the new york football giants
26 November 2006 ¬
" Total Collapse.. Giants Deserve to Lose, 24-21 "
I don't know if there's anything you can say or do to Plaxico Burress at this point to change his mentality as a football player. He's a big, open target down field who's a viable scoring option on every play - and he will quit on one or two of those plays every game. Fact of life.. his antics started in Pittsburgh and they continue unabated in New York. You can bench him, but that doesn't do New York much good, and it isn't going to "rehabilitate" his attitude.

Mathias gets a pass. He was trying to avoid a roughing the passer call, and in his mind, he had Young wrapped up long enough that the play was effectively over. It was bizarre to watch, and frustrating as all hell (considering that if he takes Young down, it's game over,) but it had nothing to do with a lack of effort. Just a mental mistake by a rookie starter.. and something you should expect when your #1, 2 and 3 DEs are hurt.

As far as Eli goes, he was absolutely terrible on Sunday, from start to finish. His first pass of the game landed at Jim Finn's feet, and his last pass of the game was essentially the game-ending interception. His mechanics, decision-making, and confidence are all in the gutter right now, and I don't think anyone knows how to turn it around. Maybe he'll have a long talk with Peyton over the next few days..

Three straight losses, including one of the biggest collapses in franchise history (horrible, horrible memories of San Francisco floating around in my head.) Getting Stray and Umenyiora back on the field may be the only way to keep this season from devolving into a total train wreck, if it hasn't already. 3-0 in the NFC East is now a very tenuous life preserver.
23 November 2006 ¬
" For Your Consideration.. "
On this most excellent day of large, bountiful meals, a little reminder why the Giants should be feeding their opponents a steady diet of Tiki Barber and Brandon Jacobs:

- When Tiki has 19 or fewer rushing attempts in a game, the Giants are 1-4.
- When Tiki has 20 or greater rushing attempts in a game, the Giants are 5-0.

Certainly, some of this is a product of leaning heavily on the pass when trailing (or flat-out abandoning the run, as Coughlin and co. did against Jacksonville.) But it also shows how important it is not to give up on Tiki and Brandon, especially when the going gets tough. Barber, obviously frustrated, was critical of the pass-first playcalling in the second half of Monday night's game against the Jaguars. Rightly so.

It's time for seconds. Happy Thanksgiving!
21 November 2006 ¬
" Giants Woeful Again, Jacksonville wins 26-10 "
I don't know what's gotten into Elijah the past month. He has played the worst football of any starting quarterback in the league, to the tune of four fumbles, five picks, a 50% completion rate, and a 2-2 overall record for the G-Men. Now, the competition hasn't been easy - three of those defenses he's come up against have been Chicago, Jacksonville and Tampa Bay. But beyond scheduling difficulties, he looks flat-out frustrated, and last night the running game couldn't bail him out.

The Giants offense has a lot of ugly sides, and lately they've all been showing: Eli's inaccuracy, Plaxico's apathy, Shockey's indignation.. somebody stop the bleeding. I'd say a trip next week to Tennessee would do the trick, but after the Titans trounced Philadelphia on Sunday, even that might not be a given.
19 November 2006 ¬
" State of the Division: The NFC East Heading Into Week Twelve "
..excluding New York-Jacksonville, which will unfold tomorrow night.

The ebb and flow of the NFC East continues. Philly loses to the Titans at home, and to add injury to insult, #5 is done for the year - torn ACL. He can spend the rest of the season hanging out with Amani Toomer. The Eagles' season basically ended today.. they drop to .500 and they're now the proud owners of a Jeff Garcia-led offense. Winning the division is almost out of the question, and squeezing in as a wild-card team is going to be tough with so many other teams vying for one of those two spots. And then there were two.. Dallas stays in contention by ending Indy's perfect season. It's amazing how much better that team is with Tony Romo behind center. He's got legitimate wheels.

The Redskins.. well. They're a shell of whatever team they were in the first place. Seeya in 2008.
13 November 2006 ¬
" Giants Fall at Home, Chicago Wins 38-20.. "
Understatement of the year: New York let this one get away from them. It all started with an improbable 3rd and very long conversion, followed by a last minute Bears touchdown to make it a 3 point game. Then - and I really don't understand Coughlin's thinking here - the Giants let the clock run out on the half, despite the fact that they start with the ball on their own 40, with 30 seconds left on the clock and two timeouts left. Really? You don't event want to try for the field goal?

And injuries.. more of them. Tiki sprains his left thumb, but he'll probably be good to go next Monday Night against the Jaguars. Luke Petitgout breaks his leg and is done for the season. How many consecutive weeks can you read the words "..and is done for the season" before you start to get that uneasy feeling in the pit of your stomach? And finally, Sam Madison.. I hate Sam Madison. I enjoy hating Sam Madison. He was a liability on two legs all season, and now he's a liability on one leg after going gimpy on a critical Grossman touchdown pass. McQuarters saw a lot of game time in nickel packages and now (mercifully) will see extended time starting opposite Corey Webster.

I need something explained to me. Brandon Jacobs puts the ball under his jersey during a touchdown celebration and gets nailed with the unsportsmanlike 15-yarder. Using the ball as a prop - fine, throw the flag. But two quarters later, Muhsin Muhammed dribbles the football between his legs celebrating a touchdown of his own. Where are the flags? Consistency, please. Certainly not the difference maker, but it gets under my skin.

And finally, Devin Hester. You've all seen the play. In a four point 4th quarter game, that's a back-breaker.

So, the Giants are 6-3, and with the Eagles win over the Redskins and the Dallas win at Arizona, the NFC East becomes a tight little squeeze once again. The current 3-0 division mark may turn out to be New York's saving grace.. circle December 3rd, 17th and 30th on your calendar. The season will likely come down to those final three division games, with the two tougher contests against the Eagles and the Cowboys at the Meadowlands. Continue to look for those silver linings.
08 November 2006 ¬
" Jints Topple Texans 14-10, Injuries Starting to Mount.. "
The Giants beat Houston 14-10 on Sunday, and a catastrophic loss at home to the Texans was avoided courtesy of a late game-winning Eli-to-Shockey touchdown. 4th Quarter Eli strikes again.. business as usual.

Unfortunately, devastating injuries are also business as usual for this football team, and this week was no exception. Michael Strahan may miss up to a month with a Lis Franc sprain.. with Umenyiora and Tuck still hurting, that leaves Kiwanuka as the team's #1 DE. I've got all the faith in the world in our young #1 draft pick, but the sooner Stray and Osi get back on the field, the better. Adrian Awasom was signed off the practice squad to help out at the position, and there's talk of moving Fred Robbins to the end.. but I'd rather see Freddy stay put. There's nothing like doing serious damage at the tackle position to take a little pressure off a few inexperienced ends.

And on a more serious note.. Amani Toomer is done for the year. Finished. Tore his anterior cruciate ligament against the Texans. (Medical school side note: one of the four major knee ligaments, along with the PCL, MCL and the LCL. Ah, to be learning material with practical applications.) It's a real shame considering how integrated he's been in the offense this year (tied for the team lead with 32 receptions,) and I'm not sure who's going to replace him. The most likely scenario is that Shockey becomes even more involved in the passing game (no complaints there) and Tim Carter steps in as the #2.

Here's the silver lining: if, at the beginning of the season, I told you that LaVar Arrington and Amani Toomer would both suffer season-ending injuries, and that Strahan and Umenyiora would both miss multiple games with various sprains of their own, it'd be pretty hard to peg New York as a 6-2 team going into Week 10. Yet that's where we stand. First place in the NFC East and undefeated in the division. So, yeah. Silver lining.