Oct 312013
 
New York Giants Helmets (October 27, 2013)

New York Giants Helmets – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Giants.com Q&A With Wide Receivers Coach Kevin M. Gilbride: The video of a recent Giants.com Q&A session with Wide Receivers Coach Kevin M. Gilbride is available at Giants.com.

Giants.com Q&A With RB Andre Brown: The video of a recent Giants.com Q&A session with RB Andre Brown is available at Giants.com.

Article on the 2013 New York Giants: Thoughts on professionalism vs. adversity by Dan Graziano of ESPN.com

Article on OT Justin Pugh: Ex-NFL lineman: Giants’ Justin Pugh has outplayed NFL Draft’s top picks by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: Waiting for JPP’s Big Blue breakout by Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com

Articles on the New York Giants Linebackers:

Article on S Antrel Rolle: Antrel Rolle’s leadership giving Giants hope by Mark Cannizzaro of The New York Post

Article on Tom Landry and the New York Giants: Why Tom Landry died a Giants fan by Bart Hubbuch of The New York Post

Oct 302013
 
Terrell Thomas, New York Giants (October 6, 2013)

Terrell Thomas – © USA TODAY Sports Images

General Manager Jerry Reese on WFAN: The audio of Wednesday’s WFAN interview with General Manager Jerry Reese is available at CBSNewYork.com

David Diehl Doesn’t See Hakeem Nicks Returning to the Giants: OT David Diehl told ProFootballTalk.com on Wednesday that he does not see WR Hakeem Nicks returning to the Giants in 2014. Nicks will be an unrestricted free agent after the 2013 season.

“I don’t see it happening,” Diehl said. “I would love to see it, he is like a brother to me, he lived with me when he first got drafted by the Giants because we have the same agent. So I knew him coming out of college. But for the sheer fact that we just paid Victor Cruz, there is a lot of money to be had and Hakeem Nicks is a No. 1 receiver and someone is going to pay him that money.”

CB Terrell Thomas Named “NFC Defensive Player of the Week”: New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas has been named “NFC Defensive Player of the Week” for his performance against the Philadelphia Eagles last Sunday. Thomas led the Giants with 11 tackles (10 solo), a sack, and a forced fumble that was recovered by the Giants, ending Philadelphia’s most serious offensive scoring threat of the game.

Thomas is the first Giants’ cornerback to be named “NFC Defensive Player of the Week” since Aaron Ross in Week 11 of the 2008 season. The other Giants corners to win the award since its inception in 1984 are Everson Walls (1990), Jason Sehorn (twice in 1997), and Phillippi Sparks (1998).

This is the 37th time a Giants player has received the award.

Giants Workout 20 Players: As is usually the case on Tuesday, and especially during the week of the bye, the Giants worked out a number of street free agents on Tuesday, 20 to be specific. To see the full list of those who were worked out, see The-Star Ledger.

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Giants’ Tom Coughlin, Jerry Reese are in this together by Tara Sullivan of The Bergen Record

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese: How much blame does Giants GM Jerry Reese deserve? Here’s the verdict by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Article on QB Eli Manning: No one reason for Eli Manning’s picks by Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on TE Brandon Myers: Pope preaches patience with Myers by Kieran Darcy of ESPNNewYork.com

Articles on the Giants Defensive Line:

Article on S Will Hill: Safeties coach Merritt impressed by Will Hill by Dan Salomone of Giants.com

Oct 292013
 
Jerry Reese and John Mara, New York Giants (October 6, 2013)

Jerry Reese and John Mara – © USA TODAY Sports Images

NFL Trading Deadline Passes: The NFL’s trading deadline passed at 4:00PM on Tuesday. The New York Giants did not make any trades before the deadline this week.

General Manager Jerry Reese Addresses the Media: The transcript and video of Tuesday’s media session with General Manager Jerry Reese are available at Giants.com.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin on WFAN: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with Head Coach Tom Coughlin is available at CBSNewYork.com

Assistant Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Tuesday’s media sessions with the following assistant coaches are available at Giants.com:

DE Mathias Kiwanuka on ESPN Radio: The audio of Tuesday’s ESPN Radio interview with DE Mathias Kiwanuka is available at ESPN.com.

S Antrel Rolle on WFAN: The audio of Tuesday’s WFAN interview with S Antrel Rolle is available at CBSNewYork.com

Sights and Sounds from Giants-Eagles Game: A sights and sounds video from the Giants-Eagles game is available at Giants.com.

Article on the 2013 New York Giants: If Not Yet a Winner, the Giants Are a Different Team by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese and Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Giants GM would never get rid of Coughlin by Steve Serby of The New York Post

Articles on General Manager Jerry Reese:

Article on the New York Giants Offense: With More Run and Less Pass, the Giants Go Old-School by Jonathan Clegg of The Wall Street Journal

Article on the New York Giants Defense: Giant improvement came when Fewell simplified defense by Paul Schwartz of The New York Post

Article on RB Andre Brown: Andre Brown ‘ready’ to start for Giants after bye by Zach Braziller of The New York Post

Article on WR Hakeem Nicks: WRs coach: Nicks ready to break out by Matt Ehalt of ESPNNewYork.com

Article on LB Jon Beason: Giants Spotlight: Middle linebacker Jon Beason lives up to hype vs. Eagles by Jordan Raanan of NJ.com

Oct 282013
 
Will Hill, New York Giants (October 27, 2013)

Will Hill – © USA TODAY Sports Images

October 28, 2013 Tom Coughlin Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Monday press conference are available at Giants.com.

New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Monday’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

New York Giants on WFAN: The audio of Monday’s WFAN interviews with the following players are available at CBSNewYork.com:

  • QB Eli Manning (Audio)
  • P Steve Weatherford (Audio)

CB Terrell Thomas on ESPN Radio: The audio of Monday’s ESPN Radio interview with CB Terrell Thomas is available at ESPN.com.

Articles on the New York Giants Defense:

Notes: The victory against the Philadelphia Eagles snapped an 8-game road losing streak for the New York Giants. The Giants’ last road win had been against the Dallas Cowboys on October 28, 2012.

The last time the Giants won a game in which they did not score a touchdown was September 22, 2002, a 9-6 victory against the Seattle Seahawks.

The Giants’ defense has not allowed a touchdown by an opposing offense in 10 consecutive quarters, the team’s longest such streak since October-November 2005.

The Giants have the NFL’s best winning percentage before the bye (.760) with a 19-6 record.

The Giants’ all-time road record is now 292-291-17. They are the only current franchise that has a .500 or better all-time road record.

On his second pass of the game, a six-yard completion to WR Victor Cruz, QB Eli Manning passed Phil Simms and became the Giants’ career passing yardage leader. Manning now has 33,694 career passing yards, surpassing Simms’ 33,462 passing yards. Manning already owns the Giants’ records for attempts, completions, and touchdowns.

Oct 272013
 
Linval Joseph, New York Giants (October 27, 2013)

Linval Joseph Sacks Matt Barkley – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Defeat Philadelphia Eagles 15-7: The New York Giants defeated the Philadelphia Eagles 15-7 on Sunday afternoon at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The victory was the second win in a row for the Giants and their first road victory in eight games. The Giants are now 2-6 overall and 1-2 in the NFC East.

With the Cowboys falling to the Lions, though New York is still in last place in the division, the Giants are unbelievably only two games out of first place in the terrible NFC East.

“The key to the turnaround has been our enthusiasm,” said safety Antrel Rolle after the game. “After the 0-6 record, the coaches and players got together and we got on the same page. There were a lot of in-depth conversations. There was a lot of speaking as men to men, understanding your strengths and weaknesses and just the coaches and players being on the same page at the same time. As well as the coaches trusting the players and the players trusting the coaches and I think it’s definitely shown in our performance.”

The Giants did not score a touchdown, but controlled the game, holding advantages in total net yards (325 to 201), net yards rushing (88 to 48), net yards passing (237 to 153), total offensive plays (71 to 58), and time of possession (38:05 to 21:55). The Giants only committed one turnover (on special teams), while forcing three turnovers. On the downside, the Giants were penalized 11 times for 92 yards and were 0-2 in red zone opportunities.

For the second game in a row, the Giants’ defense shutout an opponent. The Eagles had 11 offensive possessions in the game. Three ended in turnovers, two on downs, and six with punts.

Four of the Giants’ six first-half possessions resulted in field goals. After a three-and-out on the Giants’ first drive, New York got the ball back three plays later with an interception by Rolle. The Giants then drove the ball 57 yards in nine plays to set up a 40-yard field goal by PK Josh Brown. The Eagles went three-and-out on their second possession and the Giants responded with a 7-play, 45-yard drive that ended with a 44-yard field goal by Brown. The Eagles picked up one first down and punted and the Giants went 48 yards in 12 plays, resulting in yet another Brown field goal, this one from 33 yards out. The Eagles picked up one more first down on fourth possession and then punted. Up until this point, halfway through the second quarter, the Eagles only had accrued two first downs in the game. The Giants responded with a 9-play, 53-yard drive and a 46-yard field goal by Brown.

With 2:24 left in the half, QB Matt Barkley replaced the ineffective QB Michael Vick. The Eagles quickly drove from their own 20-yard line to the Giants’ 2-yard line with 1:14 left in the half. But on 1st-and-goal, Barkley was sacked by CB Terrell Thomas. Barkley fumbled and LB Jacquian Williams recovered the loose ball at the Giants’ 12-yard line.

At the half, the Giants led 12-0.

The Eagles received the football to start the third quarter and Philadelphia again moved the ball, driving from their own 25 to the Giants’ 26-yard line. But after a sack by DE Mathias Kiwanuka, Barkley’s 4th-and-10 pass fell incomplete and the Giants took over on downs.

Neither team could pick up a first down on each of their next two possessions, resulting in four punts. At the end of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter, New York put together their final scoring drive of the game, driving 32 yards in nine plays to set up a 27-yard field goal as the Giants went up 15-0 with 12:23 to play.

Both teams then exchanged punts again. The Eagles went for it on 4th-and-20 with 5:20 left in the game from the Giants’ 46, but the play only picked up five yards. The Giants could not run out the clock and with 4:19 to play, long snapper Zak DeOssie’s snap went over punter Steve Weatherford’s head and the Eagles recovered the loose ball for a touchdown. Giants 15 – Eagles 7.

Rolle recovered the Eagles’ onsides kick. Despite a delay of game penalty, the Giants were able to at least pick up one first down before punting with 36 seconds left in the game. Two plays later, safety Will Hill ended the game by picking off a deep sideline pass by Barkley at the Giants’ 38-yard line.

Offensively, QB Eli Manning finished the game 25-of-39 for 246 yards, 0 touchdowns, and 0 interceptions. Wideouts Victor Cruz (seven catches for 86 yards) and Hakeem Nicks (7 catches for 51 yards) were the leading receivers. RB Peyton Hillis carried the ball 20 times for 70 yards while RB Michael Cox chipped in with 19 yards on nine carries.

Defensively, Terrell Thomas had a team-high 11 tackles, one sack, and one forced fumble. Safeties Antrel Rolle and Will Hill both had interceptions, and Rolle also had a sack. DE Mathias Kiwanuka and DT Linval Joseph each had sacks too. LB Jacquian Williams recovered a fumble. The Giants had four sacks overall, coming into the game with only six on the season.

On special teams, Josh Brown was 5-for-5 on field goal attempts. But the Giants gave up their fourth special teams touchdown this season.

Video highlights are available at NFL.com.

Injury Report: WR Victor Cruz left with a stinger but returned. X-rays were negative.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Post-Game Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s post-game press conference are available at Giants.com.

Player Post-Game Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of post-game media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Post-Game Notes: Inactive for the Giants were QB Ryan Nassib, RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), RB David Wilson (neck), TE Adrien Robinson (foot), OC Dallas Reynolds, DT Shaun Rogers (knee), and CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring).

Oct 272013
 
Johnathan Hankins, New York Giants (October 6, 2013)

Johnathan Hankins – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Brandon Jacobs Travels to Philadelphia, But Shaun Rogers Out: On Friday, RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), DT Shaun Rogers (knee), and CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring) were listed as “doubtful” for the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday. However, Rogers and Hosley did not make the trip to Philadelphia on Saturday and have been downgraded to “out.” Jacobs did make the trip; it remains to be seen if he will suit up.

RB David Wilson (neck) will not play. TE Adrien Robinson (foot) and CB Corey Webster (groin) are “questionable.”

LB Spencer Paysinger (ankle), CB Terrell Thomas (knee), and S Cooper Taylor (shoulder) are “probable.”

Article on Beason, Hillis, Cordle, Conner, and Hill: New Names Play Giant Roles by Jonathan Clegg of The Wall Street Journal

Articles on OC Jim Cordle:

Article on DT Johnathan Hankins: Giants rookie Johnathan Hankins aims to make impact on ‘D’ by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Articles on LB Jon Beason:

Oct 252013
 
Victor Cruz, New York Giants (October 6, 2013)

Victor Cruz – © USA TODAY Sports Images

October 25, 2013 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Friday were RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), RB David Wilson (neck), and DT Shaun Rogers (knee). Wilson has been officially ruled “out” of the game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday; Jacobs and Rogers are “doubtful.”

Practicing on a limited basis were TE Adrien Robinson (foot), LB Spencer Paysinger (ankle), CB Corey Webster (groin), CB Terrell Thomas (knee), and CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring). Hosley is “doubtful” for the game on Sunday; Robinson and Webster are “questionable,” and Paysinger and Thomas are “probable.”

S Cooper Taylor (shoulder) fully practiced and is “probable” for the game.

Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Press Conference: The transcript and video of Head Coach Tom Coughlin’s Friday press conference are available at Giants.com.

Giants.com Q&A With Head Coach Tom Coughlin: Coughlin Corner: Keep the winning attitude by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Friday’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on General Manager Jerry Reese: Reese has some explaining to do by Johnette Howard of ESPNNewYork.com

Articles on the Giants Special Teams:

Oct 252013
 
Justin Tuck, New York Giants (October 6, 2013)

Justin Tuck – © USA TODAY Sports Images

Approach to the Game – New York Giants at Philadelphia Eagles, October 27, 2013: In 1994, the Giants started the season 3-0. The team then lost seven games in a row. At 3-7, the season looked over. But with Dave Brown at quarterback, a decent running game, and an improving defense, the Giants won their final six games and just barely missed the playoffs. And the game that started them off on that winning streak was an ugly, ugly 13-10 win against a lowly Houston Oilers team.

The good news is that the Giants are not dead. And even counting the losses to the Eagles and Bears, the team is clearly playing better. The Giants are playing more physically on both sides of the football and new additions John Conner, Jon Beason, and Peyton Hillis have helped. The defensive line showed signs of coming out of its funk against the Vikings.

The bad news is the Giants no longer have any room for error. Simply put, the Eagles game is as “must” a game as one can get. We all thought the same thing heading into each of the four previous losses, and yet those games were all losses. The Vikings game proved that if the Giants can win the turnover battle, they can win the game, but they got lucky too, with two lucky bounces on fumbles and a dropped pick-6. And Josh Freeman was horrible.

But like the game against the Oilers in 1994, the Giants may just have needed a win, no matter how ugly it was, to start turning things around. False hope? We shall soon find out.

What we do know is this – something has to give. The Eagles have lost nine home games in a row, the last victory being – you guessed it – against the New York Giants. At the same time, the once “road warrior” Giants have lost eight away games in a row. Both teams have issues. But when these two teams get together, there are usually some interesting fireworks.

Giants on Offense: It’s about the turnovers. If the Giants don’t turn over the ball, they probably win. There were no offensive turnovers against Minnesota, but as mentioned, the Giants got a bit lucky too. What was interesting was the strong commitment to the running game, despite the lack of overall productivity (two yards per carry), and even more importantly, the focus on the short passing game to the running backs and fullback. Given the chaotic state of the offensive line, where has the latter been all year? Will that continue? Hillis may lack wiggle, but he seems to have a knack for being a factor in the passing game, as was demonstrated in Cleveland as well. If the Eagles focus most of their attention on the wide receivers, Hillis could continue to do some damage catching the football.

A key question is will Brandon Jacobs (hamstring) be able to play? And if he does, how effective will he be? He had an inspirational game against the Bears and it would be better for the Giants to have his veteran presence in the lineup in the hostile Philly environment rather than the inexperienced Michael Cox. John Conner has been a tremendous addition to the Giants and Conner, Jacobs, and Hillis bring a physicality to the offense that was missing earlier in the season. Eagle defenders have talked about it themselves this week. Jacobs is officially doubtful for the game. If I’m the Giants, I play him. If the Giants lose this game, the season is over. If they lose Jacobs, Andre Brown will be back after the bye week.

The Eagles’ defense was atrocious to start the year, but has played much better since – yup – the Giants game. Their best game of the season was last week against the Cowboys, even though Dallas ended up winning that game. Philadelphia is aggressive and chaotic up front, and they dare you to beat their big corners outside, who play tight, aggressive coverage. In the last Giants-Eagles game, the Giants receivers were doing some damage against the Eagles secondary with quicker passes, then the Giants, for some reason, moved away from that. The temptation will be there to use the deep ball – the 7-step drop and go for the throat. And I do think the Giants should take a couple of shots. But a steady diet of shorter drops, quicker throws did work, is better suited for a shaky offensive line. It’s up to the wide receivers to win those one-on-one match-ups. If they do, and Eli takes care of the football, they will be able to move the ball. The Eagles seem to bring out the best in Rueben Randle, and Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are due for big games.

Obviously, much depends on the offensive line. Cordle is now the center for the remainder of the year. He’s actually been decent, but teams have been testing the Giants’ center and guards with inside pressure. This is another reason to get rid of the ball more quickly. The Eagles are going to try to confuse and intimidate the front. They will want to stuff the running game and make the Giants one-dimensional. The Giants must, absolutely must, stay out of third-and-long situations.

The big dilemma is this: can the Giants afford to be patient with the running game early against a defense that is likely to stack against the run? If they were playing the Vikings, yes because the Vikings couldn’t move the ball. But I don’t think they can do that against the Eagles unless the Giants simply can out-man them across the board up front. But I don’t have that much confidence that the offensive line and tight ends will be able to do that on a consistent basis early. It would be great if the Giants could simply out-power and run over the Eagles, but I’m not sure I would take that chance. I would come out throwing quickly to the backs and receivers, and then come back hard with the running game once the Eagles are more back on their heels. Unlike the Vikings, the Eagles are going to score; the Giants must keep pace.

Giants on Defense: Not to sound like a broken record, but it’s about defending LeSean McCoy, DeSean Jackson, and Michael Vick – and in that order. Also, watch out for those tight ends, including Brent Celek who has a history of making that one play that hurts New York, and the emerging Zach Ertz, who has become a security blanket for Eagles’ quarterbacks.

The Giants did an excellent job of McCoy in the first game, but still lost the game. That would seem to suggest he isn’t the most important cog. I would vehemently disagree with that. McCoy is still the straw that stirs the Eagles’ offense, both as a runner (leading the NFL in rushing) and receiver (third-leading receiver on team). If you keep McCoy in check, your chances of winning the game improve dramatically.

Jackson had a big game against the Giants in Week 5 with seven catches for 132 yards and one touchdown as he was covered by both Trumaine McBride and Prince Amukamara. Both will probably be on the spot again. McBride had a chance to pick off a pass last time against Jackson, but the ball went through his hands on a 56-yard reception. He obviously is the explosive, deep-play guy you have to keep in check.

Vick (hamstring) returns for the first time since – yup – the Giants game. He hurt New York more with his feet than his passing. And it wasn’t so much about getting to the edges and the defensive ends not containing, but it was the defensive tackles who allowed him to scramble up the middle. Will the hamstring impact his ability to scramble? Regardless, pocket discipline by the line is probably more important than sacks this week. I’m sure fans don’t want to hear that, but you can’t allow Vick to run for 20-yard chunks or you are going to lose the game. DT Shaun Rogers (knee) is doubtful so pressure will be on Mike Patterson and Johnathan Hankins to perform as reserves.

Giants on Special Teams: Obviously the special teams coverage units are really hurting the Giants right now. The Giants have given up three long touchdowns on punt returns and they almost gave up a 109-yard kickoff return against the Vikings in addition to the 86-yard punt return.

The Giants’ return game has been anemic. Could Eagle-killer Randle finally break one here?

One area where the Giants have been flashing is rushing the punter. They seem to come close to blocking a punt almost every week.

Oct 252013
 
Peyton Hillis, New York Giants (October 21, 2013)

Peyton Hillis Celebrates His Touchdown – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants 23 – Minnesota Vikings 7

Game Review: The New World. Within a week of the most ridiculous of Federal holidays, Columbus Day, the Giants got a taste of what it must have been like back in fourteen hundred and ninety two when Columbus sailed the ocean blue and landed…here instead of his intended India. A monumental discovery no doubt, but in his infinite wisdom Columbus thought he HAD landed in India, named the natives Indians and was the impetus for a dizzying array of highly offensive sports nicknames and the eventual dislodging of America’s native peoples in a not so nice way. I know what certain BBI contributors are thinking “Another Fozzie Bear type review from a hack comedian”, but in this intro I have a point, albeit not a strong one. The Giants discovered their own new world, Victory and like Columbus before them, they stumbled and bumbled their way through it, but it may be the day that we all point to as a day the Giants vanquished the ignominious O fer in their O for 6 record. Is it what the crown (The Mara Family) intended when they funded this journey (the 2013 season)? Not quite, but like Columbus in his day there is no reason the Giants can’t pull a Pee-Wee Herman and say “I meant to do that”.

In a game rife with mistakes, the Giants made fewer, and that’s really the crux of this game and sadly the season to date. With David Wilson, Andre Brown, Da’Rel Scott and Brandon Jacobs either injured or sitting home the Giants turned to 7th round pick Michael Cox and former Madden Cover Boy Peyton Hillis to save their spiraling season. From the opening gun, which should have been used to put viewers down humanely, the Giants had one plan and one plan only; to control the clock, shorten the game and limit mistakes. It worked during two recent Super Bowl runs and it was again the formula for victory despite its ugly appearance. The Giants embarked on a trail of tears type of drive as the game opened, grinding out a 17-play, 68-yard drive that ate up 9:36 and resulted in a 35-yard Josh Brown FG and a 3-0 lead. Despite little running room, the Giants remained patient on the ground, didn’t force anything down field and put together a solid, if unspectacular opening drive. That’s lead as in being ahead, not the dangerous paint additive that insulates one against nuclear fallout, though it felt like nuclear winter for much of the night.

The 3-0 lead was short lived sadly, as the Giants unspecial teams gave up an all-too-easy 86-yard punt return to CB Marcus Sherels who barely had to break stride en route to the end zone. At some point, Tom Quinn has to be held accountable for the awful special teams’ performance this year. After trading punts, the Giants put together a 7-play, 82-yard scoring drive highlighted by a 23-yard pass interference penalty against Nicks by rookie CB Xavier Rhodes. One play later, Manning found WR Rueben Randle on a back shoulder throw down the left sideline for a 24-yard TD and a 10-7 lead that was outrageously safe with new Viking QB Josh Freeman simply giving the Minnesota offense no chance to succeed. Freeman’s best sequence was back-to-back completions on the Vikings next drive, hitting Adrian Peterson and Kyle Rudolph for 22 and 21 yards respectively. The drive failed after the Giants completely stifled Adrian Peterson on back-to-back runs and Freeman failed to convert a 3rd and 8 that led to a missed 53-yard field goal and the Vikings last real threat of the evening. The teams traded four more punts to end the first half with a 10-3 Giant lead.

Naturally as the 3rd quarter unfolded, catastrophe struck again after the Giants forced another three-and-out and the Vikings were forced to punt to Rueben Randle. Randle, of course since this is our unlucky 2013 season and it is special teams, fumbled the punt away at the Giant 31-yard line and disaster appeared ready yet again. Fortunately for Randle, S Antrel Rolle picked off Freeman at the Giant 5-yard line two plays later to grant Special Teams Coordinator Tom Quinn yet another escape that would have Rasputin asking him for survival tips. At some point those nudies of Coughlin that Quinn clearly has will stop working and he’ll be shown the door but until then it’s punt return TDs for EVERYONE!!! The repeated failures on special teams are nothing short of sickening. Three more awful drives later, the Giants special teams recovered a mishandled punt at the Viking 3-yard line, and Peyton Hillis punched it in two plays later for a 17-3 lead that would hold up all evening with two more Josh Brown field goals tossed in for a merciful end to the losing streak and this abysmal game. Giants win….that’s right WIN 23-7. Uglier than my first girlfriend, but just as satisfying that we finally got it done.

Quarterbacks: Eli Manning essentially got his drive train back to neutral, nothing great, but more importantly nothing disastrous en route to a 200 yard 1-TD and zero-interception performance. The worst thing the Giants captain and signal caller did was look like a baby calf at a rodeo as he was hauled down by one meaty paw of Vikings DE Jared Allen. Manning was able to convert the Giants first first down with an ungainly 6-yard gallop on 3rd and 5 in keeping with the ugly theme of the night. Manning almost short circuited the Giants’ opening drive on a misfire to TE Larry Donnell, who was eaten by an apparent turf monster on his way to running a post. Manning converted two 3rd and 3 opportunities on the opening drive, but just missed hitting a wide open Hakeem Nicks on another in the end zone that should have been a 7-0 lead. Manning misfired badly again on a Hillis safety valve route that could have easily gone for 20+ yards but Eli hurried the throw, didn’t set his feet and fired too hard and too high again. Two drives, two wide open misses for absolutely no reason. Manning did however trust RB Peyton Hillis enough to wisely use him as a checkdown option instead of forcing too many deep throws and it was simply enough to win which for the two-time Lombardi Winner has to feel pretty good at this point. Give Eli credit, he was patient and methodical, leading the Giants on 16- and 17-play scoring drives, both of which combined to eat up 18:07 of game clock. When all else fails, ball control to the rescue.

Running Backs: One week after Brandon Jacobs bulled his way to 106 yards, the Giants leading rusher was Chief, Brown and Buccaneer castoff Peyton Hillis who slowly churned to 36 yards on 18 agonizing carries. Hillis wasn’t great, but per the theme of this evening he wasn’t terrible either which was enough. Hillis’ main contribution was as a reliable check down option in which he managed 45 yards on five catches and provided Manning with an outlet when his makeshift OL was unable to slow down the Vikings pass rush. Hillis was able to do what Giant backs have yet to master, check for unblocked rushers and leak out down field to provide an option for Eli Manning. Credit Hillis’ time in former Giant QB coach Mike Sullivan’s offense in Tampa Bay for his ability to come in and contribute solid minutes after just days on the team. Rookie Michael Cox had little room to operate and was only capable of 23 yards on 11 carries but again, no major gaffes and more importantly no turnovers. Cox showed some burst on his first run that went for seven yards, but was hemmed in most of night by a Viking front that was rarely fooled by the Giants running game. At first glance, it looked as if Cox had an OK night, taking some short dive plays early for positive yardage, but his late game negative runs skewed the box score a bit in the Vikings’ favor. Cox definitely showed the ability to hit the hole quickly and grind ahead for positive yards; his big losses came on more ill-advised wide running plays that don’t play to Cox’s strength. FB John Conner chipped in with 17 yards on three outlet catches and again showed some burst from the lead back slot, slamming ahead to clear the way for Hillis’ 1-yard 3rd quarter TD plunge. If you do one thing watching these games, pay attention to Conner when he’s the lead on any ISO plays. It is a treat to watch his short area explosiveness in the running game.

Wide Receivers: WR Rueben Randle was the only Giant WR who got on the board, hauling in a 24-yard back shoulder fade from Manning in the 2nd quarter in which he swooped over his defender and made a catch good enough to make you forget his unforced route errors the previous few weeks. Randle finished with 40 yards and only three catches, but he made his longest one count and his first grab was a key 3rd and 3 conversion on a well-run curl route just inside of LB Chad Greenway. Randle, unlike in previous weeks, read the outside coverage correctly and wisely cut his route inside to pick up the first down. It was only eights yards, but a good sign for the second-year wide out that he’s cleaning up the little route misreads he’s made that have resulted in some ugly turnovers. Victor Cruz was again bottled up deep, with the Vikings keenly aware that he has thus far been the Giants only true scoring threat. Cruz’s long was only 13 yards en route to a 50-yard, 5-grab outing. But again, it was enough. Hakeem Nicks, perhaps not wanting to capitalize on a free agent opportunity, let two easy slants bounce right off his foam finger sized hands and saw a sure TD glance off his fingertips on the Giants opening salvo. The 12-15 yard Dig (deep in) route that used to be the staple of this offense when it was pass blocking better has been replaced by the slant and it’s imperative that Nicks pulls those in; it’s becomes the focal point of the offense and opens up the rest of field IF executed well. That repeated failure to secure the ball is killing drives, his free agent bonanza and the final few hair follicles who have the courage to still be on my head. Nicks finished with a very quiet 28 yards on only two catches and just looked plain bad.

Tight Ends: Despite a paucity of talent, the Giants used all three TEs extensively, mostly as extra blockers to slow down the Vikings all-too-predictable and Jon Gruden-belabored A-gap pressures. Give credit to Brandon Myers – he stonewalled DE Jared Allen one-on-one on Eli’s 6-yard first down run early in the game, but finished with only 15 yards on two grabs. Myers did have a key 3rd down conversion on 3rd and 3 on the Giants’ opening drive. Myers was again used in short motion, often up the A-gap to aid the Giants’ struggling interior OL and again it seemed to help Eli have just enough time to make the throws he needed to keep this team alive during the game. Larry Donnell did make a sneaky move downfield as I predicted, but he decided to fall down on an inside route that almost caused an INT on the Giants’ opening drive. Solid edge blocking by Donnell again, and Myers has improved to just below marginal as an in line blocker. Figure Myers to hover around the in-line blocking Mendoza line, if there was such a thing. TE Bear Pascoe had visions of Renaldo Nehemiah, trying to hurdle a defender on his lone reception, but a well-timed helmet to the nether regions brought the former Bulldog down to Earth and down a few octaves from the look of it.

Offensive Line: Hope sprung a tad with C David Baas finally returning to action but a knee injury sidelined the former Wolverine early in the game and his season has mercifully ended this week after another week-in and week-out battle with any joint that dared to pick a fight with Ronnie Barnes and the training staff. C Jim Cordle again acquitted himself pretty well and seems to be settling in a bit at the pivot. Most of the inside pressure was honestly from guards Kevin Boothe and David Diehl simply not getting their hands on their Viking counterparts quickly enough. Cordle more than held his own inside against massive DT Kevin Williams. Despite the hilarious and humiliating one-handed rodeo yank down of Eli Manning, DE Jared Allen was held in check by LT Will Beatty. Beatty wasn’t given much help against the All-Pro DE and he did a great job, that head-shaking sack aside. RT Justin Pugh was so-so, and gave up a few outside pressures, but it was against some seven, eight and nine man fronts that seemed to give the Giants some communication issues up front all night. I have no idea why, but Beatty was lined up at TE next to Pugh on a Michael Cox run that lost five yards behind James Brewer at LT. If that’s not telegraphing a running play…stop…I don’t know what it is…stop. Bad design and awful play, let’s hope Gilbride puts that in his hope chest and never takes it back out.

Defensive Line: Holding MVP Adrian Peterson to 28 yards on 13 carries is something to hang your hat on, but the Giants again came up short in the sack department. Again, credit the DT group of Cullen Jenkins, Mike Patterson, Linval Joseph and Shaun Rogers, they simply collapsed the middle and didn’t allow Peterson even a glimpse of an opening all evening. With little threat from the passing game, the job was no doubt easier, but stifling Peterson to that extent is impressive no matter how you slice it. It was pressure by Shaun Rogers that forced Freeman into his lone interception; it was also Freeman’s tremendous level of suck but give Rogers the nod here. DE Justin Tuck showed up early with a great inside move to stuff Peterson on the Vikings’ opening drive and pressuring Freeman on a 3rd down one play later. Tuck was active all night, finishing with four stops and a sack, but more importantly, looking motivated and playing with a lot more fire than he has all season.

He’s baaaack..sorta. DE Jason Pierre-Paul again played a little bit better this week, and his trademark hustle appears to be coming back. Lining up mostly at RDE, JPP was stout and active against the run, knifing inside on a dive away from him to bring down Adrian Peterson at the line of scrimmage. Just a play later, JPP helped chase down WR Cordarrelle Patterson and combine with Will Hill to snuff out a 3rd down again just short of the marker. Keep in mind, despite the outcry over JPP’s labanza and his low sack totals, back surgery takes physical and mental hurdles to clear and JPP appears to be on his way to clearing both. It will likely be 2014 before his real ability but each week the former Bull pushes a little bit closer to his old form.

Linebackers: Keith Rivers still stinks, but MLB Jon Beason again provided the fireworks with nine stops and a ton of added energy to the Giants defense. Beason saw fewer snaps on 3rd down than he did a week ago, giving way to Jacquian Williams on occasion and Williams responded with solid coverage and five solo stops of his own. Beason simply injects an energy into this group and the whole defense that has been missing since late in 2012. And no loyal readers (if there are any this week), you aren’t the only one watching and thinking “So THAT’S what a LB looks like”. For good measure Beason tried his own rodeo move, impressively hauling down Adrian Peterson by the wing after it looked like Peterson may have broken through finally. During his time at Oregon, Spencer Paysinger, blah blah blah, I don’t like him.

Defensive Backs: For anyone looking at Antrel Rolle’s cap number and assuming he’s a cap casualty, please picture this deep patrol without his leadership. Rolle was all over the field, finishing with five tackles, a one-handed INT and one near INT on a perfect read of an out route. For good measure, Rolle prevented a Cordarrelle Patterson TD after the former Vol had sprinted to a 69-yard kick return and an almost sure TD until Rolle knocked him off course. S Will Hill chipped in with four stops and was again aggressive, chopping down TE Kyle Rudolph in the open field on a 3rd and 8 that snuffed out a Viking drive 1-yard short of the marker. Hill did it again to whatshisname Patterson a few drives later that again closed out a Viking drive. CB Prince Amukamara threw in five stops and quite frankly was never in any real danger with Josh Freeman at the helm.

Special Teams: Special Teams clearly got sick of giving them the poop stick each week, giving up a punt return TD, fumbling away a punt deep in our own territory and recovering a punt deep inside Vikings territory. P Steve Weatherford was much improved again and appears to be on point again but his directional punt clearly flummoxed the coverage team as almost no one came close to Sherels on his TD return. For good measure Cordarrelle (Ok that’s the third time I’ve had type that ridiculous name…I hate typing that name, try it…it may be THE new leading cause of carpal tunnel syndrome…thanks Mrs. Patterson, name your next kid Max or something) almost returned a kickoff 109 yards. For good measure the Giants’ return teams racked up 50 yards total for the game, or less than Cor (no effing way I’m typing it again)…Patterson’s longest kickoff return. Tom Quinn, your feathered and lethal haircut has run out of cache, you need to go immediately.

Cram it in your Cramhole Award: It has to go to DE Jared Allen for having the nerve to use one oven mitt to drag Eli Manning to the turf around the body of LT Will Beatty. Eli tried to wiggle free a la Super Bowl XLVII, but Virginia Hillbilly Tip of the week…don’t shake hands with a bow hunter or try to escape his grasp in a football game. I don’t know if it’s sitting in a tree blind at 4 a.m. in the freezing cold or hauling their kills by the antlers, but every bow hunter I’ve ever met could crush your hand Robo-Cop style, so go for the high five, or the fist bump, if you don’t mind a hand smelling of deer urine. But please…please don’t shake their hands unless you’re the Six Million Dollar Man, The Terminator or Bob Dole. Honorable Mention to Mrs. Patterson for producing the most un-typable first name in half-baked Giant review history.

(Boxscore – Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants, October 21, 2013)
Oct 242013
 
Minnesota Vikings at New York Giants (October 21, 2013)

Team! – © USA TODAY Sports Images

New York Giants Re-Sign Center Dallas Reynolds: The Giants re-signed center Dallas Reynolds on Thursday, a day after they placed center David Baas on season-ending Injured Reserve. Reynolds had spent a few days with the Giants in early October before being waived on October 5th.

October 24, 2013 New York Giants Injury Report: Not practicing on Thursday were RB Brandon Jacobs (hamstring), RB David Wilson (neck), DT Shaun Rogers (knee), and CB Corey Webster (groin).

Practicing on a limited basis were TE Adrien Robinson (foot), LB Spencer Paysinger (ankle), CB Terrell Thomas (knee), and CB Jayron Hosley (hamstring).

S Cooper Taylor (shoulder) fully practiced.

New York Giants Coach Media Q&As: Transcripts and video clips of Thursday’s media sessions with the following coaches are available at Giants.com:

New York Giants Player Media Q&As: Transcripts and video of Thursday’s media Q&As with the following players are available at Giants.com:

Article on the 2013 New York Giants: Ten Things That Have to Happen for Giants to Make Playoffs by Jonathan Clegg of The Wall Street Journal

Article on Giants Treasurer Jonathan Tisch: Giants co-owner gives Tom Coughlin his endorsement by Bart Hubbuch of The New York Post

Article on WR Hakeem Nicks: Nicks Struggles as Free Agency Looms by Bill Pennington of The New York Times

Article on OC Jim Cordle: Giants center matures by Art Stapleton of The Bergen Record

Article on DE Jason Pierre-Paul: JPP still looking to return to 2011 form by Michael Eisen of Giants.com

Article on LB Jon Beason: Jon Beason wants to remain a Giant for life by Dave Hutchinson of The Star-Ledger