I.

By now, it’s no secret that Will Demps has been a major disappointment. During Sunday’s telecast, Troy Aikman cemented it in the minds of even casual Giants fans when, after Demps missed easy pick, he said, “Will Demps has had a real rough year.” Indeed, Demps has made some pretty costly mistakes in recent weeks:

–His missed tackle on Thomas Jones’ “3rd and forever” run, which allowed the Bears to get back into the game. As Al Michaels kept saying, this play was the turning point in a game that was a turning point in the Giants’ season.

–The missed tackle on Vince Young on the Kiwanuka play. Everyone blames Kiwanuka for this, but if Demps makes that stick or even slows Young down, the Giants get the ball back in field goal range, win that game, and are 8-5 in first place of the NFC East right now.

–Being late in safety help on the tying touchdown in the Titans game. Frank Walker was the guy who got beat, but he was isolated in single coverage with Brandon Jones with an entire side of the field to defend. Demps was responsible for giving Walker some safety help, but he was nowhere to be found.

–I don’t know if this was his fault or not, but Demps was definitely involved in the Whitten play. It looked like a miscommunication in the secondary where Demps had to jump a shorter route, but the fact is, as a free safety, nobody should get behind Demps. On that play, both Whitten (working on Pierce) and T.O. (working on Dockery) got behind him.

So yeah, one of our major free agent acquisitions has turned out to be a dud, which brings us to the question of why.

NYGMen commentator Cody speculated that it’s his knee – Demps is coming off a partially torn ACL after all. There’s definitely some truth to that. Check out Mike Garafolo’s blog entry from last week:

Will Demps stepped up and took the blame for his performance in Sunday’s loss to the Cowboys. But at the same time, he talked about his surgically repaired knee and said it’s not 100 percent.

He also sounded disappointed Tom Coughlin wasn’t aware the partially torn ACL he suffered last year isn’t completely healed yet.

“You’re never going to be exactly like you used to the first year (after the injury). I understood that,” Demps said. “I just felt maybe (the coaches) understood that a little bit, too.

“But I’m a professional. I’m going to take it on the chin and move forward knowing I’m not going to make every perfect tackle, but I’m going to make the tackles I need to. I know I’m going to be frustrated about certain things I missed. And I understand I’ll be accountable for them.

“But I’m not the only one.”

Hmmmm… Well, this obviously invites the question: Was Demps so forthcoming about his knee this past offseason, when we gave the guy a fat contract? Quite frankly, it’s hard for me to have much sympathy for the guy, considering that he’s the damaged goods the Giants were hoodwinked into giving a contract. Thanks for “taking it on the chin,” Will. You’re a real mensch. And if you really think you’re “making the tackles you need to,” why don’t you try “making every perfect tackle?” Please.

II.

Allen Barra’s raging pessimism about all-things Giant – especially Eli – continues. Nontheless, his points are always worth considering, and his recent New York Sun (which, for those of you who don’t know, has a ridiculously on-point sports section) article is no exception. Here’s a sample of his latest installment of anti-Eliism:

For the game, Manning was 17 of 33 for 172 yards and three touchdowns. Seventy-three of those 172 yards came on those two completions to Burress. Subtract them from the total, and Manning was 15 of 31 for 99 yards, which is absolutely atrocious, particularly considering that he was working the entire afternoon against two rookie cornerbacks. (One of whom, Byrum, was undrafted and signed by Carolina in November off Tampa Bay‘s practice squad.)

Let’s put it in even more vivid perspective: Subtract a 25-yard completion to Jeremy Shockey, and Manning completed 14 of 30 passes for just 74 yards. That’s slightly less than two yards a throw, or considerably less than half of what Tiki Barber averaged per run (20 carries for 112 yards).

Definitely some points that needed to be made. After a great game against Dallas, Eli regressed last week and is, as always, someone to keep a concerned eye on. It would be a shame if the Dallas game was a one-game aberration and the shittiness that has characterized his recent play continued into the last four regular season games and beyond. (The rest of Barra’s article, basically about how lucky the Giants got on Sunday, is a worthwhile read also.)

But he wasn’t nearly as bad as Barra’s making him out to be: I mean, you can’t take away the guy’s three biggest completions and front like you’re purporting a legitimate stat! And also, aside from the numbers, Eli was poised in the pocket and under control – he looked just better, which counts for an awful lot for a guy who’s so hot and cold.

Obviously, Barra would scoff at such a subjective argument, but we Giant fans know the helpless feeling when we see Eli looking like a lost little boy. Whatever his stats were on Sunday, at least he didn’t look like that.

III.

Here’s a really good piece by Michael David Smith about the Giants’ use of Jacobs, which borders on self-defeatingly predictable. Credit the coaching staff, however, for mixing it up a little (finally) on the touchdown passes to Tyree and Shockey. Hopefully they’ve learned their lesson.

Let me take this opportunity to comment on what a good receiver Jacobs is – that guy is so dangerous on screens! Screen passes utilize Jacobs’ 1) outstanding vision; 2) gliding stride and good speed; and 3) his awesome head-of-steam power.

And also, how about Tiki’s pass-blocking on Sunday! I was impressed most of all by his recognition skills – he knew exactly where the leakage was and didn’t hesitate to throw his body in there (props also to the Fox crew for noticing this and for getting some great shots of it). Considering Tiki’s size and the fact that he’s kinda physically underwhelming, he’s about as good a pass-blocking running back as there is.

IV.

Did you see this story? Everson Walls, the former Giant cornerback made famous for his appearance on the cover of Sports Illustrated after Super Bowl XXV (and made famous to non-G-Men fans as the guy beaten by Dwight Clark for “The Catch”), has agreed to donate a kidney to defensive backfield-mate and good friend Ron Springs, the father of Shawn Springs.