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7/30/14 Amani Discusses the Start of Giants' Training Camp:

It looks like the Giants’ strengths this year will be the defensive backfield which the Giants shored up in free agency and I also think the running backs will be a team strength.

I think the Giants aren’t counting on RB Wilson because of the nature of his neck injury but I was really impressed with Williams, the running back out of Boston College.  They also have Michael Cox, another guy the Giants really believe in.  They have Peyton Hillis who I thought had a good year last year with a limited amount of playing time.  And I think Rashad Jennings will be the bell-cow back because he’s so versatile.  He reminds me of a bigger Tiki Barber with his versatility.

I see the weaknesses will definitely be their linebacking corps and overall the new offense. 

I think the team has already made the offensive line changes that are necessary and that’s already factored in.  But the change in the offense will be difficult to overcome. 

It’s one thing to understand what to do in the classroom and quite another to make adjustments on the fly.  If the offensive players have to think, rather than rely on muscle memory, it may not be pretty.

But we’ll all know more after the first pre-season game.

 

 

5/31/14 Amani Discusses the Giants:

The offense last year really had no dynamic receiver behind WR Victor Cruz so I guess they felt they needed to address that need with the selection of WR Odell Beckum in the first round.  That gave the Giants the opportunity to fix that one problem. 

I don’t know if wide receiver was their most pressing need but they always take the best player on their board.  I guess they stuck to their board and got a guy who they wanted but didn’t actually need.

I think the Giants’ most pressing need was at offensive tackle. 

Going into the season with LT Beatty and RT Pugh seems risky, especially since I don’t know if Beatty will be back, or if he is, whether he’ll be 100%. 

Eli needs that line up front to be effective and I don’t think the problems last year were Gilbride’s fault.  The line just got old and hurt.

And it’s always tough for rookies to make the transition to the NFL right away so I think it’s going to be tough for T Westin Richburg, especially since he’s only a second round pick.

I also don’t think the linebacker position is one the Giants really covet. 

For the Giants to win Super Bowls they don’t need all-pro linebackers.  They just need players who are athletic enough to cover and able to understand what they’re being asked to do.  Really, the linebackers are the role players of the defense.

It seems strange because for many years the Giants were known for their linebackers and now it’s for the defensive line and their ability to get to the quarterback.

 

2/6/14 Amani Discusses the Super Bowl:

I was absolutely as surprised as everyone else at how the Super Bowl played out but it just goes to show that old school football still wins. 

Seattle's defense was simple; they didn’t do anything complex.  They played single-high pretty much the whole day and Peyton Manning, for all his checks, couldn’t get his offense going.  The plays Manning called were fine but the Seattle defense just beat the Broncos’ offense.

Basically, the way it looked to me was that one team was physical and relishing the moment and the other team found the game too big for them.  Obviously the Broncos weren’t adequately prepared to play the Seahawks.

After the game Sherman said they had figured out Manning’s hand signals and knew what play he was going to call.   But the thing about that is that you still have to stop them and the Seahawks were able to do that.

Football isn’t rocket science; football is pretty simple.  You just have to beat the man in front of you and that’s just what the Seahawks were able to do.

 

2/5/14 Amani Discusses the Giants' Recent Coaching Changes:

I was shocked about both Mike Pope and the running backs coach being let go though I don’t know how much input they had or what the effect will be.

Jerald Ingram was a great coach from what I could tell from being around him.  He always had a good perspective and, in fact, helped me get through a lot of times.

And then the Giants decided not to hire Mike Sullivan which was shocking to me as well.

The Giants won two Super Bowls with Gilbride, Pope and Ingram so this doesn’t make much sense.  And now the Giants are going to have to deal with Mike Pope when they play Dallas.  I think that will be an issue.

I don’t know the new offensive coordinator so we’ll have to wait and see how that whole thing transpires.  I just think that with a few tweaks last year’s team could have been a lot better this season.  But now it’s an entirely different ball game and we’ll just have to wait and see how this shakes out.

It seems like the 80% rule.

When you have 80% of what you want, you go out and try to get the other 20%.  But in this case they let go part of the 80% that got them two Super Bowls. I think this may be the front office trying to lay the blame and making bad decisions.  It looked like a knee-jerk reaction so now we’ll see.

 

1/06/14 Amani Discusses the Playoffs:

In my heart-of-hearts I am thinking Denver will beat the Chargers but I understand the power of being on a hot streak as the Chargers seem to be.  They remind me a lot of the Giants 2007 team that went to the Super Bowl. Everybody counted us out every step of the way and the Chargers, like us, have to go on the road three times to get to the Super Bowl.

There are a lot of similarities to the Giants’ 2007 post-season but as we know similarities die hard every weekend so I’m still expecting Denver to win this one.

I think Carolina has an advantage next week because they beat SF earlier in the year and they’re playing at home.  Even though SF is playing a lot better now, and they both have strong defenses, I think it will come down to the quarterback play. I have more trust in Cam Newton making the big play than I have in Kapernick doing so.  I thought Kapernick struggled a little against the Packers.

Seattle is the #1 seed but I’m going out on a limb here to say that I think New Orleans will win this one.  I just don’t believe in Seattle because I think Russell Wilson is a game manager and in the last few weeks I think he has come down to earth a little bit.  I also don’t believe in Pete Carroll and I do believe that the Saints got a lot of momentum out of this last game.  The Saints are a darned good team so I’m taking New Orleans.

Overall I think the Colts are a more talented squad but I also think the Colts defense is very bad.  The Colts gave up so many points last week, even with Charles out of the game, that I expect them to go into New England and lose.
The Patroits don't have a great defense either but they usually find a way to win. While the Colts found a way to win against Kansas City, I don't expect them to do it against new England.

 

 

12/19/13 Amani Discusses the Giants:

It’s been a disaster. 


It’s just so disappointing that it’s tough to watch them.  You know that the Giants have the talent and the problem is 100% between the ears of the players.

But I think that some of the decisions that the Giants made about who to keep and who to let go are a problem also.  Some of the players they have kept really don’t belong on the team and I think that has become apparent.
And some of the players who shouldn’t be on the team were high draft picks. 

Some teams will let their high picks go when it becomes apparent they can’t cut it. The Giants want to look good I guess so they hold onto them.

I hope the ramifications of their bad decisions don’t extend into next season as well.  The Giants really have to make some tough decisions in the off-season. 

The offensive line got old in a hurry.  Guys who are making big money on the line shouldn’t be playing so poorly, or else they shouldn’t keep their jobs.

There are a lot of things that the Giants need to do and I think there will be a lot of turnover on that team after the season ends.

But I don’t think the turnover will extend to any of the coaching staff.  I don’t see any of the assistant coaches being let go but think they might get a new quarterback’s coach for Eli because Eli is regressing. 

Also, Coughlin is a very loyal guy and I don’t think he’d be willing to let anyone go. There’s so much to consider when you coach in New York and some of the assistants have two recent Super Bowl rings. So, I expect to see the same staff coaching next season.

 

12/04/13 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. San Diego:

There’s still a chance for the Giants to get into the post-season but it’s always a tough trip to go into San Diego.

Also you can’t know which San Diego team will show up this week.  Will it be the one that beat the Kansas City Chiefs or the one that lost to Cincinnati last week?  So you just can’t know what you’re going to get.

I do know one thing though and that is that Eli plays well in San Diego. 

I remember that game in 2005 and he played a very good game that day.  Even though the numbers didn’t show it, Eli played well but wasn’t helped by his receivers' drops.

That said, I have no idea if the Giants will win Sunday’s game. 

You just can’t bet with the Giants and you can’t count them out.  Week-by-week, if they seem to start out pretty well, then they have a good chance to win the game.  But I just think it’s hard to figure out this Giants team, and this late in the season, that’s not a very good thing to have to say.

I also thought the Triplette call in last Sunday’s game against Washington was much ado about nothing.  The Redskins had two chances to make up for that play and it was ripped out of the receiver’s hand.  It was the receiver’s fault for not being able to hang onto that ball.

 

Amani will be discussing San Francisco Bay Area teams on the Gary Radnich Show every Thursday.  Tune in to KNBR in the San Francisco region to listen to Amani between 9 AM and noon on Thursday mornings.

 

10/28/13 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Eagles:

It has become apparent to me that when the Giants don’t have a running game they look completely discombobulated.  But now with a running game you can see what they are trying to do.  And now they are starting to look like the Giants again.

I don’t think the offensive line is built to be a straight back passing team but they are built to be a play action running team.

The line only gave up one sack yesterday but in earlier weeks you couldn’t have said that.  Three weeks ago they were giving up sacks like they were going out of style.

The defense is playing better also.  Tuck, for example, was very active yesterday.  Also the defense hasn’t allowed a touchdown in eight quarters so they’re really coming around. 

But I think the real reason the Giants won that game was because they weren’t giving the ball away like they had been doing earlier in the season.  In the last two games they have had clean sheets and, if they hadn’t had all those turnovers earlier, they probably would have won three or four more games.

The punter, Weatherford, did still try to give the game away. 
When the snap goes over your head, you kick it out of bounds and take the safety.  Its two points, not seven.  You can’t make that kind of mistake.

Long snapper DeOssie had a couple of bad snaps but one of his normal snapping movements got called and I think that threw him off for the rest of the game.
These guys have rituals. Couch Coughlin said he has never seen DeOssie do that, even in practice.

 

10/14/13 Amani Discusses the Giants 0-6 Start to the Season:

It’s hard to even know what to say about the Giants’ 0-6 start to the season but I do know I didn’t think they could fall so hard or so quickly.

I don’t know whether Eli is pressing because of perceived weaknesses in the team but it doesn’t really matter because he just isn’t playing well.

I think letting TE Martellus Bennett go was the biggest mistake of the off-season because Myers just isn't an adequate replacement. He played well with the Raiders but is being asked to do more with the Giants. Bennett could catch and block.

Overall, the way the Giants are playing is revealing the kind of problems that should have become apparent during training camp when there was still an opportunity to correct the situation.  Now it already looks like it’s too late to salvage this season.  With six losses the Giants chance of getting to the playoffs is virtually non-existent because they would have to win their next six games to even reach 500.

Right now the Giants are actually in contention for the first pick in next year’s draft.  I can’t even remember when they last had the first pick in the draft. 

 

9/24/13 Amani Discusses the Giants:

The Giants have really dug themselves a hole and, while I wish I could see the situation improving, the fact is that I don’t see them digging themselves out of the hole. 

They could go out and sign some free-agents in a knee-jerk reaction but I don’t see the Giants doing that.  And I think part of the problem we’re seeing with the Giants is a reflection of poor drafts. 

The blocking has been bad and they need an effective tight end.  I know Snee had another MRI on his hip and Baas had one on his neck and I don’t really know the significance of that, at least not yet.  But I do know the line play has been poor.

Coach Coughlin said that the team got "manhandled" which is something I don’t think he would say ordinarily.  So, in summation, I don’t see a lot of hope for improvement this year.  I wish I could.

 

7/11/13 Update on Amani's Activities:

I’m still working for Sirius XM radio which I do Saturday mornings from 7AM to 11 AM.  Then I also do the same program on Tuesday mornings from 8 AM to 11 AM.

Five days a week I do a radio show from 10 PM EST to 1 AM for NBC Sports radio.

Then lately I have been doing some work for Sports Illustrated, the on-line show.  I’ll be on that today and tomorrow.

I’m also branching out into all the sports now and doing interviews. 

I interviewed Rucker this morning.  It was part of a panel discussion and he was promoting his company that makes glasses which have lenses that change from outdoors to indoors, similar to Photo Grays.

Aside from the above I did the 5K Run of Champions that the Giants had at the stadium and enjoyed doing that.

I didn’t go to any of the Giants mini-camps but will be doing a show for Sirius XM radio show on July 29-30 from training camp.

 

7/10/13 Amani Discusses the Implications of the Cruz Signing for Hakeem Nicks:

I think WR Nicks loses a little bit of leverage with the Giants because WR Victor Cruz is tied up now for several years. 

Plus they still have other receivers, including Reuben Randle and Jerrel Jernigan, and Hakeem Nicks has had a lot of injuries in his career with the Giants.

So I think a smart move right now would be for the Giants to offer Nicks just a little bit more than they offered Cruz because he is the #1 receiver, and then they’ll have both of those guys locked up for a long time. And they might be able to sign Nicks for a lower salary than you’d expect because of all the injuries.

The Giants could offer him a six or eight year deal and not have to worry about him again because after that he’s done.  He won’t be as effective by then.

Or Nicks could roll the dice like Steve Smith and also be out of the league in two years.

 

5/16/13 Amani Discusses the Giants' 2013 Draft:

I think the Giants did a good job in the draft but that won’t be really determined for about four years.

Since the Giants usually draft pretty high, they’re unlikely to get an immediate game changer.  So I think they look for someone who can develop into a game changer in the future and I think they saw tackle Pugh that way.

I had expected they might address safety in the first round as it was one of the strongest positions in this year’s draft as well as being a position of need.   I was a little surprised that they took Pugh instead as he will be targeted to fill the spot at right tackle since Beatty is their left tackle for the foreseeable future.

I also don’t think that the Giants view the draft the same way that the media does.  And though general manager Jerry Reese always says that they take the best player available on their draft board, they always seem to draft to fill a need as well.  So, I think they consider both aspects and it’s not like they are going to show their draft board to anyone else after the draft.

Another reason I think the Giants say they draft the best player available is in consideration of the feelings of the players already on the team.  If they said they drafted to need, when they took QB Ryan Nassib from Syracuse, it would be said that Eli was getting old and that this was his replacement.  Maybe he will be one day but we don’t know that based on how the Giants say they select their picks.

So, overall I think they filled their needs while getting some quality players so I think they Giants did a good job.

 

3/31/13 Amani Discusses the Giants' Activity in Free Agency:

I think the Giants have turned into pretty shrewd business people and they don’t care what you’ve done for the team in the past but what you can do for them in their future.  They’re looking forward and that’s what the salary cap and the modern NFL requires a team to be.  They’re really on top of this stuff. 

Take Chase Blackburn, for example. He’s a smart player and led the team in tackles last year if I’m not mistaken.  But they’re not paying for what Chase Blackburn did in the past; they’re paying for what they feel they’ll be able to get in the future.  He’s been wildly productive but, sad to say, they may not feel that level of production will continue into the future.
A lot of people think it’s a bad way to go but you have to look at how competitive the Giants have been since head coach Tom Coughlin’s first year.

Does that mean that they go to the playoffs every year?

No, but they’ve won at least nine games in each of the last three years and that’s something a lot of teams would give their left arms, their wisdom teeth and their fingers and toes for.

Then you have to look at the linebacker position.  They brought in Michael Boley, a Pro Bowl player, who they paid a lot of money and before that they brought in Antonio Pierce but for the most part, they have done it through the draft. 


The Giants are proving to be a shrewd, smart team.

The Giants have a very good nucleus.  This year there’s a deficit on the defensive line and they still will need to see what they can get out of Justin Tuck this year.  If he can play the entire season like he did in 2011, the year we won the Super Bowl, rather than how he played last year, that would be great for the Giants.  But last year Tuck wasn’t always productive.  He just didn’t seem “all in” last year.  Maybe he was distracted by doing the Subway commercials but, whatever the reason, he was less effective.

You look at a guy and scout him and then you bring him in during the draft.  Sometimes it works and when it doesn’t you release him.

That’s why I was surprised when they gave Terrell Thomas a new contract with his injury history even though I realize the contract is probably loaded with playing time clauses.  Usually the Giants allow one IR year and after that you’re done.

Maybe they’ve fallen in love with Terrell Thomas but when you do that, you often get burned. But we’ll see how it turns out, I don’t know.

 

03/30/13 Amani Discusses His New Radio Program:

I’m doing a radio show five nights a week from 10 PM to 1 AM on ABC Sports Radio with Aytan Shanders which is called the Amani and Aytan Show. 

It can be accessed on your radio tune-in app or you can stream it on-line.  Otherwise you can probably get it on your local affiliate as we have a
bout 80 affiliates around the country.  We’re hoping to get that number up to 100. 
This show is all sports so right now we’re talking a lot about the NCAA tournament.  We’re also discussing the NBA and have a hockey spot each week but we pretty much talk about the hot topic of the day.  And since a lot of games are just ending on the East Coast when we go live, we have the first shot to discuss them so it’s a raw and unfettered conversation.

I am also still on Sirius Radio on Tuesday mornings from 7 AM – 11 AM. 
I’m on NBC Sports Network periodically and will at times have a slot on other shows, just as I did today from 7 AM – 11 AM.

It’s a lot of hard work but I enjoy it and am happy with what I’m doing.  And I don’t have to worry about going broke as happens to some sports figures.

 

02/09/13 Amani Talks about the Release of DT Chris Canty and RB Ahmad Bradshaw:

I did like the signing of DT Shaun Rodgers because he was a dominant player and he knows the playbook.  But I thought it was a mistake to release Bradshaw and Canty just because they were hurt.

Though with Canty he’s had micro-fracture surgery and the Giants may think he’s about done or will be limited in future years.

But now the team will have players playing not to get hurt.  Players will play not to get hurt and to get that next big contract because as soon as you’re hurt, you’re done.

If I were in that locker room I would be thinking that I wouldn’t go out on the field hurt.  When you play hurt and not up to your normal ability, whatever the reasons, they are evaluating you always.  So you always have to put your best foot forward, in practice or games.

I know they want to get younger but some of the guys they’re trying to bring up just aren’t that good.

RB Wilson wasn't very good in that Atlanta game and LB Williams had a good rookie year but went into hibernation last season.

 

02/08/13 Amani Discusses the Super Bowl between the 49ers and Ravens:

I think it was a good game but I don’t think you can call it a great game unless there’s a lead change and there never really was. 

I also think the referees totally lost control of the game and I think it was a shame that the 49ers didn’t have a chance for another play on that pass interference on Crabtree that the coach wanted a call on. 

There was also offensive pass interference but those would have been offsetting fouls and the 49ers would have had another down.  Then, everybody wouldn’t still be talking about it so I think that would have been the best thing to do.


The Ravens coach did exactly what he needed to do at the end of the game with the safety because it took time off the clock.

Overall, I think the 49ers were the better team but David Akers needed to have a better game.  There was no wind, no nothing.  You can’t have this sort of thing happen on kickoffs when the Ravens have a returner like Jacoby Jones.

Also, obviously, at the beginning of the game, the 9ers were a little shaky and got well behind by halftime.  Then at the start of the second half, Jacoby Jones made it worse for them by returning the kickoff for a touchdown.

Maybe the 49ers coach didn't prepare the team as well as he should have becuase the team shouldn't have come out nervous. They earned the right to be there.

Also the cornerback, Culliver, looked like an idiot, first with his comments early in the week about homosexuals, and then by playing so badly in the game.  He got roasted and that’s the 49ers Achilles heel.  They don’t have good corners.

They need to work on that next year if they hope to have a chance to repeat and there are rumors about them signing the Jets CB Revis, which would be great for the team.

 

1/22/13 Amani Discusses the Super Bowl between the 49ers and Ravens:

I call it the HarBowl and I think the X-factor is going to be 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick.  He’s so calm and collected; nothing seems to faze him.  He acts like he belongs, which is something rookie quarterbacks struggle with, so he has every opportunity to excel.

That 49ers offensive line is very big and very strong and I think a key match-up will be between the Ravens DT Haloti Ngata and the interior of the 49ers offensive line.  That’s going to be huge and a great match-up.

After seeing both the 49ers and the Ravens, I just think the 49ers have more to offer.  They have a tough defense and I think the Ravens are susceptible to the deep ball, which Kaepernick throws very well.

So I predict a close game but one in which the 49ers ultimately prevail.

49ers: 17 – Ravens: 14

 

1/15/13 Amani Discusses the Championship Weekend:

As for this weekend’s games, I think it’s going to be a really great weekend for football. 

I haven’t done my full evaluation yet but it looks to me right now like Atlanta has a lot to prove.  They will be at home, while the 49ers have to fly across country, and that dome is going to be rocking in Atlanta.

Neither team finished as strongly as they would have liked but I give the advantage to Atlanta in the NFC and, at the end of the day, I think Atlanta will prevail.

I’m looking forward to the AFC game even more than the NFC game because it’s a rematch and the two teams know each other so well. 

It will be a physical game without much trickery and, when I look at the two teams, Baltimore looks like the more physical team.

Baltimore also has momentum and is red-hot, more so than the Patriots.

The Patriots had a good game last weekend and took care of business but I don’t think their playing the Texans is the same challenge as playing the Broncos on the road was for Baltimore.

Baltimore has no quit and their quarterback Flacco has always played well in big games.  You can’t get much better than how he plays in meaningful games.

So I think the Ravens will win this one.

 

1/15/13 Giants: 42 - Eagles: 7

(The Giants finished strong but didn’t get the help they needed and missed the playoffs).

I think that the Giants are going to have to look at some of their older veterans who didn’t play well during the season.  Sometimes it was due to injury and in other cases the player just had an off-year.

Justin Tuck had injury problems but the fact of the matter is that he just wasn’t productive.  Also, you have to look at Chris Snee, who just made another Pro Bowl.

The Giants have always been happy with Snee's play but he’s had injury problems this season too.

So in these two, and in several other cases, the Giants need to consider whether they just had an off-year or if it was due to injury.

Whether the Giants need to move on is a decision GM Jerry Reese will have to make.

 

12/28/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Philadelphia Eagles:

The Giants have played horrible football really since the bye week and I don’t see them coming back or showing anything more.

I just go by the way they have played and I don’t think they can beat this Eagles team.  The Eagles are playing better than the Giants and they’re getting Michael Vick back.  I’m afraid the Giants are running into another perfect storm.

I predict:

Eagles: 28 – Giants: 7

 

12/28/12 Baltimore: 33 - Giants: 14

I’m very, very disappointed with this Giants’ roster.

The thing that disappoints me the most is that these are guys that have been successful and have played at a very high level.  Now all of a sudden they are coming up very small.  And it’s not an opportune time for some of these guys because their contracts will be up and these players thought they would be Giants forever.

The way the season has turned out should indicate that a lot of these guys should be turned over.  It seems like complacency has crept in for a lot of these players and that says they have stayed too long.

I know how hard it is to stay on top in this business and obviously these guys are just content with their legacies.  When you become complacent, you begin to decline, and a lot of these players have obviously declined.

If Coach Coughlin feels that there was no quit in the team, then that speaks to an even bigger problem.  That would indicate he’s denying what everyone else is seeing. So maybe he isn’t recognizing the signs that everybody else can see.

 

12/20/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Baltimore Ravens:

I really think this game is a pick ‘em and will be very close.

The advantage to the Giants is that there are organizational problems in Baltimore and the players may be distracted enough that they aren’t focusing on the game.  That would be a break for the Giants.

I was in a similar situation early in my career and don’t think I handled it as well as I could have.  So, I think the Giants will squeak out a close one.

Giants: 17 – Baltimore: 16 

 

12/22/12 Atlanta: 34 - Giants: 0

It seems like the Giants just aren’t hungry enough and don’t want to win as much as other teams.  They just aren’t finishing which is something Coach Coughlin always talks about.  You have to finish.  They had their chances last week but didn’t do anything with them.

DE Justin Tuck may not play Sunday but he isn’t playing well this year anyway and DE JPP has taken a big step back. 
It’s like JPP doesn’t know what to do all of a sudden.  It’s one thing to get a reputation in New York; it’s another thing to keep it.

At one point the Giants had a three-game lead on the rest of the division and now they’re tied.  And I have my doubts that they will turn it around in the last two games.

 

12/10/12 Giants: 52 - Saints: 27

The Giants played a really solid game against the Saints, even in the red zone. There are some areas of concern but anytime a team scores 50 plus points, they’ve played well.

You could watch the offense improving.  You saw RB David Wilson getting in there and making plays as a kick returner and on offense with his 327 all-purpose yards. 

Wilson is expected to be a dominating player and is starting to show that he really can dominate.  Obviously he isn‘t going to get that kind of yardage every week but he will need to show he can be consistent.  He’s the focal point and the game changer in that backfield.

RB Ahmad (Bradshaw) is still the leader and starter and, if he’s healthy that’s even better.  It’s just a matter of whether the Giants will have a one-two punch.  For most of the season it’s just been Ahmad and when RB Andre Brown got hurt it opened the door for Wilson. 

Wilson is a young player with a lot of ability and opportunity ahead of him and now we’ll get to see that play out.

 

12/09/12 Washington: 17 - Giants: 16

I felt like the difference in the Redskins game was in the red zone.  The Giants relied too much on K Lawrence Tynes to try to bail them out because they obviously aren’t effective in the red zone.

The Giants were dominant in the first half when they were having those runs but, when you’re running successfully you need to show it on the scoreboard and they didn’t do that. They kept Washington involved in the game and then in the 4th quarter, once the Redskins got their running game going with QB RG111 and RB Alfred Morris, it created a tough situation for the Giants’ defensive line, which is having trouble remaining solid.  They’re giving up gaps.

RG111 was playing the option and the Giants defense just couldn’t figure out what he was doing many times.  DE JPP went to tackle the up back and allowed RG111 to run around the end.  It’s obviously something the Giants haven’t prepared for because they don’t get a lot of opportunities to play against the option.

In part the Giants are getting beat on the run up front at defensive tackle because they’re bringing some of the smaller guys in.  They like the NASCAR formation but the smaller guys don’t get much of a push.

 

12/01/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Washington Redskins:

Against a team that runs downhill like the Redskins will try to do, I don’t think the three-safety formation will work that well. 

It’s a passing league and I think the Giants can get away with the three-safety formation against the Redskins but I think that ultimately, against a team that’s going to run downhill against you, I don’t know how effective it’s going to be again. In part my concern is because I don’t know if the Giants have safeties that are as strong against the run as a linebacker would be.

I am definitely concerned about this matchup against a division rival and I think the Giants can’t look at the shortcomings the Redskins have had against other teams because this matchup doesn‘t favor the Giants. 

The Giants stopped the run last week but haven’t consistently been able to do so and the fact is that RB Morris and QB RG111 can both run the ball very effectively.
 
Also, RG111 can throw from anywhere on the field and they are playing on a big stage, which is also something RG111 thrives on.

I think the Giants are going to have their hands full against the Redskins and it will be much more than they expect.  I don’t know if the Giants believe that RG111 is as big a threat as he is right now.  But now the Giants are going to have to go up there against the Redskins and stop them.

I think it will be a low scoring game but I also think overall the Giants are the better team. 

That said, RG111 is still the X factor, unlike anyone seen in this league in a long time.  Cam Newton was great last year but it didn’t translate into wins and RG111 is translating what he brings into wins.

The Giants will have to draft to keep up with the Redskins but I still think at the end of the day the score will be:

Giants: 21 – Redskins: 17

 

12/01/12 Giants: 38 - Green Bay: 10

I think this was a very positive game for the Giants. 

The Giants play a physical style of game while the Packers are a finesse team and it proved to be just what the doctor ordered for the Giants. 

The Giants showed they could turn it around again and that they were still the same team that went to the Super Bowl and won.

The Giants match up very well with Green Bay athletically and t
hey also were able to go to the three-safety formation which works well against a finesse team. 

 

11/15/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Green Bay (following the bye):

After the bye the Giants will face Green Bay at home and that’s not going to be an easy game at all.

The Giants can obviously beat the Packers but they need to ensure that they don’t make the mistakes that they have in the recent past.

Green Bay is playing a lot better but I firmly believe that they are susceptible on defense.  That will be the key to a Giants’ win and I predict the Giants will win a tough game at home.

Giants: 31 – Green Bay: 28

 

11/14/12 Cincinnati: 31 - Giants: 13

Considering the human element of the Giants, I think one of the things people don’t really take into account when they look at this Giants team is that they have played 14 games in a row, including the pre-season.  So, I think this is the perfect time for them to have their bye. 

The fact that they did play 14 games is compounded by the fact that they went to the Super Bowl last year.  So, over the last eight months they have played an awful lot of football.  To finally have this break when they’re 6-4 is really a good thing.

That was the human element but on the field I think they really need to stop killing themselves. 

The way the team ran the table last year was by not making a lot of mistakes.

Now they have reverted back to football that’s not winning football.  It’s not like they need to overhall everything or get new players.  I think the players that they have are obviously good enough to win a Super Bowl and I think one of the things that will help is another week off for WR Hakeem Nicks. 

We’re also going to find out how healthy WR Dominik Hixon is going to be after the time off. 

I think we need to find another tight end and we need to figure out if TE Beckum is going to help us or not.

Last year we had TE Pascoe and TE Ballard but this year we’re missing some production out of that tight end spot.

So, the coaches need to figure out how to get that position back to the point that QB Eli (Manning) can lean on that instead of always relying on WR Victor Cruz.

 

10/30/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Steelers:

I think the Steelers vs. the Giants will be a great test for the Giants because I think they’re mirror images of each other.
 
The problem I see for the Giants is in their defensive backfield.  I don’t think they’re that stout, though they certainly made the most of their opportunities Sunday.  But in general I don’t think they’re playing that well and the Steelers defensive backs are playing consistently better than ours.


I don’t know if S Polamalu will play Sunday but I don’t really think it will matter.  If he plays, I don’t know how long he’ll play and he is hurt a lot.

Though I think this will be a tough game for the Giants, I believe that they will find a way to win a close one.

Giants: 31 – Steelers: 28

 

10/29/12 Giants 29: - Dallas: 24

I think the Giants came into the game expecting a fight and, when they didn’t get a fight, they relaxed.  When they relaxed, of course the Cowboys came back.  And then when we got into the fourth quarter the Giants made a couple of plays and won the game. 

We know by now that the Giants are mentally tough and what happens when they struggle and are behind in the fourth quarter.  But I’d like to see this team take the next step and learn how to deal with it when they have a lot of success.

I think the Giants always try to establish the run and when they got ahead by 23 points I think that’s what they did. 
I also think that going into the game the Giants wanted a balanced offense.  Then they made some adjustments after getting ahead by 23 points and I think those adjustments slowed down the offense tremendously. 

In the second half, when the Cowboys were rushing back into the game, the Giants needed to accelerate and they were able to do that and win the game, though barely.

That is a team that needs to learn how to play when they get ahead.  When that happens there’s a lot of running and you take the big plays out of the game.

The Giants did do that and controlled the clock.  They had over 100 yards rushing so that wasn’t a horrible rushing output but I think they did start too early.  Still, if the ball security had been better the Giants wouldn’t have let the Cowboys back into the game.  I think that once RB Bradshaw fumbled, they allowed the Cowboys to get back into the game.

I think it was a weird game in that they scored so many points on defense and that put more pressure on the offense to score.  I think that was part of the problem. 

The Giants have to learn how to play when they’re ahead and trying to run out the clock.

 

10/23/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Dallas:

I think it’s a revenge game and a must-win game for the Giants because Dallas is playing really good football lately.  I was really impressed with their game vs. the Ravens.


I thought the Ravens should win that game, even with all their injuries.  But when a team can rush for so many yards against the Ravens, they are really doing something. That was very impressive.

A key to this game will be the Giants ability to stop the run. 

RB Morris was killing the Giants Sunday and then there were QB RGlll’s runs.  And I know the Cowboys have the line that can do the exact same thing so I’m really concerned about that.  The reason the Giants lost the last game was because they couldn’t stop Dallas’ run with RB De Marco Murray.

But DT Chris Canty, coming off the PUP, took between 20-30 snaps on Sunday and should be able to take more against Dallas if he doesn’t run into any problems this week.  They’re also missing DT Rocky Bernard and the guys they now have on the defensive line just can’t anchor it down the way Canty and Bernard do.

Dallas QB Tony Romo plays the same game every time.  He’s going to give you 21 of 30 and 300 yards.  The difference in the games is, for example, in one game he threw five interceptions and everyone got down on him. 

But I think he’s in a tough situation; I think that the way WR Dez Bryant is playing is hurting him.

I don’t know of another team that would make Bryant the #1 receiver because he doesn’t consistently run the right routes or end up in the right place.  I think Bryant has a little of A-Rod in him – in big moments he comes up small.

On defense Dallas has a good rush but I think both of the Giants offensive tackles are doing a good job.

I hate to say it but they are playing better since Diehl went out. I know they’re mixing in more runs and they are doing a good job in keeping Eli from getting hit consistently.

I’d give the game to:


Giants: 28 – Dallas: 21

 

10/16/12 Giants 27: - Redskins: 23

RG lll is absolutely incredible.  But when we (the Giants) got down, I just sat there thinking, “When are they going to make the play?”

It wasn’t that I was worried or anything, just wondering when the Giants were going to make the play. 

Eli throws the pass and pulls the game out and, at this point, it’s almost like ho hum.  Eli’s at the point now that he’s made so many plays like that with Victor Cruz and others, I expect it.
 
I don’t know what to say because I realize what an amazing feat it was but it just doesn’t seem like it’s amazing because it happens all the time.  And Eli didn’t even play as well as he usually does in that game.

 

10/16/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. the Redskins:

I think the Giants have a real issue on their hands this week and that issue is RG111.  The guy can break a 70-yard run as a quarterback and outrun the whole secondary, as he showed against the Vikings

Defensive coordinators can game plan for a pocket passer but they can’t game plan for a quarterback that can break it for 70-80 yards when everyone is covered.  That’s why you’re seeing a proliferation of these running quarterbacks who can also throw well.

You can designate a player to spy on him but then you’re actually playing with one fewer guy. 

Even so, I think the Giants will win this one and I think it’s because they have a lot of motivation going into this game.  Sometimes I think the Giants need that kind of motivation to play well. When they’re playing against teams like the Buccaneers or the Chiefs, they just don’t play as well.

But this week I expect the Giants to be totally focused in on what needs to be done.  They remember that this is the team that embarrassed them twice last year.

Giants: 24 – Washington: 17

 

10/16/12 Giants 26: - San Francisco: 3

That game against the Forty-Niners came completely out of nowhere and I had totally underestimated the Giants.  I thought the team wasn’t playing well and it wasn’t a division game so I thought they would lose it.  They proved me wrong.

On defense they moved DE Jason Pierre-Paul into the middle and that helped out. 

They also moved LB Mathias Kiwanuka back to his old position at defensive end which I thought was a good idea.  Kiwi (Kiwanuka) is taking one for the team by playing out of position.  He’s really not supposed to be back at linebacker; he’s a defensive end

I believe S Antrel Rolle was thinking that because they were playing the 9ers QB Alex Smith he could afford to take some chances.  On the long pass to WR Randy Moss, you could see that he was cutting everything underneath because the safeties knew that they didn’t need to be so far back against Alex Smith.

It was a huge win for the Giants because it sets them up for the rest of the season.  And they have a pair of big division games coming up next.  They’re going in with a lot of momentum, just as the Redskins are.

 

10/13/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. the 49ers:

I’m aware of the comment that the Giants offensive coordinator Gilbride made and thought the 49ers head coach, Harbaugh, overreacted. Everyone knows that referring to DE Justin Smith, “getting away with murder” is just a figure of speech and isn’t meant literally.

I think Gilbride is just doing his job and that’s what he’s seeing on film.  I think Gilbride respects Smith as a player but there are rules to the game.

I see the 49ers pulling this one out. 

They are just a better team right now because the Giants are struggling in many different areas, mainly with their pass rush and stopping the run.  And if they can’t stop the run, RB Frank Gore is going to have a very good day.

That doesn’t give the Giants much chance for an offensive explosion which is what the Giants need to do to win.

I think it will be:

 49ers: 28 - Giants: 14

 

10/07/12 Giants 41: - Cleveland: 27

I thought the Giants started off slowly last week which is kind of the way that they approach things.  They seem to need to have the pressure on before they perform.  That’s not a good sign though they did pull it off.

They started out with a fumble by RB Ahmad Bradshaw but after that Bradshaw ran the ball very well and had the first 200-yard game in his career.

After the game he commented that he was running upset after the fumble and I was wondering to myself, “Why doesn’t he run upset all the time?”

We know what he can do and how he plays and maybe he ought to be upset all the time.  When I was playing he always ran like he was angry and I’ve never known an Ahmad Bradshaw who didn’t run angry.

On defense the fact that the Giants front four can’t get to the quarterback is troubling because that’s the strength of their defense.  Now that quarterbacks have time to look downfield, it exposes our secondary and the Giants have to figure out a solution. 

They’re in a slump, just like A-Rod.


I don’t think it’s due to opposing quarterbacks going to a three-step drop. That’s an advantage to the backs because they aren’t deeper routes.  They just need to figure this out.

I think the Giants need to start blitzing even though it will expose the secondary because that will give them the opportunity to exploit some of the mismatches.  Now all they’re trying to do is get pressure with their front four and it’s not working so they’re also exposing the secondary.

 

9/28/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. the Eagles:

The Eagles have struggled most of the year but still have a 2-1 record, the same as the Giants.

The Giants will have to continue hitting QB Michael Vick and switching up the fronts. 

The Eagles center used to call the protections but now he’s gone for the season and it’s all going to be up to Vick. So that’s going to be something he’s not very comfortable doing.

That’s where the Eagles are vulnerable but they have so much talent that I think it makes up for the vulnerability and, even though the Eagles have struggled, I think the Giants are going to have their hands full this week down in Philly.

The way I look at RB LeSean McCoy is that he’s a back who is in the wrong system for his ability because the team just doesn’t want to utilize that ability.  Andy Reid doesn’t have the stomach or the patience to stick with the running game enough to let McCoy really be efficient.  Reid wants to go through the air.

The way I see this week is that I think the Giants are going to stumble and the score Sunday will be:

Eagles: 21 – Giants: 17

 

9/27/12 Giants 36: - Panthers: 7

RB Andre Brown was cut from several teams before getting his chance on Thursday.  But when he got his chance he showed he was hungry and worthy of being an NFL back.  He finished the night with 113 total yards.

Also WR Ramses Barden is a guy who probably would be labeled as a bust but Thursday he played to his ability and that paid dividends also. He finished with 138 yards and what this tells me is that GM Jerry Reese has done a wonderful job ensuring that the team has good depth.

But moving forward the Giants have a really big game coming up against a division rival, the Eagles.

 

9/10/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Tampa Bay:

The Bucs looked good yesterday and they’re going to have the additional advantage of familiarity playing against the Giants because their offensive coordinator is Mike Sullivan.  He knows the Giants, their checks, their calls, everything.  The Giants will need to find a way to make this work.

It could be a two-way street but Sullivan has never been in a position to call plays before so the Giants only have the one game yesterday to go by.  Otherwise they don’t really know what he’ll do as there’s no body of film to study.

I also think that the Giants will really need to establish the run.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw had a decent game against Dallas but he didn’t make the breakaway plays that they’re expecting from David Wilson so Wilson needs to come along quickly.

They have to find a way to get those big plays from the run game to open it up for QB Eli Manning because teams are daring the Giants to run.  They weren’t successful enough against Dallas and that’s why the Giants got beat.

The offensive line needs to run block better too.   RT David Diehl was really struggling, even on run plays.

That’s kind of a surprise because the offensive line has an advantage because they usually outweigh the defensive linemen. So on run plays the offense usually has an advantage but not in this game.


C David Baas has had one year already and now he needs to prove why they brought him in.  Last year the run game was better when he was out of the game than when he was in.  I don’t think they can wait any longer for him to step up and start playing well.

Amani’s pick: Giants: 28 – Tampa Bay: 24

 

9/05/12 Dallas: 24 - Giants: 17

The Giants just didn’t have that edge they’ve had in past years.  Those are the games that the Giants usually win, where it’s kind of an ugly game but the Giants usually find a way to win.

They tried to come back but it was too late.  To me, that says they need to be crisper, mainly on defense, because they’re not that good that they can just show up and expect to win.  They need to play and execute well in every facet of the game for them to be as successful as they were last year.

 

8/15/12 Amani Previews the NFC East:

I’m not going to any of the training camps because I was out of town when XM NFL signed all the people to go to the camps.  If I had been in town, I would have had the chance to go to one or two and it would have been cool to go to the Giants training camp.

I heard about the injury to DT Shaun Rogers and thought that was terrible and I know DT Marvin Austin is having back problems.  With DT Chris Canty on a PUP, the Giants are thin at defensive tackle.  They did sign someone today but that position has to be a concern.

But overall I think the Giants are a tough team to evaluate because you never know how they’re going to finish the season.  It seems like they’ll have a great start to the season and then either really catch fire and win a Super Bowl or they’ll fizzle out, usually due to injuries.

The Giants are always going to be competitive in terms of talent.  Every year the front office does a great job so they always have the talent and the depth. 

It all depends on whether they stay healthy and, if you look at the NFC East last year, there were three teams that were within a stone’s throw of winning that division. I don’t expect that to change.  I doubt there will be a runaway team so there will probably be three teams that are super competitive and one team that’s try to get into the mix.  It’s just really tough in August to say whether the Giants will have a great season because it usually comes down to the injury situation.

As for Washington, the team that’s trying to get into the mix, I think of all the quarterbacks that came out this year, RG III has the greatest opportunity to succeed because he has a team around him that has a good defense plus they have passed for a lot of yards the last couple of years.  They seem like a team that’s on the rise.

Whether RG III is going to be enough is tough to judge so early because their offensive line and run game situation has been less than ideal.

In a couple of weeks we’ll know a little more and then I can expand on what I’m saying.  But right now it’s tough to make any judgments.

I also want to comment on one of the rule changes for this season.


I really like the rule change that a team can take one IR’d player and put him back on the active roster.  I think it’s a rule change that really makes sense.

I don’t know the extent of Terrell Thomas’ knee injury but it sounds less serious than originally thought so he might be a candidate.  We’ll see.

 

I was just hired by Sirius XM NFL radio to do 100 games this year.  This won’t cover only the Giants but the entire league.  I feel I have a knowledge base and a connection within the NFL to give me an advantage and I’m really excited about the opportunity.

I also will be a contributor on NBC Sports’ Talk during the upcoming season.

 

5/01/12 Amani Discusses the Giants 2012 NFL Draft:

Overall, I thought the Giants did a really good job.

I like the 1st round pick of RB David Wilson.  He has all the measurables and I remember watching him play against my (Michigan) Wolverines and he did well.  He was a dominating factor in that game.  So, I thought that was a very good pick.

But when I heard that the Giants got WR Reuben Randle in the 2nd round I was really impressed.  I really like Randle and thought he was a first round value.  Randle is from LSU and players coming out of that system know what the deal is all about.  They know they will have to work and work hard and that no one is going to give them a pass in the NFL. I think they’re really going to be happy with that pick. 

In the third round CB Jayron Hosley was another good pick and I think that the Giants really made themselves better.

Ross is gone and they got another cornerback.  Manningham is gone and they got another receiver.  Jacobs is gone and they got another running back.

The Giants always talk about how they will take the best player on their board but in each round they also selected players that will fill a need.  So, when they say “best player” they’re really discussing need along with value.

I’m less knowledgeable about the later round picks but all these guys seem to be football players, guys who are going to get mad when they aren’t out on the field.  These are the guys who are totally devoted to the game. They’re guys who are working on their game 24/7.  In a sense they’ve put “all their eggs in one basket” and that basket is football.

So, I think the Giants had a great draft, a draft that improves the team.

 

4/24/12 Amani Previews the 2012 NFL Draft:

I think GM Jerry Reese has done a wonderful job by stacking up the team so that there are really no immediate needs.  Their philosophy is to pick the best player in the draft when they make their selection.

The team is coming off the Super Bowl and they’re really young so they can just pick the best player available when they make their selection.  And when you look at what they need, they don’t really need anything. 

Initially you might say that they need depth at linebacker and at corner.  Last year the linebacking corp was a glaring weakness but they filled a lot of holes in free agency, such as with LB Keith Rivers. I believe the team is high on LB Clint Sintim too so they already have a lot of bodies at linebacker.

They drafted two years ago for CB Prince Amukamara and they already have CB Corey Webster plus Terrell Thomas should be healthy. And there still are other guys.  So, they don’t need anybody in the secondary, not even for depth.

I really only look at the first two rounds because those are the guys that are supposed to impact your team right away.  The rest is just speculation.  Some will hit and others will miss but they’re not guys who will be in the equation right away, especially on a deep team like the Giants.

After the draft I’ll discuss in greater detail the players selected.

 

2/07/12 Amani Discusses the Super Bowl and Parade:

For some reason, I just never thought the Patriots were going to win and I don’t know if that’s because of my arrogance or bias or whatever.  But when you see teams running reverses or doing all these trick plays, you believe the coach doesn’t think that they can beat you straight up.

I watched the game from the press box and it just didn’t seem like the Patriots had a lot to show the Giants.

I felt that QB Tom Brady was very conscious of the Giants pass rush right from the start of the game and probably was thinking that he didn’t want to make any mistakes and give the Giants an advantage.

When Brady was in the end zone, he saw DE Justin Tuck bearing down on him and he just wanted to get rid of the ball.  He didn’t have presence of mind to throw the ball near a receiver. 

The officials call was a great call because he threw it where there was nobody.  It was ridiculous.

The Patriots had that drive where they scored before the half and then they got the ball after the half and scored again but, just playing straight up football, I just didn’t think the Patriots matched up well against the Giants.
If it wasn’t for a couple penalties on third down they wouldn’t have been in it.

I think that head coach Belichick’s offensive scheme was good.

They were getting the ball out quickly but what that does is limit your effectiveness.  At the end of the day, once the opponent knows the plays are going to be short, the defense starts creeping up.  The Patriots had to get rid of the ball quickly because they knew that they couldn’t go deep.  And that’s the reason why the Giants defense wasn’t getting to Brady early: because the ball was in and out of his hands so quickly.


On the LB Chase Blackburn interception, Brady broke about three tackles and was running around and then threw the ball to TE Rob Gronkowski who had stopped running.  That allowed Chase to catch up and get inside position and box Gronkowski out.  I think if Gronkowski were healthy that probably would have been an incompletion.  Chase is an old basketball player so he’s a better athlete than people give him credit for.

Today I covered the parade for the local CBS station.

It was great and a great opportunity for me just to be sitting there talking over the parade. I wanted to give everyone their respect and recognition and it was just great.  It isn’t every day that you get to see someone on the best day of their life.  After having had that experience in 2008, I know that for a lot of the people involved (as it was for me) it was the best day of their athletic life.

 

1/13/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Green Bay:

The Giants defense will definitely slow down the Packers because of their front four plus WLB Michael Boley. The last time the two teams met, Boley wasn’t healthy and didn’t even come up on the stats sheet.

And with WR Victor Cruz and WR Hakeem Nicks both playing great on offense and now with the emergence of WR Mario Manningham, that’s an additional player the Packers will have to game plan for.

I think the Giants should concentrate on their run game because the Packers don’t really have that great a run defense.  Also, if they can keep QB Aaron Rodgers off the field and control the clock I think they have a great chance to win this game.  If they do get a lead with the running game then they can grind it out.

But I think the most important thing in this game is that QB Eli Manning can’t throw interceptions; he can’t throw one interception.  The last time they played it was Manning’s interception that went for seven points.  If you take those points off the board the Giants win that game.

If the Packers don’t get those interceptions they aren’t as effective on defense.  A lot of the Packers defensive flaws get covered up by their being so opportunistic.

I think the Giants will win this one.

Giants: 24 – Green Bay: 21

 

1/12/12 Giants: 24 – Atlanta: 2

Last week’s game was a big game for QB Eli Manning as I expected because he’s been great all season.  But I also predicted that WR Hakeem Nicks would have a big game because he’s the star receiver, the No. 1 draft pick, and all of a sudden WR Victor Cruz comes in and steals Nicks’ thunder.  They get along great, I’m not saying otherwise, but I still thought Nicks would feel the need to have a great game, as he did have.

On defense I think that DC Perry Fewell simplifying down the defense last week helped a lot.  Sometimes coordinators get caught up in their schemes and don’t account for the fact that at some point in time the players on the field are going to have to go one-on-one in battle.

I also think the addition of MLB Chase Blackburn is a big factor because he is doing a better job than the rookie MLB Greg Jones did.   But another thing that I think is a big deal is the fact that WLB Michael Boley is back and healthy.  His hamstring is better and because of that he’s more confident.  

 

1/03/12 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Falcons:

Atlanta seems like a team with a lot of talent but they get to the playoffs and lose.  I don’t think they’ve won a playoff game in years and I’m hoping it will be really, really cold during the game.

I think the Giants have a great shot to win this one.

Giants: 26 – Atlanta: 21

 

1/2/12 Giants: 31 – Cowboys: 14

They saved their best for last!  That was by far their best game.  There was a consistent effort throughout even though there was that little lull in the third quarter.  It’s a championship game and Dallas is capable of being a championship team also but the Giants closed them out.  They closed them out very well.

The defense was solid throughout the game. DE JPP had that one play where he slammed his foot into the ground and reversed to make the tackle.  That was one of those things that you just don’t see happen.  When you watch a lot of football and watch a guy make a play like that, it just blows your mind.

JPP can rush from the inside as well as the outside. We thought DE Tuck was very versatile because he could do that and now you have JPP who can do the same.  And you bring back DE Osi Umenyiora and there’s DT Canty and let’s not forget about OLB Mathias Kiwanuka.  He had a couple of big plays as well and it’s almost like teams don’t have enough ball carriers for the defense to go after.

But it all comes down to WR Victor Cruz.  Every time they needed a play Cruz delivered and that’s all you need to say. 


Cruz is a “pull yourself up by the bootstraps” guy and he’s from New Jersey as well.

Of course QB Eli was great and I’ve never seen Eli throw so many what we call "funny body throws" before with them being as accurate as they are now.  I just can’t say enough about how well Eli has played over the entire season.

And finally, the Giants really played well at home and the crowd was fired up and helped with their enthusiasm.

 

12/28/11 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Cowboys:

This weekend the Giants are playing against the Cowboys, a team with one of the worst defensive backfields in the league.

The Giants know this team very well, they know what defensive coordinator Ryan is about with his blitzes and it’s going to be the game of the week for a good reason.  A lot of people want to see what’s going to happen and I’m one of them.  

I think the Giants are going to win this one.


Giants: 28 – Cowboys: 21

 

12/27/11 Giants: 29 – Jets: 14

When I looked at last week’s game against the Jets, I considered the areas of weakness on the Giants defense, such as the linebackers and secondary, but the Jets aren’t really built to take advantage of the Giants weaknesses.
 

The Jets needed a big game from TE Dustin Keller and they needed QB Sanchez to be consistent and throw downfield at times.  But in this case you had a tight end who didn’t make any plays and a quarterback who can’t throw consistently downfield.  That just played into the Giants hands.

You know the Giants pass rush is going to get there eventually and I think that’s why the Giants defense looked so much better.  They made the Jets one-dimensional but, overall, I wasn’t that impressed with the Giants defense as a whole because they did give up a lot of yards. They still couldn’t stop the run as effectively as they should with their talent.  The only reason the Jets couldn’t run the ball was because of the Giants lead.

The Giants weaknesses were still apparent and, even if they do make it to the playoffs, I think they’ll go out very quickly if there’s not some drastic improvement in the Giants defensive secondary. I’m really disappointed in CB Ross and rookie CB Prince Amukamara is a liability out there.

The Giants are like a Molotov cocktail. 

They’re loaded with talent on defense but they need some sort of catalyst to propel them into playing and that’s when you see the explosion they’re
capable of.  When Victor Cruz made that big play, it’s like the defense exploded into life.  That tells me the Giants need more go-getters on defense, not guys who just stand around and wait for something to happen.  That has nothing to do with their talent; they have plenty of talent. That has everything to do with the leadership on defense.

On offense Nicks has had a pair of really bad games but he’s played against really good corners in Hall and Revis.  They’re both upper echelon corners and they played him really tight. Last week Nicks was stuck on “Revis island.”  He dropped balls he shouldn’t have dropped and Cruz has been pretty much been the No. 1 receiver.  When Nicks dropped that first ball against Washington, I think it got into his head a little.

I was impressed with Barden against the Patriots but he has also dropped too many catchable balls.  And when he fell running that out route, that’s just not acceptable.  When people see things like they think the guy just can’t play.  That’s just the cardinal sin of a receiver.

Eli has had a few touchdowns dropped in the last couple of games; Barden, Nicks and even Cruz have dropped catchable balls but these are young, still developing receivers and I’ll bet that next year they will be a lot better.

I think all of Coach Rex Ryan’s talk was a big motivating factor for the Giants too.  It’s been a while since they beat the Giants, almost 20 years, so the Jets are kind of like the little brother and all the talking didn’t change that.  They are still the little brother in New York.

 

12/21/11 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Jets:

This is an interesting game, an away home game.  I don’t recall ever losing to the Jets so I can’t see it.  On the other hand, the Giants team is like Dr. Jeckle and Mr. Hyde. 

When they played great teams, with the exception of the New Orleans game, they played them tough and then they have games like these against weak teams.

When Rex Ryan was throwing barbs around, Coach Coughlin wouldn’t respond.  He knows what it means to be a Giant.

This one is tough but I’m going to say that the Giants will win this one.

Giants: 28 – Jets: 21

 

12/20/11 Giants: 10 – Redskins: 23

The whole game was so frustrating. 

As a retired player you realize you can’t do it anymore but, if you could still play, you would love to be in a situation like that.  You control your own destiny; it’s against the Redskins and for the players not to show up is the ultimate insult to the fans, the organization and even to the former players.


I don’t know what the players are trying to do.  Just go out there and do your job and let the rest take care of itself. I just think they’re overanalyzing why they’re not playing well. Just go out and play.

They’re so close to having a special season.  They have the talent to get there; they have a franchise quarterback like Eli.  They can’t waste the season because of dumb stuff, it’s just such a waste.

I thought the game plan was good and I think Coach Coughlin is the right kind of coach for the Giants organization.  Coughlin puts plans in place that put the Giants in position to win.  The problem is that the players are not playing with any passion and that tells me there’s a lack of leadership in the locker room that needs to be filled.

When the plays aren’t run the way the coach intended, they aren’t going to work and the execution of those plans is the players’ responsibility.  And I don’t know what Rolle is doing talking so much when he got beat big on a simple play.  I think he should look to his own game and not talk so much about others. If you live in a glass house…

Also, I think when the Giants go out on the field at home, some of the players can be a little tentative because the Giants organization has had good success and the fans have come to expect it from the team.  Also, tough love is a New York characteristic and if the team doesn’t perform well, we’ll hear about it.  Since a lot of the players aren’t from New York they don’t understand the culture right away and it can shake them up to be booed.

On the road you expect a hostile environment so that’s no problem.  At least that’s my take on it.

 

12/09/11 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Cowboys:

I feel that if they get to Romo and run the ball like they did last week, then I believe they’ll have no problem against the Cowboys.

The key is whether they’ll be able to run the ball that well again but they probably will have the same offensive line this week.

I know OLB DeMarcus Ware is an excellent pass rusher but I don’t worry about the outside rushers so much.  You can always put someone over there to chip them, but the rushers up the middle are a lot tougher.

I just want to see them play like they did last weekend.

I predict Giants: 31 - Cowboys: 28

 

12/08/11 Giants: 35 – Packers: 38

I wasn’t happy with the clock management at the end of the game.  I’m referring to the Giants throwing a touchdown at the 2-yard line instead of running the ball.  If they had scored running the ball it would have used more time.

Defensively, the Giants gave up some big plays but I thought they got pressure on Rogers, more pressure than I’ve seen in the last three weeks.  So, that was a good step forward but they’re still exposed in the secondary.

The Chase Blackburn situation disturbs me.  After only a few days back he gets an interception as well as making other impact plays throughout the game.  He should have been back with the team weeks ago, if not for the whole season. 

How do they explain that?  It just doesn’t make sense to me.  I know they have a youth movement at linebacker but they should consider what they’re putting on the field too.

Instead the Giants have rookies who, after most of the season, still don’t know what they’re doing and then you have Chase who has good experience.  I never thought the Giants organization would allow something like that to happen.

It’s not fair to the fans who are spending their money only to see their team underperform.

I was impressed with the run defense but you really can’t judge the Giants run defense against the Packers because the Packers aren’t a running team.

On offense I feel that the last minute offensive line switches worked great and Diehl did a better job than Beatty at left tackle.

Again that made me question whether the team is playing the best players. 

This offensive line was twice as effective in terms of running the ball.  It wasn’t just because Bradshaw was back; the line was actually moving people.  And if Boothe isn’t their top offensive lineman I don’t know who is.  Diehl hasn’t been good because of the move and Snee is having a terrible year.  McKenzie looks done and the only guy on the line that gives them a spark is Boothe.  He plays all the positions and he plays them well.  He was flat-out better than Baas at center.

 

12/01/11 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Packers:

This could get really ugly. 

The only thing I can say is that when you’ve been humiliated like the Giants were on national TV you really have to come back and have a great game if the defense wants to get their respect back.

But whether they’ll do it or not, I don’t know and think this could be an even worse blowout than the Saints game.  The Packers are relentless; they don’t stop; they just don’t stop and the Packers potentially will get a lot more turnovers than the Saints did.

I’m afraid the Giants won’t get the job done. 

Packers: 45 – Giants: 6

 

11/29/11 Giants: 24 – Saints: 49

In the past the Giants defensive line covered up a lot of ills but last night they didn’t do a thing.  They really didn’t even show up.  The only person who showed up on that line was DE Jason Pierre-Paul.  Tuck is hurt and isn’t playing well enough.

I just really think the last two defensive game plans were really bad. 

TE Jimmy Graham manipulated the defense like a puppeteer and it was really tough to watch.  I know Jimmy Graham is a tough cover but that said I was disappointed how head coach Sean Payton outwitted and outcoached DC Perry Fewell so easily.

There are so many areas where GM Jerry Reese missed.  He missed with Ross, for example.  And why did the team bring back Deon Grant?

Grant’s inability to tackle QB Drew Brees one-on-one at the goal line just blows my mind.  A professional safety who can’t tackle a quarterback?  C’mon.  Grant’s on the downside of his career so why did they bring him back?

On offense Eli is really lighting it up.  If you just watch the offense, you think the team is great.  But when you watch the defense they’re terrible.  This is the worst functioning defense I’ve seen.

If you lose the way the Giants did last night, accompanied by the perception that the defense is giving up, it means some changes need to be made.  And I think the Giants need better players on defense because you don’t have to motivate self-motivated players. And I don’t see many self-starters on that defense.

If they really want to get the job done the players can find ways to get it done, no matter who the coach is.  It’s really sad to me.

Kiwanuka is playing hard but he’s playing out of position and it’s showing.

The secondary is porous and rookies are starting at linebacker and they’re not doing anything for us right now.  I think Herzlich and Williams will be good but they aren’t there yet.

The team says they draft the best player and to that I can only say, “Really?”  I’m just not buying it.  Either their talent evaluation is off or something else is wrong. It shouldn’t have come down to being dependent on rookie linebackers.

 

11/24/11 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Saints:

This is probably going to be the toughest game of the season for the Giants because they have to go down to the dome on Monday night and deal with RB Sproles, QB Drew Brees, WR Meacham and the rest of the receiving corps, along with the crowd at the stadium.

The New Orleans Saints offense is almost tailor-made to expose the shortcomings of the Giants defense so this could be tough.

If the Giants don’t get a rush on Brees and allow him to sit back there with time, he can be as effective as anyone in the entire league. 

If Boley still can’t go, and hamstrings can take a long time, I’d start Jacquian Williams at WILL, Herzlich in the middle and of course Kiwi at SAM.

I thought Herzlich acquitted himself pretty well against the Eagles.  I would pick him over Greg Jones because the coaches say he has a better grasp of the defense.  Some guys just pick things up more quickly than others but I don’t necessarily think that means he’s brighter than Jones.

I know Boston College has a pro-style offense and that may have given Herzlich an advantage over Jones who went to Michigan State, especially since there were no OTAs or mini-camps.

I think the Saints are going to win and it could get ugly.

Giants: 17 – Saints: 35

 

11/23/11 Giants: 10 - Eagles: 17

The Giants need to figure out a way to run the ball because their running game is pathetic, beyond pathetic. For Brandon Jacobs to run for 1.7 yards per carry is almost a crime.

Last Sunday I noticed the offensive line more than the week before.  That last sack was a culmination of Eli getting hit throughout the game so he got happy feet and stepped up into the pocket before he needed to.

This week several of the Giants players have said that the Eagles just wanted the game more and I just don’t know how to explain that because after all it’s a game against the Eagles.  You always know that whatever their record is, the Eagles match up well against the Giants because that’s who they draft to beat.

But at the end of the day it it’s a game of emotions, and even with Vick and Macklin out, the Eagles played with greater emotion than the Giants did.

 

11/16/11 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Eagles:

(Michael Vick reportedly has two broken ribs) I think Vick will play. 

With Boley being hurt now, one of the linebackers needs to step up or maybe the team will need to look at free agents.  They can’t just sit back and let Greg Jones play the way he did last week and expect a different outcome.  The kid is a rookie and just hasn’t played enough yet. I think he's a talented kid but he needs more time.

When the Giants realized that the 49ers were going to have a passing attack instead of a rushing attack they took too long to make any adjustments and the Giants aren’t traditionally very good at making adjustments during the game.

This week the Giants need to play a lot better.  They just can’t go through the motions for three quarters of the game and then expect to step up and win the game in the fourth quarter.

I think the Giants may lose this one.


Eagles: 21 – Giants: 14

 

11/14/11 Giants: 20 - 49ers: 27

The Giants can’t go on relying on the fourth quarter to bail them out every week.  To me it’s becoming a habit and that’s not a great thing.

The Giants are obviously much better physically than the teams they’re playing and in a sense they’re playing down to the level of competition. They’re just trying to beat them at the end when these are teams they should be dominating.

I felt they made a couple of mistakes which they couldn’t come back from.  One was on the 49ers onside kick and the other was when Eli threw a PIC when Manningham stopped and all of a sudden they can’t come back from that.
Then there was the special teams’ breakdown.  

I wouldn’t say that the Giants were outcoached because that would be a disservice to the 49ers, who I think are a good team.

I think on offense the team worked pretty well but on defense, when LB Boley went out, that changed the whole ballgame.  MLB Greg Jones, the rookie, made a couple of costly mistakes. I’m not saying that he isn’t going to be good eventually because he’s a talented guy.  But he isn’t ready yet.

Grant is good at the line of scrimmage and they could have brought him up to help and, if they can get Amukamara back, then it frees up the rest of the backfield which should help a lot.

But overall I was impressed with Eli; I was impressed with some of the receivers even though on the one interception Cruz should have come back and at least become a defender.

On the other PIC if Manningham had come downhill and cut off Carlos Rogers, it would have been a completion or at least knocked down.  But when he stopped and didn’t make the adjustment, which is tough, especially against cover-2, he needed to do it earlier and be more definitive with his body language to let the quarterback know what he was doing.  

It was basically a miscommunication because the QB throws to where he thinks the receiver is going to be.
 

I was also surprised by the lack of pressure the Giants got in the first half of the game. I thought their defensive line would get after Smith more and get him flustered like they did in the second half.

 

11/09/11 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. 49ers

I think that the 49ers are going to give the Giants the toughest game they’ve played all year but I think the Giants will be playing into their sweet spot. 

By that I mean both of these teams are tough, downhill teams who want to make you blink, the Giants especially.  I say that because the Giants are playing a quarterback who isn’t going to win the game, that’s going to be up to Frank Gore for the 9ers. He’s their offense. So, the Giants have to make sure that they rub the 49ers’ noses in that fact. 

The Giants are a team that’s never been about letting any team beat them up so it’s going to be a huge test for the Giants.

I think this is going to be one of the best games of the weekend and I’ve been looking forward to it since the 9ers beat Detroit, another physical team, though I would say that I don’t think that Detroit is really mentally ready yet, they haven’t been battle tested.  This is the first year that they’ve had any success.

That will be different than playing against a team like the Giants who expect to win year-in, year- out and won’t beat themselves.

I think the Giants are going to win this week because I don’t think the 49ers have played a team that’s as physical as the New York Giants.  Remember the Eagles had them on the ropes and let them win.

The 49ers pride themselves on stopping the run and they’re doing a very good job on that but they’re not able to pass the ball the way the Giants can.  This is going to be a real test for Alex Smith because he’ll need to really step up.  I don’t think he can do it to the extent that will be necessary.

Giants: 28 – 49ers: 10

 

11/08/11 Giants: 24 - Patriots: 20

I thought that the Patriots were going to win so I was wrong about that. And I’m not saying that the Patriots are the Patriots of old but they’re still a very good team.  For the Giants to go in there and beat them at home with the Patriots at-home record, says a lot about the talent and depth the Giants have.

Everybody thought Jerry Reese was crazy when he said the Giants had enough on the roster, even with all their losses, to be a play-off team.  I didn’t believe him either but now we’re starting to see the Giants’ depth, players who can step in and not just play but excel.  It just goes to show that the guys in the front office know what they’re doing.

What really surprised me in this game was that WR Victor Cruz is really stepping up and playing like a capable No.1 receiver and WR Mario Manningham is making big plays down the field, though Manningham does still need work on his feet and sideline awareness.

When I entered the league I didn’t have great feet but it was something I worked on every day until I could toe-tap with confidence.

But the thing that made me happiest about last week’s game was the fact that RB Brandon Jacobs finally started running like the back that everybody knew he was.  He had one play where some Patriots bounced off him and I feel that he really developed his momentum from that play. 

That was big and it will help his teammates to respect him in the locker room and for the fans to welcome him back into the fold.  It wasn’t a great day but I feel it’s significant that he seemingly turned a corner. 

People will flip the switch on how they perceive him now and say, “Well, maybe he’s back” or some other positive comment.

On defense, if DE/SLB Mathias Kiwanuka isn’t a Pro Bowler, then I don’t know what one is.  For a SAM linebacker to do some of the stuff he does, not only with the sacks, is amazing and I can’t say enough good things about his intensity and effort. 

Kiwi’s just a freak athlete.  How many players can you take from defensive end and put them at SAM with success?  And he’s a full sized defensive end too; he’s not a college guy who comes out too undersized to play DE in the NFL.

I’ve also been very impressed with WLB Boley this year.  Previously I just didn’t see any real sparks from him but this year he’s making big plays, game-changing plays.

These guys are really starting to step up as individuals and a group and it’s starting to show results.

 

11/2/11 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Patriots

In last week’s game vs. the Steelers one thing that I would have expected with Brady’s years of experience is that he would feel comfortable under pressure.  But the Steelers applied a lot of pressure, just as the Giants can do, and he clearly was uncomfortable. 

It actually shocked me that he looked the way he did but he’s a limited guy in terms of his mobility so, when you can exploit that, that’s when you’ll have success against him.

You have to make Brady one-dimensional to have success against them.

The Giants need to focus on running the ball and stopping the run.  If they can run the ball they can control the clock and, if they can stop the run, they can make him one-dimensional and then that’s when you’ll really see the pass rush show up.

With all things being equal, I’d give the nod to Bradshaw to carry the ball over Jacobs because he’s hungry.  Of course last week Jacobs was rusty but I’d also like to see Scott activated over Ware and bring Brown up from the practice squad too. 

The Patriots were built on excellent defense and a ball control offense.  And now they’re a passing offense with a terrible defense.  Their secondary is terrible.

Maybe Belichick has let all the comments about his being so great go to his head and has come to believe that he can just plug anyone in there.

I think it’s kind of funny but you never can count out the Giants when they’re playing against a team that’s supposedly better than they are.  That’s when they always play better than you expect but this week I think I’m going to go with:

Patriots: 24 – Giants: 17

 

10/31/11 Giants: 20 - Dolphins: 17

I didn’t feel that there was anything the Giants could get out of this game so I wasn’t looking at it and thinking that they really had to play well.  I knew they would struggle coming off the bye week and I felt this was a no-win game situation for the Giants. 

If they had gone out and beaten the Dolphins badly, people would have said that it didn’t mean anything because they were playing against a team that hadn’t won a game.  If they lost, it would have been really bad so I just didn’t see anything good coming out of this game.

So my thinking was to get the win and not dwell on how you did it too much.  Just move on. (That said) In the first half the Giants were horrible and then they just seem to have decided to start playing.  That's when it became an interesting game.

But it’s saying something when you let Reggie Bush run for over 100-yards for only the second time in his career.  The Giants aren’t run blocking or stopping the run very well so they’re not in the best situation.

Teams have noticed that the Giants aren’t running or stopping the run effectively and you can see what they’re doing. 

They are daring Eli to beat them and he’s having his best year. So the Giants are going to be a passing team whether that’s what they want to be or not until other teams decide to change their approach and until the Giants run game improves.


On defense I didn’t notice MLB Greg Jones very much but I did notice that Kiwi played a great game.  He was everywhere and that just shows me that a hungry, talented guy can do big things as Kiwi has been doing all year.

I also didn’t notice Williams at all either and maybe the team feels that at this point in their schedule, they can’t develop players; they have to just go. 

 

10/27/11 Amani Discusses the Giants vs. Dolphins

On offense, RB Jacobs should be back and playing on Sunday.  Whether that will help the running game or not remains to be seen.  I like the way RB Bradshaw is running the ball and I think he had a great game against the Bills.  His average is up so I don’t know if having Jacobs back will be a plus or a minus.

In the fourth quarter Bradshaw definitely showed that he was a little bit stronger than he was early on.  Some backs do get stronger with more carries and that’s how I see Ahmad Bradshaw.  He’s a tough kid.

WR Ramses Barden will be back soon but whether he can play at a high level remains to be determined.  He’s been injured a lot and that’s not a good thing because you only get so many chances to show what you can do, and once they’re gone, they are gone.  So, we’ll have to wait and see with Barden.

On defense, CB Amukamara (out) will help when they can get him back because they can put him in the slot. Then they can put S Rolle back in the middle of the field because S Grant is not the guy you want up there.  He’s not making the tackles.  All those runs the Bills Fred Jackson made was because the lane opened up of course but, if you’re playing that Cover-1 defense, you’re going to need a safety to come up and make that tackle and Grant just couldn’t keep up with Jackson.  Grant in space is a weakness of the Giants defense right now.

Getting DE Tuck back will obviously help in that he’ll be the guy that will be the run stopper.  DEs JPP and Umenyiora are both good run stoppers but they’re not as good as Tuck.
Tuck has a better anchor and is more like Strahan in that regard.

All important is that the Giants not play down to the level of their competition.
 
It’s hard to play against a team that doesn’t scare you and they showed that against the Seahawks.  They have to find a way to remedy this problem.  If they don’t they’ll lose a lot of respect and will end up right back where they were after the Seahawks game. 

The ultimate mental challenge is when you’re playing against somebody that doesn’t scare you.

I predict Giants: 35 – Dolphins: 10

 

10/25/11 Giants: 27 - Bills: 24

I feel that the game against the Bills was a big game and a big win for the Giants.  They got a lot of respect back throughout the league with that win.

It’s really a pretty simple equation when you look at the Giants.  It’s how well Eli is throwing the ball and how many touchdowns he has vs. interceptions.  When he isn’t throwing interceptions, more than likely the Giants will win.

Everyone laughed when Eli said he was a top five quarterback and he’s proving that he is with a top-five passer rating.

I was happy to see the running game get together a little bit.  Baas was back and they didn’t miss a beat without Snee. Boothe is invaluable because in a pinch he can play all the positions, even some tackle.  That allowed Bradshaw to have a good day.

On defense I think it’s great that they’re moving Corey Webster around to cover the best receiver and I think they should have done it earlier.  Corey is a very talented corner and I practiced against him every day so I know how good he is.  But for him to get the respect he should have in the league he’ll have to be the Giants version of Revis.  He has that kind of ability.

 

10/12/11 Interview with Amani:

It seems like your concern that last Sunday’s game against the Seahawks would be a trap game was valid.

Amani:  Last week’s game was a good example of what happens when you allow a team to hang around and gain confidence.  The team came all the way from the West to the East coast and the Giants needed to jump on them early and convince them that they weren’t going to be around in the fourth quarter.  Once you allow a team to hang around into the fourth quarter, it’s anybody’s ball game because they get confident.

Like I said last week, if you look at the Seattle Seahawks on tape they don’t scare you.  If a team doesn’t scare you, you don’t have the fear that you have to play at a high level because you could lose the game.  And when you don’t have that fear you’re going into the game with a mental disadvantage.  The Giants were way too confident and too relaxed. 

They also rested some players that would have probably played if it were a big game.  I guarantee you one thing – if the Giants were playing Dallas, Washington or Philadelphia, all the players who could possibly play would have been on the field.  In big games players tend to get healthy more quickly.

 

Moving on, the Giants need to regroup for this Sunday against a team with a good record.  How do you see that playing out?

Amani:  I see this as a great opportunity for the Giants because whenever you stub your toe, all you want is another opportunity to go out and perform well, especially against a team like the Buffalo Bills that’s getting a lot of respect in the league.

It’s a great situation for the Giants and I feel like they‘re going to play very well and that they’re going to win.

They seem like they’re outmatched and that their defense can’t stop anybody but this is the same feeling that people had about the Giants before they went down and beat the Eagles.  I see a lot of similarities between this game and the Eagles game with the advantage that the Giants will be playing at home.  I have a good feeling about the Giants this week.

I predict Giants: 28 – Bills: 24

 

10/05/11 Interview with Amani:

How do you view the Giants victory over the Cardinals?

Amani:  I think last week’s game was a big step forward because for them to go on the road and win in the fourth quarter showed a lot about how the team is coming together.  They’re getting a lot of production from their bench and it just goes to show that Jerry Reese knows a little bit about what he’s talking about in terms of the Giants having a playoff team.  Reese knows the talent on this team better than anyone else and that’s beginning to be apparent as injuries happen because the people being plugged in are doing well.

Are you concerned about this week’s game against Seattle being a trap game?

Amani:  Yes, I see this as a horrible trap game so this is a bigger game than last week’s game.  The Giants are playing against a less accomplished team and need to avoid getting overconfident about the outcome.  They need to continue to work on the things that they need to do to improve.  The Giants should concentrate on the pass rush, some consistency stopping the run and offensively on running the ball.  They need to come away from this game with a W and keep working to improve consistently.

This is really a horrible trap game.  The Giants are playing against a team that’s 1-3 while the Giants are 3-1.  Seattle is desperate and probably believe that if they go into New York and beat the Giants at home that they can right their ship and save the season.  Whenever a team is desperate, they are a team that you really don’t want to face.  Those are the most dangerous teams and Seattle is definitely one of those dangerous teams.

What’s your prediction for this game?

Amani:  Giants: 28 - Seattle: 13

 

09/29/11 Interview with Amani:

The spread is very low, though in the Giants favor, so they still aren’t getting much love, even after beating the Eagles.

Amani:  I can understand why they aren’t getting much love because after three games they have played, they’ve only had one complete game.  Even in that game they had lulls where they didn’t look like the team they were supposed to be.  Getting Osi back will be big along with how well they played in the 4th quarter last week. The fact that Eli didn’t throw any interceptions is another positive and I think a lot of people are pleased with how well the third receiver, Victor Cruz, played.

What about Beckum and his failure to get the first down?

Amani:  Beckum was a disgrace not getting that first down.  A receiver has to be aware of where he is on the field.

How well do you feel the defense played?

Amani: I’m happy with how well the defense played, the way they were physical and knocked Vick around.  That’s something the Giants defense has always been known for and they have to get back to that.  That’s what makes their defense special.  I really liked the fact that CB Aaron Ross had two interceptions.  He had a great game the week after being benched.  Now his confidence is going to be sky-high.  You can’t forget he was a first round pick so the surprise isn’t that he played well last week, the surprise is that he didn’t play well earlier in the season.  I was talking to Jesse Armstead and he said he thought that Jacquain Williams was the complete package and could be the best linebacker on the roster eventually.  He’s big, fast and aggressive and I remember a pre-season game where Williams was all over the field.

Giants: 28 – Cardinals: 17

 

9/1/11 Interview with Amani:

What are your plans for the season?

Amani:  I have the Madison Square Garden varsity so I’ll be doing at least 12 high school games and I’m also doing the Giants post-game show again this year for My 9.  The post-game will be at the Stadium this year so it will be a lot easier because I don’t have to worry about getting stuck in traffic going into NY.

What will you be looking for tonight as the Giants face the Patriots in their last pre-season game?

Amani:  I’ll be looking for the same things I’ve been looking for the whole pre-season.  I want to see who’s going to step up and take that third receiver spot.  I want to see more consistency from Victor Cruz because he has dropped too many balls in practices. Coaches want to see consistency.


What else will you be looking for?

Amani: I also want to see how the secondary reacts and how they’re going to find a way to have more continuity with all the injuries to the defensive backfield. 

We’re not going to see much of Eli tonight but I would like to see him be more consistent with his throws.  A lot of the mistakes he made last year, he’s still making.  I want to see more growth from him. 

I also want to see how this defensive line is going to look, especially JPP.  I want to see him play consistently the way he did in the Carolina game. I’m concerned with the linebackers because the Giants haven’t really hit on a top linebacker since Lawrence Taylor. At the beginning of the pre-season, I wasn’t concerned about the Giants.  I thought they would be a competitive team.  But now after watching their pre-season I’m concerned.


6/08/11 Boot Camp for Broadcasters:

I’m really excited about having the opportunity attend this camp and show a large number of broadcasters what I can do.

The camp begins on June 20th. It runs through June 24th and is located in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey.  

By attending this camp I hope to demonstrate to the executives from CBS, ESPN, the Big-10 network, and pretty much every network, that I’m really serious about becoming a broadcaster and will work very hard to improve my craft.  Because it really is a craft and like any other you always need to work to improve your performance.

I’m looking at it as a combine for announcers and am really excited about having this opportunity to show what I can do and let the executives present see that I can speak concisely and eloquently and at the same time let them see my personality.

I think your personality is what makes observers want to see you again and I’ve been working hard this whole off-season with my broadcasting coach to take my ability to the next level.  So I’m really excited to have this opportunity.

 

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Amani

Amani will be on First Take for the week of 4/18-4/22.  Check your local listings for the time in your area.

 

4/15/11 Interview with Amani:

What do you consider to be the priorities for the Giants going into the 2011 NFL Draft?

Amani:  I’d say offensive tackle, then interior line (center), linebacker and then maybe running back.

What would you do with Will Beatty if you drafted another tackle?

Amani: He’s a guy with a lot of ability but I just don’t know if he has it in him. An offensive tackle should be ready to play by the second year once they get used to the speed of the game and have had a year to get stronger.  Some of the plays I’ve seen Beatty give up on were just soft and that’s the aspect of his game that really bothers me.  You can’t coach softness out of a player.

Overall, the offensive line is getting old and they need to get some fresh legs in there. You don’t know how many years LT Diehl will play so I think they should get a tackle like Nate Solder from Colorado or Anthony Castonzo (Boston College) but I’m not sure he’ll still be there.  I think Derek Sherrod from Mississippi State would be good but I don’t think he’s as polished as some of the other guys I’ve mentioned.  Gabe Carimi (Wisconsin) would be OK but I don’t see him as having the upside of the other guys.  Carimi has the size but his lack of athletic ability scares me. Tyron Smith from USC also is a very athletic guy.

Who do you like in the second round at center in that case?

Amani: I’d like to see them pick up Pouncey if he lasts until the second round.

Are you concerned that Pouncey, like Koets, had difficulty snapping the ball?

Amani:  I think Pouncey’s a talented guy and will be able to snap, but if he can’t, you can move him to guard.  His versatility is another reason I like him. If he makes it at center, that’s great, but if not you have a great guard to match up with Snee.

What else do you see as a priority need for this draft?

Amani:  They really need to address the linebacker position.  It’s been a few years and Sintim isn’t getting on the field which tells me a lot.  Plus they signed a veteran (Bulluck) who they knew didn’t have the legs anymore so I think they really don’t like Sintim.   But I do like Martez Wilson from Illinois.  He’s a big rangy guy who can play any of the linebacker positions.

Would you consider WILL backer Bruce Carter around the second round even if you knew he might not be able to play this season because of his recent ACL surgery?

Amani:  No, I wouldn’t do it.  You have to have your early picks ready to participate quickly.  Maybe if you could still take him in the seventh round I’d consider it.

Another guy I really like is DT Corey Liuget and he’s climbing the boards.  I’ve seen him play against Michigan State and he had 11 tackles in just that one game. He’s a high energy, high intensity leader on the field and you don’t usually see that from 300 lb. guys that often. I don’t think the Giants should take him because he’ll go too high. Even though he might be the best player available, you really can’t take the best player when there’s no free agency to allow you to fill other needs.

Are there any other positions you think the Giants will or should address?

Amani: Maybe a running back next because Ahmed Bradshaw is a free agent.  There are also needs at corner and safety but I think they should address both later on in the draft.

 

3/23/11 Amani Discusses Moving Kickoffs to the 35-Yard Line:

I think people are missing the real point of this change in the kickoff rules.  I don’t think this is going to impact player safety because people get concussions on touchbacks as well.  If you’re on the coverage team or you’re on the return team, you don’t know that the ball will go into the end zone so you’re going to play just as hard. So, I don’t think this will change anything.  I think the only thing that will slow players down is the five-yard rule.  That’s a good start. 

L ast year the average starting position for the offense was the 26-28 yard line and now that will drop to maybe the 25 yard line because of the increased number of touchbacks.

So, it reduces the chances for a kick returner to score and it ultimately will reduce the number of exciting scoring plays in a game throughout the league.

The teams that already have a dynamic kick returner will be at a huge disadvantage and it will put the kick returners in this draft at another huge disadvantage because their value will be lessened.  They’ll disappear the way tight ends did in the 80s with the run and shoot offenses.

The league says they’re doing this for safety but I think it’s really that so many teams have such a hard time covering a dynamic kick returner.

The league didn’t change the two-man wedge rule and that could have affected safety because anytime you have two men coming down on one guy, there’s a safety issue.  Doing away with the wedge would have been a good start.

Instead keep the kickoff at the 30 and have the cover teams be stationery like they are in high school and college.  As soon as the ball is kicked then the cover team could move and that would reduce injuries and high-speed collisions.

Fewer touchbacks will reduce scoring which is something the league has said they want so I wish I knew what the real reason for this change was.

 

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