Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo

Fox: Giants' Coughlin has a tough call at QB


Recommended Posts

Giants' Coughlin has a tough call at QB


There is a debate brewing around the New York Giants — and possibly internally — about whether to start No. 1 pick Eli Manning in the regular-season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

MORE CZAR: Latest NFL Insider news

Granted, ex-Rams QB Kurt Warner has more experience and is a two-time MVP, but Manning has displayed remarkable poise in preseason games and practices. The Carolina Panthers blitzed him on his first series last Thursday night and Manning handled it. He didn't panic or freeze in the pocket.

"He has settled in real nicely with the team and offense," Giants leader Michael Strahan said of Manning. "He struggled a bit in his first minicamps, but looking back on it, I'm sure it was the pressure of being the first pick and the San Diego thing and dealing with all that. Every day in practice you can see him growing, making right choices. We're still talking about a pass he threw last week in practice to Ike Hilliard. Believe me, it was the most perfect pass I've ever seen. It was like, 'How'd he do that?'"

The Manning pass was about 35 yards to the back corner of the end zone to Hilliard, who was well covered and running out of territory.

"If Ike was holding the box the football comes out of, it was like Eli put the football right back into the box," said another player. "It was that tight a fit, that perfect of a throw into the smallest of spots. The pass totally shocked Ike. He figured no way Eli could get it to him."

Strahan and the other veterans are convinced that Giants GM Ernie Accorsi did the right thing in making the huge trade for Manning. "He's the real deal and he will only get better," Strahan said.

But with all this enthusiasm over Manning, do you really want to throw him to the wolves — namely, Philadelphia coordinator Jim Johnson's defensive wolves — on opening day with a "work-in-progress" offensive line? Luke Petitgout, New York's best offensive lineman, described his linemates in such a fashion, knowing they have much to do in order to protect the franchise quarterback. And everyone knows Johnson is one of the game's best at devising a blitzing scheme that can rattle the game's very best quarterbacks.

On the other hand, is it fair to Warner to throw him to the wolves — namely, the Eagles — and give Manning a week or two off? If Manning is the future — and, yes, he does look ready — why not skip the formalities and start him from the opening bell? I think new Giants coach Tom Coughlin is weighing those same thoughts right now and considering his options.

Speaking of the Eagles

Hindsight is always 20-20, but wouldn't they still be looking very, very solid if they had kept Duce Staley? The loss of running back Correll Buckhalter forced Philadelphia to sign Dorsey Levens for insurance, but Staley was the team's physical presence on offense.

"He was the toughest back I faced every year," Strahan said of Staley. "I hated to see him in there. Whatever physicality the Eagles had on offense, it was Duce that gave it to them. They don't have that now."

Strahan isn't being critical of Brian Westbrook. He and the rest of the league realize that Westbrook is very special, a game-breaker. But Westbrook isn't a pounder; he's a headache for the linebackers, who can't cover him in the passing game.

Eagles coach Andy Reid had to make a salary-cap decision and allowed Staley to flee to the Pittsburgh Steelers. The Eagles are a more wide-open offense with Westbrook, but the loss of Buckhalter negates some of the flexibility Reid was planning to employ this season.

Notes & thoughts

In the first two weeks of the preseason, there have been as many as 38 penalties called in a game and as few as eight. The much-publicized illegal contact rule on receivers has been called erratically, too. The Raiders believe there was a phantom call of illegal contact at the end of their game with Dallas, a penalty that helped the Cowboys rally.

The contract Philip Rivers wound up signing with the Chargers seems to be worth about $1.5 million more than what the team was offering more than a week ago. Still, it's too early to say whether the lengthy holdout made any sense, considering the stakes involved for both parties.

The Bears had to get new coach Lovie Smith a speedy pass rusher to help make his defensive scheme work. Adewale Ogunleye led the AFC with 15 sacks last season, but the former Dolphin also had Jason Taylor on the opposite side and Tim Bowens in the middle of the line. Chicago could have saved some money by simply retaining Rosey Colvin two years ago.

Brad Johnson most likely will be the Buccaneers' starting quarterback next month, but Chris Simms will start before the season ends.

The consensus is that both Buffalo and Jacksonville will be the most improved teams in the AFC this season.

The Atlanta Falcons are pleasantly surprised with rookie QB Matt Schaub, who played a spectacular game against the Vikings last week. "The bad thing for Matt is that we have Michael Vick," said running back Warrick Dunn. "The good thing is that he knows he probably will gain his freedom in three years. He definitely looks like he could be starting in this league."

Link to comment
Share on other sites


This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Create New...