Apparently the Giants’ Achilles Heel is a nondescript foot bone. Once again, a key Giant has fractured the fifth metatarsal in his foot, the bone that runs along the outside of the foot up to the pinky toe. Last year it was rookie cornerback Prince Amukamara, who missed the first half of the season after breaking the bone in training camp and was largely ineffective even after he came back in November. Now star wideout Hakeem Nicks has fractured the fifth metatarsal of his right foot and will miss at least 12 weeks. Nicks suffered the injury while running a routine pattern during team-run offseason practices on Thursday.
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Posted by jfs360 on May 25, 2012
Whether or not they lift the Stanley Cup come June, the New York Rangers have proven themselves to be of championship caliber. The 3OT marathon was amazing enough, but the Rangers never had to claw back in that game — at least not late. And the Rangers’ epic 3OT win was on the road, away from the Garden faithful.
But Game 5? Down 2-1, with the game seemingly over and the Rangers staring at a second straight 3-2 series deficit, THIS happens?
Then, 95 seconds into overtime, on the same four-minute double minor power play, THIS happens?
A championship-worthy win, to say the least. That’s two in three games, and the Rangers can advance to a juiiicy conference finals matchup against the Devils if they beat Washington in Game 6 Wednesday night.
During a meandering phone conversation about New York sports with my Dad last night, an odd thought struck me: In many ways, these Rangers are a mirror image of the Giants’ team that roared through the playoffs and beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in February.
My Dad scoffed at the notion, but the two squads are more alike than you might think. They each revolve around a superstar athlete who is perhaps the best at his position and is at his best in crunch time. That’d be Eli Manning and Henrik Lundqvist, who happen to play the most important position in their respective sports (quarterback, goalie). They each have a defense designed to break the opponent’s spirit through sheer force of will. The Rangers do it with a relentless stand-your-ground defense (the sports term, which is still useful to say). They feed off the willpower of their quartet of top defensemen: Dan Girardi, Michael Del Zotto, Marc Staal and Ryan McDonagh, who all had at least 44:30 of ice time in the triple OT win in Game 3. The Giants turn defense into offense using a trio of freak-level athletes: Jason Pierre-Paul, Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora. But both squads can only thrive when their defense is firing on all cylinders.
More? Well, both teams are coached by no-nonsense hardliners who are animated and emotional on the sidelines. Both coaches had championship experience going into this season: John Tortorella with the 2004 Tampa Bay Lightning and Tom Coughlin with the 2007 Giants.
Even more? How about the late-blooming breakout star for each team, wide receiver Victor Cruz and forward Chris Kreider. Cruz had a far greater impact on the Giants than Kreider had on the Blueshirts, but both were unknowns at the beginning of the year and ended up making big plays on offense in the postseason.
Obviously the Rangers are far from matching the Giants with a championship. A game from the conference finals, their spot is akin to the Giants’ holding a fourth-quarter lead in the divisional playoff round. But both teams won games they could have — should have — lost. And both proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they have grit and the will to not go quietly.
During highlights of Game 5 on SportsCenter, ESPN showed footage of a large black man in a Lundqvist jersey leaping around behind the Rangers’ bench in a wild celebration after the game-tying and game-winning goals. You can see him in the video below.
That’s Tuck, celebrating like a maniac 50 feet from the Rangers’ on-ice pileup. Looked like a pretty good partnership to me.
Posted by jfs360 on May 9, 2012
Well I managed to completely whiff on both first-round picks for the Giants and Jets. The Giants’ miss was actually defensible — I don’t know anyone who predicted a running back in the first round for the G-Men, much less David Wilson (who?? I know, right?!). But I kicked myself when I saw that the Jets had drafted North Carolina defensive end Quinton Coples, who could give the Jets the outside pass rusher they’ve been looking for since Vernon Gholston (the Jets’ 2008 first-round selection) turned out to be a colossal bust.
I actually saw a piece about Coples in Sunday’s New York Post — the Jets had worked him out prior to the draft and raved about his speed off the edge. But I discounted the story in favor of Dontari Poe and Michael Floyd, both of whom were picked before the Jets made their selection. It would have helped to know that coach Rex Ryan apparently promised Coples that the Jets would pick him after he worked out for the team (I would have taken it with a grain of salt because it’s Rex, but still).
As for Wilson, I’m as surprised as you undoubtedly were. Yes, the Giants had the worst rushing offense in the NFL last season, lost Brandon Jacobs to free agency and needed a running back as insurance for injury-prone starter Ahmad Bradshaw. But the consensus was that when it came to the first round, this draft class went one-deep at running back: Alabama’s Trent Richardson, selected by the Browns with the third overall pick.
The selection is vintage Giants, though — draft a super-athletic but raw player in the first or second round and mold him into a Pro Bowler. The strategy worked with Osi Umenyiora and Jason Pierre-Paul, and the jury’s still out on last year’s athletic-but-undisciplined pick, cornerback Prince Amukamara. Wilson is the most athletic runner in the draft, even more than Richardson, because of his Dave Meggett-like lateral quickness. Can he be an effective second back behind Bradshaw? If he can cut down on his fumbles and improve his pass blocking, then yes. The kid had 1,709 yards rushing and nine touchdowns in 13 games last season for Virginia Tech — the talent is obviously there.
More to come next week, when I break down and grade the draft class of both New York teams.
Posted by jfs360 on April 27, 2012
Lights? Check. Cameras filling Radio City Music Hall? Check. Massive over-coverage on ESPN? Big check.
That’s right folks, it’s the NFL Draft! The now-three-day extravaganza kicks off Thursday at 8PM Eastern with the first round, headline by purported can’t-miss quarterback prospects Andrew Luck (going with the No. 1 pick to the Colts) and Robert Griffin III (going second to the Redskins). I say ‘purported’ because for every Peyton Manning, there’s a Ryan Leaf.
As for New York’s two teams, the Jets own the 16th overall pick. The Giants, meanwhile, have the coveted final pick in the first round that is awarded to the defending Super Bowl champion. Speaking as a diehard Giants fan, please this let be the start of a slew of 32nd overall picks, if you know what I mean.
So who will the Jets and Giants pick with their first-round selections? Here are three possibilities for each team:
Posted by jfs360 on April 26, 2012
I was re-jiggering the blog the other day and spent the better part of an hour revamping my categorization of posts. Not only did the work ease my OCD-induced annoyance at the previously lackluster organizing, but I also was forced to recognize an inexcusable fact: I have not written about the Giants once since I launched this site nearly two months ago.
Posted by jfs360 on April 16, 2012
Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again. –Red Smith, New York Herald Tribune, Oct. 4, 1951
Red Smith wrote what Deadspin called the greatest lede ever after Bobby Thomson hit the Shot Heard ‘Round The World. But viewed in a farcical light, the sentiment is perfect for the Masterpiece Theater that is the Jets and their new most famous player, backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
TebowMania kicked off Monday with a noon press conference introducing the polarizing QB to the New York media horde. A quick primer from a football standpoint: The Jets effectively traded backup QB Drew Stanton for Brad Smith 2.0, and while Rex Ryan said he may use Tebow in the Wildcat formation up to 20 times a game, the reality is that Tebow and Mark Sanchez can’t both live up to their potential (or ever feel comfortable) on the same team. It’s simply too much to ask of two aggressively mediocre signal-callers.
Alright, enough foreplay. Here’s how Tebow’s introduction went down.
Posted by jfs360 on March 26, 2012