A few topics to hopefully stir up some discussion out there in Giants land today.
- Filed under "how far we've come," the Sporting News has ranked Tom Coughlin the #2 coach in the NFL behind only Bill Belichick. To think some people wanted the Giants to fire him less than two years ago. Shame on you - I was behind him all the way. (No, seriously, I was. Don't bother digging through the archives or anything, just take my word. Please?) Anyway, Sporting News' reasoning:
"Preparation is the key for the detail-oriented Coughlin. His team is ready to play every Sunday."
- Bob Glauber of Newsday reminisces about "the Dungeon," the press room at Giants Stadium which is now shut down as the Giants have moved everything over to their new training facility.
- Andy Benoit of NFLTouchdown.com ranks the top 7 (really top 14) defensive ends in the NFL, with Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora coming in at 6th and 5th, respectively. I would have flipped them and even moved Tuck up to #4, because I think Dwight Freeney is slowing down, but I can't disagree too much with his assessment.
- This is a few days old, but I learned two things from it, so I'll link to it anyway. First, OTA's stand for Organized Team Activities. I never knew what that stood for - part of the problem is I assumed the 'T' was for "Training." Second, it sounds like all that posturing the last few years about Shockey and Plax not attending the OTAs was just that: posturing. Eli Manning on the importance of OTAs:
"You have the guys around the locker room, just hanging out, eating lunch together, those types of things, it makes the team closer," said quarterback Eli Manning, one of the ones who often excused the absentee players. "It makes everybody feel comfortable around each other. Everybody’s the same, no one’s getting special treatment, special attention. I think we have a great group of guys here. They come in and work. No one has an ego about anything. We’re here to practice hard and have some fun also."
- Also a few days old from NFLTouchdown.com, Thom Brodkin lists his top 5 "Guarentees" (sic) for why the Giants will win the Super Bowl, followed by his top 5 reasons they might miss the playoffs. Among his arguments for why they're destined to hold the Lombardi Trophy again are that the Giants have possibly the best defensive line depth in NFL History, Tom Coughlin is a great coach, and quality depth at just about every position. His reasons to be worried include unproven receivers, David Diehl playing out of position (I disagree, but he makes a decent argument), and playing in a very tough NFC East. Most controversially, perhaps, is that his top 2 reasons on both sides of the argument are Eli Manning and the running game. On the run game as a potential weakness:
Are you seeing a pattern here? Strengths can be weakness too? It would be foolhardy to dismiss the loss of Derrick Ward. He wasn’t just a change of pace, he was a starting quality running back. When Brandon Jacobs was hurt or ineffective the Giants had a go to guy on the bench. Remember it wasn’t just Jacobs wearing out the defense for Ahmad Bradshaw's long runs at the end of games. It was Derrick Ward running by linebackers on pass patterns and laying the lumber on the inside runs as well. Jacobs has never played a whole season, Bradshaw has never played a whole game and Ware and Brown have never really played at all. If one domino falls the wrong way the best running game in the league could falter and falter quickly. Without it the passing game becomes vulnerable and the defense spends too much time on the field and the Giants watch the playoffs from the comfort of their living rooms.
He has a valid point, but ultimately I'm not too concerned about the run game. I think Jacobs is an elite back if he can stay healthy, and I'm pretty excited for what Danny Ware can bring to the table. Add in Bradshaw and Brown, and I think it's a pretty solid mix of guys. As for Eli, well, my feelings about him pretty much change with the wind (pun intended), but we simply don't know how he'll do without Plaxico and/or in bad weather and those questions probably won't be answered fully until next January.