Is Eli that good? He sure as heck has the tools to be. Not to put too much into one preseason half, but Manning looked so good and comfortable against the Chiefs that it would be hard not to take notice. He led the hurry-up offense so well that all his teammates were gushing. One goal-line play in particular stood out. Manning ran a bootleg and had no one to throw to, but instead of throwing the ball away, he scrambled around, bought himself some time and fired a laser to Visanthe Shiancoe. While it was only a three-yard gain in the books, it showed how much Manning's game has evolved.
Will Emmons make the team? It's still too early to tell at this point, but it sure looks like there's a strong possibility that Emmons, who's missed most of camp with a pinched nerve, won't make the cut. It would be one thing if he weren't hurt more than healthy since he's been here, but with his injury history and Tom Coughlin's disdain for injured players, Emmons might not be a Giant for much longer. Obviously, a lot will depend on how well the Giants feel Brandon Short is doing this summer. Gun to our head? Emmons goes and Short starts the opener.
Which Giants will have their jersey numbers retired? In the wake of Harry Carson being elected to the Hall of Fame but yet to have his number 53 retired by the Giants, it does bring to light the question of which current Giants will be so honored. The main reason for Carson's omission, according to the late, great Wellington Mara, was that the Giants already had too few numbers in the 50s left after Ken Strong's number 50 and Lawrence Taylor's number 56 were taken off the shelves. As for the current Giants, there's no way in the world they could not retire both Michael Strahan, a first-ballot Hall of Famer and Tiki Barber, the most accomplished running back in franchise history.
Luke's line – The left tackle always comes under the microscope – even more so when he makes big money, has a bad back and jumped offsides way too often last season. Yet Petitgout does get a bad break with the fans and media. We're not anointing him Orlando Pace here, but he's definitely above average and the team could do a lot worse than Petitgout. Look for a better season from Petitgout in 2006 as the Giants OL – as long as they can all stay healthy – is going to get its just due.
Quarters at nickel – The signing of R.W. McQuarters certainly flew under the radar, what with LaVar Arrington, Will Demps and Sam Madison joining a defense that features two Pro Bowl DEs. But McQuarters has been a very pleasant surprise so far and seems to be able to cover much better than his NFL résumé might show. The fact that he helps out a ton on special teams, has return ability, is confident, and is a great locker room guy only makes this signing all that much more impressive. Plus, he's got the best hair on the team.
Kiwi sure is sweet – Did the Giants actually drill another first-round pick? No one could believe that they'd waste their top pick on a defensive end. So far, Mathias Kiwanuka has proven to be much more than just a defensive end. He's been sensational – both during training camp and the club's first two preseason games. His pass-rush ability has caught everyone's eye and he was basically unblockable against Baltimore and Kansas City. He may need to brush up some on his run defense, but at this point, with Osi and Strahan already in place – who really cares? Put this kid down for at least five sacks this season.
Preseason length – Everyone and their brother has a thought on how to fix the preseason. Play only two or three games, etc. How about we just leave it as it is? It's been this way for years and folks need to realize that injuries are a big part of the game. If the preseason were shortened, there's no doubt that Clinton Portis would have played even more in the Redskins first summer contest, increasing – not lessening – the chances that he'd get banged up.
Backup QB – It now appears that Tim Hasselbeck has grabbed a strong hold on the backup job. Not so much for how well he's done, but for how poorly Rob Johnson has done. According to teammates, Johnson actually digressed heading into the second preseason game, during which he didn't do a whole lot to show himself in a positive light. He's a great guy and still makes some strong throws, but it just appears that he's lost a little life off his fastball and that Hasselbeck is the smart choice here.
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