The Giants, to a man, are all saying the right things about Michael Vick. They are wary of what he and the Eagles can do, but they won't go out and admit defeat like the rest of the NFL world seems to want them to. Here are some things that are being said by the Giants and around the league about Sunday's game -- which, by the way Eagles' fans, does need to be played.
New York Giants players not intimidated by Philadelphia Eagles QB Michael Vick - ESPN New York
Less than 48 hours after Vick became the first quarterback in NFL history to throw for more than 300 yards and four touchdowns while rushing for more than 50 yards and two touchdowns, the Giants were peppered with questions about Vick. The Giants are next up for Vick in a Sunday night showdown in Philadelphia that could elevate the winner to NFC front-runner and serious Super Bowl contender. The Giants were all impressed by Vick's masterpiece in Washington and they expressed great respect. But they made it clear that they are not intimidated by the man who wears No. 7 and a tinted visor and looks a lot like the best player in the NFL at the moment.
Here is what Tom Coughlin said Thursday in his press conference when asked about stopping Vick:
Q: How concerned are you about playing the Eagles offense given the way they are playing?
A: Is this your first day here? They have demonstrated great ability to score and move the ball and all of those kinds of things. It is always a concern. They are talented.
Whew. Coughlin was a bit chippy Thursday and has been irritated by all the inevitable questions about stopping the Eagles, combined with the mounting injuries on offense.
Shawn Andrews' back injury, the same one that has plagued him the last few years, is particularly disturbing to both Coughlin and to OC Kevin Gilbride. Here is Gilbride's take from Thursday's press conference:
Q: How concerned are you going in with a banged up line and Shawn Andrews hasn't practiced for a couple of days.
A: Yeah. Unquestionably you wish you had your full complement of players and unquestionably not only do you wish you had your full complement of players, you wish they were out there for the full complement of practices. It's not the ideal situation, but hopefully they'll be ready to go and you just do the best you can under the circumstances, knowing that there's been limited practice time and you're counting on the time being made up in meetings, watching film and compensating for the fact that they're not out there physically doing it. It's not the ideal, it's not the way you'd draw it up, but it at least gives you a chance so that you're prepared and if he is prepared, I'm sure he'll play well, but it's just a matter of putting forth the necessary time.
Back to Vick. Safety Deon Grant put things in perspective in this piece:
Giants, safety Deon Grant won't concede Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is unstoppable
So, is he unstoppable? "Who you talking about?" Giants safety Deon Grant asked Wednesday. "Number seven," I said. "There is only one person who is unstoppable in my world and that is God," Grant said. "I don't see no human God yet. Ain't nobody unstoppable." He said it with more than a fair degree of conviction.
Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell is also trying to take a realistic approach and doesn't want his players to be in awe of Vick Sunday night:
Q: What were you thinking when you were watching the game on Monday night?
A: Actually, I was working, so I didn't. But I did watch the video and I just thought, Wow, they're clicking on all cylinders, we have to play our best football, you can't go out and have a mental lapse, you've got to play until the whistle is blown. That old adage, you've got to play 60 minutes of football with these guys is very true because they play full speed and they play 60 minutes of football and they play fast.
Giants' priority against Eagles is to put pressure on Michael Vick | NJ.com
Reid saw enough sacks in a 2007 loss to the Giants in which Donovan McNabb was dropped 12 times. Since then, Reid has done a good job of game-planning against the Giants’ pass rush. In six meetings of these teams since Osi Umenyiora embarrassed Justice on national TV, the Giants have recorded six sacks.
This brings up an interesting point. Andy Reid seems to know how to beat the Giants. Just consider the last two years or so. The Giants haven't beaten the Eagles since that weird game in Philly in 2008 in which Eli's heel was touching the line of scrimmage when completing a huge pass to Kevin Boss.
And here is something interesting of note from the Philly Inquirer:
Paul Domowitch: No need for rewrites on Eagles' early scripted plays | Philadelphia Daily News | 11/19/2010
Mornhinweg and Reid like to throw a lot of different stuff at opposing defenses early. On their first 12 plays Monday, they used four different formations, threw a bomb to DeSean Jackson on the first play of the game off a play-action bootleg that went for an 88-yard touchdown, ran a double reverse to Jeremy Maclin that picked up 11 yards, a direct snap to Jackson that gained 5 yards, a screen pass to LeSean McCoy for 27 yards and an 11-yard shovel pass to McCoy for a touchdown. The only thing missing was the Statue of Liberty play and the fumblerooski. "Sometimes things snowball," Reid said. "It doesn't happen very often like that, but sometimes things snowball. They're never as good as you think and never as bad as you think.
Here lies a key to stopping Philly. Limit their yardage on those first scripted plays and their whole game is thrown off. Yeah, I know, easier said than done. But there was also an interesting and yet disturbing blurb about Eli Manning in this article:
The Giants' Eli Manning also hasn't been very good on third down this season. He's 11th in the league in overall passing with a 92.1 rating, but is 27th in third-down passing with a 59.1 rating. Ten of his 13 interceptions this season have come on third down. That could be a problem for Manning and the Giants on Sunday night because the Eagles' third-down pass defense has been very good, particularly in the last month.
Ack. Manning surely needs to play smart, take sacks and throw the ball away before throwing picks, because the Giants can't afford to hand the Eagles points or great field position.
This article points something interesting out about the Eagles' and their own offensive line woes. Hopefully we will reap the rewards on Sunday:
The Eagles’ third-ranked offense can rack up yards in bunches, but it has an affinity for giving them away, too. Philadelphia also ranks third in offensive penalties, with 78 flags for 687 yards. The G-Men will need every opportunity to exploit Philly’s lack of discipline and swing the momentum in their favor on hostile ground.
Okay, I've seen and heard enough. Let's just go beat these guys on Sunday!