There are some fans that watch games and there are some that inflict torturous hours upon themselves in a ritual of reviewing games over (and over). Not all games impose agony for the entire evaluation.
December 30, 2012, the Philadelphia Eagles took a trip up Interstate 95 to MetLife Stadium. Prior to that game, New York Giants head coach Tom Coughlin asked his players to put in a 60-minute performance to be proud of. For the most part, they did.
First, what will be missed?
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw: #44 not only put toughness on the field, he left his heart on it and let it bleed on the sidelines for the entire 3+ hours. That kind of team passion and intensity (a la Brandon Jacobs) isn’t an easy pickup though the draft or free agency.
Fullback Henry Hynoski: With a second full year in offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride’s system, the Hynocerous became a serious blocking force as he became more explosive. Months ago, we discussed his worth and how more running touchdowns showed on the scoreboard when he was in the backfield. His injury and any missed playing time (we assume some) will be a factor, even if temporary.
Linebacker Chase Blackburn: While many will find reasons to disagree here, Blackburn had tenacity and a blue-collar motor that would never quit. Those qualities put him in position more times to make plays at ‘backer as well as on specials. Good Luck “5793”, except in Week 3.
What won’t be missed?
Drops. Besides a few by the wideouts, tight end Martellus Bennett had hands of stone at the worst times. Quarterback Eli Manning would almost always explain the play again post-drop. Not a good look or the Black Unicorn and former immediate fan favorite that was supposed to be a gunslinger’s security blanket.
What/Who to Look Forward to
Running Back David Wilson: The more he racked up trust from his coaches, the more he was given the ball. 15 rushes for 75 yards and 1 reception for 15 yards and a touchdown weren’t poor stats for a rookie that was half of a running duo that included Ahmad Bradshaw (16 carries, 107 yards, 1 TD) and a smooth running game. Bright spot on the Big Blue offense this year. Bank.
Wide Receiver Reuben Randle: He may be vocalizing about improvement this upcoming season, but he showed why Blue drafted him. His 4 receptions for 58 yards and 2 touchdowns look okay on paper, but were a thing of beauty on the field as Nnamdi Asomugha now knows what another one of the Giants’ receivers looks like from behind on an amazing catch/run/score.
Defensive Tackle Cullen Jenkins: During this particular game, Jenkins made some stops in the backfield and definitely didn’t look like a 10-year vet. This could be one of the bigger defensive free agency pickups/signings for Jerry Reese this offseason. 4 sacks in a struggling Philly defense weren’t shabby.
Defensive Back Will Hill: Our favorite to win the nickel spot, he’s gotta keep that fighting Jersey attitude going and listen to all coaching around him—including the veteran players. Improvement can only be his friend and secure more playing time to build on the flashes he made in 2012. Right place, right time type of player again.
Linebacker Jacquian Williams: When healthy, his speed and blitzing capabilities are something that improves the Perry Fewell defense and aides the defensive line as well (with pressure). This year can hopefully be one where he (and the other ‘backers) stays healthy and help maintain a young, youthful aspect to the middle of the field while being a versatile one as well.
One last “bright spot” to discuss: the Corey Webster bashing/bringing back Aaron Ross. Rewind, if you will, to 2007 when cornerback Webster was abused and looked at as a liability towards the end of the season. Then something “clicked”. He became all-world and made plays like a #1 corner should. He showed up. He’s got 20 career interceptions with 226 return yards (and 1 touchdown) for a reason. He isn’t always horrible; he just isn’t annually consistent. He knows the criticism that’s still upon him and if he’s still that same player he was in 2007-2008, he uses this and some pressure as Ross is back in blue as performance-enhancing motivation. Seriously.
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