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Attrition’s a Bitch!

The Giants are a tired team and it’s been showing on the field. In each of the last four games — a span in which they went 1-3 — the Giants ‘D’ has had some major breakdowns, giving up huge plays to the Eagles’ Michael Westbrook; the Cowboys’ Tashard Choice; the Panthers’ DeAngelo Williams; and yesterday, to the Vikings’ Adrian Peterson and Bernard Berrian. And they’ve had trouble making big plays themselves or even scoring in the ‘Red Zone’ — Tom Coughlin’s ‘Green Zone.’

The reason for all of the above … Attrition. This team has adjusted as much as they’re physically able to adjust. They lose Strahan and Osi and plug in Tuck and Kiwanuka — but they lose ‘D’ line depth which causes fatigue and thus the big plays and an inability to pressure the passer. They lose Burress and plug in Special Teamer, Domenick Hixon — but they lose Hixon on punt and kickoff returns and, as a result, generate lousy field position. And, when they take other guys away from Special Teams — to fill in where needed — their punt and kickoff return coverage deteriorates. The opposition seems to start every drive on the 35 while the Giants seem to start on the 25. Let’s face it, attrition has taken it’s toll.

The Giants have gone about as far as they can go — which is a pretty long way — physically. There’s only one thing that can take them back to the Super Bowl now and, maybe even win it — ‘heart.’ It’ll be interesting to see how much they have when they host the Division Round on 1/11/09 and, probably, face the hottest team in the playoffs, the Eagles. But, even with ‘heart’ — and I know they’ve got a ton of it — they may simply be too spent to get it done

But, having said that and, regardless of what happens, the Giant’s season is a success. As the poet John Keats once said, “let me count the ways:”

#1-They proved they weren’t a Super Bowl ‘fluke’ by winning 12 games and losing only 4.

#2-They’re the first Giants Super Bowl team to have a winning season following a Super Bowl appearance.

#3-They’re the first Giant’s Super Bowl team to make the playoffs following their Super Bowl appearance.

#4-They won their Division, home field advantage and a bye in the playoffs.

#5-They produced two 1,000 yard rushers in the same season.

#6-They set a record for the fewest turnovers in a 16 game season — 13.

#7-They’re constructed — from top management, thru the GM, to the coaching and players — to be a perennial playoff team.

#8-The Dallas Cowboys got the crap beat out them 44-6 in a deserved Eagles’ blowout. How’s that a Giants’ success? It isn’t but it thrills the crap out of me, so I included it.

Sure I’d love to see the Giants win another Lombardi trophy … and I’m going to be rooting my ass off for them to do just that … but, if they don’t, in my book, they’re already a success. So, whatever happens next, thank you, NY Giants. Thank you very much.

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