Friday, September 14, 2012

Giants Drop Season Opener to Cowboys

Wednesday, September 5th 2012
Post Game Recap
Final Score: Dallas Cowboys: 24 New York Giants: 17
Giants Drop Season Opener to Cowboys

What started out as an excitement filled night at MetLife Stadium turned sour fast for the defending Super Bowl champion Giants and their fans, as the Cowboys came in and handled beat the Giants 24-17.  This was the first time that a defending super bowl champion lost their season opener since 1999. 

The Giants had some flaws exploited by the Cowboys Wednesday night, as they have some serious work to do.  The running game was again non-existent for a good portion of the game.  On defense, Tony Romo picked the Giants apart as the pass rush was not consistent in getting into the backfield and causing problems.  There was also another injury suffered at cornerback, leaving the Giants dangerously thin at the position and easily exploited by Romo.

The running game again was unable to get going for the Giants.  They also struggled to stop the Cowboys run game, recipe for a disaster for any football team.  Without Brandon Jacobs in the backfield, the Giants are less intimidating on short yardage situations, evident by their inability to score a touchdown on first and goal from inside the five and settling for a field goal.

David Wilson also had a tough debut, as he fumbled his second carry of the night and was benched for the remainder of the game after that.  Fumbling has been a problem for Wilson and the Giants were concerned about it when they drafted him.  He needs to earn the trust from the coaching staff and this will not help him.  He did show some flashes on the kick return duties, showing some of the speed and elusiveness the Giants hope he can eventually bring to the running game. 

Defensively, Demarco Murray was persistent and eventually broke through against the Giants defense, which is without run stopper Chris Canty for at least the first six weeks because of off-season surgery and being placed on the PUP list.  The backbreaker for the Giants was when they had Murray stopped behind the line of scrimmage and were unable to bring him down, looking to ease up some, which resulted in a 48 yard rush.

The improvements Dallas made to the secondary was on display tonight as well, as newly acquired Brandon Carr and first round draft pick Morris Claiborne were able to hold Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks in check.  Last season, Cruz and Nicks combined for 25 catches, 491 yards and two touchdowns in the two games between the Giants and Cowboys; Tonight Cruz and Nicks combined for 10 receptions, 96 yards and no touchdowns.  Cruz also had three drops in the game, the first time a Giants receiver has had that many drops since Mario Manningham in 2009.

One highlight for the Giants passing game was Martellus Bennett, who reeled in four balls for 40 yards and a touchdown against his old team.  Domenik Hixon also made a highlight play with the Giants down 14-3, bringing in a ball Eli Manning threw up for grabs for 39 yards.  That play set up a 10 yard touchdown run by Ahmad Bradshaw and cut the deficit to 14-10.!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/ginsider13s-1-web.jpg

Coming into the game, the Giants biggest concerns were at left tackle and right cornerback.  Sean Locklear got the call at left tackle with Will Beatty still having some problems with his back and Michael Coe got his first start in five NFL season at right corner.  Surprisingly, it was the opposite spots that struggled from the start, as David Diehl at right tackle and Corey Webster at left cornerback had problems. 

DeMarcus Ware got his 100th career sack and didn’t stop there in the first half, accounting for two sacks on Manning in the first half by blowing by Diehl.  Webster, who had the tough assignment of shadowing Dez Bryant for most of the night, got torched on the regular.  He surrendered over 100 yards receiving, giving up big plays to Bryant and falling for a Kevin Ogletree double move that resulted in his second touchdown reception of the game.

Ogletree torched the Giants, which no one saw coming.  Ogletree finished the game with eight receptions, 114 yards and two touchdowns.  No one in the Giants secondary could slow down Ogletree, who stepped up big time for the Cowboys as Jason Witten was limited with a lacerated spleen and Miles Austin was still recovering from a hamstring injury, even though he caught four passes of his own for 73 yards and a touchdown.

Ogletree would have actually had a third touchdown if not for a good play by Coe, who was forced from the game shortly after with a hamstring injury.  His status for week 2 is in serious doubt, which is a problem for the Giants as the player he was starting for, Prince Amukamara, may not be available for week 2 either because of a high ankle sprain.

With Coe out, the Giants were forced to dip even further down their depth chart and use Justin Tryon.  Tyron was subsequently picked on by Romo, as he surrendered the touchdown on first-and-thirty and also gave up the game ending first down to Ogletree on third down.

Next up for the Giants is a week 2 match-up against the much improved Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It will be a homecoming for Tampa Bay’s coach Greg Schiano, who was the former head coach at Rutgers University, and Tampa Bay’s offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan, who is the Giants former quarterbacks coach.  D.J. Ware will also make his return to MetLife Stadium since being released by the Giants at the last roster cuts of the preseason.  

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Hakeem Olajuwon to Visit Knicks

Hakeem Olajuwon to Visit Knicks

It looks like Amar’e Stoudemire had such a positive experience this summer in Texas with Hakeem Olajuwon, he has convinced his teammates to also take part.

Stoudemire worked with Olajuwon for two-and-a-half weeks earlier this summer at Olajuwon’s house in Houston, Texas.  Stoudemire came away with much more confidence in his post game, something that will go along way not only for him but the Knicks as well.

Olajuwon, one of the greatest players in NBA history and inventor of the “Dream Shake: post move, will be flying up to the Knicks training facility in Greenburgh, New York to work with some of the players.  He expects Stoudemire to again take part, in addition to Carmelo Anthony, Tyson Chandler and Marcus Camby. 

Mike Woodson and Olajuwon played for three seasons together in Houston, and it is Woodson who set up the training sessions between “The Dream” and his Knicks.

Olajuwon also offered his opinion on the combination of Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, as he excelled playing along side super star teammates in Clyde Drexler and Ralph Sampson.

“They both have to realize that the most important thing is not how great you are individually.  You’re remembered for how many games you win.  So to get to play with another great offensive player should help you.  It should make your job easier.  You have to work well together.  You can’t be competitors with one another.”

Many people believe that Anthony and Stoudemire are a pair match together and will never get it done, but Olajuwon is not part of that group; he believes that there is no reason Anthony and Stoudemire can not have the same success he shared with Drexler and Sampson.

Stoudemire has learned post moves now from one of the greatest, but Olajuwon does not believe the Knicks offense should just be Stoudemire posting up with Anthony roaming around the perimeter.

“It shouldn’t be Amar’e just staying in the post because he can be a scorer in the paint and outside.  It’s the same thing for Carmelo.  He can score in the post and outside.  So if Carmelo is in the post, Amar’e can be at the foul line and he can make that shot.  If Amar’e’s in the post, Carmelo can make the shot from the free throw line, too.  They shouldn’t be competing against each other, they should be complementing each other.  They need each other to win.”

The Knicks have a dominant one-two punch in Anthony and Stoudemire, but Olajuwon thinks there is another potentially great offensive player on the roster in Chandler

“You can see that he has great timing by the way he rebounds, blocks shots and catches lobs.  He’s got great timing and reflexes.  I haven’t seen him use any moves of his own, though.  But there’s no way a guy with that kind of talent and timing should not have effective moves.  So I want to teach him some moves to all the talent and energy he’s got, it will open up a whole new door for him.  That’s what he should be looking to add to go to the next level.”

 That is high praise for Chandler from someone who knows a thing or two around the basketball court as a big man.  Chandler is excited about working with Olajuwon, as he was scheduled to go to Texas to Olajuwon’s ranch earlier in the summer, but was unable to attend because of the Olympics. 

This is a great opportunity for the Knicks players who are taking part, as Olajuwon has started to build quite the resume for his training sessions.  In addition to Stoudemire this summer, Olajuwon has worked with Kobe Bryant, Lebron James and Dwight Howard.  All the players said working with Olajuwon was worth it, so hopefully the Knicks players taking part can learn a thing or two and use it to their advantage this season.