New York Giants Mid-Season report

I figured with 8 games down on the season and 8 games to go I’ll give out the report on this 2010 NY Giants team.

M.V.P

There a lot of candidates for this on offense and defense, but of course none on special teams.

First let me eliminate the players I think are in the discussion, but do not get the nod (in descending order)

#5 Jerry Reese

I think this can be “the Front office” or whatever term that includes Reese, Coughlin, and Perry Fewell.

First, hats off to Reese who shored up the Giants defensive problems by signing Antrell Rolle and Deon Grant. The signing of Chris Canty from last year also looks great now.

And for drafting Jason Pierre Paul who provides good depth at a position the Giants were stacked at, but also at the same time forgoing moving up in the draft to try and get Rolando McClain or staying put and grabbing Sean Weatherspoon because Jonathan Goff has been very solid this year. JPP is still growing, but I’ve seen flashes that excites me. And I love that even though he is a high paid first round talent he busts his tail on Special teams, often being the first one to get down there, this guy looks like he just loves playing football and I think he’ll be at least solid moving forward.

But mostly,  Shawn Andrews looks like a steal at a discount price. And we’ll see what he can do the next few weeks with Diehl out (hopefully Beatty will be back soon though and Kevin Boothe is coming back this week)

And what about Mitch Petrus. How much fun is it to watch this guy, a professional football player sprinting around and absolutely elated to be in the game. This seems like a guy who’s going to work hard (and with his impressive strength and speed for an offensive linemen, he might develop into a pretty good guard soon).

Couhglin turned this team around when things could have gone right down hill after a bad 1-2 start. There is a lot of work to do, but so far the team has played very well at some times and well enough to win 6 times.

Coughlin also brought in Perry Fewell (which many people didn’t like….think about how many people were crying about the “read and react” defense, but I watched Perry Fewell the last few years in Buffalo and with THAT unstable front office and those average, at best, defensive players Fewell had a team that played hard ALL the time and created turnovers, they played above their talent many times last year (look how bad the team got from last year to this year…they aren’t creating turnovers anymore).

And then a tip of my hat to Perry Fewell, which is self-explanatory.  But I’ll just write this: First in yards, second in pass yards, second in rush yards, 12th in points.

# 4 Hakeem Nicks

Hakeem has been great this year in his second year. And if the season ended today, he’d be a serious candidate for the All-Pro team,  not just a pro-bowl berth.

Also today, Mike Garafolo pointed out that he’s been dealing with a lot of lower leg injuries and said something along the lines of “if we find out later he was hurt much more than he let on, it wouldn’t surprise me”.

Nicks is 653 recieving yards (6th in league), 51 catches (5th),  9 Touchdowns (1st), and 14 plays of 20 or more yards (second).

His yards per catch, however, 12.8 is down from last year when it was 16.8, but there are two reasons for that, #1 his touchdown receptions are in the red-zone which lowers the yard per catch stat and he’s had a few naked bootleg screens that didn’t go anywhere really. He’s been used much more as a posession receiver and big play threat this year. That combination to be able to do that is fantastic.

#3 Osi Umeniyora

Really it’s the entire defensive line. Canty, Cofield, Osi, Tuck have all been brilliant. Osi, though, was the most volatile of the group and if he had a poor attitude coming into the season like last season it might have negatively effected what is happening in New York.

He also leads the team with 8 sacks, 7 Forced Fumbles, and has actually contributed in the running game this year as well.

He’s in contention for defensive player of the year at the moment (though behind Clay Matthews, who has 10.5 sacks (while missing one game), a touchdown, a good number of tackles.

#2 Ahmad Bradshaw

I think many fans would give the M.V.P of this team to Ahmad Bradshaw who is having an absolutely fantastic season.

He has been very important to what the Giants are doing on offense this season. He’s fourth in the league in rushing, he leads the league in rushes of more than 10 yards, he has done pretty well out of the backfield. He has scored 5 touchdowns and he was absolutely dominant while the offensive line was finding its way early in the season.

Bradshaw has been much, much better than I could have ever imagined. Hopefully he stays healthy and productive the rest of the season.

#1 Eli Manning

We all know that he is the leader of this team and that between him and his Wide Receivers there has been a lot of turnovers with tipped passes for interceptions. Some blame that on Eli’s throws, others on the Wide Receiver not catching the ball cleanly, and I’ve also seen it suggested that the WR are not running precise routes (which is really hard to see on t.v.).

Let’s take Eli’s numbers as they are (and not even discount X number of tipped passes for INT)

Currently, Eli Manning has thrown for 2,075 yards (6th in the league,might be 7th depending on what Palmer does tonight), he has thrown for 7.7 yards per attempt (6th), he has completed 65.7 percent of his passes (4th-that’s right “inaccurate” Eli Manning has 4th highest completion percentage), he has thrown 17 touchdown passes, 32 plays over 20 yards (3rd), 4 plays over 40 yards (11th), he’s only taken 12 sacks (9th) behind an Offensive line that hasn’t been great, and his QB rating is 92.7 right now (even with all of those tipped passes for INT…if you took of 4, which is a very conservative number his TD to INT ratio would be 17 to 7 and his QB rating would probably be 100).

Anyway, that’s 8th in the league and, but 3rd in the league out of QB’s who have thrown at least 250 passes (16 QB’s have thrown at least 250 passes).

Bradshaw has been great,but so has Eli Manning and he’s the Giants M.V.P.

Playing Above Expectations

There are some players who have really stepped up this year and played better than I thought they would.

Let’s start with the offense and then get to the defense.

I already mentioned Ahmad Bradshaw, who I thought would be serviceable, but not great like he has been so far this season. I should also mention though Brandon Jacobs who is coming on strong. He is averaging over 5 yards a carry again for the first time in awhile and now has already run for 5 touchdowns (Bradshaw and Jacobs both have five touchdowns).

Hakeem Nicks I thought he was a good player, but like I said he’s playing at an All-Pro Level. He’s probably been one of the two or three best Wide Receivers in the league this season. That I didn’t expect. If he continues on the pace he is on right now he could have 1300 yards and 18 touchdowns! (We’ll see if that pace lasts)

Rich Suebert and Kareem McKenzie

Suebert has been invaluable on guard pulls. He always brings the intensity, and this year is no different. He’s not a great player, but he gives the team flexibility and has fought back after almost losing is job to Beatty this off season (because Beatty would push Diehl inside to Guard).

Kareem McKenzie is still a force on runs. Notice how all the Giants big runs go to the right side with Suebert and McKenzie. Kareem is playing very well. Suebert is playing better than I thought he would.

Bear Pascoe-Bear Pascoe has been playing so well that I’ve actually kind of rooted for Madison Hedgecock to stay sidelined. I’m afraid when he’s healthy Coughlin will go back to Hedgecock, even if it doesn’t make any sense to do so with how well Bear Pascoe has been playing this year.

Debbie Downers-(players on offense not playing as well as I had hoped)

David Diehl-at times this year, David Diehl has not played at a N.F.L. Quality level. He’s the biggest weak-line on the offensive line. Shawn Andrews will have a chance to show us what he can do the next few weeks. Hopefully Andrews will show us that Diehl will be playing Guard next year because Andrews has taken the tackle spot (or Diehl will move inside, Andrews will be one of the tackles and Beatty the other?).

Will Beatty=He’s been hurt. Beatty was defined as a “project” and his progress last year was actually encouraging, but I was dissapointed he wasn’t able to beat out Diehl at LT this season. I loved Beatty coming out of the draft because, even though he was undersized in the run game he was very willing in the run game. I still think he’ll be a good player.

Kevin Boss-I don’t think it’s his fault. He doesn’t get a ton of opportunities because, quite honestly Bradshaw, Nicks, Smith, and Manningham have been dynamic at times. Still one touchdown and 14 catches isn’t great.

Turnover Battle and Dropped Passes-I heard someone talking about an analysts opinion on speed. “When you have a lot of speed you’re more prone to turnovers”. The Giants offense is Dynamic, they lead the league in Touchdown Drives. Eli has 17 the running backs have 10. That’s an average of 3 touchdowns a game (that doesn’t even count field goals) but they also are dropping the ball all over the place, throwing inopportune interceptions (usually off receivers hands) and just being sloppy at times. On Sunday that didn’t happen and the Giants could have put up 60 points if they were really trying-if they don’t beat themselves it’s tough to beat them.

Darius Reynaud

With Adam Koets (shoot should have put him under the played better than I anticipated because he filled in admirably) going to IR, Reynaud will remain on the Giants roster the remainder of the season. I was hoping he’d be a decent return man to alleviate some of what Hixon could bring, but he was not. Perhaps, he didn’t fit with the Giants system, or maybe the blocking was awful, but whatever the case he is not productive as a return man with the Giants. He seems to have decent build for his size so hopefully he can help on the coverage teams, if active the rest of the season).

Defensive Stars

These are the players who have been better than I anticipated this season.

Deon Grant I don’t think he had the effect on the game he wished he had returning to Seattle on Sunday, but he has been a delightful surprise. He has made some huge plays this season and has forced Perry Fewell to put him on the field a lot. What a great under the radar pickup by Jerry Reese. Grant’s leadership and versatility had allowed this defense to thrive.

Barry Cofield I’ve always thought of Cofield has been a good, reliable N.F.L. Starter, but nothing special. At times this year he’s made me re-evaluate my view point on him. He has three sacks from the interior and has been very disruptive this year. Jerry Reese’s best off-season  move might have been lucking out and not being able to trade Barry Cofield to the Saints.

Mathias Kiwanuka (pre-injury)….Man that sucks for Kiwanuka. I was doing “breakout profiles” this off-season and one of my favorite profiles was Kiwanuka. I really thought he could play well this season and show why the Giants drafted him, but he was blowing away my expectations. It’s weird the Giants have thrived without him because he was dominating at most times. Hopefully he’ll be back with the Giants next year (if there’s football, and maybe at a discount price?)

Corey Webster I was a little worried that Webster had maxed out in 2008 and was going to be an average N.F.L. corner in this league moving forward, but he’s bounced back to have a good year.

Osi Umeinyora-I should learn that when players say they are a 100 percent healthy that it is only what the believe and not the truth. Osi said he was all good last year and probably believed that, but the difference between last year and this year is clear to see. I was a little worried, but he has been arguably the M.V.P. for the defense.

Jonathan Goff

I’ll start this with a caveat in a 4-3 I’ve maintained that the linebackers are the least important defensive unit of the three. I was not “all-in” for getting Rolando McClain or Sean Weatherspoon unless there were no better options available at the time, but that does not mean I was a full believer in Jonathan Goff.

Goff though, is entering his third year, which is the “breakout year” and is showing why people need to give more time to players they want to berate so early (Travis Beckum, Ramses Barden are two for example).

Goff has been exceptional for the Giants this year, especially compared to fans expecations for him.

Bravo, Goff. Keep it up.

Not What I Expected

Thing have gone well for the Giants defense, but not perfect. There are some players who haven’t been up to task.

Aaron Ross-Ross has not been good this year. In fact, he’s been terrible. He’s been thrown at 18 times (heading into the Seattle Game) and let 12 completions and over a 150 yards against him. Ross has been playing the slot (sometimes) and not doing it well. The upcoming draft class coming up as a ton of very good coverage cornerbacks and the Giants might be looking for one because the depth at cornerback is terrible if Ross is going to play so poorly.

Linval Joseph more on him later.

Kenny Phillips– I think this is another “Osi” situation. What I mean by that is people gave Osi a lot of crap for his season last year even though he led the team in sacks last season with 7. But, people were use to Osi being an absolute force and exepcted big things from him. Same with Phillips this year. Phillips said he was a 100 percent healthy, but I hope he’s not. He’s not playing poorly, by any stretch of the imagination. But Phillips has the ability to be a dynamic Game-changer at safety for the Giants. This year, he almost seems invisble, I guess. He’s supported the run well, but I can’t think of many big interceptions or huge passes defensed. In 4 road games this year he only has 11 tackles. He is not playing bad, he’s just not playing as well as my (too-high-for-a-player-coming-of-a-major-injury-expectations).

Cornerback Depth

Everyone with the last name of Johnson on defense has dissapointed. The Giants have no depth at cornerback (well maybe Blackmon because he has been a pretty decent starter so he’s good depth). Scares me.

Clint Sintim

I have, by no means, given up on him.  But I was hoping we’d see a linebacker who could really blitz and stick his nose in the run game…I thought it’d be Sintim, but it turns out it’s Jonathan Goff.

Sintim has not embarassed himself while he’s been on the field, but he has a lot of talent so his progress has been a little dissapointing this season.

Rookie Report

I recently wrote about Jason Pierre Paul’s year.

A lot of people didn’t like this pick (I was one of them). I saw that JPP-meant “Jerry’s Project Player”, but he has made an immediate impact this season. Coughlin has a history of slow playing rookies into the N.F.L. He’s made his presence felt on Special Teams and is doing well collapsing the pocket.I still want to see some production, but for a player no one thought would play much or do anything he has not been a dissapointment.

I wrote that players with THIS much talent, that show a tremendous work ethic and a love to play football (as I think his hustle on Special Teams indicates) don’t Bust in the N.F.L. Maybe they’re not pro-bowlers, but they are good solid players. I like what I’ve seen from JPP this season.

Linval Joseph Rocky Bernard still hasn’t impressed me much this season, but for some reason Joseph can’t get on the field.  I mean he’s a mammoth so it’s not like he’s going to be on the kick coverage teams, but I hoped to see more out of him this season. Joseph was the player that most expected to make an impact as a rookie.

Chad Jones My favorite pick of the draft. This guy is super athletic and would have been PERFECT to play the S/LB position that Grant is playing this season. Hopefully he’ll make it in professional sports (baseball or football) in his lifetime. Can’t blame anyone for this pick. Who knows what he could have done this season.

Phillip Dillard=Some teams get a ton of production from their rookies and a lot of playing time. Other teams like to slow play their rookies into action, especially if they don’t believe they’re read. Coughlin takes the second option.

Dillard has been inactive most of the season, but made his first apperance yesterday. With how well Jonathan Goff has been playing I don’t think many fans really even care.  We’ll see what Dillard will become, but so far I haven’t seen much (incomplete)

Mitch Petrus-This guy is a ball of energy. He’s played well when he’s been in (garbage time). He is the kind of player that makes you enjoy being a fan. He Dashes onto the field whenever he gets his number called. He’s running up and down the sidelines when the offense is making plays. He’s trying to blow up people in his grabage time duty. Petrus is athletic (started out as a tight end) and a weight machine warrior. There is plenty of refeinment for him, but you have to love the enthusiasm, and I think this could very well be the best pick in round five of the 2010 N.F.L. draft. It’s early but I could definitely see him becoming a starter in the next couple of years as the “changing of the guards” (see what I did there) occurs.

Adrian Tracy-IR The Giants love their “tweener” 4-3 linebackers. Guys who are undersized defensive ends, but big linebackers. Tracy was another one. A very good pass rusher in college. But he suffered a season ending injury before the 53 man roster was released I think. Hopefully he can do something next year.

Matt Dodge I never understood the love fest for Jeff Feagles. Sure, he could pin an opponet within their own 10 yard line like no other, but the 35 yard punts when the Giants needed to change field position killed the G-men at times last year. That’s not a problem with Dodge, what is his consistency. After an awful start to the season Dodge has picked it up.

Despite his shortcoming early in the season Matt Dodge is 7th in the league in average yards per punt, Sure there is  plenty of room for improvement, but I like some things I’ve seen from Dodge (especially the past couple of games). He could be the long-time Giants punter.

It’s WAYYYY Too early to judge a rookie draft class, but Reese kind of get dealt a raw deal with two of his seven picks going on IR and one of those players possibly losing his career already.

But JPP has been O.K. and shown flashes. Joseph has been a space eater when playing (but not playing much). And Mitch Petrus has the kind of enthusiasm for the game that makes you believe he’ll be ok at the N.F.L. level (especially with his raw strength, size, and athleticism).

But we’ll see. Mario Manningham’s first year wasn’t impressive and now look what he’s become. Justin Tuck didn’t do much his first season.

It takes time. I LOVED the 2009 draft class, and I was lukewarm on this draft class, we’ll see what happens moving forward.

What’s in Store the Second Half of the Season

The Giants have a ton of division games left (Dallas this weekend) but four home games and four away games left as well.

The schedule upcoming is as follows:

Vs Dallas

At Philadelphia

vs Jacksonville

Vs Washington Redskins

At Minnesota Vikings

vs Philadelphia Eagles

at Green Bay Packers

At Washington

The Giants most likely need at least three wins to make the playoffs (but probably four to be safe and five wins to gurantee the playoffs).

It is nice to have four home and four road games left, but for a team like the Giants it doesn’t matter that much because the past few years they have been very good on the road.

Division Games are always risky because teams can play with more emotion than usual. The Cowboys might have one last rally in them with a new coach this weekend.

Jacksonville in NY should be the closest thing to a guarantee win there is in the N.F.L. and if the Giants can go at least 3-4 in the other 7 games the playoffs should happen.

Things are looking good for the Giants they just have to stay healthy, stay focused, and keep the turnovers down.


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