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)

Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

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Brian Carroll's goal in 92nd minute gives Union draw with Rapids

COMMERCE CITY, Colo. -- Brian Carroll tied it in 92nd minute and the Union escaped with a 1-1 draw with the Colorado Rapids in a showdown of the Western and Eastern conference leaders.

Carroll ran underneath Fabian Herbers' high-arching header and slotted the finish under goalkeeper Zac MacMath from close range.

The Union (5-3-5) responded only 5 minutes after the Rapids (8-2-4) opened the scoring on Sam Cronin's header in the 87th minute. Cronin made a deep run to connect with Marlon Hairston's cross from the right flank, redirecting it into the far corner of the goal.

Both Dillon Powers and Luis Solignac had shots crash off the crossbar for the Rapids after the 70th minute.

The Union extended their unbeaten streak to seven while the Rapids stayed unbeaten in their nine home games this season.

Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

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Chase Utley haunts Mets in Dodgers' rout at Citi Field

NEW YORK -- Chase Utley hit a grand slam and a solo homer after Noah Syndergaard threw a 99 mph fastball behind his back, and the Los Angeles Dodgers went deep a season-high five times in routing the New York Mets 9-1 on Saturday night.

In a scene that seemed inevitable since October, Syndergaard was immediately ejected following the third-inning pitch -- almost certainly his shot at retaliation against Utley for the late takeout slide that broke the right leg of then-Mets shortstop Ruben Tejada in last year's playoffs.

Plate umpire Adam Hamari tossed Syndergaard, sending Mets manager Terry Collins into a rage, but no trouble ensued between the teams. A longtime New York nemesis, Utley raised one hand slightly in the direction of the Dodgers' bench to keep teammates calm -- and later answered by doing all sorts of damage with his bat.

Kenta Maeda (4-3) shook off an early line drive that appeared to hit him in the pitching hand and threw five shutout innings for the win. The right-hander yielded two hits, both in the first, and snapped his three-game losing streak.

Adrian Gonzalez homered and had four hits for the Dodgers, who spoiled the Mets' 30th anniversary celebration of their 1986 World Series championship. Corey Seager and Howie Kendrick also connected, all after Syndergaard was gone.

Pinch-hitter Juan Lagares homered in the eighth for New York, long after the outcome was decided.

The stoic Utley is playing at Citi Field this weekend for the first time since Tejada was injured. The Mets -- and their fans -- were incensed by the aggressive slide, which led to a change in baseball rules this season designed to protect infielders in what some call the Utley Rule.

But the Mets had not tried to retaliate until Saturday night.

With one out and nobody on in the third inning of a scoreless game, Syndergaard's first pitch to Utley sailed behind the second baseman's back by a considerable margin.

Hamari immediately ejected Syndergaard, prompting Collins to come storming out of the dugout. Collins also was ejected after screaming at Hamari and pointing in his face during an animated argument. The manager was finally escorted back toward the New York dugout by another umpire.

After waiting near the mound with teammates for some time, Syndergaard walked calmly to the Mets' dugout without showing any emotion as the crowd cheered him.

Logan Verrett (3-2) entered for the Mets and, with a vocal contingent in the sellout crowd of 42,227 urging him to hit Utley with a pitch, eventually threw a called third strike past him. But then Utley homered on Verrett's first pitch of the sixth to give the Dodgers a 1-0 lead.

Booed all night, Utley added his sixth career slam off Hansel Robles in the seventh, giving Los Angeles a 6-0 cushion with his 38th career homer against the Mets.

In the series opener Friday night, Utley was greeted with loud jeers and derisive chants. He had four RBIs in a 6-5 loss, including a three-run double that tied the score with two outs in the ninth.

Where are you now?
Tejada was released by the Mets during spring training and signed by the St. Louis Cardinals, who designated him for assignment Saturday.

Trainer's room
Dodgers: RF Trayce Thompson exited in the fifth with lower back soreness. He was replaced by Yasiel Puig, who hit an RBI single off Verrett in the sixth.

Mets: INF Wilmer Flores (hamstring) went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly in his fifth rehab game for Double-A Binghamton. Before the game, Collins said it was reasonable to think Flores could come off the disabled list Sunday.

Up next
Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw (7-1, 1.48 ERA) starts the series finale Sunday night against 43-year-old Bartolo Colon (4-3, 3.44). Kershaw, coming off a two-hit shutout against Cincinnati, is 7-0 with a 1.17 ERA in 10 starts against the Mets. He is 5-0 with a 0.64 ERA in May -- including a three-hit shutout of New York on May 12 at Dodger Stadium. The three-time Cy Young Award winner has struck out 55 and walked two this month.

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

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USA Today Images

Soul drop 1st road game of season to Gladiators

The Soul fell on the road to the Cleveland Gladiators, 63-49, at Quicken Loans Arena on Saturday night.

The loss was just the second of the season and the first away from the Wells Fargo Center for the Soul. Quarterback Dan Raudabaugh completed 25 of 44 passes for 342 yards and seven touchdownsi in a losing effort.

The Gladiators were led by receiver Quentin Sims, who finished with 10 receptions for 114 yards and three touchdowns, and signal caller Arvell Nelson who completed 22 of 36 passes for 307 yards and seven touchdowns.

Next week, the Soul travel to Jacksonville to take on the Sharks on Saturday, June 4. The game will be broadcast on CBS Sports and 97.5 The Fanatic.  Kick-off is set for 7 p.m.