pretty good coverage on Santana Moss, when Moss caught that 49-yard bomb that eventually led to Cooley’s TD. However, Madison was counting on help over the top from Corey Webster who continues to be in the vicinity but not where he should be on almost ever play.

Webster’s ineptness may be a blessing in disguise as Aaron Ross was playing opposite Madison in the second quarter and really had a nice game. Ross’ lone blemish on the day was Cooley’s TD, however, Ross really didn’t have a chance as Santana Moss hit him with a perfectly executed pick on the play, screening Ross from covering on the play. Ross continues to tackle well keeping the play in front of him. On 3rd and 6 inside their own 20, Ross made a great tackle on Campbell in space, coming up in coverage to stop the scrambling QB well short of the first down. It should be noted that on 4th and Goal from the two, it was Ross who took out the lead blocker in Sellers, and the ball carrier in Betts to end the game.

His name won’t show up in the stat book, but Kevin Dockery’s coverage on a deep ball that Santana Moss almost caught up to late in the 4th Quarter could have changed the outcome of this game. Moss, pushed off ever so slightly, as a savvy WR would, and just barely came up short, all the while Dockery was stride for stride with one of the speediest receivers in the league. Also telling was that it was Dockery, not Madison, Webster or Ross that was matched up with Moss on the Redskins’ last drive.

Safeties

You didn’t hear their names much, but when this defense is playing well, you shouldn’t. The play of the Safety’s was adequate against the Redskins. Gibril Wilson covered Chris Cooley on a deep crossing route about as good as you can forcing an incompletion and almost picked off a pass intended for Randel El late in the game. Wilson and James Butler both had big tackles as Washington was trying to tie the game late in the 4th Quarter. Butler also saved a TD on Randle El’s catch near the goal line just before the goal line stand. Ross’ just missed tipping that ball by about four inches.

Special Teams

Coverage on kickoffs was pretty bad as Rock Cartwright was able to average 28 yards per return. It didn’t appear that the kickoffs were overly low or short, as opposed to solid blocking and some good seams. Coverage on punts wasn’t much better as Antwan Randle El, almost ran a punt back for a TD to tie the game.

Lawrence Tynes made his only field goal attempt decisively from 34 yards out.

Jeff Feagles punted five times and was unspectacular with only one keeping Washington inside the 20. Both David Tyree and Reggie Torbor came close to blocking punts. Reuben Droughns did a nice job returning kickoffs averaging 25 yards a clip.

To Sum It Up…

Aside from the few big plays given up in the first half, the Defense really played an exceptional four quarters of football. Washington’s first TD, came on a very short field thanks to the fumble recovery. Before this week, 3 and out was a foreign language for this team. Against the Skins they seemed to finally figure out the translation.

On offense, there were just too many dropped passes. I counted seven. All of them were significant in that they were either potential big chunks of yardage, or potential first downs on third down. Still though, 21 points in the second half to an alleged very good defense is nothing to scoff at and in spite of the drops and the turnovers, the offense led by Manning seemed confident throughout the second half.

Emotion goes a long way in the NFL. After losing a trap game last week against the upstart Packers, at halftime this team was staring 0 and 3 in the face. They came out and dominated the second half on both sides of the ball and that goal line stand was about as electrifying a way to end a game as you can get. Let’s hope the momentum carries over to next week’s big rivalry game next week against Philly.

(Box Score – New York Giants at Washington Redskins, September 23, 2007)
Sep 252007
 

September 24, 2007 New York Giants Injury Report: The Giants came out of the game against the Redskins with no major injuries. HB Derrick Ward did tweak his ankle. “It’s a little sore,” said Ward yesterday.

It does not sound like HB Brandon Jacobs is ready to return yet. “No, (there is nothing new with Jacobs),” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin. “They are still saying no today but he has a full day tomorrow. They are doing more things with him on the side. I think he is getting close but I wouldn’t say it would necessarily be right away, tomorrow, the next day, or this week.”

Article on LB/DE Mathias Kiwanuka:  Jints Play ‘What’s My Line’? by George Willis of The New York Post

Notes and Quotes: The Giants-Redskins game will be re-aired on NFL Replay on the NFL Network on Wednesday at 8:00PM.

CB Sam Madison on CB Corey Webster, who was benched during the second-half of the Redskins’ game: “Corey has some extraordinary talent. I just have to work with him on some little things. I think he’s going to be an exceptional player in this league and I think he’s going to do it for a long time. But the bottom line is: When are you going to do it?”

After WR Plaxico Burress scored the game-winning touchdown against the Redskins, he ran to the Giants’ sideline and presented the football to U.S. Army Lt. Colonel Greg Gadson, a double-amputee wounded in Iraq in May.  Gadson spoke to the Giants before the game on Saturday night.  The Giants invited Gadson and his family to attend the game and visit the locker room after the victory.

“His talk almost defined today, to be honest with you,” said Coughlin. “He talked about the fact that there are going to be bad times, and you have to keep your poise and fight your way through it. He talked about fighting for every yard.”

“You see a guy go through the things that he has been through and he is in such good spirits,” said Burress. “It was just unbelievable to come across a person like that who went through a tremendous change in his life.  I have never met somebody like that who had a high spirit like nothing was wrong. I thought, ‘I have a little ankle injury, I have to go out here and give it my best.’ I tried to go out and play not thinking about it and all I thought about when I scored that touchdown was that I wanted to find him to give him that football.”

Sep 232007
 

Down 17-3 at Halftime, Giants Come From Behind to Defeat Skins 24-17: The Giants may have saved their season with a dramatic 24-17 victory over the Washington Redskins in Maryland.  The Giants trailed 17-3 at halftime, but scored the game’s final 21 points in the second half.  The exclamation point was provided by a heart-pounding goal line stand at the end of the contest as the Skins were denied from the end zone on three successive plays from the 1-yard line.

The story of the game for the Giants was a much improved defensive performance as the Redskins were limited to 166 net yards passing and 82 net yards running.  The defense shut the Redskins out in the second half and didn’t allow a second-half first down until there was under six minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Giants scored the game’s first points after a 9-play, 54-yard drive on New York’s first offensive possession enabled PK Lawrence Tynes to connect on a 34-yard field goal.  The Giants’ defense held the Skins to a 3-and-out, but the Giants gave the ball right back to Washington as QB Eli Manning was sacked.  Manning fumbled the ball on the play and the Redskins recovered at the Giants’ 6-yard line.  Two plays later, HB Clinton Portis scored and Washington took a 7-3 lead.

The Giants were unable to mount successful drives on their next two possessions.  In the second quarter, Washington put together an impressive 7-play, 72-yard drive that resulted in a QB Jason Campbell-to-TE Chris Cooley touchdown pass on 3rd-and-goal from the 8-yard line.  The big play on this drive was a 49-yard pass to WR Santana Moss.

Things got worse for the Giants late in the first half as Manning was intercepted by LB London Fletcher with under two minutes to play.  The ball was returned to the New York 34-yard line, setting up a successful 47-yard field goal.  At the break, the Redskins led 17-3.

The Giants would not quit.  New York received the ball to start the second-half and the Giants put together a 10-play, 61-yard scoring drive that culminated with a 1-yard touchdown run by HB/FB Reuben Droughns.  This drive was kept alive with Manning completing passes to WR Plaxico Burress for 15 yards on 3rd-and-6 and 3rd-and-7, and then finding TE Jeremy Shockey for 21 yards on 3rd-and-8.

Meanwhile the Redskins went nowhere on their first four offensive possessions of the second half.  The Giants’ defense forced three 3-and-outs and then LB Antonio Pierce recovered a fumble on Washington’s fourth drive.

On the Giants’ third possession of the second half, New York managed an 11-play, 62-yard drive that tied the game at 17-17 as Droughns scored again from 1-yard out.  There was a 23-yard completion to Burress, a 7-yard completion to Shockey on 3rd-and-6, and then HB Derrick Ward picked up six yards on 3rd-and-5.

After Pierce recovered the fumbled handoff midway through the fourth quarter, the Giants took the lead for good.  Manning hit Burress on a short pass and Burress’ impressive run-after-the-catch performance resulted in a 33-yard touchdown play.

The Redskins picked up their first 1st down of the second half on the ensuing drive and reached the Giants’ 35-yard line.  But a sack by LB/DE Mathias Kiwanuka on 3rd down ended that threat.

The Giants were unable to pick up a first down and the Skins got the ball back with just over two minutes to play at the Giants’ 35-yard line as the Giants gave up a 27-yard punt return.  Unfortunately for New York, the Skins were able to pick up a first down after facing a 3rd-and-21 and then 4th-and-8 on the same series of downs.  Then a 20-yard completion on 3rd-and-13 gave Washington a 1st-and-goal from the Giants’ 1-yard line.  QB Jason Campbell spiked the ball to stop the clock with under a minute to play.  After an incomplete pass intended for FB/H-Back Mike Sellers, HB Ladell Betts was stuffed on two consecutive carries off left tackle to preserve the victory for the Giants.

“Just the jubilation you feel when you’re running off the field after making a big stop like that, in the division, on the road,” said DT Barry Cofield. “I’ll never forget it.”

“Amazing way to win a game,” said Manning. “Give a lot of credit to our defense for hanging in tough. To get a goal line stand to win a game, you can’t beat that.”

Manning finished the game 21-of-36 for 232 yards, 1 touchdown, and two interceptions.  Ward gained 94 yards on 26 carries and another 26 yards on six receptions.  Doughns scored twice.  Burress had five catches for 86 yards and a touchdown while Shockey had five catches for 79 yards.  Defensively, Kiwanuka led the Giants with 8 tackles, 2 sacks, and one forced fumble.

Post Game Notes:  Inactive for the Giants were WR Steve Smith (scapula), HB Brandon Jacobs (knee), QB Jared Lorenzen (ankle),  TE Kevin Boss, LB Gerris Wilkinson (knee) ,S Craig Dahl, OT Adam Koets, OG Kevin Boothe.

Sep 232007
 

New York Giants Sign FB Robert Douglas to 53-Man Roster:  The Giants have signed FB Robert Douglas to the 53-man roster.  Douglas, who injured his knee in the preseason, had been on the Practice Squad.

To make room for Douglas, the Giants waived DE Marquies Gunn, who the Giants just added to the 53-man roster from the Practice Squad this past week.

Article on the Giants and the Bookstore: The Giants Dominate in Bookstores, if Not the N.F.C. East by John Branch of The New York Times

Article on Ex-Giant LaVar Arrington: LaVar Arrington Gives First Interview Since Near-Fatal Crash by Ohm Youngmisuk of The New York Daily News