First, I’d like to thank all the people who have been commenting on this blog.  There are around a million-and-a-half things to address after any football game, and I have no illusions about being able to cover everything.  It’s up to you guys to pick up the slack, and you guys are doing a great job – your on-point observations are sincerely appreciated.

For my part, I plan on responding more to your comments.  I also encourage you guys to respond to each other.  That’s the great thing about the democratic nature of blogs: they’re not just about the quality of the posts, but also the quality of discussion between the readers.  Keep up the good work, fellas.

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This is very encouraging news: It appears that Osi is well ahead of schedule with his rehab and his knee should be “stronger than ever,” in his words, when he returns to practice next spring.

According to this Ralph Vacchiano blog post, Osi thinks he initially tore the knee last year, but he played through it while the Giants called it an “irritation.”  If his knee really was torn it would explain his sub-par (by his standards) year: Yes, the 13 sacks were impressive, but remember that 6 of them came in that one Eagles game against the slow, overmatched Winston Justice.

Osi actually thinks he might have been able to come back for the postseason, but I’m sure most Giants fans aren’t too disappointed that’s not an option because he’s stashed on IR.  He would have been a shell of his real self anyway, and this way, we’ll have something to look forward to next year as we try to three-peat.

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Kevin Dockery will miss at least two weeks with a back injury, probably more.  This leaves the nickel corner job between Madison, Terrell Thomas, and R-Dubs.  Thomas stepped in for Dockery Sunday and did a good job, but that was because Madison and Dubs didn’t dress.  (Thomas dressed because he has become a valued special-teamer, which speaks well for him.)

I’d love to see Thomas take this job and run with it for the next four years, but you’d have to think it’s more likely that Madison gets the nod because of his experience.  For as many steps as he has lost, Madison still has a knack for making picks, which fits will with our reborn pass-rush. 

If anything, replacing Dockery for Madison is probably a good thing.  Remember, it was Dockery who was largely responsible for Mewelde Moore’s first touchdown run.  He utterly whiffed on the tackle coming off the corner, and Moore had the entire side of the field to outrun Johnson.

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Brian Kehl has a toe injury, and Fred Robbins is “nicked up,” according to the latest reports.  We don’t know any more about these injuries as of now, but hopefully these guys won’t miss the Cowboys game.  We especially need the encouraging Kehl, because Gerris Wilkinson will miss yet another week.  What a disappointing, injury-marred career for that guy – you get the feeling his Giants career might be over before it has even begun.  And you also get the feeling that he’ll catch on with the team like the Redskins and become a valued contributor down the line.

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Here’s something I didn’t talk about in my game recap: Matthias Kiwanuka, who was having a mildly disappointing year to this point as he recovered from that week 1 leg injury, responded in a big way by posting three sacks.

This is obviously encouraging, as ‘Nuke has the potential to be a pass-rushing weapon.  I read something interesting in Mike Garafolo’s game recap about a conversation he had with a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette writer, who said that Max Starks, the Steelers’ right tackle last week, has slow feet.  With his pure speed, ‘Nuke can be a force against slower tackles.

One thing that concerns me about ‘Nuke, however, is that he plays so high.  This really saps his power and, I fear, might make him rather one-dimensional.  I don’t know, just something to look out for…

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There seems to be a disconnect between what the fans think of James Butler and what people associated with the team think.  To us, he’s slow and always seems to be late getting over to help on deep receivers.  Yet the Giants tendered his contract during the offseason have given him close to 100% of the snaps at one safety spot, while Phillips and Johnson split the snaps at the other spot 50/50.

But for Sunday, give Butler credit where credit is due.  Yes, he got burnt by Nate Washington and then peeled ran away from him like he was trying to let the other guy score in Madden.  But overall, Butler had an awesome game.

His interception showed athleticism I didn’t know he had, and he caused another interception by tipping a pass to Kehl with another heretofore unseen athletic maneuver.  He also made 6 tackles, 3 of them solo.

I’ll say this about Butler: It does seem that he’s good at stepping up, taking angles at ball-carriers, and making tackles.  That’s something that goes unnoticed but is very important just the same, and therefore might help explain the disconnect.  There have been two long touchdown runs broken on us this year: the Chris Perry run and the Moore run.  On the Perry run, Kenny Phillips was playing safety on that side, with Johnson at linebacker in the dime package.  On the Moore run, Johnson was the deep safety on that side.

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Allow me to address the Plax situation again, as I fear it is threatening to escalate into a threat to team morale.  What if we had lost this game?  Wouldn’t the fact that Plax wasn’t in the game on the unsuccessful goal line series – when we definitely would have thrown a fade to him – been blown up into a huge deal, as it probably should have been regardless?

After the suspension in the Seahawks game, I cautioned against people coming down too hard on him because for all his bullshit, the situation was always manageable.  But he’s pushing this too far.  I don’t know if it has turned into a battle of wills with Coughlin or if there’s something wrong in his personal life, but this has reached a critical point.  I said it Monday and I’ll say it again: Plax, cut the shit.

Fortunately, the good example set by the rest of the veterans allows us to overcome Plax’s bad example.  Check out this quote from Amani, who although he’s not about to take a shot at Plax, clearly takes Tom side.

“It’s just a bad situation all around.  We want him out there, but we do have team rules.  Everything that’s happened was how it had to happen.  It’s not a good situation for the whole team.”

Ralph Vacchiano, in his interview with the New York Times Fifth Down Blog about his book on Eli, puts it very well about Plax.  (He’s far less forgiving of Shockey.  It’s a great interview, you should check it out.)

“Burress is a strange guy.  He doesn’t respect authority and doesn’t seem to care about rules or punishment or anything like that, but he’s a hard worker and he definitely respects his teammates.  Eli seems to like him because he gives a huge effort on the field, is extremely smart, and they seem to have a chemistry.”

From this, it’s clear that the image of Plax the typical selfish diva of a receiver is off the mark.  I think it’s true that Plax respects his teammates, and that’s a big distinction.  But if he wants to show them respect and he’s that smart, he’ll start respecting authority just a little bit more so he can stop getting suspended.  That’s all we ask, Plax – you don’t have to turn into Darryl Strawberry on the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant Company Softball Team.  Just don’t be an outright dick.  It shouldn’t be too hard.