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Ravens Redux

August 20th, 2007

“Directa Your Feetzah, to Daddy Green’s Pizza”-While not exactly the Sho-Gun of Harlem the little brother’s feet were moving and so was the Giant offense. For the record, Eli’s stat line read 10/13 for 114 yards, 1 TD and 0 INT in just under a half. Not exactly what many expected based on this maddening pre-game quote from Brian Billick as he tried to rally his thugs.

“Take a look at that other sideline, they’re not ready for what we’re bringing”

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Raise your hand if you’re not ready

Terrell Suggs with his Drac like mouth was supposed to terrorize Eli and take away the passing game. A tenacious Rex Ryan defense led by Ray Lewis and Ed Reed was supposed to stifle the running game at home, on national television in their oh so frightening black uniforms. So what in the name of Jim Fassel happened here?…read on..

Got Milk?

In today’s online edition of the NJ Star-Ledger, Giants beat writer Mike Garafolo seems to be stoking a fire with his article entitled, “Burress won’t be soured”. On this week’s episode of As the Stomach Turns, Giant fans are treated to the following exchange instead of gearing up for a big preseason test against the Baltimore Ravens…

“I think his milk is going bad,” one player overheard one of the team’s veterans say. The player, who requested anonymity because he didn’t want to publicly question his teammate, said the joke was a reference to Burress’ possibly “milking” the injury he suffered on Aug. 2 so he could miss more than two weeks of training camp.

Garafolo dutifully notes that when informed of the “Joke”, Burress shot back..

“It’s fine. But when I get back on the football field, when I get back out there and back to being No. 17 and making plays, everybody’s going to shut up and get in line.”

Apparently the “Talk is Cheap Play the Game” mantra that Tom Coughlin wanted to use as a rallying cry is now officially dead. The fact that Burress is at the center of this mini-controversy should come as no surprise. Giants faithful have been wary of wide receiver Plaxico Burress ever since his bizarre free agency episode that led then GM Ernie Accorsi to publicly announce he was not interested in the lanky WR’s services, then reversing field and inking Plax to a five year deal.

Despite 139 catches, 2,202 yards and 17 touchdowns in two seasons, Burress still cannot outrun his image as a malcontent who doesn’t work hard enough. With Tiki gone, Shockey laying low and Gappy counting his pennies, Burress has become the official whipping boy. It all began 2 years ago with his refusal to train in the New York/New Jersey area and play catch with his quarterback. Throw in Burress’ dogging a play in which felonious Titans CB Adam Jones intercepted a pass intended for him, and you have every beat writer’s dream-a talented player turned emerging villain.

Ironically playing the role of anti-villain last year was absentee Defensive End you know who, when he commented on Burress’ questionable effort.

“He’s too great of a player to have people look at him and think he’s a quitter. Don’t be labeled as a guy who’s a sometimes player, I-play-when-I-want-to type of attitude. He’s too good for that.”

However, when pressed on the subject, Gappy did a 180 and exploded on ESPN reporter Kelly Naqi in the now famous PBJ Incident…

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“Look a man in the eye before you try to kill him or make up something,” he said. “Look me in the eyes…..So if you want to come here with the negative, you’re coming to the wrong guy, because I’m not a negative guy. I don’t kill my teammates. I’m a man, and I talk to my teammates.”

Gappy is the same man mind you who has not looked in the eyes of his coach or teammates since mini-camp, but that’s another story for another day. So here we sit, Burress not practicing and another anonymous veteran teammate voicing a not so encouraging opinion of his effort. Will this be the start of another back and forth with reporters dodging bits of sandwich flying between two front teeth or is it simply one guy busting another guy’s onions?

Only those who heard the milk comment know the context in which it was made, but the fact that it was brought to Burress’ attention is what is significant here. I hate to sound trite, but simply put, guys crack on guys all the time. We call each other names, make fun of each other’s beer bellies, cars, women, and the clothes those very women make us wear. Show an ounce of weakness, and your buddies will pounce on it. Players are out in the August sun sweating while Burress sits and waits to be fully healed, naturally that will cause a few groans from the guys practicing all day. But is it really that important?

That brings me to my long awaited point Giant fans and Burress haters-“Just Shut up and Watch”. Giant fans constantly rail the New York media for digging up controversy. And make no mistake, the relaying of this quote to Burress was intended to stir up a little controversy, otherwise it’s an innocuous comment from one guy simply giving another some grief. For all those who hate Burress for the Titans’ miscue, and not playing paddy cake with Eli in March and April, can I remind you of one thing…

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“Get that sh-t outta here”

The man makes plays no WR in Giants’ history has made. The man is alway open, even when he’s covered. The man blocks downfield on running plays as well as any player at his position in the entire league. Don’t believe me? Pop in a tape of any long Tiki Barber run and chances are you’ll see Burress burying a CB or shoving a safety aside.

Burress is an easy media target because his tenure as a Giant started with controversy and every so often he seems to be in the middle of something negative and newsworthy. Reporters write stories, and in New York it never hurts to stir the pot a little to get people interested in reading. So read the stories, and have your opinions but realize that on Sundays, few Giants are capable of making grown Eagles fans do this…

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So, before you go pointing fingers at Garafolo or any other beat writer for stirring things up, and before you go calling Plaxico a lazy no good so and so keep something in mind.  Good writers do their jobs, and get us to read, and come September Plaxico will do his job and get us to cheer.  Read the stories, form the opinions, stab your Burress voodoo doll if it helps but come Sundays Just Shut up and Watch.  You’ll be a much happier football fan if you do.

Nevermore

August 17th, 2007

Preseason Week 2 Preview

New York Giants (0-1) at Baltimore Ravens (1-0)

Sunday, August 19th 8:00PM

On Air: Television: NBC National Broadcast,

On Air: Radio: Sirius Satellite Radio Channels 123, 124

 

 

Nevermore- Quoth the Reeser, “Nevermore”…after being gashed repeatedly by a mediocre Panthers running game, restless GM Jerry Reese signed nearly 700lbs of beef to shore up his suddenly suspect defensive line. Defensive Tackles Tui Alailefaleula and Manny Wright tip the scales at about 345lbs each and will be looked upon to provide some stout run stopping support.

From where I sat however, the Giants LBs were guiltier than anyone, so I’m not sure how two Gastric bypass candidates are the answer to the defensive woes. The more pressing need this week, is for the LB trio of Pierce, Mitchell and Kiwanuka to pay closer attention to their keys, and not jump at the first sign of movement from the offense. Too often last week, each LB was guilty of over pursuing when presented with a dive fake or counter only to get themselves blocked out of the play. With a one gap defensive tackle alignment and ends that race up field, the linebackers MUST MUST MUST be a bit more patient and attack the right gaps…continued….

Football is Back…Almost

August 11th, 2007

Carolina at New York, 8pm-Game Preview

Opponents Be Damned- I won’t be talking much about the Giants opponents during the pre-season because it’s a time to watch our young guys, backups and new acquisitions. Who will make the team, who will surprise, who will disappoint and how will the roster shake out? Those are the questions before us each pre-season game. So focus Giants’ faithful on your own players and their performance, the opponent will play bland schemes and this will be the only chance for you to see some of the backups and rookies in extended action. There is no strategy other than to stay healthy, and play hard. Here’s to good health.

Eli Will be…- The starting QB, we know that for a fact but in his first year without Tiki Barber to take over games, more pressure than ever may rest on the easy going former Rebel. Manning is only expected to only play a series or two, so keep your eyes not just on Eli’s passes but on his feet, balance, and demeanor. When he is able to keep his feet moving and scan the field, Eli is as good as they come. His main issue when he starts playing sporadically has been his inability to turn his body toward his target and instead he’s relied solely on his arm. Much like a golf shot, where your feet point after the shot, the ball will have a tendency to follow, so if new QB coach Chris Palmer can keep Eli conscious of his feet, the accuracy will follow. Here’ something fun to try tonight (or 2pm tomorrow on the NFLN); if you focus on his feet, and see that he’s shuffling them, planting, squaring up his shoulders and letting it rip you don’t even need to watch were the ball goes, assume it will be on target.

….continue reading the preview

I Hate the Media

August 10th, 2007

Seriously, is there anything worse than ignorance masquerading as lame humor and insight? And no I don’t mean me wise-acres, so watch it. I mean aside from hearing “We’re out of Guiness sir, can I interest you in a Bud Light?”, nothing fries my bacon more than unobjective unfuniness. Now let’s face it, if you’re just born dumb, embrace it. Be stupid, chase your socks, dream about making a rocket ship to the moon out of all those cracker jack boxes on your floor. Any self respecting idiot, you know who you are 90% of the world, should just be happy that you didn’t walk head first into something sharp. The last thing you should do is try to get a job telling people stuff and analyzing things about that stuff.

Unfortunately thanks to Al Gore, we now have the interwebby thing and it takes no talent at all to start a blog…well I mean some talent to type things and…stupid Al Gore. I have a job that pays me ok and I’m pretty good at it, but all over this great country people are handing over their companies’ hard earned revenue to lunkheads passing themselves off as writers. In our case of Media Venom today, I will take a look at a fellow who actually knows football down to the details, but he can’t write or crack a joke to save his life. He is in fact, my total opposite, aside from the football stuff which I know too, and I’m just assuming he’s ugly and women don’t faint when he appears.

Granted I have a bias against this particular article, I am a Giant fan which makes me inherently indignant toward pessimistic appraisals of my team, which is ironic given how much I think they stink. It’s like making fun of my sister, it’s fine if I do it but if you join in I’ll be forced to give you a fat lip. So Mister Football Outsider jerko, here comes the fat lip. In his most recent QWERTY diarrhea session Mike Tanier ranks the Giants coaching staff dead last in the NFL at 32, despite them leading the G-men to back to back playoff appearances. Nevermind that only one Giants coach since 1963 has done that, man by the name of Parcells. Nevermind that on Parcells’ staff he had future Hall of Famer Bill Belichick, along with Browns head man Romeo Crennell, Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis and the often bullied Tom Coughlin. Let’s have a look at your rapier wit shall we mister poopy pants?

32 Giants (Last Year: 14)

Howlin’ Tom Coughlin alienates veterans and terrifies rookies with his abrasive style and obsession with picayune rules. Coughlin promises to be a mellower fellow this season; he’s reached Stage 3 of Coaching Cluelessness (“bargaining”) and should reach “acceptance” sometime soon. Kevin Gilbride is a refugee from the run-and-shoot era who specializes in getting his quarterbacks flattened. He thinks Max Protect is a 1980s cartoon superhero, so Eli Manning had better be ready for the blindside blitz. The Giants fired defensive coordinator Tim Lewis, their best coach, after his injury-plagued defense fell apart last season. Replacement Steve Spagnuolo is a longtime Eagles assistant who plans to install a more blitz-oriented attack. When the whole staff is fired on January 7th, Spagnuolo will land on his feet.

Good move starting your published piece on Fox Sports with a witty adjective cooled up by leavin’ off the g. Howlin’. I like it, I’m going to start giving people nicknames that make no sense and are spelled just a little bit wrong for effect. I wonder what Thinkin’ Ray Handley is up to, but I digress. That might not be considered a true digression, more of a minor hiccup but I always wanted to type that.

So, Coughlin “terrifies rookies?” You make him sound like he puts Icy Hot in their shorts and gives them swirlies when they arrive on campus. The man is a professional football coach in the NFL, not an overweight 8th grade bully who can only deal with his internal sadness by picking on others..(It’s OK Lenny, I know you just hurt inside and you never meant to pick on me..i forgive you, you tubby bastard). So does this mean that for all of your X and O prowess, which I do admire by the way, you just don’t care what you write about coaches?

Tim Lewis, their best coach???? The same Tim Lewis who guided the Steelers to a #15, #16 ranking in scoring defense in his final 2 years and who Bill Cowher personally fired because of his distaste for the soft zone coverage Lewis employed? The same Tim Lewis who upon departing saw the Steelers rise to #1 in scoring AND total defense immediately following his dismissal? The same Tim Lewis who oversaw 2 consecutive 26 ranked defenses with the giants, despite having 2 Pro Bowl DEs and a Pro Bowl MLB to anchor the defense??? The same Tim Lewis who was even more hated in the locker room and who not ONE player had a nice thing to say about once he left? I suppose if you think he’s our best coach and he stinks everyone else must be awful. How then do you explain in your oh so eloquent manner that Giants “injury-plagued defense” (your words not mine) was unable to derail a 2nd consecutive playoff birth?

Could it be that maybe, just maybe Tom Coughlin knows what he’s doing? Nah, couldn’t be he’s the worst coach in the NFL, but only one of a handful to take his injury plagued (you again) team to the postseason 2 years in a row. What a bum.

I’m guessing you have an axe to grind here Mike, after all you started your Coughlin bashing early on when you named the Lions coaching staff at 16.

Head coach Rod Marinelli is the last of the loose cannons — or at least he will be as soon as Tom Coughlin gets fired.”

SIXTEEN??? Marinelli managed to shave 2 wins off of the Steve Mariucci/Dick Jauron feat of 5-11, but I’m sure it was a brilliant coaching ploy to pick #2 and watch the Raiders gag and pass on Calvin Johnson so Rod could nab him. That is good solid coaching. But it’s the defense, supposedly Marinelli’s forte’, that actually plummeted from 17th in total D and 21st in points to 27th and 30th respectively. But yeah, that deserves a nice solid middle of the road ranking, just like Rosie O’Donnell deserves to be called, a little liberal and a little chubby.

Speaking of Dick Jauron, he of the one winning season in seven as a head coach and the proud owner of 1, 4, 5 and 6 win season, he was ranked 23rd. Not great, but 9 spots higher than Tommy C. for seemingly no reason at all. One winning season out of seven Mike and he’s better than Coughlin, really..really?? So you need incontrovertible proof of Anti-TC bias??? Look no further than the dart thrown in the wall method of ranking coaches who have yet to put on an officially licensed headset by Motorla, designed exclusively for you, the demanding NFL head coach…stupid commercials hurting my brain….

  • Ken Whisenunt, NFL Record 0-0, Rank 20th
  • Lane Kiffin, NFL Record 0-0, Rank 24th
  • Cam Cameron, NFL Record 0-0, Rank 25th
  • Bobby Petrino, NFL Record 0-0, Rank 26th (ironically a Tom C disciple!)
  • Romeo Crennell, NFL Record 10-26, Rank 27th
  • Norv Turner, NFL Record 58-82, Rank 30th

So four head coaches with NO TRACK RECORD of success are automatically deemed better than a man with nearly 100 wins and 5 playoff appearances? Norv Turner, NORV TURNER is ranked ahead of him. The Raiders didn’t want Norv Turner, the Raiders.

Look, I’m no blind Coughlin supporter just because he coaches my favorite team, but facts are facts and based on wins and playoff appearances, he and his assistants no matter how many awful made up 80’s references you can make (Max Protect-gah?) deserve better. Nowadays, the NFL is a meritocracy, and you earn your standing in the coaching ranks by winning football games.

Like him or not, Tommy boy has done more winning than losing and gotten some teams that seemed to be teetering due to injuries, to pull through and make a final push. He gets the most out of his players, just ask Tiki Barber who hated his style but appreciated his talent.

Look no further than the terms Tiki Barber and Hall of Fame in the same sentence and ask yourself this- Had he continued fumbling under nice guy Jim, would those phrases be linked, aside from in a forced NBC telecast from Canton starring the toothy wonder himself? Barber did his best work under Tom’s tutelage, there is no denying that fact, but facts don’t seem too relevant to your popularity contest.

If anyone out there wants a football 101 lesson, I recommend checking out Mike’s work. He’s very well versed in the X’s and O’s, and does a nice job explaining some very basic football concepts. Ranking coaches and comprehending won loss records just isn’t his thing. Asking Mr. Tanier to come up with an objective, thoughtful review of the head coaching fraternity seems to be as wise as Donald Trump for hair advice. Stick to the X’s and O’s Mike, your inbox will thank you.

August 9th, 2007

During my stint in the boutonnière of New York, I managed to sober up long enough to catch an evening practice and glimpses of a certain Right Wing Survivor Winning Rosie O’Donnell Hating Pregnant Girl who shall remain nameless. Dying for a hint huh? Her name starts with an E, ends in a -beth and has a liza in the middle. Ok no more clues Inspectors…go go Gadget keyboard…

My observations were not of the flow of any one play, completions, interceptions, crowd oohing plays or violent collisions. Being a complete football nerd I of course focused on the things that make a good athlete a good football player; hand placement, punch, footwork, power base, body lean, field awareness etc. The focus was solely on a few players I have my doubts about, guys in new positions, and returning injured players…continue reading the article

Albany Unplugged

August 8, 2007

Before I begin my sordid tale of interstate intrigue, overindulgence, and pregnant celebrities, I wanted to address the Michael Strahan situation. Cheated, got caught, got fleeced, wants more $, the end. Seriously Mike, if you’re reading this get a life I’m a nobody. In anxious anticipation of Mister Strahan’s anguishing decision, the good folks at Personal Foul suggest you go see a Summer blockbuster…In a place where Defensive Ends were once plentiful, witness a tale about a Man, his journey to find himself and the team he left twisting in the wind. This Summer, Giant fans everywhere await…..

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Head North not so Young Man

My journey began on Friday August 3rd, trudging to Manhattan to locate my wing man for this journey, whom we shall only refer to as, “Smash”. Friday Night Lights fans might be thinking I’m stealing, but Smash is simply, well a guy who likes to smash things….Boston Market cookies, Dewars on the rocks, my passenger seat, my olfactory system. After Smash got situated and feeding time was over, I counted my fingers and we headed up I-87 to Albany, NY to watch our beloved Giants practice. Yes Allen Iverson, we talkin’ ’bout practice, not a game..not a game…but practice. As mentioned in my psychological profile, I have a bit of an obsession with football.

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Will Tom Coughlin’s message sink in? Not with me, on with the yakkity yak!

WARNING- Unless you’re a football nutjob, specifically a Giants football nutjob, do not continue reading this for it will a) hurt your feeble brain 2) bore you to the point of wanting to watch the View (more on that later) or number d) turn you delusional and you’ll starting shaking your belly and saying things like..“Okay, Brand. Michael Jackson didn’t come over to my house to use the bathroom. He was about to. But his sister did”

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How to gain entry to a booby trapped fenced yard.

Tony Romo’s Spinal Cord

Ok, now that we’ve scared off anyone who sprang from an X chromosome or was born after 1985, let’s proceed. One of the most interesting developments to me, was the amorphous nature of our defensive front 7. Granted you have 2s and 3s mixing in, but I saw a few amoeba like fronts that scared me from the bleachers, I can’t imagine it will make guys like Tony “Drop Dead” Romo and Jason Campbell too comfortable. That nickname for Romo is not official, but I really do want him to drop dead so here’s hoping it sticks and he catches SARS or the Bird Flu. What I’d really enjoy is a Mortal Kombat like “Finish Him” death but one handed spinal cord removal is just a lost art these days.

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That’s just showing off-Break the spine, walk away-its just that simple.

The 265lb Elephant in the Room

Particularly interesting to me is that former DE turned OLB Mathias Kiwanuka (heretofore known as Kiwi), seemed to be lined up anywhere and everywhere. He was at LDE, SAM (Strong Side Linebacker for the un-nerdy), WILL (weakside LB), and as seen below at an “Elephant” or rover position. The Elephant position is one used in a 3-4 or 4-3 nickel front that enables a hybrid LB/DE to overload a gap or pick his spot to get to the QB. Given Kiwi’s very unique skill set, this development was one that had me very excited for our new defense. Not as excited as Smash was when this girl in an orange top roamed by, but still I was pretty geeked. No Smash did NOT ask for her number, something about he hates the color orange and how it clashes with tan skin.

 

 

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“My Prediction?….PAIN” (Overused sure but we love Mr. T)

Why should you all be excited at this development? Simple, think Giants and 49ers of the 80s, Patriots of the two..two thousands?…the OOs the Ots?..what the hell do I call it? Meh. Anyway, guys like Charles Haley, Tim Harris, Willie McGinest and a young man by the name of Lawrence Taylor all manned this position with great acclaim and great success. The Elephant backer is like the modest girl who turns hot in movies once she takes out the hair tie and ditches the glasses. You might not know by looking, but once it’s unleashed, you will see it’s true hotness come through. Or something like that.

Those worrying about Kiwi having trouble covering people, fear not, if Steve Spagnuolo follows his mentor’s blue print and all indications are that he will be, Kiwi won’t be down the field covering too many people. The SAM in this defense acts as another DL in a sense, and you’re left w/ two LBs almost playing the middle which is why Kawika Mitchell lining up next to Antonio Pierce makes so much sense. Kiwi will be a run stopping force on the edge, a difficult obstacle to throw over, and a pass rushing weapon on obvious passing downs. His ability to be moved around and have his talent maximized is achieved best at this spot. Now that’s simply MY opinion and from what I gather the opinion of the Giants brain trust but for all of you computer jockeys who are smarter than they are, keep thinking it’s a bad idea. Me and Kiwi will prove you wrong, or I’ll just have Smash pay you a visit.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Another way of saying me, the opposite of me and you guys reading this….more to come shortly…