Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Some Giant observations
By Dan Graziano
Here are a few things I jotted down while watching the New York Giants at Minnesota Vikings last night.
- What this Giants offensive line has done is nothing short of remarkable: David Diehl returned to the starting lineup at left tackle Monday night and played well. The Giants streak of five games without giving up a sack ended, but that's not a big deal. Kevin Boothe continued to play well at left guard and now the Giants have a shot to get Shaun O'Hara back at center against the Philadelphia Eagles. The offensive line dominated one of the best defensive lines in the league. Both Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw surpassed 100 yards in a game for the first time since 2007, which seems like a good sign. This is a team that is built for a deep playoff run. I'm not saying it's going to happen for sure, but the Giants are running the ball and stopping the run on defense. Those things tend to help a team in the winter months.
- The Giants did not come out of this win unscathed. As Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPNNewYork.com reports, it looks like Steve Smith (hamstring) and Mario Manningham (hip flexor) could be in doubt for Sunday's game against the Eagles. Defensive end Justin Tuck apparently has bruised ribs, but there's nothing that will keep him out of this game. It looks like linebacker Clint Sintim will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury. He's a valuable asset on special teams and in some substitute packages, but Keith Bulluck has nailed down the starting role.
- Eli Manning has thrown a league-leading 19 interceptions. Even with a potent running game in recent weeks, Manning has continued to make mistakes. Brett Favre and Drew Brees each have 18 interceptions, but Brees has mixed in 28 touchdown passes. Manning does have 24 touchdown passes. I think the interception "crown" will eventually go to Carson Palmer if he can stay on the field and continue making poor decisions. But with Asante Samuel likely returning for the Eagles, Manning can't afford to make a lot of loose throws. I haven't seen him this careless with the ball since his rookie season. That needs to stop immediately.
- The Giants' defensive line is playing as well as it has the entire season. Dave Tollefson is doing a superb job in a reserve role and Osi Umenyiora jumped back in the sack race Monday night. It was also another strong showing for defensive tackle Barry Cofield. He's one of the more underrated defensive players in the league right now. And he could have ended up with the Saints if a trade had gone through. I know Giants general manager Jerry Reese is very pleased that one didn't work out.
- Giants coach Tom Coughlin complimented his team Sunday night in a team meeting on their "professionalism" during a shaky travel schedule. Coughlin loves to stay on schedule more than any coach in the league, so this was a different experience for him. But the players seemed to enjoy the extra bonding time and they made the best of the situation. And by the way, playing the Vikings at a neutral site instead of the Metrodome wasn't exactly the worst "situation" in the world.