Friday, August 28, 2009

Giants: Notes for Giants-Jets game

Great - first the defensive injuries disrupt preparation for the defense in the Giants training camp practice schedule. Then, the Bears game is a total waste of time because the Giants come ill-equipped and unready to play. Because the OL did not show up for the game, they can not work on their offensive preparation and their passing game. And now, the 3rd preseason game, the annual tussle against the Jets, Giants Stadium co-tenants (soon to be stadium partners), appears like it will be disrupted by hurricane Danny. The primary path of the hurricane is supposed to be somewhat to the east of NJ, out in the Atlantic Ocean mostly affecting Long Island. But there is a chance of rain all day long on Saturday and possible thunderstorms in the evening. This will surely disrupt the offensive game plan and limit the value of what the Giants can do in the passing game. If the Giants were smart, they were going to try to get Mannignham, Moss, Nicks and Barden in the game with Manning. I would still go forward with that plan and do as much as they can despite the weather.

As crazy as it sounds, I would not mind giving the starters some reps in the 4th preseason game against the Patriots, depending on how the Jets game progresses. Obviously, staying healthy and avoiding injury is more important than the few reps you would get in the 4th preseason game. This is especially true of an opponent like the Patriots, because Bellichick traditionally doesn't let his starters near the field in that final game. So getting reps against them is like practicing against a college team; though I guess it still might be better than nothing. I guess it will depend on how things look against the Jets.


Sadly, it looks more and more likely that Super Bowl LXII hero David Tyree, will not make the team. I thought there might be a slim opening when Giants 4th round draft choice Andre Brown went down with a injury and was lost for the year. Typically someone in that slot on the depth chart plays a lot of special teams. If the Giants felt that there were no other RBs in camp worthy of making the roster, then instead of carrying 4 RBs like they did last year, perhaps they would carry only Jacobs, Bradshaw and Ware. This would open up a slot for an extra WR, who could be a ST ace. Sounds good in theory, but in practice it may not work out so well. First of all, Allen Patrick, rookie RB has shown speed, some talent and might be good enough to make the final roster. Secondly, and more importantly, the Giants have a 7th WR that has emerged and is playing well, Derek Hagan. Hagan is an excellent ST player and is catching everything in practice. I don't know if you have noticed, but Barden has been playing ST and looks like he is very good in punt coverage. (I don't know how you could miss a 6'6" WR running down the field on ST, but trust me - he has been.) So instead of a roster spot opening up, if anything, it looks like another one has been taken away. Add to that the fact that Tyree has had, by all reports, a very mediocre training camp, with lots of dropped passes and without showing speed or production in the passing game, and you have to conclude that his chances of making the roster are very slim.

Some random thoughts:

What's the over/under on number of times a punter hits the overhead video screen and scoreboard in the new Texas Stadium? I'm hoping it's at least once per game, and that it makes ESPN's plays of the week every time.

Old definition of a New York minute: the time interval between the moment the light turns green and the cabby behind you honks his horn.
New definition of a New York minute: the time interval between Mark Sanchez throwing his first inteception that costs his team a game and the Jets Nation sounding out a collective cry of grief that he will never be any good and the Jets are doomed for the next 5 years because of his contract.

How come everybody was up in arms about Eli Manning's 6 year $97M contract, implying that it was ridiculously overpriced, but, less than a week later, nobody made a peep when Phillip Rivers signed a 6 year contract with the Chargers for $92M. I guess that extra $5M was the difference maker. I forget: how many Superbowls did Rivers take the Chargers to?

Has anybody noticed how great Brandon Jacobs looks this preseason? He looks more polished than in previous years, and smarter in his runs. Somehow he also looks even more powerful than in previous seasons. He even made a nice catch on a pass in the preseason. I think the Giants will be a good screen team this year. Teams will tend to blitz a lot against the Giants in passing downs; screens with very quick RBs like Bradshaw and Ware could be very effective.

Bears look better to me in the NFCN than the Vikings, despite their lack of big time WRs. I think Favre will wear down as the season goes along, same as he did the last two seasons. Maybe playing in a dome in Minnesota and giving the ball to Adrian Peterson 30 times a game will save wear and tear on his body this time and Favre and the Vikings will surprise me.

4 comments:

Ira said...

Maybe it's the Yankee in me but doesn't it bother you that the Giants didn't make more of an effort to secure a true #1 WR this off season?? There are three big names out there to be had (Boldin, Edwards and Marshall) and the Giants have been eerily quiet with what seems to be a no-brainer?

The Giants have a slew of complimentary receivers and a #1 would only make every body better and occupy the safeties to free everyone else up on 1 on 1 coverage. Was it the money? Is this a cocky side of Jerry Reese we haven’t seen before where he’s so confident in his draft picks that he won’t overpay for an established WR? Can we win without a true #1 like the Patriots did? I suppose we are going to find out soon enough but as you’ve pointed out it would be nice to know where the WR corps stack up this late into the pre-season.

The window for success in the NFL is very small when a core of players has been assembled for several years (especially our OL) and it seems like it
We should strike while the iron is hot.


Ira

wolfman said...

Good questions, Ira. It's hard to knock Reese when he has been so successful with his draft choices. Beyond the draft choices, he's been very successful with his pro scouting and the pro pickups he's made (Hixon, Hedgecock, Ward, Ware to name a few). So if he doesn't go after a particular pro player, maybe we should give him the benefit of the doubt.

Money may be a factor - not in terms of cash flow, but certainly in terms of salary cap. Can the Giants afford to pay Eli 97M AND an elite WR a package of 8-10M per year?

But beyond that - I think Reese is very confident in his WR draft picks and, frankly is a little ticked off at the coaches for not playing the young WR's last year. Reese commented snidely in an interview, when asked about Sinorice Moss: we attempted 12 passes to him last year and had 12 completions. He is more than a little annoyed that Moss didn't play more over Toomer, a player that got cut and sat on the FA market for a long time before KC picked him up.

I think one of these WRs will emerge and we will be happy campers. I'm betting on Manningham, but it may take a few games.

Ray said...

I think there is a bigger issue here. The Giants passing game not only needs to be effective, it needs to have enough of a deep threat to keep defenses from stacking against the run, as Philly did last year. Separation is important overall, but I have not seen any evidence of the deep threat, provided by Plax before, that will be needed to keep defenses honest. And, if the receivers keep dropping passes when they are open longer than 20 yards, there will be no reason to worry about covering them.

Smith's drop was not so important - he is a reliable receiver who has made many tough catches. But, to the receiver corps overall, especially in light of Hixon's drop against Philly last year, it shows that catching the ball deep is in all their heads.

wolfman said...

Ray,

So what you're saying is that the problem with catching the ball is in their heads, not their hands. I guess we should hire Tyree to be WR coach, since he had no trouble at all catching the ball with his head.

Seriously - this is why I want to see Moss make the team, because he can run by anyone. Ability to get deep will be made easier by the running game. I am not sure how flat-out fast Steve Smtih is, but he runs great routes, and with the defense playing tight and run-concious, WRs can get deep with a little play action fake.

-wm