The New York Giants are hot off a 38-10 rout of Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers, and are six days away from a huge divisional matchup with Robert Griffin III and the Washington Redskins, so let's take a look at some of the story lines around the team as the Giants head for the home stretch with another NFC East crown in sight.
Here comes David Wilson…
We spent all day yesterday following the saga of Andre Brown, who will spend the next eight weeks on temporary injured reserve. This morning, the focus turns to David Wilson.
Our good friend Dan Graziano over at ESPN has a great read on the situation:
But Brown is out now, and the Giants have to find solutions in the run game in his absence. It's not as simple as increasing Bradshaw's workload, since Bradshaw's already barely practicing and always seems to be running through some type of injury.
Graziano's right that Bradshaw's body just can't take up 20-25 carries a game and he takes an interesting look at what roles Wilson and Bradshaw will play in order to get Wilson enough touches to properly spell Bradshaw. Remember, Wilson and Brown are very different guys.
Another good friend, Pat Traina, passes along that Wilson's been working overtime with Henry Hynoski to study all the pass protections:
“Right now he’s going to be staying after practice with me for about an hour, hour and a half and we’re going to get him ready,” [Hynoski] said. “I’ve been working with him mainly on pass protection stuff. I tell him that after practice I want him to have all his protections written down – who you are assigned to and what the adjustments could be, and he did that.”
The coaches have been holding Wilson back based on his pass-blocking abilities, but they won't have that luxury anymore. All the Giants can do now is cross their fingers and hope Professor Hynoski connects with his pupil.
Last word on the situation, we'll throw it back to Graziano: "If the Giants are going to maintain the success they had Sunday in the run game, they'll need Wilson to show something and they'll need to ask more of a battered Bradshaw. A couple of somewhat frightening gambles they have no choice but to make."
All about Eli…
It's nothing groundbreaking, but a somewhat sleepy effort by Gary Myers over at the Daily News at least serves to prove this point: As Eli Manning goes, so goes the Giants. Or, as Myers writes, "The Giants are still a team that is All About Eli."
Paul Schwartz from the Post writes that everything, from the running game to the defensive line, got back on track Sunday against the Packers. But Manning stood out, what with three touchdowns…especially the one set up by a bruising 13-yard run that finished with Manning lowering a shoulder into defensive back Tramon Williams.
“I wish he used his other shoulder,’’ Nicks said, smiling. “Just goes to show the effort. Eli’s all-in right now.’’
We suppose the Giants are saving money by retreading "All In," as they won't have to make new T-shirts.
Rolle back at cornerback…
With Michael Coe injured and waived, and Jayron Hosley struggling in his rookie year, the Giants are back to using Antrel Rolle at nickel cornerback, writes Jenny Vrentas over at NJ.com.
While Rolle may not have as many opportunities to make plays at the nickel corner position, he called it a “natural fit.” Defending Randall Cobb was Rolle’s “primary responsibility,” and the Packers’ multi-purpose threat had just four catches for 39 yards against the Giants. Whether or not he’ll stay there depends on the weekly game plan, Rolle said.
Rolle resented the nickel CB role last year but has come around, telling Vrentas he likes playing safety but likes winning More. With good young talent in Will Hill, Stevie Brown and Tyler Sash to fill the void behind him at safety, we're okay with Rolle providing some stability in this role.
A nice story….
The Giants got an emotional boost on Sunday, a la Colonel Greg Gadson, when 15-year old Adam Merchant of Barre, Vt. gave the team a pep talk before the game. Merchant, suffering from Burkitt Lymphoma, was originally scheduled for the Pittsburgh Steelers game, but Hurricane Sandy delayed travel.
So much better for the kid to have been at the Green Bay game, don'tyathink?
Next up, of course, is the rookie phenom Robert Griffin III. Griffin's already given the Giants fits this year in a close Big Blue victory where Griffin's defense let him down. This game is high stakes, however, as a Giants win all but seals the division and a Redskins win puts them in squarely back in contention for a wild card and only one game behind in the division.
We'll have lots more on RGIII and the 'Skins as the week goes on, but if you want to get a head start (and can stomach it), here's this.
Also…Andre Brown, Antrel Rolle, David Wilson, Eli Manning, ESPN, Football, Hurricane Sandy, Michael Coe, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Pat Traina, Paul Schwartz, Pittsburgh Steelers, Robert Griffin III