Phillips in 2010

Much has been discussed, debated and hypothesized about Phillips since we went out early this past season regarding his condition.

 

Mainstream media has reported and speculated the severity of the injury and the probable impact on his career.  Pete recently discussed this issue this past Wednesday and went on record as stating that “I think that Phillips will play. Every time that Rolle does an interview he talks about “me and Kenny.” He should know whether Phillips will play and his comments are telling.”  Well this past Wednesday night Vacchiano ran this story:  “Phillips insists those fears are completely unfounded. In fact, he told the Daily News earlier Wednesday that his recovery from left knee surgery is on track to have him on the field for the start of training camp in July.”

 

From what has been written and disclosed it appears that the treatment for Phillips was the following:

If there are holes in the articular cartilage called defects, it may be possible to repair the damage. A newer technique called autologous chondrocyte implantation (ACI) has had favorable results.  Normal, healthy cartilage is removed from a nonweight-bearing portion of the knee joint. The cells are taken to a lab where they are used to grow more cells. The cells are then transplanted back into the patient to fill up the hole.”

We can all debate and speculate from the above on whether Phillips will be back to his level of play this season or he cannot be counted on period.  None of us are in the know as most of us don’t possess a medical degree specializing in orthopedic medicine nor have we been fully involved in the examination of his case.  What we can go by is what the patient and his teammate have communicated.

 

In preseason alarm bells were rung on this blog about the lack of depth at safety as the #1 concern going into the regular season not the wide receiver unit.  Please search archive at your will to confirm, but I will go on record to in stating that they don’t need to go high in the draft for a DB as what they have will suffice.  A roster that includes Ross, Rolle, Phillips, Johnson, Webster and Thomas is plenty.  Although another safety in rounds 4 or 5 would be nice. Let’s fix the middle of the front of this defense with an MLB and a nose tackle.

 

NFL’s Black Monday

Before the axe fell on Sheridan the original #58 weighs in on the aftermath of yet another ‘embarrassment’ and what was a disastrous season.

Same basic themes were brought up by Carl regarding the fact that he would have “love(ed) to have seen guys that can compete” as the game played out there was “no fight in (Giants) to really compete.”

John Mara spoke harshly about his current team and a question was posed on how he would react if Coughlin did not make changes to the coaching staff he responded by stating that “the status quo, after what we just went through, is just not acceptable (and) we need to do something.”  It does seem rather interesting that about 2 hours later Coughlin abruptly disposes of Sheridan after Banks earlier believed that the team will not “move that quick” to fire Sheridan.  In general Carl believes that “there’s going to be a lot of evaluation going on” as they will in particular “evaluate the coaching methods.”  Specifically as it relates to the coaching methods Carl asks “why weren’t the guys responding” to the “coaching, coaching methods, or the coach itself?” 

We all know that as Banks points out that “leadership is lacking” but yesterday’s comments from Tuck and Smith are very alarming.  Per Smith, “We just weren’t motivated.” Some games it seemed like we had great weeks of practice, but we didn’t show it on game day.”  Well Tuck felt he would have been more of a leader but as he stated:

“the thing about me is it’s tough for me to say something to a guy or, I guess, lead a guy when I see something going on, when I can’t lead by example.  Because of the injuries this year, I didn’t feel like I had a right to say some of the things I wanted to say because I couldn’t practice 100 percent, I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do to lead this team by example. For me personally, it’s tough for me to kind of jump on some other guy for what he’s doing when I’m not able to do it myself.”

In general, however, Tuck laments that “sometimes we try to be too nice and not say anything that might ruffle a feather here or there. Obviously we need to evaluate that and I guess be more hands-on approach with it.”  What is now was not the case in recent years past as Tuck believes that “this team has been great when we had leadership by committee. The years Strahan was here, obviously he was a focal point of leadership but you still had guys like Antonio (Pierce), (Amani) Toomer and Tiki (Barber), when he was here. Eli is coming into his own as a leader. I think we just have to do a better job as a group of leaders. That is when you start to see changes as far as how the young guys kind of approach certain situations.”  Well the guy who signs his checks was wondering that himself as Mr. Mara stated that “I am disappointed that nobody emerged to act like a leader.  I think a lot of guys have that in them. But for whatever reason, it didn’t come out this year.” 

In response to the notion brought up by Evans and Roberts about the possibility of firing Coughlin Banks bristled by stating that it is “ridiculous to consider firing Tom Coughlin.” Carl states that he “played for some bad coaches and Tom Coughlin doesn’t fall into that category” as his “principles are tried and true and they work.”  Carl also admitted that yes Ray Handley was one of those bad coaches be played for.

Perhaps the talent on defense is really not what we thought as Carl stated that he “stopped counting after 25 missed tackles” on Sundays a** whooping II.   A unit that Carl immediately addresses in evaluation for next year is the linebacker unit as he questioned whether “any of these young players, of which no one has seen a lot of, ready to step up?”  In terms of a measuring stick “there is a formula for that because if you look at the production of the young wide receivers as no one thought that they could step up.  If you believe a guy like Sintim, Kehl and Goff can contribute then you go out and find guys to put around them.  Do you need a stud at middle linebacker?  You probably do.” On the free agent market when they are considering a player to shore up an area of weakness they need to evaluate the “system that they are coming from” and whether they are coming from a “losing culture” or a “history of soft, undisciplined football” because if they are “don’t get ‘em.”  His comment about veteran leadership can be tied into Tuck’s comments above when Banks states there is “something to be said about veteran leadership” as a Sam Madison, Ruben Droughns (or McQuarters) kept guys focused and kept guys playing at a different level.”  Banks debated on whether Pierce may have a role on the team next year as he “can still play but maybe not at the level that he was” but his point was that you need “veteran leadership in the locker room just to keep guys focused and who understand football.”  Bottom line if “you talk to any of the good coaches in this league and you ask them about veteran players that can lead” and they’ll say “it’s very important”

Motown here, It is interesting to hear Banks comments when he defiantly defends Coughlin in contrast to his statements later on a coach who he believes to be one of the elite coaches in the league, Jeff Fisher.  Banks marvels at how Fisher gets “the most out the hand he is dealt.”  He obviously gets the most out of his players after starting 0-5 and finishing 8-2 versus Coughlin’s 3-7. Is this not hypocritical and purely contradictory to protect a man of “principles that are tried and true” as they obviously do not “work” given he is not getting the “the most out the hand he is dealt.”  Then again per Carl “If you give me 5 good players and six guys that can compete on both sides of the ball I can win more than 8 games in this league” and we all know that Carl believes “this is a team not devoid of talent.”  But yet furthermore Carl did reflect upon his experience as an “ex-player” where he “came from an environment that was” centered around “accountability.”  Does this appear to be a team that is held accountable when their last 2 opponents drop a combined 85 points on you and answer with 10?

Well it appears Coughlin is safe for now as Mara stated “there will be no change to the Head Coach or General Manager.”  Yet he did state that “I’m not pleased with anyone right now (and) we are going to have to discuss everything at this point.”   Coughlin will very likely still be roaming the sidelines next year but can we afford this based on all the evidence surmounted up to this point?  Are the General Manager and Head Coach on the same page with personnel given that they have a severe lack of leadership in the locker room?  Isn’t this an area that the head coach should be keenly aware of?

By the way this still leaves us with another coordinator that has been in the background while Sheridan took the limelight.  The Bills have cleaned house and rumors have circulated that Al wants Cable out.  Do we need to dust off Andy’s letter of recommendation for Gilbride?  Who can withstand another year of Gilbrown?  

Finally we have a current player that made a very alarming, for Coughlin and company, but realistic comment when he states that “maybe leadership needs to take another role and talk to guys and maybe see what guys are thinking,” Smith said. “Do some different things, try some different things next season.”

Banks on the state of the NYG

You can always count on Carl Banks to give you an objective and realistic viewpoint on the current state of the Giants.  Even Benigno and Roberts value his high football I.Q. as they queried him about an interest in becoming a defensive coordinator.

Banks is still bewildered as to why Gilbride insists on keeping this offense one-dimensional.  He goes “crazy’ when they go into “the shotgun on 2nd down.”  He “absolutely” believes they have gotten away from the run as you have “a good back you have to make them honor” him and not “self impose a one dimensional” game plan.

Roberts asked the question as perhaps they are going into the shotgun to protect Eli and it appears to have dated since he developed his case of Plantar Fasciitis.  Banks shies away from this hypothesis but this does make sense and if true puts the team at jeopardy in addition to their $107 million dollar QB.

On the players, he keeps coming back to “players not getting it done” and “not holding their end of the bargain.”  Yet there are some players giving “effort” as one player in particular is Tuck who “is giving a lot of effort all over the field.”  From a former player’s perspective he believes perhaps “they’ve gotten fat and lazy” and have “no pride.”  Maybe they need to “stop talking about their destiny.”  However, surprisingly Carl states that “staff- by far a pretty good staff” yet he later adds that the players’ “technique is poor,” a point that is somewhat contradictory.

Roberts posed the question on whether TC needs to go back to “ruling with an iron fist” and Banks counters with the fact that TC needs to impose a higher premium on player performance and accountability.”  Is he insinuating here that he is too soft on them?  Again a player’s poor performance and mistakes is where “you can blame a coach for that” yet the “the accountability is 50-50.”

On Sheridan is where his response to a question gets interesting.   When asked of his opinion about Sheridan his response was “did you know Al Groh got fired?”  He has high praise for Al Groh and believes “any team that gets him” gets a “great teacher.”  Is that a lobbying effort for Groh and change or what?

Banks believes the Giants have to win against Dallas but they are “done until further notice” as far as he can tell right now.  He hit the point made here with his comment:   “does anyone have confidence that they can get things together?”

If the Giants are “done until further notice” the “Eagles are the pick” to win the division.  He feels that the Eagles are “rounding out on defense even though they clearly miss Johnson” but they need to deal with getting “consistency on offense.”    Dallas is a “viable opponent” as their defense has come up “with lots of pressure and blitzing” and they are “running the football” … two things the Giants have apparently recently struggled with i.e. the Mile High fiasco.

Motown here.  It is quite apparent reading between the lines that Banks puts a bit of blame on the coaching staff even though the “accountability is 50-50.”  The “self-imposed one dimensional” game plan, his response to a question on Sheridan’s competency, and where is TC’s “higher premium” on player “accountability” are all examples.  Al Groh would make a great deal of sense if TC survives as both go back to Parcells in the Meadowlands. Frankly Groh would be a much improved addition given he is also a “great teacher,” as apparently the pupils in Sheridan’s class have fallen asleep during class.  Finally, Eli is suffering from a “stress reaction.”  Just wonder what “stress reaction” TC feels right now?

Thank you to the other #58 for all helping bring a Super Bowl to us as he was placed on IR yesterday.  The guy played hard and overachieved as much as we have criticized him lately for his lack of speed.  His studious approach to the game and ability to read tendencies compensated for his limited physical abilities.  He will always be respected.

Where are the impact players?

The original #58 was reluctant to talk about the giants when prodded at the beginning of his regularly scheduled appearance on WFAN.    Again he reiterated the “same concerns” regarding “their best players that aren’t showing up when you need them to”.  

On defense “they ran out of gas” in the 4th quarter.  Carl gives ”Bill (Sheridan) a lot of credit” and “thinks they had the right stuff dialed up.  If you want to look at the positive for this defense and ”want to believe ‘that they are not that far away’ you can point out that “they hit the QB a lot and played decent coverage even though they (Falcons) only have two receivers.” 

The penalties were a sign of a team wholly lacking discipline.  The pass rush was effective through 3 quarters as per Carl. “Here’s a team (the Falcons) that’s gotten to a state in offense that they were afraid to throw the ball down the field, literally.”  At one point in the game Carl points out that the “Falcons were going to settle for dinksand dunks to see if they can get close enough and all of a sudden 1st down after 1st down and penalty after penalty  Atlanta could run an offense because they had a field to work with, thanks to the Giants’ defense.  On a further note regarding Sheridan’s zone blitz packages, as there have been many complaints about it, the “zone blitz package is acceptable” and effective only when “you are getting to the QB” which they were effectiveat through 3 quarters of the game.  Carl made this point 3 weeks ago with the Eagles who blitz constantly as this adds an element of confusion to a QB who has been barraged by defenders. 

But in the end for this team, Banks says two things separate them from more losses than wins:  stop 1) “aiding and abetting a struggling offense with penalties” and 2) “talk about not being able to close out” as the defense played decently throughout the game but then “then they come back and act as though you’venever been in the same game.”  They need to understand ”the situation(s) in a game” and “evolving your thought process as a defense” throughout the game both “as coaches and players.”  “You knew in your game plan all week that Tony Gonzalez and Roddy White are your guys to shutdown and the 2 guys on the field that you got to find are Roddy White and Tony Gonzalez” when the game is on the line.  Furthermore, “this speaks to not only maturity of players, but” to the “preparation and understanding when the coach puts this on the board on Wednesday that you haveto evolve your thought process during the course of the game.”  Another damning condemnation of the safety unit is when Carl points out in the red zone that “if you are a Safety” and you see ”Tony Gonzalez you can’t let him get up the seam- you better get a jump on it in a hurry.”  Likewise “if you are a Cornerback or Linebacker” and see Roddy White on an out route “don’t let this guy catch and kill us.”   Bottom line- “those are the thought processes that great defenses have, that’s what great defenses do and great thinking defensive players do.”

On the offensive line “Howard Cross said it perfectly.. ‘they’ve got to take it personal.’  There is so much penetration in that backfield that the Running Backs don’t have a chance.”   Carl pointed this out on air on Sunday that “you block em’ 1 time and it’s the same guy that’s in front of you the next time and he beats your butt…..you can’t have that, it’s gotta be personal.”  Bottom line this has been an issue with an offensive line since late last year from the home game against the Eagles through now, inconsistent play.  Perhaps, we have been blinded by the hype they received nationally, such as the SI cover annointing them as MVP?

Carl admits he needs to “manage my expectation for Osi right now” as “I think at this point he maybe just be a sub” (ouch!).  A point in reference is how “Canty played a lot of downs which gives them a lot of beef up front” especially “against the run”.  He goes on and calls Osiout and “still think(s) he should be expected to make more than that 1 big play a game” and his “expectations of him” are to “give me 4 big plays in the 4th quarter, step it up!”

The division is within grasp based on the level of play of in the NFC East. But it depends upon whether offensively they “establish the line of scrimmage” and if “you become a one-dimensional team then expect blitz galore from the Eagles” or as Carl stated “they will blitz until your cross-eyed.”  Much like the Cowboys “you have got to make their Defensive Backs tackle.. if not, their pass rush is going to be an issue to.  Right now the Giants “run game is an accessory to the passing game.”

In response to the absence of A.P. and his replacement, you “get what you get withBlackburn- a smart player a player who’s going to be in position 80-85% and he’s going to make the right decision but the rest of it is whether he’s good enough to make plays.”  There is “enough athleticism out there with Boley, who brings it so much.. and Sintim (eventually).”  In the old days “Harry Carson” wasn’t as fleet of foot as myself and LT but what he brought to the game was dominance.”  I am not sure where Blackburn was supposed to fit into his point here.

Motown’s conclusion and wrap up:  Are we nitpickers or have we been concerned about the penalty issues with this TC team since day one?  We can look back to the OLine with “false start” Petitgout to Special Teams that have always appeared to have their fare share of penalties.  TC has prided himself about discipline and sound fundamentals but why do these issues continue to crop up? 

Carl called out Osi and what appears to be the coaching’s staffs diminishing confidence in his ability to handle the run by inserting Canty on obvious running downs.  This humble blog again has called out Osi since the Dallas game about his lack of gap discipline in containing the run.  His point about guys stepping up when it counts makes you wonder how much they really miss the leadership of a guy like Strahan and the alleged discipline of a TC team.

This offensive line has got to figure it out or all the other deficiencies in this team from the safety play to special teams will seem minuscule.  This appears to have started back in December of last year when they faced the Eagles after the infamousgun shot heard round the Giants world.  The (1) decline of the run game over the last 5 games (2) the defensive penetration against the running game and the (3) pass defense will definitely assure them of an early tee time in January.  Are Seubert and MacKenzie more banged up than we know?

By the way, can we finally celebrate what we have been screaming about for what seems like an eternity as per Mosley of ESPN “It’s pretty obvious that Giants tight end Kevin Boss is becoming a force in the NFC East” and “I can’t imagine a division in the league that has a group of more talented tight ends.”

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