The Giants left us with mixed emotions yesterday. They
played one of their best games of the season in destroying a Philadelphia
Eagles team that had given up by the score of 42-7. It left the
G-Men with a 9-7 record, identical to last year’s regular season and
potentially with a springboard to go one a great super bowl run again.
Minutes later things really looked up when the Lions down by 2 points took
possession of the ball with a few minutes left in their game. Fate had
different plans as after punting and forcing the Bears into a third down, Jay
Cutler scrambled for a first down and essentially clinching victory for the
Bears. The Giants have no one to blame but themselves as they put
themselves into postion to need to rely on others. I ran into a rabid
Bears fan at around 4:30 PM and he was downright obnoxious. After that I
started routing hard for the Vikings who knocked the Bears out a few hours
later. It almost made the day okay.
The season was clearly a disappointment. The Giants had a
quality team but a combination of a very difficult schedule along with less than
inspired play hurt their chances. They did get old overnight and the
coaching staff did a poor job of recognizing it. This is especially aimed
at Perry Fewell. He was still living in 2011 thinking that a 4 man rush
will always get to the quarterback. Yesterday the Giants blitzed for the
first time in awhile and the extra pressure made all the difference in the
world. On the offensive side, there want too many adjustments that could
have been made. David Diehl clearly is now over the hill and that severely
affected line play once Sean Locklear went out. We will discuss that in
greater detail in our seasons post mortem later this week. Column favorite
Hakeem Nicks was not healthy most of the year and they should have moved away
from him earlier rather than starting him at 70% effectiveness. Yesterday,
they didn’t play him much and it was a huge help. They also should have
turned to David Wilson a bit earlier.
Ahmad Bradshaw had a good game putting him over
the 1,000 yard mark for the season. Manning missed his 4,000 yard
milestone. David Wilson got the start and played well averaging 5 yards a
carry, consistent with his season average on his 15 carries. The ball was
well spread around amongst the receivers and Stevie Brown amazingly had his
8thinterception of the year. Eli had a career high 5 TD passes.
Kenny Phillips played well when in especially against the run. His health is so
unreliable, but he is still a difference maker for this defense and I hope he is
re-signed this offseason. It may be fortunate that he was so injured this year.
His market value may be at an all time low allowing the Giants to get him back
for a one year $2-2.5m deal. Before the season he was probably looking at
$5-6m per season contract.
The win yesterday will definitely allow Giant fans to go into the
offseason with a slightly better feeling about the team than the one they had
following the 2 prior weeks horrible losses. For some of us, it is a large
consolation that we can turn our attention to the New York Knicks who are poised
to make a deep run this year.
The Giants got destroyed for the second week in a row. The game was never competitive.
Wherever the Giants who beat the Packers and Niners are, they were not present in Baltimore.
There was this absurd notion that the 2012 team has anything to do withthe 2011
team and this idea that they get their backs against the walls and then when it’s a must win
they can just turn it on. Historical comparisons to other teams that happen to have the same
uniform and nickname is ridiculous. They are different teams.
The Giants are theoretically still in the playoff hunt. They would need to win and see the
Cowboys, Bears and Vikings all lose. I’m not sure they can beat the Eagles in
Jersey, let alone have hope for all the other things to fall into place.
Eli seemed off, but the receivers just did not get open enough
(except for Hixon who had a couple of bad calls go against
him). Hakeem Nicks is clearly not healthy. You need to hope he comes
back and have a healthy season next year (yes that is correct-we need to start
talking about next year). The good news is that he and Cruz should both be cheaper
to resign given the recent demise of the offense.
On defense, Corey Webster was picked on so badly that I dint see
Price Amukamara get into the screen all game. They felt there was no need to go in
that direction. At $8m per year he is gone unless he significantly restructures his contract.
Osi is clearly gone despite his recent attempts to reconcile with the
front office by admitting he should have kept his mouth shut publicly. Too little too late.
The front office will be happy to call him out and let him test his open
market value. He thought he could get a 4 year $28m type of a deal.
I’d be surprised if he got more than 2 years at $4m per and that may even
be a stretch. He can’t play the run and is a one trick pony with his upfield outside
pass rush for which he has no counter move. The organization
should clearly dump Tuck too as he has now been ineffective for 2 years
running. Witt her depth at linebacker kiwi will move back to end alongside JPP.
JPP is another story. He was dominant a year ago. At some
point offenses started to account for him and double team him.
Now they can block him one on one and he is ineffective.
He must have gained weight. Perhaps there is another explanation but
it’s not the game planning. He has just lost a step.
Defensive end has decent depth in Tracey and Ojomo.
Lack of depth at tackle may save Canty from getting cut from his expensive contract. Ironically,
not cutting Thomas after his second ACL tear may be looking smart when the Corey
Webster situation that will come.
The biggest area of need is clearly offensive tackle.
The team’s record with David Diehl starting versus Sean Locklear was
starting. Diehl and his contract will be gone but I’m not sure Locklear is really the answer either.
This should be a big free agent signing or first round pick for the Giants.
Given the lack of offensive firepower it is surprising they didn’t give David Wilson more of a shot.
Bradshaw wasn’t horrible but was clearly slowed by his brace and Wilson has home run potential. It is
even more surprising that they have not thrown Wilson and screen passes. This is a guy you need to get into open space. Giants’ fans have been spoiled. They are not used to this.
They would be better off if they were officially eliminated by game time.
The Jets had the luxury of really seeing what Greg McElroy could do yesterday.
At least they no know that they have no competent quarterback on their roster and
can go out and get a new one. The Giants would be better off playing
their young guys to see what they have. A 4 pm game this Sunday could have allowed that.
This 6% shot that they have at the playoffs forces them to play their veterans which will hurt them down the road. Lastly, Perry Fewel is the most overrated coach in the league. He completely lacks the ability to make
adjustments to what teams are doing either via scheme or personnel.
Coughlin deserves some blame but with 2 Superbowl rings, he has earned the benefit of the doubt.
As I can’t imagine anyone would be interested we will not be writing a preview for
the Giants Eagles game next week.
After months of this blog begging Coughlin to give the guy another chance rookie first round pick David Wilson had his coming out party yesterday. He set all kinds of team and league records, in returning kicks for 224 yards (including a 97 yard TD return) and running for 100 yards on 13 carries for a slightly injured Ahmad Bradshaw. The 97 yard TD return was immediately following a pick 6 by the Saints, just when you got that bad feeling in your stomach that the game and the season were slipping away. The play felt much like Cruz’ 99 yard TD against the Jets last year and the Ahmad Bradshaw run against the Bills in 2007. It seemed like the play that could turn around a season. Time will tell.
The Giants offense has actually looked alright for a few weeks now, even if it didn’t always show on the scoreboard.
The defense has looked horrendous. Last week’s 17 points by the Redskins was a mirage. The defense was much worse than that and a few well times turnovers masked yesterday’s ineptness. The Giants can’t control the line of scrimmage and can’t stop the other team. They were fortunate to do it in special team and on offense and to put the Saints in a desperate situation forcing them to take chances that the Giants could capitalize on This will eventually cost them. Can you imagine this run defense facing the Vikings in the post season and trying to stop Adrian Peterson? This could be a 300 yard game. JPP is not the same player he was a year ago. This can’t all be explained by the extra attention he gets. He looks like he has put on some weight. He seems step slower. In good news, Jacquan Williams finally returned and had a material impact in defensing the pass against Jimmy Graham, the Saints all-world tight end. He also had a couple of nice pass defenses and is an actual difference maker on the defense.
The Giants really hurt themselves with the loss to the Redskins. They now lose just about every tie breaker against the Skins or Cowboys who both had big come from behind victories yesterday. The Giants have the toughest schedule (although neither the Ravens nor the Falcons look as scary as they once did). We will have a preview of the Falcons game later this week.
Ari has been an avid Giants fan since 1979. He attends many home games and has attended the Giants last 2 Superbowl victories. This blog will talk about anything related to the New York Giants. Ari also blogs about the New York Knicks, at http://www.ariglassknicksblog.com