The700Level

The Giants are a bad football team

The Giants are a bad football team

It sounds like Giants coach Ben McAdoo is growing tired of Eli Manning doing Eli Manning things.

Manning’s season is off to a horrendous start, and by extension, the Giants are, too. New York’s record fell to 0-2 on Monday night, as the franchise’s two-time Super Bowl champion quarterback was responsible for blunder after blunder in a 24-10 loss to the Lions.

Manning only threw one interception, but it was so bad, anybody could plainly see it was destined to get picked off the moment the ball left his hand. With 10 minutes remaining and down by 14, Manning decided to look short of the sticks on 4th-and-3, which resulted in a turnover on downs.

But the play that seemed to grate on McAdoo the most after the defeat was a penalty for delay of game in the third quarter. Trailing 17-7 in the third quarter, the Giants lined up to go for it on 4th-and-goal from the 2-yard line. Somehow, Manning didn’t get the snap off in time, New York was penalized five yards, and the team wound up settling for the field goal anyway.

"Sloppy quarterback play," McAdoo said via Jordan Raanan for ESPN.com. "Quarterback and center need to be on the same page there. We need to get the ball snapped."

It’s not very often you hear an NFL coach be so bluntly and specifically critical of one of his players. Then again, most NFL coaches don’t know the joys of coaching Eli Manning, who does this kind of stuff all the time.

"Because we have a veteran quarterback who has played a lot of football and I expect us to get the ball snapped," McAdoo said, explaining why he didn’t call a timeout with the play clock winding.

Translation: That was entirely, 100 percent on Manning.

Granted, Manning isn’t to blame for all of the Giants’ problems. Not unlike the Eagles, the offense can’t/won’t run the football, averaging 3.4 yards on 18 attempts against the Lions. The pass protection isn’t any better, either, allowing Manning to take 5 sacks and 8 quarterback hits – also reminiscent of the Eagles.

Yet, unlike the Eagles, people were strangely afraid of the Giants coming into the 2017 season. A lot of people had this team pegged as a contender for an NFC East championship, and while it’s too early to rule it out, I’ve never quite been sure why.

Manning and the Giants’ offensive struggles date back to last season, as the team hasn’t eclipsed 20 points in its last eight regular and postseason games – since November. The only real upgrade the front office made in the offseason was to sign 33-year-old wide receiver Brandon Marshall.

Sure, New York’s defense is excellent. This isn’t 2007, though. It’s not good enough to overcome this level of offensive ineptitude.

Barring a sudden and dramatic turnaround, the Giants are a bad football team. The offensive line stinks. They have no ground attack to speak of whatsoever. Odell Beckham is the offense’s only viable threat, and he probably isn’t 100 percent. And Eli Manning is as mistake-prone as ever, except he’s 36 years old now and almost certainly is not putting the same mustard on the ball like he used to.

The Eagles host the Giants on a short week this Sunday. Make of that what you will.

Leather Eagles Super Bowl jacket is amazing, crazy expensive

beau-allen-leather.jpg
NFL Shop

Leather Eagles Super Bowl jacket is amazing, crazy expensive

Philadelphia fans aren't the only ones who can't get their fill of Super Bowl Championship memorabilia. The Eagles players want in on the surfeit of champs gear as well.

Take Beau Allen for example. A true man of the people, Allen tweeted his desire for this absolutely beautiful leather jacket commemorating the Eagles victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LII.

Allen tweeted aloud, wondering why the Birds' players hadn't been issued one of these leather jackets yet?

One guess? They retail for a cool $3,000. Totally worth it. 

You can pick one up right here for a low $2,999.99. It's listed as a "Men's NFL Pro Line by Fanatics Branded Black/Green Philadelphia Eagles Super Bowl LII Champions Full-Button Leather Jacket."

You'll be happy to know it's an officially licensed NFL product and is made in the USA. Just like Beau.

Joel Embiid belongs among the very best

Joel Embiid belongs among the very best

You can't really fake it at an All-Star Game, especially one where people are actually trying. There's no lucking your way into a couple open shots and a couple generous foul calls and all of a sudden rolling your way to a 30-plus-point game; there's no isolating one defensive mismatch and exploiting it to make yourself look like '01 Shaq. Generally speaking, an All-Star Game shakes out as it should: The best shine the brightest, and those who aren't ready yet fade into the periphery with extra motivation to step things up for next year. 

And that's why it's so awesome that Joel Embiid, a mere 75 games into his NBA career, unquestionably belonged on the biggest stage with the biggest names last night. Playing for Stephen Curry's squad, JoJo posted 19 points on 8-13 shooting, with eight rebounds and two blocks, and a +5 rating for the night — the only positive plus/minus for the Steph starters. 

Out of context, those numbers may not sound particularly impressive for an All-Star outing, considering the final score of 2017's game was 192-182. But thanks to increased financial and personal motivation in this year's game, the competition was ratcheted up, and though the final score was still a robust 148-145 — Team LeBron emerging victorious — no one player really went off in this one, with Team Stephen being led in scoring by DeMar DeRozan and Damian Lillard (21 each). Consider that JoJo's 19 outpaced both teammates James Harden (12 points on 5-19 FG) and Curry himself (13 on 4-14 FG) — only two of the greatest scorers in NBA history. 

And what's more, down the stretch it was Embiid who seemed most ready to rise to the moment. With minutes remaining and his team up one, Embiid posted up LeBron James — LeBron James!! — for an easy bucket, and with the score tied and under a minute left, he got stuck isolated on the perimeter against Paul George, and still ended up blocking George's shot to win the possession back for his team. Had his squad been able to hang on in this one, he would've been able to mount a fairly compelling case for MVP, which would've made him the first player since at least the 20th century to win top honors in his first All-Star appearance. 

Of course, it didn't happen that way, and Team Stephen coach Mike D'Antoni might get most of the blame as to why. With his squad up one and Team LeBron inbounding out of a timeout, D'Antoni opted for some incomprehensible reason to bench Embiid, his best defensive player — which, somewhat unsurprisingly, resulted in LeBron scoring quickly and easily at the basket to go up one, and then DeMar DeRozan throwing the ball away at the other end. Embiid entered for the final possession, with his team needing a three to tie, and he had a chance to hoist one, but understandably passed to Curry, who drove his way into traffic and ended up not even getting a shot off. Team LeBron won, and James took home his third MVP. 

Frustrating finish, but it can't ruin what came before: Joel Embiid squaring off against the best the NBA has to offer, and proving himself a factor. (Also nailed a three and then blocked a Russell Westbrook drive at the other end, btw, so that beautiful random feud lives on.) He got as good as he gave — LeBron drilled a triple in his face immediately after JoJo took him down low — but he was in the mix, and a crucial part of his team's successes and failures. It should be the first of many such All-Star starring roles for Embiid, and hopefully the last for some time that doesn't also include him being flanked by Process Truster in Arms Ben Simmons. 

But even if it isn't — even if nothing good ever happens again with Joel, and we look back at this All-Star Game 25 years from now as the high point of this career — it still would have all been worth it. It was worth it when the team went 10-5 two Januarys ago. It was maybe worth it when Embiid gave his first-ever post-game interview following a Sixers win. 

That's what people will never understand about The Process, and that's what makes nights like this so gratifying. Franchises go decades, entire generations, without getting a moment to feel this way about one of their players, and even getting the chance to feel it about one of ours is worth seasons of sacrifice. JoJo lives, and somewhere in the bowels of the Staples Center last night, Our Once and Always Dark Lord Sam Hinkie had to be there and be smiling. Hope he enjoyed the Fergie national anthem as much as I did, as well.