Monday, September 24, 2012
Eli Manning and the Giants rocked it on Thursday night in Carolina. Here's some highlights from Peter King's Monday Morning Quarterback column, a must read for any respectable football fan.
Why the Giants win ... at least one big reason.
Patience wins in the NFL. Impetuousness rarely does, and when it does, it doesn't last. The 2009 NFL draft illustrates that well. That spring, the Giants picked Connecticut tackle Will Beatty 60th overall, Cal Poly wide receiver Ramses Barden 85th overall and North Carolina State running back Andre Brown 129th. Until Thursday night, Beatty had been an oft-injured disappointment, Barden got passed -- and lapped several times -- in wideout impact by Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks and Brown had been cut by half the free world. On Thursday, they were three of the 10 most important Giants in a 36-7 rout of Carolina on the road.
That's the strength of Jerry Reese as a general manager. He's not a knee-jerk guy. Last April, I wrote a story on Reese (and, in particular, how well he works with Tom Coughlin), and I sat in his office for a while talking about roster-building. The subject of the abuse he took from the talk-show set and fans came up for letting Steve Smith and Kevin Boss go in the 2011 offseason. He got a smile on his face and played me a couple of, shall we say, interesting, voice mails from critical fans after those players went to Philadelphia and Kansas City by way of Oakland, respectively. He asked me not to report what was said in the voicemails, but let's just say you need to have some blisters on your hide to be a general manager for a New York sports team.
"We don't have a template for how we build here,'' says Reese, and the Giants don't. But the one thing they have no problem doing is saying goodbye. They loved Boss -- loved him. But he wasn't worth a $6 million signing bonus to them. Gone. "Around here, when the money gets above X, we say goodbye,'' John Mara told me in the spring. They figured Barden could slide into Manningham's role and so they let Manningham walk to San Francisco. Brandon Jacobs had worn out his welcome; Brown and rookie David Wilson will have a shot to replace him -- and that looks good so far.
Charting players who have been good Reese picks in his first six drafts with the Giants:
2012: CB Jayron Hosley, Virginia Tech (Round 3, 94 overall)
Precocious and instinctive from day one of camp, Hosley's one of the best rookie DBs in the league. He intercepted a Cam Newton pass Thursday.
2011: LB Jacquian Williams, South Florida (R6, 202)
A top special-teamer from day one, Williams stripped Kyle Williams in overtime of last season's NFC title game, setting up the Giants win.
2010: DE Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida (R1, 15)
Think the Eagles (Brandon Graham at 13) or Raiders (Rolando McClain at 8) would like to have a draft-day do-over?
2009: RB Andre Brown, North Carolina State (R4, 129)
Tore his Achilles as a rookie, and has been cut eight times since, but Reese brought him back, and Brown finally paid off with his big night against Carolina.
2008: WR Mario Manningham, Michigan (R3, 95)
Made the second-greatest catch in modern Giants history, but the Giants let him walk in free agency. "I don't agonize over anyone,'' Reese says.
2007: RB Ahmad Bradshaw, Marshall (R7, 250)
Troubled in college, he was worth a seventh-round risk, to put it mildly. What I love about the Giants 2007 draft: All eight rookies on this Super Bowl roster not only made the team, but also were active for at least one of the Giants' four playoff wins that year.
The Fine 15:
5. New York Giants (2-1). Sitting in a good position after three weeks. They're the hottest offense in football -- Giants 61, Foes 14 over the last five quarters -- and they now sit back on their mini-bye, three days away from football, while the Eagles wake up after a long trip home from Arizona and a very short night. The Giants will be well-rested when they arrive at the Linc next Sunday night.
Dr. Z Unsung Man in the Trenches of the Week
The award for the offensive lineman who was the biggest factor for his team in the weekend's games, named for my friend Paul Zimmerman, the longtime SI football writer struggling in New Jersey to recover from three strokes suffered in November 2008. Zim, a former collegiate offensive lineman himself, loved watching offensive line play.
Will Beatty, T, New York Giants. Except for two late pressures allowed, Beatty, in his first start of the season, provided a safety net for Eli Manning and paved the way for Andre Brown, in his first start in the NFL, to run for 113 yards. More lithe and agile than he seemed as a rookie out of UConn, Beatty's going to be a vital part of the New York offense. He showed against Carolina he's ready.
Coaches of the Week
Pat Flaherty, offensive line coach, New York Giants.
Preparing on a short week, going on the road ... those are problems enough for a team playing on a Thursday night, and playing a team that just beat up the New Orleans Saints. But add this: Flaherty had to prepare an offensive line that would be starting in tandem for the first time ever -- and with a right tackle, Sean Lockler, starting his first game at right tackle for the Giants, and with Will Beatty starting for the first time this season at left tackle.
Flaherty's the unsung hero on the Giants' coaching staff, and he proved it again Thursday night. Eli Manning was sacked once in 51 minutes of play time, and rarely under duress. A first-time starting back, Andre Brown, rushed for 113 yards, and the Giants held the ball for 36 minutes. It shouldn't be this easy, but Flaherty's line made it look that way.
Ten Things I Think I Think
s. Good instincts and intelligence, Jayron Hosley, the Giants rookie cornerback. Hosley, on a blitz of Cam Newton Thursday, wasn't faked out by the nimble Newton. Then, when he contacted Newton as he released the ball, Hosley had the presence of mind to not drive him into the ground, but to slide off him and avoid a possible roughing penalty. That was a five-year-vet play by a third-round rookie.
7. I think, in case you didn't catch my drift about Cam Newton, I objected to three things he did Thursday night, aside from playing his worst all-around game as an NFL player. One: Scoring in the third quarter to make it 23-7, and then pulling the Superman act in the end zone; bush league. Two: Setting himself apart on the bench late in the game when things were going bad, causing Steve Smith to read him the riot act for being a baby. Three: Talking postgame about the loss like his dog just died.
Bernie Kosar once had a great line about a quarterback's job once the game ends. He said the postgame interview scrum is like the fifth quarter, where you help set the agenda for your teammates and, in part, your organization, for the next week. When you do that, you can't be an all-is-lost guy, which is what Newton looked like after the Giants beat Carolina.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. The Triple Crown is a pretty big deal. The last time it was won, 1967, I was sitting on the couch in my living room in Enfield, Conn., nerdily keeping score of the final Red Sox game of the Impossible Dream season. That's the weekend my hero, Carl Yastrzemski, went 7 for 8 as the Sox swept the Twins in a two-game series to win the pennant, and it's the weekend Yaz won the Triple Crown. (Yaz homered in the seventh Saturday, his 44th, and Harmon Killebrew followed two innings later with his 44th.) Yaz won the Crown, tying Killebrew in homers and winning the Batting and RBI titles outright. It hasn't been done in the 45 years since.
If the season ended Sunday, Miguel Cabrera would do the exact same thing -- win the batting and RBI titles, and tie Josh Hamilton for the homer run title with 42. I admire the ridiculous season of Mike Trout, but if the season were over and I had a vote, Cabrera would be my MVP.
c. Happy 63rd birthday (Sunday), Bruce Springsteen.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Felix Hernandez, the Seattle Mariners' 26 year old ace and savior throws his first perfect game and no hitter on August 15th, 2012. King Felix, who was the AL Cy Young Winner in 2010, pitched the second perfect game at Safeco Field this year. In true Mariners fashion, the team won the game against the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0. Thanks King Felix for being here when times have been rough, giving us performances like this, and we hope you're still here when it gets good again. Some nuggets from the game:
-Felix Hernandez became just the 23rd pitcher—and first Mariner—in MLB history to throw a perfect game by beating the Tampa Bay Rays 1-0.
-This was the sixth no-hitter in the majors this season, three of them coming at Safeco Field.
-King Felix generated 26 swings-and-misses for the day, 10 via his curveball, nine via his changeup, five via his slider and one apiece via his four- and two-seam fastballs. The 26 whiffs are tied for third on the year with the White Sox’ Chris Sale (May 28 against these same Rays) and the Tigers’ Max Scherzer (May 20 against the Pirates), behind CC Sabathia (27 on June 7 against — surprise! — the Rays) and Francisco Liriano (30 on July 13 against the A’s). Among the no-hitters and perfect games this year, his total far outstrips those of Johan Santana (18), Kevin Millwood and five Mariner relievers (16, seven by Millwood), Matt Cain (14), Philip Humber (14) and Jered Weaver (10).
-Felix: "It was always in my mind, every game. `I need to throw a perfect game.' For every pitcher I think it's in their mind," Hernandez said. "Today it happened and it's something special. I don't have any words to explain this. This is pretty amazing. It doesn't happen every day."
-It marks the first time in MLB history three perfect games have been thrown in the same season
-King Felix struck out Sean Rodriguez looking for the last out.
As Mariner fans like to say: "Felix Is Ours And You Cannot Have Him"
Monday, August 6, 2012
When Kathryn Bigelow won the Oscar for Best Director and her film "The Hurt Locker" won for best picture, film fans around the world were eagerly anticipating what her follow up would be. Entertainment Weekly offers the first in-depth interview about the film and also has exclusive screen shots.
Not looking to take it easy after the gritty and hyper-real Iraq war film, Bigelow looked to take on another story from her "Hurt Locker" screenwriter Mark Boal, about the hunt for Bin Laden. After the criminal mastermind was killed by Seal Team 6, Bigelow and Boal re-worked the movie into "Zero Dark Thirty," which Bigelow explains: "It’s a military term for 30 minutes after midnight, and it refers also to the darkness and secrecy that cloaked the entire decade long mission."
The film has a strong ensemble cast, including Kyle Chandler from "Friday Night Lights," recent Oscar nominee Jessica Chastain, Mark Strong as a CIA agent, Chris Pratt, Mark Duplass, Harold Perrineau, Jason Clarke and Edgar Ramirez.
The interview offers many details about the film, while also keeping the story and build up a secret. Said Bigelow: "There are over 100 speaking roles, featuring teams of operatives, from [Department of Defense], CIA, Navy SEALs, et. al. that intersect with foreign nationals and enemy combatants."
Here are a few of the screenshots, check out the rest at EW's main website.
In somewhat surprising news, Baz Luhrmann's adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" will be moved from Christmas 2012 until summer 2013.
The move has a few repercussions, the most notable of course is the removal of the film from this years Oscar race. From what we've seen so far, the set design and costumes are a shoe-in for nominations, and performances from past nominees like DiCaprio and Mulligan are always worth keeping an eye on.
The studio has a number of other titles to push for this years awards, including Peter Jackson's adaptation of "The Hobbit" and Ben Affleck's Iran hostage crisis drama "Argo". This also gives DiCaprio some breathing room in the public relations department because he also has a starring role in Quentin Tarantino's "Django Unchained," which is also slated for a Christmas 2012.
Wednesday, May 23, 2012
You knew Baz would make the world of Gatsby luxurious, and boy does he. Leonardo Dicaprio is a perfect Gatsby and the rest of the cast looks fantastic as well, including Tobey Maguire, Jason Clarke, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton and Carey Mulligan. Can't wait til Christmas.
Tuesday, May 1, 2012
Christopher Nolan, I salute you. Cannot wait until July 20th.
Monday, April 9, 2012
The girl just can't be stopped. For another week "The Hunger Games" struck down all competitors and showed the reason why Gary Ross would want a few more bucks to return as director of the sequel.
Also it's less than one month until THE AVENGERS and the unofficial start of summer movie season. CANNOT WAIT.
Monday, March 5, 2012
The Giants' Super Bowl DVD is finally here and Peter King in his MMQB column throws out some great nuggets about it:
As usual, some good nuggets in the Giants' Super Bowl DVD.
One of my favorite video events of the year is the hour-long Super Bowl winners' DVD, which goes on sale tonight at midnight and will debut in Times Square in New York this evening. We've already seen some of the good moments previewed on shows like "Inside the NFL'' on Showtime, and on NFL Network programming, the best of which was Bill Belichick in the Super Bowl imploring his defense -- right before Eli Manning rainbowed the greatest throw of his life into Mario Manningham's arms down the left sideline -- to watch out for Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, and let the Giants throw it to Manningham or Bear Pascoe.
The other points I enjoyed about Vivendi Entertainment's Super Bowl XLVI Champions: New York Giants:
• Good NFL Films slo-mo angles of stopping Vernon Davis in the NFC Championship Game. Tight, compelling shots. And a perfect angle on the ball grazing Kyle Williams' knee on the poor returner's muffed punt.
• Victor Cruz on the field before the Super Bowl, speaking to himself incredulously, sounding like a perfectly programmed Tom Coughlin football player. This Cruz talking to Victor Cruz: "I used to think it was all about me. It's about this team. THIS TEAM.''
• The mechanics of officiating on the early-game safety in the Super Bowl. After Tom Brady, standing in the pocket in the end zone, sails a pass way over any intended receiver, umpire Carl Paganelli rushes in to speak with ref John Parry in the end zone. "Nobody down there!'' Paganelli said. And Parry looked downfield and said, "He's [Brady] in the pocket.'' Good scene of how officials work together.
• Telling camera shot: After Chase Blackburn intercepted Brady, Brady sat glumly on the field. For three or four seconds, a teammate offered a hand to help Brady get up. Brady didn't.
• Cruz, again, watching the replay board after the incredible catch by Manningham down the sideline, during the replay review, seeing if Manningham did indeed make a legal catch: "Catch ... right ... left ... YEAH!!!!''
• New England linebacker Jerod Mayo in the huddle with a minute to play, telling his defense to play dead: "Huddle up! Huddle up! Gotta let 'em score! Gotta let 'em score!'' And they did.
• Finally, Tom Brady, with urgency, just before his Hail Mary on the final play of the game, to Aaron Hernandez: "Run to the goal post and catch it!'' That's exactly what Hernandez tried to do. And failed.
Good stuff, though I'm guessing it won't sell so well in the 617 area code.
Wednesday, February 29, 2012
Monday, February 13, 2012
In addition to MMQB this morning, this was Ernie's full Eli scouting report from the 2003 college football season:
"WEARS LEFT KNEE BRACE... DURING PREGAME WARMUP, DIDN'T LOOK LIKE HE HAD A ROCKET ARM... AS GAME PROGRESSED, I SAW EXCELLENT ARM STRENGTH UNDER PRESSURE AND THE ABILITY TO GET VELOCITY ON THE BALL ON MOST THROWS. GOOD DEEP BALL RANGE. GOOD TOUCH. GOOD VISION AND POISE. SEES THE FIELD... IN A SHOTGUN ON MOST PLAYS AND HIS ONLY RUNNING OPTION IS A DRAW... HIS OFFENSIVE LINE IS POOR. RED-SHIRT FRESHMAN LEFT TACKLE. ELI DOESN'T TRUST HIS PROTECTION. CAN'T.
NO WAY CAN HE TAKE ANY FORM OF DEEP DROP AND LOOK DOWNFIELD. WITH NO RUNNING GAME (10 YARDS RUSHING THE FIRST HALF0 AND NO REAL TOP RECEIVERS, HE'S STUCK WITH THREE-STEP DROPS AND WAITING TIL THE LAST SECOND TO SEE IF A RECEIVER CAN GET FREE. NO TIGHT END EITHER. NO FLAIRING BACK. SO HE'S TAKING SOME BIG HITS. TAKING THEM WELL. CARRIED AN OVERMATCHED TEAM ENTIRELY ON HIS SHOULDERS. I IMAGINE, EXCEPT FOR VANDERBILT, HIS TEAM IS OVERMATCHED IN EVERY SEC [SOUTHEAST CONFERENCE] GAME... HE'S BIG, NEVER GETS RATTLED. RALLIED HIS TEAM FROM A 14-3 HALF-TIME DEFICIT BASICALLY ALL BY HIMSELF. LED THEM ON TWO SUCCESSIVE THIRD QUARTER DRIVES TO GO AHEAD, 17-16. THE FIRST TOUCHDOWN, ON A 40-YARD STREAK DOWN THE LEFT SIDELINE, HE DROPPED THE BALL OVER THE RECEIVER'S RIGHT SHOULDER. CALLED THE NEXT TOUCHDOWN PASS HIMSELF, CHECKING OFF TO A 12-YARD SLANT... MAKES A LOT OF DECISIONS ON PLAY CALLS AT THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE, BUT THEY ASK TOO MUCH OF HIM. THEY DON'T LET HIM JUST PLAY. THIS IS A GUY YOU SHOULD JUST LET PLAY... WHEN HE'S INACCURATE, HE'S USUALLY HIGH, BUT RARELY OFF TARGET TO EITHER SIDE... PLAYS SMART AND WITH COMPLETE CONFIDENCE. DOESN'T SCOLD HIS TEAMMATES, BUT LETS THEM KNOW WHEN THEY LINE UP WRONG OR RUN THE WRONG PATTERN... THREW THREE INTERCEPTIONS. TWO WERE HIS FAULT. TRYING TO FORCE SOMETHING BOTH TIMES. HE COULD HAVE RUN ON ONE OF THEM, A FOURTH DOWN PLAY. HE HAS A LOT TO LEARN.
SUMMARY: I THINK HE'S THE COMPLETE PACKAGE. HE'S NOT GOING TO BE A FAST RUNNER, BUT A LITTLE LIKE JOE MONTANA, HE HAS ENOUGH ATHLETIC ABILITY TO GET OUT OF TROUBLE. REMEMBER HOW ARCHIE RAN? IN THAT DEPARTMENT, ELI DOESN'T HAVE THE BEST GENES, ALTHOUGH I NEVER TIMED MOM OLIVIA IN THE 40. BUT HE HAS A FEEL FOR THE POCKET. FEELS THE RUSH THROWS THE BALL, TAKES THE HIT, GETS RIGHT BACK UP... HAS COURAGE AND POISE. IN MY OPINION, MOST OF ALL, HE HAS THAT QUALITY THAT YOU CAN'T DEFINE. CALL IT MAGIC. AS [FORMER BALTIMORE COLTS DEFENSIVE BACK] BOBBY BOYD TOLD ME ONCE ABOUT UNITAS, "TWO THINGS SET HIM APART: HIS LEFT TESTICLE AND HIS RIGHT TESTICLE"... PEYTON HAD MUCH BETTER TALENT AROUND HIM AT TENNESSEE. BUT I HONESTLY GIVE THIS GUY A CHANCE TO BE BETTER THAN HIS BROTHER. ELI DOESNT GET MUCH HELP FROM THE COACHING STAFF. IF HE COMES OUT EARLY, WE SHOULD MOVE UP TO TAKE HIM. THESE GUYS ARE RARE, YOU KNOW."
Eli Manning... New York Legend.