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    "After the Giants’ frustrating loss to
    the Washington Redskins on Sunday, Antrel Rolle said players need to practice
    through injuries if they want to play on game day. A day later, Rolle insisted
    he didn’t have specific teammates in mind — even if only two players fit his
    description: Ahmad Bradshaw and Justin Tuck, both of whom didn’t practice until
    last Friday.

    It looks like Bradshaw will be alone this week. Tuck did not appear on the
    pre-practice injury report released today by the Giants — a telling sign for his
    chances to play Saturday against the Jets.

    Following Sunday’s disappointing loss to the Redskins, Tuck said he felt
    good. During his weekly radio interview on WFAN Monday, he said he’ll play on
    Christmas Eve.

    “I’m playing,” he said. “I’m done talking about injuries. ... [I’m]
    definitely trying to be Santa Claus on Saturday [for Giants fans].”

    Bradshaw and nine other players, however, did appear on the list. All
    indications point to Bradshaw participating in the week’s final practice ? this
    week, that is Thursday — on a limited basis and playing Saturday.

    C Davis Baas (neck) is still on the injury report, as are all three of the
    Giants’ tight ends — Jake Ballard (knee), Travis Beckum (chest) and Bear Pascoe

    WR Mario Manningham (knee), WR Devin Thomas (neck), LB Mark Herzlich (ankle),
    DE Osi Umenyiora (ankle/knee), S Derrick Martin (back) also are on the injury


    Excerpt: "Rex Ryan chose to approach the team's biggest game of the season — and most
    meaningful matchup with the neighboring Giants in series history — with the same
    level of confidence he has in any other game.

    And today, he added that if the Jets
    lose, the blame will all fall on him.

    "I know it's going to fall on one person, and that's the way it should be,"
    Ryan said. "It's coming right on top of me and that's fine. And when we win, it
    will be about the Jets and that's where I want the attention to be. If we lose,
    it's coming right down on me and I can handle it. I hope I don't have to."

    It is the same type of big-game rhetoric he used before, making last year's
    Indianapolis Colts game a matchup between himself and Peyton Manning and last
    year's New England Patriots game Ryan vs. Bill Belichick.

    But with a playoff spot likely on the line, Ryan said he's just being honest.

    "I think anybody that is in a similar situation would really be (embracing
    the game like this). The truth of the matter is, you feel like you have to win
    this game," Ryan said. "I feel like I have to win this game because I put it out
    there, I want to be the better team in our city. There's no doubt. I want to be
    the team that people talk about, that are interested in and you do that by

    "And that's who I want to be, and I want to be the best team in the NFL. It's
    not just in this city, but clearly when you have two teams that share the same
    name and share the same stadium, it's much bigger than that and I realize it."

    started the inevitable back-and-forth Monday
    by issuing the first batch of
    bravado, saying that the Jets have clearly been the better team over the past
    two years. He reiterated as much today, saying that he's never gone into a game
    feeling below an opponent."


    "One, Jets' coach Rex Ryan, is big, brash and seems
    to go out of his way to stir up trouble, as he did Monday
    . The other,
    Giants coach Tom Coughlin, is smaller, tight-lipped and makes
    discipline - his own and others' - a central tenet of his reign. It's tough to
    imagine a pair of coaches more opposite in style, yet Rex Ryan and Tom Coughlin
    share the crucible of the metro region, share a stadium and this
    week share a game that neither team can afford to lose

    So we ask Giants and Jets fans today, who's the better coach? We'll leave the
    criteria and the judging up to you - both to vote in our poll and also to
    explain your opinion in comments below - but here are a few nuts-and-bolts
    points in comparison.

    Thank you for voting!

    Total Votes: 737

    They both win. Ryan is now 28-18 (.609) and in his third season as a head
    coach. He is 4-2 in the playoffs, with two straight AFC Championship losses and
    some unkept promises on his record. Coughlin is 140-114 (.551) most of the way
    through his 16th season, 72-54 (.571) with the Giants. He has a 8-7 playoff
    record (4-3 with the Giants) and the 2007 Giants Super Bowl win to his credit.
    To our knowledge, he hasn't made any public promises about where the Giants are

    So you make the call, and you decide the terms on which you make that call -
    who's the better coach, Rex Ryan or Tom Coughlin? Vote in our poll and explain
    your vote below."



    Excerpt: "Rex Ryan got it started as usual Monday, ignoring the fact that his team and
    the Giants were outscored by a combined
    68-29 margin Sunday. “I recognize that they’re an excellent football team, but I
    think we’re better,” the Jets head coach
    said, which isn’t exactly setting the bar very high.

    Then Deon Grant took the chest pounding a step further. “I’d be dumb and
    stupid to say any team (in the NFL) is better than us,” the Giants safety said
    while delivering holiday meals to the elderly — a comment so crazy we can only
    hope the recipients asked for a food taster before eating.

    This, unfortunately, has been the essence of Jets-Giants.
    They talk like two boxers who have spent a lifetime exchanging blows, when in
    reality, they’ve never had a meaningful fight.

    Until now, that is.

    You are forgiven for tuning out Saturday after the matching humiliations this
    weekend. One of these two teams — likely the winner of this game — will make the
    playoffs, but neither one is any good.

    Still, when it comes to this corner of the NFL, what we’re about to see is
    unprecedented. Never, in a half-century of shared existence, have the Jets and
    the Giants played this late in the season when both teams had something at
    stake."


    Excerpt: "Rex Ryan wasted no time Monday morning professing that his team is better
    than the Giants, not the “little
    brother” or “second fiddle” anywhere or at any time, even if the Jets were
    playing the Yankees.

    The coach’s bluster came as no surprise, and it took the focus off Sunday’s
    embarrassing 45-19 loss to Philadelphia

    “From this press conference on, it’s going to be behind us,” Ryan said on a
    conference call with reporters. “I can’t dwell on it. Not going to dwell on

    Mathematically, the Jets do not technically control their playoff destiny
    anymore, though they will likely qualify if they win out. But who was that team
    at Lincoln Financial Field? And are the Jets better than that?

    Ryan called the Jets’ showing Sunday the worst in his tenure — with the
    exception of last season’s 45-3 loss at New England. The Jets rebounded from
    that game to make a run to the AFC Championship Game, but not before laying a
    stinker against Miami the following week.

    This year, the Jets don’t have the wiggle room for back-to-back losses, thus
    Ryan’s eagerness to move on from the “horrible performance.” Linebacker Bart
    Scott said the Jets simply “ran into a buzzsaw.”

    “We had a setback, but when we look up, it seemed like the rest of the NFL
    had a setback,” Scott said Monday night at a charity go-kart fundraiser for his
    foundation. “If it was a full moon the night before, something in the Kool-Aid.
    It was one of those days. The only thing that did happen well for us is that all
    the other teams lost as well (but) we did lose an opportunity to separate
    ourselves. Whoever loses the game this week is pretty much done.”

    That’s not entirely true. The Jets would put themselves in a tougher spot with a
    loss to their in-state rivals, but there are still scenarios in which they could
    make the playoffs with a 9-7 record. In the race for the second wild-card spot,
    the Jets and Bengals each have an 8-6 record with two games to go, while the
    Raiders, Titans and Chargers are all at 7-7.

    But the Jets can’t bank on a complicated set of tiebreakers falling into
    place. Safety Eric Smith called this week’s game against the Giants a
    “must-win,” and Ryan said its intensity is on par with a playoff game, because
    the Jets could miss the playoffs if they don’t win." Read more...


    Excerpt: "He was the master of motivation, the admiral
    of the air horn
    and the idea man behind the black
    suits on the flight to Phoenix
    for the anticipated funeral after the death
    of the Patriots’ perfect season.

    Just once, Antonio Pierce would like to see a leader on the current Giants team take a chance like that, to
    make himself the target, to do something out of the norm, to show some

    In short, to lead a team that badly needs direction.

    “The best way leaders emerge is when things hit the fan, when things get
    tough, they stand up taller than everybody else,” the former Giants middle
    linebacker and current ESPN analyst said by phone Monday. “They’re not afraid to
    go out on a limb, they’re not afraid to put everything that’s going wrong on
    their back. When I listen to the Giants, I don’t hear that. I hear ‘me’ and ‘I.’
    I don’t hear ‘us’ or ‘we.’

    “You can talk about team, but until you use those words, you can’t be (a

    The one-time defensive captain was hot Monday after seeing the Giants blow
    chance after chance to take control of Sunday’s
    matchup with the Redskins, a game they lost 23-10
    to knock them back into
    second place in the NFC East with two games to play.

    Making matters worse was what ensued: Antrel Rolle’s saying injured players
    need to practice during the week, leading many to believe he was talking about
    defensive captain Justin Tuck. Rolle said he wasn’t pointing at Tuck, but Tuck
    and Ahmad Bradshaw are the two players who most fit Rolle’s criteria.

    It’s Rolle’s way of trying to spark this team. While Pierce and coach Tom
    Coughlin didn’t like the method, they agreed with the intent behind the message:
    Now is the time to give a little more and play a lot better.

    “I think there is peer pressure,” Coughlin said on a conference call Monday
    with reporters. “I wish there was more. I don’t know necessarily that’s the way
    it is in our league anymore. I wish it was. You have strength in people to be
    looked at in terms of how they prepare, how they play the game, and hopefully
    there’s enough of that, that everyone rallies around it right now.

    “And I think we will. I think there will be a unified commitment to playing
    well together. There’s no finger-pointing, there’s none of that. There’s plenty
    of blame to go around.”

    Tuck chose not to air it publicly, saying, “Some of the things I have in my
    gut to say, I’ll keep to myself.”

    Asked later whether this would be a week he might let it all out, he replied,
    “We’ll see.”

    Pierce would like to see somebody let it out on the field.

    “I’ve been booed before and I’ve been cheered there before, and I know how to
    make them cheer: You show them heart. They just want to see some more fight,”
    Pierce said. “As long as you’re still swinging, they’re good. But when you sit
    down and you’re on the sideline and your body language tells them otherwise,
    you’re going to get the reaction they got.”

    Tuck has admitted his body language isn’t the greatest, especially when he’s
    hurting. Last year, in another moment when Rolle seemed to be talking about
    Tuck, the former Cardinal said he was stunned to see “so-called leaders hanging
    their heads” late in the loss to the Colts.
    Pierce saw a lot of the same

    “The one guy (playing hard) consistently is Jason Pierre-Paul. But he’s so
    young and raw, so you look at your older guys,” Pierce said. “You look at Tuck,
    Mathias Kiwanuka, Corey Webster, Antrel Rolle. Those have to be the guys who
    during the game — that’s the key word: during the game — do something to raise
    everybody up, to make everybody play at another level.

    “What’s happening right now, nobody’s making a play or saying anything until
    after the game. It’s too late. It’s too late.”

    Pierce invoked the Giants’ slogan from their Super Bowl XLII: “Talk is cheap,
    play the game.”

    With a laugh, he said, “It’s still true.”

    Pierce pointed to his friend and fellow middle linebacker Ray Lewis, whom he
    saw displaying that sort of fire throughout the Ravens’ big loss to the Chargers
    on Sunday.

    Lewis’ teams have bad games. So did the teams Pierce helped lead. But he said
    they always played with passion the likes of which he isn’t seeing from the

    “I hear them saying, ‘Our backs are against the wall and we’re going to come
    out fighting,’?” Pierce said, “but I don’t hear it from all 53 players and I
    don’t see it from all 53 players.”

    Or even from the few charged with getting such reactions out of their

    “Sometimes you have to do something that’s out of the norm for you to get
    your team going when you’re a leader,” Pierce said. “That has to be you. You
    have to be comfortable enough to want that role and not be scared of getting the
    backlash if you’re right or wrong.

    “You take the good with the bad.”

    * * * *

    Some select quotes from the rest of our interview with Pierce:

    On the lack of fire: "I don’t see it and I haven’t seen it
    all year. But what happens is when you’re winning everything gets covered up,
    gets swept under the rug. ... I’m not saying you always have to be a rah-rah
    guy. Either you’re that guy or you’re a guy who goes out there and you play
    lights out for 60 minutes. It’s that one play, it’s something you say, it’s the
    look in your eye, it’s the way you play. Maybe you don’t make a play, but it’s
    the way you play. They’re not showing any fire. When you watch the Giants play
    (Sunday), there’s no leadership and no sense of urgency. Until the clock hits
    zero, the Giants still have a chance to win because that’s a low-scoring game.
    And they’re a team that can score 30 points. So from the defensive side of the
    ball to the offensive side, where’s the sense of urgency? And that comes from
    the players. No coach can do that. They can get the play call in quicker, but
    you as players have to do it during the 60 minutes."

    On players who aren't natural leaders trying to lead: "Then
    those guys shouldn’t have been put in position. Leadership, you’re born with it.
    I’ve got a little boy. I can tell if he’s a leader or not. I know he’s going to
    be one. I can see it. I’ve got another boy, he still needs some guidance."

    On where blame lies for the lack of leadership: "Being
    truthful, it always starts up top. It starts with Coach Coughlin. He knows that.
    He has to know this team better than anybody else. So he knows, 'Who’s that one
    guy I can cuss him out in a meeting, I can get after his tail?' And he’s going
    to say, 'All right, you know what, I’m going to get the rest of the guys going
    and get after Coach and prove a point.' I don’t know if he has enough Coach
    Coughlin-type guys. What is that? Coach Coughlin is a blue-collar guy. He talks
    in simple terms. You want everybody to speak the same language. ... In ’06, all
    we did was talk about one another, what they did wrong, what I did great. There
    wasn’t a 'we.' What’d we do? We changed it. We said, 'We’re going to buy into
    this, Coach.' What do we need to say? 'Us, we, team.' What were the results? It
    got us a championship. Did we get on a run? Yeah, but why did we get on a run?
    Because it was us against the world."

    On how things changed in '07: "We weeded some guys out, some
    guys had to come in, we had to be a little more harsh with our criticism and
    oour critique and you had to be accountable. My thing was, when I was in the
    huddle, I wanted to see all 20 eyes. And I wanted them to see mine and know they
    could count on me. For 60 minutes, I was going to be on the field. I was going
    to fight until I had no more fight in me. That's what guys need to see. When I
    see Jason Pierre-Paul, there’s no reason why a defensive end should have 16
    tackles in a game, except for when they’re picking on him. And that’s not the
    case. That lets you know for 60 minutes, this guy’s going to get after it."

    On the culture in '07: "The one thing we always looked at
    before we walked out of the tunnel was one of us were going to make a play and
    do something to change the game. That’s what you need to believe in. Go out
    there and make plays. You have to make things happen. The Giants did that
    Sunday. That’s what’s so frustrating. First play of the game, interception. Then
    three and out. And it seemed like they started losing their swagger. And then
    another interception. And then the Redskins made some plays and the swagger was
    gone the rest of the game in a game that was only a touchdown or two away from
    tying it up. That’s what people are seeing. When you have things right there in
    your hands and you can grab it, you’ve gotta grab it. I know when I was there we
    lost some games that were stupid and silly but I don’t know how many times we
    went out there and didn’t show fire or passion. That was one thing we were going
    to do. We had an eff it mentality. If we lose by a lot of points, it stings. But
    you don’t lay down, you don’t give up and you don’t lose that look in your

    On whether he agrees with Rolle saying guys need to play and practice
    "I was the first one to say it. I think I need to check my
    copyright statements. That’s just how it is. That’s the National Football
    League. When I came in the league, I played with guys that played 20 years in
    the league, Bruce Smith, Darrell Green. These guys played hurt. I watched them.
    I was young. I knew I could run around for a while. But I saw what these guys
    were doing every day. And you know what? They didn’t take every snap. But they
    were out there. And that’s accountability. You’re out there with your boys. I
    don’t like to use war terms but you’re out there with your soldiers, you’re out
    there with your guys. You know when things get rough, this dude’s going to be
    there. I think what Rolle was saying, and I hope I’m not putting words in his
    mouth, was he’s not sure if those guys are going to be there on Sunday. That’s
    how I interpreted it."

    On Rolle's timing: "I don’t like when he did it. He
    delivered it after the game. I like getting to that on Wednesday or Thursday.
    After the game, guys are a little sensitive to it. It creates a little buzz.
    Wednesday and Thursday, it grabs a guy’s attention and impacts the rest of the
    week. And by Sunday it’s all over and done with. But after the game guys are


    Excerpt: "On a short week, the injury news for the Giants doesn't seem to be getting
    much better.

    Defensive end Osi Umenyiora is unlikely to be ready for Saturday's game
    against the Jets, Tom Coughlin indicated on a conference call this afternoon.
    The two-time Pro Bowl selection is still out with a high-ankle sprain suffered
    last month against the Saints.

    "I'm duly concerned because we were hoping we'd have him back," Coughlin
    said. "We're going to take it day-to-day but we'd really have to have some major
    improvement to say he can go."

    Meanwhile, tight end Jake Ballard is expected to "miss some time" with an
    injury to the posterior cruciate ligament in his knee suffered on Sunday against
    the Redskins, according to Tom Coughlin. The Giants' coach said it's an old
    injury Ballard's had but that he's hoping it won't be a season-ending deal.

    Making matters worse is backup tight end Bear Pascoe's rib injury.

    "We'll see how much that affects him when we prepare to practice (Tuesday),"
    Coughlin said.

    Plus, tight end Travis Beckum is also dealing with a chest issue that
    sidelined him against the Redskins.

    The good news is wide receiver/special-teams contributor Devin Thomas
    suffered a neck burner, not a structural issue and has been cleared to practice
    this week."


    Excerpt: "Y’all know me. Y’all know what I do for a
    livin’. I’ll catch this bird for ya…

    Don’t ask me why I’m
    quoting Quint
    . There’s really no good reason except the first sentence I was
    going to write was, “You all know me.” Guess I’m just trying to cheer you up.
    Did it work?

    Anyway, as I was saying, you all know me. You know how reluctant I am to say,
    “That was a poorly coached game.” Most of the time, I look to the execution (or
    lack thereof) as the reason things don’t work out on the field. It drives many
    of you nuts because you love to throw darts at the coaches but I see what I see
    and often defend the staff.

    Not Sunday. Not at MetLife Stadium. Not for the home team.

    That, in my estimation, was a poorly coached game.

    This is not to exonerate the players at all. As you’ll see below, they’re
    culpable as well. But as you’ll also see below, there were a lot of decisions
    from the coaches with which I do not agree. And this isn’t Monday morning
    quarterbacking here; I scratched my head when I saw these things live.

    Let’s get through this quickly, as I have a strong sense you’re not
    interested in dwelling on this one.

    * * * *


    S Kenny Phillips. Lost in all of the issues Sunday was the
    fact he made a heckuva read and play on the ball on his interception. So good I
    still gave him a game ball here despite a head-scratcher of a face-mask penalty
    to help kick start the Redskins’ first touchdown drive. I’m not sure why
    Phillips continued to grab and yank FB Darrel Young’s face mask. He should’ve
    realized what he was doing a lot sooner than he did.

    DE Jason Pierre-Paul. On his sack, he got to Redskins QB
    Rex Grossman in 2.0 seconds. Grossman carried out the
    play-action fake and then turned to see Pierre-Paul already only 2 yards away
    from him. Why WR Niles Paul didn’t chip him at the line I have
    no idea. The Redskins paid attention to him for most of the day (which is why
    the Giants stood him up and looped him around to create a pressure later on) but
    let him come off the line clean there. Obviously, the two negatives on the day
    were his failure to recognize Young had the ball on his TD run and his
    roughing-the-passer penalty on the next drive for helmet-to-helmet contact.
    Otherwise, Pierre-Paul was excellent once again, including on another tipped
    field goal that still made it through.

    Giants manager of special events Jeff Conroy. He did a nice
    job of making sure the New Providence High School marching band didn’t play at
    halftime while Devin Thomas was lying on the turf. They were ready to go. I’m
    sure Conroy feels badly the band didn’t get to play, but that was absolutely the
    proper call out of respect for Thomas. Good job by him and the Giants there.

    * * * *


    DE Justin Tuck. If you need proof he isn’t himself, watch
    the play on which Phillips was flagged. It was an end around to Paul, who plants
    his foot in the turf to juke Tuck, whose lower-leg issues are preventing him
    from making any change-of-direction moves. Watch how slowly his body reacts to
    what his mind wants him to do.

    QB Eli Manning. He started 0-for-6. Brutal, right? Until you
    consider he basically threw two balls away because nobody was open and had the
    next two dropped. And frankly, I’m having trouble finding fault with him for
    much of Sunday’s game. The interception by Hall was a bad throw and decision.
    The one to RB D.J. Ware could’ve been thrown better but wasn’t fully his fault.
    (See below.) And the third one was a result of Mario Manningham’s stopping his
    route. So if you thought Manning reverted to bad form a bit Sunday, I’d suggest
    looking again.

    S Antrel Rolle. I’m honestly not sure where to put him? Do I
    give him a gasser for missing a tackle on a third-and-16 in the first quarter
    and another one on Young’s TD run, plus the 20-yard pass he allowed to Moss on
    third-and-11? (He said on WFAN today there were “reasons” he didn’t make the
    tackle on Young, clearly once again suggesting he’s playing through injuries.)
    Do I give him a game ball for having the courage to say some things others
    might’ve kept inside? Or do I leave him here because it all balanced out? You
    tell me. This one’s for the people.

    LT David Diehl. I actually agree with him when he says he
    was at
    a disadvantage for over a quarter
    . Orakpo made the play at the right time.
    Otherwise, Diehl held his own.

    * * * *


    Coach Tom Coughlin. Among other things you’ll read below,
    his decision to challenge Atogwe’s pick was a terrible one. His previous six
    losses have been awfully close; this one wasn’t. Fox showed the perfect angle
    right away that made it clear the ball never hit the ground. That should’ve been
    enough for whomever lets Coughlin know whether to challenge. So I suppose the
    real gasser here is for the guys in the box. But the job of Coughlin and his
    staff Sunday was arguably the worst of the season.

    Defensive coordinator Perry Fewell. After the game, I was
    chatting with the honorable Vinny DiTrani, The Record’s NFL guru who is now in
    semi-retirement and only covers home games. We were talking about how much zone
    Fewell has played of late. My point was I had a feeling Fewell would shy away
    from man coverage after the debacle in New Orleans. I
    had recommended ahead of time playing a lot of man
    that night and that’s
    what Fewell did. The Saints won. It happens. But Fewell has gone back to a
    zone-heavy scheme with a bunch of guys better served to play man. You can see by
    the way they don’t react to receivers running through their zone it’s not the
    strength of their game. This team has to go down playing aggressive, tight man

    Offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride. This is the most
    reluctant of my coaching gassers because he schemed and called some plays to
    allow guys to run free in the secondary. Still, I didn’t like the way the Giants
    took shots deep down the field on third-and-manageable. The worst example of
    this was when they had third-and-6 from the Redskins’ 18 and ran three routes
    near the goal line. It was covered and took too long to develop, leading to a
    sack for a loss of 8 yards and, consequently, a missed 44-yard field goal by
    Lawrence Tynes.

    WR Hakeem Nicks. I don’t know that I’ve ever given him a
    gasser. He had a few drops. It happens. I would expect a big bounce-back
    performance this weekend.

    CB Prince Amukamara. Look, we understand how difficult it’s
    been for rookies and free agents this season. The Giants’ coaches and players
    understand that, which is why they’re trying to be patient with Amukamara. But
    obviously, they believed he needed to be pulled from the game. Some of the
    mistakes he’s making are because of complex reads that are tough for rookies.
    (Which is why he got a pat on the helmet by CB Corey Webster after failing to
    get to WR Santana Moss on his TD.) There are others he should know not to make,
    such as the one on the 16-yard pass from Grossman to WR Jabar Gaffney. Amukamara
    was playing off coverage there because it was third-and-14. What he has to do is
    maintain outside leverage and not allow Gaffney to spin toward the sideline as
    he did to pick up an extra 8 yards and the first down.

    Manningham. By now, he can’t be making critical mistakes
    such as the one he made on the interception in the end zone.

    * * * *


    This is the first of my second guesses. And again, I wouldn’t lie to you,
    it was a first guess.

    It was the first play after Redskins S Reed Doughty tackled
    Nicks for a pass-interference penalty that moved the ball to the 3-yard line.
    Allow me to repeat: the 3-yard line.

    The reason for my reiteration is I wouldn’t be shocked if we learned the
    Giants thought the ball was going to be placed closer to the goal line, because
    they sent in their “jumbo” personnel. That means two backs and three tight ends.
    It’s what we usually see only when the ball is inside the 2. But once more, it
    was at the 3.

    As soon as I saw the personnel in the huddle, I didn’t have high hopes for
    the play. And rightfully so, because a run by Brandon Jacobs to
    the right lost a yard. And it was a huge, huge yard because two plays later,
    Ware was ruled to not have control yet at the goal line after a replay review.
    The ball was moved back to the 2, which was a bad spot because he seemed to
    maintain control at the 1. That’s a long way of saying I believe the yard lost
    on first down would’ve made the Ware play a touchdown, not to mention the
    first-down play could’ve picked up yardage had they come out in a better
    personnel package. A touchdown during that sequence and it’s a 13-point game
    with 9 minutes to go. Still no guarantee the Giants come back, but they were
    moving the ball while playing solid defense. It was doable.

    In short, I know
    a lot happens between plays
    , but the Giants have to get that personnel
    grouping correct right there. When you don’t, you saw what can happen.

    * * * *


    If you watched our postgame video, you heard me say this already: why didn’t
    the Giants put the sun to their receivers’ backs to start the game? They lost
    the toss, so the Redskins took the ball. After that, you do the next-best thing
    to give yourself an early advantage. That should be defending the goal onto
    which the sun is shining. It’s what we were always told when I played in high
    school – unless there was significant wind. Coughlin said he chose to defend the
    east end zone because of wind issues. But the wind was only 9 mph and didn’t
    seem to be blowing the flags on the goal post very much. The sun bothered Nicks
    and WR Victor Cruz on two plays that could’ve been long

    Speaking of the Cruz play, I thought that was an excellent non-call on DB
    Byron Westbrook. Much as the crowd, the Giants and Troy
    wanted a call, Westbrook barely touched Cruz. It wasn’t the
    greatest body control you’ll ever see from a defensive back, but that’s not the
    point. It’s just like when people are yelling for a face-guarding penalty (which
    doesn’t exist). Just because it looks bad doesn’t mean it’s a penalty.

    Back to the coaching second guesses. Actually, this one was another first
    guess. I had a huge, huge problem with Coughlin’s lack of a timeout after TE
    Logan Paulsen’s 10-yard catch to make it fourth-and-1 at the
    Giants’ 31 with 1:49 left in the first half. Coughlin started to call timeout
    but then realized the Redskins were planning to go for it, so he stopped
    himself. The reason is he didn’t want to give them more time on their drive.
    Here’s my point, though: those 40 seconds the ‘Skins ran off the clock didn’t
    matter to them. By the time they ran the clock down, they had 31 yards to go for
    a touchdown in a little over a minute plus all three timeouts. Time wasn’t a
    factor; downs were. So if Coughlin calls a timeout and the Redskins convert on
    fourth-and-1, no big deal. It’s basically the same situation as not calling one.
    But when he didn’t call one and the Redskins milked the clock before throwing an
    incompletion on fourth down, the Giants got the ball back with exactly a minute
    left instead of 1:40. They kicked a field goal to make it 17-3 at halftime when,
    with more time on the clock, they could’ve scored a touchdown. You’re down 17-0.
    You have to do something to get your team going. Take a shot. And again, it
    wasn’t even a “shot,” so to speak. There was no downside to calling timeout.
    That’s terrible clock management right there.

    Another decision I still don’t get is why the Giants didn’t dress DT
    Jimmy Kennedy. They knew Washington is a run-heavy team but
    dressed only three DTs. The extra spot went to rookie RB/KR Da’Rel
    . He and WR/KR Jerrel Jernigan were active in the
    same game for the first time since Week 9. I can’t kill the Giants for this one
    because the run defense held the Redskins to 3.1 yards per carry. I just don’t
    know why Kennedy, who played well in his limited role early in the season, is
    having trouble getting a uniform these days.

    * * * *


    Why was Manning looking for Ware downfield on his first interception? And why
    was Ware in the slot and running that seam route? Because that’s the Giants’
    “Detroit” package, which usually includes TE Travis Beckum as
    the slot receiver. Beckum was inactive and the Giants chose to have Ware replace
    him. Don’t blame Manning here; he made the correct read because the Redskins
    blitzed off that side and Atogwe overran Ware to cover Cruz. Ware’s inexperience
    in that position led to his not bending the route more toward the middle of the
    field. That’s why Manning gestured the way he did after the play and why Fox
    cameras showed him gesturing for Ware to convert his route more toward the post
    than up the seam.

    Did you see what the Redskins did to convert a third-and-12 in the first
    quarter? Hint: it’s what teams have been doing to the Giants all year. They ran
    a crosser in front of LB Jacquian Williams and then ran an in
    cut behind him. The crosser was Moss and WR Donte’ Stallworth
    caught the ball behind Williams for 19 yards and a first down. Williams seemed
    discombobulated by Moss’ presence, even though he was only 4 yards off the ball.
    He didn’t get his feet under him and didn’t get deep enough to affect the throw
    to Moss. After the catch, Phillips and Rolle are staring at Williams. They
    didn’t chew him out but you could tell they’re frustrated by an issue that’s
    been bugging this defense all season.

    I still have no idea what DT Chris Canty did to draw a
    personal-foul penalty on Webster’s interception to start the game. Sorry, wish I
    had more for you there. Fox never showed a replay and I didn’t make it to
    Canty’s locker postgame.

    CB Aaron Ross wasn’t flagged for launching into Grossman on
    Grossman’s second interception. I guess that’s legal. Who knew? Referee
    Alberto Riveron was watching the hit closely, so it’s not like
    he missed it. I know you can’t launch into defenseless receivers, per a recent
    rule change, but quarterbacks apparently don’t fall into that same category.
    That being said, Ross has to be careful because leaping high into a quarterback
    will cause helmet-to-helmet contact more often than not.

    I’m not the biggest Joe Buck fan, but the “All you analysts
    up here guessing coverage. How do you sleep at night?” line was absolute gold,
    Jerry. Gold

    I’m convinced when Rolle rolled his eyes after saying they should’ve created
    more “opportunities” he was talking about the wasted interceptions in the first
    half. I’m sure he was also thinking about the two Giants drives that lasted all
    of two plays.

    I wrote on Friday LB Mathias Kiwanuka would have to be a
    factor in keeping the run contained
    . He came too far upfield on one play but
    otherwise did a real nice job on the edge once again. And I’m not sure if when
    Coughlin talked about adjustments to the Redskins’ running game he meant that
    pitch play they designed to run up the middle but that’s a nice little

    And finally, it wasn’t quite game-ball worthy because they were so limited
    but the offensive line, as well as Bradshaw and Jacobs, did a good job on the
    ground once again. They picked up 5.1 yards per carry and Bradshaw had the nifty
    catch he kicked to himself. Good stuff. They'll need more of it in the next two
    weeks."


    "Cornerback Prince Amukamara began his NFL career with an interception on one
    of his first plays against the Eagles in Week 10. Since then, it's been a trying
    time for the rookie and his struggles continued in the first half yesterday
    against Washington, culminating in his benching at halftime.

    Veteran safety Deon Grant -- citing Amukamara missing offseason workouts due
    to the lockout and the preseason and a chunk of the season due to a fractured
    foot -- has a simple answer as to why Amukamara has been struggling: he isn't

    Grant said he pulled the first-round pick to the side during halftime of the
    disappointing Giants' 23-10 loss "for a long talk" and told him "don't let your
    confidence drop on this situation."

    "I told him, ‘you got every physical attribute to play this game and go
    against any receiver,’" Grant said at a holiday food drive event in Brooklyn
    today. "I said, ‘but right now, you’re just not ready for that.’ Not saying that
    he won’t be ready, it’s not taking anything from him, but me being in the game
    for a minute, physically he made plays through the stretch since he’s been back,
    but I’ve just been seeing him struggle.

    "I’ve been having conversations with him on a weekly basis. He’s just a tough
    kid so even though he knows in his mind he might not be ready, he’s not going to
    tell anybody...It’s natural. It’s bad because of the situation that he’s facing
    with the absence of mini camps and OTAs and just having the playbook early.

    Grant said defensive coordinator Perry Fewell cleared the communication
    problems that had been hampering the secondary for weeks and players were just
    getting beat. But to him, it wasn't just Amukamara.

    "Corey [Webster is doing a good job, [Aaron] Ross has been doing a good job
    but I think Ross got...he wasn’t really himself last week," Grant said. "He
    played solid, but he wasn’t really himself last week and we already talked about

    Grant said the secondary's weakness has been thinking too much and there is a
    reluctance to physically challenge receivers as a result -- and it will need to
    change Saturday against the Jets.

    "When we’re not having those miscommunications and all that other stuff,
    Corey is doing it more as far as challenging and being more aggressive instead
    of always playing safe. But I think that’s our weakness right now," Grant said.

    "We’re trying to play safe a little bit too much. We don’t know how to
    transition – and I’m not going to say all of us – but we don’t know how to
    transition the coaching to, ‘Alright, now you have to go out there and be a
    football player.’ And I think that’s what we have backtracked to now. And I
    think when we get back to being physical, being aggressive, challenging
    receivers, then we’ll be successful."


    Grant wouldn't comment on what Antrel Rolle said after the game about players
    needing to overcome injuries during the week to practice.

    "If he didn’t call anybody out I can’t talk about it," he said. "If he didn’t
    call anybody out I can’t really speak on it. I won’t speak on it anyway because
    I think 'Trel makes statements so I stay out of situations with individuals
    doing what they have to do in the media."


    "The Jets-Giants Christmas Eve showdown has been looming all season. Coach Rex
    Ryan wasted no time in setting the tone this week, declaring on a conference
    call this morning that he thinks the Jets are a better team than the Giants and
    will not play second fiddle to their cross-town foes.

    "Quite honestly, I never came here to be little brother to anybody," Ryan
    said. "So, it’s on."

    The big brother-little brother reference traces to Ryan's recent book, "Play
    Like You Mean It," in which he boldly deemed the Jets the "big brother" of New
    York football. He didn't back down.

    "Certainly, we were the better team the first two years," Ryan said. "We made
    the playoffs and went to the championship game. To say a team’s better than you
    that never made the playoffs, just is ridiculous. Clearly, we were the better
    team my first two years. And we get to prove it on Saturday who the best team is
    this year."

    The Jets and Giants only play in the regular season once every four years, so
    Ryan said it would be "foolish" not to acknowledge there are some serious city
    bragging rights at stake. Both teams are also fighting for their playoff lives
    and, while a loss Saturday would not eliminate either team, it would make its
    push much harder.

    Ryan had praise for Giants defensive lineman Jason Pierre-Paul, saying he is
    "playing as good as anybody in the league," and also said he has "immense"
    respect for coach Tom Coughlin. But when it comes down to it?

    "I recognize that they’re an excellent football team, but I think we’re
    better," Ryan said.

    He added: there’s no way I’m going to be second fiddle. If we were playing
    the New York Yankees, I don’t want to be second fiddle to them. So, it’s the
    same type of deal; that’s kind of my approach here. I want to be the best team
    in football, not just be the best team in this city. But we’ll start by being
    the best team in the city."

    Ryan said each team's loss this weekend -- the Jets to the Eagles, the Giants
    to the Redskins -- may take away "a little bit" from the game, but he still
    predicted a "knock down, drag out." The Jets are technically the home team, and
    he implored Jets fans to keep their tickets, though he acknowledged that might
    be a tough task if "the price is right."

    The victor on Saturday, he said, will be able to look at its opponent and
    say, "Yeah, you’ve got a good team, but we beat you, and that’s as simple as
    that." Ryan said this showdown will be the end-all, be-all to any such argument.
    He's "planning" on winning.

    "There's a lot of talk going back and forth, most of it driven by me," Ryan
    said. "But you know what, I’ll stand by anything I have ever said. I didn’t come
    here to be anybody’s little brother, I came here to win, to be looked at that
    way. And to take over not just this city and everything else, even though it is
    the city to take over, but also this league. I haven't accomplished that yet;
    Saturday, I think, will go a long way to doing that. We have to win this game,
    we have to get in the playoffs, and the Giants have to do the same. So it is
    going to be huge."

    Ryan added: "Quite honestly, both of us are having disappointing years, but
    it comes down to who beats who. It doesn't matter about other things. You're
    basically the same record, everything is at stake, so the proof is in the
    pudding. Whoever wins this game is clearly the best team in New York."



    Excerpt: "It was inexcusable, terrible and sadly predictable.

    The Giants' 23-10 loss to the Redskins on Sunday was not a shock for a team
    that consistently fails to show up against inferior teams. Eli Manning had an
    off game and his receivers did not help, starting with Hakeem Nicks' drop that
    likely would have been a touchdown to give the Giants an early 7-3 lead. The
    Redskins rolled from there with Rex Grossman showing up the Giants secondary for
    the second time this season.

    It was another valley in the Giants' rollercoaster season. But they've shown
    the ability to rise up and play with the best teams in the NFL. When Manning and
    the offense is on, it has proven capable of beating the Patriots and Cowboys on
    the road, and hanging with the Packers at home.

    But the Jets have been something worse than unstable: They have been
    ordinary. Their defense no longer looks capable of winning games, and the
    offense has never been able to do that since Rex Ryan took over as coach. The
    Jets have not beaten any current playoff team since Week 1, when they rallied to
    beat the Cowboys, but that was more due to Dallas’ mistakes than Jets
    initiative. Their other impressive victory came against the Chargers, who are
    peaking now, but were about to start a six-game losing streak when they came to
    New Jersey.

    Last year, the Jets suffered that 45-3 beating against the Patriots, but they
    also defeated their rivals earlier in the season. Last year in Week 15, they
    upset the eventual AFC champion Steelers in Pittsburgh. This year's Week 15 trip
    to Pennsylvania was a 45-19 rout dished out by the Eagles.

    Even the Jets' 9-7 team from 2009 had an early-season win over the Patriots
    to hang their helmet on, and an identity with the No. 1 rushing team and No. 1
    defense in the league.

    These past two years the Jets have played their best football in the
    playoffs, but it was based on a foundation built in the regular season.

    It's tough to decipher what this team is. It spent the offseason trying to
    build up the passing game, but were quickly exposed and changed course back to a
    running team. But the offensive line has taken steps back in recent seasons and
    is now closer to average than elite.

    The Eagles offense had shown flaws all season, but it moved the ball at will
    against the Jets on Sunday. The Jets did not resemble a team that shut down
    Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in the playoffs, and it will have a hard time
    shutting down Eli and the Giants to reach the playoffs this year.

    The Giants are not a great team, but except for the debacle in New Orleans,
    have played well against some of the better teams in the league. And in what is
    now a quarterback league, they have Manning, who has proven capable of playing
    with the best. The Jets have been able to overcome Mark Sanchez’s struggles, but
    they have yet to do that against a good team playing near the top of its game
    this year.

    None of this means the Giants will beat the Jets on Sunday, just that they
    are the better bet for a playoff run if they do.


    If the Jets are able to make the playoffs it would almost certainly be as the
    No. 6 seed.

    That likely would mean a wild-card matchup with the Texans, who blew a chance
    to be a No. 1 seed with their loss to the Panthers on Sunday. Houston has been a
    nice story this year, but is certainly the most favorable matchup the Jets could

    Rookie T.J. Yates starts at quarterback, and if the Jets have a chance to win
    a playoff game this would be it. It could also set up another matchup with the


    If the Giants get into the playoffs it would be as the NFC East champion,
    which would give them the No. 4 seed in the NFC. Right now that would mean a
    matchup with the Falcons, but it also could be the Lions if Detroit wins out
    (vs. Chargers, at Packers) and Atlanta loses to New Orleans this Monday night.

    Either of those matchups would be destined to end 35-31.


    Tom Coughlin was once considered the best at challenging replays, but the
    Giants coach has had a rough season in that area.

    Coughlin challenged a Redskins interception early in the second quarter.
    Watching it live, the call looked dubious, but after the first replay it was
    clear safety O.J. Atogwe had made the pick. Because of the change of possession,
    the Giants had to time to view those replays and still challenged it. He is now
    3-for-10 this season."

    Read more:



    "The only good news for our two overrated and underachieving football teams is
    that one of them will get a win on Saturday, one of them will continue to
    believe it can make the playoffs and then make a run. But the real fact of this
    game, at least off what we have seen from the Giants and Jets so far, is that
    the only championship for which either one of them will compete this season is
    the championship of each other. Two teams that played dead on Sunday try to show
    some life at MetLife Stadium on Christmas Eve.

    At the same time they try
    to answer a question that all New York and Jersey football fans have right now,
    whether they root for the Giants or Jets:

    Is this all you guys

    “Quite honestly both of us are having disappointing seasons,” Rex Ryan
    said in his conference call Monday and really could have stopped right there,
    but he’s Rex, after all, and stopping right there would have been like stopping
    after one bag of potato chips. Or one Super Bowl prediction. His team was
    supposed to fight for first place in the AFC East and he had them in
    Indianapolis for the Super Bowl, you bet, and now they all fight for the sixth
    playoff spot out of six in their conference.

    So Ryan kept going Monday,
    talking about how his team has been better than the Giants the last couple of
    years, as if that is part of the conversation right now, or anybody but Rex
    himself cares. Really he just needs for the Jets to be better on Saturday, maybe
    even give their fans the one game they’ve been waiting for all season, the one
    that actually makes them look as good as the coach always says they

    Even Ryan can’t possibly think, off the way his team has played this
    season, both sides of the ball, that somehow the Jets will turn into world
    beaters in the playoffs again. Because if there is a single area of football
    where he genuinely thinks his team is better this year than last, he ought to
    send up a flare.

    Ryan was probably just doing some chirping on the Giants
    Monday as a way of changing the subject from Eagles 45, Jets 19, making the
    subject anything but that.

    He sure was right, though, about how both
    teams have disappointed, right through Sunday’s games. The only win either of
    our teams have worth talking about against a team worth talking about is the
    game the Giants got off the Patriots in Foxboro, Eli Manning taking his
    team down the field at the end, the last time the Patriots lost against

    Other than that, both the Giants and Jets have nice comeback
    wins over the Cowboys, an over-hyped team with an 8-6 record like the Jets’
    record. At least the Giants got them last Sunday night, and on the road. The
    Jets got that game off the Cowboys at MetLife three months ago.

    Giants were 6-2 not so long ago, looking swell, now are 7-7 and hanging on for
    dear life in a soft NFC East. Fourteen games for them and 14 for the Jets and
    just one win against an elite team between them. The Jets have lost twice to the
    Patriots, got their hats handed to them by the Ravens on Sunday night football.
    The best win they have had lately was against a Chargers team in the process of
    losing six games in a row. Maybe in a week that started with silliness from the
    Jets coach about winning the “town” from the Giants — East Rutherford? — they
    think they can still brag on a couple of wins against the incredible shrinking
    Buffalo Bills.

    But then the coach always thinks he is speaking in a
    language that can only be described as “back page.” After a Sunday when both the
    Jets and Giants backed up the way they did.

    The Jets were trying to make
    it four wins in a row, the Giants were trying to build on that comeback against
    the Cowboys. Neither of them bothered to show up. Mark Sanchez couldn’t
    get to 200 passing yards for the third week in a row, Santonio Holmes
    acted like a bonehead during and after the game, Rex’s defense looked like the
    most overrated part of a currently overrated team.

    The Jets didn’t
    protect their own quarterback, couldn’t do anything to stop the other team’s
    quarterback, turned the ball over, saw Holmes celebrate the way he did down
    28-10. The Giants were no better. Their coach showed up for his postgame
    interview and talked about how he “expected more” out of his team.


    At least nobody could accuse Ryan’s team or Tom
    ’s team of doing anything to over-hype Giants vs. Jets. Neither one
    of these teams has a losing record, though the Giants could sure get there by
    about 4:30 on Saturday afternoon. They both just looked like complete losers in
    Week 15.

    The Giants can still get games off the Jets and Cowboys and win
    the NFC East with 9-7. The Jets can get to 10-6 by beating the Giants on
    Saturday and then beating the Dolphins on the road, on the last Sunday of the
    regular season. The Jets, who always seem to get a lot of help at this time of
    year, might even find a way to get into the playoffs with a 9-7 record of their

    “I want to be the best team in football, not just the best team in
    this city,” Ryan said Monday. “But we’ll start by being the best in this

    Somebody has to be."


    "The Giants do their best not to talk trash. They are a veteran team with a
    no-nonsense coach, and most weeks, they spend most of their time tiptoeing
    around any inflammatory quotes.

    So on Monday, while Rex Ryan was at his
    blustery best proclaiming the Jets as the Big Apple’s best team and ripping the
    Giants for missing the playoffs for two straight years, Big Blue quietly
    disputed Ryan’s chatter.

    “I definitely disagree with him on that,” said safety Deon Grant.

    Instead, the Giants reminded the big-talking coach that there’s actually a
    game to settle this entire debate, one that will be played Saturday at MetLife

    “That’s the beautiful thing is that we’re going to find out real soon,”
    linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka
    said of Ryan’s rant. “I’m not worried about anything anybody says — especially
    somebody that’s not going to have pads on.”

    To Kiwanuka and the Giants, there’s too much at stake to waste the week
    trading barbs with Gang Green and its sideline mascot of a coach. They’ve lost
    five of six games, and they were just embarrassed by the Redskins at home.

    It was a sobering experience, one that even silenced Antrel Rolle, the
    Giants’ resident trash-talker. During his weekly paid appearance on WFAN, the
    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1

  • #2

    thanks Ro....
    the hate and embarassment are fading a bit. The hope of beating the ****ing Jets into the "Giants Stadium" turf is starting to build up.....
    Hope and errant play goes to the sidelines and smacks Rex in his big mouth....
    that would be cool......
    "Measure Twice......Cut Once"
    You couldn't be more full of **** if you were break dancing in a Port-a-Potty.......Kruunch


    • #3

      [quote user="GameTime"]thanks Ro....
      the hate and embarassment are fading a bit. The hope of beating the ****ing Jets into the "Giants Stadium" turf is starting to build up.....
      Hope and errant play goes to the sidelines and smacks Rex in his big mouth....
      that would be cool......[/quote]I hope so, I really do.


      • #4
        Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2011 - 10:40 A.M.

        thanks Roanoke!



        • #5
          Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2011 - 10:40 A.M.

          [quote user="BigBlue1971"]

          thanks Roanoke!


          “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


          • #6
            Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2011 - 10:40 A.M.

            [quote user="GameTime"]thanks Ro....
            the hate and embarassment are fading a bit. The hope of beating the ****ing Jets into the "Giants Stadium" turf is starting to build up.....
            Hope and errant play goes to the sidelines and smacks Rex in his big mouth....
            that would be cool......[/quote]

            That would be worth a one game suspension lol
            “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


            • #7
              Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2011 - 10:40 A.M.

              [quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="GameTime"]thanks Ro.... the hate and embarassment are fading a bit. The hope of beating the ****ing Jets into the "Giants Stadium" turf is starting to build up..... Hope and errant play goes to the sidelines and smacks Rex in his big mouth.... that would be cool......[/quote]

              That would be worth a one game suspension lol

              and a hefty fine too.....

              "Measure Twice......Cut Once"
              You couldn't be more full of **** if you were break dancing in a Port-a-Potty.......Kruunch


              • #8
                Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2011 - 10:40 A.M.

                [quote user="GameTime"]

                [quote user="RoanokeFan"][quote user="GameTime"]thanks Ro.... the hate and embarassment are fading a bit. The hope of beating the ****ing Jets into the "Giants Stadium" turf is starting to build up..... Hope and errant play goes to the sidelines and smacks Rex in his big mouth.... that would be cool......[/quote]

                That would be worth a one game suspension lol

                and a hefty fine too.....


                “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1


                • #9
                  Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2011 - 10:40 A.M.

                  Sad reading about Jake's injury.
                  Thanks RF !
                  " Success is never final, but failure can be " B.P.


                  • #10
                    Re: NEWS, NOTES, RUMORS, AND GOSSIP: TUESDAY, DECEMBER 20, 2011 - 10:40 A.M.

                    [quote user="G-Men Surg."]Sad reading about Jake's injury.
                    Thanks RF ![/quote]

                    It really is. When will the injury merry-go-round stop?
                    “Never argue with an idiot. They will only bring you down to their level and beat you with experience.” MB Rule # 1