Oct 30, 2005, 1:49 PM EDT
Among the push back received here in response to the (Truly) Bold Prediction piece forecasting an easy Redskin win was, not so fast, the Giants “create a lot of turnovers”. On the face of it, that’s true. They lead the NFC with 19 takeaways, getting nine interceptions and 10 fumbles. Let’s take a closer look, however, and see just how significant these numbers are.
Of the nine interceptions the Giants have, six have come off of the arms of Aaron Brooks and Mark Bulger (three each). Among qualifying passers in the NFL Brooks is 30th in the NFL with nine picks thrown on the season, Bulger is 25th with eight. To be sure, their performances against the Giants did contribute to their high numbers of interceptions, but the Giants have been far from along in receiving the largesse of Mr. Bulger and Mr. Brooks.
Their other three interceptions came off of Kurt Warner, Josh McCown, and Drew Bledsoe. Warner is not among the qualifiers as he has been out hurt much of the year. McCown and Bledsoe has each thrown six INT’s on the year. Those are not turnover ATM performances like Brooks and Bulger have put on, but 14 qualifying QB’s have thrown fewer.
One of those is Mark Brunell, who has a total of two interceptions this year, none in the past three games. If the Giants are hoping to make a living off of interceptions, they should reconsider their plans.
Of the 10 fumbles they have recovered, half came against New Orleans (3) and St. Louis (2). They rank 1-2 in number of lost fumbles in the NFC on the season.
To the Giants’ credit, three more of their recoveries of opponents’ fumbles came against Dallas and that’s pretty impressive since that represents half of the Cowboys’ total of lost fumbles for the season.
Washington has coughed it up seven times this year, putting them about in the middle of the NFC pack when it comes to fumbles lost.
Certainly, you always have to protect that ball when it’s in your arms, but that will be doubly important this week. It will be extremely difficult for the Giants to stay close to the Redskins if Washington doesn’t put the ball on the ground.
For a number of years, my impression of this guy was that he was not the core Redskin type, certainly not as would be defined by Joe Gibbs. It started when he bolted for Cleveland after the Redskins gave him a shot after went to Walla Walla Community College and then the Canadian Football League. He then proceeded to badmouth the organization and get busted for cocaine possession. That cost him his job with the Browns, even though the charges were later dropped. I was much less than thrilled when the Redskins brought him back prior to the 2004 season and my lack of enthusiasm seemed justified as he drew a number of personal foul penalties. One of my first thoughts going into the offseason was that they’ve got to get rid of this thug.
Then along comes the ’05 season and all of a sudden the guy is catching touchdown passes and hasn’t even so much as glared at an opponent after the whistle. After last week’s game I went and talked to him in the locker room and he’s a sharp, engaging guy. And the I hear Gibbs talking about him saying that when the team needed someone to play running back in practice last week, Sellers jumped right in there and did the chore with great enthusiasm.
Then it occurred to me. Whether it’s Mark Brunell at the glamour position or Mike Sellers as a special teams/blocking grunt, we should just believe—make that just know—that Joe Gibbs knows who should be on this team and who should be playing much better than any of us do. (image placeholder)(image placeholder)