Giants Rumors & News
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coughlinYikes! The Giants are done now. First Mike Lupica giving them love, and now SI.com’s Peter King.

This can’t be good.

Here is King’s assessment of the Giants in his Tuesday column.

1. I was really wrong about Tom Coughlin. Last winter, I was on a panel with Phil Simms at William Paterson College in New Jersey, and during the question-and-answer period someone asked if we thought Coughlin should have been replaced by the Giants after his 8-8 playoff season. Absolutely not, Simms said. Yes, I said.

Simms’ theory was that he’d been around Coughlin a lot during his playing and broadcasting life, and he respected his command of the team and of offensive football, and how many coaches out there had been to the playoffs two years in a row.

I thought Coughlin’s team had underachieved in 2006, despite making the playoffs as a .500 team, and the team hadn’t played well down the stretch — again. I also felt that an offensive coach should have made Eli Manning, the first pick in the 2004 draft, better after three years. And I didn’t like what I was hearing about the players’ respect for the coach.

But the way this team has played this season when it matters tells me how wrong I was. Look at when the Giants had to save their offensive confidence, and their quarterback’s confidence, in the last game of the regular season, against New England, and then in the two road playoff games.

Look at the performance: two victories plus a moral victory (and don’t give me that stuff about the 38-35 loss to New England didn’t have a profound impact on where the Giants are now), 80 points scored, one turnover in 12 quarters, and 39.6 penalty yards a game. That’s the players playing well, obviously. It’s also the long-term result of lessons taught to players about what it takes to win at this time of year.

The Giants have been a mirror of Coughlin since that Saturday night against the Patriots. Simms was altogether right, and I wasn’t. I have to take a pounding for joining the local chorus of fans who wanted Coughlin gone.

2. Eli Manning has proven the big stage doesn’t intimidate him. Manning, in the last three games, is a 70.1 percent passer with eight touchdown passes and only six negative plays in 12 quarters — five sacks and one interception. He led a critical drive in the biggest game of his life, on the road, against, arguably, a very good defense, to turn the tide against Dallas. His seven-play, 71-yard drive in 36 seconds tied the score at 14 just before halftime and deflated a confident Dallas team.

In year four of his career, Manning is starting to reinforce the old saw that you’ve got to have more patience with young quarterbacks than with players at other positions. As Sirius NFL Radio guru Steve Cohen wrote in an e-mail: “You know what’s amazing? We’ve spent all season listening to Giants and Chargers fans killing their starting quarterbacks. Of course, now they’re the second and third quarterbacks from the class of ’04 to take their team to the Conference Championship game. Now their fans are happy with them. It’s a good thing Terry Bradshaw played in the 1970s because he would have never made it with the modern-day Steelers. It wasn’t until his sixth pro season that Bradshaw threw more touchdowns than interceptions in a season.”

3. I really like the makeup of the Giants roster. Michael Strahan’s getting toward the end of his career, and Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka will be there to fill his spot when he retires. Steve Smith could be the next Amani Toomer. Tiki Barber’s durability and unending production are missed, but Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw are producing quality yards. And the general manager, Jerry Reese, has shown he can roster-fill; all eight draftees from his first class have played in the playoffs. Aside from the quarterback — which no team will win long-term without — this game is not about the stars. It’s about good players playing roles and coalescing as a team. That’s the 2007 Giants.

I’m not a big King fan. I do think his assessment here is on target, though. It’s just that all this sudden man-love for the Giants from the big-name writers is making me a bit nervous.

(– For more Giants’ playoff coverage, see Big Blue View.)

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  1. 1 On January 16th, 2008, gozer said:

    what’s to be nervous about? you’re an underdog. an upset would be gravy!

    this part made me pause:
    “It wasn’t until his sixth pro season that Bradshaw threw more touchdowns than interceptions in a season.”

    That’s unbelievable. It was a different NFL in the 70s, but still. Maybe I should give Kellen Clemens more than half a season before i throw him under the bus…

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