Wednesday, December 06, 2006


NFL-PER-14 12/5/06

Cleveland Browns Questionable Questiona ble Charlie Frye (Right Wrist)

Cleveland Browns
DOUBTFUL DE Orpheus Roye (Knee)
QUESTIONABLE CB Leigh Bodden (Ankle); QB Charlie Frye (Right Wrist); S Justin
Hamilton (Back); CB Jereme Perry (Knee); LB Willie McGinest
(Pectoral); S Brian Russell (Elbow); LB Chaun Thompson (Ankle); LB
Mason Unck (Groin); TE Kellen Winslow (Knee)
Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
TUES Orpheus Roye; Charlie Frye; Mason Unck; Kellen Winslow
Pittsburgh Steelers

OUT WR Hines Ward (Knee); WR Cedrick Wilson (Ankle); S Troy
Polamalu (Knee); S Ryan Clark (Groin)

Listed players who did not participate in ''team'' practice:
(Defined as missing any portion of 11-on-11 team work)
TUES Hines Ward; Cedrick Wilson; Troy Polamalu; Ryan Clark

Let New York Giants RB Brandon Jacobs Loose!!

Arthur Staple covers the NY Giants for Newsday, and also runs the Paper's Giants Blog-here is his piece today-see my notes at the end!-Draftnik

Use the big guy more and let him loose
December 6, 2006

The lessons learned from the most recent Giants loss are pretty simple, the way we see it:

1. Don't take stupid penalties.

2. Put Brandon Jacobs on the field more.

The first is obvious to everyone. The second may be as well, even though the coaching staff doesn't necessarily agree. But the Giants' two red-zone failures - worse than inside the 20, these were inside the 5 - illustrate how Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator John Hufnagel got a little too cute with their play-calling.

The first try was in the third quarter, with the Giants trailing 10-7. On first-and-goal from the 4, Eli Manning tries one of the Giants' signature passes, a fade to Plaxico Burress in single coverage, but Burress is well covered by Anthony Henry and the pass falls incomplete.

Second-and-goal, Tiki Barber is on the field. He is stopped for a 1-yard loss by linebacker Akin Ayodele, who sprints through the line untouched. On third-and-goal, Manning's throw to Jeremy Shockey would have been a touchdown, but the ball was off target by a couple feet.

OK, lesson learned. Right? Anyone?

In the fourth quarter, again trailing by a field goal, the Giants marched down to a first-and-goal, this time from the 8. Jacobs rushed for 4 yards, then came off the field. Manning tried what Coughlin called a "knockdown" screen, a dump pass at the line of scrimmage, but the Cowboys' blitz obscured Manning's view of Barber and the pass went to his feet.

On third-and goal, Manning made a poor decision, looking nowhere else but for Burress, who had Aaron Glenn and Roy Williams close by. Glenn nearly picked off the pass, and the Giants settled for another field goal.

Here was Coughlin's explanation: "[Jacobs] comes in by circumstance, by situation, with the personnel that goes along with it. If it was goal line, Brandon would have been in there. If it was short-yardage, Brandon would have been in there. He plays by personnel and by situation. He's not in there in certain personnel combinations."

That explanation doesn't hold, though. Jacobs has had 15 touches inside the 10 this season, eight for touchdowns, and only half of those were from the 1 or 2. He is the short-yardage back, and he is behind Barber, who does so much for the offense.

But when you've lost four games in a row and had two such glaring offensive failures in one winnable game, it's hard to make the argument that you did the right thing and just didn't execute.

Jacobs is not infallible - he did bounce outside a little too fast on the fourth-and-1 play in the second quarter Sunday instead of just bulling his way behind Jim Finn - and he's still a young, brash player, as shown by a taunting penalty after a big run against the Bucs. And he's still a little raw as a blitz protector and blocker, which is why Coughlin seems so against putting Barber and Jacobs on the field at the same time.

But when Jacobs is supposed to be in, he needs to be in. And here's a suggestion, now that Derrick Ward has shown that even a straight-ahead runner cannot overcome the Giants' bad kick-return blocking: Make Jacobs the kick returner.

He's already out there as Ward's lead blocker, so he knows the schemes. He's 6-4, 264 pounds and almost welcomes contact, because he runs over at least one opponent every game. And his open-field decision-making is improving rapidly. Manning trusts him as a check-down receiver, and Jacobs' acrobatic catch and 43-yard run against the Cowboys should cement his status as a guy who makes things happen when he has the ball.

He's the back of the future and he certainly appears ready to take over next season when Barber is retired. Why not see what he can do with more time and more touches now? What have the Giants to lose?


Just win one, baby

The Giants have lost four straight, they're a bit demoralized, but they are amazingly now the No. 5 seed in the NFC. It's all still in their hands. "We just need to win one," Shaun O'Hara said. Some of O'Hara's teammates talked about running the table, but it starts with one win on Sunday against the Panthers.


The 23-0 rout by Carolina in January might not be foremost in the Giants' thoughts, with both teams fighting just to reach the postseason, but the playoff shutout at home could become a rallying cry for the Giants, who look for anything to motivate them. More pertinent is how Eli Manning will handle DE Julius Peppers, and how the secondary will contain Steve Smith.

Whither Strahan

No. 92 gave his foot a test on the Giants Stadium turf on Sunday before deciding that he wasn't ready. He may still not be ready for this week's game, despite its huge implications. "I'm not putting any time limit or time frame on it now," Strahan told WFAN Monday. "This thing just takes time to heal."


Brandon Jacobs has eight touchdowns on 87 touches (77 rushes, 10 receptions) this season. How that stacks up against some of the leading all-purpose backs in the NFL:


Attempts Yards Avg. TD

M. Barber, Dal. (left) 123 714 5.8 13

B. Jacobs, Giants 87 509 5.9 8

L. Tomlinson, SD 308 1794 5.8 26

L. Johnson, KC 342 1687 4.9 15

B. Westbrook, Phi243 1493 6.1 10

Ok So "B-Jac" doesn't get used enough-agreed, but's like every time you put him in you Telegraph to the other team that your going to get him the ball. Manning's skills Just are not as developed yet as they could be. He still looks to the lead receiver too often, which is why he throws some Dumb Picks at times. He looked better Sunday then he did throughout the whole losing streak...and Carolina will be P.O.ed that they let Philly get past them....