Monday, November 4, 2013
Big Blue Morning: Back to work
By Dan Graziano ESPN.com
Your daily morning check-in on news and notes about and of interest to the New York Giants
The news of the day: Coming off their bye week, Giants players will return to work Monday after seven days off and go through a late-morning practice. Andre Brown should be front and center in the running back mix, as he's eligible to come off of injured reserve and make his season debut Sunday against the Raiders. It remains to be seen how things will shake out with Brandon Jacobs, Peyton Hillis and Michael Cox once Brown is activated. And they will need to clear a roster spot. But as Adam Schefter reports this morning, starting running back David Wilson is going for an MRI this week on his injured neck. If it's determined that Wilson must miss the rest of the season, which is possible and may even be the wise course of action given the Giants' 2-6 record, then that's the roster spot. Anyway, Brown has been practicing for a couple of weeks now and is eager to get going.
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Behind enemy lines: The Raiders sure didn't look like much Sunday, as they allowed an NFL record-tying seven touchdown passes to Nick Foles and lost 49-20 to the Eagles one week after the Giants beat the Eagles 15-7. The Raiders also saw starting running back Darren McFadden and quarterback Terrelle Pryor leave that game with injuries. Add in the fact that the Raiders are flying cross-country for a 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT) game at MetLife Stadium on Sunday, and you start to like the Giants' chances of a third win in a row. Of course, for the third game in a row, that opinion is based on the quality of the opponent, and not the way the Giants themselves have played.
Around the division: Rough week for those who insist on believing the 2-6 Giants can get back into the division race, as all three NFC East teams won. Apart from the Eagles' demolition of the Raiders, the first-place Cowboys squeaked out a final-seconds victory over the Minnesota Vikings to improve to 5-4 (including an important 3-0 record in division games). The Eagles sit a game behind them at 4-5. And the Redskins, who beat the Chargers in overtime, are 3-5. The Giants' best-case scenario for the next couple of weeks involves beating the Raiders on Sunday and the Packers at home a week later to improve to 4-6 in time for the Nov. 24 home game against the Cowboys, by which time the worst Dallas can be is 5-5, since they have a bye in Week 11. But there are also those other two teams in front of them, and again, that requires a four-game winning streak (and a victory over the Packers!) by a Giants team that continues to rank among the very worst in the NFL in a wide variety of categories. When considering the opportunity presented to the last-place Giants by the relative weakness of the rest of the division, you must also consider the Giants' ability to take advantage of it. They are not a good team.
Around the league: The Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin case is going to continue to be a big story this week, as the issue of what's appropriate behavior in a football locker room and what isn't gets dissected. I guess one thing to note here is that, when it gets to the point where a key player (Martin, in this case) feels as though he can't be a part of the team, it has hurt the team, and has clearly gone too far. I have plenty of thoughts on the unnecessary-cruelty-to-fellow-human-beings aspect of it as well, but I kind of feel as though those should be obvious.