Big Blue View Mailbag

Sunday's loss to the Philadelphia Eagles has generated some interesting contributions to the Big Blue View mailbag. I thought I would share some of them with you, and my reactions to the messages I got. Really, I know this is going backwards and reviewing the Philly game, but these folks took the time to share their opinions and I think the discussion is worthwhile.

Brian, from Guilford, CT. writes:

I've got to tell you, as depressed as I was on Sunday, I see a silver lining. The players, as far as I can see from their quotes, have reacted well -- nobody shirking responsibility for their own actions, defending the rookie punter, and not placing any blame on the coaching staff.

I look at the game, and see that we (actually, "they") dominated the Eagles for 52 minutes. If they focus on that, and learn from the mistakes they made in the last eight minutes (coaching staff, too) maybe, just maybe this will turn out to be a blessing. I've got to say, though, when I did my own calculations of the NFL playoff picture, and figured out the most likely opponent would be the Eagles in Philadelphia, it did not make my heart leap. I can't share your enthusiasm for facing them again. I think I would rather face Atlanta or New Orleans at their domes.

Valentine's View: You guys already know I would be pumped up for another shot at the Eagles. I know it's six wins in a row for Philly, I know about Sunday, I know about the trash-talking from Eagles fans. I just know it is going to be a glorious day when the Eagles fall, and they will fall to Big Blue eventually.

Tom L. has had enough of Tom Coughlin. He writes, in part:

The thing about the Librarian (which is my nickname for TC) is that he allows HIS stubbornness and downright blown out ego (which he calls loyalty) to get the best of the team and the Giant fans.

How many times have we seen it and when is it simply enough? Huffnagel OC, Lewis DC, Sheridan DC and now Quinn ST. Ever since Quinn has been with the G Men I have had to close my eyes and click my ruby red slippers together and make a wish whether it was a punt or return, kickoff of return or field goal. Whether it was Tynes and his constantly missing extra points or field goals when they counted or lick offs to the 30, or our kick and coverage teams and the fiasco that is the deer in the headlights Matt Dodge. Look it’s so frikin evident this kid doesn’t have the mental make-up or edge to play in the largest market in pro football period. What gives TC or for that fact the team the confidence that if they do make the playoffs the deer won’t stare directly BACK into those oncoming high beams again.

Think about it. The best coaches of the TC era had to be hired and brought in by mgmt because the librarian REFUSED to fire HIS original bunch of frickin misfits that Coughlin so adamantly supported and refused to admit were complete debacles as far as asst, coaches. Kill Drive for the Huffnagel., Spags for Lewis, Fewell for Sheridan.

Valentine's View: Rant at Coughlin all you want, but please, when you are done show me a better coach who is currently available. And, please, don't give me Bill Cowher. We have been over my feelings about him a thousand times if we have done it once. TC and Cowher are the same coach, with virtually the same track records and beliefs. If the Giants make the playoffs this year that will be five playoff appearances in six years, with a Super Bowl title tossed in. That is nothing to be sneezed at. Is he perfect? No. He screw up sometimes, he can be loyal to a fault, he is definitely old school in a New Age world. But I am in Coughlin's corner, and I firmly believe his players are, too.

Cody K. writes in to point out an article from Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio more or less lambasting Kevin Gilbride for Sunday's second-half play-calling:

I know that there are some audibles in there as well, so obviously it's not all on him. But c'mon, seriously?? That was one of the entire coaching staff's worst games of this administration. Quinn clearly blew a lot of plays, Fewell stayed in the prevent too long, Coughlin managed as bad a game as I've seen him coach - and, as you can see here, looks like Gilbride had a terrible day as well.

Valentine's View: We have now ventured into the 'Kevin Gilbride Zone,' where I know that around here I am seen, often to a fault, as a defender of Gilbride's. In all honesty, at first blush I did not have a big problem with KG's second-half play calls. I checked around a little and from what I can find out Florio is really imagining his contention that "the team may have no further confidence in Gilbride."

Sunday the Giants passed the ball 39 times and ran it 31, not quite the balance the Giants would like. Fact is, the biggest problem is that they did not run the ball well -- totaling just 100 yards for those 31 attempts -- not that they didn't try.

The Giants first four plays of the second half were running plays, and they netted a total of six yards. The last two of those were negative plays, losing yardage.It is obvious to me, at least, that the Giants WANTED desperately to run the ball but COULD NOT do it successfully.You can't just can't jamming it in there when it isn't working and playing "prevent" offense, basically preventing yourself from getting anything done.

With 3:56 left in the third quarter the Giants got the ball leading 24-10, and passed on four of five plays. At that point, they are trying to generate points, not play prevent offense -- and the run had been unsuccessful.

When they got the ball with 12:34 left in the final quarter for what turned out to be their final scoring drive, they ran the ball on five of seven plays. With 5:28 left and still leading by a touchdown the Giants took possession and again had a seven-play drive, with five runs.

I would argue, overall, that there was really only one instance in the second half where they went to the pass when the run would have been advisable. After taking over with 14:37 to go in the fourth quarter Eli Manning passed for 36 yards to Kevin Boss, then Ahmad Bradshaw ran for five yards. After two incompletions the Giants punted. This is probably the only spot where the Giants would have been better served to have run the ball, at least on second down.

So, really, I see one circumstance in the second half where you can disagree with going to the air. Really, maybe just one play. Hardly enough to justify saying Gilbride called a bad game. Really, from where I sit, the Giants offensive line did a poor job creating holes that would have allowed the Giants to run the ball and control the clock in the second half.

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