Why risk it? That is what I would think If I were Coach Coughlin. So the guy started 82 straight games. It’s not like he has Brett Farve’s ego. New York is 4-0, and can’t afford to loose Eli now that he’s probably playing his best football, at least since the championship run, to date.
In case anyone hasn’t noticed, the Giants play Oakland this weekend. They have been one of the worst teams in the NFL since they lost to Tampa Bay in Super Bowl XXXVII. In the official media speak coming out of Giants land, Eli is “questionable” for Sunday’s contest. “A Game time decision, if the medical staff think he can play he will play,” said Coughlin on Friday. The coach also said he was “encouraged” by the way manning looked in practiced. But there are other considerations. This would be the one regular season opportunity to let David Carr show how much he has learned from “real” NFL offensive coaches, and having the benefit of playing behind a real NFL offensive line. It would also be a good time to get rookie Rhett Bomar into the game if the Giants are at least two scores ahead in the fourth quarter.
It’s true that Raiders quarterback JaMarcus Russell is making progress towards being the quarterback everyone expected him to be coming out of the NFL Draft From LSU in 2007. It’s also true that the Raiders are actually trying to build a team around him. What we have yet to see is Oakland put it all together in one game this season. If the Giants come into this game thinking that Oakland is an easy win, if they play as unfocused, with as many miscues as they did last week at times against Kansas City, then this could become the mother of all trap games for New York. A real nightmare of the kind you would have the night before you proposed marriage to your girlfriend. (What if she says no?)
The Raiders are a team in turmoil, as most people would expect of any recent Al Davis led effort. Head coach Tom Cable is facing arrest for punching out one of his assistant coaches, and the team isn’t sure who would take over in that event. I know I’m going to be on the Flatbush Avenue hit list here (the street in Brooklyn NY where Davis is from), but it’s really time for Mr. Davis to go play some shuffle board at the retirement home, and leave the day to day operations of the franchise to his children and whomever they hire to run things. I’d be glad to serve on a search team to find a real “football man,” a manager to run things. I’m not the first person who feels that way either. At least one person I know very well is still the object of harassment by Raiders’ front office personnel to this day.
Football, like soldiering, Is a young man’s game or at least for the young of heart and mind. You can’t tell me at 83 that Davis isn’t driving himself into the ground watching 4-5 hours of tape a day, as some report he still does. Yes, even as far back as 15 years ago he was still one of the sharpest minds in all of pro sports, not just football, but everyone looses the edge with age. Even though the Raiders won’t regain theirs until some changes are made, a dull knife can still kill someone.