Monday, January 09, 2006


Tiki Tosses Tom From The Train?

Well, that didn't take long.

After a regular season where the New York Giants were getting along famously with their tough-as-nails head coach Tom Coughlin -- the source of unconcealed contempt
one year before -- the team is now demonizing his coaching following Sunday's disastrous 23-0 drubbing at the hands of the Carolina Panthers.

Most surprising though is who was doing the leading the condemnation. It wasn't Michael Strahan -- who was one of the early people in Coughlin's doghouse in the previous season. It wasn't even tempermental wide receiver Plaxico Burress -- who didn't catch one ball in the game (and was only thrown to once by quarterback Eli Manning); it wasn't the equally mercurial Jeremy Shockey.

No, it's Tiki Barber -- the last person from whom one would have expected to hear such critical statements. Barber has always been such a "company" guy that it seems so out of character for him to the be the one making the following comments:

"(Carolina head coach John Fox) is a great defensive coordinator and they had a great scheme and a great plan for us and we couldn't adjust to it."

...."They kept the safety down in the box constantly and we weren't able to
exploit it in other ways, getting the ball downfield. I don't think Plaxico had
a catch. That's just a testament to our game plan not being the right one."

...."I just think they had a good scheme. I think in some way we were
outcoached. They had more intensity than we did."

One wonders if his especially close relationship with recently deceased owners Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch affected him some way.

Bottom line though -- and perhaps (as the Daily News' Mike Lupica notes) Barber is ungrateful given that his same offensive coordinator was partly responsible for Barber getting 1800 rushing yards and 2300 all-purpose yards during the regular season -- HE'S RIGHT.

Sure, he only gained 41 yards and Manning stunk up the joint in the second half. But how come there were no reverses using Burress out of the backfield -- just to stop Carolina from stacking up the defensive line to stop Barber? There's no reason the Giants couldn't have done with Plaxico or speed-burner Tim Carter exactly what the Panthers did with Steve Smith. Or, how about some no-huddle offense to throw the defense of its stride? Manning just got totally desperate by the the fourth quarter and was hurling it up for grabs.

Conversely, there is NO excuse for the Giants atrocious defense. All that non-tackling and repeated third-down loss of containtment of DeShaun Foster!?!? Injuries are understandable, but I swear it looked like the Giants had been replaced by the same Kansas City Chiefs defensive squad that gave up 200 yards to Tiki three weeks ago.

A sad ending to what was otherwise a wonderful, surprising, season for Big Blue.

UPDATE: Tom hauls Tiki into 'woodshed' to look at game film! Tiki backtracks on comments! So, even without the Panthers defense around the Giants have managed to fumble and lose yardage! This will be a LONG off-season.

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