Items by

Why Do People Undermine Ahmad Bradshaw?

Published: July 16, 2009

commentNo Comments

A seventh-round selection in the 2007 Draft, Ahmad Bradshaw began that season as the third-string New York Giants running back. Taking over the reins for all-time great Tiki Barber that year was bulldozer Brandon Jacobs, with Derrick Ward as the second back.


As the season evolved, Giant Nation saw Jacobs get hurt and Ward step up brilliantly, which kept Bradshaw in check until the end of the season. However, when called upon, the little guy really showed us what he was made of.


Picking up the slack as the change-of-pace running back after Ward broke his leg, Bradshaw flashed great skills and contributed significantly in the Super Bowl run.


Notwithstanding that, his sophomore season in the NFL was slow, as Jacobs and a healthy Derrick Ward were both tearing it up, picking defenses apart, rushing for more than a 1,000 yards each, and posting the best rushing offense in the league.


Coming the 2009 season, with the exit of Derrick Ward to Tampa Bay, Bradshaw’s role in the team is to be given an earned increase. However, whenever assessments on the Giants’ running back situation are published, Bradshaw is several times undermined.


Statements regarding his size and strength, as well as his alleged lack of big play ability have been plaguing Bradshaw the entire 2009 offseason. In many reports given by so-called “experts” of the game, Bradshaw was even placed to lose his job as the No. 2 back in training camp.


Ahmad Bradshaw is given little respect lately and I really don’t see why. When playing for Ward back in 2007, he had 23 carries for 190 yards, including an 88-yard TD run. He provided the change of pace necessary for Jacobs to rest, just like Ward did.


Last year, as the third back, he carried the ball 67 times, piling 355 yards. That’s a 5.3 yards per carry. He rushed for a TD too, and scored again through the air.


It is hard to call that mediocre. With the loss of Ward, all Giants fans were sad.


But despite that sad feeling in my gut, I got excited about seeing more of Bradshaw. He is an extremely capable back, and should carry the load very effectively this year.


To all doubters out there, believe in Bradshaw!



also published at

New York Giants Kevin Boss: Underrated and Underutilized Perfectly

Published: July 9, 2009

commentNo Comments

Entering his third year in the NFL, New York Giants’ tight end Kevin Boss is one of the most underrated players in the NFL. Having stepped into the big shoes of no other than Jeremy Shockey maybe explains why the league doesn’t show him the proper respect.


Very tall at 6’6″, Kevin Boss is capable of leaping over defenders, flashes great soft hands, displays good vision and has just enough speed to slip under defenses. His blocking is very good as well.


Nevertheless, in almost all analysis involving the Giants’ passing game, when assessing the TEs, people just say that Boss is a decent starter, a good-but-not-great player, and one of the reasons given is that the Giants do not throw to TEs a lot, which held his development.


Taking the time to look at such an athletic player posting only decent numbers, one can only reach the conclusion that this is Tom Coughlin’s exact intention.


In an offense with a bruising running game, and lots of downfield passing, Coughlin’s plans for using Kevin Boss has worked to perfection so far.


Boss gets few reps while the Giants go down the field, keeping involved in the blocking for the most part, so when they get to the red zone, defenses are not expecting a pass to the TE. That is when they are burned.


Catching six TD passes in 2008 proves this. Boss only had 33 receptions, but yet six TDs. This means that in every six passes threw to him, one is for a TD. That is quite an average, don’t you think?


Being a veteran now, and the only returning starter remaining in the Giants’ passing game may divert Manning to look for Boss more times during the games. This could be something good an effective, but, notwithstanding that, I think otherwise.


With so many receivers with different skill sets, like Steve Smith, Domenik Hixon, Sinorice Moss, and Hakeem Nicks for Eli Manning to throw to, Boss could be spared and keep getting overlooked.


This way he can even improve his touchdown per catch average, and get the Giants more points on the board in red zone situations.


It is a win-win situation. You develop all the young receivers faster, and you’re awarded with a killer red zone weapon.

New York Giants Wrap Up Spring Training Relieving Fans’ Anxiety

Published: June 22, 2009

commentNo Comments

Throughout the entire NFL offseason, all the football fans of every NFL team have made a truckload of assumptions.


This period of time is usually marked by these assumptions, as the media and fan base speculate regarding the future season ahead.


Every move made by each franchise is rapidly analyzed by countless critics, who judge, criticize, discuss, and sometimes even fight about it.


In the Giants’ case, it is no different. Discussions regarding the team exploded, whether about the WR situation, defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo leaving, or about Derrick Ward’s departure to Tampa Bay, and so on and so forth.


Heading into the off-season conditioning program, one brilliant surprise lurked on this roster—every player attended.


During the spring, we learned that Osi Umenyiora is fully healthy. What is even more important, he is fully hungry. This gives Giants fans a lot to look forward to.


Another thing we learned throughout the spring is that the secondary is in very good hands, as Kenny Phillips has been stepping up on a daily basis, becoming a leader in this defense and looking more Ed Reed-like.


Perhaps the best surprise in the OTAs and mini camp was Sinorice Moss.


The little guy looked somewhat incredible, flashing his blazing speed all over the field and making spectacular catches.


His fellow receiver, Mario Manningham, also stepped up, and showed the coaches he is not out of the race just yet. The rookies were looking good as well, as Nicks showed excellent route running, and incredible hands.


Furthermore, Eli Manning also showed one more time he is ready to carry this team back to the promised land.


Manning took the step towards being the real, uncontested leader of the team. Having daily classroom sessions with his receivers, we can all expect good chemistry come September.


Adding up to the count, a factor in this year’s spring training was the new facility. Leaving that old crappy place behind, the new spacious one provided what was necessary for the team to be more comfortable.


This helped create a lighter environment. Of course, the fact that Plax and Shockey weren’t there also helped a bit…


Although I’m sure I didn’t bring any real fresh news with this article, the point of displaying the above-mentioned statements and facts is that with the end of spring training, Giants fans have some answers to their throbbing anxieties.


Questions like “Will Osi come back at full strength?”, “Can our receivers step up?” or “Can Eli keep his ascent to an elite QB without a big receiver?” are no longer forcing themselves into Giants’ fans every thought.


The New York Giants have moved on.


All of the distractions are no longer present in this group. Finally, this Giants team was able to enjoy an off season focusing on what really matters—becoming a better team.

AFC West Preview: Chargers’ Job Made Easier by Slow Offseasons

Published: June 18, 2009

commentNo Comments

The offseason of the AFC West has been a very agitated one. From Kansas City changing the front office and trading for Matt Cassel, through the major changes in the Denver Broncos brass and roster, it could be said that it is almost a different division.


Taken as one of the least competitive divisions in the NFL, the AFC East walked towards an even more uneven competition in 2009.


During the 2008 season, football fans all saw the Kansas City Chiefs struggle hardly, in what was the worst season in the franchise’s history. While the Chiefs made some changes that may promptly improve the team, they failed to address their most important need, which is their (horrible) offensive line.


The Oakland Raiders continued their streak of losing seasons in 2008, and through a quiet offseason, made some valuable acquisitions for the team. However, the team is still in rebuild mode, and isn’t expected to make much noise in 2009.


When you take a look at the Denver Broncos, than you see the most relevant changes. With the hiring of Josh McDaniels, one of the brightest offensive minds in the league, all Broncos fans—and even foes—could think about were the possibilities.


The Broncos already possessed a very explosive offense behind the arm of Jay Cutler, their 25-year-old rocket-armed QB just coming off a 4,500-plus yards Pro Bowl season.


The offense also counted with young rising stars like Brandon Marshall, Eddie Royal, and Tony Scheffler; not to mention the true brick wall that is their O-line, led by stud left tackle Ryan Clady.


When anyone thought about the Broncos, it was something like: “If McDaniels was able to make Matt Cassel, a career long backup, play effectively, imagine what he could do with Cutler?!”


The possibilities were almost too good to be true. But after a big dose of drama, Broncos fans ended up having to put up with a handful of free agents, most of them average players, and, the worst part, Kyle Orton as their QB.


To complete an already agitated offseason for the Broncos, their No. 1 receiver Brandon Marshall has stated that he will no longer play for the Broncos because he is not satisfied with his contract and doesn’t like the direction the franchise is heading.


If McDaniels is going to make this team work remains to be seen, but things don’t look too good for the Broncos right now.


As we look to the Chargers, the perspective is different.


Their QB situation could not be better, as Phillip Rivers was the nation’s top passer in the ’08 season. Rivers is a young and promising QB that should lead the Chargers for years to come.


The offense has other great weapons as well, with running backs Ladainian Tomlinson and Darren Sproles poised to make one of the most explosive RB duals of the league in 2009. Regarding receivers, they count with all-world TE Antonio Gates, Big man Vincent Jackson, and experienced Chris Chambers.


On the defensive side of the ball, San Diego counts with the return of star linebacker Shawne Merriman, who missed the entire ’08 season due to injury.


Together with other defensive weapons such as Shaun Phillips, Antonio Cromartie, and Quentin Jammer, the Chargers unit should be pretty solid and give the offense the ball back plenty of times.


All in all, the season looks very promising for the San Diego Chargers. However, notwithstanding the quality of the team, the biggest reason for this is the lack of quality of the division rivals.


Last year the AFC West division was marked by the disputes between the Broncos and the Chargers, but as the headline of the article states, Josh McDaniels made San Diego’s job a lot easier.

Eli Manning Vs. Philip Rivers: Here We Go Again

Published: June 11, 2009

commentNo Comments

In 2004, two teams with losing seasons made one of the most talked about trades in NFL history, and of course, one of the most relevant.

These two teams were desperate for a franchise quarterback—a kid with a golden arm who would be groomed to become the face of the franchise and lead the team to greatness in the next 10-15 years.

Straight out of college, there were two greatly hyped signal callers.

Philip Rivers from North Carolina State, and Eli Manning from Ole Miss.

By now, you all know which two teams I’m talking about here, as you all know about the Manning-Rivers trade.

As the entire nation knows, Manning was drafted with the No. 1 pick in the draft by the Chargers, only to be traded for Philip Rivers, who was selected by the Giants with the fourth pick.

The controversy involving this trade was mostly because Manning, the son of Southern legend Archie Manning, and little brother of America’s commercial sweetheart Peyton Manning, had previously stated that if picked by the Chargers, he would refuse to play.

Expectations were high around both Eli and Rivers, although Eli went through more pressure, being Peyton’s brother and all, and because of the trade, comparisons between the two QBs was inevitable.

Everyone was anxious to watch them play and eager to determine who was better and, ultimately, which team had benefited more from the trade.

Five years have passed, but the comparisons still happen.

Rivers spent two seasons holding clipboards, watching Drew Brees play, and learning the system before taking the field as the starter in his third season in the NFL.

Taking over a high-powered offense featured by LaDainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates, Rivers responded well.

Despite being often criticized by being too vocal while talking about opponents, having discussions with Jay Cutler, and yelling at fans, teammates, and even coaches, after three full seasons as the starter, Rivers took the offense over and proved to all critics that the Chargers offense is not only Tomlinson-based.

Throwing 34 TDs and finishing the season with an impressive 105.5 QB rating last season also helped his stock a little.

Rivers has had fair success in the postseason as well, winning a few playoff games, but is yet to reach the big game.

Eli Manning’s road was a bit tougher.

Facing the pressure of out-playing Rivers and living up to the family name (not to mention facing the hard New York media), Eli had a rough season in 2004.

Being bashed for his easy demeanor and the fact that he always says, “I just need to make better decisions” in interviews, Eli had to face a couple of teammates calling him out as well.

In the next two seasons, Eli would then post average numbers but still lead the Giants to the playoffs, only to be one and done.

In 2007, New York fans were starting to urge for Eli to show something, but it was not until the season was over that the younger Manning showed what he was made of.

Following another mediocre season stat-wise, the Giants were considered underdogs for the playoffs. However, counting with a bruising defense too, Eli stepped up and led the Giants with victories over the Buccaneers, the Cowboys, Packers, and ultimately the undefeated Patriots to win the Super Bowl.

Eli led fantastic drives through these games, including the Giants’ game-winning drive in the Super Bowl.

In 2008, as Rivers did, Eli had a career year. Keeping his postseason form, Eli led the Giants to the NFC playoffs.

The Giants and Chargers meet this year in November in Giants Stadium, so the comparisons will resurface as Eli and Rivers face each other for the first time in their careers.

Who is the best? Will winning this game prove who the better quarterback is? Will the result of this game affect the rest of the career of these two players? Does winning this game mean that one team got the best out of the trade?

I guess it’s up for you to reach your conclusions and answer, but regardless of the outcome, we football fans are sure in for a treat come November…

New York Giants OTAs Report Card: So Far, So Good!

Published: June 2, 2009

commentNo Comments

With the start of the OTAs, NFL teams start the path to define what they will be when they start the season. This year, the Giants’ OTAs showed something not seen lately in Big Blue Nation.


The attendance was at 100 percent, with the exception of Lawrence Tynes, who was hosting a charity golf tournament. Head coach Tom Coughlin was almost drooling over this fact, as finally he has all his players training together.


For Coughlin, “it sends the right message”, and “it tells everybody that every guy is here for the same reason and trying to help our team be as good as it can be. It is very difficult to get that done when we are not here”.


In previous years, the New York media would be talking about how Plaxico Burress and Jeremy Shockey would not show up, and how Eli would continue to struggle because of that fact. Not this year though.


Our leader showed great confidence in the current WR group. After all, this situation is a first in his pro career.


“I like this group. It’s a competitive group. It’s a group that works hard. Nobody’s getting any special treatment. Nobody has an ego. It’s a group that cares about everybody else. It’s a good group,” said Manning.


As previously defended by this writer, this may turn up to be the great factor of this offense; the ingredient that will make all the players evolve and step up.


Regarding the constant shadow of former No. 17, Eli’s comment showed just what this writer needed to hear.


“I don’t think you necessarily need that one guy,” Manning said. “You can have three or four guys step up. If one guy steps up, he will push the others, no question.”


Manning and the Giants have obviously moved on beyond Burress, and one can expect this offense to have a different face from last year’s. With all receivers training together, and all eager to show something to the coaches, the chemistry between them and Eli should be well tuned in September.


Of course, Manning has a great deal of responsibility over these guys. He is, more than ever, the man in charge.


When asked, Eli showed he is well aware of his responsibilities, as he is “trying to get into it a little more with them and help them out, and it’s helping me out, too, getting to down the kindergarten level of the offense and keep the basics sharp.” Looks like our general is taking care of things.


I don’t know about you, but I have a very good feeling about all this…

Eli Manning and the New York Giants Finally Moving on

Published: May 21, 2009

commentNo Comments

I want to start this article by stating that, as the Giants have moved on, so have I. This is the last article I’ll write giving the name Plaxico Burress substantial attention.


It’s been a long road for us Giants fans since being shot in the leg back in November. We have been through anxiety, agony suffering, and, for some, even physical pain caused by seeing McNabb killing us in January. Following that game came the doubts period.


“Can Eli play without Plax?”, “Can the running game survive without Burress drawing double coverage?”, “How will Jerry Reese deal with this?”, “Can this offense survive lacking a real deep threat?”, “Should the Giants trade for a big-name WR?”.


These kinds of questions just forced themselves in every Giants fans every thought. They got so deep into Giant Nation’s skin that it is hard to find any five-year-old in New York who doesn’t have an opinion on the matter.


But it’s time. We have sulked and doubted enough. It all ends here.


While reading Eli Manning’s interview with Boomer Esiason, I couldn’t help myself but think: “Finally someone in the Giants organization took notice of what some of us B/R creatures have been writing lately”.


Eli was even able to keep himself from saying the ultimate Eli cliché “I just need to make better decisions”.

Showing to be on top of things, Manning flashed plenty of confidence, as he stated:

“I’m looking forward to starting the season; I’m coming into my sixth year with the same offense. Offensive lines and running backs are pretty much the same guys who know the system the receivers have been around three or four years. I like where we are. Guys know the ins and outs of the offense and we’re going to do the right thing. We’re not going to make mistakes where guys run the wrong routes. We feel confident and we’re going to grow. (…). I feel great. My body feels strong and I’m in good shape. I’m looking forward to training camp and to see what our potential is for next year.”

Doesn’t seem like something Eli would say, right?


Looks like we finally reached the point where our QB stopped to look back and decided to take charge. Now, us fans go through another kind of pain. The type of pain that is relieved a little in August, and from which we find redemption in September…

The “Plax Effect” Is Back, but Not in a Good Way

Published: April 28, 2009

commentNo Comments

The “Plax Effect” can be described as the ability of a wide receiver to constantly draw double coverage from opposing defenses.

While playing for the Giants, Plaxico Burress created such a presence in the field with his great size (6’5″) and incredibly deceptive speed that teams began to scheme separate gameplans just in an attempt to stop him.

Drawing consistent double-teams gives your offense a great advantage not only because other receivers will always be going against single coverage but also because it prevents defenses from stuffing the run with eight men in the box.

Of course, a team could always choose to not double a receiver like Burress, in which case the man will just use size and speed to present a great vertical target.

With Plax, the Giants’ offense worked beautifully. Too bad Burress was stupid enough to shoot himself in the thigh with an unregistered gun, and you all know the result of his incident.


But moving on to today.

Plaxico is gone and the G-Men had a great draft, but all I can hear is that the team didn’t do the right thing by not trading for a big-time wideout that would have the same effect Burress did.

It’s like a curse has hit all Giants fans.

As you all should know, there are only three or four guys (if that many) who possess the traits to draw attention from two defenders on every play, oand of course, they are not available for trade because their teams are not stupid enough to let them go.


Giants GM Jerry Reese obviously knows what’s up, so he did what was best for the Big Blue.

He didn’t trade for a guy who would demand a huge salary, even though that would probably help the team. He didn’t see such unique set of skills that would justify a trade, so he went the traditional, safer, and cheaper way.

But if this is like any other curse, the thought that we need to trade for someone will stay stuck in the heads of each and every pundit out there.

The expression “Plax Effect” suddenly has a whole new meaning.

« Previous Page