Back on Its Axis

I woke up yesterday morning determined to post my approval of the way Jim Caldwell handled the week.

I did it because I didn’t want to be accused of backtracking on Caldwell just because the team won.  The truth is that my questions of Caldwell’s handling of the team were fair, but the jury was clearly still out.  Last week, I wrote:

Ultimately, I’m still withholding judgement.  No, I don’t agree with Caldwell’s calls, but they were defensible (some of them).  I don’t know that Christensen and Coyer are incapable of adjusting on the fly.  I don’t know that the defense quit in the second half.  I don’t know that players were put in positions for which they were not adequately prepared.  After all, the team didn’t really play any worse than they did against Jacksonville to open the season last year.  Today, they just happened to play a good team.

One game is not indicative of anything.

All week, you could feel tonight coming.  The tape was not as gruesome as I feared.  Caldwell was emphasizing the same things we saw on the tape.  The mood around the team was exactly the right kind of defiant, down to Brackett’s brilliant quote.  I’m resigned to the fact that Jim Caldwell and I will never see eye to eye on fourth downs, but I needed to know that he had a firm grasp on this team.  Whatever buttons he pushed, were clearly the right ones, and it was obvious all week.

In light of that, there was nothing surprising about the results from tonight’s game. Even the Giants fans’ saw this coming.

Here are my thoughts, and as always, no opinion is final until I watch the tape.

Highlights:

  • The offensive line, particularly Richard played much better.  Pollak continues to show that he did in fact earn the guard job, showing why it’s stupid to call any player a bust before year three. Saturday played far better as well.
  • 98 and 93.  As good as advertised.
  • Peyton Manning was surgical.  It would be nearly impossible to play better in the first two weeks than he has.
  • Brown and Addai ran hard.  Brown made a nice block in the passing game.
  • Wayne is playing angry.  Can you tell?  He had a weird postgame aside to Dave Calabro about Manning.  I don’t think he’s happy right now, and he’s taking it out on the field.  It’s hard not to like him.
  • Bethea and Powers.
  • You knew the D had it figured out when they didn’t over-pursue the end around early in the game.  Everyone stayed home and did their job.
  • The TD pass to Clark was epic.
  • McAfee’s kickoffs
  • What does it say about me that Brady’s sack/fumble in the Jets game was about as happy as I can get watching football?
  • The coaching.  Strategy is part of coaching, but so is game planning and motivation.  Who could possibly complain tonight?
  • The schedule is about to get a lot easier.

Lowlights:

  • Charlie Johnson had some rough moments.
  • Cris Collinsworth has improved in general, but both guys in the booth were a total mess tonight.
  • Lacey got beat deep.
  • Houston is very much for real.  Actually, this might be the only thing on this list that matters.  That touchdown to Johnson to tie the game was sick.  FO worries about their health.  We’ll see.  Pittsburgh has to scare the wits out of us as well.
  • Pierre Garcon had one catch and one penalty.  I don’t know how much Peyton trusts him. I know I don’t.
  • Jerry Hughes was inactive again.  Disappointing to say the least.
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