Tag:Shaun O'Hara
Posted on: April 1, 2011 1:26 pm

Offseason Checkup: New York Giants

Posted by Andy Benoit

E. Manning (US Presswire)

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Offseason Check-ups.

Stop me if you’ve seen this one before: very talented, much talked about Giants team gets off to a fast start. At midseason they’re 6-2 and looking like a legitimate Super Bowl contender. But in the second half, things start going south. There are rumblings about Tom Coughlin’s job security.

Moronic members of the press who only understand football on a box score level see that Eli Manning is leading the league in interceptions so, predictably, they question him. (Never mind that Manning, who had one of the best seasons of his career, was plagued by receivers’ drops and bad routes.)

There is a particularly heart-wrenching loss to the hated Eagles in Week 15 (apparently the punter not only kicked to DeSean Jackson but also singlehandedly gave up 28 points in the fourth quarter…right?), followed by what would turn out to be a playoff-hopes-slashing defeat at Green Bay the following week.

A change to consider: Antrel Rolle as the new Charles Woodson

The change here needs to be made by fans and the media. It’s time to start recognizing Rolle as the Pro Bowl caliber rover that he is. Thanks to iffy linebackers, depth at safety and a schedule that frequently pitted them against three-receiver offenses, the Giants essentially converted to a three safety starting lineup in 2010. .

Rolle filled what used to be one of the outside linebacker positions. This was done because the former cornerback has the cover skills to line up against wideouts in the slot, but also the tackling prowess to play the edge on the run. What’s more, Rolle is a terrific blitzer, which allows coordinator Perry Fewell to disguise his fronts. Sound like any particular Packer you know?

1. Middle Linebacker
Jonathan Goff is not a bad player, but there is nothing electrifying about him either. This defense has a chance to be special. You can’t be special with a banal force in the middle.

2 Receiving weapon
Steve Smith’s microfracture surgery (knee) leaves his future in doubt. The restricted free agent wideout will spend the entire offseason rehabbing and may not be ready come September. At tight end, the serviceable Kevin Boss is as tough as they come, but with the focus on vertical seam routes in Kevin Gilbride’s system, a better athlete in this spot would do wonders.

3. Center
Shaun O’Hara made the Pro Bowl last season but strictly on name recognition. The 33-year-old (34 in June) missed all but six games with various injuries. When O’Hara did return to action, he looked creaky. Time to groom a replacement.

Ladies and gentlemen….your dark horse Super Bowl contender for 2011! The Giants have a veteran star quarterback, elite rushing attack (thanks in part to a cohesive offensive line) and defense loaded with talent along the front and back fours.

And most of these players have significant playoff experience. If this team can overcome the Big Apple drama that creeps up every year, it’s as tough an out as any.

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Posted on: March 31, 2011 8:31 pm

Shaun O'Hara back under the knife

Posted by Andy BenoitS. O'Hara (US Presswire)

Though he made his third consecutive Pro Bowl, Giants center Shaun O’Hara actually had one of his worst seasons in 2010. The 33-year-old veteran battled injuries and played in just six games, struggling noticeably down the stretch.

This offseason has not been much smoother. According to ESPN New York’s Ohm Youngmisuk, O’Hara this week underwent his second surgery since the New Year. He had his left ankle and Achilles cleaned out. The operation was expected and not related to the January procedure in which O’Hara had two screws inserted in his right foot. The screws are there to stabilize a joint and enable a ligament to heal after it was damaged by last season’s Lisfranc injury.

O’Hara said at the beginning of March that doctors told him he’d start running again in mid-May.

Essentially everyone who snapped the ball to Eli Manning in 2010 is currently recovering from surgery. Guard Rich Seubert, who filled in at center when O’Hara was shelved, is rehabbing repaired ligament and tendon damage resulting from his dislocated kneecap. Backup Adam Koets is coming off a torn ACL.

It would be a surprise if the Giants don’t draft at least one interior lineman in April.

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Category: NFL
Posted on: March 31, 2011 12:05 pm

Hot Routes 3.31.11: Lights, camera, action

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

  • Larry Johnson, set to go on trial for allegedly spitting a drink on a woman at a bar in 2008, thinks he can’t get a fair jury trial in Kansas City. Any place, his attorney said, would be better than Kansas City.
  • Apparently, Ravens S Tom Zbikwoski isn’t the only Ravens player who can handle himself in a fight. Watch how Kelly Gregg (a three-time state wrestling champion in Oklahoma) and Arthur Jones (a two-time state titlist in New York) go after each other in this video. With Ray Lewis on the play-by-play.
  • Washington QB Jake Locker participated in his Pro Day on Wednesday and completed 38 of 40 attempts against the air (his only two misses came on 50-yard passes). But not everybody is convinced he’s going to be a star. Analyst Michael Lombardi thinks Locker is a project and wouldn’t draft him before the third round.
  • ESPN New York reports Giants C Shaun O’Hara underwent his second surgery of the offseason this week to clean out his left ankle and Achilles. Earlier this offseason, he had surgery on his right foot.
  • One of the more interesting storylines of the NFL draft will be about Clemson DE Da’Quan Bowers, his balky knee and which team will take a chance on him. Some analysts are saying he’s off a couple teams’ draft boards completely because of failed physicals.

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Posted on: November 14, 2010 10:07 am
Edited on: November 14, 2010 10:10 am

Hot Routes 11.14.10: Too severe a penalty?

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

- Mike Klis of the Denver Post writes the Broncos penalty on LB D.J. Williams was too severe. Klis talks to a psychologist who suggests Williams might have a sickness – as in an addiction to alcohol perhaps. Maybe so, but that doesn’t excuse Williams allegedly driving drunk and putting everybody on the road at risk.

- It doesn’t appear that Seahawks T Russell Okung will play today because of a left ankle injury. Combine that with the high ankle sprain he suffered before the season began, and you’ve got a first-round pick who’s basically played six quarters this season. That’s probably less than coach Pete Carroll would like.

- You know how Eagles coach Andy Reid is 12-0 in games immediately following a bye week? Well, Saints coach Sean Payton hopes some of that magic can rub off on him.

- Rookie Jets CB Kyle Williams will take over much of the nickel cornerback snaps that had been reserved for Drew Coleman. Considering Wilson was on the bench for much of last week – and the past few games in general – he must have impressed somebody quite a bit.

- Yikes! Browns coach Eric Mangini makes a fat joke regarding Rex Ryan. Ryan kids that he’s been wobbled by the insult. Everybody feels good about themselves, because both Ryan and Mangini are skinnier than they once were.

- It’s been a whirlwind week for CB Jason Allen. First, he lost his starting job to Sean Smith in Miami and then the Dolphins released him. Now, he’s with the Texans, and considering how bad Houston’s pass defense has been, he could get playing time immediately.

- If you have Giants C Shaun O’Hara on your fantasy team – ahem, a fantasy team in which you play individual offensive linemen – it might be wise to bench him for the next few weeks. Because he ain’t playing any time soon.

- What a genius idea. Serving subpoenas by deception and taking advantage of a region’s love for the Steelers.

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Posted on: November 1, 2010 1:27 pm

Giants O-line suffers a potentially painful blow

Posted by Andy Benoit
S. O'Hara (US Presswire)
Bad news for the Giants: according to Ralph Vacchiano of the New York Daily News, center Shaun O’Hara has a Lis Franc sprain in his right foot. This is a new injury for the veteran Pro Bowler who missed time earlier this season with a chronic right ankle problem. O’Hara suffered this injury in the Monday night win over Dallas.

A Lis Franc injury is a fracture, dislocation or strain in the mid-bones of the foot. It’s one of those injuries that almost always takes longer to heal than expected. Often times, players are out for a month or more, and if they do return in the same season, they’re rarely the same.

Tom Coughlin said Monday that he would not use the word Lis Franc in describing O’Hara’s injury. Vacchiano says O’Hara, who is in a walking boot, saw a specialist during the bye week.

O’Hara is one of the few players in the league whom you can accurately describe as gritty. (Most of the time, when an analyst says a player is gritty, the analyst is really just saying “I know nothing about this player”.) O’Hara brings leadership and a tone-setting nastiness to the Giants O-line, particularly as a run-blocker. His ability to get to the second level and handle linebackers in the ground game drastically impacts the way New York uses guards Rich Seubert and Chris Snee.

If O’Hara is unavailable, converted tackle Adam Koets will likely fill in again. Seubert has also spent some practice time at center.

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Posted on: October 6, 2010 11:17 pm

Giants ailing a bit in run game

Posted by Andy Benoit

There’s reason to believe the New York Giants could struggle to run the ball against the Houston Texans this Sunday. For starters, the Texans defense is allowing 70.2 yards per game on the ground, second fewest in the NFL. (Granted, that has a lot to do with the fact that opponents can’t wait to throw against Houston’s 32nd-ranked pass defense. But still, DeMeco Ryans and, as of this week, Brian Cushing, pose a formidable challenge to a run game.)

What’s more, the Giants are more banged up than a Bing Crosby stepchild. (That little joke isn’t completely distasteful because everyone knows Crosby is now dead, plus he comes from an era in which step-children were not yet invented.) Running back Ahmad Bradshaw is nursing an ankle injury. Tom Coughlin told reporters before Wednesday’s practice, "Bradshaw is sore. We’re going to see what he looks like -- he’s taped and he went to the jog-through here. He seems to feel a little bit better under that circumstance, but we’ll see.” Bradshaw wound up practicing and should be available all week.

But running with a sore ankle isn’t preferable, particularly when you’re running behind an offensive line in which center Shaun O’Hara is out (ankle), backup Adam Koets is dealing with an MCL issue and offensive tackle Will Beatty is hobbled by a bad foot. (By the way, when Beatty does get healthy, he may have to compete with Shawn Andrews for playing time. The ex-Eagles guard got reps at left tackle on Wednesday. It looks like the Giants are trying to make Andrews their utility backup.)

It’s possible, perhaps even likely, that everyone but O’Hara will take the field for the Giants Sunday. But that doesn’t mean it won’t have been a somewhat trying week at practice. 

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Posted on: September 8, 2010 11:54 pm

O-line health a huge factor in NFC East in Week 1

Posted by Andy Benoit

The NFC East may be decided in the trenches early on. Several NFC East offensive linemen are dealing with injury issues heading into Week 1.

For the Cowboys, right tackle Marc Colombo and left guard Kyle Kosier will both likely miss Week 1. Colombo is still recovering from August 16 knee surgery. Kosier is still dealing with a sprained right knee. The Dallas Morning News notes that neither player has practiced this week.

Former Ram Alex Barron will start in place of Colombo. Barron is a liability at times (his technique is perpetually raw and he’s prone to penalties) but he’s a good athlete who has started his entire NFL career. Montrae Holland, who was once upon a time a starter in New Orleans before going to Denver and losing control of his weight, will start at left guard. Holland cannot offer the Cowboys’ front five the kind of run-blocking mobility that Kosier could.

In Philadelphia, it was expected that Nick Cole would be filling in at center while Jamaal Jackson continues to rebound from the ACL injury he suffered late last December. But Jackson’s rebound has already concluded, and he’s expected to take the field against Green Bay this Sunday.

The Giants are also getting their center back. Shaun O’Hara had been out with Achilles tendinosis. Paul Schwartz of the New York Post notes that the two-time Pro Bowler is practicing this week but must be leery of overworking the injury.

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Posted on: July 13, 2010 12:22 pm
Edited on: July 14, 2010 12:18 pm

Position rankings: centers

 Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit resume their debate, with today’s focus on centers.

Andy's top five list

5. Matt Birk, Ravens

4. Andre Gurode, Cowboys

3. Alex Mack, Browns
N. Mangold chomping on a burger (Getty)

2. Olin Kreutz, Bears

1. Nick Mangold, Jets

The veteran stability provided by Matt Birk is a big reason the Ravens' young offensive line will be the best in football this season. Birk has always made his teammates better. Gurode can be comically inept in shotgun snaps at times, but opponents never laugh after facing him in the ground game.

Mack amazed me on film as a rookie. He plays with the savoir faire of a 10-year veteran. He sustains well in pass protection despite having questionable strength, which speaks to his well-honed technique. Most importantly, Mack gives the Browns a second source of mobility inside next to left guard Eric Steinbach.

Kreutz is aging, which only makes him meaner. He uses his hands as well as any blocker in the game. I’m part of the rest of the football universe that has decided Mangold is, far and away, the NFL’s best center. The fifth-year pro has no particularly-glaring weakness.

Josh's top five list

5. Jeff Saturday, Colts

4. Olin Kreutz, Bears

3. Andre Gurode, Cowboys

2. Matt Birk, Ravens

1. Nick Mangold, Jets

There’s no reason to argue the pick of Mangold, who only sometimes stuffs his face with a burger (pictured at right). He’s the best center in the NFL, and considering he’s entering only his fifth season, he has plenty of years left. Memo to the New York Jets: you might want to lock up this guy to a long-term deal.

Birk has been around forever, and he, somehow, doesn’t have any weaknesses. His run-blocking – as backs like Adrian Peterson, Ray Rice and Willis McGahee will attest – is some of the best around. Gurode is tough and a punishing run-blocker. You mentioned his shotgun snaps – a fair criticism – but I’ve got another critique. He takes way too many penalties. He had nine of them last year, which led the league. He had six the year before. You know who that doesn’t impress? Albert Haynesworth.

Kreutz, at 33, isn’t quite as good as he was, and he’s coming off Achilles tendon surgery. But you know what I like about him? He can get out in space on sweeps and screen passes, and he can make a block downfield. I LOVE centers who hustle to do that. Saturday has helped keep Peyton Manning upright for the past 192 starts. He’s a four-time Pro Bowler, and although he just turned 35, he’s still one of the best centers in the league.

I don’t mind the Mack selection, but I’m going to need to see him do it for more than one season before he displaces one of the veterans on my list who have been doing it for years. You see, I like my centers like I like my women: old and gritty and, if possible, missing some teeth.

Andy’s rebuttal

And I like MY centers like I like MY women: young, flexible and willing to do anything. That’s why I anticipate the 24-year-old Mack being at least No. 2 on my list by season’s end. But I understand you wanting to see more evidence at this point.

If you like old and gritty, you could have also gone with Kevin Mawae. He’s an unsigned free agent right now – owners might be blackballing him because he heads the NFLPA – but there isn’t a craftier, steadier leader in the game. The Titans will really miss Mawae in 2010. Another gritty veteran worth mentioning is the Giants’ Shaun O’Hara, an outstanding second-level run-blocker.

Two guys who didn’t make our lists were Tampa Bay’s Jeff Faine and St. Louis’s Jason Brown. I point them out because Faine became the league’s highest-paid center in ’08, and Brown became the highest-paid in ’09. Both have been decent, but only decent.

Josh’s final word

We also didn’t talk about Carolina’s Ryan Kalil, who grades out as one of the better pass-blocking centers in the league. I probably would have made him my No. 6 or No. 7 if we had expanded our lists.

Other positions: Safety | Cornerback | 3-4 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Punter  | Kicker | 4-3 Scheme Outside Linebacker | Inside Linebacker  | Defensive Tackle  | Defensive End | Offensive Tackle )

--Josh Katzowitz and Andy Benoit

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com