Category Archives: Giants

5 Things We Learned Week 3

Its hard to believe we have seen almost a quarter of the NFL season. Week 3 is in the books. Teams are starting to reveal who they really are. Here is what we have learned from week 3.

1.) The Colts are tougher than many thought.

I predicted in the preseason that Indianapolis would win the AFC South. It was going out on a limb as many consider Houston the class of that division. After Indianapolis let a win get away from them at home in week 2; they had a lot to prove in San Francisco.

The game was a grinder but the Colts owned the fourth quarter. Andrew Luck played well but what sticks out was how well the Colts ran the ball. Against one of the toughest defenses in football the Colts were ready fir a heavyweight fight.

The Colts are heavyweights make no mistake about it. Andrew Luck is quickly becoming great, and looks even better than it did last year. We are finally seeing the Chuck Pagano defense come into fruition. With the one two punch of Bradshaw and newly acquired Trent Richardson in the backfield, the Colts have a surplus of young talent. The Colts have a chance to get rolling stronger than mist people thought they would.

2.) The Pittsburgh Steelers are who we thought they were.

The Bears did not let the Steelers off the hook for pathetic offensive line play, and lack of overall talent. Yes the Steelers showed signs of life, but they were bad. Turnovers, sacks and penalties sank the Steelers to a 0-3 start.

Ben Roethlisberger is the worst quarterback to have behind a bad offensive line. He extends plays behind a struggling line which exasperates their problems. If Ben does not get the ball out quicker, the Steelers will continue to struggle. They cannot run the ball. When you get beat up front everything else becomes that much harder.

3.) We cannot trust Michael Vick & the Eagles.

While everyone got crazy ga ga in love with the genius of Chip Kelly, i had some reservations. Many of these reservations were concerns about Michael Vick. Vick has fooled us in the past. He is capable of dominant stretches but always regresses when we fall for it.

Vick quite literally threw the game away last Thursday. Alex Smith did not play great football himself but Vick was awful. Vick is a quarterback that requires structure and a tight leash. When Andy Reid convinced Vick that he needed the structure of his offense, reading progressions and proper mechanics Vick flourished. When Vick got full of himself he regressed into his chaotic ways of being a quarterback slot machine. Kelly’s offense encourages him to go fast, to take thinking out of the game. How’s that turning out? I fell for the glorious Starship 7 act before, i did. Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

4.) The Giants are a disaster.

Here is the good news. The Giants have a 2 time Superbowl champion coach and quarterback, and the receiving talent is spectacular. That is the only good news. The bad news: the offensive line gives Pittsburgh a run for worst line in the league; and the defense is just bad. Eli is throwing way to many interceptions, but is getting no help from the offensive line. The Giants cannot run the ball. The Giants got manhandled by an average Panthers team. There was 0 pass rush, their linebackers are a joke. Their secondary is just sad.

5.) Here Come The Ravens

The defense looks dominant. The Ravens were 2.5 point underdogs at home vs the Houston Texans. They obviously could care less as they kicked but in a 30-9 victory. Baltimore might just have the best front seven in football. We expected that. But did we expect the secondary to play this well? Matt Elam and James Ihedibo played lights out, so far above expectations. Charm City is now Sack City because of the dominant defense.

The offense is a work in progress but took significant steps forward. Once they realized they needed to be aggressive the Ravens offense finally stepped up and had scoring drives. The Ravens are just starting to roll on all cylinders and are growing into a dominate 2013 team.

Sean Ewing’s NFC East Preview

NFC East Preview by Sean Ewing

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Something happened last year in the NFC East that had not since 1999. The Washington Redskins became relevant. After being 3-6 and all but done for the season, the fans and even Coach Mike Shanahan gave up. Luckily, RGIII did not give up. He exploded onto the scene last year propelling the Redskins to a 7 game winning streak to end the season which ultimately allowed them to win the NFC East and make the playoffs. This year in the NFC East things will most likely not change too much.
Let’s start things off with the Philadelphia Eagles. The Eagles have a lot of work to do. Quarterback wise Michael Vick seems to be ideal for Chip Kelly’s new system as he is a dual threat QB, but the last two years he has had trouble with protecting the football. The offensive line did get a little better as the Eagles spent their first round pick on OL Lane Johnson. That being said they still have a ways to go. As far as the defense is concerned, to put it lightly, they were bad. Fortunately, the Eagles did have a pretty decent offseason as they were able to pick up two solid cornerbacks in Cary Williams and Bradley Fletcher as well as underrated safety Kenny Philips. It is difficult to predict what is to come of the Eagles this year. All of it will hinge on how effective Chip Kelly’s new offense can be and the quarterback play. Learning a new offense especially one as complex as Chip Kelly’s will take some time for everyone to get used to and we will likely see inconsistent play throughout the season. I predict a last place finish for the Eagles and a 7-9 record.
Next, the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys on paper usually have the best team, but for one reason or another they never amount too much or as Stephen A. Smith says, “They are an accident waiting to happen.” Because of their salary cap situation being up tight they could not make many moves, but Jerry Jones and the boys did get CB Brandon Carr to bolster the secondary as well as many offensive players in the draft. Sean Lee will also be back from injury and do not underestimate B.W. Webb the rookie cornerback out of William & Mary. He always seems to be around the ball, he knows what to do when he has it, and he can return punts as well as kicks if Dez Bryant is injured. The problem with them is they still have many needs such as on the O-line and D-line. Although they did make the right move in signing Romo long-term it does not appear he will lead them to a Super Bowl. That being said when you have a good quarterback you need to sign them as they are hard to find and Tony Romo is still a good QB. Overall, the Cowboys still have talent, but as usual, I believe America’s team will underachieve with a third straight season at 8-8 which will land them at third place in the NFC East missing the playoffs once again.
Third, the New York Football Giants. The Giants were very streaky last year starting out 6-2 but finishing 3-5 down the stretch and just narrowly missing the playoffs. They did sign a few players most notably interior linemen Cullen Jenkins from the Eagles who is a great run stopper. The Giants also got Ryan Nassib from the draft which is smart as Eli is not getting any younger and was not great last year. Interceptions have been a problem for most of Eli’s career which is why outside the playoffs I do not trust him and I believe he is overrated. The main problem with the Giants, however, is that they did nothing to improve the secondary which did not perform well. Corey Webster got burned way too much and everyone else in the secondary cannot stay healthy. Even in a mediocre division I do not see the Giants making the playoffs. They do not match up well with the passing attacks around the league especially that of Dallas and Washington. I predict a 9-7 record from them and a second place finish in the NFC East.
Last but not least, the Washington Redskins. As you can guess they are in my opinion the best team in the NFC East and I believe they will grab the 4 seed in the playoffs with an 11-5 record. RGIII when healthy or even when injured was the best player on the field. He has world-class speed, good decision-making, and a strong, accurate arm. All of this combined makes it almost impossible for opposing defenses to defend. Combine this with a decent offensive line, a great running back in Alfred Morris, and a good receiving core the Redskins will be fine on offense.
What they will need to improve is the defense particularly the secondary. Their front seven will be fine assuming Brian Orakpo can come back healthy. Now the secondary… Last year, if not for the New Orleans Saints secondary the Redskins secondary would have been historically bad. That being said help is on the way. Brandon Merriweather is a competent safety if healthy and that is a big “if.” The Redskins also got help in the draft. In the 2013 draft they got three DBs, two safeties and a corner named David Amerson, Bacarri Rambo, and Phillip Thomas. Amerson lead NCAA in interceptions two years ago and Rambo was 2nd behind him. Thomas lead the NCAA in picks last year. It is evident the skins have addressed their needs in the secondary with young talented “ball-hawk” defensive backs. There is nowhere to go up for the Redskins secondary and with talent on the way for the defense they look to be better than last year.
The NFC East will most likely be the least competitive division in football, but also could be the most intriguing as RGIII is always a must see as well as Tony Romo and Dallas. The Eagles will be the most exciting team to watch or at least a team we will all have our eyes on during week 1 because of their new offense under Chip Kelly. If they can play well on offense and put up big numbers there is no doubt that the NFC East will be the most exciting division to watch this year.

Quick Thoughts Series: The Will of the Media

The Common Sense Football mission statement is to be the alternative to the massive bulk of non sensible sports media for diehard intelligent football fans. John and I started this all with a mission to make a high football IQ common sense.

In many ways the main stream sports media aims at the average lazy fan who is as fickle as is frustratingly impressionable. The media chooses players who they can sell and even how they can sell them. They spread the message they want. It is often mindless dribble but hey people eat it up like cotton candy at a carnival.

Remember when Tom Brady was the league’s golden boy? When did Brady turn into a diva crybaby jerk? The media obviously controls perception. When Drew Bledsoe went down and Brady launched a New England dynasty he was sold as a lovable underdog with a chip on his shoulder. He was the 6th round draft pick we could all relate to and root for. When he became the game’s biggest superstar fans got tired of Tom Brady. The media swooped into action and painted him as the crybaby leader of the spygate tainted dynasty. Brady is the same player but the message has changed.

Peyton Manning is the most sellable star in all of football. The media can never attack its advertising king. Brady is just as much a smart student of the game, but the average fan would not know this. They are not told about Brady’s ability to beat you pre snap. They are told that he is a diva.

Joe Flacco and Eli Manning have quiet personalities that has made him an easy target for ESPN “analysts” like Skip Bayless. Both are Super Bowl MVP’s, both have unbelievable resumes. Neither will ever do enough to win the hearts of the public. The media won’t let them. They cannot sell a quiet, dull and quirky personality. So they attack it.

Common Sense Football writers are required to base their work on what they see on the football field. We target good football fans. The message the media gives to fans should never be subjective superficial or unfair. It should be focused on the truth. Sports media should not be about personality traits or likability it should be about actual football.

Are You Even Elite Bro?

Are You Even Elite Bro? | Chris Esposito

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The term “elite” for quarterbacks in the NFL gets thrown around rather loosely this day and age. It seems if a guy throws for over 4000 yards for a couple of seasons, suddenly he is anointed with the label of “elite”. My question is; why do you consider him elite? Has he done anything in crunch time to be mentioned the same breath as Brady, Brees and Manning? I’m an NFL enthusiast, some people may even call it a “die-hard”, but to a finer point, I’m just a guy who calls it how he sees it. Let’s take a look and separate the ELITE from the flash in the pan.
I personally have a certain criteria when it comes to judging if a quarterback is elite. I have 7 rules that a QB must possess. He must meet 5 of these 7 rules. They are as follows:
• Have AT LEAST 5 “elite” seasons
• In those 5 years, have 3500 yards or more per year
• Have a touchdown to interception ration of 2:1 at minimum
• Make the playoffs in 4 of those 5 seasons
• Advance past the first round in 80% of those playoff appearances
• Win a Super Bowl
• Be named Super Bowl MVP

Take a look at a guy like Joe Flacco, there is a 50/50 split from the experts on if he is elite or not. I’m here to say that he most certainly is elite as he meets all but one of those rules. In his first five seasons, Flacco has made the playoffs every year, won at least on playoff game each year, won a Super Bowl and was named Super Bowl MVP. In his Super Bowl MVP season, Flacco had an amazing stat line of 11:0 in his TD to INT ratio, tying Joe Montana for greatest in playoff history. Steve Young had 9 touchdowns and no interceptions in a postseason run. Without Flacco the Baltimore Ravens DO NOT win last year’s Super Bowl. Let’s compare him to a quarterback who just received “elite” money. Matthew Stafford just signed a lucrative extension to stay with the Detroit Lions, but looking at the numbers, is he really worth it? In his first four seasons in the league, Stafford has thrown for 13,000 yards. Yes that’s quite impressive, but if we dig a little deeper on that we will find out he has only played in 2 full seasons. His first two years were plagued with injuries that saw him suit up for 9 games in 2009 and 4 games in 2010. Stafford led the Lions to their first playoff appearance since 1992, however his record against teams with a winning record is 1-26. That’s not elite, that’s not even suitable for the bottom half of quarterbacks in the NFL. Hell, even Tim Tebow has a better record against winning teams. An elite quarterback makes the players around him better. A guy like Torrey Smith was a virtual unknown and Flacco grew with him and turned Smith into a top tier receiver. Stafford needs Calvin Johnson to make himself look better. With a wild arm and erratic throwing motion, Calvin Johnson saves more throws for Stafford than arguably any other qb-receiver tandem in the league.

Well Good For Them

Well Good For Them | Chris Schisler | July 10, 2012

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The news of the NFL was dominated today by two huge contract signings. The first was Matthew Stafford’s mega three extension with $41.5 million guaranteed. The next was Victor Cruz’s $43 million contract with $15.6 million guaranteed over 5 years. The two players are obviously stars of the game, but both contracts seem to be a little too much on the large side.

Matthew Stafford has been statistically great since entering the league in 2009. Stafford has thrown for big yardage and big touchdowns. In 2011 Stafford threw for over 5,000 yards and 41 touchdowns. In 2012 he scored 20 touchdowns with 4967 yards through the air.

The two statistics missing from Stafford’s game wins and playoff success. He did have one playoff game with 2011’s 10 win season. But the winning season is sandwiched by the 2010 6 wins and 2012 4 wins and 12 losses. Stafford has been given the 8th highest quarterback contract in terms of guaranteed money. My first question is when did winning stop being a criteria of top 10 pay?

Stafford is obviously a talented quarterback, one the Lions understandably want to keep. My problem with him is his lack of winning and his inconsistency. So often Stafford will have horrible games and come close to winning in the final minutes. While it is admirable that Stafford can turn it on in the games critical moments; its frustrating that he can’t play a entire game that way.

My question is this: with two years on Stafford’s contract why did the Lions feel so compelled to give him such a large contract extension now? I would have let the season play-out. Let Matthew Stafford show you what he’s worth; sealing the contract’s figures with his play. This way If the Lions have a winning season they can pay him every cent. If Stafford were to have a losing season with continuously lower stats they would probably get away with paying him less. Either way from a organizational stand point it would behoove the Lions front office.

The Victor Cruz deal troubled me as well. While Cruz may be as good as they come, this is a more than hefty price-tag on a slot receiver. The contract may mean the Giants having the inability to resign Hakeem Nicks. Nicks is the better overall receiver. Nicks can play any of the receiver roles.
Cruz is strictly a speedy slot. One of the reasons Cruz gets open but the respect the defenses show Nicks has a lot to do with this.

Cruz’s contract is probably what Cruz deserves. He is a playmaker who has chemistry with Giants quarterback. My problem is that I value Hakim Nicks more than Victor Cruz. I think it is rather unlikely that the Giants lock up both receivers for the long term.

If the New York Giants feel good about their decision than good for them. Good for Victor Cruz as well. The same should be said about the Lions and Matthew Stafford. This being said I have my reservations with both deals.