I’ve gotten backlash for this many times but, media guys who have never strapped on a helmet or pads should qualify their opinions about football with, “I have never, ever tackled or blocked anyone my entire life and this opinion is that of a pure fan. Call me Benigno.”
To say Eli Manning’s record of 116-116 does not qualify him for the NFL Hall of Fame shows a fair measure of ignorance, even as a “fan” who purports to be an “expert.” Whether Manning is a Hall of Famer is certainly debatable, but, do not turn his TEAM’S won-loss record into a rationale for or against his inclusion in the Canton shrine.
You see, if you ever played pee wee ball, you would know the quarterback cannot succeed without the 10 other guys on the field doing their jobs (as Belichick has preached for 40 years). Neither could the running backs, wide receivers, or offensive linemen. And, if the coach is a dummy, or, the team has changed coaches every couple of years, the continuity and consistency of an offensive unit disappears.
Football isn’t an individual sport like baseball, or basketball, or, even hockey, where one player’s individual skills can dominate a game, or, an era. It’s the ultimate in inter-dependence on your teammates for your own success.
Manning is currently seventh all-time in passing yards, eighth all-time in touchdown passes and sixth in most completed passes. He has played in 234 games.
For comparison’s sake, his brother, Peyton played in 266, Drew Brees in 267, Brett Favre in 303, Dan Marino in 242,
John Elway, who had a rough start to his NFL career after a legendary three years at Stanford, became a sure-fire Hall of Famer who played in the same number of games Eli has. Eli has almost 500 more completions, completed 61% of his passes vs. Elway’s 57%, and has thrown 62 more touchdown passes than the great Elway in the same amount of games. The one stat which stands out as one they have in common is, they are two of only five quarterbacks in NFL history whose team won two Super Bowls and, were the MVPs of each Super Bowl game they won.
Manning was never, in my view, better than a top five or six quarterback within his own era, but being behind Brees, Peyton, Aaron Rogers, Matt Ryan, Rivers, and Rothlisberger) does not disqualify him from Canton. Those six guys, all arguably better than him, will be joining Manning in the Hall of Fame, someday.
From the moment he was drafted in April, it was inevitable that Daniel Jones would one day succeed Eli Manning as the Giants’ starting quarterback.
That day has come, two games into Jones’ rookie season.
Coach Pat Shurmur announced today that Jones will make his first career start on Sunday, when the 0-2 Giants face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium.
“Eli and I spoke this morning,” Shurmur said. “I told him that we are making a change and going with Daniel as the starter. I also talked to Daniel. Eli was obviously disappointed, as you would expect, but he said he would be what he has always been, a good teammate, and continue to prepare to help this team win games. Daniel understands the challenge at hand, and he will be ready to play on Sunday.”
Manning started the season’s first two contests – losses at Dallas and Sunday at home to Buffalo. He completed 56 of 89 passes for 556 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for a passer rating of 78.7. But the Giants have scored only four touchdowns, despite averaging 420.0 yards a game.
At his news conference yesterday, Shurmur said he was “going to address all areas” and declined to say if Manning would start on Sunday.
“Ultimately, this is a move that I felt was best for this team at this time,” Shurmur said. “I have said it since I got here, I am very fond of Eli. His work ethic, his preparation, his football intelligence. All those attributes are as good as I have ever seen in a player. And Eli worked as hard as you could ask of anybody to get ready for this season. This move is more about Daniel moving forward than about Eli.”
Jones, 22, was the sixth overall selection in the draft. In three seasons at Duke, Jones started all 36 games in which he played. With the Blue Devils, Jones completed 764 of 1,275 passes (60%) for 8,201 yards, 52 touchdowns and 29 interceptions. He also had 406 rushing attempts for 1,323 yards (3.3-yard avg.) and 17 touchdowns.
Jones was outstanding in the preseason. In four games, he completed 29 of 34 passes (85.3%) for 416 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and a glittering 137.2 rating.
Jones will be the third of the 11 quarterbacks selected in this year’s draft to both play and start a game. Kyler Murray, the first overall selection by Arizona, started the Cardinals’ first two games. Gardner Minshew II, a sixth-round selection by Jacksonville from Washington State, started the Jaguars’ loss Sunday in Houston as a replacement for the injured Nick Foles.
Manning has been the Giants’ starting quarterback since he replaced Kurt Warner with seven games remaining in his rookie season in 2004. He has started 232 of the Giants’ last 233 regular-season games. The loss Sunday to the Bills dropped his record to an even .500 at 116-116. He is 8-4 (.667) in the postseason, including victories in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI in which he was named the games’ most valuable player.
Manning started 210 consecutive regular-season games from Nov. 21, 2004 to Nov. 23, 2017, the second-longest streak by a quarterback in NFL history. Only Brett Favre (297) started more consecutive games than Manning. He did not play on Dec. 3, 2017 at Oakland but returned to the lineup the following week and has since started all 22 games the Giants have played.
He will be the team’s No. 2 quarterback at Tampa Bay.
Manning holds all of the Giants’ career passing records, including attempts (8,061, which places him sixth in NFL history), completions (4,860, sixth), passing yards (56,537, seventh) and touchdown passes (362, eighth).
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Chris Carlin, a long-time producer and most recently, a co-host of the CMB afternoon show at WFAN Sports radio in New York City, has suddenly left the station. There are unconfirmed reports he was informed his expiring contract, which runs through December, would not be renewed.
His partners, Maggie Gray and Bart Scott (the M and the B in CMB) are being retained and the show re-named, Maggie and Bart.
There may be a back story here that won’t be coming into the light of day for awhile but there has been speculation that Mike Francesa, the 65-year old afternoon drive time host at the station since 1987, may have been behind Carlin’s firing.
Carlin began his career at the FAN as the producer for the legendary Mike and the Mad Dog show, in which Francesa and his on-air partner, Chris Russo, essentially invented the daily sports talk format which has been copied all over the country.
I’ve known Carlin for 17 years, since we were on the football Giants beat, sitting shoulder to shoulder in the Giants Stadium press room. He is a salt of the earth guy who, even as he stepped away, kept his comments brief and above board.
Carlin tweeted this on Wednesday, and has not had further comment, at this point:
Carlin declined to comment further when contacted by Newsday and also declined to comment on the timing of the move and whether it was his decision for him to leave immediately or the station’s.
His contract was due to expire at the end of the year, and he already had been told that his option under the existing contract terms would not be picked up. But until this week it appeared the station might let things ride until December.
Radio stations often are reluctant to allow lame ducks to remain on the air, so WFAN’s parent company, Entercom, may have decided to let Carlin go sooner rather than later. Also, Thursday is the start of the autumn ratings book
“We can confirm that Chris Carlin is no longer with WFAN,” an Entercom spokeswoman said. “We appreciate his many contributions and wish him all the best.”
Opening Statement: Let me talk about the injuries. You saw Cody Latimer had a concussion. Sterling Shepard is improving from his concussion. (Kevin) Zeitler has a shoulder that he’s been dealing with. Then we just have some game soreness. Markus Golden got hit in the throat, I guess. That’s about all I have for that. I don’t really have much to add to what I talked about last night. There were areas in the game where all three sides played well. I also think there wasn’t enough consistent play. They were four-for-four in the red zone against us. We were one-for-one. We had other opportunities to score that we didn’t. We moved the ball well at times. We didn’t do well enough on third downs. There were some opportunities out there that we didn’t take full advantage of that you need to do against a good team. As we go along, you’re going to see that they’re a good team. They were a good defense. We knew that going into it. They played well on offense against us, and we got beat. We’re looking at all things moving forward, finishing up our evaluation of this game and then having talks as to, like we always do, what we’re going to do moving forward. With that, I’ll take your questions.
Q: You said you’re looking at all things moving forward. Does that include the starting quarterback for Sunday’s game? A: We always do that. Obviously, Eli’s been our starter to this point. I’m not really ready to get into any of those conversations about any position.
Q: Do you mean conversations with us or conversations… A: No, we’re going to talk about everything we’re doing moving forward. That’s fair at this point. We’re 0-2. There are areas where we have to get better. We’re going to address all areas and try to find ways to put a winning performance on the field.
Q: Is Eli (Manning) your starting quarterback this week? A: He’s been our starter to this point. I don’t want to talk about anything else moving forward from that standpoint. Not ready to discuss that.
Q: That’s going to leave it open for debate. A: I understand that. I do.
Q: Do you think Daniel’s (Jones) ready if he is named the starter? A: I think anybody that we put in there, we put in there with the idea that they’re ready to go. What I find interesting, too, this is why I’m a digital minimalist, is you all quickly quit listening to me and you’re looking at your phones. I find that fascinating.
Q: What goes into that decision this week? A: We’re looking at everything that we can do to get better. That’s really what we do every week. To this point, what we’ve done hasn’t been good enough.
Q: Your third downs have been bad. Is there any thought of when you have third and long, putting Daniel in so you have a greater option to, if the pass isn’t there, run? A: Third and long is usually what you’re presented with are longer yardage situations where they can take away the deep throw, you check it down. You see that around the league. We just need to do a better job of making sure we’re not in those situations, number one. Then number two, everyone once in a while, you have to try to fit one in there. But your option of just putting a guy in there… the ability to run with the football in those pass rush type situations, typically the runs become scrambles where you drop back and throw. The quarterback run game is typically thought of and used more in shorter, third down situations or first and second down, typically. Red zone, situational ball. Not usually on third and long.
Q: What did you think of Janoris Jenkins’ comments after the game about the pass rush? A: I don’t think that reflects him that well. We spoke today. I talked to him about how things that we say can be interpreted. He was referring to one play and not to anything in general. But I spoke to him and we discussed what should be said moving forward.
Q: Did you disagree with what he said? A: I don’t like anybody making excuses for anything.
Q: What about just the frustration? Is it almost, I don’t want to say a good thing, but the fact that he showed he cares and he’s tired of losing? A: Listen, we’re all disappointed that we lost. We can’t get frustrated. We obviously need to make sure we’re saying the right things all the time.
Q: Getting back to third downs real quick, you guys are 5-for-24 through the first two weeks offensively. Obviously, you can get better on first and second down, but how do you create more manageable third down situations and prolong drives? A: Well, you’re sort of answering the question within your question. We have to be in more manageable ones. Those situations, we’ve had more longer yardage third downs than the law allows. We need to make sure we do a better job of making them more manageable. That’s where it starts. Then everybody needs to do their job. You have to protect well. We have to make sure we’re running crisp routes. Then we need to throw and catch.
Q: Would you agree that your offensive line is playing well enough, and that your running game is good enough that you should be scoring more points if the passing game were producing? A: We’re producing yards in the passing game. The critical situations, obviously the third downs and then when we get closer, scoring… With regard to the offensive line, I think they’ve played much better than they did a year ago. There are still errors in there. We’re doing some things better in the run game than we did a year ago. We’ve made improvements in some areas. Not good enough to win yet. I don’t want it to come out that way. But moving forward, we can build on that.
Q: You guys poured weeks of practices and training camp into Tae Davis with the ones, Antonio Hamilton somewhat with the ones. They went from starting Week 1 to zero snaps defensively. Is that you just decided to move on and go with the rookies? How do you go from starting to zero snaps? A: Everybody gets reps in the offseason. Most of the guys that made it on our 53 (man roster) got reps at some point with the ones. Sometimes you get more reps with the ones in situations where a guy in front of you is injured. I wouldn’t look at that as being the reason. We felt like we wanted to make a couple changes. We wanted to put (DeAndre) Baker in there and dedicate him to playing at corner so that he can improve, and the same thing with Ryan (Connelly).
Q: How have you been handling Daniel’s reps? A: Typical of every place I’ve been. He’ll get a couple reps, as you do a rack of plays with the ones, Daniel will get a couple of those.Q: Does 10 percent of the reps sound about right? 50 percent? A: A lower percent, closer to 10 than to 50.
Q: So, similar to what you did with Alex Tanney as your number two last year? A: Yes, very similar.
Q: When you look at Eli yesterday—the way he ran the offense, managed the team, utilized the players he had yesterday—where could he have improved in your mind? A: I think those are internal discussions and things that we look to improve on moving forward. Everybody that played in the game—we’re all responsible for when we win and when we lose—and even when you win, you make mistakes. So, those are internal conversations so that we can make those corrections moving forward.
Q: You mentioned the designed run that Josh Allen scored a touchdown on yesterday– A: That was a good play. Well designed and he did a nice job. They blocked it well—it’s typical of the play they were running with the running back, the G-sweep—they carved us out and got in.
Q: Around the league in this day in age, you see a lot of the time quarterbacks are scoring and getting first downs on designed runs. You don’t do that with your starting quarterback– A: There are other teams—there’s a lot of teams that don’t run quarterback-structured runs. We could sit here and make a list of the ones that don’t. I think when you do that, and you have a quarterback that can do those things, I think that’s smart, I think that’s utilizing the talents of the player that you’re working with.
Q: Is it fair to say that—you don’t do that with Eli, no one has ever done that with Eli—whenever Daniel Jones gets his chance, that’s something his skill set would allow you to do? A: He has a much better skill set to do those types of things than say Eli. Yes, that’s fair.
Q: When you say that you look at every position every week, when you’re looking at the quarterback position, how do you balance giving you the best chance to win this week versus maybe the future? A: We’re always trying to do what we can to win this next game, and then behind the scenes, we’re always having those long-term discussions, but I think that’s the challenge each week—just doing what you can to win the next game. That’s really my focus as the coach, and certainly that’s what the players’ focus is.
Q: Is Ryan Connelly okay? It looked like he was shaken up on the touchdown. A: Yeah, he’s not on my list. I don’t see him on there.
Q: Do you expect more from Jabrill Peppers than what he’s shown you through two weeks? A: I think everybody needs to play a little better, and we’ve got to coach better, that’s all. Here’s the thing with Jabrill—I’m a big fan of his energy and his enthusiasm, his toughness, and I think he’s one of those guys, if there are mistakes in there, he’ll get them corrected and move on fast.
Q: When it comes to making changes at quarterback, is it more complicated because of the position? Is the discussion more complicated because of the personnel involved and who you’re dealing with, as far as Daniel and Eli, and (Alex) Tanney? A: I think anything that we choose to do, and when I say we have discussion amongst us as coaches, and then I certainly keep Dave (Gettleman) and John (Mara)—everybody upstairs sort of knows, okay moving forward this is how we plan to play the game—we have those conversations. It really, fundamentally, happens the same way.
Q: Both Dave and John said, “Pat’s going to make that decision.” Do you feel like you have the final say on who your quarterback is? A: I think at this time of year when we’re talking about the team and moving forward, I’m right in the middle of all of it.
Q: Do you think not being definitive to us about this, and we’re not being definitive to the public right now—is that an edge of uncertainty that you want around this team? A: Uncertainty about what?
Q: About not coming out and saying Eli is starting this week again. Is a little edge, a little uncertainty, good in the locker room? A: Listen, I don’t want to be dishonest with anyone. Like I said, we’re evaluating everything moving forward, and I’m not ready to talk about all that right now.
Q: Have you talked about it with Eli? A: Again, at this point we’ve had meetings, and they’re still finishing up their meetings.
Q: Is it fair to say that by drafting Daniel in the spring, you guys internally have already had most of the conversations leading up to the point at which a change would be made? A: I wouldn’t say all conversations have happened, or haven’t happened. We’re very honest and open behind the scenes with everything that’s going on. I think I’ve tried to portray that with regard to the quarterbacks all along here.
Q: Is it fair to say that you will have made the decision by Wednesday when you get on the practice field, if you’re going to make a change? A: Yeah, we’re moving forward, absolutely.
Q: Is Sterling Shepard clear from the protocol? A: I don’t know. It says here (on the injury report) “non-contact practice,” so yeah, he’s going through the steps, it appears like, in time to make it for this game. But again, they’re all different, the concussion things are different. Once you’re in the protocol, there’s a set standard that we follow, and obviously player safety is important. We don’t want to bring a guy back too soon.
Q: On draft night, you said it would be Eli’s job to keep Daniel off the field. How is he doing in that regard, in your opinion? A: I think he’s doing a good job. I think we need to do more, all of us included, everybody, to win football games. That’s why when I say we’re doing what we have to do each week to put a team on the field that’s going to compete and win a football game, that falls on all of us. That’s the beauty, in my opinion, that’s the challenge, that’s what gets me going, the challenge each week to try and do that. We’ve all been around situations where you’ve had an outstanding team and there’s less you need to do each week. Then, we’ve all been faced with struggles as coaches to fight and scratch to do what you have to do in other ways, and so that’s the fun part for us behind the scenes, is to just kind of put that all together and then watch them do it on Sunday.
Q: Is Darius Slayton making progress? A: He is. Let’s see what we say here about Slayton—he’ll be out there practicing this week, so we’ll see how much closer. We can revisit that.
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This was going to be the beginning of the Mets’ stretch run towards the National League playoffs. They were two games out of the second wild card slot and facing off against the Los Angeles Dodgers, the best team in the league, and its ace, Clayton Kershaw, who has a standing invitation to enter the Hall of Fame five years after he retires. This was the moment to prove they are an elite team.
This morning, the Mets are now three games behind instead of two. It didn’t go exactly as planned.
Kershaw worked his magic against a Mets lineup that has been producing runs at a consistently high rate since the All-Star break in July. But, all night, the Mets were flailing at Kershaw’s serves of fastballs, curves, and sliders with pinpoint control. When it was over, the Mets had lost convincingly, 9-2, with Noah Syndergaard throwing to Wilson Ramos
Before the game, Mets manager, Mickey Callaway had nearly waxed poetic in his praise of Syndergaard, making one wonder if the controversy of the past few days, in which Syndergaard was reported to have complained to management about his preference not to work with Ramos behind the plate, was much worse than initially thought.
Callaway’s agenda, as peacemaker between Syndergaard and Wilson Ramos, seemed clear.
“I think that Noah is going to go compete no matter who’s catching him,” Callaway said. “If we can get the [pitch] distribution where we want it, get the pitches where we want it, it doesn’t matter who catches him. And we’ve seen that.”
Whether the four runs Syndergaard allowed in the 9-2 loss to the Dodgers were more on him, or on Ramos, is a matter of debate. It was Ramos who called for a full-count curveball to Gavin Lux with two men on base in the fourth inning. It was Syndergaard who hung it, chest-high, in a perfect spot for Lux to crush it off Citi Field’s center-field fence. The ball cleared the orange home run line for a go-ahead, three-run shot, and the Dodgers never trailed again in a game that dropped the Mets three games behind the Cubs in the National League Wild Card race.
The pairing of Syndergaard and Ramos became notable last weekend, when Syndergaard approached Callaway and Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen to request an assignment throwing to anyone else. In those meetings, Syndergaard cited the fact that he owned a 2.22 ERA pitching to backups Tomas Nido and Rene Rivera, but a 5.09 mark working with Ramos. The Mets countered with the fact that Ramos was the National League’s leading hitter since Aug. 1.
Kershaw allowed a home run to J.D. Davis and surrendered a walk in the first inning but got stingy after that. Over the next five innings, the Mets managed two hits — consecutive singles in the fourth inning. The Mets went two for 17 during the span.
The Mets then loaded the bases and chased Kershaw with one out in the seventh inning. Joe Kelly was summoned to extinguish the situation. The right-hander got Brandon Nimmo to hit a chopper to his left. Kelly corralled it and spun for an athletic throw home for the forceout. Amed Rosario lined a run-scoring single before Davis grounded out to limit the damage. Kershaw (14-5), coming off a four-inning start, was ultimately charged with two runs on four hits as he improved to 10-0 in his career against the Mets during the regular season.
The Dodgers tallied four runs in the fourth inning to snatch the lead, capped off by Gavin Lux’s tie-breaking, three-run home run. The homer, the second of Lux’s short career, came on a hanging curveball from Noah Syndergaard (10-8), who allowed four runs in five innings. It traveled 419 feet to straightaway center field. Edwin Rios, another rookie, lofted a pinch-hit, two-home run over the wall in left field in the eighth.
It’s too bad only 20,843 baseball fans showed up tonight at Citi Field to watch Game #144, against the Arizona Diamondbacks. With only 18 games remaining to this season, and the Mets four games out of an attainable playoff berth, you would expect a greater turnout.
But, the half-empty stadium witnessed a thriller of a game, which the Mets won, 3-2 because of Zack Wheeler’s solid seven-inning effort, the ninth inning heroics of the reliever, Justin Wilson and, Pete Alonso’s defense. Yes, that’s right, his defense.
It was the ninth inning. Two outs. The game-tying run stood on third. The go-ahead run stood on second. Wilmer Flores, the longtime Mets infielder who holds the record for most walk-off RBIs at Citi Field in team history stood at the plate, facing Wilson.
“We’ve all seen him do it plenty of times,” Wheeler said. “It was a little nerve-wracking.”
“That was going through my mind. I promise you,” manager Mickey Callaway said. “I’ve seen it. He’s done it more than anybody in the history of Citi Field, so it was going through my mind. There was no doubt about it.”
This time, with the game and the Mets season on the line, Flores went down swinging on the final pitch of Wilson’s four-out save, giving the Mets a 3-2 win Tuesday night in Queens.
Callaway was asked after the game about keeping Wilson in the game instead of going to his struggling closer, Edwin Diaz.
“I just had to stick with Wilson. We all know the struggles that Diaz has had and Wilson has been really good. I felt like at that point it was Wilson’s [game],” Callaway said. “He willed it. I’m not saying we’re gonna run from Diaz. He’s gonna get his chances, too … but we called down in the eighth and asked Wilson if he could get four outs for us.
“I thought Wilson was gonna get it done. Some way, somehow.”
With Seth Lugo unavailable after pitching two innings the previous night, Callaway counted on the lefty, Wilson, the only other reliever who has earned his trust. Wilson, who has a 1.54 ERA since the All-Star break, came on to record his first four-out appearance since his only previous save of the season on April 2.
“Late in the season, everything kind of goes. Gotta win games,” Wilson said. “Clearly we’re still in a little bit of a hole. Luckily we have enough games left to make a push. Everyone’s available in any situation.”
Wilson allowed a walk and stolen base to Josh Rojas in the eighth, but kept the Mets in front by retiring Adam Jones. The ninth inning started like so many for the Mets this season.
Nick Ahmed opened with a single up the middle, and Kevin Cron added a one-out hit. With runners at the corners, Ketel Marte nearly hit into a game-ending double play, but after Pete Alonso stepped on first base — following a diving backhand stab — the rookie threw to third base, failing to notice Tim Locastro caught between first and second base.
“Young guy, you don’t know what he’s gonna do, and he kind of spazzed out,” Frazier said. “Could’ve had a double play, but your mind’s going a mile a minute.”
‘“He didn’t have his best stuff. He didn’t have his best command, but he dug deep and got through it,” Callaway said of Wilson. “He’s gonna need a day or two off, but it’s worth it for the win tonight. He was unbelievable. He kind of willed that game, that save.”
The Mets pulled to within three games of the second wild card slot with the Cubs losing in San Diego. Perhaps, Mets fans, a group that is always hoping for a pennant race, will decide to turn out tonight, with Steven Matz going for his 10th win of the season against Arizona lefty, Robbie Ray.
QB Eli Manning Conference Call — September 9, 2019
Q: What did you think after watching the film? What were your takeaways and what was apparent coming out of the game? A: I think it was kind of like we thought. We did a lot of good things, had some explosive plays, really good on first and second down, just not good enough on third down, and unfortunately a couple of them that we didn’t get were third and twos, and third and ones, and those types of plays. Then, some of the other ones, we got in too many third and elevens, and twelves, and thirteens, especially in the second half. I thought we moved the ball, probably the first six possessions that we had it, we moved it really well, and then after that kind of stalled out, got some penalties, and did not play as well after that.
Q: When you look at the two-minute drill at the end of the half, what went wrong there? A: I thought we moved the ball well. They were trying to take away the sideline, so we got the ball over the middle some, but had a couple nice plays and got it near midfield with two timeouts left and 25 seconds. When we used our two timeouts, then you’ve got to be smart in that position. You’ve got to be careful. If you do throw it in bounds, do you have enough time to spike it and get up there and kick the field goal? So, we were kind of in that position where we maybe need six or seven more yards to get into field goal range, and just weren’t able to get something where we could get a completion and get out of bounds, and unfortunately had to try for the Hail Mary at the end.
Q: What did you think of the job done by the offensive line? A: I think the offensive line did a great job. They did a great job in the run game and the pass game. They protected well all game against a good defensive line, a lot of movement, some blitzes, so I thought the offensive line did a great job. They gave me time to get through my progressions and gave us a chance to be successful.
Q: It sounds like Sterling Shepard is in the concussion protocol. For an offense that is already playing without Golden Tate, what would a potential loss of Sterling do? A: Hopefully we get him back. If not, Russell Shepard is a guy that’s been in the offense and played well and done some good things for us. He’ll have to step in, and so hopefully we can get Sterling back for this week.
Q: What did you think about the Cowboys after playing them, were they as good as they looked against you guys? A: It’s tough to measure after the first game, you have to always keep making improvements. Obviously, they played really well. Their offense seemed to be in rhythm, and I thought Dak played really well. They do good stuff defensively, I thought we moved the ball well, they had some good calls and played well in certain situations that kept us from scoring some points. I think they are obviously a good team and have played well the last couple of years and do some good things.
Q: How can you as an offensive guy help your young defense get better? A: When you have some new guys and some young guys, you have to learn. You have to learn what teams are going to do, you have to come along and make plays. I don’t know exactly what happened, it’s not about the defense, it’s both sides doing their job. Sometimes you have those high scoring games, we have to do our part to match. We had the opportunities, that’s the unfortunate part. We went down and scored, had opportunities to score a few more times in the first half, two more times early in the second half where we needed those opportunities to get points and get scores to keep it a close game. Unfortunately, the first two drives of the second half, we had two good drives, but only ended up with three points and they ended up with 14 points and stretched the lead. When it’s those games and you are down a little bit you just have to know the circumstances and make sure you execute a little bit better in those critical situations and keep yourself in the game and put a little bit more pressure on the opposing team.
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It’s just one game on the books for the 2019 New York Giants and 15 more to go for a once-proud original franchise in the National Football League. So why does it feel like this season is over?
One game in and 2019 is already shaping up to be a gigantic embarrassment for John Mara, the owner of the team as well as the legion of Giants fans. One game and you’ve never seen so many Big Blue fans burying their collective heads in their hands as they did yesterday after Dallas exposed the Giants defense and the Giants coaching staff for the frauds they truly are. The Giants, along with another once-proud franchise, the Miami Dolphins, are TANKING this season.
This roster of young Giants is comprised of respectful, well-mannered, polite guys, just as Giants general manager, Dave Gettleman, wanted. Good character guys. Unfortunately, good character is usually a buzzword in the sports business for losers. Anybody paying attention to Bill Belichick and Antonio Brown, lately?
History is dotted with teams with good character guys who couldn’t spell win, even if you spotted them the W. In getting rid of elite NFL talents over the past year like Pro-bowler Odell Beckham, cornerback Eli Apple, Pro-Bowl safety Landon Collins, Pro-Bowl defensive linemen Olivier Vernon, Jason Pierre-Paul, Damon “Snacks” Harrison, and Linval Joseph and soon, Eli Manning, Gettleman has destroyed the Giants for the foreseeable future by removing veteran, proven talent from a team that is painfully short on talent, coaching, and really, everything else.
It’s not all Gettleman’s fault, of course. He was brought in by Mara to replace another incompetent football executive, Jerry Reese, who was fired in 2017. Reese’s main problem was he couldn’t judge talent, as only four players, Sterling Shepherd, Evan Engram, Davlin Tomlinson, and Wayne Gallman remain on the Giants from Reese’s ten-year (2007-2017) draft history.
For comparison’s sake, the New England Patriots, who compete for or win the Super Bowl every year, never get to draft high picks because NFL rules give the worst teams, like the Giants, the first opportunities to grab the best players in the country. The Patriots get stuck with a lot of players in the later rounds. So, how many players do the Patriots still have on their current roster from the past 10 years of drafts? Thirty-three players still perform in the NFL, drafted by the Patriots, since 2010.
But this 35-10 loss last night to Dallas, in a game that wasn’t even THAT close, was not Manning, who threw for 305 yards, or the offense’s fault. This loss could be pinned on exactly what we thought the Giants’ most glaring weaknesses were all along entering the season: their young, inexperienced cornerbacks and their nonexistent pass rush. The problem in those two units are two-fold. They are very young players and, they possibly will not turn out to be any good, at any age.
The Giants’ secondary couldn’t cover anybody the Cowboys sent out to catch passes, and their pass rush treated Dallas quarterback Dak Prescott (25 of 32, 404 yards, four touchdowns and a perfect 158.3 passer rating) with more respect than Cowboys’ team owner Jerry Jones has in not signing him to a contract extension.
In short, the NFL debut for Giants rookie cornerback DeAndre Baker was a nightmare, and the day wasn’t much better for backup Antonio Hamilton, either. Not that this was all on those two players.
“Reality check?’’ safety Michael Thomas said. “We’ve got to get back to work. We can’t make the mistakes we made out there regardless of [whether we’re] young or not. And it wasn’t just young guys, myself included. We’ve got to get better.’’
Safety Antoine Bethea, a veteran of 14 seasons, and, a character guy with little speed or NFL skill remaining, said, “Yeah, we’re young, but we get paid to do a job, and we’ve got to do it with no excuses.’’
Bethea’s message to the youngsters?
“They’re going to keep coming at you until you start making plays,’’ he said.
Baker, the first-round draft pick from Georgia, had the roughest game of all.
“Rookie corner in the NFL, out there playing for the first time, there’s a lot to be learned,’’ Giants coach Pat Shurmur said.
With Baker and Hamilton out there looking like raw meat to a lion (with the lion being Prescott), the Cowboys quarterback never bothered to look in the direction of Giants veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins once all afternoon.
“I expected that,’’ Jenkins said.
Jenkins’ message to Baker and Hamilton?
“You got a lot of talent, a lot of potential, and we’ve got 15 more games to go,’’ he said. “It’s pretty tough, but you’re either going to man up or lay down.’’
The nightmare for the secondary began early, on the Cowboys’ second offensive series after the Giants had taken a 7-0 lead on the opening possession. Baker was beaten by Cowboys receiver Michael Gallup (7 catches for 158 yards) on a 13-yard completion on third-and-4 to keep the drive alive.
Several plays later, the Cowboys tied the game at 7-7 on a busted coverage that left tight end Blake Jarwin wide open on a 28-yard TD.
“It’s the NFL, so there’s no excuses about whoever they’re throwing the ball at — whether they’re throwing at me 10 times, DeAndre 10 times — we’ve got to make our plays,’’ Hamilton said. “There ain’t no excuse.’’
Baker was torched by Amari Cooper (6-106, TD) on a 21-yard Prescott TD pass that made it 21-7 Cowboys.
“I didn’t have the best game that I wanted to have, but it’s about bouncing back and showing what I can do next week,’’ Baker said. “I have to fight to through adversity.’’
How does Jenkins, the veteran of the cornerback group, think the youngsters will come back from this next Sunday against the Bills in the home opener?
“We’re going to respond like big dogs,’’ Jenkins promised. “We came out a little short this week. We’re not far away. Just mental mistakes, small things that can be fixed in practice.’’
That all sounds good. It’s just that none of what happened to the Giants on Sunday seemed small.