X's & O's with: Eddie Mason

One play that stood out to me happened in the fourth quarter. It was a very basic play -- the touchdown pass to Chris Cooley. The reason I point this one out is because of Patrick's pocket presence.

The reason I point this one out is because of Patrick's pocket presence. He got blasted on that play by the defensive lineman. Patrick knew that guy was coming and a few weeks ago he probably would have overthrown or thrown low or something. But his pocket presence was so much better. And what that tells a defensive player is, 'Man, we can't get there.' It's very frustrating because you're going all out, you seem like you're close and then . . . it's frustrating.

I wanted to see how Patrick played in the fourth quarter. And for him to stand in there and make that throw, knowing he had only X amount of seconds to get the ball off was something. His feet weren't happy. They were set. He throws the ball with tight coverage on Cooley and Cooley makes a great play on the ball.

It looked like Patrick's head was in the game. He looked like he was reading defenses better, like a light switch came on. We were seeing the QB we always imagined he could become. Maybe the Giants aren't the best team, but he played well, as did all the guys around him play well.

Defensively, Sean Taylor stood out. This guy is absolutely phenomenal and I don't say that about a lot of players. He's a purebred football player and so instinctive and so rangy. There were five plays in a row this guy made in the fourth quarter that showed what he could do.

The first play was when he and Antonio Pierce did a Cross A stunt on a blitz, where AP crosses the face of the center and goes into the opposite A gap, trying to pull the center with him so Sean can come free for a sack. Sean got in there, forced Eli Manning to scramble out and caused him to throw the ball away for an incomplete pass.

Then he comes back and causes a fumble by Tiki Barber, showing his ability to come up and lay the wood. Then he comes back again, blitzes and runs straight over the running back and hits Manning as he throws the ball. They called a penalty but I didn't agree with that one at all.

He makes another play on Amani Toomer on a quick slant route. After that they take a shot at Shockey and he covers him one on one. Last year, Shockey was beating people on those plays all day long. But Sean makes a great play and covers him. He's gonna be a great one, if he keeps his head on straight and keeps his focus on and off the field.

And there's no way he could be placed in all those circumstances and learn those blitzes and stunts and match up in the slot without being a smart player. Also, you can't help but see how he plays with passion. Off the field he's such a shy guy. On the field he puts me in the mind of Lawrence Taylor. He plays a different spot, but he can be the same dominating force. Sean is able to make plays that most can't make.


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