Gi­ants’ age-old prob­lem: Pro­tect­ing Eli, NFL’s new one: Pro­tect­ing ev­ery­one

New York Daily News - - SPORTS - Man­ning, LeBron Eli Ezekiel El­liott Joe Gi­rardi Matthew Fut­ter­man’s Al­bom Christo­pher. Mitch

It seems some­times that we have been talk­ing about the Gi­ants’ of­fen­sive line, and its need to do a bet­ter job pro­tect­ing

since the last time the Gi­ants won the Su­per Bowl.

But a fair ques­tion to ask is why any­body would think that any­thing was go­ing to dra­mat­i­cally change this sea­son with ba­si­cally the same cast of char­ac­ters?

Of course the Gi­ants aren’t as bad as they looked against the Cow­boys, es­pe­cially with­out No. 13.

Some­times you think he’s as im­por­tant to Big Blue as his buddy is to the Cavs.

No one knows what is go­ing to hap­pen in the NFC East the rest of the way be­cause no one is still quite sure whether is go­ing to end up do­ing six games of time or not, a big deal be­cause El­liott is one of the hand­ful of most valu­able play­ers in the en­tire sport.

But af­ter watch­ing the first game, you sort of come away with two big ques­tions, both of which may get an­swered on Mon­day night against the Li­ons:

One, who’s go­ing to run the ball this sea­son?

Two, are you start­ing to think that Ben McA­doo’s of­fense and Eli’s skillset might not be a match made in heaven?

of the beau­ties of the 16-game sea­son in pro foot­ball, in­ci­den­tally, is how big the se­cond game be­comes if you lose the first one. By the time the Yan­kees get to the play­offs,

will be go­ing to his bullpen if there’s trou­ble in the fourth.

most chill­ing para­graph you will read this week­end is high up in

fine piece about these new foot­ball hel­mets made by a Seat­tle-based com­pany called Vi­cis, a hel­met some NFL play­ers are wear­ing al­ready. This is what Fut­ter­man writes: “Ex­ec­u­tives and play­ers say NFL locker rooms are largely pop­u­lated by men who be­lieve long-term brain dam­age is some­thing that will hap­pen to some­one else and who fear the con­se­quences in any dip in per­for­mance due to an equip­ment switch.”

My new novel for young read­ers, “Lone Stars,” hap­pens to deal with youth foot­ball and what it is like for par­ents and play­ers to live in the world of what I call the “new in­for­ma­tion” about con­cus­sions and the long-term ef­fects of head in­juries in foot­ball.

The old coach in the book, a for­mer NFL player, is show­ing the first signs mem­ory loss and con­fu­sion, af­ter a ca­reer in the old days of stick­ing his head in there, be­cause that’s what tough guys were taught and told to do.

Well, Matt Fut­ter­man’s piece about hel­mets is more new in­for­ma­tion, and worth read­ing, ab­so­lutely.

It is part of as im­por­tant a sports con­ver­sa­tion as we can have these days. I’m hope­ful that the Fal­cons aren’t go­ing to go through the Pack­ers’ de­fense on Sun­day night, in a re­match of the last NFC Cham­pi­onship Game, like they’re play­ing against a flag-foot­ball team. Fi­nally to­day: Happy Birth­day to our old­est child, You al­ways hear about how fast they grow up.

But, man oh man, they grow up great, too, the way this young man has.

I told him the other day: He knows who he is. The world con­tin­ues to find out.

“The Sports Re­porters” is now back in busi­ness as a twice-a-week pod­cast, with

and me and a lot of the old gang. Just go to the pod­cast sec­tion of Ap­ple Pod­casts and search for “The Sports Re­porters” to subscribe. We do new ones ev­ery Fri­day and Mon­day. Same con­ver­sa­tion as al­ways, new for­mat.

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