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Giants Roundtable. Redskins Preview, Preseason Review.



Welcome to! I hope you stick with us through the season. We had an idea here at we’ll call “roundtable” to incorporate many of our writers to get out a game preview and reaction to the game. It takes a lot of coordinaton and work so we want to know how you feel about the whole idea.

Leave us a comment and let us know if you think this is something we should continue.

Today, I Jesse Bartolis, will be the host of the Roundtable and we have Jermey Fuchs, Andrew Ilnicki, and Mark Picucci.

After Plaxico Burress shot himself and had to miss the rest of the season the focus of the team became what would they do at Wide Reciever. This continued through the off-season has Giants fans went on a roller coaster of rumors as word traveled the Giants were interested in every Wide Receiver in the N.F.L. (Braylon Edwards, Anquan Boldin, Marvin Harrison, Brandon Marshall, T.J. WhosYourMomms….maybe a bit of hyperbole). The Giants settled on two draft picks, Hakeem Nicks and Ramses Barden and decided to rely on the continuing development of Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, and Mario Manningham (some would argue Sinorice Moss as well, I will not).

What was sometimes lost was that the Giants went 12-4 last season and if you believe they could have beat the Minnesota Vikings had they played all their starters they went 5-2 without Plaxico Last season (Beat the Seahawks, Arizona Cardinals, Redskins, Panthers, and “Minnesota”). So perhaps the loss of Plaxico Burress is exaggerated.

The team should be fine.

The Giants did have a foray in the free agent market as well. I turned to Mark for his thoughts on that…

As everyone knows the Washington Redskins signed Albert Haynesworth this off-season. What is not as commonly known is that the Giants were reported to have the second highest offer, at 80 million to land Haynesworth. Would you have preferred to land Haynesworth or are you glad we got three players with that money in Canty, Bernard, and Michael Boley?

I believe I wrote a post about this earlier this year. Haynesworth is a great player but he is a loose cannon. I am definitely glad the Giants signed the three instead of one. I feel Canty can be a huge addition to the Giants defense and hopefully those plasma treatments work. The Giants really needed to add a new face at linebacker and Boley has played well in Atlanta. I feel that when he is healthy that he will make a huge impact for the linebacking corp. The addition to Bernard will also add depth to the defensive line that broke down at the end of last year. With Robbins and Coffield being injured the addition of Bernard was almost necessary.

I couldn’t agree more. I would also add that Albert Haynesworth is fantastic, BUT he does not seem like a player who would mesh with Tom Coughlin at all. I just don’t think Haynesworth is a “Coughlin” kind of guy. I also am a little worried that Haynesworth will slip back into his Semi productive state now that he has a massive contract. He struggled early in his career with consistency, the question that arises was that from being young or not giving his all? The Giants are blue-collar, let’s get down and dirty and get to work. Hayensworth doesn’t fit that. I think Canty does. The Giants also have to find a way to keep Brian Westbrook and Felix Jones covered out of the backfield that why Boley is important. He’s an excellent coverage linebacker and people fail to think about the potential he has coming off the edge, I think he could be a successful blitzer.

But still people wonder what will happen with the Giants, I turned to Andrew and asked him…

What did we learn from pre-season about the Giants?

We learned that the Giants took a good hard look at themselves, have seen where they were once weak and have since reinforced their positions, cut ties with those that would not bring the team to a larger point of improvement, and now they are in a greater position of strength in terms of having offensive and defensive playmakers. Firstly, we learned that the Giants have a very capable backup QB in David Carr, which the more you hear about the backup situations around the league, it’s quite a luxurious position to be in. Here you have a guy who clearly knows the offense and what it can do — Carr can step in and make things happen, create big plays, and put points up on the board. Frankly I think the Giants are in an enviable position due to the depth at the QB position just as much as the depth at Defensive Line.

Over to defense, we’ve learned that the first team D has just as much drive stopping ability as they’ve had in the last few seasons — and the notion that there are ample guys to rotate in throughout the front 4 slots is encouraging. That was the main objective, reinforce the pass rushers… which they’ve done. The loss of Jay Alford is unfortunate, but between Tuck, Kiwi, Osi, and now Canty looks like he’s going to be ready to go — you’ve got a dominating force up front.

Offensively, we’ve learned that Kevin Gilbride is getting more creative in his play calling. Brandon Jacobs finishing his route into the end zone and CATCHING a ball for a score is proof of that. We’ve learned that the Giants have some young, hungry receivers that will be able to move the ball down the field, make big plays — spread the field out and create a lot of problems for the opposition. Obviously, Hakeem Nicks’ performance cannot be overstated. Between the camp reports about his playmaking abilities and to see that translate onto the field under the lights on several occasions is encouraging. Nicks leading the NFL in receptions for a rookie who only had meaningful time in 2 of 4 games… it’s incredible. Then you look at Coughlin keeping all 7 receivers on the roster, it’s going to be exciting to watch these rookies prove themselves over the course of the year, competing with each other for playing time.

Very good points, Andrew. The two things I’ll say about pre-season are that Hakeem Nicks lead ALL receivers in the pre-season in yardage. Doesn’t mean anything, but interesting.

Also, like Andrew said, Gasp! Brandon Jacobs actually caught the ball during the pre-season if that continued into the season that’d be a huge relief! That’s one of the very few pieces of his game missing (not an exceptional blocker either, but serviceable and much improved). Let’s hope that was not a fluke.

Along the same token I relied on Fuchs to let me know what he thought of the final 53 man roster.

“Overall I’m pretty happy with it. I do question the move to keep only three safeties. Other than that, and I’ve said this before, the roster is excellent at Quarterback, Running back, offensive and defensive lines, and solid everywhere else. This is a team, I believe, can go far providing there are no injuries.”

Thank you, Fuchs. I’d add that I was shocked that they kept so many wide receivers (Sinorice Moss included) and Gerris Wilkinson. Although I think Wilkinson could very well be gone when Boley comes back that or Moss or Hagan. I think Hagan has to prove he can be valuable on special teams. Not surprisingly, but somewhat in a sad tone, David Tyree: Superbowl Hero, was cut due to injuries and ineffectiveness. I’ve suggested for awhile that Terrel Thomas should start opposite Kenny Philips at safety, so I’m not as worried as Fuchs because I think the Giants have a built in ‘safety’ valve (I love puns, pun intended) if they need it. Terrell Thomas played for two years at Safety with USC, I believe.

Now that I had Fuchs thoughts on the 53 man roster I wondered outloud to Andrew:

Who will be the surprise player this year for the Giants?

Eli Manning I think will cement himself as the leader of this team, and I believe his best years are now upon us. He’s shown tremendous improvement in touch, vision, and I see a certain element of tenacity – he wants to prove every one of his critics wrong this season and remove the weight of last season’s bitter end from his shoulders. Manning has reported to have been working on his game all offseason, “working on the long ball”, getting together with Mario Manningham to study the offense, you know — the opposite of going to Cabo to prepare for your games. The guy is a class act from top to bottom, and I think this is the year he exceeds even his most ardent fan’s expectations with the help of a slightly more dynamic and well-rounded offense.

And Mark said,

Here is kind of a surprise, I would say Terrell Thomas. If Aaron Ross can’t stay healthy, Thomas might see time at starting corner back. He had a great camp and looked impressive. With the Giants only carrying three safeties right now and Thomas having lots of size he might just have to fill in at safety if injuries set in this year. He could be a very versatile important cog to the Giants defense this season.

Now, I personally would not consider that a Surprise player for the New York Giants because to me, Eli Manning has already solidified himself as a franchise Quarterback. I am an Eli Manning apologist which some of you have realized already reading my writings. Eli’s numbers would be much better in another division and a different stadium. Keep in mind that outside the division last year Eli Manning had a 95.3 QB rating with 14 touchdowns and 4 interceptions. But enough about Eli, if I had to choose a “surprise” player I think it will be Kenny Phillips who I think is going to be out standing, pro-bowl caliber player this season. If that is too easy of an answer (that is seen around a lot) I’ll say Domenik Hixon, I think people will be surprised that Hixon is a serviceable number 1 WR.

Now with the pre-season stuff out of the way let’s turn to the game. I asked Fuchs

Is it just me or do we start off with a big time opponent every year, either the NFC East or Peyton Manning’s Colts a few years ago?

It does seem that way. But the Giants are a popular team in a big market, and the networks aren’t going to miss out on those ratings.

Interesting, he could be right. It makes it difficult to get off to a good start, but at least the Giants get a break when the play Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and Oakland within the first five weeks.

The Giants have had a lot of recent success against the Redskins, last season the Redskins scored 14 Total points against the G-men defense. I searched for the answer to that, I asked Andrew:

Why have the Giants had so much recent success vs the Redskins? Do you think that will continue?

I think their success will continue because the Giants will be able to advance the ball in more ways then the Redskins can defend. In last year’s opening game, Plaxico Burress was unstoppable. Brandon Jacobs was unstoppable. And the defensive line was amazingly effective in not allowing Jason Campbell to get into a rhythm which is apparently the key ingredient to Jim Zorn’s ‘West Coast Offense’…. because the Redskins STILL cannot put any points on the board. Even while the Skins’ first team played against scrubs, it was obvious they couldn’t get anything done. What was abundantly clear this preseason is that the Redskins are entering into a make or break year for Campbell and Zorn without any kind of cohesion… and I live in the Redskins market so I can tell you first hand that even die hard fans have become apathetic. How can they not be frustrated to the point of exhaustion with their team? I used to say the Giants and Redskins were comparable, the Giants rose above their problem areas and found a way to win. The Redskins meanwhile have continued their downward spiral. So between the stale, mangled, confused mess that is the Redskins – and the Giants fortification of their weaknesses, I don’t see how the Redskins can possibly expect to have a shot at competing with the Giants this year. Was that too harsh?

It may be. Something that is insightful in Andrew’s response is that the Giants and Redskins “mirror” each other. I think this is particularly true in some aspects, specifically the Receiver corps.

Fuchs, all the talk about no “WR” has focused around the Giants, but the Redskins have no proven number 2 WR. Will that hurt them during the season?
Yes. After Santana Moss, there are a bunch of unproven players. Will Devin Thomas or Malcolm Kelly live up to their potential? Is Antwaan Randel El really a reliable and dependable receiver? A lot of questions, and if they want Campbell to take the next step, Thomas and/or Kelly will have to step up.

For your fantasy team information, Matt Mosley reports that Malcome Kelly is the definitive number two WR starter as of the start of the sesaon. I think the Redskins have tried to solve this problem through the draft (they’ve actually kept picks the past few years) with the drafting of TE Fred Davis and WR’s Malcom Kelly and Devin Thomas. We’ll see how it goes, I have the utmost faith in Thomas (our DB Thomas) being able to hang with Malcom Kelly this weekend.
The more talked about issue for the Redskins is whether or not incumbent starter Jason Campbell is the answer. The Redskins don’t think so, why else would they try to get Cutler And Mark Sanchez, and rookie QB usually spells rebuilding. I asked Jeremy his opinion of Jason Campbell.

Is Jason Campbell the answer for the Redskins? And how much dirt is he going to eat on Sunday?
I was a fan of Campbell’s coming out of Auburn, but he hasn’t progressed the way a lot of people thought. He’s taken strides in the right direction, but remember, it was Todd Collins who led them to the playoffs a couple years back. This a big year–similar to the way that 2007 was a big year for Eli Manning. Will he answer to it? I’m not sure. And that has to have Redskins fans worried. Like all games this year, the Giants will be attacking. The Skins line is pretty good, but I think that Campbell will have to get pretty comfortable on the ground. He’ll be spending a lot of time there.
Agreed, Jason Campbell did very well protecting the ball early last season, but what the team did not do well as a whole (Campbell included) is put the ball in the end zone a lot. In the division they play in the Redskins have to find more ways to get in the End-Zone. Is Campbell the answer in Washington?
I’m not sure. I think he’s the worst QB in the division, but I don’t think he’s that bad. I think he would be an upgrade at starter in at least 5 or 10 teams in the league.
A question of high intrigue for fans of both teams is
Who Makes the bigger impact this game 1st round pick Brian Orakpo or 1st round pick Hakeem nicks?
Mark says,
“Who makes the bigger impact in this game: Brian Orakpo, or Hakeem Nicks?

Hakeem Nicks led the nfl in receiving during the NFL Preseason and looks to be coming on strong during the last two weeks of camp. Hopefully his hamstring is fully recovered and he gives Manning a sure handed target this season. I see Nicks moving into a starting role sooner then later. So I guess my answer is Hakeem Nicks.

Mark I hope so, but I’ll respectfully disagree. Brian Orakpo will play more I think, unless Tom Coughlin has a sudden change in philosophy (who was the more talented player last year, Kenny Phillips or James Butler?) .
I think Nicks sees sparing playing time unless he needs to, hopefully he’ll get into enough sets and make a few catches, but I could see Orakpo having a sack in this game. I’ll take Orakpo for this game, Nicks for the season.
Lastly, the biggest question to ponder is: Who Wins this weekend?
Andrew, take it away.
What’s your prediction for the score of the Redskins/Giants game?

I predict a ton of offense from both teams because both are going to try and make a statement about their weapons this year. A common theme that has been going around both camps’ blogosphere is that they have been “saving their playbook” for this game… so I do expect some fresh items on display. I believe the Giants will stop the run effectively, leaving it up to Campbell’s arm and Zorn’s creativity yet again… a recipe with very limited success. I think the Giants by contrast are going to do what they do: run the ball well, pass efficiently and effectively particularly early on, and they may let the Skins back in the door towards the end of the game but getting pressure on Campbell for the bulk of the game they stifled any attempt at momentum.

Final score: 24-10 Giants

This is not a good game for the Giants. Opening day. Redskins will be fired up. The Redskins have a very, very good defense, one that was made only better by the acquisition of Albert Haynesworth. That part of the team is very good, and could provide the Giants with a lot of problems. The question I have is with the offense. Can Clinton Portis stay healthy? And if he does, will he be able to penetrate though a tough Giants run defense? I think Portis is the key. If the Giants can stop him, it’s their game to lose, because Campbell is not someone who instills fear in opposing defenses. I also think the matchup of Brandon Jacobs and Haynesworth will be interesting. Big Albert hasn’t really faced someone like that. If Jacobs can wear down Haynesworth and the D-line, look for a huge day from Ahmad Bradshaw. I think this will be a very close game. But, final score: Giants 14, Redskins 10.

And lastly, but not least, Mark.
The Giants start the year off on the right foot with lots of Jacobs and Bradshaw with a little Manning and company sprinkled in. They hold the Redskins offense in check and give Campbell a hard time all day. Final score 20-7 Giants.
As for me, I’ll take the Giants as well. The Giants excel at not turning the ball over, last year the Redskins “excelled” at not taking the ball away (VERY few turnovers for a good defense) or making big plays on defense (sacks, tackles for loss etc).
The Giants just seem to match up well with the ‘Skins and frankly as of right now are the better team, although division rivalry games are never easy I’ll take the Giants 47-6.
I’m playing 21-10.
Hope you enjoyed leave your comments. Is this worth doing again?
Have a nice day, everyone.

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12 Responses to “Giants Roundtable. Redskins Preview, Preseason Review.”

  1. […] Continued here: Giants Roundtable […]

  2. […] Read the rest here: Gi­an­ts Ro­u­n­d­tab­le […]

  3. andrew ilnicki says:

    i thought this was a nice way to do things…. thanks for organizing it Jesse.

    My reasoning for Eli is this — I listen to a ton of non-NY sports talk radio and I’ve come to the realization that no matter what Eli Manning does, the negatives always outweigh the positives in terms of how his performance is evaluated.

    I think Eli will benefit from more options on offense this year, I think his numbers will be even better and he will surprise critics and fans alike when he takes it up another notch. Cant wait!

    • Jason C. says:

      I think it’s funny how much flack Eli gets, sure he doesn’t put up huge numbers, but IMO, he improves every year, as he learns more and more about how to play in the NFL, I still say Big Ben hasn’t, as evidenced by today’s game, he doesn’t know when to get rid of the ball, and throws too many ducks up, Eli has cut most of that out of his game, and he displays more confidence now than he ever has, I’m looking forward to what he has in store this year.

      • andrew ilnicki says:

        ben looked like jekyll and hide out there the other night. I dont know how ben is held up as a superstar, i really dont.

        he threw some nice passes, and threw some dumb ones…. just like any other guy might.

        one other thing was, i didnt think Pitt looked all that good. they looked good for 1 minute before the half, thats it. they couldnt run the ball and ben really had to work for everything he got…. defensively they always looked good of course.

        i dont think they are heads and tails above anybody though, especially the gmen.

  4. […] Read the original:  Giants Roundtable […]

  5. […] Read more here:  Giants Roundtable […]

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  7. andrew ilnicki says:

    case and point — from the ny daily news this morning:

    Yes, Manning has led the Giants to the playoffs for four straight years, but take away the Super Bowl run, and in postseason play he’s completed only 55.4% of his passes (41 for 74) for 443 yards, two touchdowns and six interceptions while losing all three games.

    Of course, it would be unfair to take away that Super Bowl run, so the debate rages on:

    Which Eli is he? The good Eli or the bad? The clutch player or the playoff choker? Which one will show up in 2009?

    …. and here ….

    Manning set a career-high last season in completion percentage (60.3) and a career-low in interceptions last season, though his passing yards (3,238) and touchdowns (21) were still far below many other quarterbacks in the league.

    article here:

  8. gbill says:

    excellant work i enjoyed it keep up the good work

  9. […] out our GiantsGab Roundtable, with opinions from myself, Mark Piccucci, Jesse Bartolis (and kudos to him for organizing the whole […]

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