First and foremost, I hope everyone out there is doing well and getting back to normal following the hurricane. The funny thing about weather is, even after the storm itself is gone, its effects can continue to be felt for an unpredictable amount of time.
Just ask the Giants. I’m not quite sure what they have done to anger the weather gods, but they have had a string of bad luck in this area. Remember back in December when they were supposed to play the Vikings in Minnesota, then this happened? That game got pushed to a Monday night, which meant a short week to prepare for the division rival Eagles. And, well, we all know how that game ended.
That snow storm turned out to not only destroy the Metrodome’s roof, but indirectly doomed the 2010 season for the Giants. We were all nervous that the Giants were getting a short week against the Eagles, though during most of the game it didn’t seem like a problem. It wasn’t until the very end, after the game was seemingly in the bag, did the boys in blue run out of steam, start making bad decisions and basically hand over the game on a silver platter. And, as it turns out, a win here most likely would have placed the Giants into the postseason.
Would the game have ended differently if the Giants had the full week to rest and prepare? Who knows, but it has been proven time and again that teams are at a disadvantage coming off a Monday night game, especially when extensive travel is involved, because there is so little time to rest, practice and prepare for the next game.
So here we are again, just coming off a game that was pushed back because of bad weather and, as a result, the Giants are playing a game tonight on a short week. Obviously this is a preseason game against an AFC team so the end result does not matter, but the Giants are officially at a major disadvantage heading into the regular season because of Irene.
With an already shortened preseason, Tom Coughlin had to meticulously plan every moment leading up to week one to make sure his team was ready. Now an entire week of full practices has been lost, and there were only two full days of rest between Monday’s game against the Jets and tonight in Foxboro. Normally the starters would get a few series’ playing time to fine-tune the game plan, then give the rest of the guys one more chance to make the team.
So what’s a coach to do? Do you play your starters so that they get the practice in, especially considering they have not performed all that great in the last three games? Or do you not risk the injuries and sit them all? Knowing Tom, it will probably be a combination of the two, with most starters sitting but some getting in some playing time.
But again, it’s not this game that matters, it’s the preparation level for week one against another division rival, the Redskins. Asked if he is worried about the team’s preparation level, he replied:
“Am I concerned about it? Of course,” Coughlin said. “You’re supposed to be in training camp to prepare, and that usually means practice. Just take a look at the practices we won’t have this week. You’re talking about a force of nature. You’re not talking about someone making a decision not to practice. We were all caught short.”
The last full practice was held a week ago today, and the next one is not scheduled until after the weekend, leaving only a few days of solid workouts and fine tuning to prepare for week one, after what was essentially a week off. For some, this may be cause for panic, because you are looking at the possibility of a poor beginning to the season, and when it’s due to forces beyond your control it can get frustrating and put the team in the wrong mindset. Plus the similar circumstances between now and the end of last season will be playing in the players’ minds. But of course, this is the Giants, and they love it when critics attack them. We may see more of that proverbial chip on their shoulders if they don’t play well against the Redskins.