Monday, September 9, 2013
Big Blue Morning: Giants start 0-1 again
By Dan Graziano
Your daily morning check-in on news and notes about and of interest to the New York Giants:
The news of the day: For the second year in a row, the Giants have started out with a Week 1 loss to the division-rival Dallas Cowboys. They committed six turnovers in Sunday night's 36-31 loss at AT&T Stadium -- three Eli Manning interceptions, two David Wilson fumbles and a muffed punt that bounced off the shoulder of Trumaine McBride and was recovered by the Cowboys. It couldn't have been a lot uglier, even with Manning throwing for 450 yards and three wide receivers -- Hakeem Nicks, Victor Cruz and Rueben Randle collecting at least 100 yards apiece. The biggest lingering issue this morning feels like Wilson, the second-year back of whom so much is expected. He was benched in the second half after the second fumble, and teammates spent the postgame trying to get him to keep his chin up. The extent to which he can do that -- and improve his ball security -- will go a long way toward determining whether Wilson gets the chance to be the big breakout star he's expected to be. Manning is going to need some help, and a reliable run game would be a good place to start.
Behind enemy lines: Cowboys owner Jerry Jones believes the Giants were faking injuries in the second quarter to slow down the Cowboys' no-huddle offense and give their defense a chance to catch its breath. Jerry says some nutty things sometimes, but the Giants have found themselves in this position before, and that Cullen Jenkins "injury" didn't look too debilitating, if you know what I'm saying. Jason Witten exploded immediately, shouting, "He's faking!" to the officials while the crowd booed. The Cowboys scored on the drive anyway, so they were in decent spirits about it after the game, but only the most pie-eyed of Giants fans would say Jones didn't have a point.
Around the division: If you're anything like me, you have been looking forward for some time now to tonight's "Monday Night Football" opener between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Washington Redskins. What will the NFL version of Chip Kelly's offense really look like? How rusty will Robert Griffin III be? Can Michael Vick protect the ball? Can the Redskins' secondary cover anyone? The Giants don't see the Eagles until Week 5, and they don't see the Redskins until Week 13. But if you're a fan of the NFC East, this one has to catch your attention tonight.
Around the league: Some early balance-of-power lines got drawn in the NFC, with the Saints beating the Falcons and the 49ers beating the Packers in a couple of shootouts. And while I am aware that the Giants beat three of those four teams last year, the 49ers-Packers game in particular felt a lot more like a heavyweight bout than did the NFC East slopfest we saw in Dallas. For three years in a row now, the NFC East has failed to produce more than one playoff team and hasn't had a team win more than 10 games. Anything can happen, of course, as the Giants showed two years ago. But at this point, it's hard to watch those kinds of games without realizing that the Giants' division is in a down cycle.