Saturday, September 10, 2011

Exclusive: Coach Coughlin Q/A

Each week Coach Coughlin joins for an exclusive Q/A.

By Michael Eisen - 9/10/11

To the promise land

Giants LB Mark Herzlich was one of 58 undrafted rookies that were named to the active rosters this past weekend, which happens to be the most since 2003 (63) and one more than last season.

By Dan Salomone - 9/10/11 New York Giants vs. Washington Redskins Week 1 Preview

New York Giants (0-0) at Washington Redskins (0-0) in Landover, Maryland at FedEx Field. Sunday, September 11, 4:15 Eastern.
By Ben Kelly - 9/10/11

What happened last season?

Sunday marks the 158th matchup between Washington and New York, the Giants holding a 91-61-4 record against the ‘Skins, including six straight. The last matchup took place in the 2010 season finale when the 9-6 Giants toppled the 6-9, playoff-eliminated Redskins 17-14, thwarting a career day from quarterback Rex Grossman. The Giants were in the playoff hunt in the final week despite consecutive beat downs by Mike Vick and Co. at the Meadowlands and Aaron Rodgers at Lambeau. Needing a win against Washington and help from Chicago, the Giants edged the ‘Skins but the Bears wouldn’t cooperate for Giants playoff qualification. The teams face off in Washington with clean slates and without having thrown an interception in 2011. Each hopes to start the season off right on a special night for both cities.

The Giants are still going to move the chains.

New York’s offense finished sixth in rushing and yards per attempt in 2010 and didn’t skip a beat this preseason despite reshuffling the line. Imported center David Baas has proved himself a worthy replacement of Shaun O’Hara, and joining Baas on the restructured left side is third year pro William Beatty at tackle and familiar face David Diehl, moved from tackle to guard. The new line gelled in the preseason, leading the way to a league high 5.2 yards per carry. Just look up Baas’ blocking on Brandon Jacob’s beastly 18-yard touchdown against the Bears this preseason and you’ll be thankful he’s on our side. On the same play you’ll see Eli make a textbook pre-snap audible to gash the hole in Chicago’s red zone defense. Eli is sure to have a bounce back season in 2011. Does anyone think he didn’t learn from throwing 25 interceptions? If that number could have been cut to a modest 15, the 2010 Giants were looking at 12-4 instead of 10-6. Manning surpassed 4,000 yards for the second year in a row, hit career highs in completion percentage, touchdowns and… interceptions. But he’s still getting better.

Washington has a better stable of backs behind Grossman in 2011.

In last year’s finale, former backup Rex Grossman threw for 336 yards and two touchdowns. This time around, he won’t need to throw as often. In that matchup, Osi Umenyiora led the defense with two sacks and two forced fumbles and the defense came away with four turnovers. This time around, there’s no Osi or Jonathon Goff, who forced another fumble, but Jason Pierre-Paul was explosive this preseason and rookie Greg Jones started four years at middle linebacker for Michigan State. I like our prospects at those positions. This offseason Washington shored up a running back corps that rushed for just 65 yards on 19 carries in the finale, trading for Arizona’s Tim Hightower. While splitting time with Beanie Wells, Hightower rushed for 1,733 yards and 23 touchdowns in three seasons. Now the starter in Washington, his added value as a receiver- 118 catches for 801 yards over three years- should make him a breakout star season in his first year in Mike Shanahan’s thousand-yard factory. Ryan Torain is the backup, and complemented by fourth round rookie Roy Helu of Nebraska, the Redskins have three young running backs that can split the load. Hightower and Helu both had fifty-plus yard bursts in the preseason.

What about defense? Predictions

Grossman and Hightower are already talking NFC East championship and Super Bowl; they’re confident and weren’t that far off last year, losing four of their last five by four points or fewer and winning four games in overtime. Don’t let last season’s record fool you, Washington was better than 6-10 and should be improved on offense, have fewer distractions on defense (cough Haynesworth cough) and just being better overall in Shanahan’s second year. Both the Giants and the Redskins are going to be strong running the ball this year. This game will come down to which quarterback plays better and whether a defense can step up and play disruptive. Neither quarterback is going to throw for 300 yards. We’re not going to see fireworks like Thursday’s season opener in Green Bay. You can expect a low scoring game, ball control on offense and a few big plays on defense. Washington coughed up four turnovers in last year’s finale; expect a turnover to be a big part of a Giants win on Sunday. In the end, I see Rex Grossman driving down the field under two minutes to go, his last pass falling incomplete in the end zone as time expires. Giants win, 19-13.

Giants punter Steve Weatherford shrugs off Jet coach's criticisms

Giants' punter Steve Weatherford (Farrell)
Giants punter Steve Weatherford doesn't worry about comments made by his former Jets coach, Mike Westhoff, about him.
By Zach Berman - Star Ledger 9/10/11

Giants RB Brandon Jacobs fined $20,000 for fight in Jets preseason game

Brandon Jacobs
Brandon Jacobs was fined $20,000.
By Zach Berman - Star Ledger 9/10/11

Eli Manning, Tom Coughlin brush off Jets WR Plaxico Burress' criticism as Giants defend QB, coach

Tom Coughlin runs Giants practice on Friday, then shrugs off comments from Plaxico Burress.
Tom Coughlin runs Giants practice on Friday, then shrugs off comments from Plaxico Burress.
By Ebenezer Samuel - NY Dailynews 9/10/11

Tom Coughlin's Giants are depleted by injuries, need to start well and beat Redskins

Whether Tom Coughlin likes it or not, this first game against the Redskins is going to be a referendum on his coaching ability and the ability of his staff as well.
Whether Tom Coughlin likes it or not, this first game against the Redskins is going to be a referendum on his coaching ability and the ability of his staff as well.
By Tim Smith - NY Dailynews 9/10/11

Giants' Domenik Hixon likely to overtake rookie Jerrel Jernigan as Big Blue's main punt returner

Domenik Hixon is the likely candidate to return punts for the Giants on Sunday.
Domenik Hixon is the likely candidate to return punts for the Giants on Sunday.
By Ebenezer Samuel - NY Dailynews 9/10/11

Giants' Tuck practices, likely to play vs. Redskins

Giants should have DE vs. Redskins
'HOPEFUL' FEELING: The Giants finally got some good news yesterday when Justin Tuck rejoined the team at practice and is looking likely to suit up for Big Blue during tomorrow's season opener against the Redskins.
By Bart Hubbuch - NY Post 9/10/11

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