Ok, I haven’t even looked at the newspapers since Sunday, but it’s been long enough.  Here we go:

  • Only three false starts on Sunday, but as Lisa Kennelly points out, they all came in the first quarter and were all costly at the time.  And there wasn’t really anything of consequence in that game after the first quarter, so…
  • There was some unbelievably bad play in the defensive backfield Sunday, and Mike Garafolo points out the obvious.  Frankly, I don’t know what’s worse: the pass rush or the secondary.  Either way, each one’s awfulness is reinforcing the other’s.  It wasn’t supposed to be this way: An outstanding pass rush was supposed to bail out an average secondary, and our pass defense was supposed to be above average.
  • Also in this article, Colonel Tom fires back at those who would say that it was the scheme, and not the way the scheme was executed: “Our pass coverage was practically non-existent….  The scheme was fine, but the individuals playing the scheme…we’ve got to get better with regard to that.â€? 
  • Or maybe not.  In this article, Colonel Tom blames the defensive scheme, but then says, “If you want to point the blame, point it right at me.â€?  But as Mike Garafolo writes, “Only one problem.  Coughlin is primarily an offensive coach and doesn’t design the defensive schemes.  Coordinator Tim Lewis is responsible.â€?  Indeed.  Coughlin makes mention of “those obvious, wide open seam balls.â€?  If you forget some of these, let me refresh your memory:
  • 1) Hasselbeck’s 12-yard TD pass to Burrelson, where it looked like Madison pass the coverage off to safety help (Demps), which didn’t come even remotely close to getting there.
  • 2) The 4-yard TD pass to Jackson that followed.  Remember this one?  Aikman mentioned that it was Hasselbeck’s third read, and that the pass-rush was primarily to blame for letting him calmly go through his reads like that.  True, but that doesn’t nullify the fact that Jackson planted himself in the middle of the endzone with nary a Giant within five yards of him.
  • 3) The 10-yard pass to Will Heller that made the game 28-0 and officially out of reach.  This was the one where R.W. completely let the guy get to the spot – he noticed him run by him, he just didn’t play him.  Very strange.  Troy Aikman talked about his “poor outside techniqueâ€? on this one.
  • 4) The pass where Engram caught it and then rolled into the endzone, which was emblematic of the entire afternoon: Shockingly, there wasn’t a Giant in sight, and when they finally got there, they gave an embarrassingly piss-poor effort.  But anyway, Engram looked like he was R.W.’s man on that play.
  • I haven’t been reading since Sunday, so I haven’t really seen the response to the Shockey stuff, but apparently, O’Hara called him out pretty good.  So did Petitgout.  As for the defense, Pierce, the proud leader, is clearly embarrassed and enraged: “We’re not (a postseason contender).  Right now, we’re a horrible 1-2 team, and that’s a fact.â€?  (Speaking of Pierce, two people have pointed out that he’s a total Keith from “Six Feet Under.â€?  I agree, but I think that Keith from “Six Feet Underâ€? is actually a much bigger Mike Jarvis.  By the way, have you noticed that Will Peterson is the biggest Robinson Cano is the biggest Trevor Ariza?) 
  • The Giants have to “man up,â€? says Sam Madison in Ernie Palladino’s piece.  Oh, and if Plaxico wasn’t actually benched for his poor play, he should have been.  The dropped pass, the fumble – which was exactly the same as the one he had last week – and the blatantly obvious push-off had nothing to do with his back.
  • Speaking of Plax, Michael David Smith rips into him in his “Overrated Player of the Weekâ€? piece (Thanks to Oakland Raiders fan and NYGMen reader Seth Werkheiser for the tip!).  It’s the second time he’s ripped a high-priced G-Man in the last week.  I think he’s a little harsh in his assessment.  Plax might be a bit of a space cadet, but I’m not willing to say that he doesn’t play hard.  I mean, he’s an excellent blocker.  Plus, he fits into the category of guys with long, effortless strides that always seem to not be hustling as much as they are.
  • Speaking of Plax’s long strides, Troy Aikman made a really good point on this matter, saying that the way he runs is not conducive to getting separation on shorter out patterns (this was after the push-off), and that his speed kicks in more as he gets downfield. 
  • Carlos Emmons strained his pec again.  Yes, it was the pec that cost him the better part of last season.  This guy is hurt much more often than he’s healthy.  Let’s get Gerris Wilkinson in this piece.
  • Here’s a Palladino piece on Shockey’s apology, which was of the “I didn’t mean to bring any distractionsâ€? variety, as opposed to the “I should have never undermined the coach.â€?  Coughlin’s reaction is disappointing as well: “I’m surprised…  It’s disappointing.  What can I tell you?â€?  You see, what he should have said was, “That’s the last time I’m taking any shit from any one of these players.  I’m the coach, and anyone who has anything to me had better say it to my face, behind closed doors.â€?
  • Granted, I’ve pretty old-school/conservative on the question of a coach’s authority, which isn’t exactly in keeping with my personality.  But to me, it’s like Chris Rock says about politics.  He’s not a “Democratâ€? or a “Republican.â€?  He chooses his positions issue by issue.  “Conservative on crime, liberal on prostitution,â€? he says. 
  • But anyway, I feel that football is unique in that it mandates a very strict chain of command, from the head coach on down.  To undermine the head coach is to threaten that chain of command and with it, threaten the fragile balance that keeps 52 exceptionally talented guys – most of them who probably have well-earned huge egos – both risking and busting their asses for an organization that doesn’t even compensate them that well, at least relative to other pro athletes.  Taking a public shot at the coach really opens up a pandora’s box.  So it’s not like I’m taking Colonel Tom’s “sideâ€? in this matter, or even necessarily saying that I disagree with what Shockey said.  I’m merely saying that he should never have said it, and that as a player, he has no right to say it.  And he should apologize more than that “I’m sorry if my words offended anybodyâ€? bullshit.
  • I, on the other hand, am not one of those 52 exceptionally talented guys, and from my lofty perch as a blogger, I say we should run more of the no-huddle offense.  My rationalle?  Eli is so obviously a guy that needs to get into a rhythm.  When is he most successful?  In the two-minute offense, or when he’s mounting a massive comeback.  Get and keep him in a rhythm and he is awesome.  There’s no reason we shouldn’t see this quality as an asset and at least be open to taking advantage of it.
  • Ralph Vacchiano writes a really good piece in his blog about the whole “out-coachedâ€? thing.  Disturbingly, the team’s dissatisfaction with the coaching staff has been a recurring thing.  The grumblings began after last year’s 16-13 loss to Dallas.
  • This is probably the most intelligent thing I’ve read about the Giants all year.  Allen Barra takes Coughlin to task based on the evidence.  Did you know that we’ve had more penalties than our opposition in 16 of the last 19 games?  That’s really insane.  And seriously, what’s the deal with the pass rush?  As Barra writes, “[Getting sacked nine times and having only two sacks] alone would indicate a losing team even if everything else was going right.  And everything else is not going right.â€?  (That said, I’m not throwing in the towel on Colonel Tom.  It’s reached a critical point, yes, but this team will right the ship.)
  • Barra also goes out of his way to give kudos to Eli Manning, which I agree with wholeheartedly.  “Let’s be clear on this,â€? he writes.  “Eli Manning is about the only thing on this team going right.â€?
  • Tim Lewis finally speaks up in what John Branch calls “a case of unfortunate timingâ€? for him: by Coughlin’s autocratic rules, coordinators are only allowed to address the media three times a year, and during the bye week is one of those times.  He indicated that changes were in store, which is obviously a good thing: “Coach Cowher always used to say, ‘If you do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always got.’  We don’t want to get any more of this, so we’ve got to do something differently, no doubt.â€?