Against the grain
Pats may have edge in talent, but Giants have mojo
Posted: Friday February 1, 2008 12:38PM; Updated: Friday February 1, 2008 3:54PM
PHOENIX -- Hi, Z: Just wanted to tell you that your matchup column really provided a tremendous amount of information, and wow, the work that went into it. Thanks for taking such good care of your readers.
Guess who that e-mail is from? You're right. It's from me. The others only whine about how I can give one team the edge and pick the other one to win, how I can praise some linemen and yet award them no all pro acclaim, et cetera.
But that's OK, I'm not motivated by praise, or even the faintest bit of recognition. I don't work my fingers to the bone for a passing mention of "good job." It doesn't bother me, honestly it doesn't. I'll continue to provide you with the kind of stuff you can get nowhere else, and I'll keep a wistful smile on my face.
Did St. Francis beg for praise for rescuing a poor mole or vole or a madison hedgecock? Gracious no. OK, Paul F. old boy, raise the drawbridge and allow the axemen to enter.
"You pick the Giants to win and you award the Patriots an 11-9-5 edge in the matchups. You cannot see the Giants winning. But no, you say, Giants 24, Patriots 20. What gives?" This delightful reminder of man's foibles as well as Aesop's comes from Kevin of Chicago.
It's a very well-taken point, Kevin, may I call you that? Poor old Z finally has heard the creaking staircase of old age. That, plus the hard, relentless Arizona sun have turned his perceptions into ventures into the surreal. I hope this answers your questions. Feel free to write if you find anything else that bothers you.
From Zack of Norwalk (live in Los Angeles) (which, of course, is better than dead in Los Angeles) -- Your high regard of Giants linemen Seubert, Snee and O'Hara is not matched by corresponding regard in my Pro Bowl grades.
First of all, I rate prospective All-Pros not Pro Bowlers, since I don't endorse that popularity contest. Put it this way. If you had a line made up of nothing but guys who rated from eighth to 10th at their position, you'd have a powerhouse. Plus the mesh could be good enough to guarantee a superior unit on the field.
From Jason of Charlotte, N.C. -- Why so many second day draft choices in the Super Bowl? Does Carolina draft well or coach their draftees up to a high level? I'd have to do a statistical breakdown and comparison to see how these rosters compare with those of other Supes. Nothing really freaky jumps out at me, unless it was the security guard at the Giants' hotel. As for the Panthers, I've always felt that John Fox's staff is good in the old teaching department.
John of Melbourne, Fla., wonders why I can't find any shutdown corners anymore. Two reasons: 1) The officiating is so irrational, regarding interference calls, that sooner or later a corner playing a tight bump style is going to get flagged, and 2) The reliance on the Cover Two zone has diminished the need for the kind of guy who could play a tight man coverage all game. We're going to see one coming up for Hall of Fame enshrinement Saturday, Darrell Green of the Redskins, and it will break my heart if he's not a slam dunk first ballot selection. He didn't ignore the short stuff, as Champ Bailey does, or play back and allow completions underneath. Every thrown ball was a challenge to him. Those skills have gone the way of the blacksmith and the knight in armor.
Brian of Richmond challenges me to, "Explain the Randy Moss hatred." If he doesn't get his share of catches because he's double- and triple-teamed, and he has set it up for others, hasn't he performed a valuable service? First things first. My hatred comes from the fact that he plays hard only when it suits him. Great for Patriots fans, ugly for Raiders faithful. Your thesis in Part 2 two would be correct if he had faced a steady diet of double- and triple-teaming, but he didn't. Sometimes it was just one, lonely soul that covered him and covered him well.