Eagles Opposition Report: New York Giants Offense

Eagles Opposition Report: New York Giants Offense

Seeing the Giants play the Eagles twice a season, we're pretty familiar with what they have at the key offensive positions. Here's an update on what their skill players have been up to lately, and check out Kulp's look at the defense here.

QB Eli Manning
The usually solid if unspectacular signal caller threw a career-high 25 interceptions last season, but also topped his best TD mark with 31. Reports are that he had a poor showing in the Giants limited camp, and his preseason was bad as well. Without Steve Smith (not that he won't be close by this weekend), Kevin Boss (gone to Oakland) and now Dominik Hixon (lost for the season) and Mario Manningham (out for week 3), Eli is somewhat lacking in familiar targets beyond Hakeem Nicks. Eli didn't have a particularly great game in either of the Giants' first two outings, although he hasn't been wholly terrible either. He threw for 268 yards in a loss to the Redskins, rushing for the only TD he was credited (oddly enough) and throwing one pick. He got off to a terrible start against the Rams in week 2, but leveled out and found a rhythm that helped the G-men sustain enough offense to get a W. Eli found Nicks on a short TD, then Hixon for a circus-like catch, both requiring great plays by his receivers. He threw one interception during his first quarter struggles, and the offense looked terrible out of the gate, which probably had the Eagles defense salivating as they watched Monday Night Football. Minus even more weapons than he started the season with and behind a line that's allowed seven sacks through two weeks, the Giants will hope Eli has more opportunities to hand off on Sunday.

WR Hakeem Nicks
The 6'1 receiver out of North Carolina is the best weapon in the Giants' arsenal, and one of the best in the league. Through two weeks, he has 11 catches for 160 yards and a touchdown, and his yards per game (80) is right on pace with last season. In four career games against the Eagles, Nicks has hauled in 20 catches for 291 yards and 2 TDs. That was before he was up against a defensive backfield that included Nnamdi Asomugha and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in addition to Asante Samuel. He'll likely draw Nnamdi in most sets, as both usually line up on the quarterback's left.

WRs Mario Manningham and Dominik Hixon
Out with a concussion and torn ACL, respectively. The Giants' injury-plagued season from hell rolls on, and it's only September.

WRs Brandon Stokley and Victor Cruz, et al
The Giants recently signed the 35-year-old Stokley to be their slot man, after Cruz did nothing there in week 1. Stokley too was held without a catch in his first game with the team on Monday night. With Manningham out, the 6'1 Cruz will likely line up outside opposite Nicks, where the Giants hope he can replicate some of the success he had in the preseason, albeit then coming mostly in the slot. Michael Clayton was also signed this week, though it's hard to say what his role would be, if any. Devin Thomas and Jerrel Jernigan round out the corps of receivers pressed into service due to injuries to others. Jernigan could see some time opposite Nicks when Cruz isn't lined up out there.

RB Ahmad Bradshaw
With their receiving corps in shambles after Hicks and Eli looking inconsistent, in addition to the Eagles being built much better to stop the pass than the run, we'll likely see a healthy dose of Bradshaw and Jacobs at least early on. However, the two haven't been entirely successful getting yards on the ground. Bradshaw has just 103 yards rushing on 28 carries through two games. He's totaled 55 yards receiving, and five of his six catches came last week for 45 yards (interestingly, after he complained about the Kevin Gilbride's offense being too pass-heavy in week 1). The Eagles were effective in bottling up Bradshaw last season at 12 for 29 and 19 for 66, no TDs in two games, respectively.

RB Brandon Jacobs
Seen as the thunder to Bradshaw's lightning, Jacobs may be big at 6'4, 264 lbs, but he's not nearly as hard to bring down as he once was, nor as even some smaller backs. Still, he can be effective, as he showed last week when he punched in a 9-yard carry against the Rams and rushed for 50 yards on 16 totes (one more than Bradshaw got, a week after Bradshaw saw the majority). Both backs are getting carries, and it doesn't always break down that Jacobs gets the short and goal line stuff. Despite previously having success against the Birds, Jacobs too was a non-factor in their two meetings last season, totaling just 44 rushing yards and no scores.

TEs Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum
Ballard has seen the bulk of the TE action through two games, and that hasn't been much. He has three receptions for 72 yards so far this season, including a pair of catches for 59 yards in week 1. The more athletic Beckum hasn't played yet this year, dogged by some hamstring issues, but he practiced this week and appears ready to go. He's a sizable receiver and can be used as a goal line target. Neither guy is a Kevin Boss, nor a Tony Gonzalez, so the Birds might have a decent chance at stopping the tight end position this week. The Giants will still try to get them the ball though, if they can get them to draw anyone outside of the big 3, because their wideout options are so limited. Beckum in particular could be a target for Eli as he tries to find the soft spots in Juan Castillo's defense.

(Photo: The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE)

MLB Notes: Josh Hamilton may need another knee surgery

MLB Notes: Josh Hamilton may need another knee surgery

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton went to Houston on Sunday, facing the possibility of another knee surgery in his bid to return to the majors.

Hamilton will be examined Monday by Dr. Walt Lowe, who performed reconstructive surgery on the former AL MVP's left knee last June.

The Rangers acknowledge Hamilton might require arthroscopic knee surgery. If he does, Hamilton would likely be out four to six weeks and then need a minor league rehab assignment.

"We'll know once Dr. Lowe sees him," Rangers assistant general manager Mike Daly said. "Josh felt and Dr. Lowe felt that he needed to go back down and get an evaluation."

Hamilton was examined by Lowe in Houston last Wednesday after his knee flared up in running drills. He was given a platelet-rich plasma injection to alleviate the discomfort.

Hamilton returned to camp on Thursday and he experienced discomfort after riding a stationary bike for two days. (see full story)

Orioles: Bourn broke finger during football drill
SARASOTA, Fla. -- Baltimore outfielder Michael Bourn hasn't played football since his sophomore year in high school. But it's a pigskin injury that's preventing him from playing this spring for the Orioles.

On Friday, the speedy 34-year-old broke his right ring finger catching a football at a workout. Bourn, who signed a minor league contract on Feb. 20, will be out for four weeks, making it difficult for him to be ready for Baltimore's April 3 opener. He'll make $2 million if he's put on the 40-man roster.

Bourn has difficult competition. Another veteran major league outfielder, Craig Gentry, signed two days before, plus the Orioles want to take long looks at Rule 5 outfielders Anthony Santander and Aneury Tavarez. Joey Rickard, a Rule 5 pick who played with the team last season, is also a serious contender.

Because he signed late, Bourn hadn't played.

"I was ready to go and pretty much ready to get into games the next couple days and now I've got to wait a about four weeks to heal. I want it to heal correctly but I want to push it, too. There's really nothing I can do about it," he said. (see full story)

Indians: Kipnis sidelined by shoulder injury
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- Cleveland Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis has a rotator cuff strain and will stop throwing for a couple days.

Kipnis got a cortisone shot on Saturday, and manager Terry Francona didn't sound very worried about the situation.

"If it was during the season we wouldn't do anything," Francona said before Sunday's spring game against the Chicago Cubs in Mesa. "There's so much time to get ready that to kind of put a Band-Aid on it now didn't seem to make sense."

The 29-year-old Kipnis hit .275 with 23 homers and 82 RBIs last season, helping Cleveland to the AL Central title. He added four more homers and eight RBIs in the playoffs as the Indians made it all the way to the World Series before losing to the Cubs in seven games.

Kipnis had been on a shoulder program.

"I would say probably eight out of 10 guys, as they get their arms loose, you feel something," Francona said. "You throw through stuff and you get through the aches and pains of getting back, but then when there is some history there, you just try to use good judgment.

"He can do all his cardio and everything and all that stuff, but throwing is shut down for four to five days. I don't think he's going to hit today."

The Indians also announced left-hander Tim Cooney will be sidelined for 10 to 12 weeks because of a muscle strain in his arm. Cooney went 1-0 with a 3.16 ERA in six starts with St. Louis last season and was claimed off waivers from the Cardinals in November.

"Originally, they thought it was forearm," Francona said. "It's lower than that. By all accounts, it is an extremely unique area."

 

 

 

NBA Power Rankings: The Sixers remain in the bottom third of the NBA

NBA Power Rankings: The Sixers remain in the bottom third of the NBA

The most recent NBA power rankings have the Sixers dropping further or remaining in the lower third of the NBA. 

Recent news of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons’ injury situations have the experts assuming the season is a lost cause and the team is focused on this June’s draft.

A trade of Nerlens Noel confirms the Sixers are banking on building around Embiid and wanted to get a return on Noel instead of letting him walk at the end of the season.

Last week
The Sixers split their only two games of the week: A 120-112 win against the Wizards Friday night and a buzzer-beater 110-109 loss to the Knicks Saturday night.

Against the Wizards, Robert Covington recorded a double-double with 25 points and 11 rebounds – both team leaders. The Sixers had seven players in double-digit points including Dario Saric and Gerald Henderson both pouring in 20. The Sixers did not give up the lead after the beginning of the second quarter. 

Carmelo Anthony drained a game-winning shot on Saturday for the Knicks. Jahlil Okafor led the Sixers with 28 points while Saric added 19 and Covington tallied 20. 

This week
• Tonight, the Sixers face the Warriors in Philadelphia (7 p.m./CSN)

• Wednesday against the Heat in Miami (7:30 p.m./CSN)

• Friday they face the Knicks at home (7 p.m./CSN)

• Saturday they stay at the Wells Fargo Center for the Pistons (6 p.m./CSN)

What the experts say
John Schuhmann of NBA.com was gracious only dropping the Sixers from 21 to 22 this past week. Maybe he trusts the process. 

He makes a good point about Okafor's situation after the Noel trade:

“The Sixers have been at their worst offensively with Okafor on the floor, but he scored 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting on Saturday, getting two huge, final-minute buckets in the post before Carmelo Anthony hit the game-winner. He may not be the better fit, but he has two more years on his rookie deal.”

Grant Hughes of Bleacher Report dropped the Sixers to 24 on his list, three spots lower than last week. 

He took a look into Embiid’s efficiently in the post and found some interesting numbers from Chris Herring of ESPN's FiveThirtyEight:

“The 7-footer has really been in a giving mood near the basket, where he's coughed the ball up on nearly 22 percent of his post-up looks, the highest turnover rate among NBA players with at least 100 plays, according to Synergy. And his turnover rate jumps up to a whopping 32 percent when teams aggressively send a second defender to double Embiid in the post."

Hughes ended his piece by saying the Sixers look to be on a downturn for the rest of the season. 

Jeremy Wood of Sports Illustrated moved the Sixers one spot from last week which leaves them at 26 on his list. 

He questions “trusting the process” stating that there are many questions surrounding Bryan Colangelo and the front office after the Noel trade. 

“It’s a longer-term question, but there will be short-term clues.”

Couldn’t have said it any better. 

Finally, Matt Moore of CBS Sports drops the Sixers from 22 to 26 this week. Moore is starting to see a repetitive story with the Sixers and it’s struggles. 

“Usually if a team loses both its top picks in a rebuilding year, you feel awful for them and their fans. With the Sixers, you're left just feeling like this is the status quo, forever.”