1) We hope this is obvious. But after what Sharper and the Vikings did to Eli in 2005 and 2007, please protect the ball and do not telegraph. Look that old man off to the other side and you will have one less player to worry about. If you look him off SOME OF THE TIME, it will create another half second of doubt what your true intentions are with the ball. Is the QB looking me off or is he going there? Given he has already lost a step, he is then finished. No more INTs. As much as Sharper is a hero vs the likes of Kolb and Sanchez (and Kitna and Manning in 2007, see the pattern???!!!), he can be rendered inert by Eli simply by not giving that centerfielder any help. Eli has the experience to do that. All he needs to do is remember.
2) On Wednesday, The NY Times Fifth Down posted the section from this blog which noted the TE has led the opposing team's offense in receptions. Our point was that the Giants needed an answer for the TE (Shockey, who we noted has lost a half step because of cumulative injuries) in single coverage because we lack players with range. Some of the commenters went into a huff about not needing to worry about Shockey, but they missed the point. One commenter, Ian, noted:
It’s not the catches n yards of Shockey that u guys should be worried about but rather the space and voids his presence creates for others. If u saw the saints/eagles game they went to him 3 straight plays for 48 yards n it forced the safeties to come down n then Colston got over top of them for Td.
If Ian wants to, he can write for this blog, because he said it better than I did. We spent the time trying to brainstorm on how to handle the TE in single coverage because it was obvious from our track record that we were not doing a particularly great job there in covering TEs. (This dates back to 2007, incidentally... I still have mild twitching when I remember Pierce pretending to cover Watson in the Super Bowl.) Once you are exposed by the TE in single coverage, the issues that Ian refers to kick in. All of a sudden the TE is a problem now because he pulls someone else over, and then Brees goes to where the other person was pulled FROM. Peyton Manning and Drew Brees are THAT GOOD. This is how they pass for 4000+ yards each year, like drinking a glass of water. So if you have AN ANSWER for the TE, it makes a tighter ship. We think we have the answer for Colston in Corey Webster. Boley would have been perfect to tag on Bush. Brees is going to isolate matchups in ways that the green units of WASH, TB, KC and OAK simply could not do. Brees is going to get points on you. The only question is how often. If you have an answer for the TE, it will be LESS OFTEN. The difference between OFTEN and LESS OFTEN is winning and losing in the NFL. (These past three games it was the difference between 'less often' and 'not at all'... that is the best way to sum up the offense we face on Sunday.)
3) Very good link to an article passed along by Dick B. from the New Yorker on the lasting effects of NFL head injuries. Read the first part on Kyle Turley. I skipped the second (and other interspersed) paragraph on the Vick dog stuff. Then it goes back to more medical discussion of brain damage, which I quite honestly found uncomfortable to read:
“There is something wrong with this group as a cohort,” Omalu says. “They forget things. They have slurred speech. I have had an N.F.L. player come up to me at a funeral and tell me he can’t find his way home. I have wives who call me and say, ‘My husband was a very good man. Now he drinks all the time. I don’t know why his behavior changed.’ I have wives call me and say, ‘My husband was a nice guy. Now he’s getting abusive.’ I had someone call me and say, ‘My husband went back to law school after football and became a lawyer. Now he can’t do his job. People are suing him.’ ”
The NFL needs to remove any player with a concussion for an extended period of time. And if he suffers a second concussion in a season, he needs to be placed on IR for the remainder of the season. Mandatory, no exceptions. And if that does not help, start penalizing players that hit the head 25 yards. Yes, 25 yards. After reading this article, you'll think that 25 yards for a person's life is a joke, not enough. We all love this sport, but guys are literally getting killed out there.
4) On Wednesday we said, "Yes, Carl. (Banks, could not find the radio link), Pressure Brees. Do not let him get into a rhythm. Otherwise our Safeties will get exposed." Then yesterday Wonder repeated that same argument, that Brees with 3.5 seconds is an eternity, he'll find out where he needs to go, given the coverage. Do you remember when we were discussing who the best QBs in the league were, that Wonder said Peyton Manning was #1 and Brees was #1a? Do you remember why Wonder gave the tie to Manning? Because when the PRESSURE comes, Manning knows where to go much faster/better than Brees (or anyone else, for that matter). So essentially, Brees is human with pressure, he'll deliver a good ball to a good place, not necessarily THE place the way Manning can. This does not imply that Brees cannot beat pressure. The Giants simply have to shorten the amount of time he has to make the decision and hope for the best. If the pressure is not HIGH, then our chances drop considerably. At this point I am thinking the next time we meet this team it is January with (we hope and pray) Canty.
5) What in the world is Area Code 515? Click on the link, could be an interesting wrinkle. The problem is that w Alford on IR and Canty on Godot-IR, you have no more rotation left. Maybe when Canty comes back in 2011.
6) Simms takes the Saints. It is generally not easy to go against Wonder AND Simms the same game. They have both been wrong before. Neither are infallible, but they are unbiased and sober. Simms: "New Orleans is one of the few teams that can actually protect against the Giants defense. Gregg Williams..they blitz, they have some corners that can cover."
7) YOUR VOICE MATTERS. We heard from more than a few of you about the problems with inserting links getting rejected for spam. We passed those complaints along to get a fix, and it was changed on Wednesday. Link away. Not only that, but now comments go up super fast. This means the Sunday psychiatric services for Nature are back in gear. Let the Gilbride therapy begin.