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Giants Roundtable Week 4: Kansas City Chiefs

Welcome to another edition of Giants Roundtable. I’m Jesse Bartolis and I’ll be hosting today. I have here with me, Andrew Ilnicki, Mark Picucci, and Jeremy Fuchs.  We’re hoping that this Roundtable is a jump off point for anything Giants related that you wish to discuss so after you read the best game re-cap and preview on the web, leave us a comment and let the discussions begin.

Let’s be honest, folks, there’s not much table setting for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game, a game that Mike Francesa described as the “easiest win, you’ll see over the next 10 years in football” a game that Buccaneers, young coach Raheem Morris, said They beat us down. 

 

 We were beat by a grown-man team, a team we want to be like one day.  They came in here and took it to us. Out-manned us, out-gunned us. … It wasn’t even close

 

I think that about sums it up.  The game this weekend is another game for the Giants that should be a cake-walk.  The thing you obviously worry about is this game being a trap game, the Giants coming in thinking they have already won and then whamo! they lose a nail bitter because they let the Chiefs hang around too long. Hopefuly with the veteran leadership, the hopeful reaclimation of some players who have missed some time, and the utter pitifulness that is the Chiefs will let this game be an easy win as the Giants steam roll their way towards a 5-0 start and a week 6 matchup in New Orleans.

The Chiefs game would have had some intrigue had the Chiefs kept Amani Toomer, but they didn’t. I asked Andrew about that?

The Chiefs are 28th in passing yards…Amani Toomer couldn’t make this team?  I thought he was over the hill, but yikes!

Amani Toomer is a class act, and he does hot yoga so you know he can be relied on for incredible balance, endurance, core strength, and injury prevention… I would think about bringing him back in for some stability at the WR position. If no one is stepping up for you, you gotta do what you gotta do.

I’m sure the Giants would resign him if they weren’t clearly so deep with young talent at WR.

Like I said that would have been the only story line if the Chiefs had kept Amani Toomer but they didnt’ so in a week of intrigue with games like Packers vs. Vikints, Saints offense vs Jets defense, and others the Giants vs the Chiefs doesn’t have that same hype or excitement.

Let’s recap the Buccaneers game.

I asked everyone.

Intial Reaction: One Statement.
  A dominating performance by the defense. I don’t think I’ve seen that sort of dominating defensive performance in a long time. And they’re not even healthy! I can’t wait until they are

Total defensive domination with quality offense.

i was trying to get away from the word dominance, but in this case it really fits best: complete and total domination.

Well it’s agreed then. Domination is the word.  Who were the most impressive players in the game, I asked the tabler to hand out their game balls.

Game Ball Goes To…?

 Bill Sheridan and his defense. A shutout of any team, especially when you’re playing your third and fourth stringers is impressive. That’s the kind of effort we as Giants fans knew they were capable of displaying, we had a feeling they could go in to Tampa with and man-handle them from start to finish, and they totally did. Any whiff of a trap game vanished within the first series.

The entire defense.  86 yards and no first downs until the 3rd quarter, enough said

Defense. All of them. Just an incredibly dominating performance. Part of it has to do with the ineptitude of the Bucs offense. Still, there was no where to go. 86 yards. Incredible. 

All right, to set me apart, I’ll give my game ball to Bradshaw and the run game. It was Bradshaw’s first or second career100 yards game, this after the first weeks where the Giants struggled to run the ball. They was obviously a committment to re-establishing the run, and for at least one week it was veryeffective.

The most interesting thing in the game might not have been the game itself, but the Touchdown celeberation employed by Brandon Jacobs, which in case you missed it looked like this.

Jacobs TD celeberation

Jacobs Touchdown Dance was…?
  Oddly amusing. As soon as that happened, a friend texted me and said, “What the hell was that?”. To answer his question, I have no idea. I do want to applaud him for the creativity. 

Stupid

…not as good as throwing the football like a missile into the shot clock. C’mon, he looked rusty celebrating a touchdown lets be honest. That was his first touchdown in 3 games which is quite a dry spell for a guy we consider to be the team’s fire starter…. glad he finally remembered how to light it up I guess but his numbers are concerning me this year so far. I never put much stock into the value of stats all on their own, and fantasy stats are meaningless when you think about what success in the NFL is all about — winning games. So the Giants are 3-0 thus far and have won a couple of tough divisional games, but let it be said that Brandon Jacobs seems to have lost a bit of the edge that we remember from seasons past. I wonder if the coaches sat him down and explained that they needed him for the long haul, so stop trying to run harder and start running smarter. I can’t put my finger on it, but he’s not the same guy out there that I remember leaving it all out there on the field.

To me it’s one of those situations where you’re trying to decide if you’re laughing with someone or at someone. I think I was laughing at Brandon Jacobs. I have no idea what that was.  I’ve seen some good touchdown celeberations in my life, I’m not sure if that tops the list. Funny though.

While the Giants dominated on both sides of the ball in Tampa Bay there were some intriguing happenings during the game, which I’ll get to now.

My first immediation question to ask around was about Kenny Phillips replacement C.C. Brown who is known for his bruising hitting, but inadequate coverage. I turned to Fuchs.

Everyone was worried about Phillips injury. How do you think C.C. Brown played in his first “starring” role with the Giants?
 He wasn’t noticed, which is a good thing. Granted, the Bucs didn’t really have any time to pass the ball. Brown is a very good run defender, but a below average pass defender. I was surprised that the Bucs didn’t try to exploit that. That said, he did a nice job. He’s an adequate replacement. I would like to see more of Aaron Rouse.

I think Fuchs is right. The best way to describe C.C. Brown in pass coverage was that he wasn’t noticed, much like Corey Webster or Nnamdi Asomugha. Sometimes you forget their around because they’re doing what they’re suppose to so you don’t notice them.  Let’s hope C.C. continues to play that well. And hopefully he can maintain that success in a more difficult longer game. 

The next thing people want to talk about is Lawrence Tynes and his missed chipped shot. I’ve seen it around that, many, many Giants fans are clamoring for a new kicker or to bring back John Carney.

Everyone loves to hate on Tynes (and will with his second short missed field goal). People will forget to notice that out of 5 kickoffs, though 3 were in the end zone and one was for a touchback. Comments?
 I have been impressed by the kickoffs but I feel that Tynes will cost us at least one game with these short misses.  Tynes has missed two short field goals in three games and that is not good.  If he doesn’t steady the ship don’t be surprised to see another kicker brought in to light a fire under Tynes. 

Let me be the first to tell you that I feel O.K. with Lawrence Tynes. In 2007 Tynes missed some field goals, but overall he hit 85.6 percent of field goals which was pretty good. In fact it was better than a lot of more well known “accurate” kickers. Like David Akers, Ryan Lindell, Ryan Longwell, Adam Vinaterria, Mason Crosby, Nick Folk, Orlindo Mare, Sabastian Janakowski, Mike Nugent, Josh Brown, Matt Stover, Jason Hanson and others.

In 2007 he also had more Kick offs for touchbacks (despite kicking in Giants stadium) than 15 Everday kickers in the N.F.L.

Point is: If you think Lawrence Tynes is a bad kicker. Your’e wrong. He’s no worse than average and in fact he was better than David Akers in 2007 or AdamVinaterri. He’s not the best Kicker int he world and the short misses are maddening, but he’s at worst, average.

Other than establishing and stopping the run the other main focus of the week had to be red zone effeciency on offense.

Red Zone we were 3/5 this week. What’s the difference? Play Calling or playing Tampa Bay?
 

 

 

 

 

Great question – both tangibles and intangibles need to be discussed here. Obviously the play calling on the first drive was back to basics for the Giants, and it was capitalized with a run up the gut to Brandon Jacobs for a score. Great play call, great execution… and it got the Giants off to a fantastic start with all the renewed confidence in the world – that absolutely needed to happen. Now when you consider the fact that Tampa Bay was supposed to have overly-aggressive Linebackers that can clamp down on the run — in that goal line situation the Giants line completely out-played the defense and Jacobs streaked into the end zone untouched. Impressive all around performance by the Giants, you can’t take away any credit or blame deficiencies on the Bucs there.
On the Steve Smith curl route — I’ve said it before and I’l say it again, short passes work wonders. Steve Smith is cementing himself as the most dependable receiver you will find in the NFL – its not always about numbers it’s about how Eli Manning has complete faith that Smith will run his route flawlessly and execute the play perfectly. I love the play call because it’s a radically different concept from about the same yard line as the Jacobs run, and they executed it perfectly for what looked like an easy score. To me there was not a whole lot the Bucs could do to defend the play — you line up 3 wide to the right to screen out any defender looking to interrupt that pass, essentially the ball was in the air immediately after the snap, the ball was in Steve Smith’s hands so fast that if you hesitated for a tenth of a second the play was over. These quick passes are very hard to stop, and the Giants had a great call there to mix things up and perfect execution there to go 2/2 around the goal line.
The Sinorice Moss touchdown catch was completely between Manning and Moss… there was no real route, there was no real strategy — it’s beat your man to this point and the ball with be there. If the ball isn’t exactly at that spot where only a leaping Moss can grab it, there is no chance for a play. There was no fake handoff, there was no extra protection — it was pure passing and receiving excellence at work for what some say was Eli Manning’s finest example of a touchdown pass. Moss obviously wants to make the most of his opportunities – and thus far he’s doing a fantastic job. You have to love having 7 young and hungry receivers at your disposal… make something happen for us if you want your job – now lets see it!
Is there anything I could possibly add to that? No, there is not. But I can turn to another favorite topic of mine, the poor play of Sinorice Moss. I asked Fuchs:

 

 

 

Last week you and I talked Sinorice Moss.  Still feel the same way?
 Yeah. He had the TD catch, but that was it, and honestly, I didn’t see him do anything the rest of the game. You know he has speed. And he showed that on the touchdown play. I just don’t think that he’s done enough to warrant a roster spot. When Hakeem Nicks and Domenik Hixon come back, you’ll barely see him.
Here’s my problem with Moss. When Nicks and Hixon return Moss won’t play much becuase he’ll be behind the depth chart of Smith, Manningham, Hixon, Nicks, Hagan, and if Barden improves maybe even Barden. And this much is for certain Sinorice Moss SUCKS on Special teams.  You’d hope with his athleticism he could do something in the return game, and he can’t.  Moss is productive when he plays, but I question whether he’d be productive if he played a lot.  He’s like a spurt off the bench in basketball. Come in hit two threes run around go back to the bench.
 
 

 

Speaking of Manningham, who seems to be what the Giants were looking for in Moss, a good route runner who is elusive before and after the catch…I asked Mark.

Manningham is still currently #2 in receiving yards in the N.F.C. behind #1 NYG Steve Smith (8th overall…those A.F.C. Teams must love to pass).  Does Coughlin move Hixon to third on the depth chart when he returns and let Hixon do both punt and kickoff returns?

Yes, that’s what I think should be done.  Mannigham and Smith are clicking right now and why break up a good thing.  I am not saying that Hixon shouldn’t get his reps at wideout, but Moss is terrible at returning kicks. The return team needs a boost and Hixon is just the one to provide it.

God I hope so. I was higher on Hixon as a receiver than most people, but Manningham has been very productive hopefully he lets him play and moves Hixon to #3 WR and full time return duties on both punts and kickoffs that would just add another element to the Giants game.

There were two players that I was intersted to see during the past game play.  Travis Beckum (had been playing, but caught two passes, and Gartrell Johnson) I asked Andrew his thoughts.

Hey Travis Beckum Sighting. 2 catches 8 yards. Notice anything?

Well to be honest nothing blew my hair back but I’m glad to see these guys get their opportunities. Tom Coughlin seemed to indicate the he was happy with his production, so if coach is happy I guess I am too. But the TE situation for most I think comes down to the involvement of Kevin Boss — specifically getting him more looks especially in the red zone. But for Beckum’s progress and trying out the Giants weapons, the more the merrier I guess.

 

Gartrell Johnson got some carries in garbage time. Does he looke like he could be useful moving forward or is he gone when Ware returns?
19 yards (nullified) on his first carry from scrimmage — yeah he looked good. I think keeping 3 backs around sounds a lot better than 4, and Ware has seniority so I think the job goes back to Ware. But I wish Johnson was around instead of Allen Patrick this preseason, he really leaves me with a better impression of the Giants depth at that position. One other issue might be, how many Johnson’s can one Giants team have? Is Gartrell one too many?

I don’t love Danny Ware. I think he’s all right though. I loved Andre Brown, it’ll be intersting to see what the Giants do here, they have a tough decision. If they like Gartrell Johnson they will probably have to keep him on their active roster (by that I mean keep 4 RB’s), I imagine some team, maybe even San Diego would claim  him back and to do that they’ll probably have to say good bye to the Gerris Wilkinson project. Boley doesnt’ leave the field, Blackburn’s his first backup and Kehl and Wilkinson are on par so we’ll see what happens in the coming weeks.

With most of the issues about the game wrapped I turned to some hypothetical situations to ask the panel.

The first was to Fuchs:

You get one RB right now to use for the game the whole game, Jacobs or Bradshaw who’s your choice?
Wow. That’s a tough question. I’d say Jacobs, but it’s really close. The only reason I say Jacobs is because he’s going to wear down the defense. I think Bradshaw’s great because he’s fresh against a tired defense. That’s why he doesn’t start the games. However, Jacobs alone won’t get the job done. Combined with Bradshaw, they are tremendous. Hopefully, the Giants won’t be forced to make that decision.

The reason I asked that one is becuase there are questions abound, and we’ve asked it here, whether or not Jacobs is running with the same authority he has in the past.  I’m not sure. We’ll give him a few more games to see if he’s altered what he was doing in an effort to stay healthy for the whole season.

The other Hypothetical I proposed to Mark. I asked him…

Moving forward you get to have Dwayne Bowe or NYG Steve Smith as a G.M. Who’s your choice?
 No question about it, Steve Smith.  There have been whispers about Bowe’s charecter issues and he was already in Todd Haley’s dog house this year.  Smith has been “Mr. Consistent” from day one.  He has contributed as a rookie and gets better each game.  If he continues this great play, the Steve Smith in Carolina, will start being refered to as the other Steve Smith 

Let’s hope Smith gest to a point where people know his name more than Carolina Steve Smith, that guy is great. Attitude isn’t. Speed and production is.

Perhaps the most well known player on Kansas City right now is Matt cassell.

I thought the worst signing in the league this past off-season was the signing of Matt Cassel.  What are your thoughts on Cassell?
I think Cassel is a product of the Patriots. He got to throw to Randy Moss and Wes Welker, and got protection from a great offensive line. I thought KC vastly overpaid for him. I’ve always thought that if you get drafted low, there’s a good reason. Occasionally, there’s exceptions to that rule. But, I believe there’s a reason Cassel got drafted where he did, and a reason he didn’t even play in college. 

I think he’s average at best. What a terrible signing that could turn out to be.  The other well known Chief is Larry Johnson (again attitude problems, good production…until this year)

Larry Johnson is averaging 2.5 yards per carry is that Johnson being done or the Chiefs not being able to help him?

The running game starts with the integrity of the offensive line… just ask Derrick Ward (ouch).  So if they can’t give you opportunities, it’s all on you. Obviously the numbers aren’t there, so it’s most likely a confluence of problems including sub par blocking and a step lost at the tail back position.
There was an interesting, self-serving, note I wanted to make on the offensive line.
 

 

Branden Albert, last year’s first round pick, played football in high school in Rochester (the same school my wife’s best friend attended) and is the second highest drafted player ever out of Rochester.  Any impressions?He’s an impressive player. I like him a lot. I think he’s only going to improve. If he wasn’t playing in KC, more people would know about him. 

Very, very athletic big man. I wish him all the luck on days that he doesn’t play the New York Giants.

The other question to ask Fuchs about the Chiefs offensive line is whether or not they will stop the Giants.

No sacks in this game either. Are we worried yet?
  
  No, because the pressure was there. They were forcing Leftwich to make awful decisions. You don’t need sacks to be successful. You need pressure. And the Giants have that.

Agreed, I think Michael Boley also missed a sure-would-be sack in the game so it’s not a big deal to me. The game the JEts beat the Pats they had zero sacks as well. hitting the QB matters, the sacks are nice becuase it’s a field position changer, but sack or hit has the same affect on the QB.

While we’re on the subjects of sacks I turned to Mark.

The Cheifs have 3 sacks, stastically they are as dangerous getting at the pass rusher as the Giants are…any worries?
  
Sometime the stats don’t tell the whole story.  Just because the Chiefs have 3 sacks that doesn’t mean their defense is the same caliber as the Giants.  Here are some other defensive comparisions.  Giants total yards per game 3rd at 245.3 to Chiefs 21st at 362.5.  Giants passing yards 1st at 124.0 to Chiefs 20th at 243.0.  Giants 4th giving up 16 points per game to the Chiefs 27th at 28.3 points per game.  Giants 5th with 5 interceptions to the Chiefs 24th with 1 interception.  Basically what I am trying to say is give me the Giants defense and NO I am not worried.

Former Patriot, Mike Vrabel has proven over his career he can get to the QB, but other than him they lack serious defensive prowress. I’m a stat man and was looking for a way to sum up the Chiefs, and I found this.

The Highest Staistical ranking the Chiefs have on either side of the ball is 18th (on defense vs the rush).  Are they the worst team in the league?

Well, In all honesty I want to say that the Washington Redskins are the worst team in the league, even though they aren’t. I guess you’re right – the Chiefs probably are the worst.

The last personal question goes to Mark

Who’s the X-Factor in this game?
The New York Giants and what I mean by that is I hope the Giants don’t view this game as an automatic win.  The Chiefs might not be that good of a team but it is the NFL and anything can happen.  I don’t want to see another game like the Cleveland game last year.  Hopefully they have a good week of practice, stay focused and continue this winning streak.

Tough call for certain. I think we can all agree on this, the Chiefs should NOT be in this game. They are awful, but this is a “trap” game like others can be. First the Giants will be traveling for the third week in the row and playing in a different time zone.

Second they may still be missing some key players, and thirdly this is the N.F.L. where “any given Sunday”. I can’t imagien the Giants losing this game, the Cheifs are not only a bad team, theya re also lacking serious explosive talent on both sides of the ball at key positions. The next week’s game vs the Raiders is more challenging becuase the Raiders have HUGE upside, their QB is just awful.

Final Prediction, mates?

The Chiefs are not a good team. The Giants are. This will be a blowout. Final score: Giants 35, Chiefs 7.

The Giants dominate the Chiefs.  This one isn’t even close.  Giants 30 Chiefs 10

31 – 10 Giants

 
 
 

 


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