Monday, December 28, 2009

Yo, Meathead!

Let me hand it to Ed for holding the site together while I was off in la-la land. Wasn’t that a great article on Tim Lincecum? Lucky Ed got to meet the Freak!

As for me, you could probably tell from my last post that I was kind of fed up with my teams. Therefore, I stayed away from blogging for a bit, because I didn’t have anything positive to say, and I really didn’t want to drown myself in all that negativity. Hearing the latest about Tiger Woods did little to restore my faith.

Now I’m back, but it’s not to be positive. After having experienced the Giants football game—and the end of their once-promising season—yesterday, I am so filled with frustration that I have to let it all out here.

How could any team with so much on the line—postseason play, the closing of Giants Stadium—just completely not show up? It is inexplicable to me. The Giants had to win to stay in contention for a playoff berth. Even though Dallas and Green Bay both won, keeping them ahead of Big Blue for the week, I wouldn’t be so sure that they will both win next week. The Packers play Arizona, and the Cowboys play Philadelphia—don’t be surprised if the Iggles whip the ’Boys to prove that they deserve the division crown.

The Giants were a disgrace, and I woke up this morning embarrassed to be a fan of theirs. I’m sure this will pass at the end of the season, but for now? Phooey! There are not enough words to describe just how bad the Jints were, but to give you a hint: they were booed off the field at halftime by their own fans in the last game to ever be played at Giants Stadium. And this was in front of the many Giants greats who showed up for the stadium’s closing!

I know a lot of people want to blame someone—I do, too. So here’s who I think is to blame.

First, let me say unequivocally that I don’t blame Eli Manning. Was he great this year? No, but his numbers were the best of his career, and I think he is showing that he is a pretty darned good QB and still improving. I know a lot of people say he’s awful, but along with his ring, he has a Super Bowl MVP, so we are not exactly talking Trent Dilfer here. Also, it’s hard to blame the offense when the defense can’t get off the field. But we’ll come to the defense in a minute.

The receiving corps, which everyone said would be weakness this year without Plaxico Burress, has actually been a great strength. Steve Smith has broken a couple of Giants receiving records, and rookie Hakeem Nicks looks like the real deal. Mario Manningham is fine, but he could have better hands. Nevertheless, all told, the Giants receivers have been pretty good, as well.

The only aspect of the offense that needs a lot of work is the running game. Not only does this mean that perhaps Ahmad Bradshaw should be the feature back next year (Brandon Jacobs only had one—yes, one—yard on six carries yesterday), but maybe the offensive line could use a tune-up. I like the O-line, but those guys sure didn’t do much for the run. Granted, they had a few injuries, but still…

I will briefly touch on special teams by saying that maybe it’s time for Jeff Feagles to retire. He has been a fantastic asset to the Giants over his career with them, but in 2009, he had some really bad punting games, and the Giants D has been unable to stop anyone on a short field this season.

Ah, the Giants defense. “What defense?” you might ask, and rightfully so, because it is one of the worst defenses in the NFL this year. In one statistic that says it all, the Giants are last in preventing a touchdown when the opponent is inside the red zone. Wellington Mara would surely roll over in his grave if he could have observed the defense the past few months.

Now defense is supposed to be a Giants hallmark. Any team that won anything for Big Blue was always built around defense. So it is really inexcusable for the D to have been so very bad—and it was bad on all three levels. The defensive line didn’t have a pass rush and couldn’t stop the run—except against the hapless Redskins. The linebackers were fair to middling, and I don’t want to hear that it was because Antonio Pierce was injured. The backers were only average even while A.P. was healthy.

The Giants secondary deserves a paragraph all its own. But what can I say except that it stank? Yes, there were injuries there, too, but every team has injuries. They do not explain why the defensive backs failed to make an appearance against Carolina yesterday—or against anyone else earlier in the season. The obvious one to point fingers at for the defensive failures is rookie defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan. Despite the fact that I think he should go, he probably deserves one more chance—albeit on a tight leash.

As for Tom Coughlin, it speaks volumes that he let the players know how important the game was and they still laid an egg. Are the players starting to tune out Coughlin? Well, the man won a Super Bowl and had the G-men in the playoffs the last four years in a row. He probably deserves to stay one more year, too, as long as things get turned around.

I saw a comment today by a Carolina fan after an article about the game—amidst all the crying and moaning by Giants fans, the Panthers fan said something about perhaps giving Carolina credit because they played a great game. But no matter how great the Panthers played, the Giants had so much more riding on the outcome. If Big Blue had shown up yesterday the way they showed up the previous week against Washington, it wouldn’t have mattered how the Panthers played. The Giants would have won.

Instead, they get to play Minnesota in a meaningless game for them and then go home until Fall 2010. It sure would be ironic if the defense came to play next week, when it doesn’t matter anymore. They might as well not show up, since it seems like most of them started their offseason with two weeks to go anyway.

I expect Dallas fans to laugh it up, but there’s no way they’ll win it all, and the Cowboys will be lucky to even win a playoff game, which they haven’t done since 1996. The Giants have won a Super Bowl a lot more recently than that! As for the Eagles, they sure looked good this year, but I doubt they’ll take it all, either, against the real powerhouses like the Colts and Patriots, or even the Saints and Vikings. So good luck to the Giants’ division rivals—give me a call when you actually win something.

1 comment:

Ed Attanasio said...

It's tough when your team doesn't play well. Stay strong and get ready for MLB! Have a Great Year Meat and Keep it Sweeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeet!