2012 NY GIANTS: PROJECTING BIG BLUE'S PLAYOFF CHANCES
"The New York
Giants were fortunate to have made the playoffs in 2011. Not fortunate in
the sense that they won games they should have lost, but in that a nine-win
season was good enough to earn them the NFC East crown. In fact, the 2011 Giants were the only
team ever to win the NFC East with only nine wins since the league expanded to
a sixteen-game schedule in 1978. In 2010, the team actually had ten wins and was
left out in the cold during the post season.
Historically, nine wins is sometimes good enough to earn a Wild Card berth;
however, the Giants received a four-seed and a home playoff game in 2011. As
impressive as the team's playoff performance was, they were placed in a much
more favorable position than most other nine win teams normally receive.
Although Big Blue eventually got healthy and went on an improbable run to
their fourth Super
Bowl victory in franchise history, there were several moments throughout the
2011 campaign in which it looked like the Giants were going to be on the outside
looking in come playoff time. For these reasons, some believe that Big Blue will
fail to make it through the NFC and into the playoffs in the upcoming
Throughout the last few weeks, several NFL analysts and so-called "experts" have predicted that the team
will not make the playoffs in 2012. Although many fans disagree with these
prognostications, Big Blue still has several questions to answer after their 9-7 regular season campaign a year ago.
Ironically, the outcome of the 2012 NFL season will be determined largely by the results of
the 2011 season. For many teams, their schedule will be the make-or-break factor
that will either vault them into post-season lore, or will have them sitting on
their couches come January. For the 2012 New York
Giants to make the playoffs, this can not be the case.
The Giants will have the toughest schedule in the NFL in 2012. On
top of playing their annual divisional bouts, Big Blue will face seven other
teams that made the playoffs in 2011. To complicate matters further, the Giants
will play on the road against the San
Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Atlanta Falcons, and Baltimore
Ravens. While objectively examining the team's ferocious line-up of opponents,
it seems that a ten win season would be extremely difficult to attain.
That being said, the 2012 Giants have improved over the offseason. With a
full gauntlet of workouts and OTA's, there will be more consistency and
continuity with the team heading into next season. The rookies that the team
relied upon last year in several key positions will be no longer be
inexperienced liabilities; and both the offensive line and linebacker core
should improve as these younger players continue to develop.
Furthermore, it is imperative that the Giants beat the teams they are
"supposed" to beat in 2012. Big Blue can not afford to have a game this season
similar to last year's home matchups with the Seattle Seahawks or Washington
Redskins. With such an unforgiving schedule, the team must win their games
against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, and Redskins. The Giants have more
talent and experience than all of the aforementioned teams and need those five
victories to give them some wiggle room against their more competitive
All things considered, it is still very early to give an accurate prediction
on whether any team will make the playoffs in 2012. Nobody knows how teams will
mesh during training camp, or if any significant injuries will be suffered
during the preseason by key players.
However, the Giants will certainly have their work cut out for them in the
upcoming season. As we saw last year, they have the ability to beat any team
they play, but can also lose games they most definitely should have won. With
the talent and experience returning to the team this season, the Giants should
make the playoffs, but that is far from a guaranteed statement. Big Blue must be
extremely focused for each and every game to avoid following up their Super
Bowl championship season with a clunker in 2012."
HISTORICAL NEW YORK GIANTS' CLIPS: 2001 VS. GREEN BAY PACKERS
"Historical New York Giants clips is a weekly Giants 101 feature that
takes a look back at vintage video of Big Blue, both in color and black and
white, over the course of their illustrious history. Whether it's a win or a
loss, the purpose of this feature is to help educate newer generations of Giants
fans and to bring older generations of Giants fans back in time. Enjoy.
Already out of the playoff hunt, the New York Giants had little left to fight for during a
week 17 matchup with the Green
Bay Packers to close out the 2001-2002 NFL season. The sole highlight of the year, to that
point, had come in week two against the Kansas City Chiefs – the first game after
the terrorists attacks of 9-11. However, eyes would be fixed on defensive end Michael
Strahan throughout the game, as he needed only a single sack to break Mark
Gastineau's record of 22 set in 1984.
Leading 34-25 with 2:46 remaining in the game, quarterback Brett
Favre and the Packers' offense needed only one first down to seal the game
and finish the season with a 12-4 record. To that point, Strahan had been held
sackless, and his final opportunity would be upcoming. So as Favre snapped the
ball on first-and-10, faked a hand-off and rolled to his right, #92 bared down
on him and fell on top of the sliding quarterback. There it was. 22 1/2 … the
record had been broken.
Immediately, as Strahan and his teammates celebrated, the sack was called
"Favre ran right into him. It almost looked like it was a designed play," the
broadcaster said. "They're buddies! He just slid down in front of Strahan … you
gotta be kidding."
For years following the game, Favre and teammate Mark Tauscher insisted the
sack was legitimate, claiming the game was not over at that point and it would
be foolish to take such a risk.
""We wanted to avoid that sack," Tauscher said in 2004. "I know Earl (Dotson)
and the offensive line as a group wanted to keep that from happening. But it
happened. It's over with."
At the end of the day (royalties to Antrel Rolle), the sack stood and Strahan
remains the NFL's
single-season sack leader with 22 1/2. Many players, namely DeMarcus Ware and
Jared Allen, have come close to breaking the record, but never quite got over
In time, the record will again be broken and that's something Strahan has
publicly said he's fine with. For now, #92 remains #1 with 22 1/2.A LOOK BACK AT THE MANY NEW YORK GIANTS' HANDLES, ALIASES, AND NICKNAMES
"The club name has remained ‘The New York Football Giants’ since 1937. Over the years,
more than several monikers have come along with this one.
A shortened version appears sometimes simply as: ‘Jints’. ESPN analyst, Chris
Berman pretty much made ‘G-Men’ infamous while doing his shtick during post-game
highlight shows. ‘Big Blue’ is an abridged form of the soon-to-be-mentioned Big
Blue Wrecking Crew that stands for this entire team.
At times, there are groups of players that earn epithets for their talents on
the field. In the early 2000’s, running back duo Ron Dayne and Tiki Barber were
known as ‘Thunder and Lightning’ in the backfield. In the 2007-2008 seasons,
Brandon Jacobs, Ahmad
Bradshaw and Derrick Ward created a RB tandem that netted the ‘Earth, Wind,
& Fire’ name. A few years later, the wideouts gained their own – 'Jet Blue’
was utilized for receivers Hakeem Nicks, Steve
Smith and Mario
Single players earn nicknames as well. Owner Wellington Mara was affectionately known as ‘The Duke’
around the league. In 2006, the NFL began using a Wilson-made football that put ‘THE
DUKE’ on every official game-used ball in his honor. Linebacker Lawrence
Taylor was (and always will be) ‘LT’. DT Keith Hamilton was known as ‘The
Hammer’. QB Eli Manning has a couple: ‘Easy E’ – due to his relaxed demeanor,
‘Comeback Kid’ – due to his 4th quarter heroics, and ‘ELIte’ - ironically due
the 2011 offseason query about the same. Former Giants wide receiver-turned
media hound, Amani
Toomer earned a Chris Berman nickname too: ‘Well Dressed’ – a play off of
Armani suits. That Berman! Gonna steer clear of the negative connotation-filled
labels here (you’re welcome, Jared Lorenzen).
Perhaps the most interesting and famous part of the organization to gross
their names is the defense. Giants’ fans have always loved their D. Back to the
years when the team played in Yankee Stadium, the fan base chanted for this
malicious side of the ball; some things will never change… Back to 1957, the
‘Fearsome Foursome’ was the first group to earn a title for a portion of the
defense. Down the pike, the early 80’s had a LB core of: Harry
Carson, Brian Kelley, Lawrence
Taylor and Brad Van Pelt. To opposing offenses they were the ‘Crunch Bunch’.
A few years later, the line changed slightly and so did the title. The ‘Big Blue
Wrecking Crew’ is what this Giants franchise is possibly most infamous for. A
dominant defense as a whole, the Big Blue Wrecking Crew helped the New York
Football Giants win two Super Bowls within four years.
This ‘BBWC’ appellation is still exploited today, although there are several
that are assumed by various sources: media, fans, the players and coaches
themselves. ‘The 4 Horsemen’ is one – even though its origin goes out to Notre
Dame’s Fighting Irish backfield of the mid-1920’s. ‘QB Killas’ was an easy one
when the Big Blue pass rush began injuring opposing quarterbacks almost
serially. Former NFL offensive
tackle (now a CBS game analyst) Dan Dierdorf announced during the 2011 Week 8
game against the Miami Dolphins, “Release the Kraken!” and ‘Kraken’ stuck…at
least until the Nascar package was employed by defensive coordinator, Perry
Fewell earlier this year (in the ’11 playoffs). ‘Nascar’ is the last moniker
that’s been around Gotham – until another is created, conceivably very soon.
Side Note: At the end of last month, I declared my new nickname for
the 2012 Giants defense: ‘Damage, Inc.’ Just give me credit where due,
G101'ers!"GIANTS' MARK HERZLICH: WE'RE STILL BITTER OVER 9 - 7 SEASON
"Once the ticker tape and confetti from the Super
Bowl XLVI parade and following stadium celebration have settled, some
feelings become real again. This reigns true for New York
Giants linebacker Mark Herzlich.
Herzlich maintains clarity on what happened to him and the team during the
2011 regular season, but says the Giants are steadfast in remembering a horrible
four-game losing streak that preempted most media outlets, other teams and even
some Giants fans to write epitaphs on Big Blue prematurely.
“I think that as amazing as last year was there is still a bitter taste in
our mouth from that four game stretch where we lost. Everyone really remembers
that feeling all too well and playing just for survival just to get into the
playoffs and just to do that type of thing, that’s not where we want to be at
half way through the season. We want to put ourselves in position earlier to get
that playoff spot and then to repeat what we did last year at the end of the
season.” Herzlich said in an interview with WEEI in Boston.
#58 is coming into 2012 training camp with more than determination. Mark
will travel up to Albany with the mindset that the starting position of Mike
linebacker is his for the taking.
“It’s mine for the taking,” Herzlich said in April. “I wish the best for
everybody else, but it’s still a competition. I want the team to do well, and if
it’s not the spot that the coaches want me in, then that’s one thing. But the
way I look at it is, there is a place that I can play and I don’t want anyone to
take that away from me.”
From the top—head coach Tom
Coughlin—the feelings trickle down unchanged: The need to improve is always
there. The Giants finished with a 9-7 record. Mark
Herzlich finished his rookie season with 12 tackles recorded in 11 games
played. Both statements clearly share similarities and parallels in the fact
that there’s definite progress to be had according the clipboard agenda for the
virulent G-Men. They’re a resilient bunch that has used the adversity mantra to
death. This time, the playbook seems to have a new play call in it that comes
from unsettled and unresolved feelings about how the players and coaches (as
well as the front office) look back on how 2011 really went down.
Don’t be surprised if the World Champions come out with massive chips on
their shoulders as if they missed the playoffs—and play harder now. They may
seem as if they’ve something to prove to themselves more than any other along
BIG BLUE VIEW
NY GIANTS NEWS AND NOTES: SUNDAY READING MATERIAL
"Good morning, New York Giants
fans! Here are a few stories of interest for you this morning.http://www.bigblueview.com/section/news
Herzlich, Giants LB: 'I root for the Jets to do well' - NFL.com
is in the Super Bowl, I think everyone kind of roots for New York. It's kind of
everyone has pride in the city but definitely are loyal to their one certain
team. As a Giant, I root for the Jets to do well when
they are playing. When we are playing them, I don't want them to do very well,
but it's the kind of thing we take pride in New York, regardless."
Valentine's View: Umm, Mark, did you check with the folks here at Big
Blue View before professing your Jets fandom? I think some folks around here are
not going to be thrilled with you.
NFL team was the offseason champion? - NFL.com
Eagles smartly re-signed their best core players: Trent Cole, Todd
Jackson and Evan Mathis.
They consolidated and clarified the front office by saying goodbye to team
president Joe Banner while giving Andy Reid more power. The trade for DeMeco Ryans
filled a big need at linebacker, and the draft should give the defense immediate
contributors. I even like the continuity of keeping defensive coordinator Juan
Castillo. The Eagles withstood public pressure to "blow things up" and should be
rewarded. (Just a year later than everyone expected.)
Valentine's View: Two of the four analysts polled selected
Philadelphia. Zero selected the Giants. And in the view of the Giants -- and
probably most of you -- that's just fine.
Victor Cruz vs. Eagles' Cover 4 | National Football Post
How did Cruz
beat the Philly secondary? Let's take a look.
NFC team assigns Josh Gordon third-round grade | ProFootballTalk
NFL's 2012 supplemental draft will be held on Thursday, July 12. Former Baylor
wide receiver Josh Gordon is the highest-rated prospect available for this
year's summer draft."
THE RED ZONE
FENWAY PARK SELLING "I HATE ELI MANNING" T-SHIRTS
"Tom Rock of Newsday took a picture of a t-shirt being sold at Fenway Park.
The shirt reads: “I hate Eli Manning” and then the back says “Peyton sucks
The city of Boston and the entire New England area is clearly bitter now that
Eli has denied the Patriots their fourth Super Bowl trophytwice in the past
Saw these T-shirts on sale outside Fenway this weekend.twitter.com/TomRock_Newsda…
— Tom Rock (@TomRock_Newsday)July 8, 2012"
MAILBAG: HOW MANY LB'S WILL GIANTS KEEP?
"But here are some questions leftover from the last chat and from Twitter:
Q: How many linebackers do they keep? Michael Boley, Mathias
Kiwanuka, Chase Blackburn, Keith Rivers, Mark Herzlich, Jacquian Williams, Greg
Jones, Spencer Paysinger are in the running. Doesn't seem likely they keep all
of them, right? Paysinger first to go?
OHM: This is going to be an interesting one. I am very curious
to see who they keep at linebacker and how many of them. Special teams will
obviously play a factor. And let's not forget about undrafted free agent
Jake Muasau and Clint Sintim. The Giants like
Muasau enough to try him some at third-string middle linebacker while moving
Greg Jones for a bit to strongside linebacker.
At the end of the season,
the Giants had seven linebackers on the active roster and one (Adrian
Tracy) on the practice squad. I think there is a possibility the Giants
keep perhaps eight linebackers (Tracy
is considered a defensive end now). They like all the ones mentioned above,
in the question.
Herzlich, Jones and Paysinger all play roles on special
teams. Muasau could land on the practice squad. Sintim's ability to stick
depends on his surgically repaired knee. If Sintim makes a healthy recovery, the
Giants will have some difficult decisions to make.
Q: Any chance
the G-men pick up a veteran RB? Kicking the tires on Ced Benson not a terrible
OHM: I understand why some of you guys
want to see Benson on the Giants to fill the Brandon Jacobs'
void. But I think the Giants are going to see what they got with D.J.
Ware, David Wilson, Andre Brown and Da'Rel Scott
first. If for some reason they really see a weakness there and none of those
guys satisfy what they are looking for -- or if there is an injury -- then I
could see the Giants looking for a veteran running back. Otherwise I see the
Giants sticking with what they have and seeing who emerges.
Who's the receiver you think makes the biggest impact this year between Domenik
Hixon, Jerrel Jernigan, Rueben Randle and Ramses Barden?
OHM: Based on the non-contact practices we saw in OTAs
and minicamp, I think Hixon will have the edge to start off as the third wide
receiver. Jernigan and Barden finished minicamp with a strong practice. But I
think Randle is the guy from this group who can have the biggest impact by the
end of the season.
The coaches have seen flashes of his potential during
OTAs and minicamp and they sound impressed. Randle just needs time to learn the
offense, develop a rapport with Eli Manning and continue to
progress. This could be like last year, when the Giants had to wait until Week 3
for Victor Cruz to emerge.
Q: With all the
tight end talk, how did Christian Hopkins look in minicamp? Jerry Reese
mentioned him after Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum got injured.
OHM: Hopkins looks big and he’s got some hands. At 6-5,
277 pounds, Hopkins is a large target. During the non-contact practices we were
able to watch during OTAs and minicamp, we saw Hopkins make a few catches across
the middle. He has ability. We'll have to see what he can do with more reps and
full contract practices in camp."
PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY
PRO FOOTBALL WEEKLY
PRO FOOTBALL FOCUS
WELKER AND PATRIOTS FACING BIG FINANCIAL GAP
VIKING'S ADRIAN PETERSON ARRESTED AT NIGHT CLUB
COWBOYS, BRONCOS INQUIRE ABOUT LUMPKIN AHEAD OF SUPPLEMENTAL DRAFT
FOOTBALL WRESTLES WITH ITS OWN VIOLENCE
"The game of football, as you know it today, will undergo profound and
fundamental changes in the coming years that may include, but are not limited
to, powder puffs, Nerf helmets, two-hand touches of quarterbacks, overtimes
decided by rock-paper-scissors, and group hugs instead of gang tackles.
All right, perhaps that’s a mild
exaggeration. But there is uncertainty ahead when it comes to the country’s most
popular game. With the issue of concussions regularly making headlines, and the
fact that players are getting bigger, stronger and faster, it’s only logical
that adjustments will be made to address the evolving nature of the sport.
But while purists bemoan what they
perceive to be the slow emasculation of a brutal game, while others wonder if
enough is being done to tone down the violence, the consensus seems to be that
changes will be incremental, and not too radical.
“A lot of change has already occurred
over the past decade, which I think has been positive,” explained Randy Cross,
an analyst for CBS Sports who played 13 seasons in the NFL, all with the San
Francisco 49ers. “For instance, it appears that teaching has taken the head shot
out of the game, which will help a lot of guys out.”
Concussions have become the dominant
buzzword leading to alterations in how the game is played. There is probably no
better example of the type of incident the NFL is crusading to eliminate than
last December’s helmet-to-helmet blow by Pittsburgh’s James Harrison on
Cleveland quarterback Colt McCoy. Harrison was suspended one game for the play,
which resulted in a concussion for McCoy.
That led to a whole brouhaha about how
the Browns handled McCoy’s injury. The diagnosing of concussions is one area of
football that many feel will see marked improvement in the coming years.
“One of the most significant
breakthroughs will be identifying the biological markers that enable doctors and
trainers to see how bad a concussion is,” Cross said.
Other changes fans may notice is in the“Now I think the equipment and the teaching techniques have kept pace with the
area of equipment. “I started playing in 1964,” said Ed Croson, head coach of
Chaminade Prep in West Hills, Ca. “When I was a little kid, I played on a team
that still had one leather helmet, with a facemask screwed onto it.
fitness of the players at this level. We have the same helmets that the pros
wear. … The kids are protected better. Now they have titanium face masks.”
Cross agreed that equipment will
continue to be examined, scrutinized and improved, and what players wear will
have a profound impact on how they play the game.
“I think significant strides will come
in the science side and the engineering and technical side when it comes to
helmets and the mandatory use of dual-arch mouthpieces,” Cross explained. “With
MMA and boxing, those are mandatory. Football is probably every bit as violent,
but they never considered it because of the union.
“I think changes in the helmet,
mouthpiece, chip strap, that’s all going to be positive for players.”
At the high school and college levels,
Croson said, the game has already changed in terms of style — less smashmouth —
and that results in fewer direct hits. “Our running backs try to avoid hits,” he
said. “That era of football is gone now. It’s all spread. It’s all like
Like all coaches, teaching is a major
part of the job for Mike Leach, in his first season as head coach at Washington
State. He believes the teaching of technique will continue to evolve to meet
“At all levels, players need to be
taught how to tackle,” he said. “They need to be taught how to tackle in the
NFL. … It’s a constant series of corrections and refinements.”
Jamie Dukes, who played 10 seasons in
the NFL with the Falcons, Packers and Cardinals, believes the league is “taking
every precaution” and “I don’t see many more changes coming.” He cited as an
example of how the game has already changed the moving up of the ball on
kickoffs, which results in more touchbacks, fewer returns and therefore fewer
“The league is trying to do all it
can,” Dukes said. “Guys who are not adhering to the changes are getting
In fact, while Dukes believes
concussions are a serious problem in an increasingly brutal sport, it isn’t as
widespread as the public might perceive it to be. Dukes said obesity is a more
pressing issue, and the changes he would like to see in the game of football
involve teaching players how to live healthier lives during their playing
careers and after. He started the Billion Pound Blitz Initiative, an effort to
improve the lifestyles of athletes.
“I had seven teammates who I have
played with die before they were 47,” he said, citing issues like diabetes and
heart disease as by-products of the obesity that develops when athletes whose
playing weight is 300 to 400 pounds suddenly stop playing and working out.
Perhaps the biggest change of all in
protecting players will come in the area of awareness. At the pro and college
levels, trainers react more quickly than ever to signs of concussions. High
schools have been slower to adapt, primarily because of funds.
“There’s a physician at every game in
California,” Croson said. “They haven’t mandated trainers for schools because a
lot of the school districts couldn’t afford that. We can because we’re a private
school. Our school chooses to take that care. I think it’s a good idea for any
Cross agreed that player safety is the
most noticeable change in the game, and he expects that trend to continue.
“I think if you ask the average fan
how much the game has changed in the past 10 years, he would say a lot,” Cross
explained. “But he would be hard-pressed to say how. But if you look at the
safety standpoint, it has changed dramatically.”