Nov 302007
 

By Eric from BigBlueInteractive.com

Approach to the Game – New York Giants at Chicago Bears, December 2, 2007: Humans are strange creatures.  Before the 2007 NFL season started, if you told a Giants’ fan that their team would be 7-4 after 11 games, that fan would most likely be very happy with that outcome.  But if you ask most Giants’ fans today how they felt about their team, the answers would most likely not be very good.

What has changed, obviously, are expectations.  After a 0-2 start (against what turned out to be the NFC’s two best teams) the expectations were that the Giants would be competing for one of the top picks in the draft.  After a 6-0 run (against some of the NFL’s worst teams), the expectations were that the Giants would be competing with the best in the NFC for a trip to the Super Bowl.  Now after losing two of their last three games, the expectations are on the wane again.

Humans are strange creatures.

Let me spoil the ending for you.  The Giants are not going to be Super Bowl champions this year.  They will likely be a Wild Card team that loses in the first or second round of the playoffs.  That’s their talent level.  That’s their coaching level.  So enjoy these last five regular season games and any playoff games because it’s a long time before training camp rolls around again.  And the Super Bowl match-up between the Patriots and Cowboys is going to be depressing enough.

Giants on Offense: The Giants have once again been sabotaged by injuries.  No, not the epidemic that plagued them the previous three seasons.  But enough to prevent them from competing as well as they are capable of competing.  It’s very frustrating, especially when you see a team like Dallas stay as healthy as it has the previous two seasons.

The best player on the Giants’ offense is Plaxico Burress.  He was having an All-Star-type season on his injured ankle.  But the wear-and-tear and the lack of practice time have obviously caught up to him.  Without him near full-strength, the offense has suffered a great deal.  And exacerbating the situation has been the unfortunate injury-plagued rookie season of Steve Smith.  I argued before the season started that wide receiver was an area of concern, especially if something happened to Plaxico.  That’s exactly what has happened.  One thing is clear, the Giants need to add more talent at this position – especially in terms of speed – to complement Burress and Smith.  Amani Toomer is just about done.  I bet you he won’t be back in 2008.  Sinorice Moss isn’t developing as hoped.  The Giants need a speed receiver who can be relied on.

Running back – another area significantly affected by injuries.  When healthy, Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward look to be a very impressive duo.  The problem is they keep missing games.  What made me laugh after the Vikings game were posts like, “Why is a team as talented as the Giants struggling so much on offense?”  Take off the rose-colored glasses.  The receiving corps, with Plaxico a shell of himself, is not that good.  The Giants played that game with journeyman Reuben Droughns (their third-string running back) starting and a rookie backup.  C’mon people!

That brings us to Eli Manning.  Don’t focus on one game.  Look at the big picture.  Eli played terribly poorly last weekend.  But he has been better this year.  I know his numbers don’t show it, but I do think he has been more accurate and more consistent.  That’s why the Vikings game was so shocking.  How will he rebound?  That remains to be seen.  This is a big game for him and his team.

For whatever reason, the Tom Coughlin-Eli Manning marriage doesn’t appear to be working.  These two are intrinsically tied to each other because they arrived on the scene together.  Coughlin is said to have fully supported dumping Kerry Collins and drafting Eli Manning.  Manning has flashed, but he obviously isn’t what he was supposed to be.  Unfortunately, what Manning was supposed to be was Tony Romo.

The Giants find themselves in a bit of bind here.  Coughlin will likely make the playoffs for the third year in a row this year.  But while Coughlin has proved to be a decent, serviceable head coach, one doesn’t get the sense that the team will get much better than it is under him.  It just feels like the Giants will be just good enough to compete for a playoff spot, but not do any damage in the playoffs.  Is that totally his fault?  Of course not, but the Manning-Coughlin dynamic does not appear to be working, and if change happens, it is not going to be Manning who leaves.

Those who read my rants last year know that I did not support the extension of Tom Coughlin’s contract by one season.  I felt then – as I do now – that was merely postponing his eventual dismissal.  I’m not saying he will be fired at the end of this season.  Worse, I can see ownership giving him a 3-year contract extension only to come to the conclusion after the 2008 NFL season that they made a mistake (similar to the Jim Fassel situation).  With Bill Belichick off of the table, I wouldn’t go with another retread.  I would take a gamble and look for a guy like the next Mike Tomlin.  Of course, with every Mike Tomlin, there is a Cam Cameron.  So there is a risk.  The guy who the Giants should look at is Jason Garrett.  The Giants know Garrett.  He was there for years as a back-up quarterback and unofficial quarterback coach.  Jerry Jones is said to be grooming him for the Dallas head-coaching job.  Garrett is from New Jersey.  Steal him now before it is too late.  Take a gamble Mr. Mara and Mr. Tisch.

As for the Bears game, I really think the Giants should stick with a heavy run-to-pass ratio.  The Bear run defense has been poor this year.  And while their pass defense has also struggled, the Bears can rush the passer.  The last thing the Giants need is a heavy pass rush on Manning again, and having him throw the football up for grabs.  Settle down Manning and the entire offense by pounding the football with Ward and Droughns (yes Droughns – he matches up better with the Bears than the Vikings and Ahmad Bradshaw is still learning to pass block).  Run, run, run.  Honestly, I wouldn’t even play Burress this weekend.

Giants on Defense: The Giants have the core on the defensive line to be a good defense for some time.  But they need to get faster and more athletic in the back seven.  Drafting Aaron Ross was a good start.  Mike Johnson may have a future at safety.  Sam Madison may have a good year or two left.  But if the Giants really want to compete with the big boys, they need to add a top corner and probably another safety.  More athleticism and play-making-ability at weakside linebacker would really help too.

The Bears are not a good offensive team.  But neither were the Vikings.  Stop the run, force Rex Grossman to beat you.  And guard against the big pass play deep.  Once or twice a game, Grossman will launch a beautifully thrown deep ball for a touchdown.  This is why I wouldn’t blitz much.  The last thing the Giants want to do is give up a quick six points to speedster Bernard Berrian or the big Muhsin Muhammad.  Ross isn’t going to play.  Don’t take big chances.

Giants on Special Teams: Don’t kick to Devin Hester.

Summary: Don’t get so wrapped up in this Giants’ team this year.  They are having a decent season.  At 7-4, with four winnable games on the horizon, if the team doesn’t make the playoffs, then it doesn’t deserve to.  It’s as simple as that.  Even if the team does make the playoffs, they will only be there a week or two.  So recognize the team’s limitations and simply enjoy the football.

To me, what will be more interesting is to watch what the Giants do in the offseason in an attempt to close the talent gap with the Dallas Cowboys.

Nov 302007
 

November 29, 2007 New York Giants Injury Report:  FS Gibril Wilson (knee), LB Antonio Pierce (ankle), WR Plaxico Burress (knee/ankle), and CB Aaron Ross (hamstring) did not practice yesterday.

“The knee from last week is sore today so we held him,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin of Wilson.

Speaking of Pierce, Coughlin said, “(He’s coming along) good.  I think he is getting closer.  He did all of the jog thru stuff and I thought maybe he could make it and go, but they decided they would work him on the side.  I expect that he will (practice on Friday).”

When asked about Burress’ knee, Coughlin responded, “He went down on it the other day in the game and it got sore on him…We will see. Hopefully (he will play).”

HB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) and WR Steve Smith (hamstring) were limited.  “(Smith) did some things today in practice, but on a limited kind of basis,” said Coughlin.  “He had a play here and a play there, that’s all.”

HB Derrick Ward (groin/ankle) practiced fully for the second day in a row.

Notes:  TE Jeremy Shockey, WR Plaxico Burress, LB Antonio Pierce, HB Derrick Ward, HB Reuben Droughns, and WR Sinorice Moss will fly from Chicago to Florida on Monday in order to attend the funeral of Redskins’ safety Sean Taylor. “We’ll go down there and represent the New York Giants,” said Pierce. “Being over here in New York and seeing the amount of respect he gets in this locker room, it’s going to be an honor for all of us just to be down there.”

“I haven’t been able to sleep all week,” Moss said. “I just lost one of my closest friends.”

Nov 292007
 

New York Giants Add Running Back to Practice Squad:  The Giants have signed HB Kay-Jay Harris to the Practice Squad.  Harris was originally signed by the Miami Dolphins as an undrafted rookie free agent after the 2005 NFL Draft.  The Dolphins released him in October 2006 and he spent some time with the Rams before St Louis waived him in August 2007.

November 28, 2007 New York Giants Injury Report – Plaxico’s Knee is Now Bothering Him, Ross Might Not Play: Not practicing yesterday were WR Plaxico Burress (knee/ankle), LB Antonio Pierce (ankle), and CB Aaron Ross (hamstring).  The new injury issue with Burress is his knee, but there are no details.  The Giants say he is “day-to-day”.

Ross said his hamstring has been bothering him for several weeks.  “Right now, I really don’t know (about playing Sunday),” said Ross.  “It was something that’s been lingering for a while. It was just getting tight. I really couldn’t move too well so I couldn’t come out of my breaks how I’m used to doing.”

HB Derrick Ward (groin/ankle) practiced fully. “It was good to get back out there,” Ward said. “It’s been a long time coming. This has been frustrating for me, to go from playing to not playing for four weeks. I’m anxious to get back out there and help our team win.”

HB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) and WR Steve Smith (hamstring/scapula) were limited, participating in individual drills.

“I’m not quite there yet,” Jacobs said. “I didn’t do as much as I would have liked.”

Article on QB Eli Manning:  Giants Are Stuck with Eli Manning by Gary Myers of The New York Daily News

Article on the Giants’ Offensive Line:  Line in the Sand by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Quotes:  RG Chris Snee on QB Eli Manning:  “I’m out there. I see Eli. He wasn’t rattled…He’s had a lot of pressure and he’s taken a lot of hits. But he’s a tough guy. He got up every time. He’s the same Eli Manning that I’ve known.”

Nov 292007
 
Minnesota Vikings 41 – New York Giants 17

by Damon Micalizzi for BigBlueInteractive.com

In Brief…

One week removed from playing maybe their most complete game of the year, the Giants followed it up with their worst game of the season just seven days later. You can say what you want about them still being 7-4, and how they are still firmly in control of their own destiny, and some will call this a trap game and every other cliché and excuse and justification of why the Giants lost this game.  But the bottom line is this: This team was so bad on Sunday that even if they are still “in the thick of things in the NFC,” what the hell did they show us to make us think that they will not have a second consecutive case of déjà vu next week against Chicago?

This game was as close to a carbon copy of the last meeting with the Vikings as one could imagine.  It was a debacle in every sense of the word.

No surprise that the goat was the guy who threw four interceptions, three of them returned for a TD, the other a TD one play later. Don’t mistake what I’m about to say as making excuses for The Quarterback.  He played a terrible game. However, while every jerk with a press pass tears The Quarterback apart for the next five or so days, there is plenty of blame to go around. There is an abundance of evidence that this was a collectively awful effort by the Giants’ offense. The play calling was predictable and the O-Line was absolutely porous at times.  Penalties continue to screw up Giants’ drives.

The Quarterback did spread the ball around though. Seven different Giants caught passes on Sunday.  I’m pretty sure every single one of them dropped one (or two) as well. The Quarterback’s ugly stat line and pitiful showing was the result of poor coaching, poor blocking, poor receiving and no running game.  Simply put, there aren’t many QBs that would have had a good game under those circumstances.  Still though, I think everyone expected more from The Quarterback.

Quarterback

Again, not making excuses here.  The Quarterback played terribly.  But a closer look at the tape and it’s plain as day that much more went wrong for this offense than just a bad showing by The Quarterback.  Yes – there were miscommunications.  Receivers ran routes that were not the routes The Quarterback was expecting them to run.  Yes – he was running for his life because the O-Line at times did not give him much time at all.  Yes – he had a few of his receivers drop passes that they should have caught. Yes – he had a ball tipped that resulted in one pick returned for a TD.  Yes – he probably thought he had a free play when he was picked throwing the deep ball, when in reality it was an offensive penalty.  And Yes – there were plenty of penalties called and not called that added to the demise of this offense.

But guess what… All of that cannot be purely coincidence.  While that laundry list of follies is probably insurmountable, I think what bothers people more than anything is that as this game continued to snowball out of control, The Quarterback continued to descend with the avalanche.

I’m not going to waste time analyzing every throw, pointing out what he did well (yes there were some positives) and who else is to blame for this interception and that incompletion, and that interception and this incompletion.   The Offense looked snake bitten very early in this one.  After Sidney Rice caught that first TD, they marched down the field, and scored a TD to tie the game.  All of that confidence and swagger seemed sucked right out of the building as soon as Darren Sharper picked off the first INT of the game.

It looked like Shockey zigged when he should have zagged, but Sharper made a great play running it back for a TD.  It was the first of three TD passes The Quarterback threw to Minnesota players on the day.  But the game was really over at that point.

The thing that irritates me the most is that Kevin Gilbride never adjusted his game plan based on what Minnesota was doing defensively.  It was obvious that running between the tackles was not going to be fruitful, especially as the game wore on and the deficit grew.  You still have to run the ball to keep the defense honest.

This multi-read scheme was well studied by the Minnesota defense and they continued to blitz and disguise coverages with great success.  A second look at the game tape shows that the only success the Giants had passing against this D was with passes to the sidelines.

Even after the Vikings’ 9-minute second half field goal drive, it became clear that if the Giants were going to be successful in clawing their way back into the game, it was going to be through the air.  With The Quarterback facing a heated pass rush on nearly every play, Gilbride never called a quick out, a screen, never was a quick pass to the outside called.  Does that exonerate The Quarterback for his nauseating performance. Negative.  But the coaching staff, has to realize that their plan of attack was not going to be successful on this day, and the fact that they were too arrogant or narrow-minded to change their game plan or deviate from their philosophy at all is inexplicable.

Running Backs

The vaunted Minnesota run D proved as good as advertised, though Reuben Droughns had a little bit of success on the first drive before the O-Line got a visit from the Ghost of Christmas Past.  Droughns’ spent most of his afternoon trying to pick up the blitz as the Vikes really did a good job of disguising just who was going to be coming and who was going to be dropping into coverage.  Speaking of dropping, Droughns also dropped two passes and was out of position on a red zone HB screen pass.

Ahmad Bradshaw took his first NFL regular season carry off tackle for 11 yards.  I would have liked to have seen Bradshaw more on Sunday because he looked quick and elusive running outside the tackles, which happens to be the best way to run against the Vikes stout D front.  Only problem is, Bradshaw isn’t very adept at picking up the blitz yet. So with the score the way it was and with the blitzes coming on almost every play, we only got four looks at the future lightning, to Brandon’s thunder.

Patrick Pass had a cameo appearance.  He came in on third and long, forgot to pick up the blitz and saw the LB hit The Quarterback forcing a low throw.  Thanks for coming.  I think we’ll “pass”.

Wide Receivers

Bad ankle and all, Plaxico Burress is still a big target who can beat up on a smallish defensive back.  In spite of the fact that he caught seven balls for 93 yards and a TD (in garbage time), he still had two drops and is just not on the same page with The Quarterback.  To his credit, he stayed in the game, even when it had long been decided and played hard until the bitter end.

When he caught his 600th career pass Amani Toomer pumped his fist into the air in what was the only show of emotion from anyone on the Giants on the day.  Maybe the milestone catch was weighing on his mind too much, that it caused him to drop two passes earlier in the game.

Sinorice Moss had three catches, one of them for a 20-yard gain.  He also slid on his break, while running a hook pattern and wasn’t able to catch the ball that was waiting for him when he turned around.  It would have been a first down.  Instead, Toomer and The Quarterback got their signals crossed on the next play and 4th and 5 from the 35 ended with a turnover on downs.   Had either receiver made a play the drive would have ended with points and maybe the Giants would have regained momentum and control of the game. But as we all know, that wasn’t the case. Moss was also guilty of running a route in the opposite direction that The Quarterback was throwing.  I don’t know if someone changed the playbook on these guys but something was seriously wrong on Sunday.

Domenik Hixon had his first catch of the year for five yards, reminding us all just how desperate we will be at receiver should Plax be shut down for any period of time.

Tight Ends

A very uninspiring performance by Jeremy Shockey.  I just didn’t see any fire in him.  I hate to say it but he just looked like he was going through the motions out there.  Shockey also had a pass go through his hands.  It would have been a great catch had he been able to hold on as it was thrown a bit too far in front of him, but he should have had it nevertheless.  No one drop, or route that was run wrong lost this game.  They all however, did indeed contribute to an all out despicable performance by the offense.

Michael Matthews had a catch for three yards but spent the much of the day (when he was on the field) blocking… or trying to block.  Matthews actually did a good job of picking up the blitz on the thirty-yard completion to Toomer. On the play, Matthews started to engage one defender before sliding to the outside to pick up the linebacker and rode him back ten yards and out of the play.

Offensive Line

As I mentioned throughout, the once formidable Giants’ Offensive Line has not been so good since the bye week.  By the time the second half rolled around, running the ball was an afterthought as the score dictated the Giants air it out.  When it was all said and done, The Quarterback was sacked three times, hit eight times and hurried many more than that.  Screens weren’t set up properly, blitz assignments weren’t picked up well and yellow flags yet again, crippled drives. Two of them were declined, but David Diehl was flagged three times. For the third consecutive week Chris Snee was flagged as well.

It’s been a recurring theme for the past three weeks that this unit is just getting dominated physically at the line of scrimmage.  At times they are not getting off the ball quick enough and are forced into poor technique to try to sustain their blocks.  Once again, if this unit doesn’t shape up, the Offense doesn’t stand much of a chance.

On a positive note, Guy Whimper has done a decent job in spot duty the past two weeks.  Let’s hope Kareem McKenzie’s okay though, continuity is everything on the O-Line.

Defensive Line

ONLY the New York Giants can get a sack and a fumble on third and long and have the ball roll forward and be recovered 10 yards downfield for a first down.  Fortunately, that dose of bad luck didn’t end in a score for the Vikings, as the D halted the drive a short while later, but it’s exhibit A that the ball was not bouncing the Giants’ way on Sunday.

It shouldn’t go unnoticed that Fred Robbins really had a monster game.   He had one sack taken off the board due to a BS flag on Sam Madison and ended the day with 8 tackles and 1 ½  sacks.  He routinely got good penetration and was taking on two blockers for much of the afternoon.  His counterpart on the interior, Barry Cofield had probably his best game of the season with three tackles and also did a good job of holding his gaps and occupying blockers.

Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck were also busy stuffing the run and chasing Jackson around in and out of the pocket.  Osi had two sacks including the one on the dubious play I mentioned earlier and enjoyed Michael Strahan getting the bulk of the double coverage after his three sacks last week on the other side.  Strahan followed up his 3-sack game from last week with three missed sacks against the Vikings looking like a stooge letting Jackson slip away for a first down after a near sack that he just couldn’t hold on to.

Linebackers

Not a lot of tackles for this group, mainly because of the solid play of the D-Line in front of them.  Reggie Torbor had a pretty good game making his first start on the strong side now that Mathias Kiwanuka is out for the year.  Torbor ended up with four tackles, all of them solo and did a good job of reacting to the play.  He was never caught glaringly out of position and did a good job of wrapping up. In the first quarter, Torbor showed good range and exceptional speed, coming from the opposite side of the field to catch Chester Taylor from behind.

Let’s hope that Antonio Pierce’s ankle is not too bad as he’s sure to be busy on Sunday in Chicago.  Pierce did a lot of running against Minnesota, and ended up with six tackles but came dangerously close to getting flagged for late hits on two occasions.  Nothing special otherwise from Pierce, or Kawika Mitchell who jumped on top of the pile a few times, although he wasn’t credited with any tackles.

Cornerbacks

Take away the 60-yard bomb on the Vikes first possession and the Giants’ D numbers really look pretty good.  On that play Aaron Ross looked lost while the ball was in the air.  It was an ugly play defensively, and Ross wasn’t the same afterwards, getting beat a few more times on the day.  As it turns out, he left the game with a bruised hammy, and probably a bruised ego.

Kevin Dockery may be the most overlooked underrated player on the Giants D. He almost got a sack on a corner blitz, but hit Jackson just as he let go of the ball forcing the errant pass and a punt.  He continues to do a good job wrapping people up and ended up with four tackles, one of them being a punishing hit on the ball carrier.  Only problem was Dockery was the one who ended up being punished as he had to leave the game for a few plays after the hit.

Aside from prolonging a Minnesota drive with an illegal contact penalty that screwed Fred Robbins out of another sack, Sam Madison’s name was not called much on the afternoon.  He had only one tackle, but wasn’t challenged much.

Safeties

After two weeks making big plays to mask big mistakes, Gibril Wilson didn’t come up with any picks or recover any fumbles.  He didn’t break up any passes and he was one of about nine Giants to let Chester Taylor slip out of his grasp on Taylor’s one and only good run of the day that went for a score.  But Wilson, otherwise, was solid, finishing the day with seven tackles and often coming up to stop Taylor before he could gain a full head of steam.

Michael Johnson and James Butler split time opposite Wilson and both ended up with three tackles apiece. Neither were caught glaringly out of position but on a day where the Vikings didn’t really need their offense to score much; they didn’t have many opportunities to blow coverages.

Special Teams

You got the feeling pretty much right from the opening kickoff when Larry kicked the ball out of bounds, that this game was going to be a tough one for the Giants.  Somehow he willed a 48-yard kick through the uprights later in the game.  Go figure the biggest kick of his season was absolutely meaningless when it all was said and done.

Jeff Feagles had four punts, two of them landing inside the 20.  Coverage on kicks (what few there were) and punts was pretty good with the games lone highlight being Dave Tollefson knocking the snot out of Charles Gordon.

Ahmad Bradshaw should continue to return kickoffs, as field position has been routinely better for the Giants with Bradshaw as the deep man.

To Sum It Up…

Let’s not get too excited about how the Defense played though.  Minnesota sucks and even though the Giants shut down Chester Taylor, had Adrian Peterson played, the final score might have been 56 –17.  Even without Peterson, the Vikings were charmed on this day.  Even an extra point clanged off the upright and went through.  Hell, the Vikes’ D won the game 21-17 anyway.  As bad as the Giants’ offense played, they didn’t get any help from the refs as a clear as day horse collar on an Ahmad Bradshaw run was not called, nor was a blatant defensive pass interference call on what would have been Plaxico’s first TD of the game was not called either.

The bottom line is they were out-played and they were out-coached. Minnesota came in with a superior game plan.  They studied their tape of the Giants’ offense and scheme, and did a phenomenal job of changing their coverages, changing their looks and disguising things to bait receivers and The Quarterback in to the wrong reads.  Had Gilbride simplified things in the second half, maybe the Giants could have mounted a comeback.  Too many mistakes were made on this day.  Let’s hope that The Quarterback rebounds from this loss the way he did the last time he stunk it up against Minny with three TDs and no picks next week against Chicago.  For that to happen though, the O-Line will have to block better, the running game will have to get healthy quick, receivers will have to hold on to the damn ball, and penalties will have to be cut down.  This is as close to a must win for the Giants, as I’m not sure if they can withstand another week of media abuse should they let another game go down the tubes. And because Chicago is desperate, they are extremely dangerous and the Giants are a team on the ropes… At least right now.

(Box Score – Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants, November 25, 2007)

Anish’s Breakdown of Key Plays of the Game

by Anish Patel for BigBlueInteractive.com

Note:  Aside from being a die-hard Giants fan, Anish is a first-year tight ends coach at a Division III school.  He breaks down each game like he would when preparing for an opponent.

Quarter 1 – Series 2  – Play 13

Formation: Quads Left Slot Left
Play: Pass-Int TD by Sharper

  • Eli is blitzed by no one breaks for their routes.
  • Looks like he was looking for Shockey to break off his route but keeps going and Sharper comes in and picks it off and runs left for a TD.
  • Great blitz, oline a mess.
  • RE comes in wide on the rush so #41 blitzes “C” gap and #51 Leber blitzes “A” gap.
  • #56 gets hook zone on the play.
  • LE #96 drops back in coverage.

Quarter 1 – Series 3 – Play 19

Formation: Quads Right Switch
Play: Pass (Inc) intented for #83 Moss

  • Blitz “A” gap by #56 E.J. Henderson.
  • Delay stunt, and blitz by #94 Williams and other backer.
  • Williams goes strongside “B” gap & Lb at a “40” technique delays then blitzes “B” gap.
  • Burress in motion runs inside vertical release running an “In” in the middle of the field. Saftey is 4 yards off him when Eli releases the ball and it’s in mid air capturing Burress in the frame. At that specific moment the safety is still 4 yards off Burress. ( Does a good throw hit Burress in stride??)
  • # 81 Toomer outside vertical release stretches field horizontally and vertical by running towards the sidelines and up.
  • #83 Moss runs a curl route.

Quarter 2 – Series 4 – Play 23

Formation: Quads Right Slot Right
Play: Pass

  • Blitz “B” gap by #51 Leber.
  • LDT#94 Williams & LE #95 Udeze Slant weakside.
  • Other blitzer takes steps that way but comes “D” gap.
Nov 282007
 

New York Giants Waive HB/FB Patrick Pass:  The Giants waived HB/FB Patrick Pass yesterday.  The team had signed Pass just last week.

New York Giants Sign LB Tank Daniels to the 53-Man Roster:  The Giants signed LB Tank Daniels from the Practice Squad to the 53-man roster yesterday.

Very Interesting Article on the Giants and the Upcoming Offseason:  Giants GM Reese Watching Stretch Run Closely by Arthur Staple of Newsday.  Some of the points made within the article:

  • Speculation that Executive Vice President Steve Tisch may not support Head Coach Tom Coughlin.
  • There will be serious contract discussions with QB Eli Manning this upcoming offseason.
  • There have been discussions within the organization about whether or not to draft or sign a young quarterback.
  • Questions over the future of DE Michael Strahan and WR Amani Toomer.
  • The Giants are said to have initiated contract extension talks with DE Justin Tuck, HB Brandon Jacobs, RG Chris Snee, and FS Gibril Wilson.

Articles on QB Eli Manning: Giants GM Jerry Reese Calls Eli Manning ‘Skittish’ As Critics Pile On by Ralph Vacchiano of The New York Daily News

Article on P Jeff Feagles and Bears’ Returner Devin Hester: Feagles Plans to Play Keep-Away by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Nov 272007
 

November 26, 2007 New York Giants Injury Report:  LB Antonio Pierce sprained an ankle in the game against the Vikings and RT Kareem McKenzie suffered leg contusions.  “They are both sore,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.  “It looks like they will be okay but they are very sore today.  Hopefully that won’t affect them on (in practice on) Wednesday but they are sore.”

In addition, CB Aaron Ross has a hamstring injury.  “We are going to have to see,” said Coughlin.  “He is sore.  He was restricted during the game to just playing in a substituted defense.  Hopefully he can make some progress for the next couple of days but he is going to be limited no doubt.”

Coughlin was also asked about halfbacks Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) and Derrick Ward (groin/ankle) practicing on Wednesday.  “You are going to have to, like I am, wait and see what transpires,” responded Coughlin.  “Right now the idea that Ward would practice on Wednesday has been planted from the trainers and we will see.  He has another couple days to try to get ready and the word on Jacobs is not there yet.”

WR Steve Smith (hamstring) said he will attempt to give a go at practice again on Wednesday. “I feel pretty good,” Smith said. “It’s the best I’ve felt.”  But Smith also conceded he is unsure how his hamstring will respond. “I definitely can’t tell. I’m just hoping right now.”

Articles/Editorials on QB Eli Manning:

Nov 252007
 

Giants Crushed by Vikings as Manning Hands the Vikings 28 Points: It doesn’t get much worse for a quarterback than this.  Eli Manning all but handed the Vikings the game today as the Giants were blown out 41-17 by the Minnesota Vikings at the Meadowlands.  The Giants fell to 7-4 while the Vikings improved to 5-6.

Manning threw four interceptions, three of which were returned for touchdowns.  Another interception gave the Vikings the ball on the Giants’ 8-yard line and the Vikings scored on the very next play.  In effect, Manning handed the Vikings 28 points.  All of this against the League’s worst pass defense.

In his two games against the Vikings (the first being in 2005), Manning has thrown eight interceptions.

The defense didn’t exactly help set the tone either against one of the NFL’s worst passing attacks.  On the game’s second offensive play, the QB Tarvaris Jackson hit WR Sidney Rice for a 60-yard touchdown, beating CB Aaron Ross.  Jackson finished the day a near perfect 10-of-12 for 129 yards and a score, though nearly half of those yards came on that first passing play.

The Giants did respond with an 8-play, 65-yard drive on their first possession to tie the game a 7-7, with HB Reuben Droughns scoring from 1-yard out.  But that was the high point of the game for the New York.  It was all down hill after that.

On the Giants’ second drive of the game, Manning was picked off by safety Darren Sharper at the Giants’ 20-yard line.  Sharper returned the interception 20 yards for the score.  Vikings 14-Giants 7.

On the ensuing offensive possession, the drive stalled when Manning’s 4th-and-5 pass to WR Amani Toomer fell incomplete and the Giants turned the football over on downs at the Minnesota 35-yard line.  When New York got the ball back, Manning was intercepted by safety Dwight Smith at the Giants’ 27-yard line.  Smith returned the football 19 yards down to the Giants’ 8-yard line.  On the very next snap, HB Chester Taylor scored.  Vikings 21-Giants 7.

The Giants went three-and-out on their next drive.  The Vikings drove 37 yards in nine plays to set up a successful 46-yard field goal effort to take a 24-7 advantage.  The Giants could not move the ball on their final two possessions of the first half.

After halftime, the Giants received the ball first and moved 48 yards in 10 plays to set up a successful 48-yard field goal by PK Lawrence Tynes.  Vikings 24-Giants 10.  But the Vikings responded with a marathon 14-play, 69-yard drive that not only burned 9:24 off of the clock, but it set up another field goal to extend the Vikings’ lead back to 17 points.

All hope of any miracle comeback collapsed on the Giants’ next possession.  After driving to the Minnesota 11-yard line early in the 4th quarter, Manning was picked off for the third time, again by Smith.  Smith returned this pick 93 yards for the touchdown and a 34-10 lead.

Back out onto the field came Manning.  After a 6-yard completion to Toomer, Manning was picked off again by LB Chad Greenway at the Giants’ 37-yard line.  Greenway returned that interception for a score.  Vikings 41-Giants 10.

The Giants added a late score to make it Vikings 41-Giants 17.

“I wish there was some simple explanation for this game, but there isn’t,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin after the game. “We played very, very poorly. In the National Football League, you obviously cannot wrap it up and hand it to the guy across the field and we did. I did not, in my worst moment, ever think I would be standing here talking about history repeating itself, but it did. We talked about this during the course of the week with regard to the last time Minnesota came here. The interceptions for touchdowns, there is no excuse for it. You are not going to be able to win a football game when you give away the points that we did with the three scores and then the ball on the eight yard-line.”

“Obviously, I did a very poor job of getting them ready to play, and we could not at any time overcome the deficit that we presented to Minnesota,” continued Coughlin. “Give them credit, they played smart and they didn’t turn the ball over. As I said, I would have liked to have seen how, as I told the players, this game would have played out had we not provided them with a gift-wrapped win. We set our defenses to stop the run, they did obviously have some passes, but it was very, very competitive that way. I thought after we opened the second half and kicked the field goal and they drove it all the way down and kicked another field goal, I didn’t think that was a very good sign. We needed to get the ball back right there and we weren’t able to do that. There is no excuse for today and there is no explanation for it, and I started the year off with ‘talk is cheap, play the game,’ and obviously there is not a lot to talk about here.”

When Coughlin was asked how disappointed he was with the players’ performance, he responded, “No, disappointed is not a strong enough word, but it is not about just the players. We are all in this together, we are one, I feel very badly for the guys that didn’t play well. I feel badly for them. I wish I could tell you why. Again, we had a good week, the energy level was high, the enthusiasm was good, last night was good, we came to the stadium today with every intention of playing our best game, it just didn’t happen.”

“There were too many big plays and not enough execution on our part,” said CB Sam Madison. “It was in all three phases of the game. We let Eli down, our defense let us down. This was a total team effort, unfortunately. This was pretty much on all of us as a football team. It wasn’t on just one guy; it was on all of us.”

“You have to create your own opportunities, and that is what they did today,” said DE Michael Strahan. “There is a lesson to be learned from it. This is a tough, tough loss. We started out on the wrong foot in this game and it just kept going in their favor.”

“Obviously things didn’t go the way we wanted them to,” said LG Rich Seubert. “We just couldn’t get it turned around. This is on all of us. It is probably the worst game I have been a part of as a New York Giant. I’m embarrassed, and I’m sure a lot of other guys are here, too. We have to find a way to turn it around. We are still 7-4. We have five big games left.”

Post-Game Notes:  RT Kareem McKenzie and LB Antonio Pierce left the game early.   “I don’t have a lot to tell you about the injury situation,” said Coughlin. “We have a few guys that obviously came out, I think Antonio had an ankle and McKenzie was rolled up on the back of the leg and I don’t know how that is going to be. It will probably be tomorrow before I have anything further on those lines.”

Inactive for the Giants were HB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), HB Derrick Ward (groin/ankle), WR Steve Smith (hamstring/scapula), CB Corey Webster, OT Adam Koets, OG Kevin Boothe, and DT Manny Wright.  QB Jared Lorenzen was the third quarterback.

Nov 242007
 

November 23, 2007 New York Giants Injury Report:  Not practicing yesterday were HB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), and WR Steve Smith (hamstring).  Jacobs and Smith have officially been ruled out of  the game against the Vikings on Sunday.  Plaxico is “questionable” as usual.

HB Derrick Ward (groin/ankle) was limited in practice for the third straight day.  He is listed as “doubtful” for the game against the Vikings.

Practicing fully were FS Gibril Wilson (knee) and TE Michael Matthews (foot).  Both are listed as “probable” for the game.

CB Aaron Ross was limited in practice.  “He has been limited a little bit today,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin.  “He is fine.  He is okay. He was just sore.”

Notes: Former Giants’ linebacker Corey Widmer is recovering from serious injuries after a paragliding accident in the Chilean Andes. Widmer severely fractured a vertebrae, requiring the removal of two ribs to help stabilize his back.

Nov 232007
 

November 22, 2007 New York Giants Injury Report:  FS Gibril Wilson (knee) returned to practice yesterday.

Not practicing were TE Michael Matthews (foot), HB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), WR Plaxico Burress (ankle), and WR Steve Smith (hamstring/scapula).

HB Derrick Ward (groin/ankle) was limited for the second day in a row.

Article on HB Ahmad Bradshaw:  Bradshaw Relishes His Second Chance by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on LB Reggie Torbor and DT Fred Robbins:

Article on Offensive Line Coach Pat Flaherty:  Defying the Odds by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Nov 222007
 

November 21, 2007 New York Giants Injury Report:   FS Gibril Wilson appeared on the injury report yesterday with a knee injury and did not practice.  “He just has a sore knee,” said Head Coach Tom Coughlin before practice. “We are going to see where that goes today (on Wednesday). We just don’t want him to do anything that would set him back. So we will see how he is when he comes out. He may not get the full number of reps today. He may just go through individuals or however trainers see him on the field. He just went through the walk thru. He moved pretty well. But we will see.”

Also not practicing were HB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) and WR Plaxico Burress (ankle).  Coughlin said tests on Jacobs revealed a strain.  When asked for a timetable on Jacobs’ return, Coughlin said, “I would imagine it is going to be if it is not day-to-day, it is week-to-week.”

“I’ve never had this injury before, so we’re just going day-to-day,” said Jacobs. “It’s a little tight, but it’s nothing people should be worried about.  I don’t know what (the team’s) plans are. I’m just doing as they say – staying off of it and trying to stretch it a little bit, until they give me more direction.”

HB Derrick Ward (groin/ankle) was limited to individual drills. “Hopefully, tomorrow (on Thursday) I’ll increase my workload in the team periods (in practice),” Ward said. “I’ll see how it feels then. If I keep progressing, Sunday is looking very likely.”

Regarding WR Steve Smith (hamstring), Coughlin said before practice, “We are going to try to push him further into practice. We’ll see. You don’t know until you get out there and he gets into the individual part to see whether he can go any further. We just have to wait and see.”

The bad news is that it appears that Smith aggravated his injury in individual drills. “I can’t explode yet, it’s just not ready,” said Smith. “I try every week, and I don’t know if I’m re-injuring it or it’s getting better…I don’t think it was a setback…(It’s) real frustrating.”

When Smith was asked if he would try to practice again tomorrow, he said, “I think you shut it down. We know what kind of injury it is and we know it’s one of those that can be worse. It’s day to day.”  Smith said he would try to practice on Friday if the injury feels better.

Article on Head Coach Tom Coughlin:  Tom Coughlin Securing His Giant Future With Looser Attitude (and Victories) by Gary Myers of The Daily News

Article on HB Reuben Droughns:  Giants Turn to Reuben Droughns by Ralph Vacchiano of The Daily News

Notes and Quotes:  Reggie Torbor will start at strongside linebacker on Sunday with Gerris Wilkinson backing him up.

Before signing HB/FB Patrick Pass on Tuesday, the Giants tried out three other running backs: Kay-Jay Harris, Josh Scobey, and Eric Shelton. The Giants also worked out QB Jordan Palmer, the younger brother of Cincinnati QB Carson Palmer.

HB Reuben Droughns on the possibility that he will have to play a lot on Sunday:  “I’m very excited. This is an opportunity for me and Ahmad Bradshaw. We’re going to go in there with confidence and hopefully we can pick up the pace. I’ve been in this situation before. When I was with Denver a lot of injuries happened. I was fortunate to go in there and pick up the load.”

HB Ahmad Bradshaw on the possibility that he will play a lot on Sunday:  “It’s a wonderful opportunity. I’ve been waiting for this. I can’t do anything but take advantage of it.”

Head Coach Tom Coughlin on how he has changed this year:  “I think that people from afar look at it and try to figure out what exactly is this discussion about change, but I know that we set out to do a better job of communicating with the players, keeping the players informed, keeping them knowledgeable of what we were doing and why we were doing it. We formed a leadership council and we make sure that that group is fully aware of anything well in advance and then they in turn take the message that we’re trying to put forth to the team and the response of that has been good. I know that I have done a better job I think of letting the players know that I in fact do care about them and that it’s fun for me to coach because of the relationship that I have with the players. I don’t think I did a very good job many times of allowing the players to know that. Those would be the major changes. I think the philosophy, what we believe in, how we play, really as not changed at all. There are so many different things that I believe in that would never be compromised. I think we have done a better job of communication and I think the players are a little bit more at ease about that.”

DE Michael Strahan on Coughlin:  “He is the same coach as far as his attention to detail and his temperament and all those things, but I just think the fact that we have player councils and stuff like that and he gives the players a say in what goes on and he listens to the players now.  I think that is important because it gives us some ownership.  It makes us feel like we have ownership in what is going on around here and it has really made a lot of difference to a lot of guys…I just think he is a lot more at ease as a coach.  He doesn’t need to scream and holler and every day have all the tension and worry about the little minute things. I think he realizes he has veteran leaders who will take care of all the small things and make sure everybody stays in line and he runs the big ship.  I think that has worked out very, very well for everybody here.  It has made it very enjoyable.  I think everybody comes to work; everybody is enjoying it.  Obviously winning helps a lot of that too.  He has done a really, really good job of coaching this year and he definitely deserves it.”