Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Giants: Chiefs game and random observations

I mentioned once before that the blocking by the TE's has really improved and Sunday against the Chiefs was no exception. Boss has steadily improved and was good last year, but Darcy Johnson made some excellent seal blocks on running plays, hooking the LB so Jacobs could get to the outside. He also got out in front of Nicks on his TD run and made a good block on the LB. As he continues to improve, the running game will also become more productive.

These injuries are really going to hurt the Giants. Alford and Phillips are, so far, the only season-long injuries, but when you are missing so much starting talent, it's got to diminish the defense. We thought that the Giants could get by and manage the injuries because they were coming during the soft part of the schedule and the injured players would return to the lineup later. However, in one week we will be starting the meaty part of the schedule and Boley, Canty and Ross are still out. Think about that. Canty, Ross, Boley and Phillips represent 4 starters on defense, and Alford represents a 5th from the regular rotation. Most teams would fall apart with so many starters from their defense missing, even against weaker teams in the league. Look what happened to the Steelers defense with just Polamalu missing and to the Colts defense last year when Sanders went out. Giants will feel the pinch eventually, no doubt against the better teams in the league.

I can't wait until Danny Ware comes back. I like Bradshaw, but I think Ware is a smoother, more polished runner, maybe even a smidge faster than Bradshaw and can make some plays in the passing game.

Trade Sinorice Moss to Cleveland. (Can't take credit for this - it was my brother's idea.) Now that the Browns have traded Braylon Edwards to the Jets, they may feel the need to add a deep threat to their corps of WR's. I still think Moss can be a good deep threat and he might be an asset to the Giants, but realistically, he is not getting enough playing time or having enough balls thrown to him to make it worth it for the Giants to keep him. Giants now have 4 very productive WR's in Manningham, Smith, Hixon and Nicks. They have used Hagan as a 5th WR situationally at times instead of Moss and they still have Barden sitting on the bench. They have enough depth there, that they should consider trading him. The Giants could get draft picks from the Browns or could try to get Brodney Pool, the Browns' starting S, which would would give the Giants a little depth at the position to back-fill for loss of Phillips.

Giants are 16 point favorites over the Raiders. The Raiders must really stink - there are questions about whether the starting QB will play for the Giants and how effective he will be in light of the plantar fasciitis and they are still favored by more than 2 TDs.

JaMarcus Russell is playing poorly; he has a powerful but inaccurate arm. His completion percentage is around 40%. The whispers also are that he's very heavy, completely out of shape and is not the most studious of QB's.

Romo held up 3 fingers, signalling 3rd down to his team after his incomplete 4th down play that ended the game against the Broncos on Sunday. He claims that he knew it was really 4th down and he was trying to trick the officials into thinking that they had one more play. Gamesmanship. Yeah, right.

Interesting that the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets got Braylon Edwards from the Browns in a trade. With all the focus on Giant WRs in the off-season, Braylon Edwards was on the Giants shopping list of possible players to upgrade the WR unit. Giants declined because Reese thought that the Browns were asking too much. Jets gave up a starting WR in Stuckey, their best ST player and two draft choices - a 3rd and 6th. Comparable value from the Giants might have been Hixon, Kehl, and two draft picks for a player that you are renting for one year. In the Jets case, they are renting him for 12 games, so it really is a lot to give up. Of course if it transforms their offense by giving Sanchez a legitimate deep threat, moves defenses off the line of scrimmage and opens up the running game, it might be worth it. By making this trade, Jets are advertising that they are reaching for the brass ring this year. Giving up so many players for 12 games worth of a player is not a long term move; it is a win-now proposition. In the end, perhaps this will turn out to be a good move for the Jets, and I think it was the right thing for the Giants to turn down. While Edwards has size and speed, he has had only one good year in the pros. He also has this fighting incident hanging over him, a league investigation and possible suspension. After the Plaxico experience, I don't think the Giants want a player with some baggage. We'll see.

Giants also announced that Kehl had surgery on a broken finger and will probably be out a week or two. Kehl has been spectacular on ST for the Giants. Last Sunday he forced a fumble on the opening KO and recovered it. On the opening KO of the 2nd half, he smelled out the onside kick and recovered it. I doubt the NFL keeps records of these things, but what is the probability that a LB will recover both KO's of each half in the same game.

Goff is also playing well on ST and made a huge hit on one of the Chiefs KO returns.

Hypothetical I was discussing with my brother this morning: The score is tied in the middle of the 3rd qtr. It's 4th and 5 on the opposing team's 38 yard line. It's a 55 yard kick, so you're out of FG range. Do you punt or do you go for it? Feagles is a good punter and could probably pin them down on the 10. Your defense is good, so if you stop them with a 3-and-out you get the ball back, probably losing about 15-20 yards of field position. On the other hand, your offense is very good, efficient at making 3rd-and-makeable distances so maybe you put the ball in Eli's hands and risk giving up the ball to the opponents with good field position, if the offense doesn't pick up the 1st down. Moreover, if you were to punt, and Feagles kick is slightly off so he boots it into the end zone, you gain only 19 yards of field position. What's your call?

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