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Tag:Mario Manningham
Posted on: December 27, 2009 6:40 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2009 6:44 pm
 

The Twelve Days of 2010 Training Camp

Those looking for the last great performance at Giants stadium this afternoon missed it by seven months...



Springsteen brought the house down in May of this year. Tom Coughlin's Giants finished the job today by imploding the spirits of every fan - whether in the stadium or not - and we watched those spirits collapse into the stadium's footprint. In May, Bruce was the Boss. Today, Jonathan Stewart was the Boss - and every yard he gained on the helpless Giants defense was another carefully placed powder charge that fired, crippling the fragile infrastructure of the Giants 2009 season.

A cloud of dust and smoke. A loud, thunderous rumble. The Giants season is over, put in in the books.

I know I've been AWOL on the blogs this year, and I apologize for that. To get into the reasons behind that would be a book.
There isn't much to say about this season, but for the sake of closure I offer these obvious observations.

1. We know that there's something very special about rookie Hakeem Nicks, and that Steve Smith has more than opened some eyes with his performance this season.

2. We know that this once formidable offensive line - that's played together more than any other in the league - may be fastly growing old together right before our very eyes.

3. We know that injuries absolutely decimated the Giants secondary. And regardless of that fact, Bill Sheridan showed no growth as a defensive coordinator as the season moved along.

4. We know that Eli Manning is beginning to hit his peak as a quarterback, and that the next two or three years will be optimum for his chances at winniung another championship.


And now, my wish list for the 2010 season - festive in song of the season.


THE TWELVE DAYS OF TRAINING CAMP

On the first day of training camp, my Giants gave to me
A new tackle next to Chris Snee.

On the second day of training camp, my Giants gave to me
Stick-Um wax for Mario,
and a new tackle next to Chris Snee.

On the third day of training camp, my Giants gave to me
Three and out on defense,
Stick-Um wax for Mario,
and a new tackle next to Chris Snee.

On the fourth day of training camp, my Giants gave to me
Four solid quarters,
Three and out on defense,
Stick-Um wax for Mario,
and a new tackle next to Chris Snee.

On the fifth day of training camp, my Giants gave to me...
FOOT... GELS for... Manning!
Four solid quarters,
Three and out on defense,
Magnigrips for Mario,
and a "Bye-bye Kareem McKenzie".

On the sixth day of training camp, my Giants gave to me
Six years for Blackburn...
FOOT... GELS for... Manning!
Four solid quarters,
Three and out on defense,
Krazy Glue for Mario,
and a "chat" with Marcus McNeill.

On the seventh day of training camp, my Giants gave to me
Seven in the red zone,
Six years for Blackburn...
FOOT... GELS for... Manning!
Four exciting quarters,
Three would even do!
Stick-Um wax for Mario,
and a new friend for right guard Chris Snee.

On the Eighth day of training camp my Giants gave to me
Eight free parking passes!
Seven in the red zone,
Six years for Blackburn...
HAIL... DOCTOR... SCHOLLS!
Four-quarter effort,
Three would be a treat,
Mario on the bench,
and a new tackle next to Chris Snee.

On the ninth day of training camp my Giants gave to me
Nine ladies dancing (What? Sure, I'm a die-hard Giants fan - but I'm still a red-blooded American male!)
Eight free parking passes,
Seven in the red zone,
Six years for Blackburn...
Foot... gels for... Manning!
Four quarters please,
Three would be a treat,
Mario on the bench,
and a new tackle next to Chris Snee.

On the tenth day of training camp my Giants gave to me
Ten bucks a beer!? (new stadium, folks)
Nine ladies dancing
Eight free parking passes,
Seven in the red zone,
Six years for Blackburn...
Foot... gels for... Manning!
Four quarters, fellas!
How about a half?
Mario's fetching drinks,
and a draft trade-up for Bruce Campbell!

On the eleventh day of training camp my Giants gave to me
Meet Leslie Frazier!
Cup o' suds a sawbuck
Nine dames a dancin'
Valet parking passes,
Seven in the red zone,
Six years for Blackburn...
Foot... gels for... Manning!
Four solid quarters,
Three and out on defense,
Man, oh, Manningham,
and a Maryland Terrapin freak!

On the twelfth day of training camp my Giants gave to me
Bye-bye Billy Sheridan!
Meet Leslie Frazier!
Drunk and broke - but happy
Washing off the perfume
Valet scratched my Buick,
Red zone's still a desert,
Chase is the man!
ELI... MANNING'S... 'HEAL'ED!
Four solid quarters,
Three and out on defense,
Super glue for Mario -

AND A NEW TACKLE NEXT TO CHRIS SNEE!

Posted on: October 14, 2009 2:39 pm
Edited on: October 15, 2009 2:06 pm
 

NY Giants Week 6 Preview: Saints of Circumstance

When the first whistle blows, there will be two undefeated NFC juggernauts going toe to toe. When the last whistle blows, there should be no questions asked about the legitimacy of either team.

  
 
In case you haven't heard, there's a big game taking place at the Superdome this weekend. The Saints - with their revitalized defense and strong-as-ever offensive attack  - lie in wait with their ears to the ground, waiting to pounce the moment a thundering herd of blue from New York reaches the watering hole...

There are number of interesting storylines attached to this game. There's Eli's Plantar fasciitis, which is a simple case of painful tissue swelling on the underside of the foot. There's deportee Jeremey Shockey - which is a simple case of painful tissue swelling between the ears. There's 5-0. There's 4-0. There's NFC bragging rights on the line, at least until the Giants travel to Minnesota for the last game of the regular season (depending on how the rest of the year shakes out, of course - the Saints do not face the Vikings this season). 

A somewhat overlooked element in this contest is the improvement both teams have made in what were believed to be their weakest areas. The Giants limped towards the finish line last year with no "legitimate" number one receiver, and concerns about their ability to score points and duel with high-flying teams like the Cowboys, Eagles, Cardinals and Saints were more than warranted. For New Orleans, it was their defense; there's no denying the fact that watching the scoreboard at a Saints game last year was like watching the backbox of a pinball machine played by 'Tommy' himself.  Had they been able to clamp down on their opponents to compliment the offensive production, they may have been the odds-on favorite to make it to the Super Bowl.

Fast forward to 2009.

There's lots to like about the 2009 New Orleans Saints, but first and foremost is their improved defense. Veteran Darren Sharper has single handedly turned one of the worst secondary units of 2008 into one of the most feared in 2009. New defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has obviously worked well with new CB's Malcom Jenkins and Jabari Greer, but Sharper has been the primary influence, and his presence on the field is unmistakeable - it could turn out to be the best off-season signing of the year by any team.

The Saints currently boast the 6th rated defense in the league, so it isn't the secondary alone that's to credit for the turnaround. Allowing only 83 yards per game on the ground, with 10 sacks through four games against teams with pretty good offensive lines speaks volumes about their play at the line of scrimmage.

The offense continues to shine; despite less-than expected production over the last two games vs. the Bills and Jets, I'm not convinced (as many fans and analysts seem to be) that the Saints are somehow suddenly being "figured out". Rest assured that Drew Brees, Marques Colston and co. are still a force to be reckoned with. When WR Lance Moore is fully healthy again - and Sean Payton figures out why he's not getting Reggie Bush more involved in the game planning - they'll be back to putting a 40-spot on the board.

In regards to the running game, the Saints have one. Mike Bell was impressive the first two games of the season, and Pierre Thomas was equally impressive in the last two - this could be the makings of quite a 1-2 punch out of the backfield for New Orleans.

Imagine what Drew Brees could do with an effective running game?

Just imagine what the Yankees could do if they added Matt Holliday & Jason Bay to their already potent lineup... or just go with the odds that the Yankees will actually sign those two, wait until next year and see it for yourself.  

On the flip side, there's lots to like about the 2009 New York Giants, but first and foremost is their newfound corps of wide receivers. What initially appeared to be a severe void in their offense is now their most valuable resource. Second-year man Mario Manningham is proving that he may, indeed, have been the steal of the 2008 draft. His penchant for bobbling the ball is more than just dramatic flair; his circus catch against Cowboys corner Terence Newman in week 2 was exciting highlight material, but his inability to NOT bobble every pass thrown to him against the Bucs a week later was cause for concern. It goes without saying he's commited to improvement, which is why I'll say it. Rookie Hakeem Nicks has bounced back rather nicely from his week 1 injury to show he's capable of being the big-play threat Eli Manning needs, and Steve Smith has been nothing short of spectacular - playing more like the Steve Smith (yes, the other Steve Smith), and producing even better stats than that Steve Smith is. I think...

In a preseason blog, I called out Smith for letting a 60-yard dart slip right through his hands on a sure touchdown - I think my exact words were, "If Smith (and Hixon) - the team's starter(s) - can't make those catches in a preseason game, what will they do when it really counts? I guess he showed me.

Eli Manning finally seems 100% at ease with his offense, and perhaps those distractions of Shockey and Plaxico Burress were a little too much too deal with week in & week out. He's already built a strong report with these three receivers, and they seem to be just as synced up with him as Burress and Amani Toomer ever were.

The one concern I have is Brandon Jacobs. After their opening game against Washington, I wrote about the hit LB London Fletcher threw on him that would have knocked most human beings into a month-long coma. The funny thing was that Jacobs really didn't seem at all stunned by the hit, though he left the game for a bit and was looked at by the trainers. In the postgame blog, I wrote that "He didn't miss any time, but he never quite seemed the same after that."

Unfortunately, Jacobs still hasn't looked the same. He's suddenly and unexplainably become a very "tackleable" running back. This is not the Brandon Jacobs we've grown accustomed to, and had it not been for the exceptional play of Ahmad Bradshaw this season we'd be finding photos of the Giants running game on the back of milk cartons - "Have you seen this ability?". At some point, Brandon needs to shake off whatever is holding him back - if he's going to go down at the initial point of contact, then he's not very useful. 

And in the end - after extolling the virtues of the successful revamping of both the Giants wide receivers and the Saints secondary, what will this game come down to?

Can Steve Smith get open on Darren Sharper?

Will Manning continue his heads-up, mistake free play?

Can the Giants score from inside the 20's?

Will Pierre Thomas & Reggie Bush run all over the Giants defense the way Marion Barber & Felix Jones did?

Do the Saints have a plan to contain Ahamad Bradshaw?

Can Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora get to Brees quickly enough to force turnovers?

Will Manning's foot hold up for an entire game?

Will Jeremy Shockey be able to control his rage once he realizes that his former team is completely ignoring him and his pissing-match tactics?

Is there enough going on here to get your mouth watering?

Could I write a little more like Pete Prisco?

I make no predictions. I expect this game to be all it's hyped up to be - one for the ages. Or at least "one for" this season. For now, it's the best the NFL can possiby offer - and no matter which team wins, you can be sure the one that loses will be heard from come the playoffs. And that's really what everyone should be looking for in this game - legitimacy. There's enough mediocrity and lackluster play to go around - it's high time that we have more than one or two teams with a stranglehold on the NFL. There's nothing wrong with having seven or eight teams fighting for 'elite' status. 

A loss is a loss, and win is a win. But if I may take liberties with literary greatness, I'll credit George Orwell and say that - as you and I both know... " "All losses are equal, but some losses are more equal than others".



References: TheTimes-Picayune.com, pro-football-reference.com

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: September 13, 2009 9:34 pm
Edited on: September 13, 2009 10:19 pm
 

Giants Win Opener Old Fashioned Way:Predictably

Defense Stifles Campbell & Company 23-17; Some "Ware" & Tear, "Nicks" & Cuts Suffered.
 

The Giants took the season opener at the Meadowlands on Sunday with a 23-17 victory over division rival Washington. In typical fashion - in what appears to be their M.O. when facing the Redskins - they did just as much as they needed to for the win. Nothing more, and nothing less. For all intents and purposes, this game should have been a blowout. The Giants dominated the clock and their offense moved the ball at will... that is until they reached the "green zone" as Tom Coughlin refers to it.

Eli was 'Eli' - sharp as a knife in most situations, while thick as a brick in others. As we've come to expect, Eli threw the occasional ill-advised pass that can leave you scratching your head; for the record, Manning had two of those moments today, and luckily only one of them was intercepted. The beefed up Redskins pass rush - complete with newly acquired $100 million-dollar monstrosity Albert Haynesworth - definitely made their presence known as Eli took a number of shots in the backfield that he will be feeling in the morning. Manning managed to connect with 7 different receivers, which you should try to get used to since you'll be seeing a lot more of that approach to "spreading the wealth" this season.

The running game sputtered at times, but on the whole it did it's job. Brandon Jacobs appeared to injure himself in the first quarter when he took a pass over the middle and was caught by surprise as he turned up the field, where he was stopped dead in his tracks after being absolutely hammered by LB London Fletcher. Jacobs sprang up quickly, but was attended to by team trainers shortly thereafter (they seemed to be looking at his wrist). He didn't miss any time, but he never quite seemed the same after that. Ahmad Bradshaw led the way in rushing yards, and really gave the Washington defense fits at times with his "start-stop-start" motion and agility out of the backfield.

The most significant occurences in this game were the loss of two potentially key offensive contributors. Danny Ware - the newly annointed "Fire" in the "Earth, Wind & Fire" trio of running backs was lost for the day right out of the gate when he dislocated his left elbow on the opening kickoff. In the 4th quarter, rookie WR Hakeen Nicks caught a 7-yard pass but had his left ankle rolled on by - you guessed it - London Fletcher during the takedown. Nicks emerged from the tunnels later in the quarter wearng a boot to reports of a sprained ankle. X-Rays were negative, but Nicks will have an MRI this week to check for damage to the tendons or ligaments in what could be an awful blow to this offense should he miss any significant amount of time.   


The more things change...


While Steve Smith led the team with 80 receiving yards and a stellar over-the-middle grab in the 4th quarter, it was WR Mario Manningham who opened some eyes today by showing flashes of being that big-play threat we though he was when he was drafted out of Michigan two years ago.

His 30-yard touchdown catch along the sidelines in the 2nd quarter not only displayed his ability to remain focused in tight coverage, but it showed his awareness of where his feet are as he danced along the white stripe in spinning away from CB DeAngelo Hall and side stepping the incoming safety LaRon Landry before sprinting towards the end zone. While there's a long season ahead - and a lot of experience to be gained - Manningham seems comfortable in the offense, and appears one hundred-percent healthy.



...the more they stay the same.

Offensively, New York had four possessions inside the Washington 20-yard line in today's game; they came away with two Lawrence Tynes field goals and a turnover on downs on a failed 4th & 1 attempt from the 3-yard line.

Something happens to this team's offense once the field in front of them shortens to 60 feet or less; they begin to play "small ball" if there is such a thing in the NFL. I don't know if that's an appropriate use of the term, but it seems to apply to perfectly to the Giants mentality and approach to reaching the end zone once they hit the 20 yard line. Nibble off a few yards here, shave a little yardage off there - but they rarely take that huge bite out of the opposition and gobble them up.

This is something the Giants had struggled with all of last season, and Coughlin and Offensive Coordinator Kevin Gilbride had better address 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.  

Defensively, the run defense was solid as always. Osi Umenyiora was certainly a sight for sore eyes. In his first game since suffering a knee injury (and the surgery that followed) during the preseason game against the Jets last year, he batted the ball out of the hands of Redskins QB Jason Campbell in the 2nd quarter - then scooped it up and bolted 37-yards for the score.

Without the services of cornerbacks Aaron Ross and Kevin Dockery, the secondary looked very thin. With the exception of the stellar job Corey Webster did covering WR Santana Moss, there was plenty of room for the Redskin receivers to gain chunks of yards after the catch. Newly acquired safety C.C. Brown did not look good out there; he's either still learning his role in the secondary or he's just that noticeable a dropoff from starters Kenny Phillips & Michael Johnson. Either way, he showed very little in preseason and needs to step up his game.

Posted on: October 30, 2008 2:45 pm
Edited on: November 21, 2008 11:54 pm
 

Giants 2008 Draft Progress Report

"You've gotta find a way to get out of your own way so you can progress in life" - Steve Carlton

I thought a quote from a Phillies Hall of Famer would be appropriate on this day. So, in anticipation of the pain that will shoot up my spine and into the walls of my chest cavity, let me say... Congratulations to the Philadelphia Phillies and all their fans. You *gulp* deserve it. 

Every Giants fan knows the success the 2007 draft has afforded us. By week 15 of last season (in Buffalo) we started to see the special qualities of the players selected in Jerry Reese's first draft as General Manager, and the immediate forces they could be for this team:

1st round - Aaron Ross
2nd round -Steve Smith
3rd round - Jay Alford
4th round - Zak DeOssie
5th round - Kevin Boss
6th round - Adam Koets
7th round - Michael Johnson
7th round - Ahmad Bradshaw

Only Koets (Kareem McKenzie's backup at right tackle) has yet to have a real opportunity to play. Alford is doing a great job as the long snapper (the importance of which we now realize of due to the unfortunate injury to Greg Warren in Pittsburgh last week) and has made his presence known on the defensive line as well (remember the sack on Tom Brady during the final drive of the Super Bowl?). DeOssie and Bradshaw have been key contibutors on Special teams, not to mention Bradshaw's "Fire" as the third member of the most powerful running game in the league. Johnson and Ross are starters in the secondary, and despite Ross' up and down performance this year are better at their roles than those who previously filled those slots. Steve Smith leads the team in receptions this year, and along with Boss was a major part of Eli Manning's passing game in the playoffs last year.

So how is the class of 2008 looking so far? It's much too early to know - or predict - the impact these players will eventually have. But still, it is the half-way point of the season, and now is a good time to see where each player stands, and whether or not expectations should be high - or guarded.

 Round 1 (#32) - Kenny Phillips (FS) Miami: The only reason Phillips is not starting is because Michael Johnson has performed adequately so far this season. Johnson showed flashes of play-making ability during the playoffs last year, and has not made crucial mistakes that would force Tom Coughlin to make a permanent switch to Phillips. But Phillips was drafted for the express purpose of replacing Gibril Wilson, who was lost via free agency to the Raiders. Kenny Phillips is an extremely intelligent player; he rarely misses an assignment and seems to be in on every play. Recognizing his ability, Steve Spagnuolo has made more of an effort to include Phillips in multiple formations to get him out on the field. Week by week, Phillips is getting more playing time. He's a hard hitting safety that - at 6'2", 215 pounds - has the ability to out-muscle bigger receivers. He has shown he can cover the middle of the field, and is effective beyond his experience in blitz packages. His combination of awareness and speed to get to the ball and punish opposing players is already evident. It won't be long before Spagnuolo gives him the majority of playing time over Johnson.

 Round 2 (#63) - Terrell Thomas (CB) USC: Disappointingly, Thomas has not had much of an opportunity to show us what he's got. He was inactive for the first four games with a hamstring injury. Since joining the lineup, he's registered 4 tackles in three games. He hasn't been in the Giants defensive mix, and heading into Sunday's game with the Steelers was sitting behind Ross, Cory Webster and Kevin Dockery on the depth chart. With Dockery now out for a few weeks with a fractured vertebra, Thomas may see a significant increase in playing time - especially in nickle packages. I say "may see an increase in playing time"  because Coughlin and Spagnuolo will be looking at Thomas, as well as veterans R.W. McQuarters and Sam Madison this week in practice before determining how they'll cover Dockery's absence.

 Round 3 (#95) - Mario Manningham (WR) Michigan: The third round selection of Manningham was a gamble with the potential for enormous upside. Manningham had been projected as a first rounder at the start of the 2007 NCAA season; surgery for a partially torn MCL in 2006 and a run in with police involving vicodin pills not prescribed to him had teams concerned. After admitting to testing posititve for marijuana at Michigan just before the draft, his stock plummeted. With facing the eventual retirement of Amani Toomer, the slow progress of Sinorice Moss and the ticking time bomb that is Plaxico Burress, the Giants rolled the dice. Manningham suffered a quad injury in preseason, and one thing after another has kept him sidelined. Manningham recovered form a stomach virus just in time for the Seattle Seahawks game on October 5th - his one catch for six yards in that game is his only reception of the year. Late in the third quarter against the Steelers last week, Manningham was pegged for a bubble screen that should have gone for big yardage; Manningham dropped the pass. All in all, it's hard to determine Manningham's place in this offense; remember that last year that Steve Smith appeared in just four games and had a total of eight receptions before becoming Manning's go-to guy in the playoffs. At some point Manningham has to stay healthy and be ready to play every week. The ticky-tack injuries that are just enough to sideline him could be clouding a bigger issue - like the level of confidence his coaches actually have in him. Until Manningham is consistently available to play, we may not get a true read on Tom Coughlin's esteem for him.

 Round 4 (#123) - Bryan Kehl (OLB) Brigham Young: Drafted for his speed, agressive hitting style and instinct, Kehl started the season on special teams and shortly thereafter began splitting time on the weak side with Gerris Wilkinson. Wilkinson's ability to cover receivers brings a much needed dimension to the linebacking corps. The Giants traditionally get killed over the middle of the field by tight ends, and Wilkinson has helped soften the blow of losing Kawika Mitchell. The knock on Gerris is the same concern they had for Kehl when they drafted him - the ability to disengage from blockers. Over the last four games, Kehl's efforts to seperate from blocks is noticeable, but he seems to be relying on his instincts to be more proactive as plays develop. In other words, his understanding of where the play is headed before getting tied up is where he's finding success - his play in Pittsburgh (4 tackles, 1 INT) was evidence of that. It should be interesting to see how Spagnola handles things when Wilkinson returns from his knee injury in a week or two.

Round 5 (#165) - Jonathan Goff (ILB) Vanderbilt: Goff suffered a fractured vertebra in the preseason opener, and has seen very little action since returning for the week 6 game against the 49ers. In what little playing time he's had, Goff seems to be playing catch-up - not yet used to the speed of the NFL. The injury may still be in the back of his mind, as he seems slow in joining plays. Like Manningham and Thomas, We'll know more about Goff when he has more playing time under his belt. With Antonio Pierce and Chase Blackburn at inside linebacker, there'll be no reason for them to rush Goff into a more extensive role.

 Round 6 (#198) - Andre'  Woodson (QB) Kentucky: A three year starter and twice "All-Conference" honoree in college, Woodson was selected in the last round of the draft. He then became a casualty of the last round of cuts by the Giants in meeting the 53-man roster limit. Woodson has since been signed - dropped - and (just this past Tuesday) re-signed to the team's practice squad. Unless something were to happen to Manning or David Carr, Woodson will not see the Giants sideline this season. According to reports, Woodson - who had once been talked about as a potential Heisman Trophy candidate - has a long way to go before being considered an NFL caliber Quarterback.

 Compensatory pick (#199): Robert Henderson (DE) Southern Miss: Released on August 9th.

References: Giants.com ;  sportsline.com ;  michiganzone.com : Ralph Vacchiano - New York Daily News

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