Tag:Jerry Jones
Posted on: September 21, 2009 1:08 pm

Mann to Mann, NYG Lucky to Escape Big-D with "V"

Super Mario Shines again as Giants spoil Cowboys Hope Opener, despite more Red Zone Woes.
 Manningham had 10 catches for 150 yards on Sunday night.

This is an excerpt from my post game blog last week following the Giants 23-17 win over the Redskins:

"Something happens to this team's offense once the field in front of them shortens to 60 feet or less...they rarely take that huge bite out of the opposition and gobble them up."

"... Coughlin and Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride had better address this quickly. Without an established big-play wide receiver, they still lack that legitimate "knockout punch". If they continue to squander red zone opportunities to the tune of 6 points per three trips, they will continue to find themselves hanging on for dear life at the end of games in which they've clearly outplayed their opponent."

In light of the events that took place in the newly crowned Xanadu of sports mecca's - where New York was outgained in rushing by 154 yards and failed to score a touchdown in five Red Zone trips - I stand by that statement.

The brightest spot of the night was - no, not the ridiculously large HD TV dangling above the field - the continued emergence of WR Mario Manningham as Eli Manning's new #1 man. Manningham is showing terrific poise under pressure, and a keen sense of when he needs to break from the route and make himself available to bail out his QB. Between Manningham and Steve Smith (both of whom caught 10 balls in the contest - a first for any pair of Giants receivers in a single game in franchise history), Manning has found himself in a much better position than anyone would have expected at this early point of the season.

If head coach Tom Coughlin's "Green Zone" is more akin to a barren stretch of antarctic ice bed, then the area that lies between the opponent's 20-30 yard lines must be the "Hot Zone". It seems to be the only portion of the opposition's field where Eli can connect with receivers past the goal line - as proven by his 22-yard scoring strike to Manningham in the 2nd quarter, and his other 22-yarder to Smith in the 4th. In five trips inside the Dallas 20, Lawrence Tynes provided the only points with four field goals. He also provided a scare by missing a 29-yard chip shot to close the first drive of the 2nd half that would have put NY up by 6.

The Giants running game was practically non-existent, gaining all of 97 yards on 26 carries. The real spark plug was once again Ahmad Bradshaw, who didn't have quite as good a game as many have come to expect since taking over the #2 spot on the depth chart. The Dallas defense really clamped down on the line of scrimmage and was succesful in taking away the running game from the Giants, who's normally stout offensive line was unable to plow any openings for Brandon Jacobs. Bradshaw's ability to deak oncoming defenders out of the backfield provided a much needed boost at times (more often than not creating 'something' out of 'nothng'), but it was Dallas' Marion Barber and Felix Jones who dominated the ground game.   

The Cowboys offensive line was able to stave off the front four of the Giants, and with the quick & elusive team of Barber and Jones running their counter attacks all night, linebackers Michael Boley (the former Atlanta Falcon making hs first start with the Giants), Antonio Pierce and Chase Blackburn had all they could handle just trying to keep up with them. In addition to the phenomenal run blocking, the Dallas O-Line provided plenty of time & protection to QB Tony Romo, who did everything he could to hand this one to his opponents by throwing two inexcusable interceptions - one that landed right in the cradle of rookie CB Bruce Johnson that went 37-yards the other direction for a touchdown. In fairness to Romo (something I never imagined I'd say), LB Antonio Pierce showed a little veteran savvy just before Romo took the snap by recognizing the play and calling an audible to pull his secondary off the line to drop back into pass coverage. 

An ugly duckling...
Dallas lineman Flozell Adams tripped up Giants DE Justin Tuck in the 3rd quarter as Tuck made a bee line for Tony Romo deep in Dallas territory. While no one can fault Adams for wanting to protect his QB, the trip resulted in Tuck spending the rest of the game in an arm sling - watching from the sidelines. Initial x-rays were negative, and hopefully further tests this week don't reveal any damage. Adams actions could be tolerated for this one instance, but he tried the same thing later in the game on Osi Umenyiora, who was only playing in his second game since missing all of last season.

... graceful as a swan.
Mario manningham
 had another terrific TD catch: as he curled around behind CB Terence Newman, he bobbled Manning's pass as he fell backward in the end zone. Manningam had the wherewithal to keep his eye on the ball and reign it in while on his back to secure the score. And a less than 100% Kenny Phillips also proved to be as sharp as a tack with a heads-up play of his own, when an incomplete pass to TE Jason Witten bounced of his heel as he kicked up happened to bounce right into Phillip's gut before hitting the ground. Phillips was not awarded the TD he thought he'd scored, but the Giants did retain possesion upon review.



Posted on: November 12, 2008 11:32 am
Edited on: November 12, 2008 4:00 pm

The Power of The Pen & The Will of The Spirit

Athletes are not the only ones who take years to finally come around; sometimes fans & columnists need time, too.

The Article below was written by Filip Bondy, who happens to be one of my favorite newspaper columnists. As much as anyone else, I too had doubts about Eli Manning and his ability to lead an NFL team; his stunning 4th quarter comeback performances were sandwiched between less than stellar performances. He could leave you scratching your head at times, and despite seeing the kind of intuition and skills the Giants were so set on trading Philip Rivers to the Chargers for, it became arduous to watch Eli play week after week. But one thing I personally never lost was the hope - the feeling that the flashes of brilliance Eli gave us in small portions would somehow flourish into a 7-course meal of Hall of Fame type consistency.

To wash away my own sins, I have to openly admit that there did come a point where I all but washed my hands of Eli. It was Monday November 26th of last year. I woke up that morning after having watched one of the most dreadful GIants QB showings since Kerry Collins in Super Bowl XXXV. Manning 's line against the Minnesota Vikings didn't begin to tell the whole story, which included three interception returns for touchdowns and  - at the time - dumped a huge roadblock in front if his team in getting to the playoffs. He looked lost. He looked confused. He looked, well... bad. 

We know how it ultimately turned out, but again - at the time... I commented to some of my Big Blue brethren that my support of #10 had officially run out. The tank was empty, and from that moment on it was Manning's job to gain my trust back.

Of course, he has. He's also gained my admiration and eternal thanks for one of the most clutch performances in NFL playoff history. When I look at Eli Manning today, he's pretty much the same guy as he was in November of 2007. He is streaky, he's a bit goofy. He's going to make you scratch your head at times and make your jaw drop in amazement at others. He's not going to be a 'stats' guy and never will be - partially because it's not who he his, and partially because the system he plays under isn't geared toward the passing game like Dallas, New Orleans, Denver or Arizona are. He still forgets there's this thing called a "game clock" located near the end zone that actually shows you how much time you have left to get a play off. He's all of those things. But he's shown he's a leader. He's shown he's durable, and he's shown that with 2 minutes left in a big game, there's no one else in the league at this time you can honestly say (other than Tom Brady) you would rather see under center than Eli Manning.

Even when I personally made the decision to reserve support - no longer defend Eli as of Novemer 26th, 2007 - I never dismissed him. I gave him the opportunity to prove himself to me - not to prove me wrong. There was nothing for me to be wrong about. The sportsline boards are just riddled with threads making absolute assertions about a player's or coaches' worth, integrity or ability. I'm a cultprit as well - we all are. But when things change, and people redeem themselves it's time to recognize how we might have done our part to drive a nail into the coffin before the heart stopped beating.

Anyone who says Ben Roethlisberger is overrated because of a few recent performances is guilty. Anyone who says Mike Singletary will wear out his welcome in San Francisco within a year is guilty. Anyone who says the Jets would have been better off with Pennington over Favre is guilty. By the same token, you can criticize Jerry Jones for bringing Pac-Man Jones into the Cowboys locker room. Why? Because his rap sheet - I mean track record - spoke for itself. The book on Adam Jones had been written and published. It was history, because we all knew what he was made of and what his priorities were. And you can definitely criticize Jerry Jones for not disciplining Pac-Man before the league did: when you offer a man a new beginning - a second chance - and hiring four bodyguards to protect that man from himself isn't good enough to get the job done, you have to hold that man accountable. Who cares about league standards at that point? That was a slap in Jerry's face and an embarrassment to the entire Cowboys organization. But you see, Jerry Jones apparently didn't think it was a big deal. That's the difference.The book was already written on Jerry Jones as well. He wants to win at any cost, even if it means risking your backbone.

We're all sports fans, and I understnd that part of the fun in being a sports fan is the freedom to have an opinion. I certainly won't stop having mine, and I would both expect and hope you'll all keep having yours (because there's a hell of a lot of really smart, talented writers on this site). It probably seems like I'm condemning an entire community (which I am a part of), but it's not my intention. Not even the author of the article below. My only hope is to point out that there are some things you can judge clearly (game plans, schemes, X's and O's) and some you can't. You can judge a person on their current or past performance. Unfortunately, there is no magic crystal ball - teams, businesses, you and I all have to make choices based on what we think will happen - and not knowing for certain if we're making the right choice is one of the stressful elements of day-to-day life. When those decisions involve people - their emotions and their futures - the stakes are even higher. Owners, coaches and players have to make those decisions every day, and they are forced to question the integrity and ability of a person as they will move forward. But as fans, writers, bloggers, columnists - we have to take these things into account when we judge a person's future. Guessing, projecting & predicting are fun and great kindling for debates and "hottest threads"  - something none uf us would ever want to lose. But it's tough to nail someone to the wall for something they haven't done yet unless there's sufficient history to prove the point. Everyone gets their chance. Some chances will be short-lived, others may take years, depending on the situation. If you're a fan of the TV show Lost, didn't chills run up your spine when John Locke said "Don't tell me what I can't do!!"  

The following article by Filip Bondy was written well before the big surge last year. The motivation for posting it here is to show that sportwriters - for all their "expertise" and "understanding" of the game - are no different than you and me (many of you would probably argue that Pete Prisco doesn't even qualify for that sentiment  ). It goes to show that everyone, from time to time, is capable of dismissing a player for the future by how they judge him in the present. We all want to be experts - we all want the feeling of being able to say "See, I told you so!". Everyone wants to be right. There's a way to go about getting your point across without looking back at decisions with contempt. Bondy's article was more that critical of Manning - it was critical of the Giants organization for making a 'big mistake'. I read this and learned something; I learned that you need a short memory to survive as a journalist. I also learned that what you say now can stick to a player's back for a career, whether it's fair or not - and the critique a performance today isn't evidence for the size of a heart in the future.


Friday, November 17th 2006, 7:04AM

Tom Coughlin was talking yesterday about using the overwhelmed Bob Whitfield at left tackle again on Monday night in Jacksonville, a desperate move. He was complaining about his passing game in Sunday night's game and he was still trying to figure out what to do about all the injuries and his paper-thin roster.

And every one of those problems might have been eliminated if Ernie Accorsi hadn't made the Eli Manning trade back in April 2004 that now appears to be a terrible deal for the Giants. It is looking like a long-term back-breaker, in what is supposed to be the Giants' breakthrough season, Accorsi's farewell tour. It was the biggest trade in Accorsi's career, and quite possibly his worst.

Sometimes it takes more than a few seasons to figure out these things, and maybe the final judgment call doesn't come for another five years. But right now, midway through Season 3 of the Manning era at the Meadowlands, this was not just a bad idea by Accorsi. It appears to be fatal.

Eli Manning is not a bad quarterback. He is good enough, perhaps, to win a title with the right cast. But he is not Ben Roethlisberger, already a champ, and now it turns out he may not be Philip Rivers, either. The complex trade has transformed the Chargers into an elite team and left the Giants a cut or two below.

Again, the Giants are solid enough. They have won five of their last six games and they probably will win their division when all is said and done. Accorsi deserves credit for that, too. But they could have been much better than this, much deeper, if the general manager hadn't followed his gut and worried so much that he was missing out on the next John Elway.

You have to remember that back in the spring of 2004, Accorsi was one of the few executives who believed Eli Manning was significantly better than both Roethlisberger and Rivers. Roethlisberger was big and tough. He was the guy Accorsi would have taken if the Giants didn't get Manning. Rivers had impressed everyone but Accorsi in private workouts and interviews. Most GMs and scouts grouped the trio of passers at around the same talent level.

Not Accorsi, who was utterly sold on Manning. He fell in love with the name, with the pedigree, and Accorsi gave up the deed to Xanadu to get him.

The Chargers ended up with Rivers. They also received the Giants' third-round pick in 2004, plus their first- and fifth-round picks in 2005.

Now you look at how those picks turned out, or how they might have gone, and it is clear the Giants gave up a tremendous amount of front-end talent for Manning, and that it hasn't been worth it yet.

The Chargers got three starters for Manning - Rivers, a real star this season, who has a 66.4% completion rate and a 100.4 quarterback rating (Manning's numbers are 59.4% and an 81 rating); Shawne Merriman, an outside linebacker with 8.5 sacks this season; and Nick Hardwick, a sturdy center.

San Diego didn't keep the fifth-round pick. St. Louis ended up with that choice, and took a bust, tight end Jerome Collins. But if the Giants had retained that pick, they might have selected Trent Cole, a starting defensive end in Philadelphia, who went two spots later.

And there you have the kind of depth and talent that might have compensated for injuries all over the field, on the offensive and defensive lines and at linebacker. You also have Rivers, who is a year younger than Manning and now looking like the player with the more accurate arm. Or you have Roethlisberger, also a year younger, who already has won a Super Bowl in Pittsburgh.

Instead, the Giants have a bunch of wrecked tendons, emergency filler material and a quarterback who is still trying to find his way on many weekends, who had three turnovers against the Bears.

"You've got to find ways to hit the open guy, be smart with the ball," Manning was saying again yesterday.

Here we are in Week 11, and you still have your choice around the Giants. You can jump on the bandwagon or board the second-guess express. It is Accorsi's last season, he says, and he will win or go down with that one famous quarterback trade.

Right now, the deal looks all wrong. Not because of Manning, but because of what the Giants might have been.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com