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Special Report

Sent: 09-15-2023

E-GIANTS
Dave Klein was the Giants" beat writer for The Star-Ledger from 1961 to 1995.
He is the author of 26 books and he was one of only three sportswriters to have covered all the Super Bowls up until last year. Dave has allowed TEAM GIANTS to reprint some of his articles.

OFFENSE, DEFENSE MUST PLAY BETTER AGAINST ARIZONA

By Dave Klein
All right, the Giants lost 40-love in their opener last Sunday night.

Get over it. Now they get to play one of the weaker teams in the NFL (yeah, probably weaker than they are) when they take the road against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday.

But there is this ominous word of warning - they plan to bring the same offensive line with them; you know, the one that gave up seven sacks and a total of 12 quarterback hits.

And furthermore, the best of those linemen, left tackle Andrew Thomas, is listed as Questionable with a strained hamstring.

He did practice yesterday, although in a limited form, and head coach Brian Daboll is cautiously optimistic (don't you love that phrase?) that he'll get to play. But he isn't promising it.

"I want to give it all the way up to the time when we have to decide," he said. "I have discussions any time a player is injured. Obviously, I refer to the medical staff. I trust those guys implicitly. But I also talk to the player to see where he's at, and you always want to do right by the player.

"So if he's ready to play, he'll play. And if he's not, he won't. He wants to go out there and practice and do things. It's a conversation I have with [head athletic trainer] Ronnie [Barnes] and his staff. Then with Andrew and then what he shows he can do during practice."

So if the coaches decide it isn't wise to risk a Pro Bowl left tackle in the second game of the season, how would the offensive line shape up Sunday?

Well, the right tackle will still be Evan Neal, and he didn't exactly garner any All-Pro votes last Sunday against Dallas. The guards would still be Ben Bredeson and Mark Glowinski. Ditto. And the center is still rookie Joseph Michael Schmitz.

Considering that the Dallas pass rush is outstanding and the Cardinals' pass rush, well, is not, there seems a chance that this unit can do better Sunday night.

But wait. There is still the matter of who replaces Thomas if indeed he is ruled not ready for prime time playing. The choices? Matt Peart, Joshua Ezeudu and Marcus McKethan. How did we get into this situation anyway? Yeah, that's quarterback Daniel Jones over there in the corner, praying for Thomas to heal fast.

There are two others who earned the label Doubtful for Sunday's game, outside linebacker Azeez Ojulari (hamstring) and wide receiver Wan'Dale Robinson (knee), while tight end Darren Walker did not practice because he was given a "veteran's day off" which does not mean he's injured.

EXTRA POINTS - The Giants are now 4-point favorites in Arizona, and one on-line website gives them a 68 percent chance of winning. ... Perhaps those gentlemen didn't catch Sunday night's massacre. ... The Giants are 23-9 against the Cardinals since the franchise was moved to Arizona.

The Cardinals, a team many believe is "tanking" this season to secure the top draft pick next spring (isn't that illegal?) have been without their starting quarterback, Kyler Murray. In his place is Josh Dobbs, who has been with six teams in the last seven seasons, a 6-2, 220-pound product of Tennessee who was acquired by Arizona last month.

And how would that look, losing to an undrafted free agent quarterback? It is clearly time for the Wink Martindale defense to, well, play a little more defense.

The Giants will not be flying home after the game; rather, they'll wing it to San Francisco and stay there until their game against the far more powerful 49ers the following Thursday night.

Ready for a probably unwise prediction? Giants 33-Cardinals 13.

davesklein@aol.com

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