Posted on: October 17, 2008 5:54 pm

Once is a lapse, Twice is a choice

Giants can put Monday Night behind them with strong effort at home this Sunday

The title of this blog entry is making a bold suggestion; that if Tom Coughlin's troops were to come up short again this Sunday, a more prepared, more determined opponent would not be the reason why.

The old adage. On any given Sunday... But does that term really apply to every situation?

On the surface, it most certainly does. The St. Louis Rams trip to to FedEx Field last week is proof of that. Miami defeating both the Chargers and Patriots supports that statement even more. However, I've been thinking about two games the Chargers played - the Monday night affair against the New York Jets, and the New England game this past Sunday. I had no doubt whatsoever that the Chargers would win those contests, and win them big. It was based strictly on a hunch - a gut reaction to something rather than scientific breakdowns of the matchups, personnel and likely gameplanning. If I were a betting man, I would have felt comfortable with plunking down a hefty (but budgeted - in case my wife is reading this) sum on San Diego in both of those games.

Before facing the Jets, San Diego suffered a very controversial and frustrating loss to Denver. This was the game that changed Ed Hochuli's life; ruling Jay Cutler's fumble an incomplete pass. The whistle blew.  No change of possession. The Chargers went home with a thorny 39-38 loss in their side. I had no doubt that SD would come out firing against the Jets - and being the better team that's exactly what they did. Fast forward 3 weeks later, and they're trouncing a delapidated New England squad. This was following what they would consider an embarrassing performance against the revitalized - yet less talented - Miami Dolphins. What's the connection between these two games? Why was I, like so many others, so confident that these games would end up just as they did?

It wasn't because Phillip Rivers is a better QB than Brett Favre or Matt Cassel, or that Norv Turner can out-coach Mangini or Belichick. It wasn't about analysis or head-to-head stat comparisons. There are three very simple, lucid reasons - They were home, they were pissed, and they're a better team. Doesn't that just seem to make so much sense? Would they're be any other angles to look at, details to flesh out or elements to consider? A team gets embarrassed on the road. They want revenge. What else do they need to get back on track if they're home, they're pissed and they're better than who they're facing? Does this imply that preparation and focus can be tossed aside? Of course not. And why not? Right. Say it with me this time... they're home, they're pissed and they're better. Besides, the "better" is born out of preparation and focus anyway, so it's already taken care of.

This is, in fact, a Giants blog. Not that you would remember that after reading that much blah-blah about a team 3,000 miles away from New York. Hopefully you're still here, and starting to see the big picture come in to view regarding this game at The Meadowlands on Sunday (FOX @ 1:00 pm). The Niners are on a 3-game losing streak, but you can bet you're $99 NFL licensed Danny Kannel jersey (#13) that they watched that Monday night game. They watched an uninspired defense allow Cleveland full acces to downfield passes, and an uneven "new and improved" Eli Manning make bad decisions that many (including me) thought were long behind him. San Francisco needs a win. They feel the NFC West is still within reach. They're coming to Giants Stadium this weekend to get that win.

Are the New York Giants looking for that win? Try asking anyone on the team that question and they'll either laugh or growl. It's a stupid question - the kind that doesn't apply to the notion that there's no such thing. This is one that shouldn't be asked. Because it shouldn't have to be asked.

The Giants are home. The Giants are better. Are the Giants pissed? We'll know by the mid-way point of the first quarter on Sunday. There's no question they want to put Monday night behind them and show the world that they aren't that team. That Eli Manning isn't that quarterback. That yes, indeed, they're defensive line is that good. The Giants and they're fans will feel a whole lot better if they are convincing, and everyone will sleep well Sunday night knowing that what happened the first four weeks wasn't an empty promise to themselves and their faithful. No predictions, no promises. Just the question of whether or not the Giants are pissed.

It's their choice. In the next three weeks they face Pittsburgh, Dallas and Philiadelphia. Three teams that can limit choices pretty effectively.  

One more thing... Week 2 of Preseason. On August 18th the Giants humiliated their opponent at the Meadowlands. There were dropped passes and botched handoffs, and a devistating blow to their quarterback who was led by trainers to the locker room for head x-rays. Do you remember which team that was?


NY Giants Quotes for this week:

Tom Coughlin:

"We've got a lot of stuff to correct. It begins right away unfortunately. It's a short week for us, but we have a lot of things that we have to deal with and I think we'll be about the business of correcting."

" We do have to focus on a lot of things. Our formula for winning kind of went by the wayside, in terms of we haven't turned the ball over [and] we did turn it over and that's not a good thing. We didn't really effectively stop the run and that hurt us."

Eli Manning:

"From play to play, game to game, you can't think about what previously happened. Whether it is a good play or bad play, you have to move on and think about this next play or this next game and what you have to do to prepare."

"Sometimes it is harder than just saying it, but I think over the years I have learned to do that and do it well. I have put it behind us, try to learn from it, learn why those mistakes occurred and what to do next time, and I think you learn some good lessons and you never stop learning lessons at this league and whatever level, just reminders of what to do under certain situations. I think I have learned that and I am ready to play this week."

Justin Tuck:

"We don't have to wait an entire week to get back onto the field to get that taste out of our mouth"

"We didn't really show up on Monday night, we didn't like the way we lost. I'm not psychic, so I don't know but I am willing to say that you will see a different Giants team. Guys are very eager to get back on the field."


Quote Sources: Tom Coughlin, Eli Manning - New York Post (10/16/2008), Justin Tuck - New York Daily news (10/16/2008)

Posted on: October 7, 2008 10:21 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2008 11:50 pm

'Boys will be boys, Giants are Men

Rival Franchises Heading in Different Directions - Mentally.

*UPDATED 10/8/08 @ 10:40pm*

From the Merriam-Webster Dictionary

Wade ( pronunciation: \ˈwād \  - verb): 1. to step in or through a medium (as water) offering more resistance than air 2.  to move or proceed with difficulty or labor.

As in 'Phillips'? Listen, there's been a lot written the past two days about how the Giants are this years' Patriots, and that the Cowboys are a bunch of spoiled divas who think they've earned the right to be cocky without having proven themselves. Whether or not I believe the hype in either direction isn't important. The Giants/Cowboys rivalry is fun, exhasperating, stressful, joyus and every other conceivable emotion you can think of. It's one of the most fierce (if not the most fierce) rivalries in the NFL. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't enjoying witnessing the predicted unraveling of Terrell Owens. He's the most gifted receiver in the NFL Physically and in terms of God-given Talent. But he was short-changed in the mental stability department. He has, on his own, put himself in this situation time and time again and it's no one's fault but his own.

Problem is, his head coach is not helping the situation, and in fact may be rubbing off on others in the Dallas locker room. Coughlin and the Giants suspended Plaxico Burress for two-weeks for missing practice (albeit after 40 or 50 fines for being late) and rendered him an afterthought in their win over Seattle. Owens has been running his mouth all week about how being 20% of the offensive focus isn't enough for him. Do you think Wade Phillips had the guts to address this with him - Coach to Player? And Tony Romo apparently feels Owens "just wants to win". I understand defending your teamate (especially after TO's display of Bro-mance following last year's playoff loss to the G-Men) Romo is still young, and is arguably the best QB in the league aside from Brady and perhaps Peyton Manning. I'll be first in line to acknowledge he's still on the rise and will only get better. But his attitude toward the recent developments with #81 and his less-than-Romo performance against the Bengals this past weekend should have the Cowboys faithful scratching their 10-gallon hats.  

*UPDATE 10/7: In addition, it's being reported that cornerback Adam "Pac-Man" Jones got into an altercation with a security guard at the Joule Hotel in Dallas at 1:30 in the morning on Wednesday. This signing was a big gamble by Jerry Jones, who from here on out will be referred to as "Blackjack Jones"; not only to differentiate between he and the other two Jones's on the team, but because his motto appears to be "Hit me - Hit me - hit me again - HIT ME AGAIN!"

As both a Giant fan and official blogger who needs to maintain some level of credibility and fairness, I'll stop here ("here" being three feet over the edge of the cliff, a la Wile E. Coyote). I'll let the post game press conference quotes below speak for themselves. Since the Giants and Cowboys both struggled against the same Cincinnati team, the quotes below are taken from each of those two games. Compare the choice of words, and the sense of urgency behind them.

Following the Giants 26-23 overtime victory over the Bengals three weeks ago, Tom Coughlin made these and similar statements during his postgame press conference:

"It ended up being really the power of the will. It wasn't our best game, by any means, but we hung in there."

"Don't give me that flat stuff. We came out, it was a tough, competitive game, and we found a way to win the game. We didn't execute as well as we have been, but you have to give them a little credit for that, too. They played well. They played hard." 

"The Cincinnati Bengals are a good team. I had a sense that here is a team that was tenth in the league in ranking offensively and hadn't really gotten themselves on track and we saw them get pretty much on track today, but they also were very good on defense today. We had our hands full and we found a way to win."

"I don't care if they're 0-2 or not - they play in a tough division and they're a good team. I think that we're going to play well when the pressure's on and we'll find a way to win the game. We did that today although it was a difficult game"

Following the Cowboys 31-22 victory over the Bengals this past Sunday, Wade Phillips made these and similar statements in his postgame press conference:

"I was real happy for our guys because in close games, and games that come right down to the end, you need playmakers and you need people to come through. I thought we did that."

"We have some things we certainly need to work on. We'll try to address those."

"I think it's a concern anytime you're up 17 and somebody gets back in the game. But they didn't get back enough to win and that's the big thing."

"We would like the offense to be better, certainly right now in this game. Hopefully, next game, we will be on all cylinders. Everything is not going to be perfect every game. We've got to be consistent in some areas and we've got to improve some areas. We're going to work on those things."

"... Everybody's happy. We're all happy we won. It's hard to do in this league and we did it today."

Here are comments from Eli Manning at the press conference following the Giants/Bengals game on 9/21:

"It's just kind of a deal where we have a fight in us that when things are tough we play our best, the best comes out of us. You'd like to play at that level all the time, but sometimes it just doesn't happen. You're not in that pressure situation when everything gets - You know, people get all nervous when it gets tight at the end. Our guys seem to really relax and just do a great job making plays."

Here are comments from Tony Romo at the press conference following the Cowboys/Bengals game this past Sunday:

"I said this last year but I am sorry that I am not sorry that we won. I think that's something we have to fight around here sometimes. If you don't win pretty, it's not a positive. At the end of the year we could of won this game 40-7 or by the 9 or 10 that we did, but at the end of the year it is going to be a W. All we are trying to do is get better each step of the way. You could look pretty and go out there and everything looks magical, but it isn't going to stay that way. It's not going to be like that."


Giants quotes sources: giants.com, bigblueinteractive.com, bengals.com

Cowboys quotes sources: dallascowboys.com, bengals.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