The football games will take center stage from here on out for the Giants--and yes, that includes a big inter-division game between the Cowboys and Washington Football team on Thanksgiving. So until we get there, here are a few thoughts leading up to the games.
1. As far as I’m concerned, all this talk about Jason Garrett potentially moving on from the Giants after the season is much ado about nothing.
Let’s get real. Does anyone think that Garrett came to the Giants intending to become a career offensive coordinator after he's had a lengthy career as a head coach?
With several NFL head coaching jobs likely to be available after this season—Atlanta and Houston are already open, and then you potentially have the Jets, Lions, and Jaguars as strong possibilities to open as well—does anyone think Garrett won’t be considered, especially if the Giants offense continues to make strides?
2. I’m not getting my hopes up that safety Xavier McKinney and outside linebacker Oshane Ximines are ready to roll this week.
McKinney hasn’t played football since breaking his foot in training camp, and Ximines hasn’t been on the field in over a month. If we’ve learned nothing else from Joe Judge, it’s that he is strategic in working players coming off of injury back into the mix.
3. Fun fact that probably only interests me. The Giants-Bengals series has been one where only the home team has been victorious in the ten regular-season meetings. That’s not good news for a visiting Giants team who needs to win that game to stay alive in the NFC East title hunt.
4. Am I the only one who found it ironic that one of the biggest plays the Cleveland Browns made against the Eagles came courtesy of former Giants defensive end Olivier Vernon? For those who missed it, Vernon sacked Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz in the end zone for a third-quarter safety to give the Browns a 12-7 lead.
5. I have to give credit to Commissioner Roger Goodell, who is determined to get a full NFL season into the books despite the growing number of COVID-19 cases nationwide.
The league’s latest protocols require the use of masks for players on the sideline who are not preparing to go into the game and for those coaches and play-callers who, up until now, have opted just for a face shield.
They also include reducing the number of traveling players to 62, limiting interaction between players after games, and reducing media access to cover practices to just 15 team and independent media members.
6. I fear former NFL player and current FOX Sports analyst Jonathan Vilma is right about Zoom, the current method for the media to conduct press conferences and player interviews, being here to stay. And that would be a shame if that were to be the case even after an effective vaccination is rolled out because there’s no substitution for face-to-face interaction.
8. My heart breaks for Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, who tore the ACL and MCL in his left knee and who could be looking at a 9-12 month recovery post-surgery.
That’s a long road to recovery for the impressive rookie, but based on what little I have heard about Burrow, he’s in the right frame of mind and ready to attack that recovery as soon as possible.
9. I’ve been saying for weeks now that I think the Giants are one of the best teams I’ve ever seen with a losing record, and now I finally know why. They’re well-coached.
Seriously, I think you’d have to go back to the early years of Tom Coughlin to find a coaching staff that has stressed taking pride in the fundamentals and the little things that some staffs overlook due to lack of time or lack of interest.
But not this coaching staff. Sure, you can make the argument that those players who have played the game since grade school should know how to perform fundamentals like tackling, but since when did practicing the fundamental skills learned as a child hurt anyone’s performance?
Just imagine what this team will look like next year with a few more pieces and a full year in all the systems put in place this year.
10. This year’s NFC East division winner will almost certainly finish with a record below .500, which would be a first in the division, so I was curious to see if a division winner ever had less than nine wins.
The answer is yes. In the strike-shortened 1982 season, Washington finished 8-1 to win the division and go on to top the Dolphins in Super Bowl XVII, 27-17.
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