Phil Simms and Ken Whisenhunt (Head Coach AZ) joined Francesa this morning. Simms first.
1) Giants-Cardinals. Phil talked about the LAST game vs the Saints. He had a few interesting remarks:
a) The result of the game (paraphrased) "did not make me waver on my opinion of the Giants."
b) On why the Saints were so successful- New Orleans has learned the art of throwing to a covered receiver BEFORE he gets uncovered. Simms counted 6 plays for 150 yards where this happened, with many being big ones for TDs.
c) On why the Saints won- Greg Williams. The front 4 of the Saints DL could not get to Manning, but Williams blitzed. Otherwise this game would have been a shootout and the Giants can win that game.
d) "If I'm the Saints I keep winning to make sure I don't have to come up to NY to play the Giants in the playoffs."
2) Titans. They broke down in every phase of the game. Secondary is in a shambles, as 3 of 4 starters are injured.
3) Patriots-Bucs. Brady is much improved. People forget that this QB missed a year a chunk of preseason, so he is getting his timing back. TB's Raheem Morris is part of a very young team that was gutted. When you are that young you do not know how to win in the NFL.
4) Jets. Sanchez got a rude welcome to the elements of the Meadowlands. That is a tough place for any QB. Simms quoted Terry Bradshaw: "In order to be a really good QB in the NFL, you have to go to hell first."
5) Vikings-Steelers. Believes Pitt will win. But Phil has been alarmed by the Steelers, who are giving up (big) plays on defense they simply did not give up last year. Jared Allen has saved the Vikings on numerous occasions this season.
Ken Whisenhunt spoke about his team and the Giants team he faces this evening:
a) Goal line stand vs. the Texans gave his team confidence.
b) The Indianapolis game (W3) for the Cardinals was similar to the Saints game for the Giants.
c) The Giants are a physical group.
d) The Giants are well rounded on offense. Mentioned Mario Manningham, all the receivers have stepped up, this adds a scary element to their offense.
e) The Giants are well rounded in all three phases of the game.
f) Our AZ team lost some players and coaches (notably Haley) and the team is just now getting back that rhythm it had last year when it made that playoff run.
g) Re the loss to the Giants last season- turnovers and those kickoff returns did us in.
Ultimatenyg here. Simms' confidence in the Giants is noteworthy. The Williams remark is so stark because it was nearly identical to what the Giants saw on the other side of the ball, just that Williams planned/adjusted and Sheridan did not. You have to expect Sheridan to mix it up more vs AZ. Of course our defensive coordinator need not send 7 or 8 guys every play. Just different looks to slow down Warner and not let him get comfortable.
One last point. We noted this in the recap last Sunday but it is important to repeat. The Giants coaching staff woke the brown up and put Hixon back on kickoffs. Now all of a sudden Whisenhunt says the Giants are well rounded in all three phases. He would not have said that if Moss was still back there. KEEP HIXON there for the rest of the season. I do not care if the Giants are down to 2 WRs on the roster, Hixon makes a far greater consistent impact on kickoffs than anywhere else, so play him there and KEEP HIM THERE. With one decision, the Giants just got a lot better. Put it in cement. By the end of the season Hixon could easily be in the Pro Bowl as a special teams player if he stays healthy, despite not playing there for the first 5 games. Yes, he is that special.