Tag:Redskins
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: November 30, 2008 6:04 pm
Edited on: December 28, 2008 9:05 pm
 

RECAP: Giants 23, Redskins 7

Something in the Air

On the day Sean Taylor is forever enshrined in the Ring of Fame, 305 yards by Eli Manning fly in the face of the Redskins' emotions.

  


 

On a cold & rainy day at FedEx Field, Clinton Portis emerged from the Tunnel sprinting, proudly carrying a flag that displayed the "21" worn by his teammate and friend - both at the University of Miami and more recently with the Washington Redskins. The late Sean Taylor was remembered in an emotional ceremony that took place just before the Redskins were to face their division rivals the New York Giants. Standing at midfield beneath rain-drenched umbrellas - in the soggy FedEx Field turf emblazoned with a large number "21' encircled in burgandy - were Taylor's parents, girlfriend and daughter. After the PA announcer's voice rang out through the stadium announcing Taylor as the starting safety, Head Coach Jim Zorn's team hoped to carry the emotion of that moment into the game with the same sense of purpose that Portis had carried that flag onto the field.

All the emotion in the city of Landover couldn't help Zorn's team today. Despite the emotion of Taylor's induction to the Redskins Ring of Fame, and the distractions caused by Plaxico "Buckshot" Burress this past Friday, Coach Tom Coughlin had his men ready for battle as the Giants improved their record to 11-1 for the first time in team history and dominated the Redskins 23-7. New York outgained Washington by 135 total net yards, and dominated time of possession by almost 14 minutes.

What was most noticeable from the onset was the Redskins commitment to stopping the Giants running game. Brandon Jacobs was able to start the game despite being listed as questionable with his sore knee. The sloppy field conditions made it diffuicult for Jacobs to get his footing, but the Redskins defense made it difficult for BJ to keep his kegs moving; Jacobs could not build up a head of steam as he only mustered 18 yards on 8 carries in the first half. Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride quickly shifted gears, and - as he did the week prior in Arizona - put the game in the hands of Eli Manning. Manning responded with three completions on the first drive, capped by a 40-yard TD strike to Amani Toomer that put the Giants ahead by 7 early in the first quarter. Manning finished the day 21 of 34 for 305 yards, a touchdown and an interception. It was Manning's first 300-yard game this season, and his first since October 15th of last year, when he faced the Atlanta Falcons. Despite being sacked twice, Manning displayed great presence in the pocket, and reminded us of his improved awareness of onrushing defenders as the offensive line collapses around him.

Domenik Hixon was sure-handed once again in place of the injured Burress. He's building a reputation for himself as a tough over-the-middle receiver who can take a hit and hold onto the ball - even when he has to reach over his head to grab it - and can never be accused of having "alligator arms". Hixon finished with 5 catches for 71 yards, only outdone by Toomer (85 yards) and RB Derrick Ward. Ward has become a vital part of Gilbride's ability to find success with mid-game adjustments. When Jacob's couldn't move the line, Ward was brought in to give it a shot; when Washington's stifling defensive line continued to shut them down, Ward (the team' most reliable hands out of the backfield) became another receiving option for Eli, and his five catchers for 75 yards gave him 105 total yards on the day. TE Kevin Boss also nabbed three passes for 45 yards, including a short pass over the middle in the 1st quarter where he plowed through a few defenders on his way to a 24-yard gain. It was the kind of effort that Boss has shown since rounding into form mid-season that helps Giants fans forget about the guy who used to wear #80.

Redskins RB Clinton Portis was in the same boat as the Giants running backs... In fact, Redskins offensive coordinator Sherman Smith could have used a boat  to help Portis find a clearing on the rain-soaked field today. It certainly would have made things easier physically for Clinton; he had to leave the field twice to recover from injuries. In the first half, Portis took an elbow to the helmet from safety Michael Johnson as he was being tackled. Portis was on his back as trainers looked at him on the field for a good five minutes. Portis suffered a neck stinger and was eventually able to get up and make it to the sideline under his own power. Portis showed, once again, what a true warrior he is. the Giants defense was stingy, allowing Portis just 22 yards on 11 carries. 29 of the Redskins' 76 rushing yards came on one play in the 2nd quarter on a beautiful end-around to rookie wide receiver Devin Thomas - which froze the Giants entire defense as it was pursuing to the left, while Thomas ran right and bolted into the end zone for the Skins only score of the game.

Jason Campbell (23/38 for 232 yards and 1 interception) accounted for 38 more of those rushing yards on five carries, most of which came in the 4th quarter as Steve Spagnuolo's defense eased up on the pressure and provided some breathing room for Campbell as the game was out of reach for Washington. As I had indirectly predicted in my pregame "Things to Do" list posting last night, TE Chris Cooley was the leading receiver for Washington with six receptions for 71 yards. Cooley, along with Dallas TE Jason Witten, are Giants killers over the middle, and luckily his continued success against the Giants linebackers didn't factor into the outcome of the game. Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El were held in check for the most part, thanks to the ongoing pro-bowl type play of rookie safety Kenny Phillips and cornerback Corey Webster - who had swatted at least 5 passes out of the hands of Washington receivers. CB Aaron Ross had another interception this afternoon, for his third of the season.

The Giants are on their way to a division title, and two more divisional games with the Eagles and Cowboys will seal the deal. What's most impressive about this Giants team is the way they keep rolling along, regardless of weather conditions, injuries or distractions. They game plan successfully for each opponent and execute it with authority; when a starter goes down, they move the next guy up and plug him into the starting lineup with little or zero noticeable impact to the unit's overall performance. This is an exiting time as a Giants fan - even during the glory years of Phil Simms, Lawrence Taylor and the "Big Blue Wrecking crew", there were lapses in intensity and setbacks when players missed time because of an injury. Having dealt with short-term losses at almost every position during the season - and a few long-term losses before the season began - one man has stood on the field through it all, and he's clearly the one man the Giants cannot afford to be without come the playoffs: Eli Manning. Despite Justin Tuck's phenomenal job replacing Giants legend Michael Strahan, and Mathias Kiwanuka's successful return to the outside lineman's spot to fill the void left by Osi Umenyiora, Manning is the driving force behind the success of this team. He's a rare commodity in today's NFL; an intelligent and heads-up QB without an agenda, who's desire to win is not overtaken by his desire to be the star of the team. We'll take the occasional bad pass or interception, and deal with his on again-off again relationship with play clock... He's matured, and it's what every Giants fan has been waiting for. A consistent Eli Manning.

 

Notes & Comments

"If Woody had gone straight to the police..." The lawyer representing Plaxico Burress released a statement earlier today which states that the Giants wide receiver will surrender to the police; Benjamin Brafman told the Associated Press he's been informed that Burress will face a charge of criminal possession of a weapon when he turns himself in Monday morning and will enter a plea of "not guilty". Giants LB Antonio Pierce - who was with Plaxico along with Derrick Ward at the Latin Quarter nightclub - spoke with NFL security prior to today's game, and is willing to cooperate with investigators regarding his alleged involvement with hiding the weapon, according to reports. Pierce was allowed to play today, and had four tackles. For more in-depth information and commentary with a local flavor, visit the NY Daily news online

Another milestone for John Carney. Carney's first of three field goals in the game was his 450th career 3-pointer. He is 27 of 28 on the season, and his accuracy has kept a healthy Lawrence Tynes on the sidelines over the past two weeks.

Resting Robbins: Second-year player Jay Alford started in place of the injured Fred Robbins at Nose Tackle. Robbins in nursing a shoulder injury suffered in last week's win at Arizona. The Giants do not expect Robbins to miss next week's game.  

A scary moment. Giants fans held their collective breath as Shaun O'Hara was tended to on the field after taking a hit to the knee. He needed help getting to the sideline as 10-year veteran Grey Reugamer took over for him at center. O'Hara suffered a mild knee sprain and eventually returned to the game. Look for the Giants to have the captain of the offensive line scanned on Monday or Tuesday.

Catching them red-handed. Tom Coughlin challanged a call in the 2nd quarter, when Eli Manning's pass to Steve Smith was ruled incomplete. The play had first been ruled a catch, but was changed after a short conference. Despite the ball appearing to have short-hopped into Smith's hands, as well as getting a little assistance from the ground as he rolled over, and out of the camera's line of sight - Coughlin threw the red flag and the call was eventually reversed (for the second time, you might say). Coughlin has now been successful on five of his six challenges this season.

 

Statistical source: sportsline.com    /    Sean Taylor photo courtesy: cbsnews.com 

Giants press release on Burress: Associated Press   /   Burress news and reference source: NY Daily News

Posted on: November 29, 2008 8:24 pm
Edited on: November 29, 2008 8:51 pm
 

NY Giants "Things to Do" List for Sunday Nov 30th

Plax takes one in the Slacks

Hixon starts tomorrow and beyond; Kiwanuka won't retaliate for "dirty play"

The Latin Quarter - a night club on Lexington avenue in the heart of midtown Manhattan - advertises on it's website that on Friday nights you can come down and party with "Sportsmen Galore'. After Plaxico Burress' visit this past Friday, they might consider changing that headline to "Sporstmen and Gore".

Burress apparently shot himself in the leg through his pants pocket outside of the club around 1:00 in the morning. There's still no definitive word on hs condition, but initial reports on WFAN 660 and ESPN Radio this morning said the injury was not "life threatening", and Burress was released from the hospital this afternoon. A statement from the New York Giants front office released earlier today provides no further mention of his condition:

"We are aware of the fact that Plaxico was involved in an apparent accidental shooting last night. We have been in contact with Plaxico since shortly after the incident. Plaxico suffered a wound to his right thigh. Obviously, our primary concern is for Plaxico’s health and well-being, and given the circumstances, we are relieved to say he was released from a New York City hospital at approximately 2 p.m. today. We have been in touch with NFL Security on this matter. At this point, we are attempting to gather all the facts surrounding this incident. This incident could become a matter for law enforcement officials, and because of that, we have no comment on any of the details."

I guess the silver lining in this whole situation (besides the fact that it seems Plaxico will be fine) is that this was a freak accident in a public place rather than something he did - say - in the privacy of his own home; and that it wasn't a shot to a part of the body above his waist. Could you imagine the speculation in the press and throughout the NFL community if that were the case? As if they weren't already questioning his mental stability... In any event, fans hope that Burress will be OK and can recover in time to contribute during the team's run towards the playoffs.

Speaking of the team, and purely from an X's and O's perspective, it's a good thing that Plaxico hasn't been a consistent or reliable presence on the field. Eli Manning has built quite a report with Domenik Hixon this year, and the offense shouldn't miss a beat. It's hard to figure out how the team will handle this come Sunday afternoon; Over the last two seasons, coach Tom Coughlin has been a master at keeping his players focused and preparing them for each game regardless of the distractions surrounding them. For the long term, General Manager Jerry Reese needs to heavily consider whether or not Burress remains a part of the Giants organization after the 2008 season.

On a lighter note, Mathias Kiwanuka is looking forward to his matchup on the line Sunday with Washington Redskins LT Chris Samuels. Really looking forward to it. Kiwanuka was quoted in Saturday's Newsday as calling Samuel's final play on opening night a "dirty play". Kiwanuka said "That was the last image I had, the last play, the last image I had for the whole game. So yeah, it'll be in the back of my mind". Kiwanuka is referring to Samuels' tackle from behind on September 4th; On the last play, Kiwanuka had beaten Samuels and was rushing QB Jason Campbell from his blind side. As he was falling forward, Samuels wrapped his arms around Kiwanuka's ankles as his belly hit the ground. Kiwanuka was tripped up as the game ended, and got up limping. The most frustrating part was the fact that the network was wrapping up their coverage so quickly, they didn't show Kiwanuka walk off the field, nor mention the fact that he appeared injured...

All turned out well, of course. Now being 11 games into the season and considering where the Giants are in the NFC standings, it feels like a lifetime ago as I recall the lump in my throat as I watched Mathias hobble off the field. Remember, we had only lost Osi Umenyiora for the season just two weeks earlier in a preseason game against the Jets. Despite his emotions after that game, Kiwanuka says he'll keep his cool, "I'm not going to do anything stupid".

THINGS TO DO FOR SUNDAY NOVEMBER 30th

1. Reestablish the running game. Redskins starting linebacker Marcus Washington is out with an ankle injury; linebacker London Fletcher and defensive end Andre Carter have both missed practice this week with foot injuries. After being limited to 87 yards and 3.2 yards a carry last week in Arizona, this is a prime opportunity for the Giants to get the rushing attack back in business. Brandon Jacobs will play, but how much he'll play depends on how that knee is feeling when he wakes up Sunday morning. If there's even a hint of swelling or tenderness, Coughlin will limit his playing time. Derick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw are likely to see increased carries regardless.

2. Keep Portis under 100. Clinton Portis leads the NFL in rushing with 1,206 yards, despite running on a bad knee for the better part of the past 2 months. In week 1, the Giants held CP to 84 yards, and his average per rush that night was his second-lowest of the season. As I've mentioned in previous articles, coordinator Steve Spagnuolo has been terrific at keying on the opposition's biggest threat and shutting it down. The key this week is Clinton Portis, and while I'm not usually one to buy into an individual player's "numbers" as they releate to their teams' record, Portis' ability to run the ball is especially important to the Redskins success. In 2008, the Skins are 5-1 when Portis tops the century mark, and 2-3 when he doesn't. One thing to be concerned about is the availability of DT Fred Robbins, who's nursing a shoulder injury and is listed as questionable. If Robbins is unable to go, Jay Alford will start in his place.

3. Watch out for Chris Cooley. The only other tight end that seems to decimate the Giants defense besides the Cowboys' Jason Witten is Washington's #47. Cooley has only 1 touchdown this season, but has 60 receptions - which ties him for 9th in the NFL. Cooley is one of the most versatile receivers in the game; he can beat you with the soft, over-the-middle grabs for 8-10 yards, or he can beat you deep. He's the most valuable receiver on the team; he acts as Campbell's safety valve when deep targets Santana Moss and Antwaan Randle El are covered, while providing another weapon in short yardage situations to counteract Portis, which keeps defenses off balance. Linebackers Antonio Pierce, Danny Clark, Chase Blackburn and Bryan Kehl will be responsible for Cooley's whereabouts.

 

Sources

Kiwanuka quotes: Newsday "Notes & Quotes" by Tom Rock   /   Giants statement: cbsnews.com    /    Stats: nj.com & sportsline

 

Posted on: November 5, 2008 2:33 pm
Edited on: November 7, 2008 12:44 am
 

New York Giants 2nd Quarter Report Card - Offense

Big midterm exam vs. Eagles counts heavily towards final Grade

 1. An NFL teams' _____________ is directly proportionate to its _____________.

O  credibility; win-loss record

focus; discipline

O  overall ability; individual accountability

rushing success; offensive lines' performance

All of the above

Click on this link for Defense & Special teams report cards: http://www.sportsline.com/mcc/blogs
/entry/10752270/11536496

At the halfway point of the season, the Giants are 7-1 and find themselves on top of the very competitive NFC East. Despite Monday night's lackluster performance against the Ben Roethlisberger-less Pittsburgh Steelers, Washington (6-3) is going to be a force in the division along with Philadelphia (5-3) and Dallas (5-4), who is crackling with anticipation at the likely return of QB Tony Romo just in time to save their season - and potentially a few jobs. 

Most pundits, analysts and commentators have declared that as many as three of the four NFC East teams should make the postseason. The road to the NFC East Title, however, is paved with land mines and pockets of quicksand. Make no mistake about it - that's the road these four teams are going to be looking up on 'MapQuest'. The land mines are the divisional matchups taking place between now and December 28th - 7 games between the four teams to be exact - waiting to pick each other off one by one as they head towards January. Anyone who suffers a blow by tripping one of those landmines will undoubtedly find their way into a pocket of quicksand - in the form of a crushing defeat at the hands of non-divisional teams such as Arizona, Minnesota or Carolina - that will seal the deal for them and shut the door on a playoff berth. These obstacles, trap doors and explosives are merely tests - tests that impact the final regular season grades these NFC East teams hope propell them into the postseason. 

With these tests looming straight ahead, there isn't much study time. Not enough time to go over everything there is to know. The big midterm exam for the New York Giants is this Sunday night at Lincoln Financial Field. The first half of the year has shown us where the strengths are, and where the areas of concern might be. This is a crunch-fest - a good ol' fashion cramming - a time to have faith in what's worked consistently (what we know) and focus more on what hasn't worked consistently (what we don't know). Grades of "A" or "B+" signify what the Giants should feel comfortable in answering correctly, but a grade of  "B" or below means they need to crack the books if they hope to lock down a playoff spot.  

 

OFFENSIVE LINE:  A  ( last quarter - A+ ) Masters Seubert, Diehl, O'Hara, Snee and McKenzie - This unit continues to be the backbone of the team. The successes of the defensive line are more glamorous, more noticeable; the D-line and O-Line have contributed equally to the teams' ability to control the battle of field position and time of possession week in, week out. The Giants have slipped to 2nd in the league in rushing offense (behind Atlanta), but by only 6 yards with 26 fewer rushing attempts. New York still leads the league in average per rush, and are 2nd to Baltimore with 72 rushing 1st downs. They have also provided excellent pass protection; despite giving up four sacks to Dallas last week, they're ranked 5th overall having only allowed 10 sacks on Eli Manning in 8 games. Philly will be the third tough matchup in a row for this O-line - it will be interesting to see how they perform.      

QUARTERBACKS:  B  ( last quarter - A ) Eli Manning was sporting a 99.7 passer rating after the first four games, with 6 TD's and 1 INT. He's since dropped 10 points in rating, down to 89.7 and has 6 TD's and 4 INT's over the last four games. Whereas manning appeared to be seeing the field better and not telegraphing his passes early on, he started off this grading period with a bad outing against Cleveland (which accounted for 3 of his 4 INT's) and an unimpressive performance against San Francisco - where he was lucky he wasn't picked off three more times. Of course, the disruptions of the Plaxico Burress situation haven't helped matters. In Cleveland - the first game following Plaxico's suspension - it was very obvious that Manning was forcing the ball to Burress, which was a mistake. Last week against the Cowboys, Manning's sideline pass intended for Burress was intercepted for a TD by Mike Jenkins. Just as obvious was the sense that Burress broke his route and expecting Manning to follow his lead downfield when it was too late. The dropsies have also plagued certain Giants, most notably Burress along with FB Madison Hedgecock and Brandon Jacobs out of the backfield. But drops and distractions aren't to blame for Manning's questionable performances - his ability to scan the field and avoid throwing into danger is. Since he was able to play with more focus and awareness in the Pittsburgh & Dallas games, it looks like he may be moving in the right direction. Let's see what happens in Philadelphia.  

RUNNING BACKS:  A+  ( last quarter - A In the 1st quarter report card, I made the statement that it's hard to determine sometimes how much of the actual work Earth, Wind and Fire does, and how much of it is a byproduct of the ability of the Giants O-line. As the season moves forward the running backs and the line will get tired; a few more bumps and bruises with emerge. Brandon Jacobs has been the workhorse for the squad carrying 66 times for 300 yards (4.5 YPA) with 4 TD's in the last four games, and has taken the bulk of abuse from opposing defenses. That said, the contributions Derrick Ward has made to the offense has been arguably the most valuable. In that same 4-game span, Ward has 39 carries for 220 yards (5.6 YPA) with a TD, but added 12 receptions for 120 yards. The difference in their running styles, speed and skillset has kept opposing defenses on their heels. Jacobs still needs to improve his nose for finding the gaps, as he still tends to run directly into piles from time to time. The reason for the increase in grade to A+ has more to do with Kevin Gilbride's recognition of this tandem's possibilities; their ability to remain effective at their roles without fighting for playing time, and the impact it has on the offense as a whole.

RECEIVERS:  B+  ( last quarter - B )  Mr. Burress will be held accountable for his own actions, and will no longer affect the grade for the rest of the students. Therefore he will be graded seperately from here on out. 

Stop the presses - there's been a Kevin Boss sighting. In the last two games, against their toughest opponents, Boss has 7 receptions for 64 yards. Whether they kept him on the line to hone his blocking skills or he's simply running crisper routes, Boss is starting to rebuild that report with Manning they had during last year's playoffs. Steve Smith has become the primary target for Manning with 21 receptions for over 200 yards in the last four games. While the yardage might seem low, it's due to Eli spreading the wealth to include other's - like veteran Amani Toomer (who seems to make at least one incredible catch every week), Derrick Ward, Domenick Hixon and now Boss. The weak link for the passing game is the backfield (minus Ward). Jacobs and Hedgecock have combined for 8 catches and 9 drops. 

Plaxico Burress: D-  Plaxico is a disruptive young man who is pushing his coaches and teammates to the point of no return. Since his last report card Plaxico has run poor routes, missed a mandatory therapy session, has yelled at both his head coach and quarterback on the sidelines and has had very little overall impact on the offense with the exception of demanding defensive respect by sheer virtue of his presence. Here's the cold, hard fact: The Giants don't need Plaxico as badly as once thought.

Would they, I, and every other Giants fan prefer to have Plaxico? Absolutely. Would his loss be devistating? Maybe, maybe not... his skills and raw talent, his toughness are all undisputed. His route running ability -  once his strong suit - is now questionable. They need a receiver like Plaxico Burress, but they don't need this. How long will Tom Coughlin and Jerry Reese continue to put up with his tirades and dismissal of team policies? If the Giants continue to win while Burress averages 30 yards a game, it won't be for long. Besides, Mario Manningham is waiting in the wings to take his place in more ways than one.

 

Stats courtesy of sportsline.comnfl.com

 

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