Tag Archives: plaxico burress

Taking stock of a herky-jerky, in-between-hop kind of week

It’s been a weird week here at the friendly confines of this is the city line., and I’m honestly not real sure what it all means.

I started out by trying to shake off illness with drugs and Welsh rock music, then got the surprise blessing of basketblog raconteur Tom Ziller selecting my dumb variant on a pretty common joke for inclusion in Monday’s NBA Essentials link roundup over at FanHouse.  Then the worksplosion started, which sidetracked me pretty significantly, pushing me into throwing up a placeholder post that actually generated a little bit of interest (at least among my friends).

Once safely past Tuesday, I learned that Dominant Team Pringles sucked it up against the Warriors, a team they’re theoretically better than (by the way, my Doomsday prediction of a winless February — click STOP after the link opens to read mine prophecy — remains intact), got sick wistful on the Eddy Curry tip and came late to the Deadbeat Plax party with a Wimpy GIMPoshop.  Then I decided I was going to get drunk while watching a shitload of sports on Wednesday night to get some blog fodder and scrub the detritus from my already-off week.

Except I didn’t.  I wound up watching a bunch of Eugene Mirman videos while drinking/unwinding from work, then going to a good sports bar/bad restaurant, drinking a couple more beers while watching the first half of Celtics/Hornets, during which I took the following notes:

  • Hilton Armstrong looks like he could be Ron Artest’s son;
  • Kendrick Perkins needs to read goathair‘s hook shot post, because his form is often abysmal;
  • Two fouls on Chris Paul four minutes into the game at home = shocking and not good for N.O.;
  • Much like former Providence College scrub Leland Anderson, who my friend Chris and I nicknamed “Trainwreck” for his ball-handling “skills” (and who is apparently an aspiring professional wrestler), Hilton Armstrong should never be allowed to trigger the offense from the high post, ever, under any circumstances.  This is why Chris Paul getting two fouls four minutes into the game is bad; it allows Hilton Armstrong to be in a position to make decisions, which will result in him throwing the ball out of bounds at roughly 201 miles per hour;
  • David West = David Banner? I couldn’t figure out who the Hornets’ power forward looks like, so I threw down a name with a question mark.  My memory was wrong; see here and here for proof.  But still, I’m vexed that I know David West looks like someone, yet I can’t figure out who.  I’ve Googled it, but can’t find a consensus; DimeMag.com commenter “LakeShow84” says he “looks like Columbus Short from Stomp The Yard,” which is false. Another commenter at DimeMag.com, which is apparently the home of  people who want to figure out who David West looks like (a.k.a. my new homepage 4 life), says he “looks like the persian general who gets his head cut off by the fat guy with knifes on his arms in the movie 300,” which may be true, but I’ve never seen 300, so that can’t be who I think he is.  And some commenter on http://www.moviesnaps-tv.net (which totally doesn’t sound like a real thing, which is why I’m not trying to link there) suggests that he looks like Master P, which, again, is false.  Any help in resolving this conundrum would be greatly appreciated.
  • Lando = Doom? The U.S. v. Mexico World Cup qualifier was on, and I kept thinking that Landon Donovan looks like Julian McMahon, the guy that played Dr. Doom in the Fantastic Four movies.  This may not be true, but it also may not be false.  I award me one point.
  • Marks = BSkts? This, of course, is Sean Marks = Big Skeets.  I think I win this.
  • Paul Pierce is electric early (he wound up being that good throughout, scoring 30 on 19 shots in an 89-77 Celtics win);
  • Rajon Rondo giving up his dribble while being guarded by Big Skeets at the three-point line so he can get Ray Allen a contested 21-footer = NO;
  • Big Skeets getting alley-oops will always surprise me;
  • Which is worse: Rondo’s Rondo-fake into a stepback J/airball or anything Anderson Varejao on offense?

And that’s it.  My fiancee met me out at the bar, we had a drink, I suddenly got very tired, she ordered loaded nachos to go, we went home.  I worked from home yesterday and decided not to write anything; I’m working on a few things now, but nothing’s ready, and I kind of more wanted to use this morning to try to work through why I felt so disconnected from the Internet/had so much trouble getting my head on straight to post over the past few days.

I think I felt weird inside my own skin because my immediate reaction to not getting something substantial up on Tuesday was, “Fuck, I didn’t capitalize on whatever look-in audience might have come from FanHouse.”  Which was weird, because it was the second time in less than a week that I’d had a thought like that (check out the second-to-last paragraph in last week’s “Week in Review” post).  My follow-up in the internal dialogue was, “What the fuck do you care?  You’re just doing this thing for fun, right?”  And the inevitable answer was,  “Because I want to get more readers,” and the inevitable corollary to that is “Because I want this thing to get big,” and that’s when I started to get a little sick inside.

Doing this thing has been remarkably fun and rewarding, and I don’t want to psych myself out of doing it by thinking about it like a small business that’s competing in some kind of depressed sports-joke economy.  The only thing that’ll do is shut this shitshow down on the quick and drive me nuts.  So let’s take this back a step:

Hey there.  I’m Devine.  This is a place where I write dumb shit.  Thanks for reading.  Here’s an unintentionally funny photograph of Jorge Garbajosa and Andrea Bargnani trying to look tough in front of what appears to be a junior prom backdrop. I might write some stuff this weekend; I will definitely write something on Monday.  One post a day, every week day, to distract me and you from our jobs.  Sound fair to you?

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Plax will gladly pay you never for a hamburger today

EDITOR’S NOTE: Well aware that this is ancient at this point — I’d started work on it when it was still somewhat relevant, then got shut down by work, and all of a sudden it was a full two days after the news cycle had stopped giving a shit and I still felt partial to the image. Your indulgence is appreciated.

wimplax

Shocking news out of New York on Monday: Someone found engaging in a business relationship with embulleted New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress to be “an ordeal.”  Well, knock me over with an obviousness!

Frankly, it surprises me far more that the AP did this much digging on Plax’s background than it does that he’s forgotten, neglected or flat-out declined to fulfill his legal, financial or adult responsibilities on at least nine occasions over the past nine years.  I had pretty much accepted as a given that, with the exception of those periods of motivation during which he could elevate his athletic gifts to a level matched by very few of his peers, he was pretty much a focusless fuckup more suited to a supporting role in How High? or a Waldo Faldo-heavy episode of Family Matters than to matters of, y’know, any sort of relevance.  That anyone else hadn’t is something of a shock to me.

Also, did you know that Wimpy’s full name is J. Wellington Wimpy?  Because that fucking blew my mind.

Adieu, 2008 New York Giants (or, Perspective: My Anti-Drug)

As a lifelong Giants fan, I’m not trying to say that this doesn’t suck; it certainly does.  (For a finely nuanced breakdown of how much it sucks, check out the estimable Big Blue 101’s take immediately following the game.)  But today, in the brisk air and all-restoring light of a January morning, I’m suggesting that my fellow Giants fans focus not on this:

Eli gets double-stuffed LIKE HIS RACING LEAGUE ROFLJEOMK (AP photo/Julie Jacobson)

Or on this:

(AP photo/Bill Kostroun)

REEEEEEACH (AP photo/Bill Kostroun)

Or even, douchetastic as it may have seemed, on this:

(AP photo/Bill Kostroun)

Actually funny, but I have to be mad by law. (AP photo/Bill Kostroun)

Instead, I’m suggesting that we spend today remembering this:

Tucks pick-six against the Rams. (Getty Images photo)

Tuck's pick-six against the Rams. (Getty Images photo)

And this:

Jacobs jumps toward the end zone in the Plax-week win against the Redskins in D.C. (AP photo/Nick Wass)

Jacobs jumps toward the end zone in the Plax-week win against the Redskins in D.C. (AP photo/Nick Wass)

And this:

Boss snags a TD against the title-game-bound Cardinals. (Reuters photo)

Boss snagging a TD against the Cardinals. (Reuters photo)

And, of course, most importantly, this:

This happened less than a year ago.

This happened less than a year ago. Think back on that.

Call me an apologist, an optimist, a fool, whatever, but I refuse to call this year’s incarnation of the Giants a disappointment.  While I’m obviously displeased with yesterday’s result, I can’t help but view this season as a net positive.

Despite losing their longtime leader (Michael Strahan) to retirement, their best defensive player (Osi Umenyiora) to injury before the start of the regular season and their most talented offensive player (duh) to an inexcusably poor decision (sweatpants in a club? f’real? oh, and the gun), the Giants won 12 games and a division title.  Not only that, but they did it in enjoyable fashion, slamming the ball down opponents’ throats with a vicious running game keyed by two 1,000-yard rushers (Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward) and a mauling offensive line.  Furthermore, they did it by playing careful football, limiting turnovers (just 13, tied with Miami for fewest in the league) and featuring a defense that was not only aggressive (42 sacks, third in the NFC) but also more opportunistic (17 picks, fourth-best in the NFC, and a +9 turnover differential, tops in the conference) than the Meadowlands had seen in recent years.

We saw the birth of stars on both sides of the ball with the emergence of Jacobs and Justin Tuck.  Despite the bad taste he left in our mouths with his outing yesterday, we saw our much-maligned quarterback take another step forward, carrying his steady performance from last year’s playoffs into the season and playing (for most of the year, at least) the quarterback position as well as it’s been played here since Phil Simms left.  (Granted, that says more about the state of the Giants’ QB position over the past two decades than about Eli’s aptitude, but still.)

We watched the continued development of a potentially fantastic young secondary, with Corey Webster and Aaron Ross proving to be legitimate starters at cornerback and the often promising troika of Michael Johnson, James Butler and Kenny Phillips at safety.  We saw underrated defensive tackles Fred Robbins and Barry Cofield get richly deserved recognition for their contributions (particularly Robbins, who leaped out of the gate before being slowed by injuries, and whose absence was sorely felt during the Giants’ late-season troubles).

And it all came the year after they made one of the most improbable championship runs in modern NFL history.  As I reminded folks following my live-tweet of the game on Twitter yesterday: “Remember that our boys won the whole fucking thing last year, then take a deep breath.” To have asked for any more would have been greedy.

That said: While Giants fans have a lot to feel good about (whether or not they can feel it just yet), there are major questions going forward.  Namely:

  • Whither Steve Spagnuolo? The Giants’ sterling defensive coordinator is again among the most sought-after options for teams looking to fill head coaching vacancies, and with New York out of the playoffs, GMs/presidents can now put on the full-court press to land him.  Defensive players rave about playing for him, and his pressure schemes have restored a swagger to the unit that has been largely responsible for the team’s resurgence over the past two seasons.  If he gets hit with the right offer, he’s gotta follow the John Fox path and skate; the question then becomes who gets the keys to the D, and can they keep it performing at the same high level that Spags did?
  • How does GM Jerry Reese resolve the contract situation at running back? Both Jacobs and Ward are up for free agency, and third-stringer Ahmad Bradshaw strict-up admitted that he wouldn’t be unhappy if neither came back next year. (Yes, he did so during a jokey FOX “interview” with Strahan, but dude definitely looked to be kidding on the square.)
  • What does the team do about Harris Smith, everyone’s favorite gunman on the fleecy knoll? He’s worn out his welcome like an acrid-farting mother-in-law, but the lack of respect that opposing defenses showed for the Giants’ suddenly pedestrian receiving corps in his absence hasn’t gone unnoticed.  Whether or not Reese and co. decide to bring him back, it’s apparent that the offense flourished when Manning had a big-play threat split wide that could beat tight coverage, made defenses pay for choosing to stack the box against the run and forced coordinators to commit additional resources to the passing game.  If Plax ain’t that anymore, then a reasonable facismile needs to be found in trade or free agency, because it’s not likely that the Giants are going to find that guy in the draft.
  • Can you count on Osi? Despite racking up 42 sacks on the season, the squad was often unable to get QB pressure at critical junctures.  O-lines focused on limiting Tuck and dared the remaining linemen to hit the quarterback; on days like yesterday, they too often couldn’t, allowing QBs to keep plays alive and stretch the young secondary past its breaking point, or leading Spagnuolo to bring heat from the back seven, creating dangerous one-on-one matchups in the passing game.  On the one hand, plugging an All-Pro defensive end like Umenyiora back into the starting lineup seems like the cure for what ailed the D-line; on the other, dude’s coming off a torn lateral meniscus, so there’s no guarantee he’ll be as explosive or effective.
  • Will they find a legit home run threat in the return game? With the exception of Bradshaw’s game-opening 65-yard burst yesterday, the Giants got virtually nothing out of their kick returners after the Plaxident bumped Domenik Hixon’s name up the WR depth chart and off of special teams.  The ability to change field position and put pressure on opposing coverage units can help non-explosive offensive teams step on the throats of opponents while taking some of the big-play onus off of the passing game, which might be just what the doctor ordered if Reese can’t find Plax’s replacement.

There are more issues to address — the need for an infusion of speed at linebacker, for one — but to continue would be to belabor a point that’s best made another day.  Last night was the Irish wake for the Giants’ 2008 season (I know I sure as shit drank); today’s the memorial service, where we mourn the passing of a good, solid and likable (for the fans, at least) team.  The destination definitely sucked, but I enjoyed the road trip to get there.  And today, that’s worth remembering.