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New York Giants season preview: Rise and fall with Eli Manning

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New York Giants season preview: Rise and fall with Eli Manning

Before the Eagles set off on what is sure to be a 100-year-dynasty of NFC East Championships, we’ll take a look at each of their divisional rivals and what they’ve got that could potentially derail the Birds seemingly surefire destiny.

Today we’ll cover the New York Giants, a team that is so smug in its own persona, they must have forgotten they share a stadium in North Jersey with the Jets.

New York Giants

What Happened Last Season: For the first time since 2011, the New York Giants made it to the playoffs, and the entire season felt like some terrible time warp where this maddeningly inconsistent team was gonna find a way to go from the Wild Card to the Super Bowl like an Amish family pulling their cart through a toll via EZ-Pass. Seriously, rooting against the Giants last year was like viewing an early season of "Game of Thrones." No matter how crazy things got, you knew deep down it was a foregone conclusion your favorite characters were going to be violently murdered before your eyes. Oh Oberyn, you were doomed before we met you.

Thankfully, for the first time since Asante Samuel wore midnight green, the Giants lost a playoff game they were supposed to lose, getting absolutely creamed by the Green Bay Packers 31-13. Man, do I love the Green Bay Packers. Reggie White may have been onto something.

The highlight of Big Blue’s season, both on and off the field, was superstar and sticky-glove case study Odell Beckham Jr. OBJ is admittedly awesome at football, but he had a terrible year in PR. It started with a weird thing between him and the kicking net. It ended with an ill-advised boat trip before a playoff game (or as we use to call it in the 2000’s, “a Romo getaway”). 

Overall, it was a strong first season for rookie coach Ben McAdoo. Unfortunately, that strong first season was overshadowed by a disappointing playoff appearance. It was like making great time on a road trip, only to have your car explode when you pulled it into the garage. That’s why John Mara always buys American.

What About The Offseason?

Did the Giants have an offseason? After spending big last summer, the only notable acquisition this year was 33-year-old Brandon Marshall, who could prove the perfect compliment to Beckham, assuming they’re both healthy (and as of this writing, neither of them are). Marshall is replacing Victor Cruz, who, like a fart in the night, was a tremendous annoyance that will quickly be forgotten and likely replaced by something stinkier.

The Giants offseason was most notable for what they didn’t do; sign Colin Kaepernick. Owner John Mara, who inherited all his money, said it was because fans wrote him a bunch of letters, so I guess it’s our fault for not putting pen to paper when the G-Men decided to keep domestic abuser Josh Brown on the roster a year ago. Seriously, a kicker!? You stick your team’s reputation on the line for a stinkin’ kicker? Even Howie Roseman’s thinking ‘Jeez dude, that’s a bad look.’

Mara is nearly as hypocritical as the New York media, which roasts Beckham for his little boat trip but pulls its punches against Eli, who may-or-may-not have been the center of a Super Bowl memorabilia fraud case. It doesn’t take a masters class in civil justice to figure out what’s going on here, in either case.

What’ll Happen This Season (Best Case Scenario): Landon Collins becomes the Defensive Player of the Year, and the addition of Marshall helps the 36-year-old Lesser-Manning take a step forward in the McAdoo Offensive… which, as far as I can tell, consists solely of “Beckham runs as far as he can and Eli tries to overthrow him.” Brilliant stuff, Ben. I can’t wait till the 30-for-30 comes out. The Giants offensive gameplan typically has the creativity of a response from Siri.

What’ll Happen This Season (Worst Case Scenario): Eli has one-too-many of his patented half-dozen turnover performances, Beckham acts in a fashion that has the MSM label him a “distraction,” and the entire season goes down the tubes, putting McAdoo on the hot seat and Eli Retirement Threat Levels at MAGENTA. Worth noting; the Giants spent a third round pick on a quarterback this April, which is about as passive-aggressive as things get in this business. Somewhere in Arizona, Donovan McNabb is mumbling “Kevin Kolb” over and over again as he waits for his Uber. Eli will know his pain.

Conclusion: Ever since Jerome McDougle took eight years off his life in his first professional game, Eli Manning has been equally capable of single-handedly beating the most impressive of opponents… or losing to a squad with the talent level of a decapitated weasel. You do not get to play against Eli Manning. Only Eli Manning plays against Eli Manning. No stat line of his will ever surprise me, and expecting any of that to change in his 14th professional season is as probable as John Mara showing up to Week 1 in a “Black Lives Matter” hoodie.

The Giants will be as good as Eli allows them. They’ll be good enough to beat anybody, but probably won’t.

Previously:

Washington Redskins preview: Dan Snyder's undrainable swamp

Dallas Cowboys preview: some new faces, same choking hazards

 

 

 

Fan recreates Eagles Super Bowl ring out of sand

Fan recreates Eagles Super Bowl ring out of sand

Here’s another story brought to you by the fact that the Eagles are Super Bowl champions.

Remember that gorgeous ring the team received last week? Well, someone made a replica completely out of sand.

That’s pretty impressive work and it’s awesome to see that Stefen Wisniewski is so proud of his ring that he’s wearing it to the beach. His former teammate and "Philly Special" QB, Trey Burton, is questioning that decision, though.

After the ring ceremony, Wisniewski posted this to his Twitter account, a heartfelt story about what the ring means to him.

The guys on the Eagles just get it. Throughout this journey that brought Philadelphia its first Super Bowl trophy, the players have put the fans first and taken everyone along for this incredible ride. It’s awesome to see a story like this where a Super Bowl champion is so proud to share his new ring with a fan.

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Eagles' trading Ronald Darby seems unlikely

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Eagles' trading Ronald Darby seems unlikely

The Eagles paid a reasonably high price to acquire Ronald Darby last August, sending a third-round draft choice and Jordan Matthews to the Bills in exchange for the cornerback.

So why is it all offseason there were rumors the Eagles might turn around and flip Darby? And why is it, even as training camp approaches those rumblings persist?

Darby is the Eagles’ most accomplished cornerback in many respects. Despite missing eight games last season, his three interceptions were tied for the most among the team’s returning players, while only Malcolm Jenkins received a higher grade from Pro Football Focus in the secondary. In terms of pedigree, Darby is a second-round talent with sub-4.4 speed and a nose for the football – the kind of game-changing ability you can’t teach – and, except for Jalen Mills, he’s the only proven corner on the roster.

Yet, the feeling Darby is on the trade block has been hard to shake. After months of speculation, but little concrete evidence to back it up, perhaps it’s worth exploring the legitimacy of the idea.

The rumor appears to have originated from an appearance by ESPN’s Chris Mortensen on 97.5 The Fanatic on March 6. At the time, Mortensen said he would be surprised if the Eagles didn’t add a third-round pick in April’s draft, and believed they would move a defensive back to pick up the extra selection.

Though Mortensen never singled out Darby by name, he was the logical choice. The 24-year-old’s contract is scheduled to expire at the end of the 2018 season, and given the Eagles’ salary cap restraints and depth at cornerback, re-signing him long-term might prove challenging.

There’s been a lot of noise about the possibility of trading Darby ever since, but no strong or definitive report indicating the Eagles ever attempted to do so.

If the Eagles were to deal a corner, Darby does make the most sense. Mills is under contract through 2019, Sidney Jones and Rasul Douglas through 2020, and recent fourth-round pick Avonte Maddox through 2021. DeVante Bausby has also emerged as a rising prospect under contract for the foreseeable future.

Then again, if the Eagles are serious about repeating as Super Bowl champions, there’s no reason they should be aggressive in trying to dump Darby. A strong argument can be made he’s their best cover man, and set to play the ’18 season for a cool $1 million.

Who’s to say the Eagles wouldn’t make a concerted effort to sign Darby long-term after this season, either? Cornerback is clearly a position the team values. Mills has his limitations – not to mention his contract comes up soon – while Jones, Douglas and Maddox are all relative unknowns at this point. By the end of the ’18 campaign, Darby might be the only certainty of the bunch.

Right now in particular, remove Darby from the equation, and almost everybody else is nothing more than a projection. It’s difficult to imagine the Eagles taking such a huge gamble when there’s still so much at stake this season.

More on the Eagles