Monday, September 1, 2014

0 comments It's Never Too Early to Panic About the Preseason

Mike Lupica likes being critical (Bengoodfella looks in the mirror sadly because this probably describes him too) and he's very good at telling everyone what they should or should not be doing. He has opinions on President Obama golfing too much, what George Steinbrenner would do, and how "You're the Worst" should actually be a television show about Alex Rodriguez. Mike is very concerned about the New York Giants after their preseason performances on offense and so he decides to write a column where he asks questions that can't be answered until the games start. Still, these are VERY IMPORTANT QUESTIONS based on preseason games. Mostly, Lupica seems concerned the Jets have their shit together more than the Giants do. This type of tyranny will not stand.

At least about this there can be no question: If the Giants are allowed to play other teams’ second-team and even third-team defenses with their second-team offense this season, then they might be favorites to win another Super Bowl.

Hilarious. Eli Manning sucks because it's the preseason and he hasn't won the Super Bowl yet.

Are you kidding? Give the ball to Ryan Nassib, Eli Manning’s backup, in the second half in August and look out.

And as everybody knows, how a backup quarterback plays in the preseason against other backups will immediately translate to that backup quarterback playing well in the regular season against the starters.

This time it was the Jets and this time Nassib threw three touchdown passes and the Giants won again, making it 4-0 in the preseason,

Everyone panic! The Giants are 4-0 in the preseason but haven't looked good while being 4-0. This portends trouble in the future because the Giants aren't winning in the sexy way that Mike Lupica requires the Giants to win. Derek Jeter would not accept a 4-0 record if those wins weren't earned in the right way, so why should the Giants say they are 4-0 when it's only their backups winning preseason games? A panic needs to happen, grab your pitchforks, Mike Lupica is storming the streets of New York.

which means this is the most meaningless and fascinating and frightening unbeaten preseason — to Giants fans — in all of team history.

No, this is the most meaningless, fascinating, and frightening unbeaten preseason in NFL history. Is a 4-0 record really an unbeaten record if Mike Lupica refuses to regard it as so? You know the answer before I even finished the question...of course not. The Giants may be 4-0 in the preseason, but these meaningless preseason games definitely mean something for the upcoming season because Mike Lupica has a column he needs to write and this is the only idea he had for a column.

Because when you add up everything we have seen and everything that has happened since the preseason began in Canton, the two most positive developments on offense are these:

1. Eli Manning isn't injured.

2. It's preseason and teams don't always game plan so an offensive/defensive unit's performance may mean very little?

-One two-minute drill from Eli at the end of the first half on Friday night.
-A rookie receiver out of Division II Newberry College named Corey Washington, who has looked like this year’s Victor Cruz even if he has been mostly playing with Second-Half Nassib and Curtis Painter.

I tell you, Mike Lupica works hard. He works hard to discredit any type of success the Giants had in preseason so that he can sound the alarm bells. The Giants may have found an undrafted free agent receiver who can complement Victor Cruz, but that's not going to be enough for Mike Lupica because Washington looked good with Nassib and Painter throwing him the football. Since Eli Manning sucks, how much will Washington's skills drop off when Eli is throwing him the ball?

But whatever happened against the Jets, and that includes all the good things that happened once Eli got the ball for the last time Friday night, Tom Coughlin’s new offense — the vision of new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo — will enter the regular season with so many more questions to it than answers it’s not even close.

You mean the Giants team hasn't immediately figured out a new offense with one offseason of work in the new system? If the Giants' offensive players can't grasp a new system immediately then that system will obviously be a failure. It's not like NFL playbooks are complicated or anything.

We keep hearing that because of the new offense, the Giants might get off to a slow start. Gee, there’s good news. How did last season’s slow start work out?

The 2007 Giants started off 0-2 and they won the Super Bowl.

The 2011 Giants were 6-6 and they managed to win the Super Bowl.

But no really, I'm sure the slow start the Giants may hypothetically have can only mean the 2014 season will be a waste. Why even bother to play?

There are still new guys at right guard and left guard and center and a tackle, Will Beatty, coming back from a broken leg.

And the Giants are the only NFL team with question marks after the preseason is over. There must be panic about this, because how can the Giants be expected to compete with all of these other perfect NFL teams who don't have roster questions?

now that Hakeem Nicks is catching balls again and running at full speed, he’s doing all that for the Colts. 

If only the Giants would have known that Nicks would be healthy and could contribute, they could have kept Nicks on the roster. Mike Lupica is great at pointing out which free agents the Giants should have kept after those players have been signed by another team and appear to be healthy. If he were a GM, Mike Lupica would be Executive of the Year if he were allowed to wait until the end of the NFL season and then point out what moves his team should have made.

If Corey Washington does not turn out to be the new Victor Cruz, tell me who the second-most reliable wide receiver is after Cruz.

If Eli Manning dies in a parachuting accident, tell me who the best quarterback on the roster is again?

If the Giants' new stadium spontaneously combusted under the weight of Mike Lupica's ego, then where would the Giants play their home games?

If Tom Coughlin has a heart attack on the sidelines, is Ben McAdoo ready for a head coaching job? WHY HASN'T THIS BEEN ANSWERED IN THE PRESEASON GAMES YET?

Tell me how much you think the Giants are going to get out of tight end.

Who knows? Plenty of teams have succeeded without having a Pro Bowl tight end.

Tell me how sure you are that an almost entirely rebuilt offensive line is going to protect a quarterback who took the kind of beating that Eli took a year ago, especially since so many guys on that offensive line should still be wearing name tags.

And of course because Mike Lupica doesn't know the names of the offensive linemen then this must mean these offensive linemen are terrible at protecting Eli Manning. Mike Lupica is a gold mine of knowledge when it comes to the NFL after all, it's not like he just reacts based on what he's seen from the last game or anything.

And please tell me that you think the Giants of Coughlin and Manning, who haven’t won a single playoff game around those two Super Bowls, who haven’t even made the playoffs lately, are ready to take back the NFC East from Chip Kelly’s Philadelphia Eagles.

The Giants don't have to make the playoffs. They can win this thing called the "Wild Card" which means they just need to have at least the fifth or sixth best record in the NFC to make the playoffs. I understand the concept of the Wild Card isn't relatively new, but Mike Lupica has been busy talking over people on television and lecturing the President of the United States, so he probably hasn't had time to learn about this new "Wild Card" thingie.

Going into the regular season the Jets look a lot more organized on offense, even with a second-year quarterback, than the Giants do. And the Jets are a team built around defense.

And because the Jets are built around defense, there is no way they could be organized on offense. Teams built around defense are unorganized on offense, just like teams built around offense usually only have 9-10 guys playing defense on the field due to not having hired anyone who knows how to coordinate a defense.

It doesn’t mean the Giants can’t figure this out when the games count, far from it.


Mike Lupica has some hot takes about the many questions surrounding the Giants' preseason performance and coats them in doubt about whether the team can be good enough offensively at the beginning of the season to win games, but then is all like, "But you know, it's preseason so who gives a back to how screwed the Giants are based on their preseason performance."

Nothing like having it both ways, huh? Lupica writes an entire article about how the preseason performance of the Giants means the team is disorganized, the offensive isn't being picked up quickly enough, and there are only two positives to take out of the preseason, but then wants to act like none of these things matter. He's got his bases covered. If the Giants struggle, he can spit out a "I told you the Giants were in trouble" column and if the Giants start out strong he can spit out a "The Giants had issues that I covered in a column, but as I said, it was preseason, and credit goes to the Giants for figuring out and correcting all of the huge problems that I alone pointed out the team had."

We have seen them struggle before in the preseason, but that was when Eli was fully in his comfort zone with Kevin Gilbride’s offense, the only one he has ever known as a professional football player.

Mike Lupica is now acknowledging all of this teeth grinding means nothing. It's typical shitty writing from Lupica that he takes the time to point out how the Giants are screwed if they start off slow (like last year and how did that turn out?!), but then say, "Oh, teams start off slow all the time." Keep riding that middle ground, Mike. Rip the team, but don't rip them hard enough to where your ego gets bruised if you are wrong.

Of course this continues to be the most unusual era in the 90 years of the Giants: Coughlin and Eli winning those two Super Bowls and not winning a single playoff game in any other season they have been together.

Sure, that's odd. I would take the trade-off though.

“No, (I’m) not concerned at this point,” Manning said. “I know we have to keep working and keep getting better. It is not where it needs to be, but I thought there was progress in today’s game. We are going to keep working. It’ll be better and better as things go on and hopefully it will be better next week and better for that opening game. We should be in a better situation. It is not going to be complete at that point. We are going have to continue to make improvements throughout the season.”

They have had four preseason games now. No one is saying the new schemes and the new approach should be “complete” by now.

Mike Lupica earlier in the column:

Tom Coughlin’s new offense — the vision of new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo — will enter the regular season with so many more questions to it than answers it’s not even close. We keep hearing that because of the new offense, the Giants might get off to a slow start. Gee, there’s good news.

Lupica didn't use the word "complete," but he certainly seems to expect the Giants to have more answers about the offense than they have and finds a slow start to be unacceptable. So it seems like Lupica expects the Giants' offense to be complete without too much more room for improvement.

But you have to believe the first-team Giants’ offense should look better than it does, with one more preseason game, this Thursday night, to play. You would have thought they would have looked good moving the football more than once.

Possibly, but doesn't the fact the second-team offense has looked good mean that some of the Giants players are picking up the new offensive system and can find success in it? I guess not.

You can only imagine what the conversation would be like today if Eli hadn’t taken them down the field that one time Friday night. The Giants defense is going to be better this season, and maybe a lot better than it was last season.

But this doesn't matter because the Giants are a team built around offense. There's no way they can win games with their defense if they are an offensive team. It's impossible for the offense to struggle while the defense excels and the Giants to win games as a result.

It won’t matter if scoring touchdowns is as difficult for this team as scoring runs for the Yankees has been.

And of course Mike ends being negative. Here is Mike Lupica's take on the Giants offense in the preseason.

-It's preseason and the Giants offense hasn't looked good, which means they will start the season off slowly.

-There are so many questions the Giants have that weren't answered in the preseason. This is a bad sign for things to come.

-Who cares? It's preseason.

-The Giants have started slow before with an offense they already know, so their struggles in McAdoo's offense can mean nothing. The Giants' first-team offense doesn't necessarily need to move the ball in the preseason.

-The Giants first-team offense needs to move the ball in the preseason.

-The Giants first-team offense struggling in the preseason means something and if the defense has to carry the team then the Giants won't win games.

-Defense can't win games, except for the Jets who built a team around defense to win games.

Mike Lupica is the best at trying to be the worst. Does anyone like him?