Tag:Brandon Jacobs
Posted on: November 23, 2011 6:18 pm
 

Film Room: Giants vs. Saints preview

Posted by Eye on Football Analyst Andy Benoit



With a December Monday Night schedule that could make viewers implode from boredom, we at least get to say goodbye to November with a compelling, playoff-implicating NFC matchup. This warrants a classic five-part breakdown.


Saints offense vs. Giants defense
1. Giants pass-rush vs. Saints pass protection
This is a glaring mismatch. New Orleans has the worst pass-blocking offensive tackle tandem in football in Jermon Bushrod (left side) and Zach Strief (right side). Bushrod is slow and has awful technique. Strief is just slow. The sack numbers do not reflect this because Drew Brees is a magician when it comes to getting rid of the ball quickly and moving in and out of the pocket.

Brees, like most star quarterbacks, gets rid of the ball thanks to shrewd presnap reads. But where he’s really elite is in going through his reads. Brees can scan three or four different receivers on a simple five-step drop. He recognizes and anticipates receiver-defender relationships as fast as any passer in the game.

Because so much of what Brees does is based on quick timing and rhythm, it’s not necessarily wise to blitz him. Instead, the objective is to force him to exhaust his progressions. It’s 50-50 that the pass protection can hold up long enough for him to do this (if Brees were a typical quarterback, it’d be more like 25-75). The Rams did this in their Week 8 upset of the Saints.

The Giants’ defensive ends are several grades better than the Rams’. They’ll pressure Brees with four rushers.

2. Saints WR’s vs. Giants secondary
In Week 8, the Rams thrived with physical press coverage aided by safety help. The Giants secondary delivered terrific press coverage in their win at New England a few weeks ago. It wouldn’t be surprising to see more of that Monday night. The Saints have four quality wide receivers: Marques Colston, Robert Meachem, Devery Henderson and Lance Moore.

With a matchup nightmare like tight end like Jimmy Graham, most of the Saints’ formations involve only three of those wideouts. But whatever the pieces, they can -- and do -- align in all different spots on the field.

This is one reason it’s enticing to play press-man against them. Instead of trying to figure out the litany of formations and route possibilities, a defensive coordinator can put a safety or two over the top and tell his cornerbacks to just jam the hell out of whoever they line up against.

But when defenses can mix in zone coverages, they obviously give themselves more options. With rookie Prince Amukamara now healthy, the Giants might be one of the few secondaries in the league versatile enough to do this against the Saints.

With Corey Webster shadowing DeSean Jackson most of last Sunday night (Webster has shadowed the opposing No. 1 receiver regularly this season), Amukamara and Aaron Ross played inside and outside across from him. Both men played man and zone principles.

The Giants also have a multipronged tool in safety Antrel Rolle. He’s rangy in space and, as a former cornerback, adept at playing all coverages as the nickel slot defender.

3. Saints’ savvy run-pass tactic
Don’t be surprised if the Saints frequently throw out of running formations Monday night. Jimmy Graham is extremely effective running routes from a traditional tight end stance, and fullback Jed Collins is capable of catching passes in the flats. We think of the Saints as a spread offense, but Brees is averaging about 10 pass attempts per game out of two-back formations, and 10 of his 23 touchdown passes have come from such sets.

The run formation approach gains potency because the Giants starting linebackers struggle in coverage. Those struggles manifest drastically if Michael Boley (hamstring) is still out. Boley’s replacement, Mark Herzlich, was fantastic against the run last Sunday, but he was badly exposed when dropping back in coverage.

The linebacking issues are significant enough that the Giants may even be compelled to play their 4-2-5 nickel defense against the Saints base offense (they’d be treating Graham as a wide receiver). In that case, Sean Payton would have his array of running backs pound the rock behind monstrous All-World guards Carl Nicks and Jahri Evans.

The run formations could also aid New Orleans’ proficient play-action game (Brees was 17/19 for 212 yards and two touchdowns off play-action fakes against the Falcons in Week 10). It’s a myth that you need to establish the run in order to set up play-action.

In reality, defenders are trained to react to movement; play-action will work if the fake and the offensive linemen’s initial movements are executed well, regardless of how a team has been running the ball. That said, those fakes and movements are obviously more believable when the offense is lined up in a run formation.

Giants offense vs. Saints defense
4. Giants run game woes
The Giants will not advance deep in the playoffs if their run game does not get going. A typical Brandon Jacobs run these days involves the 265-pounder stumbling a yard behind the line of scrimmage, bumping into his own blocker, fighting for a yard-and-a-half and then pissing off every player around him by bumping into body after body as he tries to prove his manhood by ferociously picking himself up off the ground before other players can unpile, all the while barking emphatically about ... what, exactly?

How lucky are the defenders that this isn’t four years ago, when Jacobs was actually productive?

The Giants need a healthy Ahmad Bradshaw in the worst of ways. Of course, the rock-firm scatback’s presence would only present a greater opportunity for a rejuvenated run game -- not the assurance of one. Bradshaw was averaging just 4.0 yards per carry before his foot injury -- 0.7 yards below his career average.

New York’s problems start up front. And they may not be solved this week. Center David Baas has struggled with lateral run-blocking in tight spaces. Saints defensive tackle Aubrayo Franklin is not an ideal opponent to face when trying to correct this. Thirty-one-year-old left guard David Diehl is showing signs of decline. This week could be tough, as the Saints defensive ends are excellent in run defense, particularly when crashing inside.

If the Giants offensive line can somehow break even in this matchup, New York’s fullbacks and tight ends will likely have opportunities to work against a Saints linebacking corps that’s without leader Jonathan Vilma (out since the start of the month with a knee). The Saints would almost need to commit eight to the box at that point. Roman Harper might be the best pure in-box safety in the NFL, but if the Giants can compel him to focus heavily on the run, they’ll impeded his blitzes, which are one of the Saints’ best weapons in pass defense (see item 5).

5. Saints blitzes
A big reason Saints defensive coordinator Gregg Williams blitzes so much is he knows his down four linemen cannot consistently collapse the pocket on their own. Don’t expect that to change much Sunday night (even though the Giants offensive tackles struggled mightily against the Eagles).

The difference between Williams’ D and other blitzing defenses is that Williams’ D blitzes hard. His blitzes often involve six pass-rushers instead of just five. And because one of those six rushers is usually a defensive back (Harper is phenomenal in this facet, as his 6.5 sacks on the season attest), and because nickel linebacker Jonathan Casillas has crazy speed and acceleration downhill, New Orleans’ blitzes are exceptionally fast.

Expect Victor Cruz and Jake Ballard to be big factors Monday night; as slot targets they’ll be Eli Manning’s hot reads against these blitzes.

So who will win? Check our NFL expert picks for all Week 12 games

Follow @Andy_Benoit on Twitter or contact him at Andy.Benoit-at-NFLTouchdown.com.
Posted on: November 21, 2011 2:15 am
Edited on: November 21, 2011 12:23 pm
 

Sorting the Sunday Pile: Week 11

Posted by Will Brinson


Sorting the Sunday Pile takes all of Sunday's NFL action and figures out the most important storylines for you to digest. Send your complaints, questions and comments to Will Brinson on Twitter. Make sure and listen to our Week 10 podcast review below as well and feel free to subscribe via iTunes.

 

1. Bear Down

The only thing surprising about Chicago's 31-20 victory -- their fifth-straight win -- over the Chargers was that the Bears let San Diego keep it that close. But not all is good news in Chicago right now, as multiple reports indicate that quarterback Jay Cutler suffered a broken thumb during Sunday's game, may need surgery and could be lost for the season.

At a minimum, Cutler's likely to miss six weeks, so let's assume he's done for the regular season. So can the Bears still make the playoffs? Well, surprisingly, yes, but it obviously won't be easy.

If the Bears beat three of their final six opponents (we'll guess the Vikings, the Seahawks and the Chiefs) they'll finish 10-6. No one from the NFC West will cause any damage and it looks like Chicago just has to fight off the Giants or the Cowboys, the Lions and the Falcons.

They've got the tiebreaker over Atlanta, although right now the Bears lose out to the Lions because of division record. (Fortunately for them, Detroit has to play Green Bay twice.)

And Chicago has a formula for winning games without a ton of offense. The Bears defense knows how to score and Devin Hester can alter the outcome of a game every time he stands back to return a kick. The passing game should all but disappear, however.

Which means that Chicago will lean heavily on a below-average offensive line and ... Matt Forte.

Perhaps they should reconsider their stance about paying him after all.

2. Little Giants

Everyone always expects the Giants to swoon late in the season (because it's something they do, which is fair I suppose) but this year looked different after New York's win over New England two weeks ago and a tough loss in San Francisco last week.

Until Sunday night, when the Giants coughed up a 17-10 loss to the Vince Young-led Eagles anyway.

"This is as big a disappointment as we have had around here in a long time," coach Tom Coughlin said Sunday.

It should be, because things aren't going to get easier for Coughlin's squad any time soon. They face the Saints in New Orleans next week and then welcome the potentially undefeated Packers to New York in Week 13 before squaring off against the Cowboys in Dallas in Week 14.

That's about as big a nightmare as a schedule can be for an NFC East that just kicked itself out of the playoffs, and the Jets still loom, as does a second matchup with Dallas.

The Eagles wanted to give away this game too. DeSean Jackson had a ridiculous taunting penalty that (also somewhat ridiculously) resulted in a loss of 50 yards for the Eagles. Vince Young had three terrible picks. LeSean McCoy never really got going (53 yards on 22 carries before his final 60-yard run to end the game). Riley Cooper was the top receiver.

But the Giants wanted it less, and couldn't get any offense going, as receivers egged on easy passes and the offensive line got no push. Some of the playcalling was suspect, and it put the Giants in a pretty untenable position late in the game.

Which is probably fitting since that's where their 2011 season stands as well.

And even though it's OK to anticipate a Giants swoon, let's hold off on talking about the Eagles running the table just quite yet, please. We were here three weeks ago when they handled the Cowboys too.


3. Missing Pieces

One look at Cincinnati's 31-24 loss to Baltimore, and it's pretty clear how much the Bengals missed wide receiver A.J. Green and cornerback Leon Hall.

Andy Dalton got a shot at boosting his Rookie of the Year stock on Cincy's final drive, but came up short when the Ravens defensive line stepped up in a big way in their own red zone. Dalton missed Andrew Hawkins on first down, was busted for intentional grounding on second, threw incomplete to Jerome Simpson on third and was sacked by Pernell McPhee on fourth. One has to wonder how the goal line playcalling changes if Green's in the game.

On defense, the previously stout Bengals unit was gashed by the Ravens own rookie, Torrey Smith. Smith notched six catches for 165 yards, one touchdown and a number of different catches where he was wide open but made some fantastic grabs on throws from Joe Flacco that was a bit off.

There were three big plays that stand out for Baltimore's passing game: a 35-yard touchdown catch by Anquan Boldin (he was wide open), Smith's 38-yard TD (also wide open) and a 49-yard bomb that Smith reeled in near the goal line, where he just torched Nate Clements (watch below).


It's clearly not a coincidence when a team loses its best cornerback and subsequently gives up a bunch of big passing plays the next week.

And lest we leave this game without pointing out the obvious, the Ravens won once again when Ray Rice was productive and got more than five carries. That's not a coincidence either.

4. Silent Bob Strikes Back

Three weeks ago, Kevin Smith was unemployed, sitting at home, doing nothing. Or signing himself to various Madden rosters, which is even more depressing. On Sunday, he piled up 201 all-purpose yards, revived the Lions rushing attack, and was the catalyst in a 49-35 comeback win for the Lions over the Panthers that kept Detroit at the forefront of the NFC Wild Card race.

It's an awesome story, and Smith deserves all the love he's getting from analysts and all the love he got from the Detroit sideline every time he scored on his three touchdowns.

Three questions stand out to me with respect to Detroit's playoff hopes. 1) Can they avoid early deficits? 2) Can Smith sustain this success? 3) Did Matthew Stafford get healthy at halftime?

With no running game and an injured Stafford, the Lions look like the walking dead against Chicago last week. It was much of the same story in the first quarter against the Panthers, as Stafford threw two picks, looked terrible and the Lions mustered less than 10 yards on four rushes. But a Keiland Williams fumble with 2:30 left in the first quarter gave way to Smith, and he started off his second-chance Lions career with a 43-yard run and followed it up with a 28-yard touchdown catch on the next play.

If Smith is the answer -- and I'm not completely sold yet, but only because a one-legged homeless guy off the street could put 100 yards on that Panthers defense -- and Stafford's healthy, the answer to question No. 1 should be "yes."

We'll find out when Detroit plays Green Bay (twice) and New Orleans over the next six weeks whether they can avoid needing comebacks to win. If they can, there won't be a question about whether or not the Lions are playoff-worthy.

5. More Like a Tropical Storm

For 149 consecutive weeks of NFL action, a former Miami Hurricane has scored a touchdown. Consider that there are 17 weeks in each NFL season, and it works out to more than eight and a half years since a Hurricane failed to score in the NFL. That's bananas.

And yet we sit here, heading into Monday night's Patriots-Chiefs matchup and no member of "The U" has scored in Week 11. (Yes, this is considerably ironic since the 'Canes announced Sunday they wouldn't accept a bowl bid.)

Complicating matters for fans of Miami is the fact that it's pretty unlikely that a Hurricane will score on Monday night. There are only two players left that went to school in Coral Gables: Allen Bailey, a rookie defensive end for the Chiefs who's played in nine games, started none and recorded four tackles, and Vince Wilfork, veteran defensive tackle for the Pats who's inexplicably got two interceptions this season.

Wilfork's the best bet to score, but it'll almost certainly have to come on a fumble in the end zone or a red-zone interception. We've already seen Wilfork try to take on to the house this season, and it didn't work well.

So if you see Bill Belichick trot Wilfork out in a goal line formation during a late-game blowout, you know why. Of course, that alone would totally be worth seeing "The U" continue to tout itself as a producer of fine athletics.

Perhaps the craziest part of Miami alums not scoring? As pointed out Monday by my colleague Bruce Feldman, ex-Cane Kellen Winslow scored a touchdown but it was called back because he pushed off a defender. That defender was Sam Shields ... also a Miami alum.

6. The Jermaine Gresham Rule

I understand that Gresham actually fell victim to the "Calvin Johnson Rule" but he might deserve his subsection at the very least if/when the NFL addresses this disastrous rule.

See, the rule got the nickname when Calvin Johnson lost possession in the end zone. But that's the key -- he was in the end zone. Johnson caught the ball there and then lost it there. (Watch here at the 2:20 mark.)

Gresham, on the other hand, actually crossed the plain with possession. He had his feet in-bounds.

If he was a running back, we wouldn't have this issue, right? I'm pretty sure we wouldn't. Because possession would've been established (vis-a-vis the handoff, etc).

Technically, the officials got the call right, because Gresham lost possession as he fell to the ground, and he didn't make a "football-related move" inside the end zone.

But if you are in possession of the ball and cross the plain with said possession, that should be a done deal, right there. That's the reason why the goal line extends in hypothetical perpetuity. If a running back dives into the end zone over a big pile of people and fumbles after the ball's crossed the plain, it's a touchdown.

But if a wide receiver crosses the plain with possession of the ball, gets a freaking foot into the end zone and then doesn't maintain control all the way to the ground -- even if he had possession before he got into the end zone! -- it doesn't count?

Come on. That makes no sense. Let's fix it, please.

7. Chris Johnson Is 'Back,' Alright

Over the last week, I was repeatedly blistered by people who didn't believe me when I said that Chris Johnson was not "back" to his CJ2K form, despite a 130-yard rushing effort against the Panthers.

I watched that game closely, and what stood out to me was that Johnson's effort and burst and general running ability didn't mesh with the statistics he produced.

After Sunday's 23-17 loss to Atlanta, well, there's no question that Johnson's 2011 season remains lost. The Titans leading rusher in Week 11 was Matt Hasselbeck (one carry, 17 yards). Matt Ryan had a higher yards-per-carry average than Johnson. There were nine -- NINE! -- quarterbacks with more rushing yards than Johnson in Week 11, and it was almost ten as well as two on his own team:


If you take out Johnson's "long" run of the day, he finished with seven rushing yards on 11 carries. That's just flat-out embarrassing and any opponent with a modicum of rush defense can shut him down and make him ineffective.

That's really quite a shame, too, because Hasselbeck's renaissance season would be a lot more interesting with a rushing attack.

And while I'm doing rookie Jake Locker a disservice by not pointing out how good he was in backup duty for Tennessee, it's not as big a disservice as Johnson is doing to the team and the rookie quarterback who might have to overcome one of the most-talented backs in the NFL getting paid and totally disappearing from relevancy.

8. Moore Please

There's a fun little debate about whether the Dolphins, on a three-game winning streak that seemed unfathomable just, um, three weeks ago -- or the Bills -- on three-game losing streak after holding with the AFC East lead as late as the middle of October -- are the bigger story after Miami knocked Buffalo around 35-8.

But maybe the bigger story is the convergence of these two teams on a metaphorical NFL elevator, with the Dolphins trying their best to get out of the lobby and the Bills falling like Dennis Hopper rigged their ride.

To me, it might just be more about these two teams playing closer to what we expected. Buffalo's early-season run was an awesome storyline, but it was unsustainable, particularly with the loss of Eric Wood at center and Kyle Williams on the defensive line. Add in defenses figuring out that the Bills don't have a legit deep threat, and it's no surprise that they're not winning anymore.

Although considering the ridiculous amount of money they handed Ryan Fitzpatrick, they'd probably like to see something resembling offense. At least there aren't a ton of great quarterbacks in this upcoming draft class!

The Dolphins will likely be taking a quarterback at some point in the upcoming draft, but the question is how high they'll be picking, and that largely depends on how sustainable Matt Moore's current level of play under center is. Well, history tells us it's actually possible for him to succeed the rest of the way in.

In 2009, while playing with the Panthers, Moore stepped in for Jake Delhomme and closed out a lost season with a shocking 4-1 record for Carolina that saw him average 16 of 25 passing (62.7 percent) for 198 yards and two touchdowns per game. And that was in a John Fox offense, no less.

Don't expect him to backdoor the Pro Bowl or anything, but don't be surprised when the once-hapless Dolphins keep playing spoiler because Moore keeps streaking.

9. Best Draft Class ... Ever?

I've noted in this spot a couple times in the past few weeks that the 2011 NFL Draft class is one of the best we've seen in a long time, and maybe, dare I say, ever.

The first seven picks of the draft have been outstanding thus far into the season, and that doesn't even factor in Andy Dalton or DeMarco Murray, who might be the leading candidates for Rookie of the Year honors.

Well, two more guys made their mark on Sunday for this class.

Jake Locker entered the game for an injured Matt Hasselbeck against the Falcons on Sunday, and proceeded to nearly lead the Titans to a comeback, completing nine of 19 passes for 140 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Atlanta was up 23-3 at the time, so it's not like they were playing their opening-game defense, but Locker looked darn good in relief duty and the Titans should be excited, even though Hasselbeck will remain the starter.

Prince Amukamara, who the Giants took at 19th overall when he fell past Houston, made his first start on Sunday and also picked up his first career interception, while generally looking like a veteran against the Eagles. And yes, it still counts as an interception, even if Vince Young threw it.

10. Giving Thanks for Thanksgiving

Early in the season, the Thanksgiving games contained only a little bit of drama, thanks to the Harbaugh family reunion in Baltimore. But suddenly we've got three of the best games in the NFL taking place on Thursday, and one of the most memorable Turkey Day slates we've seen in a while.

All six teams playing on Thursday won on Sunday and, collectively, those six teams are on a 26-game winning streak this season.

The Lions and Packers square off with Detroit getting its first shot at ending the Packers undefeated season, the Cowboys have a shot at really generating some separation in the NFC East as they host the inexplicably hot Dolphins and the Ravens/49ers square off to determine who gets all the pie at the Harbaugh household.

It's a collection of three fantastic games and it's almost enough to make me boycott my family's lunch-time festivities away from electronics. Thank goodness for DVR. And 200-person pot-luck lunches.

MUFFED PUNTS

Leftovers from Sunday's action ...
... Cam Newton set the rookie record for rushing touchdowns on Sunday (twice, technically) as he's got nine on the season now.
... Aaron Rodgers is just the second quarterback in history to throw for 3,000 yards and 30 touchdowns in his team's first 10 games; the other was Tom Brady in 2007.
... 2011 is the first season in NFL history to feature three quarterbacks with 3,000 yards and 20 or more touchdowns through 10 games, as Rodgers, Drew Brees and Brady all met the criteria this year.
... The Dolphins became just the third team in NFL history to win three straight games after losing their first seven or more games.
... After Keloah Pilares' TD return, six 100-yard kick returns have happened so far in 2011, which is one short of the NFL record.
... The Lions became the first team in NFL history to record three comebacks of more than 17 points in a single season on Sunday.

WORTH 1,000 WORDS


GIF O' THE WEEK

No Michael Vick and too many Vince Young interceptions make Andy Reid go something-something.


Hot Seat Tracker

  • Mike Shanahan: Six losses in a row for the Redskins, who showed some promise by only losing in overtime. Or something.
  • Norv Turner -- The Chargers keep collapsing and there's nothing promising about their schedule. Three games against Jacksonville, Denver and Buffalo have to mean 2-1 at worst, or it might be time for Turner to move on.
  • Todd Haley: If the Pats whip the Chiefs on Monday night while the Raiders and Broncos keep winning, his seat just gets warmer.
  • Jim Caldwell: The Colts were upset by their bye. What can I say?
  • Steve Spagnuolo: I don't really understand the heat, but it's there.
  • Tom Coughlin: Also don't understand this heat, but let's just go ahead and get out front on this before the fans do.

Chasing Andrew Luck

Colts (-1000): Haha, but no really, they were upset by their bye. Do you see?
Vikings (+125): See: below.
Panthers (+150): The Colts have to win two games.
Rams (+250): Again, it would require the Colts winning games.
Redskins (+300): If only they hadn't won three games early.

MVP Watch

Despite playing -- ahem -- "poorly," Aaron Rodgers is still the clear-cut favorite to win the MVP at season's end. I'm not sure what it would take to derail him, but I think it's probably an injury and an injury only. Tom Brady's got a shot to come from the outside because he's Tom Brady and the Pats schedule stinks, but if the Packers go undefeated, he won't have a chance. Meanwhile, I still like Tony Romo to get darkhorse candidacy by Week 14. Maybe we should just talk about the other awards.
Posted on: November 11, 2011 1:22 pm
 

Bradshaw out for Giants; Nicks questionable

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Since leading the Giants ever so impressively to a big win last week vs. the Patriots, many of us have wondered if quarterback Eli Manning finally has moved into elite quarterback status.

When the Giants face San Francisco on the road this Sunday, Manning will need to be just that kind of top-notch player, because, once again, running back Ahmad Bradshaw has been ruled out by the team.

Bradshaw missed last week’s win after one of the screws embedded in his foot began to aggravate him in Week 8, and though Brandon Jacobs has been less than stellar this season, he was serviceable (18 carries, 74 yards, one touchdown) against New England.

Meanwhile, Manning could get some help this week as receiver Hakeem Nicks, who has missed the past two weeks with a bum hamstring, is questionable along with rookie cornerback Prince Amukamara, who could make his pro debut this week.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: November 3, 2011 12:23 pm
Edited on: November 3, 2011 3:41 pm
 

Bradshaw has cracked bone, Amukamara could debut

AmukamaraPosted by Josh Katzowitz

UPDATED 2:00 p.m. ET: ESPN's Adam Schefter is claiming Bradshaw's injury might not be as serious as previously thought. Schefter tweeted the following:

"Person familar with Giants RB Ahmad Bradshaw's injury texted this: 'Not serious injury -- should play Sunday. No surgery (needed).'"

So, make of that what you will.

----------

In a spot of very bad news, the Giants, who have been ravaged by injuries to their defense all season, now have an injury problem on offense. As in running back Ahmad Bradshaw has a cracked bone in his foot and is out indefinitely, according to the Newark Star Ledger.

Bradshaw apparently is deciding whether to have surgery. He's already had problems with his feet - in fact, he's had surgery on both of them - and he had to leave last week's game after one of the embedded screws began aggravating him.

That leaves Brandon Jacobs as the team's No. 1 running back heading into the weekend.

The Giants defense, though, has been the unit that's been hit hard by injuries this season. It might get a little healthier this week. And if Prince Amukamara can make his pro debut Sunday, we’ll get a chance to begin to see if he was worth a No. 19 overall pick in the 2011 draft. 

He was the last first-round pick to sign after a holdout, and he was the first to get injured as well, breaking his foot and requiring surgery in just his second practice with the team.

But now that Justin Tryon is out, the Giants are missing a cornerback when they face New England on Sunday. Even if Antrel Rolle knows he can handle Patriots receiver Wes Welker, New York would probably like to hedge its bets a bit and get as much secondary help as possible.

“The sense of urgency definitely is there, but I definitely don’t feel pressured by anyone,” Amukamara said, according to the Newark Star Ledger. “They’re just supporting me and telling me to get well soon and that they can use me. I’m just doing everything I can.”

Even without actually participating on the field, Amukamara has made a good early impression on his teammates, who cite his humor and his willingness to ask questions in team meetings as positive attributes.

“He is a good player,” safety Kenny Phillips said, via Rapid Reporter Alex Raskin. “You watch him in practice, he’s definitely coming along.”

Now, the Giants hope he’s far enough along to actually take the field for the first time.

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Posted on: October 31, 2011 4:27 pm
Edited on: October 31, 2011 4:29 pm
 

Jacobs not happy, except for 'fast-ass car'

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

The vibe around the Giants should be really good these days. Yes, the schedule is about to turn awfully difficult, but the squad is 5-2 and in first place in the NFC East by two games. Yeah, New York didn’t look good against the Dolphins, but still, the Giants are in a pretty decent spot.

Apparently, that doesn’t matter to Brandon Jacobs. He’s not getting as many carries as he’d like, and as a result, he’s raising a bit of a ruckus in the Giants locker room.

“I’ve got nothing positive to say,” Jacobs said, via ESPN New York. “The most positive thing: I got family at home and I got a fast-ass car being delivered on Tuesday. That’s it.”

And this came in the moments after another win by the Giants. He only received four carries Sunday -- he turned that into 10 yards -- but he fumbled once and dropped a pass. He also took a booing from the crowd. Initially, he said he wasn’t going to talk but eventually did anyway.

 “I always say something for everyone else’s dislike,” Jacobs said.

At his presser today, Tom Coughlin responded back by saying, "He needs to play, and he needs to get back to work."

With this kind of attitude, though, you have to wonder how much longer Jacobs will be around with the Giants. But hey, on the bright side. If the Giants end up waiving him, he can speed away from the stadium in his fast-ass car.



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Posted on: October 13, 2011 6:54 pm
 

Jacobs: Eli is '100% better' QB than Tony Romo

Romo or Eli: Who ya got? (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Will Brinson

Much has been made this year about what kind of quarterback Eli Manning is, with respect to his peers. (Although I suppose it's not that different from any other year, then.) The first instance happened when Eli compared himself to Tom Brady in terms of where they rank in the NFL.

And now Brandon Jacobs, Giants running back, is generating a new comparison, one that's sure to fire up Cowboys fans.

"He's definitely a 100% better quarterback than Tony Romo. No question," Jacobs told Mike McCarthy of USA Today recently.

Hmmm. This is actually pretty interesting comparison -- I don't think that there's a consensus, if you took a quick straw poll, about who's better between Eli and Romo.

Eli's got a Super Bowl and, um, more than zero playoff wins, so that's probably a trump card for people who like to believe that quarterback wins have a direct correlation with quarterback talent. In equally worthless counting stats, Romo has three Pro Bowls, while Eli has just one.

Manning was drafted in 2004, just like Romo, but he got starts sooner -- Romo first started in 2006, while Eli got under center for the Giants in 2005. Eli has 24,132 passing yards in career, good for 219.4 a game, he averages 6.9 yards per attempt for his career, and has a career 167:118 TD:INT ratio.

Romo on the other hand, has 17,923 yards for his career, good for 192.7 a game, averages 8.1 yards per attempt and has a career 125:67 TD:INT ratio.

Manning sports, via Pro-Football-Reference, a 108 TD%+ (100 is average, higher or lower is better or worse than average) and a 95 INT%+. Romo sports a 118 TD%+ and a 99 INT%+, so they're basically even there. Romo's passer rating index is 116, per PFR, while Eli's is 98. (Again, 100 is average.)

Both are equal in terms of how people perceive them in the media, at least in the sense that people love to argue about whether or not they're "clutch."

I'd never expect Jacobs to say anything other than positive things for Eli, and if I were starting a team, I'd probably -- and I find this surprising -- go with Manning, since he's got the pedigree, the Super Bowl and he's younger.

But I wouldn't fault you if you said you wanted Romo either.

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Posted on: October 7, 2011 1:05 pm
 

Tuck, Jacobs doubtful for Sunday

TuckPosted by Josh Katzowitz

A day after practicing with the Giants, defensive end Justin Tuck -- who’s been battling neck and groin issues -- sat out today’s workout. And truth be told, Tuck is frustrated with the state of his body. How frustrated, you ask?

"Look at my face," Tuck said, via the New York Daily News, "and you'll answer that question."

Since you can’t see his face, we’ll have to assume that he’s pretty frustrated. As are the Giants, who have been decimated by injuries all year.

Assuming Tuck doesn’t play Sunday -- and by him not practicing Friday leads us to assume that he probably won’t be ready to go in two days -- he’s weighing his options about how to proceed with his neck. Making matters worse, ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported running back Brandon Jacobs had a sprained MCL, and Friday's injury report listed Tuck and Jacobs as doubtful.

Tuck could sit out Sunday’s game vs. the Seahawks, miss the Oct. 16 game vs. the Bills and then rest during the Giants bye week. Since he missed last week, that would mean his neck would have about a month to heal. Or he might try to play through the pain anyway, with smaller, more-restrictive pads to help stabilize his neck and a new facemask that would hopefully hinder opponents from grabbing and twisting it to put more pressure on his neck.

That’s perhaps one reason why he shouldn’t play. New York’s opponents, specifically the Eagles and Rams, have targeted his neck to try to get him out of the game. That’s the claim Tuck makes anyway.

"They did it before the neck (injury happened), but it's a little bit more amplified now," Tuck said. "I would say this. When you get a game where you feel like you've got an advantage in a situation, you try to exploit that. That's what teams are doing."

"It's part of the game. We all do it in some capacity."

Jacobs also didn’t practice Friday, and after missing practice Wednesday and Thursday, it sounds like he’s a no-go for Sunday as well.
For Tuck, that also probably is the best course of action.

“Obviously that sounds like the smart thing to do, but we’ll see,” Tuck said, via Rapid Reporter Alex Raskin. “There’s no guarantee that if I sat out until the bye week that I’d be healthy for the rest of the season.”

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Posted on: September 29, 2011 11:00 pm
 

Jacobs: skeptics can return to 'miserable lives'

Brandon Jacobs doesn't care if you never believed in the Giants. (US PRESSWIRE)

Posted by Ryan Wilson

Not many people outside of New York figured the battered Giants stood much of a chance Sunday against the self-anointed Dream Team, division rival Philadelphia. So naturally, the Giants jumped out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead and won going away, 29-16.

The Eagles looked more like the Washington Generals, and quarterback Michael Vick was forced from the game with a bruised hand and plenty to say about the state of NFL officiating.

Meanwhile, the Giants, now 2-1, are tied with the Cowboys and Redskins for the best record in the NFC East. (The Dream Team is 1-2.) And New York running back Brandon Jacobs has a few words for the doubters.

"The people outside that want to say they're fans and don't believe in us, I couldn't care less if they ever believed in us," Jacobs said, according to the New York Daily News. "They don't mean anything to us if they didn't believe in us. They can go back and finish living their miserable lives as they've been living and hoping that they lose and whatever."

Jacobs, who has a reputation as something of a hot head, wasn't finished. "In this locker room, guys are ready to play," he said. "And I look in a lot of guys' eyes and see that they're ready to go ... The only thing that matters is the people that's on this football team and in this organization."

In less incendiary news, the Giants could have Osi Umenyiora and Justin Tuck in the lineup against the Cardinals Sunday. Umenyiora hasn't yet played this season after undergoing knee surgery during training camp, and Tuck has missed practice this week because of groin and neck issues. Head coach Tom Coughlin said he was "optimistic" about Tuck's availability in Arizona, though, in regards to Umenyiora, would only allow that “We’re going to have to watch and see how he comes back.” 

One thing's for certain, however: Jacobs doesn't care what you think.

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