Bio not provided
My thoughts exactly. I've been too busy today to follow what I'm sure are the many attempts to exonerate Sherman, whether by claiming he was provoked by Crabtree, or implying it's somehow "racist" to believe that even, perhaps especially brutal sports like football and hockey should give way at the end to a gentlemanly code of conduct and sportsmanship, or that it's OK to talk smack, even after the game's over, so long as you can "back it up." I don't agree with any of it, but let's just address Sherman's postgame attempt to pin this on Crabtree. But if that's all it was, why did you have to run over to Kaepernick after the INT and make a slashing hand gesture to the throat? Because he "disrespected" you by throwing in your direction? When simply trying to make a play in the course of a football game constitutes "disrespect," the term has lost all meaning. I was really appalled by Sherman's classlessness in winning and hope that Peyton and the Denver WRs can figure out a way of teaching him a thing or two.
On another matter entirely, I'm very encouraged by everything I've read about Ben McAdoo, in particular the excellent piece by Connor Orr in yesterday's "Star-Ledger." I find the argument that Eli's not cut-out for an offense that would rely more on West Coast principles to be frankly absurd. First of all, there will still be plenty of opportunities to throw the long ball. It's not as if Aaron Rodgers hasn't dissected us with many such throws in the past. More to the point--even if Eli isn't the most accurate passer in the world, he's certainly accurate enough, especially if properly coached, to complete the slants and screens and seam routes that we've been calling for. Think about it--when have we typically seen Eli at his best? When did we first realize, years ago, even before the SB run of '07, that he was better than his often pedestrian statistics, with his low completion percentage and high number of INTs, indicated? In the TWO-MINUTE DRILL. In NO-HUDDLE SITUATIONS. At times when there was more emphasis on quick plays, picking up yardage any way possible, not overthinking things, improv, improv, improv. I strongly believe that the right coach, a coach who sees this asset in Eli's game and is willing to exploit it, can make a huge difference. Obviously, TC is still the coach, but the sense I'm getting from the various things he's said since the hire, and from the fact he's made further changes to the coaching staff since, that he's on board. And I don't have problems with many of the things often described as central to KG's offense in isolation. Power running, play action, looking to go vertical--these are all good in moderation. The problem comes when you don't develop the short-yardage, RB and TE-oriented passing and YAC offense to go with it. When you go 4-wide empty backfield and try difficult-to-complete 20-yard fade routes on 3rd and 2. You get the point.
1 month, 2 weeks ago on Richard Sherman
I wouldn't go after Politi. He was actually, along with D'Alessandro, one of the voices calling for change. I don't think he's saying anything you yourself haven't said, which is that the people responsible for personnel bear a great deal of the responsibility for the utter ineptitude of this year's OL.
In any event, would be curious to hear who are some of the prospective OCs you'd like to see the team go after and why.
2 months ago on 10 Years of Coziness with Kevin Gilbride
Just listened to Mara's press conference during my lunch break. Have to say, was pleasantly surprised by a lot of what he had to say. Thought there was some definite ground being laid to dismiss Gilbride, among others. When a trained lawyer like Mara, who's very good at being careful with his words, expresses pique about the fact it took so long to realize that Jernigan could play, and then doesn't step back from his criticism when given the opportunity, that's significant. I also noted how open he seemed to bringing back Sullivan. Again, he could have shot that down, even if behind the scenes there were conversations--but he didn't. Interesting, and--for the time being, at least--encouraging.
I'll also say one more thing. I know people gripe about the ownership from time to time on this blog, and that's fair. But, folks, I'm also a fan of the Mets, Knicks, and Rangers. And so I've come to realize the hard way that having an owner as smart, stand-up, articulate, classy, and committed to winning as Mara shouldn't be taken for granted. Obviously, that's only one piece, but it's a big piece. I also happen to live in DC…if you want to know how much worse things can be.
2 months, 1 week ago on NYG 20 WAS 6
Brilliant summation as always. The only thing the 7-3 record in the last 10 games demonstrates is that the team didn't give up on their coach. They continued to show up when a lot of other teams would have packed it up. But the quality of this team is better illustrated by its point differential than by its record. This is a team that scored 294 pts and gave up 383. That's a -89 point differential. Here, by the way, are the point differentials of the other 7-9 teams:
(1) Tenn (-19)
(2) Det (+19)
(3) StL (-16)
So, the reality is that we're talking about a team that was much, much worse than its mediocre record would indicate. They were more in the 4-12 or 5-11 range than 7-9. And if they had faced Foles in the second Eagles game and Rodgers in the GB game, 5-11 is what they would have been. They also had a luxury that St Louis, for example, didn't--playing in a division where they got to play the Skins twice.
So, this should be the basis for evaluation. I hope Gilbride is given the heave ho, though I'm less sure than I was two weeks ago that he would be let go. Only a few reporters (thanks, Politi and D'Alessandro) have gotten on that bandwagon. It's true, KG's offenses have never performed even close to this poorly in the past, but that's not the point. Don't tell me that the Giants set team records for points scored in the past five seasons prior to this one. Comparing NFL offenses of today to those of the past is like comparing the proverbial apples and oranges. You practically have to throw for 4,000 yards a season at this point to be considered a top (not even elite) QB. Besides, the issue with Gilbride has always been adjustments, decisionmaking, scoring in the red zone. He never managed to create an offense that could consistently, methodically move down the field and score. Enough said.
Whatever happens with the coaches, I'm sure they'll zero in on trying to fix the OL in the offseason. It can't be as bad as this year, I think--I hope. So, we'll have to keep fingers crossed on Eli. Most people on this blog seem to think that Eli's the least of our worries. I thought the same for the first 10 games or so of the season. But, piss poor as his protection has been, as much as his RBs and WRs and TEs have let him down, Eli's play these last few games has been troubling. He's fallen back into habits we haven't seen since pre-SB '07. I hope coming back with a fresh slate next year will prove just what the doctor ordered. But I worry that if he gets off to a shaky start again, he might not recover. We'll see.
People thought I was being overly optimistic last week when I said I thought it was a near certainty that GIlbride would be let go. Well, after yesterday's debacle, you can definitely see a change in the press coverage. Once that happens, the end is typically near. How things will play out with the other coordinators, and even with TC himself, remains to be seen. But, however counterintuitive it might sound, performing as ineptly as they did on offense yesterday was, in my book, a good thing, so long as it cemented in ownership's mind the need for a change. JR should in no way be let off the hook, as his failure to draft enough OL and to draft them well lies at the very root of the offense's problems. But a better, more innovative and flexible offensive coordinator would have adjusted. This team isn't in the league of the Seattles and San Franciscos and wouldn't be even if they had better coaching, IMO--at least this season. But they shouldn't be bottom-feeders either. At the very least, the Giants need someone who can come in and help Eli get back to 2011 form.
2 months, 3 weeks ago on SEA 23 NYG 0
I agree with you about Nicks not being easily replaceable. The problem is you'd be paying him on the hope he can be the Nicks of '09-11 and not of the past two years. For whatever reason, he's not getting the separation he used to. Is it injuries? Dissatisfaction with how he's being used? I don't know. But you're absolutely right, IMO, about the difficulties of winning without a true #1. It's just hard to know if he really is one anymore.
Maybe I'm not as cynical as other people here, but I'm fairly confident that KG will be let go. Even when they ran off a string of wins, and won 5 of 6, the offense underperformed. I think the front office will see Eli's play this year as extremely troubling and decide that they can't bank on KG fixing what's wrong. Coughlin may be back, even Fewell (sadly) may be back, but Gilbride and Quinn, IMO, will be sent packing.
3 months ago on SD 37 NYG 14
Amen. The ineptitude of this offense is the main storyline of the season. The slowness with which they play--even when they're down four scores and time is fast running out--is simply mind-boggling. No pace, no urgency at all. A new offensive coordinator is a must. But the problems with personnel run deep as well. The line is a disaster. Perhaps moving Beatty to guard will help, but I'm not so sure. In the past, to the extent he's succeeded, it's been more based on finesse than power. And I don't even recall if Boothe is signed for next season. Then you have to fill Diehl's spot…it's a mess. But the receiver core is also in iffy shape. Nicks is almost certainly gone, and while letting him walk is certainly justified based on this year's performance, I'm not convinced Randle can step into the shoes he once wore. Maybe--all the more reason a new offensive coordinator is needed to find out. And after Randle and Cruz…nada. Nothing at tight end either.
But I'm curious why you'd spare Fewell the axe. The defense was dreadful today, and while they've certainly played better the last two months--and have been strong against the run throughout the season--the fact is, whenever they've been matched against a top-flight QB who can attack them underneath, they've been toast. Again, the personnel is deeply flawed here too. You watch the speed and ferocity of the LBs in the SEA-SF game and realize they're playing a different game.
The sad thing about Nicks is that when he was healthy, or motivated, he was a true #1 WR, and players like that don't grow on trees. Big and physical enough to hold his own on the outside, great route runner, outstanding hands. Not super speedy, but as he showed in playoffs two years ago, he had that extra gear, so that he could take a simple crossing route to the house. And for the first few years at least, he seemed to be a total professional, without the diva quality that made Plaxico and so many top-flights WRs so maddening. Randle may turn out to be good, but I've seen nothing yet to indicate he has Nicks's overall skill set. And Cruz, invaluable as he is, is a slot receiver.
Pat Traina's weekly analyses for BR this year have been first-rate. There have been so many games over the years where the offensive playcalling has driven me batty, but last Sunday's game may have taken the cake. The only consolation was that I never really believed this team had what it takes to make a serious run. The OL just isn't good enough, in my opinion. And Eli just looks out of sorts. I couldn't agree more with Andy's postgame wish to see if another offensive coordinator can help him turn his career around.
3 months, 1 week ago on Odds and Ends at 4-7
Hear, hear. I was also vexed by Reese's press conference (I didn't the hear the interview with Francesa). Obvoiusly, he's not going to (nor should he) take sole responsibility for where this team is right now, but his answers were so evasive that it felt insulting. I do think he bears a huge share of the blame for the state of the OL, and while Beason seems to have had a big impact in a small sample, let's hold off before we declare the LB position stabilized. Let's also be honest in admitting that the fact Beason seems to have made such a difference thus far is an indictment of Reese's neglect of MLB to this point. (And by the way, has anybody noticed how strong a rookie season Kiko Alonso is having?) The only thing I question is whether it's the Giants' fault that JPP waited so long to have surgery, Is it possible that they wanted him to do it sooner, but he resisted? I just don't know.
Btw, Pat Traina has a very good analysis of Reese's missteps in her latest column on Bleachers Report. In the past, I've been lukewarm about her writing about the Giants, both the content and the quality. She always struck me as a bit too much of a homer, too quick to defend the organization when it deserved to be called out. But I've been extremely impressed with how incisive her recent writing for BR has been.
4 months, 1 week ago on The Sound of Denial
@CommanderShepard @capt george I concur. While I think it's time for a change, I don't think it's fair to claim that everything the Giants have achieved during TC's tenure was in spite of him. Far from it. If you look at the entirety of TC's coaching career, you find three times--'96, '07, and '11--where he took an underdog team much further in the playoffs than anyone had predicted. That's impressive. It's also fair to say that he was never able to take a favored team (the '99 Jags, the '08 Giants) all the way. And the number of times the Giants have slipped down the stretch during his tenure also has to be factored into any assessment of his career. But to make so much of the '08 Giants losing that game to Philly--as if that tells you everything you need to know about TC--is, IMO, extremely harsh. Look at how many top-ranked teams have lost in the divisional and conference championship the last 5-10 years. How different, really, is that Giants-Eagles game of '08 from the Giants-Packers game of '11? Is Mike McCarthy a lousy coach because his 15-1 juggernaut couldn't beat a 9-7 squad that had to win its last two games to make the playoffs? Did the Giants win that game "by the skin of their teeth"? That's not how I remember it.
4 months, 3 weeks ago on CHI 27 NYG 21
Again, echo chamber, but I've gotten so tired of the constant back-and-forth over whether Eli or the receiver (last night, Randle 2x) was responsible for the miscommunication and TO that resulted. The problem is an offensive strategy that simply relies too much on the QB and receivers reading defenses the same way and making extremely risky throws on that basis. Eli's problem with INTs obviously isn't only a function of this strategy. He's always had issues with footwork, accuracy, forcing balls when he shouldn't (though, before recently, he'd improved in all these areas). But the fact is that there simply isn't enough emphasis (again, echo chamber) on the underneath game, on both sides of the ball. Look at how Cutler killed us last night with quick slants, screens, passes to the TE, etc. It's just so frustrating. It's even more frustrating to read a report this morning that TC has essentially been given option to return if he so chooses. Look, I admire TC a great deal. We haven't won as consistently as we should in his years as coach, but two SB runs are nothing to sneeze at. But it's time for change, arguably in the FO as well, which bears as much if not more culpability for where things are at this point. We need fresh thinking on offense and defense--coaches who are better at making adjustments, better as putting players in a position to succeed. The offense has to find a better balance between the vertical passing game that we once thrived at and the kind of small ball that keeps the chains moving. The defense is uninspired, though the main issue seems to be a dearth of talent (or at least declining talent) in personnel. I blame Gilbride more than Fewell, because the problems on offense, the holes on OL and RB notwithstanding, seem more fixable.
5 months ago on CHI 27 NYG 21
Great writeup. I couldn't agree more about the need to come to terms with the offensive identity that makes the most sense for the team they have. They can and must run the ball--and it's essential they find somebody who do can do a more credible job of eking out yards on short-distance downs. Brown was great at that last year, while Jacobs pretty much sucked at it toward the end of his NYG career (which, turns out, may not be over just yet). But this should be a pass-first offense that mostly operates out of the shotgun with a minimum of three wide. That's what's right for this team, and frankly, the nature of the modern-day NFL increasingly demands it.
I agree that Wilson's speed and elusiveness can be a tremendous asset, and that it's wrong to treat his two fumbles, while devastating in yesterday's game, as evidence of a particular weakness in his game. What concerns me more than the fumbles at this point are (in order) his blocking, vision, and overall feel for where he should be given the play or the moment. But the blocking is numero uno. You simply can't run a wide-open pass offense that relies on 3 WR and a TE as receiving options without an RB who can pick up rushers and blitzers (while also knowing when to peel off and provide the QB with a checkdown option). Bradshaw's vision was never great (though it was better than Jacobs'), and he never came close to Wilson's burst (though he was pretty darned shifty his first few years), but he became, in my opinion, a stellar blocker. And if Wilson can't step up in this regard (and the Giants can't find someone who can) there's going to be trouble.
In terms of the D, I thought they performed extremely commendably yesterday, much better than I anticipated going in. Dallas scored two offensive TDs and 3 FGs. And 10 points came off TOs when the Giants were pinned deep in their own end. Neither of the TDs was the kind of wide-open breakdown in coverage that became the norm last year. While the pass rush was inconsistent, they were not dominated at the line of scrimmage and got stronger as the game went on, which speaks to their improved depth and quality. The DEs mostly held the edge; the DTs provided some push. The secondary also did well in coverage and, for the most part, in tackling. TT wasn't a shutdown corner before he got injured, and certainly won't be now, but he provides a physicality that was missing last year. The LBs are a weak link, and--beyond the TOs, are one factor in the ToP disadvantage--but here's the thing: the Giants will only win this year if the offense performs to expectations. They are not going to be a defensive juggernaut. You want the defense to avoid giving up big plays, mostly hold the opposing team to FGs, and show an ability to get stops when necessary. The Giants did that yesterday. There's obviously room for improvement, but this is a game they should have won if they hadn't been so damned sloppy.
One last thing though in terms of the LBs. I wish they would try out Rivers at MLB. He seems pretty clearly to be an upgrade over Herzlich against both the pass and the run and over Connor at least in the former.
6 months ago on Dallas 36 NYG 31
I had a feeling going in this was going to be a tough game. The Skins have been in every game they've played this year. I'm sure advanced stats would show they're much better than their record. I hope you're right that better speed at LB will help us against this offense (and give props not only to RGIII but to the Shanahans for turning this offense from one of the worst year in year out to one of the best overnight). But that didn't seem to be the main issue in the first half. As a viewer, I've rarely felt so uncertain play to play whether the QB or the RB has the ball--and that hesitation has a lot to do with why Albert Morris was over 100 yards by halftime. But I guess one thing today's game showed is how methodical offenses based on the run can be both a blessing and a curse. The Skins opened with a 17-play drive and only got 3 points out of it.
I'm just glad we got out of this with a win. Losing to our third division rival in a row would have been very tough. I'm just hoping we can win again next week to go 2-2 in the division. Better we should lose a game or two to the AFC North than in conference and certainly in division.
1 year, 4 months ago on NYG 27 Washington 23
What happened to the WR Randle from LSU? Did Wonder miss him? Or did I?
1 year, 10 months ago on Welcome to the 2012 NFL Draft- Round 1 | April
@ultimatenyg @plektor We don't play JAX this season. We're on schedule to play the AFC North, not South in 2012. But I agree that Ross is the quintessential "4."
1 year, 11 months ago on Aaron Ross Cashes Out | March
Everything you say makes sense, and yet, at the end of the day, I still think this was a risk worth taking for the Redskins. It's true that, for all the accolades, RG3 has yet to play a down of pro football, and, with someone who's likely to run as much as he is, injuries are always a concern. But he's also one of the most highly regarded QB prospects with an amazingly diverse skill set. And in the NFL of 2012, it's very, very hard to build a winner without a franchise QB. The last team to win the Super Bowl with a game manager (Brad Johnson) was TB in 2002. I don't doubt that there will be another team like the 2000 Ravens at some point that will prevail on defense alone--but this will be the exception, not the norm. And so, if you believe that RG3 is the real deal, and you're close enough to have a shot at nabbing him, I think you roll the dice. I also don't buy that a good front office can earn its chops by drafting well in lower rounds. You could argue that the 2005 was one of the Giants best drafts in recent memory--even though they didn't have a first or fifth round pick. They got Corey Webster, Justin Tuck, and Brandon Jacobs 2, 3, and 4.
With regard to Eli, I agreed, at the time, that it was too much to pay. Eight years later, it's fair to say we made out fine--but part of the reason I was upset is that I wasn't convinced Eli was a far superior prospect to Roethlisberger and RIvers. This year, things are different. Had the Skins not made this move, there wasn't another QB of the same caliber to pick. Obviously, RG3 could disappoint and one of the lesser prospects could excel--Aaron Rodgers had to sit around for 24 picks in 2005, Brees was a second-round pick, etc. But given the advance billing for RG3 there's reason to think he'll be what they're hoping.
2 years ago on St. Louis Rams Griffin Heist | March
In general, I think teams SHOULD be more cautious about making deals at the trade deadline. You're deep in talks, and everyone knows it; you start worrying that you can't arrive at the deadline empty-handed; and before you know it, you've made a deal you'll end up regretting sooner or later. If the NYR win the Stanley Cup this year, it will be because they are able to continue the winning formula that's worked most of this season--a grind-it-out style that wears opponents down and out-of-this-world goaltending. They'll not going to turn into an offensive powerhouse simply as a result of trading for one very, very good winger who, to my mind, is still short of great. Might he make a difference on a few power plays? Perhaps. But I'm not convinced adding Nash will be what gets them over the proverbial hump. And, then, if you don't win it all this year, would it seem worth it to have traded away so much promise and added to salary cap diffculties for years to come. I don't think so. Again, if the NYR window for winning it all was short, I might say go ahead and roll the dice. But I believe they're only at the beginning of their window. And it would be a shame to shorten that window for the sake of very uncertain benefit.
2 years ago on Rangers Looking at Other Options | February
Many thanks to you, Andy, and to all the great writers who make this the best damned blog in football. Win or lose, I always can't wait to read your recaps. Just a tremendous mix of sharp, candid analysis and...well, if Coughlin can say it, I will too--love for this franchise.
Four Super Bowls. Was only 12 when they won the SB for the first time, but can well remember the pre-1986 years when I marveled that a team, like the Steelers, had won FOUR Super Bowls. (Fond memories of the Super Bowl mornings spent watching NFL Films Super Bowl highlights, back when you could fit them all in the 12 hours or so before the game started.) Granted, that's more than 25 years ago: the Steelers have now won 6, the Cowboys and Niners 5. But there's still something special about reaching that number. I'm just glad God saw to it that I'd be a fan of at least one winning organization. What a thrill the last six weeks have been.
2 years, 1 month ago on Comfortably Numb | February
One more point. I think that, all things considered, Eli Manning played a great game. Certainly, he's had better games in terms of accuracy and decision-making, but given the miserable conditions, and given the absolute beating he took--can't remember a worse beating than maybe one of his games (e.g. the Raven game) his rookie year--it was a profile in courage. That said, when you hear the radio talk show hosts and commentators go on and on about his throwing 58 times without a turnover, you wonder just how closely they watched the game. The Niners should have intercepted Manning, by my count, at least 2x. And he did fumble the ball in 1Q, but the Giants, fortunately, recovered it.
I want to be clear that even if the Niners has intercepted Manning those two times--and even if the Niners had gone on to win--I still would be saluting his performance today. It just bothers me how people who are paid to analyze this stuff closely make their decisions about whether to give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down on the basis of outcomes alone without looking any deeper. Because you know that if the Niners had held on to those throws, these same people would be laying the defeat at Eli's feet.
2 years, 1 month ago on NY Giants 20 SF 49ers 17: The Giants are Super Bound! | January
One of the rare games that plays out almost entirely as anticipated. You figured the Giants would struggle to run the ball and that, as a result, over the course of the game, the Niners rush would have more and more success teeing off on Manning. You figured the Giants D would have to make stops to keep them in the game. And you figured that the turnover differential would be absolutely crucial. And it was.
Major props to the Giants special teams--perhaps to Weatherford most of all. One could make a case for him as yesterday's MVP. 12 punts, most of them excellent, but no bigger play, honestly, than his saving of that snap at game's end. I know the Niners couldn't seem to move the ball from the late Q4 on, but I just don't see how the Giants would have been able to recover from missing a 31-yard FG to win it.
Overall, I thought the reffing was top-notch. There were some questionable calls, but one absolutely huge one went our way. It appears they got it right on the Bradshaw fumble, but it was very, very close, and could easily have gone the other way.
Don't mean to carp today--there will be two weeks for that--but the Giants need to figure out in the next two weeks how to prevent a resurgent Wilfork from flattening David Baas. All the OL seemed to struggle from the 3Q on--the tackles in particular. But I feel better about the tackles chances against NE's edge rush. (It's gotten better, but it still doesn't come close to SF's.) But there were times yesterday when Baas seemed to be the worst player on the field. If the Giants don't convert on that 3rd and 15 for a touchdown, his holding penalty on 1st and goal maybe becomes one of the crucial plays of the game.