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New York Giants: 10 Things To Watch For in ‚Äė09 (Part 2)

Posted by Chris Monahan on August 18, 2009

6. The Linebackers- Finding Some Consistency

Other than Antonio Pierce and the MLB position, the OLB position has been a revolving door for New York the past few years. In the offseason the Giants addressed the need by drafting Clint Sintim, an aggressive pass-rushing specialist out of Virginia. They also added Atlanta linebacker Michael Boley in free agency. Boley can cover a lot of ground and is a sure tackler but suffered a serious setback when he underwent hip surgery in the offseason and is still not close to seeing the field.

Returning from last season is Danny Clark who started 15 games in 2008 and played admirably. He should lock up a starting position in week 1. Keep an eye on 2nd year player Bryan Kehl who continues to show improvement and has starter written all over him. Kehl is an intelligent player who is always in on the tackle and some think he could be a starter on the team for years to come. Zak DeOssie and Chase Blackburn will see some reps at the position but are better suited for special teams and bench roles. Look for Clark-Pierce-Kehl to be the starters week 1 with Sintim getting plenty of work in pass-rushing situations.

7. Eli Manning Becoming an Elite QB

Last week, Eli Manning signed a 6 year $97 million extension making him the highest paid player in the entire league. Now that Eli is getting paid elite money, he’ll be expected to play at a¬†consistent,¬†elite level. No one is questioning Eli’s ability to win games for the Giants. He has already proven that time and again.¬†People¬†will now look to Eli to play at a pro-bowl level game-in and game-out.

Manning¬†has shown steady improvements the last 2 seasons in addition to a growing confidence. His ability to produce in the clutch at the end of games is evidence of this. Statistically, Manning had the best regular season of his career in 2008. He finished with career highs in completion percentage (60.3 %), quarterback rating (86.4), and he also¬†threw a career low 10 interceptions. The Giants are a clear, run-oriented team which helps take some pressure off Manning. All he has to do is limit his mistakes and lead the team down the field to score in any way possible. The good news is he is already doing just that. A¬†few extra TD passes also wouldn’t hurt. Expect Eli Manning¬†to have the best season of his career in 2009.

8. Week 2 @ Dallas

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The Giants travel to Dallas in week 2 for the regular season opener of the Cowboys new billion-dollar-mega-stadium. This primtime matchup between two division rivals is sure to be hyped up beyond belief.¬†Dallas¬†is looking¬†to put their troubles of the past 2 seasons behind them¬†by christening their new¬†palace with a victory. The Giants and their fans would like nothing more then to spoil the party and give Dallas something else to cry about. You can argue that its impossible to have a must-win game in week 2, but try telling that to the Cowboys and their fans. This is a game that could set the tone for Dallas’ season.

9. The Last Season at the Current Giant’s Stadium

In 2010, the Giants will be moving into their own brand new stadium and will be leaving behind a field that was home to 3 Super Bowl Champions. The Giants will look to leave it on a high note as they try to make it a 4th.

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  • September 13th vs. Washington
  • October 11th vs. Oakland
  • October 25th vs. Arizona
  • November 8th vs. San Diego
  • November 22nd vs. Atlanta
  • December 6th vs. Dallas
  • December 13th vs. Philadelphia
  • December 27th vs. Carolina

10. Can They Win Super Bowl XLIV?

You can make a legitimate argument that on paper this is the best Giants team in recent memory. Make no mistake about it, this is a team expected to win it all.¬†Along with a proven QB they have¬†arguably the best defense, offensive line and running game in all of football. All the ingredients are there for a run at the title. New York was 12-4 and the number 1 seed last year but ran out of gas towards the end. With the moves they’ve made in the offseason, that¬†should not happen¬†this time around. Standing in the Giants way this year are the always competitive Eagles and Cowboys, the defending NFC champion Cardinals and a large number of other teams with legitimate playoff aspirations. Coach Tom Coughlin understands and has a great feel for¬†his team and will never let them take any opponent lightly. The Giants thrive in the underdog role, but this¬†season they may have to do it as the favorites. It shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone if New York is playing in Miami on February 7th.

 

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New York Giants: 10 Things To Watch For in ’09 (Part 1)

Posted by Chris Monahan on August 14, 2009

1. The Wide Reciever Position

Plaxico Burress is¬†merely an afterthought and the Giants can finally move on. A position that many consider a weakness for the Giants, wide reciever might turn out to be a strength. The talent is certainly there, they’ll just need someone to take that jump to the next level.

Steve Smith was targeted by Eli Manning often last year and is the most reliable posession reciever on the team. Dominick Hixon has deadly speed and can get by almost any secondary but just needs to show more consistency. Hakeem Nicks, New York’s¬†1st round pick, isn’t flashy but has sure hands, is¬†tough to bring down¬†and can contribute right away. Watch out for 6 foot 6 inch Ramses Barden, a 3rd round pick by the Giants. He has been stellar so far in camp and could be the “green” zone threat the Giants have missed since Burress’ departure.

2. The Best D-Line In Football

The thing that seperates New York’s defensive line from any other is the vast amount of depth and versatility. Almost every player is starter quality and each one will get considerable reps in 2009. This depth will keep each player fresh as the season goes on.

The line is anchored by Pro-Bowler Justin Tuck who can play inside and out, pressure the QB and stop the run. He¬†has quickly become one of the best in the business. The return of Osi Umenyiora from injury¬†will help draw double teams away from Tuck as well as Mathias Kiwanuka, keeping the pressure rampant. Newcomer Chris Canty also adds to the lines versatiliy and his huge frame will help swat down balls¬†on the outside chance¬†the QB¬†is able to deliver the pass. Rocky Bernard joins Fred Robbins, Jay Alford¬†and Barry Cofield at the tackle position which made great strides in ’08 and should be even better this year.

3. Brandon Jacobs. Period.

The video says it all. He’s probably my favorite player to watch in all of football. One of the greatest things to watch is Jacobs breaking through a line, finding the open field and then watching the carnage that ensues. He can alter a game like very few can.

4. More Ahmad Bradshaw

Anyone who watched the Giants Super Bowl run in 2007 knows how big of a part Ahmad Bradshaw played. Now with the departure of 1000 yard rusher Derrick Ward, Bradshaw should have a more featured role in the Giants offense. Bradshaw features blazing speed and an unstoppable motor that allows him to push the pile to pick up the extra yards. He has averaged 6.1 yards per carry in his short career and can be an excellent compliment to the bigger Jacobs.

In the NFC Championship game, Bradshaw had a 40+ yard TD run called back on a weak holding call. For me,¬†that was one of the better running plays i’ve seen in recent memory. He ran with¬†extreme conviction and skill.¬†Giant fans should expect to see more of that in 2009.

5) Kenny Phillips becoming the safety the Giants have lacked

For years the Giants have lacked a true playmaking safety in the secondary. With Aaron Ross and Corey Webster having locked up the cornerback position, look for Phillips to do the same with safety this year. He showed flashes his rookie year and has all the tools to be that guy; great speed, strength and just overall good instincts. He has made some stellar interceptions in camp and can add a whole new dimension to the Giants defense if he progresses the way everyone is expecting him to.

Look for Part 2 (6-10)¬†of My 10 Things to Watch For in ’09 in the coming days. Eli Manning, New and Old Stadiums and Super Bowl Aspirations.

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Weekend Wrap

Posted by yankeesin2008 on October 27, 2008

MLB:

The Phillies took a commanding 3-1 lead in the Series last night behind that bats of Ryan Howard and… Joe Blanton?

Howard hit two bombs and drove in five runs, and Blanton became the first pitcher in 35 years to homer in the fall classic. He picked up the win with six solid innings of work.

But the Phils look to close it out tonight, and they have the right guy on the mound in Cole Hamels. Guy’s been lights out. He’s trying to become the first pitcher to win five postseason starts in one year.

Don’t be surprised if Tampa pulls it out though, they didn’t get this far just to roll over and die, as the Red Sox can surely attest too. Scott Kazmir is just as likely to throw a complete game shutout as he is to not make it out of the first inning.

It’s going to be interesting to see if the Rays can get it back to St. Pete, or if the Philly bats will pound their way to the cities first championship in 25 years.

NHL:

Crazy night in the NHL on Saturday. For only the second time ever ‚Äď the other being opening night in 2005 after the lockout ‚Äď all 30 teams were on the schedule.

The Devils and Flyers carried over some bad blood from Friday night into a Saturday matinee. Four fights broke out in the second period, including two at once when Pierre-Luc Letourneau battled Riley Cote while Mike Rupp fought Aaron Asham.

Philly took four points over the weekend, just in time to save its season from totally going down the drain.

Saturday night also saw a great comeback in New York City. Trailing 2-0 going into the third period, the Rangers rallied to beat the Penguins 3-2 in a shootout

Nikolai Zherdev tied the game with 8.1 seconds left, and Fred Sjostrom scored his second shootout winner in eight days for the Rangers.

Henrik Lundqvist stoned Sidney Crosby on the Pen’s final attempt to wrap up the win.

NFL:

The New York football Giants showed the world just why they are the team to beat this year. It certainly wasn’t the prettiest game you’ll ever see, but on the road against a very good Pittsburgh Steelers team it was the perfect game.

Good speical teams play, and limiting the number of mistakes were key for the G-Men. Roethlisberger (spelled that right the first time) tossing four interceptions and a long snap through the back of the end zone sure helped as well.

But all the other NFC East teams picked up victories as well. The Cowboys squeaked by the Bucs, again without Tony Romo – and who knows exactly when he’ll be back – and the Eagles and Redskins took out the Falcons and Lions respectively.

With the difficulty of the Giants schedule the rest of the season, this division race is going to come right down to the wire.

NBA:

The big New York NBA story of the weekend involved Isiah Thomas. Just when you thought this guy was out of the spotlight he finds his way back in.

So Police were called to Isiah’s house in Rye because he overdosed on sleeping pills.

But Isiah told the New York Post that it was his daughter who had the medical issue.

David Hall, police chief for the town of Harrison, disputed Thomas’ claim about his daughter.

“I understand that this person claims it was his daughter; he is lying,” Hall told The New York Times. “It was definitely not his daughter, it was a male. We know the difference between a 47-year-old black male and a young black female.”

Isiah, Isiah. No matter what is going on there, something is very wrong. He was a terrible coach and made millions ruining a once proud basketball organization, but one can’t wish harm on him or his family.

UFC:

In the bizzare main event of UFC 90, reigning middle weight champion and the world’s best pound-for-pound fighter defeated challenger Patrick Cote in the third round via TKO.

But it was not the usual stoppage for Silva, who remains undefeated in his UFC career. At no point did he unleash his trademark explosive Muay Thai offense consisting of knees, elbows, kicks, punches flying every which direction. Once nicknamed “A ballet of violence” by UFC commentator Joe Rogan, Silva’s game plan was just strange.

When Cote tore up knee apart midway through the third round and could no longer compete, Silva was declared the winner.

The real losers were the fans, who relish every chance they get to see the best in the world do what he does. And he didn’t bring it on Saturday night.

The big winner of the night was Junior dos Santos, a Brazilian heavyweight who came in as an big underdog against title contender Fabricio Werdum.

As was written in a post on MMA Junkie earlier in the week, dos Santos was no joke and a great bet as the huge under dog. I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a lot more of this guy in the future.

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