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Playoff Mentality a Must for New York Giants as They Enter Do-Or-Die Situation

December 22nd, 2012 at 9:30 AM
By Jen Polashock

Week 16 is, essentially, a playoff game for the New York Football Giants; it’s win now or go home. From 10th row seats at Sunday’s week 15 game, it looked like home was where their heart truly was.

Entering the last few weeks of the 2012 season, the fact remains: getting beat on both sides of the line of scrimmage will not win ball games, reigning World Champions or not. Sure there are handfuls of different players out there, but nothing beyond that has changed.

Many, as this week’s hot topic, are putting it all on quarterback Eli Manning right now, but he’s simply one component of Big Blue. Teamwork has always been strength in blue; that mentality shouldn’t be altered.

Head coach Tom Coughlin shows respect for Manning, but doesn’t feel it should be always on him.

“The man is the leader. He’s the quarterback. He sets the pace, normally, for the entire team. He gives great direction. The way he conducts his life, the way he works, his passion for playing, his competitiveness – and really, his desire to be in pressure situations, he is an excellent example for all. So I don’t think it’s bad for them to say that (player confidence in Manning). But I do think they have to understand sometimes it helps to create an opportunity for Eli…everybody relies on Eli to go do it. We did it (coming back to win late) seven times the year before, and I like that for him in terms of when people think about him and his reputation as a quarterback and as a pressure player. I like that. I want that, but I’d like to see it happen a little bit right now,” Coughlin said.

Injured defensive end Justin Tuck gives his defensive perspective, which suggests that maybe some are “listening” to the talking heads.

"Maybe we're giving o-lines and offensive coordinators and offenses too much credit," said Tuck. "Honestly, I think we just need to stop worrying about what people are writing, what people say about our pass rush and just get back to beating people up front. I think if you start listening to what people say about 'You're not getting sacks, you're not doing this,' you start trying to look for answers instead of focusing on the answer, which is you beating the guy in front of you."

He furthered that with comments about winning on both lines of scrimmage.

"We always feel that responsibility," Tuck said. "If you look at this football team, the success we've had, we win as No. 10 wins and this d-line wins."

#91 has been criticized an awful lot this season – to the point borderline insane comments about cutting him and that he doesn’t make any plays. Some folks need to learn how to watch game tape and the value of more than a sack – all while still playing injured. 

Getting back to the lines… As much as the defensive ends get most of the glory up there, the defensive tackles have to get into the pocket and destroy it. Start there, collapse the pocket, and force the quarterback to feel discomfort. That hasn’t been happening. When it does (see the only sack of Matt Ryan), it’s almost guaranteed money in that LOS bank.

Flip the script and look back on when Eli Manning had time in his backfield. Give #10 time to pick apart any defense and it is all about him and controlling the clock. Take that away and the long day gets longer. However, in this kind of game, it is going to start and end with pounding the rock – something that head coach Tom Coughlin predicates this time of year on (especially on defense).

“Certainly I’m aware of it (low sack-totals), but I also know what the total package is and I also know that this game begins by stopping the run. Quite frankly, that’s not been a strong point for us,” he said.

Much happens in that neutral zone, including how games are won or lost. With the 2012 season on the line, it’s Big Blue’s time to show up be Giants.

Also…

Tags: Eli Manning, Football, Justin Tuck, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Tom Coughlin

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11 Responses to “Playoff Mentality a Must for New York Giants as They Enter Do-Or-Die Situation”

  1.  Dirt says:

    Jim,

    I’m wondering how you came to the conclusion that Wilson looked inept last week. He has 12 rush attempts, with a long of 25. Averaged a respectable 4.6 yards per carry. He caught one pass for 11.

    I would say his performance was inconclusive. A street free agent had almost as many touches. And a fumble, which of course doesn’t mean the bench for anyone unless you’re a rookie.

    He did have a chance to pass block once, finally. He got mowed over – maybe because he’s never had a chance to take on a full speed NFL rusher before. But he got in front of the guy, and kept him off Eli. So that’s a plus.

    •  James Stoll says:

      Aside from the one long run he averaged about 3 yards a carry so I was not overly impressed. Plus the coaches had him off the field in favor of Lumpkin for long swaths of time when the game was still arguably in question. Not sure what to make of that but it doesn’t strike me as a positive

      •  Dirt says:

        If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle. That’s the way average yards have been calculated since eternity. Long runs and short runs, it’s the nature of the game.

  2.  Dirt says:

    As I reflect on the Atlanta game, I’m feeling pretty positive going into tomorrow. For starters, the offense moved the rock well, just fell short on some drives. Sure that’s common around here, but what’s uncommon is that a) our idiot kicker missed a chip shot after a 10 play 68 yard drive, and b) Coughlin bypassed additional attempts at 3 points and walked away with nothing 3 times.

    Even with 3 field goals, it could have been easily a 1 score game at the half, 17-9. Could have been a Giants lead at the half, had Eli not gifted his personal nightmare Samuel a gift on the shadow of his own goal line.

    But it was 17-0, and the coaches threw in the towel. They took Wilson off the field early (how about this second drive for Wilson that ended on the 12 with a missed FG: 4, 25, 9, 3).

    I don’t expect them to throw in the towel this week. And so long as ELIte doesn’t throw horrible picks (which I expect him not to), I think they’ll be fine.

    •  James Stoll says:

      It’s hard for me to look at the offense the way you are. We toss the pick on the first pass play of the game and are down 7. I can’t remember if we went 3 and out on the next drive but we punted pretty quickly and the defense collapsed making it 14-0. Then we put together a good drive that like so many others this year petered out inside the 20. Then we put together one more decent drive, now down by 17, and the coaches are desperate and we can’t respond on 4th. The second half doesn’t count in my mind as we fell to 0-24 on the opening drive and the rest of the half was garbage time. So the assertion that we moved the ball well is really based on 2 drives that ended in zero points. I don’t draw a lot of optimism from that. In fact quite the contrary. They got down and they couldn’t finish when they needed to, plus they panicked. That’s why I’ve been saying all week, the only road to victory Sunday — THE ONLY ROAD — is to grab an early 2 score lead. This team has not come from behind since Week 7. This group doesn’t have it in them-at least they haven’t shown it. There is no magic this season.

      •  Dirt says:

        The next drive they ran down their throats with Wilson, all the way to the 12 yard line. The only lack of success on the ensuing drive was through the air. Including the missed FG.

        I also don’t count the 2nd half. But when looking at the 1st half alone, they moved the rock when they weren’t turning it over or stalling deep in Atl territory. Only 1 punt.

  3.  demo3356 says:

    Pierce calls out tuck for something we have been saying for a while around here..

    For players who retire into the media, the biggest challenge comes from telling it like it is regarding guys who currently play the game.

    That challenge becomes even more, um, challenging when the player used to play with the player whose play he is criticizing.

    As it relates to Giants defensive lineman Justin Tuck, former Giants linebacker Antonio Pierce passes the test.

    “I played with Justin Tuck and have a tremendous respect for him,” Pierce said on Friday’s edition of The Michael Kay Show. “But he has not been the same player emotionally, mentally or his play in the last three years. It’s just the facts. He came on late last season and once Antrel Rolle and a couple of other guys said he had to pick it up, but for the most part, he’s a situation, third-down, passing situation defensive end.”

    Pierce doesn’t know why Tuck has changed as a player.

    “When you watch him on Sundays, you do not see the energy, you do not see the fire he used to play with,” Pierce said. “And I don’t know why. I don’t know if it’s personal stuff going on or maybe he’s physically tired.”

    Complicating matters for Tuck is that he currently has a shoulder injury. “For me, the guy I played with, when he was there, a lot of energy, a lot of passion, brought it each and every play, each and every snap, loved to play the game,” Pierce said. “I heard him mention it last year before the run [that] he didn’t know where his mind was at, or if he was into the game. His comments this week, the same thing. As much as I want to give the answer, that’s really a question he has to answer.”

    We’ve got a feeling that Tuck soon will be asked the question.

    http://profootballtalk.nbcsports.com/2012/12/22/pierce-says-tuck-isnt-the-same-player/

  4.  rlhjr says:

    It is a regression to all the breakdowns and feeble play of 08 playoff game (one and done) 09 and 10 seasons. The O-line started it’s prolonged slide into what it is now. And the defensive tackle and linebackers were plain crap.
    As a group they were either hurt, over matched or both.
    Eli was and is now indecisive, uncomfortable in the pocket and failing his fundamentals.

    Now add a ailing Nicks, no depth behind him or Cruz other than Hixson.
    Collapse of Justin Tuck. Injury to Andre Brown and Bradshaws chronic conditions along with lack of faith in Wilson.

    I suspect the defensive backs would be OK if there was even a hint of a pass rush and blitzing ability by the linebackers. The safeties are the only top to bottom solid position on the ball club.

    But it is the season of miracles. And it’s going to take several large ones to get this team to post season play. At this point, the cow turds are more consistent, and the deadskins are a better ball club. Both have more talent partly due to injury and part owing to better players. To top it off, the E-gals are foaming at the mouth to send the blue team home for the remainder of the season.
    Bruce Carter/ London Fletcher/ DeMarco Murray/ Barry Cofield anyone?

    All that said, all it takes is one player to draw a line in the sand and invite his teammates to the party. One guy playing so hard and giving up so much that others are ashamed to do any less. It’s going to be a kid that saves this teams playoff hopes this year. Someone like Wilson, Tracy, Hill……… Because the old guys need a shot in the arm that only youth can provide.

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