Tag Archives: Giants - Page 2

Collapsing

With the NFL’s lockout ending I thought I would put up a football post:

Something that has bothered me a lot during Tom Coughlin’s tenure as head coach is how poorly this team plays in the second half of the season. The lone season they performed well in the second half was 2007 when they won the SuperBowl, and even then I wouldn’t say they avoided the second half collapse we’ve come to expect.

In 2007 they started the season like almost every other season at 6-2 . They finished that season 10-6, posting a 4-4 record in the second half. Their victories came against the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Philadelphia Eagles and Buffalo Bills. Only the victory against the Bills was by more than six points. Of those teams, only one of them had more than 7 wins, and that team was the Eagles at 8-8. Not really anything inspiring. Making matters worse, 2007 was the only season the Giants have won a playoff game under Coughlin.

So what is it about these teams that causes them to collapse?

I think the common point most people turn to is injuries. To their credit, 2007 was probably the healthiest they have ever been in the second half. That doesn’t really explain why they played so poorly before the second half of the Bills game that season. Remember, when playing the Redskins a week before, Eli Manning threw so many incompletions he made JaMarcus Russell look good. (I’m half convinced someone told Russell to watch tape of a SuperBowl winning quarterback and he accidentally stumbled on this game tape. It would explain why he didn’t think he needed to improve on his 48.8 completion percentage) That was also the season Eli completed more touchdown passes to the Vikings defensemen than his own receivers in thier game. In addition, I don’t think injuries caused the Giants to miss the playoffs this past season.

I used to think the Giants’ problems were with Eli’s poor performances in the wind in December; however, Eli has been arguably the most consistent part of this team in both 2009 and 2010. I’d even say he was the best part of the team in 2009.

This has caused me to try to think of another explanation: The Giants’ play-calling. Let’s be honest. The Giants really have not had stellar coordinators in the past couple years. John Hufnagel was terrible and so was Tim Lewis. Kevin Gilbride hasn’t been a lot better, and I still have reservations about Perry Fewell. The only years I was confident with a coordinator was 2007 and 2008. That coach of course was Steve Spagnuolo. While they collapsed with him as coordinator in 2008, that was entirely on the offense.

The biggest problem I have seen with the coordinators is their lack of adjustment. When Bill Parcells and Bill Belichick were coaching the Giants, they were spectacular at understanding what the other team was trying to do and adjusting. This has not been the case with coordinators under Coughlin.

I think the best way to show this, is the fact that whenever the Giants start to play poorly, they never turn it around. In 2006 they started 6-2 and finished 8-8. Those two wins came against an injury riddled Panthers team and a abysmal Redskins team that finished 5-11. In 2008, after the offense was stymied by the Eagles, the only win came against a Panthers team that bombed worse than the Giants in the playoffs. In 2009, they won three games after the Saints exposed them in their sixth contest of the season. My point is, aside from the playoff run in 2007, when this team starts to play poorly they never turn it around. That screams lack of adjustment.

In 2007 the big adjustment was inserting Bradshaw into the lineup and trying to pound the ball with the run, a strategy that worked well into the 2008 season. Of course Bradshaw only made it into the lineup because of an injury to Ward and a lack of a better option (even though he was spectacular every time he saw the field. It astonished me how stubborn the Giants were being with his playing time. I hate to say it, but thank god for Ward’s injury. That could be the reason we eventually won the SuperBowl) It also didn’t hurt that Eli matured significantly during those playoffs, severely limiting his turnovers compared to his career averages.

This season was the worst

case of poor adjustment. Early in the season the Giants were guilty of several turnovers. Instead of addressing this issue Gilbride mainly kept his offense the same, which lead to more and more turnovers throughout the season. I just couldn’t understand why Gilbride didn’t make the offense simpler. Perhaps this isn’t fair, but there have been a few people who point out that Gilbride’s offense is one of the most complex in the league. This can have its advantages, but when your young receivers are having trouble staying on the same page as your quarterback, you need to make a change. Gilbride never did and the turnovers kept coming.

On defense the Giants lost because teams realized they could attack the overaggressive safeties. When Spags had trouble at safety he devised ways to protect the back end of the defense. I will never forget the games against the Eagles and Bears in 2007. The offense was sputtering and the entire season could have been lost, but Spags kept his defense up to the task and, with Craig Dahl and Michael Johnson at safety, the defense kept the Eagles and Bears to 13 and 16 points respectively. Wow.

I truly believe if the last game this season was against a better team than Rex Grossman and the Redskins, the Giants would’ve been torched for the third consecutive week. Listen, I like Fewell. He is a huge upgrade over Sheridan (then again who isn’t), but he hasn’t wowed me yet. I don’t think the Giants have won a single game BECAUSE of him. Then again, it was his first season with the team, and I have to believe with another year he should be able to mold this defense into one of the top units in the league.

For better or worse the Giants chances in 2011 are hanging on their coordinators ability to make adjustments. They are clearly a top 3 team in terms of talent. Now can the coaches mold that talent into a SuperBowl winning team.

Update On Tiki

Via ESPN

Barber, who had two years left on his Giants contract when he retired, will not be making his comeback with New York.

“We wish Tiki nothing but the best, and when we are able to make the transaction, we will release him from our reserve/retired list,” team spokesman Pat Hanlon said in a statement.

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“I didn’t get a chance to get to know who Tiki Barber was the person,” Pierce said. “I know him as a player and the guy was great and we always congratulate each other, the way we played.”

“But what he did in that locker room my two years with him, he didn’t do anything but deteriorate that team,” Pierce added. “And he didn’t help us out. I don’t see this guy as a leader or somebody that can help you out. And that’s my problem with him. That is why I believe they [the Giants] will release him because he is going to cause nothing but problems for that team.”

The Giants already have Brandon Jacobs and DJ Ware under contract at running back and plan on trying to re-sign Ahmad Bradshaw once a new collective bargaining agreement is reached.

While Barber was an outstanding player for the Giants, the always forthcoming running back has been critical of Coughlin and quarterback Eli Manning since his retirement.

Interesting new bits of information. First I guess the Giants decided it wasn’t worth having a 36 year old running back who hasn’t played football in four years on the team. I can’t say I blame them for that. I was all for offering him the veteran minimum and seeing if there was anything left, but secretly I was hoping he’d get cut in training camp and just retire again.

Now the more interesting part of the article was Antonio Pierce lashing out at Tiki. He had some real unflattering words for him, and kind of put to light what a lot of us were thinking. Tiki is not a leader and not a good presence for the locker room. I’m not sure if it was a product of his dislike for Coughlin and playing for a young inexperienced quarterback, but Tiki was not a good teammate.

I wonder if he gets to play for the team he wants, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, if he will be better in the locker room. Either way I guess it is not something we really have to worry about anymore, as he is not going to be playing for the Giants.

What do you guys think? Happy he isn’t coming back? Wish we took a chance on him? Anyone think Tiki begged the Giants to release him?

Tiki Returns

Via ESPN

“After seeing my brother still have fun at our age, it reignited the fire,” Tiki Barber said, according to FOXSports.com. “I’m really looking forward to the challenge of seeing if I can get back to the level of where I was. I started working out again recently. It kind of shocked myself. I still had a lot of the strength I had before. I’m really looking forward to making a return.”

Barber went out on top, rushing for 1,662 yards and five touchdowns in 2006. He ran for 10,449 yards with a 4.7 yards per carry average in his career.

He rushed for a career-best 1,860 yards in 2005 when he made one of his three Pro Bowls.

After he retired, he said Tom Coughlin’s coaching style was part of the reason he stopped playing. The Giants won the Super Bowl the year after Barber retired.

Wow just wow. I will admit I am in complete shock over this one. Barber claimed the reason why he retired was so he could go out on top. I don’t see how at age 36 he can be close to the player he was when he retired.

I find it funny that he now says the reason why he retired was because of Coughlin’s coaching style, even though it was that style that made Tiki the great player that he was. Also it was that style that won us the SuperBowl the season after Tiki retired.

Important to note is the Giants still have the rights to Tiki. So one, would Tiki come out of retirement if it meant playing for the coach that caused him to retire, and the team he has badmouthed ever since he left? Two, would the Giants even want him back considering they have Jacobs, Ware, and are planning on re-signing Bradshaw?

I guess If I’m the Giants I take him since I can’t see his salary being that high, and it is never a bad thing to have depth. Who knows, maybe he still has another good year in him.

Still that doesn’t answer if he’d want to come back to the Giants, and more importantly how would he affect the chemistry. Do the players still like him? Would they accept him back? It is a pretty interesting story.

What do people think? Would you want Tiki back? Would the players want Tiki back?

People Picking Anthony Castonzo for the Giants

Via Big Blue View

The more I study the 2011 NFL Draft, and the more I scour the constantly-updated mock drafts, the more often I see Boston College offensive tackle Anthony Castonzo connected with the New York Giants when it comes to the 19th selection of the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft. It happened again today, as SB Nation chose Castonzo for the Giants in their latest mock draft.

It appears that USC offensive tackle Tyron Smith is more and more the consensus choice as the first offensive tackle likely to be taken this April, and having answered concerns about his size at the NFL Scouting Combine that makes sense. By all accounts he is the most natural athlete of any of the tackles and seems to have the most upside. Castonzo is in the group right behind Smith, and makes sense for the Giants. The fact that scouts believe he has left tackle ability, plus the Boston College connection, make him a natural for New York.

What do people think? Would you be happy with this pick?

For the past several seasons I have wanted the Giants to address their offensive lines. As several teams have proven throughout the years, you win games in the trenches. The Giants had a great offensive line, but injuries and age have caught up with them.

Shaun O’hara is not the center he once was. Perhaps it had more to do with his injury than his age, but this season he was awful. I would spend my week praying he was too injured to go out so Adam Koets or Rich Seubert could play at center instead. David Deihl has been a good player for us, but is probably better positioned for guard than he is for left tackle. And Kareem Mckenzie is slowing down and has been injury prone.

We have some youth when you consider Will Beatty and Koets, but neither has stepped up to the point that you would be comfortable with them as our starters. Shawn Andrews played great for us, but he showed last season that he is injury prone as well.

By adding a top talent at left tackle we could vastly improve our offensive line, which in turn would improve our running game, allowing us to go back to a smash mouth style of football.

In short, I think I would be happy with this selection, though for arguments sake I can see the Giants going in other directions as well.

Two players I have my eyes on are OLB Akeem Ayers and DT Corey Liuget. Both players are guys I feel confident will do well in the NFL and they are both guys that not only fill needs for the Giants, but are good values for the 19th pick.

Ayers is a linebacker from UCLA who excels in every facet of the game. He is stout against the run, great in coverage, and a good blitzer. Analysts believe he is headed for a 3-4 defense, but I think he would fit in great with the Giants aggressive style. He is like a more polished Clint Sintim. Even with the resources the Giants have put into linebacker in the previous seasons, the unit has not gotten a lot better. I think Goff did a great job and should be allowed to continue to develop in the middle, but Boley was unimpressive last season, and Sintim was eventually taken off the field. I understand Sintim was a high draft pick, and I agree he needs time to develop, but if the coaching staff has lost faith in Sintim, Ayers could be a great pick and a real game-changer at linebacker.

Liuget is a gap-shooting defensive tackle from Illinois with a high motor. He would be the pass rusher we thought we were going to get with Jay Alford only better. With Cofield set to be a free agent, and Rocky Bernard failing to make an impact he could be a big help. As we saw last season, the Giants love to stockpile pass rushers, and Liuget would be a good addition. We just drafted Linval Joseph, and have a lot of money invest in Chris Canty, so I can see the Giants going in another direction, but I don’t think they would go wrong with this pick. I see Lieguet being that long lost presence in the middle to make life easier for our talented group of defensive ends. He would be our first dominant player in the middle since Washington signed away Cornelius Griffin.

The Giants have tons of talent on both sides of the ball, and little holes to speak of. With that comes the luxury of being able to take the top talent. Like I have mentioned we have options at all these positions, but these players would still be upgrades and make the Giants stronger.

Again these are just my thoughts on the upcoming draft. What do you guys think? Any players I didn’t mention that you think would be a good fit for the Giants? Do you disagree with any of the players I picked?

Jacobs Taking Less Money

Via Football News Now

“If they happen to ask [me] to take the pay cut and it is an unnecessary amount, then absolutely not,” Jacobs said viaESPN New York. “But other than that, if it is something that can be done, then yes, then whatever is going to get the team going and winning”

Jacobs added that he understands the business aspect of things and doesn’t want the same situation that forced the Giants to part with Derrick Ward to happen to either him or fellow running back Ahmad Bradshaw

“The whole thing with Ahmad and me, I want to be a Giant, no question about it,” he said. “But it is a business and I want to be able to play with Ahmad and play with the Giants but I don’t know what is in store, I don’t know what is going to happen. So I keep my fingers crossed and workout as hard as I can and hope I am a Giant next year.”

Jacobs continually spoke of him and Bradshaw as a unit because he see the duo as a package deal.

Despite all the distractions Jacobs can cause by his cockiness, it is comments like this that make me view Jacobs as one of my favorite Giants. It is not often you get a player so dedicated to the team, and it is nice to know that even though Jacobs was demoted last season, he still loves being a Giant.

Bradshaw is a good running back, but the best plan for the Giants is to trot out the 1-2 punch of Jacobs and Bradshaw. Neither one of these guys would be an ideal feature back. With Bradshaw potentially becoming a free agent, it would be huge for the Giants to clear some cap with a cheaper contract for Jacobs so the Giants don’t have to invest too much money into the running back position.

Last season I was really excited with the reemergence of Jacobs in the latter half of the year. Like it or not Jacobs gives us our identity on offense, or at least what our identity should be if we want to return to the SuperBowl. I am all for giving Bradshaw more carries, since he has proven, outside of the fumbling issue, that he can be an explosive playmaker for us, but I believe Jacobs is the one who should start the games for us. His bruising style of running dictates the flow of the game, and can help our offense get into a rhythm.