I.

Two competing views of the Giants and Eli are proffered in a couple of New York Sun articles from the past couple of days. Michael David Smith has an optimistic take on our Young Elisha.  He writes:

“The maturation of their passing game, headed by Eli Manning, has made a big difference this season. Last year, Manning tried to force the ball into coverage too often. This season, no quarterback distributes the ball more evenly than Manning. Amani Toomer and Tiki Barber have 32 catches apiece; Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey each have 31.”

Indeed, you really have to like the way Eli’s finding guys this year. Last year he seemed very prone to lock in on key guys; this year, he’s really found the knack for finding the open man. I wrote about this after the Cowboys game. For a quarterback, finding the open dude is more than half the battle.

But Allen Barra isn’t sold. Let me point out first that Barra makes a living being a contrarian. It’s great to be analytical, and Barra’s pieces are of course more interesting than almost anything else you’ll see in daily newspapers, but just because you’re piecing together an analytical argument doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re making a good point. Just because there’s reason behind your conclusion doesn’t mean that that reason is properly guided. So although I will always read Barra’s pieces, I take them with a grain of salt.

All of this is prologue to the fact that Barra has been straight hating on the G-Men all year. Every little glimmer of imperfection that emerges from the games he has seized on. Yes, I know, I know, he is only trying to do his due diligence in tempering the overheated New York media, but it seems like this year, he has pulled out every conceivable argument to deny the G-Men their rightful status as an elite team.

But anyway, with that said, he brings up some valid points about Eli and the Giants offense:

“Look at Eli’s numbers for the first four games of the year, and compare them to those of the last four. Yes, I know, Burress was out yesterday; and the week before, against Tampa Bay, the wind played havoc with the passing game. But throw these and any other excuses you want to into the mix: The numbers for the past four games are not good. The Giants play selection has, on the whole, been unimaginative over the last four games, exactly the same bad groove that Coughlin and his staff got into the second half of the season last year, only this year it’s happening earlier.”

We are 6-2 and everything is looking rosy, but it’s important not to get carried away with the good vibe. Last year, both Eli and our offense trailed off dramatically from the first part of the year to the second, and until I see it not happening this year, it’s gonna be in the back of my mind. The worst case scenario is the one that Barra puts forth. I can’t say that it’s totally out of the question.

But the one big difference between this year and last year is that Eli, despite his disconcertingly deteriorating accuracy, has gotten really good at finding guys year. Part of the problem last year was that he got so attached to Plax that once defenses game-planned to stop Plax, we were fucked. Nobody talked about this, but let’s face it: By the end of last year, Eli was a substantial liability. We need him to be a substantial asset this year if we want to seriously compete for a championship.

II.

Some random thoughts from Sunday’s game: Gary Kubiak is a total Jim Mora, Jr. is a total Augustus Busch, III. Same dude. I love these tri-partite calls – they really are unique. Here’s another one, which was a lot more relevant to the New York sports scene last year when I made it than it is now: Will Peterson is a total Robinson Cano is a total Trevor Ariza. Here’s a link to my old website that shows what I’m talking about. It’s pretty uncanny.

But anyway, this got me thinking about calls, and I think it’s time that we do kind of a “Here’s looking at you” segment here at NYGMen. Write in suggestions, of course, are always welcome and appreciated. (But one condition: No links pictures of the actual subjects of the call. I feel that pictures can present a false essence of the subjects, which goes against the beauty of a call: Even if it’s not a perfect physical resemblance, a call is on point if it captures some kind of signature essence.) Anyway, here are some off the top of my head:

–R.W. McQuarters is a total wheelchair-bound narrator from “Oz,” the same guy who played Mercutio in the Claire Daines version of Romeo and Juliet. The actual actor’s name is Harold Perrineau.

–Speaking of “Oz,” my friend Dan – who is also a regular NYGMen commentator – points out that LaVar is a total Poet.

–I hate to dwell on HBO shows, but as my brother Harv pointed out, Antonio Pierce is a total Keith from “Six Feet Under.” You can make a trifecta call on this one by throwing in Mike Jarvis, the former GW and St. John’s basketball coach.

–Gibril Wilson is a total Dwyane Wade.

–Kareem McKenzie is a total Zacarias Moussaoui.

–Brandon Short is a total Tony Parker.

–Amani Toomer is a total Carolina Mudcat. For some reason, it always looks like Amani’s sense of smell has been egregiously offended.

–Will Demps is a total Chad Morton. Credit on this one belongs to my friend Wong.

–Offensive Coordinator John Hufnagel is a total Dan Hedaya. He played Alicia Silverstone’s pops in Clueless and Carla’s ex-husband on “Cheers.”