I usually try to not read into things too much, but I must be honest and admit that an alarm bell sounded this week regarding right tackle Ereck Flowers and his preparation for the Jaguars game.
First a little context. In the past, many players have told me that mastering the mental part of the game is more than 50 percent of the battle on game day.
To do that, you have to be sharp in the classroom, demonstrating that you know your assignments inside and out.
You also have to be willing to spend the extra time studying the film of your opponent, as the more you learn about him, the better prepared you can be.
That brings us to this past Monday when Flowers, after sleeping on things following his rocky showing against the Jaguars the day before, came out to speak with the media.
One of his responses that kind of stuck out like a sore thumb was in response to a question concerning his tripping penalty on the first play of the game.
“Yeah, it was a quick pass, so I jumped out there too fast on it,” he said before dropping his bombshell.
“Next time I know what type of player I’m against. He’s not really a speed guy, so next time I won’t jump out so fast.”
Seriously, wouldn’t studying the tape have offered a clue as to what type of player he was facing before he went out there?
If that wasn’t enough to make you go “Hmmm,” then how about this response from offensive coordinator Mike Shula Thursday when asked if he felt like he’s going to have to give Flowers blocking help. (Emphasis added.)
“Everything ties in together. Guys have to win one-on-one’s. You’re going to have times where you’re going to slide. You want to mix your protections up whether you’re keeping your backs and tight ends in or free releasing them, not being predictable. …
“To start with, guys got to know what they’re doing, know where their help is, got to get the ball out on time and then when we have backs or tight ends helping out, chipping on the way out or involved with protection, we got to do a good job with that too.”
I’m really not sure how to take the comments by Flowers and Shula. I’d like to think neither was admitting that there was a lack of preparation, but given what we saw last week, if that was the case, then shame on that player for taking a shortcut.
I wanted to revisit a comment head coach Pat Shurmur made during his Wednesday press conference that left me confused.
The comment was in response to a question about potentially falling to 0-2 because of how detrimental that might be in making the playoffs (which, as the 2007 Giants team will tell you, isn’t necessarily the case).
Shurmur’s response to that question/statement was, “We don’t worry about that. That’s fun for everybody to talk about outside the building.
“We didn’t do enough in the first game to win the game, and we’re working to do what we can to win this next one. Period. End of story. All that stuff is fun for everybody to talk about, but we don’t worry about that.”
Considering that this next game is against a division opponent where the game can ultimately count for an extra half step in the standings if there is a tie, how can you not worry about falling to 0-2 when the next game on your schedule is a division opponent that can put you at that record?
I kind of get where Shurmur was trying to go with his response — he’s said many times he lives in the moment.
But I’m not sure his attempt at separating the next game from the 0-2 record went over quite the way as planned.
Let’s calm down about Sam Darnold for now
I know Ed is going to touch upon this topic at some point, and I don’t want to steal his thunder, but I must weigh in here on the Sam Darnold-Eli Manning debate because I think it’s simply ridiculous that there even is a debate at this juncture.
Seriously, I think we need to temper our enthusiasm about Darnold until he plays in several games and opposing defenses get some quality film on him in the Jets system before we go getting his bust ready for Canton.
That’s not to say Darnold won’t become a very good player, but to sit there and compare him with the more accomplished Manning is just ludicrous at this point.