Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Warner to be Missed?

“I want to be somewhere starting next year. They know it’s not here with the New York Giants. And they understand my point of view 100 percent.” - Kurt Warner

These where the words from Kurt Warner. It is apparent he wont be with the Gaints next season. Since Eli is the quaterback of the future.

Thought the Gaints had a winning record with Warner. Warner was the bad. He still ranks number 7 in the NFC.

Eli on the other still has a little more time to grow. To bad Warner's inpatince well have him leaving. Eli will be great to watch some day. And Warner has front row seats to this Eli's career.

It is not like Warner can't help the guy out some.

Monday, December 20, 2004

Eli vs. Ben

BY AP, from
The main thing separating Ben Roethlisberger and Eli Manning on Saturday was the Pittsburgh Steelers' rookie quarterback made his biggest plays with the game on the line.

Roethlisberger threw for a season-high 316 yards and hit four straight passes to set up Jerome Bettis' game-winning 1-yard run with 4:57 to go, leading the Pittsburgh Steelers to a 33-30 win over the New York Giants.

"I am amazed, but he is an awesome quarterback," receiver Antwaan Randle said after Roethlisberger led the Steelers (13-1) to a team-record 12th straight win and handed the Giants (5-9) a seventh straight loss.

"He might have a long way to go, but he has this great poise," said Randle El, who caught five passes for 149 yards and a TD and also threw his first career TD. "You can have all the ability in the world but if you don't have to the poise to do it, it won't happen."

Roethlisberger, who has not lost in 25 straight college and pro starts, showed his poise in moving the Steelers from their 33 to the New York 8 after a Tiki Barber 1-yard run had given New York a 30-26 lead.

"He has been making good decisions with games on the line," coach Bill Cowher said of the 11th pick in the NFL draft. "In the fourth quarter, he has a feel for the game and an understanding of the game and he manages it well."

Until Saturday, Manning has struggled in losing his first four starts. The No. 1 pick in the draft was horrible in his last two games and seemingly had lost his confidence.

Using a game plan filled with plays he liked, Manning found himself against the NFL's top-ranked defense. He threw two touchdown passes and set up Barber's go-ahead touchdown with three completions of 15 yards or more.

"I had fun because we were getting some stuff done," said Manning, who completed 16 of 23 for 182 yards. "We were making plays, running the ball, the line was protecting, receivers were making catching. We got in a rhythm and it was back to playing football again. It was a good feeling."

Roethlisberger hit five passes of 34 or more yards in a much-hyped matchup with Manning, who only had one over 20 yards.

The two talked before the game and they congratulated each other after it was over.

"I don't ever want to remember what it is like to lose," said Roethlisberger, who also threw two interceptions.

Randle El caught a 35-yard touchdown pass and threw a 10-yard shovel pass to Verron Haynes for a touchdown. Jeff Reed kicked four field goals, Hines Ward had nine catches for 134 yards despite finishing the game with a hip pointer and Bettis ran for 140 yards for the Steelers.

Manning threw touchdown passes of 2 yards to Jeremy Shockey and 1 yard to Marcellus Rivers. He also hit Amani Toomer with two 17-yard passes and he added a 15-yarder to Ike Hilliard to set up Barber's go-ahead TD run.

Manning was sacked on a 2-point conversion attempt.

Roethlisberger then sandwiched passes of 9 and 11 yards to Ward around a dump off to Bettis before hitting Randle El for 36 yards to the Giants 8. Three straight runs by Bettis got the ball in the end zone.

Willie Williams picked off a deep throw to a tripped Toomer on the next series and the Steelers ran out the clock.

Giants receiver Willie Ponder took the opening kickoff 91 yards for a score. It was the Giants' first game-opening kickoff return for a touchdown in a regular-season home game in their 80-year history.

The Steelers used trickery to tie the game with Randle El making the shovel pass after taking a lateral from Roethlisberger.

Manning, who had led the Giants to only one touchdown in 45 possessions since replacing Kurt Warner at quarterback, hit Shockey for a TD on the next series.

Manning gave New York a 24-23 lead with his TD pass to Rivers.

Reed put Pittsburgh ahead 26-24 with is 28-yarder early in the fourth quarter.

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

A Giant Dilemma

By Michael Eisen,
Is the Giants’ offense having trouble scoring because Eli Manning is struggling, or are Manning’s problems the result of an offense that offers him little help?

Coach Tom Coughlin didn’t provide an answer in a conference call today, but acknowledged the Giants need better play from the quarterback and those around him as they enter the final three weeks of the season.

Manning and his mates both had forgettable games in the Giants’ 37-14 loss to the Ravens Sunday in Baltimore. The rookie quarterback completed only four of 18 passes for 27 yards, did not lead the Giants to the end zone and finished with a rating of 0.0. The offense put its only points on the board with 3:25 remaining, after Kurt Warner had replaced Manning and the outcome had long since been decided.

The Giants lost their sixth consecutive game, the last four with Manning as the starting quarterback. Manning has taken the snaps for 46 offensive possessions and has the led the Giants to one touchdown. He has one scoring pass and six interceptions. As a team, the Giants have scored 37 points in four games, including one touchdown apiece on defense and special teams.

So who do you blame first, the quarterback or everyone on the offense?

“I think it’s hard for us right now to find a whole lot of positives on the offensive side,” Coughlin said. “It really was a situation (in Baltimore) where we needed the players around him to play at a higher level to help him so that he doesn’t have to be in the middle of making of every play or a high percentage of every play. Obviously, that’s not the case. But it has to start. The quarterback has to make plays, there’s no doubt about that either.”

When Manning left the game midway through the fourth quarter, the Giants had 58 yards of total offense. Immediately after the game, Coughlin announced to the team and then to the media that Manning will remain the starting quarterback. As a reward, Manning will face Pittsburgh on Saturday. The Steelers have won 11 games in a row and have the NFL’s top-ranked defense.

To some, it seems like a good week to give Manning a break and let Warner, the veteran, stabilize the situation. But Coughlin does not believe Manning should watch for a week.

“I don’t think that’s the answer,” he said. “I think you have to compete and look at the defenses we’ve played over the last few weeks, and that’s just part of the deal. I can’t make it any easier for you. It is what it is. You are playing against the best in football without a doubt and it’s week-in and week-out. And, of course, it doesn’t get any easier this week. I don’t know that that’s the answer. I will say that we have got to take better care of the football (after turning it over six times in Baltimore). I’m not going to sit here and stand for that now. That’s not even giving us a chance to win when we turn it over like that.”

The Giants players remain supportive of Manning. Coughlin was adamant that he does not have to “sell” Manning to the team after four disappointing weeks.

“We had a discussion in the locker room following the game yesterday and I think the players are in agreement with it,” Coughlin said. “I told them exactly that it was my responsibility, I made the decision. I said that Kurt played an outstanding game when he came off the bench, but Eli remains the starter. Eli’s got to go out and do what I believe what he told you after the game, to make plays so his teammates realize that he can win the game for them.”

While conceding that Manning played poorly against the Ravens, Coughlin believes one or two successful big plays could get the quarterback and the offense headed in the right direction.

“I look at it trying to be as positive as I can. You’ve a young guy who has faced a series of defenses, particularly on third down, which he had worked well against during practice,” Coughlin said. “Obviously, practices are not the same speed as you find on Sunday. He worked against them well during the week. He threw the ball at the right spot and he had momentum going into the game. Those things were on schedule. He didn’t get off to a good start in the game, didn’t make some plays early on.

“I thought the way in which the game started for us with the fumble on the kickoff and the fumble on the next series didn’t help him or anyone on the offensive side. Then to finish that up with an under thrown interception in which (Amani) Toomer had a step on (Gary) Baxter wasn’t a positive either. I just think that like anybody else, if something good would happen for Eli and the offensive team, I think they would feel a lot better about themselves.”

But opposing defense are making that very difficult by using all kinds of exotic blitzes and coverages to confound Manning.

“What they’re trying to do obviously is confuse the look that he has,” Coughlin said. “It’s causing him to pause at the line of scrimmage, which really is affecting the offense, because we seem to be over the ball for such a long amount of time. We just have to make a determination and go. They’re moving around, so obviously you just have to make a call and stick with it. They’re doing that for the obvious reason, to try and confuse the young player when in the long run there are some keys where they are either going to bring the predetermined number of people or come in a fashion that’s relatively familiar to him. I thought we had a pretty good workable scheme for either their four-down or three-down fronts in the sub-package and the third-down package in the game when we went in. I think that pretty much held up except they did cause some new and different alignments.”

Coughlin knows a rookie quarterback is going to make some mental mistakes. But he doesn’t want to see Manning falter in the physical aspect of his game, or start using bad mechanics.

“I think when he tries to hurry the ball his mechanics aren’t the way they should be,” Coughlin said. “I think there were two or three tipped balls early in the game where he was trying to sidearm the ball in between defensive linemen, for example, that I’d rather he didn’t do that or release it at the high point. But during the course of the game, sometimes you have to do things. I’m always concerned with fundamentals and we’ll continue to work on that.”

Perhaps in the next three weeks, the Giants will reap a reward from that hard work.

Monday, November 29, 2004

Giants Fall to Eagles, 27-6

By Michael Eisen,

Four was the Giants’ unlucky number on Sunday.

Their 27-6 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles was their a) fourth in a row overall, b) fourth consecutive at home, and c) fourth straight to the Eagles. The defeat dropped the Giants to 5-6 with road games at Washington and Baltimore the next two weeks.

The Eagles improved to 10-1 and clinched their – what else? – fourth consecutive NFC East title.

The 21-point margin of defeat was the Giants’ largest in a home game since a 50-21 loss to the Redskins on Sept. 19, 1999.

The Giants trailed at halftime, 7-6, but surrendered 20 unanswered points in the second half, including 13 in the third period. Eli Manning completed just six passes, threw two costly interceptions and fumbled a ball that the Giants recovered. The Giants had a punt blocked and finished with a season-low 12 first downs.

“Not a lot of positives today,” coach Tom Coughlin said. “We weren’t as physical as I expected us to be. We didn’t tackle well. We didn’t block the line of scrimmage as well. Why the second half wasn’t more effective in terms of just our protections and our tackling…even at 20-6, anything can happen in a game. You get a touchdown, you come back and score anything can happen, but it wasn’t to be and the game deteriorated from there, so there not a lot of positive comments about the way we played today.”

“It’s been an M.O. for us, unfortunately, all season,” said Tiki Barber, who rushed for 110 yards despite suffering a laceration in his knee that required stitches. “We’re putting together half games. We’re good in one half or the other but not all the way through. I think we did well in the first half, but in the second half we were misfiring in a lot of different areas and in a lot of different parts of our team. Special teams, with the blocked punt, and the interception that gave them field position. It’s hard to win when you play that way.”

Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook scored touchdowns on short runs and hooked up for a 34-yard scoring pass and David Akers kicked a pair of field goals for Philadelphia, which improved to 10-1 and clinched its fourth consecutive NFC East title. The Eagles are just the third team since the 16-game schedule was introduced in 1978 to secure a division championship after 11 games.

The Giants, who wore red jerseys for the first time since 1953, failed to score a touchdown and got only two first-half field goals from Steve Christie. They have scored only 30 points in three games.

“We played bad today,” said linebacker Carlos Emmons. “If we keep playing like this, we are going to keep losing. They didn’t do anything we didn’t expect. They just executed the plays better than we did. We have a lot of games left, guys just have to step up. We are going to see who this means something to. It is time for us to step up now.”

Manning, making his second start, completed only six of 21 passes for 148 yards, including strikes of 50 and 52 yards to fellow rookie Jamaar Taylor.

“It wasn’t a good performance,” Coughlin said. “The two interceptions, one with the possibility of scoring some points, and the other one (set up Philly points)…they were definitely setbacks. Now is he responsible for the incompletions? A lot of them he is fighting for his life and throwing the ball away, so I wouldn’t comment on that until I see the tape. But I didn’t think the protection was very good and I didn’t think we reacted very well to their pressure.”

“I have to play better than I did today,” Manning said. “It’s just a matter of I have to make plays and I can’t mistakes. I can’t turn the ball over. Even the first drive that we had in the game, we drove down the field and on a curl, Amani (Toomer) was open and the ball slipped out of my hand and it kills the drive when you do those things. I have to stop making mistakes and be better prepared and play smarter football.”

The Eagles seized control of the game with 13 unanswered points in the third period – aided by an interception and a blocked punt – to increase their lead to 20-6. Akers kicked two field goals just 2:31 apart – from 47 and 42 yards – and Westbrook scored a touchdown.

The surge began after the second-half kickoff, when Philly moved 53 yards in nine plays to set up Akers’ first field goal. On the first play of the half, from the Eagles’ 18-yard line, Westbrook ran for 10 yards. Philly then advanced 15 yards further when Will Allen was penalized for unnecessary roughness after he threw Westbrook down out-of-bounds.

“That was not a smart play,” Coughlin said. “That’s not a smart play and that’s what I’m talking about. (Philadelphia started at its) 18 and then we have run and then we have a penalty on top of the run, not smart. You have to learn how to play and how to control yourself and maintain poise and that wasn’t the case.”

The longest play on the drive was a 24-yard pass to Terrell Owens that moved the ball to the Giants’ 23-yard line. The drive then stalled, as Lance Legree tackled Westbrook for a three-yard loss and McNabb was penalized for an illegal forward pass. Akers then kicked his 47-yard field goal.

On the second play of the Giants’ subsequent possession, Manning overthrew Toomer on the left side and the ball was intercepted by safety Brian Dawkins at the Giants’ 47-yard line. A 20-yard pass to L.J. Smith helped the Eagles move the ball to the 24 before Akers came on to kick his second field goal.

“I saw man-to-man and I was trying to throw a ball where Amani could go and get it and maybe adjust and get the ball,” Toomer said. “I didn’t see the safety running over. It was a stupid throw and a bad decision on my part.”

The Giants’ next possession also ended poorly. After Manning was sacked for an eight-yard loss by Corey Simon and Darwin Walker, Jeff Feagles came on to punt. His kick was blocked by Jevon Kearse – who had also applied pressure on the previous play – and recovered by Hugh Douglas on the Giants’ 28-yard line.

“One of the worst parts of the day was the blocked punt,” Coughlin said. “We just got overrun on the blocked punt by Kearse and that’s something that we had not done, hadn’t really had a whole lot of issues with that.”

Philadelphia covered the 28 yards in seven plays, including McNabb passes of 10 yards to Owens and 11 to Westbrook. A seven-yard pass to Owens gave the Eagles a first down at the Giants’ five. Former Giant Dorsey Levens picked up four yards before Westbrook scored the touchdown on a run up the middle.

Westbrook scored again when he caught a screen pass from McNabb and weaved his way through the Giants defense for a 34-yard score with 9:52 remaining in the fourth period. That completed a nine-play, 82-yard drive and increased Philly’s lead to three touchdowns.

The Giants trailed at halftime, 7-6, thanks to Christie’s second field goal, a 31-yarder with 9:08 remaining in the second period.

Following an Eagles punt, the Giants took possession at the Philadelphia 46-yard line. Manning immediately threw a 26-yard pass down the middle to Shockey. Tiki Barber gained three yards, but Manning was then sacked for a 12-yard loss by blitzing linebacker Mark Simoneau, who shot through the line untouched. That pushed the ball back to the 29. Barber gained 14 yards on a run to the left side before Christie was summoned.

Philadelphia took a 7-3 lead on McNabb’s four-yard touchdown run to the right side on the first play of the second quarter. The Eagles drove 53 yards in seven plays following a Giants field goal, including a 16-yard run by McNabb to open the possession. Westbrook had a 12-yard run to give the Eagles a first down on the Giants’ 12-yard line.

Levens gained eight yards on the final two plays of the opening period to set up a third-and-two from the four. After the teams moved to the East end of the field, the Eagles sent two receivers out to the right side. With the defenders pre-occupied in pass coverage, McNabb ran to that side and slipped into the end zone for the game’s first touchdown.

The Giants squandered an opportunity to score in the second period. On the first play after Osi Umenyiora recovered a McNabb fumble, Manning threw a 52-yard pass to Taylor that gave the Giants a first down at the Eagles three-yard line. It was the longest completion of Manning’s young career. But on the next play, Manning’s fade pass to the left side for Jeremy Shockey was intercepted by substitute defensive back Quintin Mikell.

“We had a fade with Shockey and I just threw a bad ball,” Manning said. “I didn’t get it high enough. I didn’t give him a chance where either he’s going to catch it or no one is going to catch it. I threw it inside, didn’t get enough height on it and that’s just something that I can’t do.”

“I didn’t think it was thrown very well,” Coughlin said. “That whole issue there is if you do have the height advantage that we have, the ball needs to be thrown high. If you’re not going to catch it, then Shockey has got to knock the ball down and not let them catch it. I didn’t think there was much of a chance on that. The ball didn’t seem to be up in the air very high. I know he was trying to throw it to the back pylon but it didn’t seem to have the trajectory that was necessary.”

The Giants took a 3-0 lead on Christie’s 22-yard field goal with 3:26 remaining in the first period. The score capped an 87-yard drive that included Manning’s 50-yard pass to Taylor, who got a step ahead of cornerback Lito Sheppard on the right side and hauled in the perfectly-thrown ball.

The long pass gave the Giants a first down at the Eagles’ 11-yard line. After Barber’s three-yard run and an offsides penalty on Philadelphia, the Giants faced a second-and-three at the four. Manning threw a pair of incompletions into the end zone before Christie was summoned to kick the field goal.

Early in the drive, Manning completed a third-down pass to Toomer and scrambled for a 15-yard gain on third-and-eight.

Those kinds of plays were few and far between in the second half.

“We had opportunities early in the game; we just didn’t capitalize on them,” Toomer said. “That is the story of our season. It comes down to turnovers again. We didn’t execute. That is the problem. We don’t execute. We work all week on different things and it just doesn’t seem to click.”

Monday, November 08, 2004

Giants Fall to Bears, 28-21

By Michael Eisen,

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – From a psychological standpoint, the Giants’ 28-21 loss to the Chicago Bears Sunday is difficult to fathom. The Giants were coming off a resounding road victory in Minnesota, they took the field knowing a victory would move them within one game of Philadelphia in the NFC East race (because the Eagles suffered their first loss of the season) and they had a vocal Giants Stadium crowd behind them after jumping out to a 14-0 first-quarter lead.

Then you look at the cold, hard numbers, and the defeat is very understandable. There were five turnovers (three fumbles and two interceptions) committed by a Giants team that had a total of six in the first seven games. Four of them were in the first half, including, remarkably, three on three consecutive plays late in the second period. Those miscues led to 13 points.

Add in a season-high 14 penalties for 109 yards – including one that took a touchdown off the board and another that wiped out an 86-yard kickoff return. And Kurt Warner getting sacked seven times and running for his life on numerous other occasions. Going one-for-14 on third-down conversion attempts, and one-for-six when it was third-and-one or fourth-and-one.

The Giants fell to 5-3 and remain two games behind Philadelphia. Chicago is 3-5.

Tom Coughlin’s post-game news conference was laced with lines that told the story: “Very uncharacteristic game for us in terms of five turnovers, a ton of penalties, untimely plays in circumstances really throughout the entire game.”… “It was very frustrating not to be able to continue the rest of the game like we played in the first quarter.” … “That’s what I’m saying, just stupid plays throughout the game, penalties, turnovers, increasing the opportunity that you won’t be able to get out from under the problems that you create for yourself.”… “You know what’s really disappointing? We’re at home. We’ve lost two in a row at home. We’re 5-3 and we’ve lost two in a row at home. That’s very disappointing, and I’m sure it’s very disappointing for our fans as well.”… “There’s not a lot to be pleased with.”

Monday, October 18, 2004

Practice Report for Thursday

By Michael Eisen,

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – One consequence of the Giants’ fast start is that the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft spends gamedays on the sidelines instead of on the field.
And that’s fine with Eli Manning.

Rookie QB Eli Manning continues to develop behind starting QB Kurt Warner.

“The number one thing for me is for the team to win,” Manning said. “It makes everything easier. It makes the next day coming in and the whole week go a little smoother. I’d like to be out there playing. But I’m making the best out of the situation and it’s fun to be a part of this team and to be winning games.”

The 4-1 Giants will take a four-game winning streak into their bye weekend. Quarterback Kurt Warner, who won the starting job with a strong training camp, has thrown just one interception in 147 pass attempts and has made several key plays.

Manning has played just once, at the end of the Giants’ only loss, 31-17 in Philadelphia on opening day. In what could be considered a good omen, the Giants scored a touchdown on his first professional snap on Tiki Barber’s 72-yard run.

Manning completed three of nine passes for 66 yards, including a 34-yarder to Barber. He was welcomed to the NFL with a crushing blind-side hit from the Eagles’ Jerome McDougle.

Manning is still the Giants’ quarterback of the future. But as long as Warner continues to excel and the Giants keep winning, he will remain a spectator during the games.

But Manning continues to grow and improve as a quarterback. He works hard every day in practice, both as the scout team quarterback and with the snaps he gets with the regular offense. Manning studies each week as if he is the starter and does a mental rep in practice each time Warner takes a snap.

In addition, at Tom Coughlin’s urging, Manning is studying tapes of successful NFL quarterbacks such as Tom Brady, Donovan McNabb and his brother, Peyton Manning of Indianapolis.

“I’m getting more comfortable with the offense,” Manning said. “You learn little things like simple reads, what defenses plays are better against. Each week when we put in the game plan you try to learn different philosophies of the offense and continue to learn what plays are good against certain defenses.

Because Manning is a Warner injury away from becoming the quarterback, he must prepare each week as thoroughly as the starter. When asked where Manning has made the biggest strides, Coughlin mentioned the mental aspect of the rookie’s progress.

Manning has benefited from having a willing and astute teacher in Warner, who has never hesitated to help the young player who aspires to take over his job. Manning has been able to learn about being a professional and what it takes to win in the NFL by watching Warner. But all the classroom and practice sessions can’t make up for not playing on Sunday.

Manning had a head start because he brings superb football intellect to the job.

“He certainly did an outstanding job of grasping all the things we threw at him in the spring and in the summer and even now of understanding what we want,” Coughlin said. “It’s a different thing to perform under pressure than it is to learn it obviously, but I can tell you this, that at no time did we back off anything in terms of preparation knowledge, level of sophistication because he was a rookie. Our plan was to load him up and that’s what we’ve done.”

Perhaps the most important question right now for the Giants regarding Manning is this: If something happens to Warner, can the rookie go in, run the team and win games?

“I think he would be as ready as anybody can possibly be,” Gilbride said. “Unless you are out there doing it, that is where your greatest growth takes place. He gets as much work as we can afford to give him in practice. In terms of the mental reps and the preparation that we can do in the meeting room and then in our drill work, he is doing all he can do and he is as good as any backup will be in terms of getting himself ready to go.”

For the Giants to find out definitively, Warner would have to suffer an injury. Obviously, no one wants that to happen. So for now, Manning will have to continue his hard work while waiting his turn to step into the lineup.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

Warner was once Favre's backup

By Michael Eisen,
Since becoming the starting quarterback of the Green Bay Packers in 1992, Brett Favre has had 11 backups who have gone on to start for other teams. Only one of those signal-callers has won a Super Bowl and the NFL Most Valuable Player Award.

That player is Kurt Warner, now the Giants’ starting quarterback. On Sunday, the two quarterbacks – who have played in four Super Bowls, won two Super Bowls and have five MVP awards between them – will share the spotlight when the Giants visit the Packers in Lambeau Field.

Warner’s first NFL experience was with the Packers in 1994. He signed with Green Bay as a free agent after being passed over in the draft following a career at Northern Iowa. After getting a look in training camp, Warner was released.

After leaving Green Bay, Warner did not resurface in the NFL again until St. Louis signed him after the 1997 season. The rest, as they say, is history. Warner became one of the greatest success stories in NFL history. In 1999, his first year as a starter, he was voted Most Valuable Player and led the Rams to a victory over Tennessee in Super Bowl XXXIV (Warner was also the game’s MVP). Two years later, he won the award again while leading St. Louis to another Super Bowl, which the Rams lost to New England.

The Giants signed Warner on June 2, a day after he was released by the Rams. With No. 1 draft choice Eli Manning waiting in the wings, Warner has led the Giants to a 2-1 start. Last week, he reached 15,000 passing yards in his 56th game, tying Dan Marino for the fewest games needed to reach that milestone.

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Gaints Ready for Lound Mouth T.O.

"I just see myself as a guy that can come in and make some plays, and it’s not for me to say if I’m the missing link or not, but I definitely know my position on the team,” Owens said on a conference call. “I’m definitely here to try to win a Super Bowl, and that’s the stand that I’m taking right now. We’re going to take our first step toward that on Sunday.”

Not if the Giants can help it. They are not unfamiliar with Owens. In a Monday night game in 1998, Owens caught five passes for 140 yards, including a 79-yard touchdown in a 49ers victory over the Giants. Owens faced the Giants twice in 2002, catching four passes for 41 yards in a prime-time opener and nine for 177 yards, including a 76-yard touchdown on the Niners’ first play, in San Francisco’s comeback victory in an NFC Wild Card game.

When Tai Streets scored the winning touchdown with 1:05 left, Owens and Williams tangled and received offsetting unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. They went at it again after the 49ers’ unsuccessful two-point conversion attempt. Owens and Williams were flagged for unnecessary roughness, but the Giants’ safety was ejected from the game for throwing a punch.

Today, both players have matching recollections of that game.
“All I know is that we won. That’s it,” Owens said.

“I remember they won,” Williams said. “That’s the most frustrating part. We’re out here to win games. We’re not here to take out any personal grudges on anybody. We need to come away from this game with a win.”

To do that, they can’t let Owens dominate the game.

“I’m expecting him to be at the top of his game and to come out, especially in the opening game, and have a phenomenal game,” Williams said. “I know that’s his expectation and that’s what their fans want to see, that’s what their coaches want to see. It’s our job to prevent that from happening. It’s going to be a great challenge for us and we’re looking forward to it.”

Thursday, September 02, 2004

Jason Whittle returns to the Giants

The Giants sent an undisclosed draft choice to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to acquire guard Jason Whittle, who played for the Giants from 1998-2002. Whittle, 6-4, 305, played in 63 games with 19 starts for the Giants. He started all 14 games in which he played in 2002. On March 7, 2003, Whittle signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent. Last year, Whittle played in all 16 games for the Bucs and started the first five games at right guard.

In other roster moves, the Giants released kicker Bill Gramatica, offensive lineman Mike Saffer and defensive lineman Delbert Cowsette. Gramatica's departure leaves the kicking duties to Todd France, who has never kicked in an NFL regular season game.

With the moves, the Giants reached the NFL-mandated roster limit of 65 players. They also have six NFL Europe exemptions. Like all teams, they Giants must cut their active roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. Sunday, meaning they must release 18 players.

Friday, August 27, 2004

How Much of an Effect Will the Injuries Have?

Heading into the annual summer clash between the Giants and the Jets, Big Blue is going to be a little shorthanded. The following Giants are not expected to play due to injury:

Defensive end Lorenzo Bromell (PUP/knee), kicker Bill Gramatica (back), quarterback Jesse Palmer (abdominal strain), guards Barry Stokes (gluteal strain), Scott Peters (leg), Travis Scott (knee) and Rich Seubert (PUP/leg), tight end Jeremy Shockey (hamstring/foot), defensive end Keith Washington (eye) and safety Gibril Wilson (sprained neck).

Running back Curtis Keaton is questionable with a knee injury.

As a result, these are the changes in the starting lineup: Wayne Lucier will start at left guard for Stokes. Visanthe Shiancoe will start at tight end for Shockey. Osi Umenyiora will start at right defensive end for Washington. Kevin Lewis will start at middle linebacker for Nick Griesen.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Battle Between Manning and Warner Continues

Kurt Warner will start at quarterback for the New York Giants this week, although his competition with rookie Eli Manning for the regular-season job continues. Coach Tom Coughlin announced on Wednesday that the two-time MVP will start Friday against the New York Jets, but that Manning, the No. 1 pick in the draft, will get about the same amount of snaps with the first-team offense.

``It's Kurt's turn,'' Coughlin said of the starting nod, adding that it was his plan all along to have the two quarterbacks alternate starting assignments in the first three preseason games.

Warner started against Kansas City in the preseason opener and Manning got a start last week against Carolina. Manning and Warner were informed of the decision on the final day of training camp at the University at Albany.

Coughlin said he will name a starter for the season opener at Philadelphia on Sept. 12 ``at the right time."

``It really didn't matter to me whether I started or didn't,'' said Manning, the brother of Indianapolis Colts quarterback Peyton Manning, last year's co-NFL MVP. ``When I get my name called, I try to go in there and do my job.''

Warner was signed in June to give the Giants a caretaker quarterback until Manning was ready to take over. However, Manning has performed so well the Giants might well put their $45 million prodigy to work right away.

``The bottom line is we don't know,'' Warner said. ``We have no idea. We can't sit here and worry about every play or every mistake. I think our mindset, both Eli and myself, we want to continue to get better, so whatever call is made that person is ready to play and the other one is ready to help them in whatever way they can.''

Statistically, the quarterbacks are almost even in the preseason.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Eli Manning's Challenge

What a way to test a rookie quarterback: Give him his first NFL start against the defending NFC champions and their vaunted defense.

Eli Manning is ready for the challenge. Carolina Panthers are too.

It's a test by Giants coach Tom Coughlin, who is holding tryouts for his starting quarterback spot. Manning, the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft, is battling two-time MVP Kurt Warner for the job.

Warner started last week's 34-24 win over Kansas City, giving way to Manning, who went 7-for-13 for 91 yards and no touchdowns.

Manning knows the Panthers will be a tougher opponent, with the foursome of Peppers, All-Pro Kris Jenkins, Mike Rucker and Brentson Buckner eager to jar him a bit. He'll also have to dodge speedy linebackers Dan Morgan and Mark Fields.

``It's a great defense with a lot of good players,'' Manning said. ``It's going to be a challenge. That's when you have to go out there and make smart decisions. When nothing is there, you have to see what you're going to do.''

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Giants Schedule 2004

Here's the schedule for the New York Giants' 2004 season:

2004 Preseason
Date Opponent Time/Result
Aug. 13 Kansas City 8:00 p.m.
Aug. 19 at Carolina 8:00 p.m.
Aug. 27 at New York 7:00 p.m.
Sept. 2 Baltimore 7:00 p.m.

2004 Schedule
Date Opponent Result
Sept. 12 at Philadelphia 4:15 p.m.
Sept. 19 Washington 1:00 p.m.
Sept. 26 Cleveland 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 3 at Green Bay 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 10 at Dallas 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 17 Open Date
Oct. 24 Detroit 1:00 p.m.
Oct. 31 at Minnesota 1:00 p.m.
Nov. 7 Chicago 4:05 p.m.
Nov. 14 at Arizona 4:15 p.m.
Nov. 21 Atlanta 4:15 p.m.
Nov. 28 Philadelphia 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 5 at Washington 4:15 p.m.
Dec. 12 at Baltimore 1:00 p.m.
Dec. 18 Pittsburgh 1:30 p.m.
Dec. 26 at Cincinnati 1:00 p.m.
Jan. 2 Dallas 8:30 p.m.

All times are Eastern

Thursday, July 22, 2004

blog under construction

I'm still working on getting this blog set up, so come back in a bit for updates!