I.

This week flew by, didn’t it? Are y’all up for another game? Personally, I’m not exactly recovered from the sustained beat-down that has been the last seven weeks, and, I confess, I’m a little tentative about catching another ass-whooping tomorrow. Like a whipped dog, I find myself approaching tomorrow’s game in a defensive posture, cowering and petrified.

But just one more beating, Giants fans. One more. Or if not, we go to the playoffs. What a strange predicament.

II.

A quick note: For those of you in the New York area who don’t get the NFL Network, the game will also be shown on Channel 4. I presume it’ll be the NFL Network telecast, though, in case you were looking forward to some Bruce Beck sideline reporting.

III.

I know Bill Simmons catches a lot of shit around the blogosphere, but I personally think that guy’s funny as hell, and on-point about one-hundred times more often than not. Here’s the funniest call about Colonel Tom I’ve ever seen:

(Pertinent playoff note: There are approximately 345,672 different playoff scenarios involving the NFC this weekend. If the Giants win on Saturday night, all of them except one are rendered moot. But this is the same team that’s currently being coached by a guy who constantly looks like he’s being robbed at gunpoint. So I’m banking on one of those other 345,672 scenarios coming into play.)

“A guy who constantly look like he’s being robbed at gunpoint.” That speaks for itself, so there’s really nothing to add to it. But did you see his interview this week immediately after the Hufnagel demotion? There was this one reporter who kept trying to nudge his long black-mic into Tom’s vocal range, clearly struggling to get position lest his network come away with a shitty sound-feed.

Anyway, at a certain point, in mid-sentence, Tom breaks off what he’s saying, looks at the poor schmuck and goes, “If that thing sticks me in the throat one more time….” Then he sort of exhaled disgustedly and continued in his brusque, defensive tone.

Very funny, but also kind of scary. Clearly, the man is at his wit’s end, and pity the poor sucker who crosses him at the wrong time.

IV.

But it’s not only Tom that’s at his wit’s end – it’s his players as well. Check out this quote from the Daily News, brought to my attention by the excellent New Kid on the G-Men Blog Block, www.newyorkfootballgiants.blogspot.com.

‘”We are tiring of his act,” the [anonymous] Giant said. “He is pushing too hard. We’re still in full pads for part of practice, despite all the injuries we have and the fact that it’s the end of a long season. He is very ‘me’ oriented, always talks about doing things his way – his hard-ass, no-give approach – but we’re not winning or sustaining games, so the disconnect is widening and we are tuning him out.’”

Whoa. Where to start with this one? Well, the first question is, who is this anonymous G-Man? Zack, the proprietor of the blog, makes the point that “given the way it was articulated, this sounds like something from Tiki’s mouth.” I couldn’t agree more – the “disconnect” thing is a dead giveaway.

Second, it’s a little disconcerting to hear that the Giants are “tiring” of any sort of “act,” because, frankly, we’re all tiring of their 7-8 act. When you’re an underachieving 7-8 team coming off one of the more pitiful performances in team history, you’re not really in a position to be tiring of anyone else’s act.

That said, I can understand what the anonymous Giant is getting at when he says that Tom is “very ‘me’ oriented.” All of the “do it my way” stuff, when taken too far, becomes nothing more than an ego trip. If he’s not making a legitimate effort to improve the players but rather lording the “my way” shit over their heads, I can understand how grown men would tune it out.

And while it’s tempting to bemoan these pampered athletes who complain about getting “pushed too hard,” the anonymous Giant actually makes a very legitimate point. Every coach knows that there comes a point in the football season where pushing your guys – in terms of pads, contact, etc. – ceases to be about discipline and character building and instead becomes counterproductive. I can totally picture a situation where Coughlin is excessively pushing these guys at the expense of their bodies, all for the stubborn purpose of reinforcing “his way.”

I don’t know. It’s a shitty situation, and it’s hard to sort out who’s right and who’s wrong. But when the players and the coach are at loggerheads, that old maxim becomes relevant: you can’t fire the players.

V.

Now for some actual game news. As I’m sure you’ve heard by now, Shockey is out with an ankle injury. Now, people are going to call Shockey’s desire into question after this one, but come on. That’s really not valid. For however big a jackass the guy can be, his effort is cannot be questioned. We’ve seen this guy play hurt his whole career (and that’s, like, one our enduring frustrations with him – he’s never completely healthy), so if he says he’s too hurt to play… please, fellas, believe him.

Also, Seubert will miss tomorrow’s game too, which means that Grey Ruegamer will man the left guard spot while Dave Diehl will slide over to left tackle. In my last post, I advocated for cutting Whitfield; I suppose benching him will have to do.

Ruegamer is solid, but what’s especially noteworthy about him is that his name is “Grey” and he’s the only Giant who unabashedly rocks gray hair. Ever see the big dude standing on the sideline with that striking shock of gray hair? Why that would be Grey Ruegamer! And who was that ineffectual ex-Governor of California with gray hair that got his ass recalled? Why that would be Cruz Bustamante! No, it would be Gray Davis.

VI.

According to this Daily News article, the Giants are interested in Scott Pioli, the Patriots’ Vice President of Player Personnel and renowned salary cap wiz. According to the article, written by Ralph Vacchiano, “One source said that, if available, Pioli is absolutely the Giants main target. Another simply described him as an interesting option that co-owners John Mara and Steve Tisch are considering exploring.”

Let’s hope it’s the former. After Mangini and to a lesser extent Weiss, I pretty much trust anyone from the Belichick family. Certainly moreso than one of the other leading candidates, Chris Mara, John Mara’s brother and Wellington’s son. Hiring Chris would smack of some pretty ridiculous nepotism – having suffered through years of watching the Knicks go down this path with Little Dolan, it would break my heart to see the G-Men do the same thing.