So many people out there are shocked, saddened, disappointed that we have lost Wilson, Mitchell and Torbor on the first day. And the same crowd gets a little ornery when they hear that the Giants have contacted the agents for free agent safeties Eugene Wilson, Erik Coleman and Sammy Knight... guys who are 'also rans.' But this is how Reese got it done last year, and all things considered he was more likely than not going to be passive again. Winning the Super Bowl with 'passive' was not going to turn him into Dan Snyder.
One thing Reese better wake up to fast is the price of EVERYTHING just went up. The fact that he scored on the Tuck contract better not keep him from recalibrating his compass. Umenyiora? Burress? Strahan? Poker just got expensive. It is one thing to lose out to the Raiders on Wilson. He is a good safety. Not a great defensive end. Not a great Wide Receiver. So today was hors d'oeuvres. The main battle is not even here yet. Plaxico, Osi and Stray are yelling "SHOW ME THE MONEY!" I hope Reese is listening.
Friday, February 29, 2008
So many people out there are shocked, saddened, disappointed that we have lost Wilson, Mitchell and Torbor on the first day. And the same crowd gets a little ornery when they hear that the Giants have contacted the agents for free agent safeties Eugene Wilson, Erik Coleman and Sammy Knight... guys who are 'also rans.' But this is how Reese got it done last year, and all things considered he was more likely than not going to be passive again. Winning the Super Bowl with 'passive' was not going to turn him into Dan Snyder.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Short version: we are not going to re-sign Gibril Wilson.
The explanation: Fact #4 below-Chicago Bears General Manager Jerry Angelo called the class of safeties in the draft "anemic." Fact #1-With Wilson entering free agency, Dahl cut, and Butler (too slow) a liability, one would think the Giants would desperately need to hold onto the services of Wilson. But not when the price elevates. When was the last time you saw the Giants "pay up" for anything?
More than a few people still hold out hope that Gibril Wilson can somehow sign with the Giants in an 11th hour move (i.e. like O'Hara last year) if the Giants would come close to the kind of numbers he would get as a free agent. Fact #2- The talk out of the combine had more than a few (3, to be exact) unnamed teams interested in Wilson beyond the rumored teams of the Broncos and Eagles. Hmmm, let's get this straight:
1) your own team wants you back
2) as many as FIVE other teams are interested in you once you hit free agency
3) you are considered the best safety out there in this crop of free agents
4) there is a dearth of skill coming through at the Draft in April
5) the ever-expanding salary cap has plenty of teams with plenty of money to spend
If I was Wilson's agent, I would be telling him to go to free agency too. He is making the right move. The Giants organization does not chase players, and this is a chase all right. Wilson got his ring, and we return to the scene of the George B. Young crime: it is all about the money. The Giants never truly succumbed to the economic reality of last year's jump in the cap from the Collective Bargaining Agreement. And they are not willing to swallow that medicine again this year (not yet at least) when free agency begins at the stroke of midnight. By winning the Super Bowl, why should they? They view themselves as right for not going wild in free agency last year. The only problem with this logic is that Wilson is a good 'team' player who will get paid. And if the Giants make a mistake of not paying "enough" to keep him... WHERE ENOUGH=FAIR, then that is a mistake. My read on the situation is simply that what the market ends up going to will be determined by the Giants as mildly extreme.
The Giants are a conservative organization. They do not set prices, they join the price when it is set. As an example of this, the Giants always like to wait until the 16th or 17th pick in the draft has done his contract, as well as the 20th pick, so that they can THEN set the contract for their 19th pick. One of these other alleged five teams with interest in Wilson will go after him, the Giants will watch, and Wilson will get his money elsewhere.
Free agency begins tonight. Do not try to predict what Reese will do. If one uses last year as a single datapoint, he will be quieter than we would like. But drawing conclusions from one datapoint is ridiculous. There could be one particular player who the Giants rate much higher than others, in which case Reese gets active in a hurry. We'll put it another way- the over/under number for high ticket free agents the Giants entertain will be 1, and the over/under number for high ticket free agents the Giants sign will be 0.5. Here is a quick summary of excerpted positions from packersnews.com which are more relevant to the Giants-
Linebackers: Lance Briggs has been linked to San Francisco and Washington after spending a season wallowing under the franchise tag in Chicago. He seems best suited to play outside linebacker in a 4-3 defensive scheme, and at 27, he will strike it rich. … Terrell Suggs (Baltimore), a hybrid linebacker/end, and Karlos Dansby (Arizona) have been franchised. … The price for converted end Calvin Pace (Arizona) jumped after his breakout season in 2007, but the Cardinals reportedly want to retain the five-year veteran. Bargain basement: Boss Bailey (Detroit), Kawika Mitchell (N.Y. Giants), Brandon Chillar (St. Louis), DeMorrio Williams (Atlanta), Rosevelt Colvin (New England, released).
Cornerbacks: New Orleans reportedly is the front-runner to land Asante Samuel (New England), the 27-year-old cover king who is considered the top free agent in this year's class. The Jets, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia also have been linked to Samuel, who is expected to get a contract averaging $10 million or more per year. … Nnamdi Asomugha (Oakland) and Marcus Trufant (Seattle) were franchised, leaving Drayton Florence — who lost his starting job in San Diego last season to Antonio Cromartie — as the next best option. Question mark: Will Brian Kelly (Tampa Bay) regret paying $435,000 to buy out the final year of a contract that would have paid him $3.2 million in base salary next season? Bargain basement: Ty Law (Kansas City, reportedly to be released), Randall Gay (New England), Travis Fisher (Detroit), Jacques Reeves (Dallas).
Safeties: Gibril Wilson will test the market. Philadelphia and Denver have been reported as possible destinations. Dallas placed the franchise tag on Ken Hamlin. Question mark: How will season-ending injuries to Yeremiah Bell (Miami) and Madieu Williams (Cincinnati) affect their value? Bargain basement: Eugene Wilson (New England), Will Demps (Houston), Marquand Manuel (Carolina), Chris Crocker (Atlanta).
I was going to include a recap of Left Tackle, but when I read it, it made me wince. They had Flozell Adams at 32 leading the parade... between his age and his stature as a penalty offender on the order of Luke Petitgout, I would be surprised to see Reese go for him.. and any other high priced name in this category. This leaves us with Safety, CB, and LB as the only places where we might be active. The only other item of note will be Derrick Ward, who is expected to hit the free agent market tomorrow.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
The new Director of Player Personnel is Marc Ross. While working for the Eagles, Ross was responsible for bringing in players such as Brian Westbrook, Lito Sheppard and Derrick Burgess. Some excerpts of what he had to say about the draft:
“You never want to pass up good players. If you have players of similar talent, similar value – their value is close – then you should push it toward the need end, I think, but if there is a huge discrepancy and you have somebody on the board that just has so much more value than the guy you have at the position of need, then you have to go with the guy who you have the higher value on. No doubt about it.
“Good players are going to end up playing and if you force a bad player into a position of need, then they may not end up playing anyway. I have had that happen in drafts (for the Eagles), where we try to force players just because we needed them or you thought you needed them. You end up with a position of strength at this time in the year to maybe a position of weakness where if you would have drafted the best player then that wouldn’t have been an issue. It seems like here they have done a great job in doing that. Taking the best players and they have found a way to get them on the field with (Justin) Tuck and Kiwi (Mathias Kiwanuka). Good players are going to play. They will find a way to get on the field.
“I am glad they cut the time down on the draft this year so it won’t be as long as some other years (the time between first round picks has been reduced from 15 to 10 minutes). This is my first time picking this low. We picked low a lot in Philadelphia, so I am used to waiting for a while, but this is the first time picking this low.
“I think we are in a good situation to take the best player, because in the first round a lot of teams do take for need. I think there will be some players sitting and waiting for us with that last player who probably should have been drafted higher. That is my thought going into it. My thought is that we can find just as good a player at 31 as we can at 10.
“You never know where those players are going to come from. Ahmad Bradshaw would have been (the 250th player taken last year), but if you stack the board again this year and he might have been in the first round. You just never know where those guys are going to come from. I am not discouraged. People have been saying that every time we won a playoff game, ‘Oh, it is messing up your draft pick.’ But I look at it as a challenge. I have total confidence that we are going to get a good player where we are picking.”
Reese is a scout. Ross is a scout. The scout mantra is pick'em and play'em. I like the 31st pick in the draft, and his remarks make me feel that much more confident. (See previous post for more color on why- it is like a second rounder.) Reese and Ross know very well that if they give up the pick for Hall, they could be giving up a lot. For all we know, both clubs go into the draft w/o a deal and may make one after the first 30 players have been chosen when NY is on the clock. But either way, it is very interesting to see the scouting culture well entrenched at the Giants front office.
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
Many years ago (pre blog, when this started as email chat amongst ~15-20 Giants fan), I went through the numbers on the Giants' success in the first round vs the second round. It was staggering. The bottomline conclusion at the time was that the Giants were much more capable of finding the second round talent than the first round player. This was a GEORGE YOUNG conclusion. What about Accorsi and Reese? Let's look.
Key dates: 1979 George Young's first draft. 1994 Jerry Reese joins as junior scout. 1998 Ernie Accorsi hired as GM. May 2002 (2003) Jerry Reese promoted to Head of Player Personnel in charge of the draft. 2007 Reese's first draft as GM.
Using a completely subjective rating system where a player who is making/made meaningful contributions = 1, and a player who faded out of the picture gets a 0, we add up the total from each Executive's meaningful years. Young (1979-1997), Accorsi (1998-2006) and Reese (2003-2007).
Exec, # Yrs, Rd1 score, Rd2 Score
Young 19 9 12
Accorsi 9 4 5
Reese 5 3 4
Table explained- as an example, in 19 years, Young had 9 solid contributors from first round picks and 12 from the second round.
One would logically think that it would be easier to pick first rounders which could contribute to the team, but therein lies the enigma. There is slightly more impact from second round picks than first round picks. (Considering that Reese has only 5 years of data and that Accorsi was in charge for four of them, it is too little information to really draw any conclusions about his work.) The point is clear- second round picks are where this organization seems to thrive. Until we get much stronger hit percentages on the 1st rounders as compared to second rounders, it makes sense to get more volume of second rounders when given value on a trade down. The 1st rounder is the sizzle, the lure of the dominant player, but the Toomers-Strahans-Barbers of the world get plenty done without being the once in a generation Lawrence Taylor (... and how many OTHER times have we picked #2 in the entire draft?- none with the exception of a trade up for Manning).
SECOND ROUND DRAFT PEDIGREE GETS IT DONE OVER AND OVER.
Given this conclusion, what are the takeaways for this upcoming draft?
1) Sit tight with your #31 (really like a high second round pick) and #64 picks, pick up quality additions and do not worry about them not being super impact players. For the Giants this draft will not be sizzle, it will be steak.
2) Do not go chasing DeAngelo Hall. If you have to pay more than a #31 pick and you cannot extend his contract before he gets here, it does not feel like it is worth it. (I personally feel the #1 pick is not worth it either, but respect the value of a good corner enough to understand why the Giants would consider it. He has enough baggage. The most exciting thing about him is his age (24)... that is why the Giants are attracted to him. This is why you MUST extend that contract before making the trade. And therein lies the rub- you have to extend the contract, pay him plenty up front, all for him to be potentially volatile and blow up in your face if he is a malcontent in waiting.)
3) Sometimes doing nothing is the best thing. Reese did not go wild last year, so he has cap room this year as a result. "Folding" your hand and simply using your draft picks is not dereliction of duty if being proactive means going 1 step forward and 2 steps back. See Snyder for myriad examples of that.
and word is Gibril will likely get 'overpaid' by one of 'many' suitors. Translated, the Giants will likely get outbid. Strahan will take more time to make his decision on whether to come back.
I would love Wilson to come back a NY Giant. But Reese has to do what he has to do, and that means letting him walk. Safeties are NOT a skill position in the NFL. These are the stresses of holding the team together. A team like the Eagles knows that they win twice if they drive up the cost enough to make us drop out of the arms race for his services. Losing a safety is not as critical as losing a CB or Lineman.
Monday, February 25, 2008
The following is a draft value chart obtained by a writer for nfl.com a few years ago. It attempts to numerically value every pick in the draft. (The writer obtained it from an NFL team.)
If a team picking second in the draft every round was to trade up from #2 to #1 in the first round of the draft, it would
have to give up (3000-2600=) 400 points, or something close to their 3rd round + 4th round + 6th round pick.
P# Rnd1 Rnd2 Rnd3 Rnd4 Rnd5 Rnd6 Rnd7
01 3000 0580 0265 0112 0043 0027 0014
02 2600 0560 0260 0108 0042 0027 0014
03 2200 0550 0255 0104 0041 0026 0013
04 1800 0540 0250 0100 0040 0026 0013
05 1700 0530 0245 0096 0040 0025 0013
06 1600 0520 0240 0092 0039 0025 0012
07 1500 0510 0235 0088 0039 0025 0012
08 1400 0500 0230 0086 0038 0024 0011
09 1350 0490 0225 0084 0038 0024 0011
10 1300 0480 0220 0082 0037 0023 0011
11 1250 0470 0215 0080 0037 0023 0010
12 1200 0460 0210 0078 0036 0023 0010
13 1150 0450 0205 0076 0036 0022 0009
14 1100 0440 0200 0074 0035 0022 0009
15 1050 0430 0195 0072 0035 0021 0009
16 1000 0420 0190 0070 0034 0021 0008
17 0950 0410 0180 0066 0033 0020 0007
19 0875 0390 0175 0064 0033 0020 0007
20 0850 0380 0170 0062 0032 0019 0007
21 0800 0370 0165 0060 0032 0019 0006
22 0780 0360 0160 0058 0031 0019 0006
23 0760 0350 0155 0056 0031 0018 0005
24 0740 0340 0150 0054 0031 0018 0005
25 0720 0330 0145 0052 0030 0017 0005
26 0700 0320 0140 0050 0020 0017 0004
27 0680 0310 0136 0049 0029 0017 0004
28 0660 0300 0132 0048 0029 0016 0003
29 0640 0292 0128 0047 0029 0016 0003
30 0620 0284 0124 0046 0028 0015 0003
31 0600 0276 0120 0045 0028 0015 0002
32 0590 0270 0116 0044 0027 0015 0002
Sunday, February 24, 2008
The stresses of keeping together a Super Bowl winner are immense. Reese has the cap room. The players know this. Reese cuts players he does not feel are worth it, so now that he has a bunch of players that are all (on the surface) worth it as 'champions,' he will have to sort through the ones he thinks want to be champions AGAIN.
Between UFA's like Wilson and Mitchell, and guys under contract like Strahan, Umenyiora, and Burress, you have to know Reese is juggling a lot of issues. He'll figure it out and make work whatever needs to be done. At this point he certainly has earned himself the benefit of the doubt on his decisions.
Saturday, February 23, 2008
I continue to be impressed by Reese's professionalism, his perspective, his understanding of the NFL, and his priorities in getting the Giants to where he wants them to be. Actions speak louder than words, but both seem to be fairly consistent and dovetail one another.
What does this have to do with Zach Thomas going to Dallas in a 1 year deal? Everything. I have never seen a 34 year old LB improve a team. In fact the only position which I have seen a 34 year old football player improve his team is in some special situations at Quarterback. When other teams get younger, stronger, FASTER, that is when I get concerned. The Young/Accorsi/Reese structure of staying away from free agents >30 years of age may not work for EVERY situation but it is a reasonable model for enabling competitiveness.
Let's see if we can list some Giants (and NFL) myths and then quickly debunk them.
1) A Training Camp Holdout Works. Not. Most holdouts are disasters. Many end up in injury. In the case of Strahan, he was needed in Game 1 and was not able to help with impact until ~ Game 4-5. Show up at camp and if the coach has any clue he will not overwork a veteran who is 35 years old. And in the case of a contract holdout, the team loses, the player loses, and the free agent is generally the only winner because he shows toughness (for all the rest of his clients) and kills the player and the team in the process.
2) We were never winning a Super Bowl with Tiki Barber. Coughlin would not listen to Barber. The Maras (as a result, in my opinion) told Coughlin to change and listen to/communicate with his players better. If Barber had been playing this year with Spagnuolo doing his magic tricks and Manning throwing the ball better, who is to say what would have happened? I have stated before and will reiterate it here- Reese's removal of the BIGGEST penalty offender in Luke Petitgout probably was the single largest addition by subtraction the Giants had. (and I never understood that until it happened.)
3) We were never winning a Super Bowl with Shockey. See previous posts for this myth getting rejected. To quote vanilla Eli Manning, that is a stupid theory.
4) The experts were wrong about (not predicting) the Giants success this year because they were ignorant of the facts. NOT! The Giants had two new coordinators, a new defensive system, a new Left Tackle, lack of depth at OL, no proven pass-catching out of the backfield, a mediocre QB who remained mediocre for the first 15 out of 16 games, a veteran holdout, a new FG kicker who could barely make (and missed many) extra points, a new LB playing out of position, and a secondary which our own GM was the first to admit was our most glaring weakness. Oh, and did I mention that we had a once-in-a-generation rookie draft class that no one, not even Jerry Reese could have predicted would make such an enormous impact? Excluding Washington W3, the Giants did not beat a team with a winning record until Tampa Bay in the Playoffs. Pierce can use the self-righteous indignation 'us-against-the-world' stuff (GREAT- it helped us win a title!), but until W16 Buffalo and W17 Patriots, this team was inconsistent, half-baked, and COUGHLIN HIMSELF ADMITTED HE HAD NOT SEEN A GAME ALL YEAR WHERE HIS OFFENSE, DEFENSE AND SPECIALS ALL PLAYED WELL ALL ON THE SAME DAY. That changed W17. Logically and rationally, W17 was the change when (not so coincidentally) Manning started playing great.
5) Gilbride's ring proves he has the answers for us on offense. His playcalling was often unpredictable and therefore positive, but beyond that I see mismanagement of Shockey/Boss and Bradshaw, not to mention no help for Eli correcting mistakes which he repeated too many times until near season's end. Not sold on him at all. Someone explain to me why we never ran outside in the Super Bowl? Can anyone justify RunRunRunKick vs Dallas at 9:27 left with a 4 point lead? This offense is better than Gilbride.
6) Coughlin can't change and is not capable of winning the big one. The Giants ordered him to communicate better and listen to his players, he did and the rest is history. I thought he was a dead end, and I was dead wrong!
7) We can convert Kiwanuka into a good LB. Well, to be fair, this one has not been totally busted. Yet. Incomplete. When he handles Witten I will admit I am wrong on this. My mantra is very simple- You draft players in the first round to be an impact and you select players in rounds 3-7 to do the other work surrounding THEM. Asking a DE to go into coverage is okay once in a while to confuse a QB, not okay for every down assignment.
8) Eli Manning is too inconsistent and too inaccurate. Out of nowhere he busted us nattering nabobs of negativity. FREE PASS FOR LIFE.
9) The Giants can't beat anyone with a winning record. Until they beat 4 of the best in the league, all in the playoffs, to win the Super Bowl!!!!
10) Now that the Giants are Super Bowl winners, their tougher schedule will be a large obstacle to them doing well. Ever since the league realigned into 8 divisions, there are only 2 games in each team's schedule which get matched for strength of record from the previous season. For the Giants this means we play Minnesota and Carolina. THEY WENT 8-8 AND 7-9 THIS PAST YEAR. So the Pete Rozelle scheme of having the dregs play the dregs and the best playing the best has been diluted and it is Minnesota and Carolina that have to worry about the Giants, not the Giants worrying about them.
11) The Giants (a year) after the Super Bowl always get torched and this coming year we will get torched once again. Look at the circumstances... 1986 was followed by a strike year when Mara was naively last to the party to lock up replacements. 1990 was followed by the Parcells screw defection in May 1991 when we inherited a poor choice from Young in Ray Handley. Between Handley and Rod Rust, it sent the organization back about 20 years back into 1970's Giants depression. 2000 was demonstrated to be a semi-fraud year where our 12-4 record was pumped up with the inflated steroids of a weak division which we whipped 7-1, while only going 5-3 vs everyone else. This was an above average year and Fassel could never handle any prosperity because the strength of schedule came back the next year to expose his team. Summarized- there is no strike in 2008, there is no coaching change in 2008, and there is no fraud since we whipped the best. The youth (improving) should give us more legs to have a very competitive year.
Friday, February 22, 2008
1) Dahl cut. 2) Giants trying to get Mitchell and/or Wilson re-signed before UFA deadline. Mitchell more likely than Wilson. Strong interest from others likely for Wilson. 3) Giants willing to renegotiate Strahan's contract when he is ready. 4) Trade talk is centered on Giants trading a #1 pick to the Falcons for CB DeAngelo Hall.
Last year Jerry Reese pulled a stunner when he cut Luke Petitgout. The fact that he could not even get a draft pick out of his starting LT shows you why Reese says Shockey is still his starting TE. There is very little trading that goes on in the NFL on a roster-weighted basis. Analysis by Position-
LB: See yesterday's 'Linebacker' article for analysis. Get a strongside LB. I have two good reasons- we play Jason Witten twice each year. I like Wilkinson, but we did not see the Giants using him that much in the playoffs. Either he is ready to contribute in his third year or someone new can be given the opportunity.
DL: You are only as good as your last at-bat, and the sack of Brady by Jay Alford was a very good at-bat! Unless Strahan retires or Umenyiora holds out, the Giants do not have acute need here. Reese did well to lock up Tuck. There is always Kiwanuka in the wings.
S: Gibril Wilson wants more money. Butler lacks speed. Dahl (torn ACL) was cut after failing a physical. The Giants will be busy looking for safeties, free agent or drafted. Michael Johnson will improve with another camp. Everyone wants Wilson back, but at what price?
CB: Madison and McQuarters were integral parts of the success of the Giants this season, but they are on the downside of their careers. Bring in younger players to challenge these players for their roster spots.
WR: Steve Smith is the answer. The Giants like Michael Jennings (just re-signed). I think the Giants hold out more hope for Sinorice Moss than I do. When you add Burress, Toomer, Smith, Tyree and Hixon, it is getting pretty crowded in there. Bring in more competition, but no acute need unless Burress does not heal in the off-season or Toomer surprisingly retires.
RB: One new body to keep the mix from getting stale. Droughns will get cut unless we miss in the draft and/or his salary is still competitive with reduced production.
LT: Diehl was the weakest link on the Offensive Line. He is a wonderful Guard, but he is not a full time Tackle. Diehl got beat like a drum by many speed rushers this year. Get a REAL Left Tackle.
QB: a credible backup please.
Strongest Need: LB and S
Need: LT, CB
Normal Turnover: WR, RB, QB
Only if too much value present: TE, DL
Final thoughts: Reese calls the draft the front office's version of the Super Bowl. Constant improvement is critical for the Giants to remain competitive. Players like McQuarters, Madison, Strahan and Toomer need to be viewed as 0-1 year possibilities at a maximum. The Giants have needs, but they have enough cap room and draft picks to address them adequately. The good news is that the Giants are a very young team (see Article on 'The Rookies' from Wednesday). Ross is 25, Smith is 22, Bradshaw is 21, Boss and Tuck are 24. Umenyiora and Snee are 26. Eli Manning is 27. DID I SAY TUCK IS 24?!!! These players can all get a lot better- that is scary good. Do you think these players are hungry enough for another Super Bowl title? Their improvement and impact on the field will say a lot about those possibilities. Given how each one of those players improved over the course of 2007, it is hard to imagine how each would not be able to do special things for the Giants in 2008. "They can write this team off again (in 2008) if they want but they’re going to be wrong," former general manager Ernie Accorsi says. "It’s sound at the key positions and they’re signed, and the QB is going to only get better."
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Bill Parcells: "I like linebackers. I collect 'em. You can't have too many good ones." He said that in the 1980s, when guys like Byron Hunt, Pepper Johnson and Andy Headen could have started for many other teams but were backups with the Giants. The game has evolved, with the NFL making the rules much harder for pass defenses. Passing statistics are inflated today because the rules make covering a receiver more difficult. Teams are drafting wide receivers to take advantage of the changes. And in turn, these same teams are more aggressive in going after cornerbacks in order to reply to the shift. Ernie Accorsi responded to this metamorphosis by going after defensive ends more aggressively so that quarterbacks could be disrupted on a good pass rush.
But what about linebacking? Is it a lost art, a position undergoing corporate downsizing from 3 to 2 as teams use 4 linemen, 5 defensive backs, with 2 LBs left over? Is there so much passing that you do not need LBs except on 1st down? In the past six seasons, there has been a tendency for slightly more passing attempts per game, but it is not significant enough to be a trend. When teams pass too much, they get one-dimensional and opposing defenses adjust and force those teams to balance with more run again. And considering that LBs are still needed for TEs and RBs in pass coverage, the role of these players is not going away by any stretch.
Giants Draft Choices in Round #1, Round #2
1998 S, WR
1999 OL, RB
2000 RB, DL
2002 TE, WR
2003 DL, DL
2004 QB, OL
2006 DL, WR
2007 CB, WR
There is only one position the Giants ignored with their first and/or second pick during this 10-year period … linebacker. (You have to go back to 1991, when the Giants picked Kanavis McGhee in the second round.) And it has been 24 years since the Giants drafted a LB #1: Carl Banks in 1984. The Giants have been extremely fortunate in recent years to anchor their LBs with players like 8th-rounder Jessie Armstead and free agents like Mike Barrow and Antonio Pierce. Mathias Kiwanuka was moved to LB because of need. Jerry Reese has been fabulous, but it is not rocket science to know that Kiwanuka moves better north (toward the QB) than south (to the TE). Kiwanuka is an impact lineman. He and Tuck will aid in the transition of Michael Strahan's retirement. Accorsi might have been right to design a team that puts heat on the QB, gets talent on the corners, and plugs up with patchwork LBs, but you cannot totally neglect this position either. Since the NFL is a copycat league, you would expect pass rushing ends to go up in value. Does the NFL de-emphasize linebacking because of Accorsi's actions? At this point it would appear that a high pick at (strongside) LB better be fast enough to blitz the QB or cover a TE to pay off the investment in today's world of the pass.
Wednesday, February 20, 2008
On February 2, a day before the Super Bowl, Ultimatenyg quickly ran through the rookies from the Draft Class of 2007, pinpointing them as a big reason the Giants were in the big game. With the Super Bowl in the record books, is there any doubt that the rookies were also a big reason the Giants WON the big game? They made an impact on the biggest stage of all.
Any credit given to the rookies has to start with the front office and Jerry Reese. All of the great successes in professional sports are due in part to the front office finding talent and getting the support players who allow those stars to excel. Men like Carmen Policy (blogger's note- originally stated Eddie DeBartolo, the owner, my mistake), Bobby Beathard, Ron Wolf, George Young and the Rooneys are the lifelines for how these organizations can make championships possible not only once but again and again.
Ernie Accorsi set the table for Reese and Tom Coughlin by locking up a number of key players for a long time, simultaneously passing down a salary cap that was in very good shape. The Giants’ cap room is the best in the N.F.C. East and is in a very good position to keep Reese competitive with new signings where he deems fit.
Where Accorsi ended, Reese began. Reese was also the director of player personnel, so the result of the 2007 draft was going to fall squarely on his shoulders.
It was historic and seismic. Reese’s draft made him instant royalty. The first-year impact players became known as “Reese’s Pieces.” Super Bowl or not, Reese’s crop of kids made such a big splash that it was almost uncomfortable for him to accept such inordinate praise. He went out of his way to compliment the young group of players. He redirected accolades to the coaching staff for enabling the draft class to assist the team so positively and so quickly.
The new Giants were not all along for the ‘Parcells ride,’ where rookies are seen but not heard. With the exception of Adam Koets, every other rookie drafted (and even a few who were signed as UFAs) made significant contributions. This added up to a record number of rookies getting Super Bowl rings.
How do the Giants win if #1 pick Aaron Ross is not providing tremendous coverage all season? As soon as Ross started playing meaningful minutes, the defense tightened up. Everyone remembers the second half of the first Redskins game, but does everyone remember that that was the first time Ross stepped in to play corner? He was there knocking Marion Barber down with a separated shoulder. He was there to save the Jets game when the rest of the team was flat. He was not immune to getting beat, but he had mostly excellent coverage and could also be physical. Add that he played through multiple injuries, had Madison, Dockery, Webster and McQuarters rotating in and out with their injuries, and you can see how significant his efforts were in getting the team to a championship.
For a second pick, Steve Smith was almost all-world. If not for a midseason injury, he would have been putting up numbers all year. He caught four passes in the Super Bowl, none bigger than the play sandwiched between David Tyree’s helmet grab and Plaxico Burress’s game-winning TD. On 3rd and 11, Smith caught a pass in the right flat, came to a complete stop to avoid going out of bounds, ran another 3-4 yards up field for the first down, then went out of bounds to stop the clock. That kind of play would have been excellent for a seasoned veteran like Amani Toomer, but for a rookie who did not even play half the games this season, it was nothing short of spectacular. It will be overlooked in history, but Giants fans who appreciate the rookies will remember Smith’s grab and key first down as long as they remember the Super Bowl XLII win.
Jay Alford (#3) plays a tough position for any rookie, DL. But he was good enough to provide rotation relief among the veterans. And his entire career may already be remembered for the sack on 2nd down of the final series that buried Tom Brady and the Patriots’ chances.
Zak DeOssie (#4) put the finishing touches on the 1990 championship season’s analog by being the long snapper and impact special teams player for a Giants Super Bowl winner just like his father 17 years before. It was enough to bring Steve DeOssie to tears.
Kevin Boss (#5) filled in for injured TE Jeremy Shockey. His great hands made him an instant threat and kept defenses off balance as soon as he went into a route. The Boss catch-and-run for 45 yards at the beginning of Q4 of the Super Bowl ignited the offense and set up the first go-ahead score. Imagine a rookie doing what Welker, Moss, Burress and Toomer could not do! Boss’s chemistry with Eli Manning was so impressive that it forced others to question whether Shockey was already yesterday’s news. That conclusion is most likely unfounded, and the Giants are poised to reap many rewards from a two TE set with double threats.
Michael Johnson (#7a) filled in and started for the Giants when other safeties were hurt. He never lost his aggressiveness and was instrumental in the team’s drive to 6-2 earlier in the season. At one point he and undrafted rookie Craig Dahl were each patrolling the defense’s deep waters … a large responsibility that proved critical along the team’s path to a Super Bowl. Coughlin went out of his way to point out that it was Johnson who got the McQuarters nightmarish fumble vs. Green Bay knocked away so that Domenik Hixon (another great pickup by Reese) could recover the ball.
Ahmad Bradshaw (#7b), the last Giant pick, was taken only a few spots from the end of the draft. Bradshaw was featured early and often on ultimatenyg because his speed, cutbacks, quickness to the hole, north-south running, pass catching and ability to pound defenses was a total find. It took an injury by Brandon Jacobs (on top of Derrick Ward already being on IR) for Bradshaw to get up on the depth charts high enough to be seen. His impact on the team’s late-season and postseason drive was nothing short of stunning. In the second half of the Bills game W16, when everyone knew the Giants were running the ball, Bradshaw told his teammates during a timeout that if they made their blocks he would take it the distance. One snap and 88 yards later, he helped sew up the team’s playoff berth. The accolades he received from competitors was a reminder that Bradshaw can be special for quite some time if he remains healthy. His only weakness was a lack of experience and knowledge in how to pick up the blitz. This may get squared away in 2008’s training camp, affording him the opportunity to be the starting RB. He is that good.
The Giants made a very special run to collect their third Super Bowl title. It is next to impossible to envision how this could have happened without the major contributions delivered by this fine rookie class. As a group, they exhibited maturity and experience beyond their years. The draft of 2007 can be the backbone for many playoff runs to come.
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
1) Offensive Player of the Year — Plaxico Burress
2) Defensive Player of the Year — Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck
3) Crippling injury of the Year — Mathias Kiwanuka
4) Coach of the Year — Steve Spagnuolo.
5) Play of the Year — Manning to Tyree. Catch 42. The Helmet. The Play.
6) Most Improved Player Award — Corey Webster, Eli Manning
7) Rookie of the Year — Ahmad Bradshaw
8) Disappointment of the Year — Sinorice Moss
9) Ugly Play of the Year — Moss Bomb TD in W17
10) The Please Cut Him Already Award — James Butler
11) Honorable Mention Award — Madison Hedgecock
12) Official “Bust” Tag Declaration Award — William Joseph
13) The “On-Deck” Bust Tag Award — Sinorice Moss
14) Special Teams Player of the Year Award — Domenik Hixon
15) Stupid Penalty of the Year Award — Sam Madison Personal Foul at GB
16) Decision of the Year Award — Coughlin playing to win in W17 vs NE
17) Inflection Point of the Year Award — Giants’ Defensive Stop of Redskins on 4th and 1 in W3
18) Best Game of the Year — Super Bowl vs New England
19) Worst Game of the Year — Minnesota
20) Prominent Player Most Likely NOT to be on the roster next year— Gibril Wilson ($)
21) Comeback Player of the Year Award — Amani Toomer off ACL surgery
Monday, February 18, 2008
Ray Rhodes, Andy Reid, Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Vince Tobin, Dave McGinnis and... Bill Parcells.
This a list of the coaches the Giants faced in the NFC East in Jim Fassel's tenure from 1997-2003. See a pattern? Other than Reid and Parcells, it was an endless parade of misses. Wasn't this a great thing for the Giants? One would think so, but on further inspection it is survival of the unfit. The lack of strong and consistent competition within the NFC East set back our franchise, and the rest of the NFC East along with it.
Fassel floated from year to year. It was annoying to find that the Giants could not handle any prosperity. Under Fassel, as soon as the playoffs were attained, the schedule got harder and the team took on water. The Giants were unable to have two consecutive years in a row of winning records. How could it be that Fassel could lead the gmen to the playoffs three times in those seven years and be so far away from a championship?
Year 1997 Record 10-5-1 Division Record 7-0-1 Non-Division 3-5
Year 1998 Record 8-8 Division Record 5-3 Non-Division Record 3-5
Year 1999 Record 7-9 Division Record 3-5 Non-Division Record 4-4
Year 2000 Record 12-4 Division Record 7-1 Non-Division Record 5-3
Year 2001 Record 7-9 Division Record 4-4 Non-Division Record 3-5
Year 2002 Record 10-6 Division Record 5-1 Non-Division Record 5-5
Note how the Divisional Record vs the weak NFC East was 31-14-1 during this time and the Record vs the rest of the NFL was a mediocre 23-27.
and then the wheels came off:
Year 2003 Record 4-12 Division Record 1-5 Non-Division Record 3-7
Coughlin this year before the Super Bowl:
Year 2007 Record 10-6 Division Record 3-3 Non-Division Record 7-3
For six years from '97 thru '02, the NFC East covered up a multitude of NY Giants sins. When Parcells joined the NFC East in '03 combined with Reid (and the weakling Cardinals no longer in the division), the team crumbled like a house of cards. Coughlin inherited an NFC East division that was was no longer a doormat. Despite Snyder's attempts to make the Redskins an easy mark, Joe Gibbs was at least going to force you to earn your way. During this period, Reid's Eagles had a near miss at a Super Bowl win, and Phillips inherited a Dallas team strong in personnel. In 2007 the Cowboys were 13-3, the Giants were 10-6, the Redskins were 9-7 and the Eagles were 8-8. The result was a 3-3 record this year vs a division which did not have a single losing team.
There is a very big difference between divisional games and non-divisional games. Your divisional opponents know you and all of your tricks. The games become much more about who can be physical and who can execute. Add a division that is strong from top to bottom and your divisional games become an even greater test. So it is that the divisional playoff game between the Giants and Cowboys took on so much more meaning. By many accounts, the Dallas Cowboys and NY Giants were the two most physical teams in the NFL. The Dallas offensive line was dominant. I will go as far to say that the single biggest moment in the entire playoffs was in Q3 versus Dallas when Flozell Adams went down. Before that time, the Dallas Cowboys were not allowing the Giants to get pressure on Romo and a win was not happening. After that moment, Umenyiora was able to handle Adams and the floodgates opened.
That which does not kill you makes you stronger. The Giants were well served by the trials in the NFC East. Conversely, perhaps those doormats of the Bills, Jets and Dolphins in the AFC East did not help the Patriots as much as one would have thought. When you consider that the '86 Giants had the soon to be '87 Super Bowl Skins to fight with, how the '90 Giants had the soon to be '91 Super Bowl Skins to fight with (not to mention the Eagles, who stopped our undefeated season), and how the '07 Giants had two other NFC East playoff teams to contend with, it becomes readily apparent that a strong NFC East is in the best interest of the Giants in order to win championships.
Sunday, February 17, 2008
The New York Times has invited Ultimatenyg on its Fifth Down Online Football Site Monday February 18th through Friday February 22nd as a guest blogger. The "Fifth Down" is the New York Times NFL Blog.
Another video featuring the pass from Manning to Tyree.
Tyree prefers "David and Eliath." One of the local NY papers held a contest and "Catch 42" won. We have probably watched this play around 10 or 20 times now and it never gets old. This latest version has some of the playcall from Marv Albert, so for all Giants fans it is another round of fun.
Saturday, February 16, 2008
A lawsuit was filed late this week alleging the New England Patriots got an unfair advantage from videotaping the walkthrough of the St. Louis Rams before Super Bowl XXXVI.
Obviously a lot hinges on the physical recovery of a video possibly in the possession of Matt Walsh. This is a dead end without the video. Walsh would have to have multiple people in the NE Pats to corroborate this story w/o the video itself in order to give any credence to this allegation.
IF THERE IS A TAPE, it is enormous. It means if I am Roger Goodell, I will be hard pressed NOT to overturn the outcome of the game. The burden of proof in a civil or criminal court matter is far higher than the information needed by Goodell. Is this a Draconian response? What do you do if someone gives you a videotape of the Super Bowl walkthrough? It is NOT taped by anyone- if this video assistant to the Patriots has this evidence, admits being told to get it and that the tape was viewed was viewed before the game, then what other choice is there than to overturn the result of the game?!! Some Rams players felt that the Patriots were very well prepared for new plays not seen before yet walked though. The slightest amount of wrongfully obtained information would be damaging enough for the result to be overturned.
It is not as if Belichick or the Patriots have done anything like this before, is it?!!!! We can handle the truth. Especially if it unmasks New England.
Thursday, February 14, 2008
Nothing like a little Congressional Hearing on Clemen's alleged use of steroids to get the attention of the sports media in February. February has to be the slowest sports month of the year. Heck, I even watch the Westminster Dog Show to get over my Super Bowl hangover. The Beagle won by a nose!
So what does Clemens and his insane painting of himself into a nasty steriod corner have to do with a football blog? Easy- At least football is not the totally brainless baseball boob. Football is slowly whoring itself out to the mighty dollar, but with respect to steroids, it is doing as well as it can under the circumstances.
Football’s steroid policy is always going to have the obligatory player’s union interest in fighting it. The NFL has a 4 week suspension for your first offense. The second offense is 8 games. The third offense is the equivalent of a death sentence: a year’s suspension, and the player must ask for and obtain reinstatement from the commissioner before being allowed to play again. Given Goodell’s treatment of Pacman Jones, anyone going this far is not getting reinstated into the league.
This all seems somewhat coherent. As long as players have unions, the NFL is not going to be able to bounce anyone immediately/permanently. If I could make the rules, it would be first timers get a year and second timers are given a lifetime ban. And that ‘leniency’ for first time offenders is only because we need to protect everyone from a laboratory error, mislabeled sample, someone getting framed etc..
One area I would like to see the NFL get more consistent on is records and awards. If a player is found to have steroids, the previous 16 games of records/statistics should be wiped clean from any record book and the player should not be eligible for the next Pro Bowl or any other award consideration. Football detractors correctly point out that Shawne Merriman's inclusion in the Pro Bowl after serving a 4 game suspension is ludicrous. I read the league rules and as I understand it, this only happens with the third violation.
Wednesday, February 13, 2008
Simmons from ESPN on his Patriots' loss. A view from the other side. These were the people who gave us no chance. Giants fans talked about these types in the two weeks leading up to the game; as much as we did not want to think about the emotional letdown of a Giant loss, we knew that a Patriots loss was going to be the equivalent of an atomic bomb for all of their fans. Simmons captures the nuclear fallout and allows Giants fans to relive the moment in full splendor. Yep, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Where did you see that one?
It is easy for us to understand that Simmons missed the big elephant- the Patriots offensive juggernaut could not do the things it had done all season because the Giants pass rush was disrupting their game.
One more thing- his 'castaway' simile was poetic genius. Simmons captured the intensity of our joy. Impressive awareness for someone who could have easily been overwhelmed and consumed by his own dismay.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Saturday, February 9, 2008
Note links on separate plays to video where available:
NE 14 NYG 10 2:39
1st and 10 at NYG 17(2:39) Toomer to NYG 28 for 11 yards
1st and 10 at NYG 28(2:09) incomplete Burress
2nd and 10 at NYG 28(2:04) incomplete Burress
3rd and 10 at NYG 28(1:59) Toomer to NYG 37 for 9 yards
4th and 1 at NYG 37(1:34) Jacobs run to NYG 39 for 2 yards
1st and 10 at NYG 39(1:28) Manning run to NYG 44 for 5 yards
Timeout #1 by NYG at 01:20
2nd and 5 at NYG 44(1:20) incomplete Tyree
3rd and 5 at NYG 44(1:15) Tyree to NE 24 for 32 yards (Commentary from Tyree)
Timeout #2 by NYG at 00:59
1st and 10 at NE 24(:59) Manning sacked at NE 25 for -1 yards
Timeout #3 by NYG at 00:51
2nd and 11 at NE 25(:51) incomplete Tyree
3rd and 11 at NE 25(:45) Smith to NE 13 for 12 yards
1st and 10 at NE 13(:39) Burress for 13 yards, TOUCHDOWN
L.Tynes extra point is GOOD
NYG 17 NE 14
12 plays, 83 yards, 2:07 drive, 14:25 elapsed
We won the Super Bowl. We have been savoring this win for almost a week now. Everything is wonderful. There are no worts on this team. Or are there? Eli gets a free pass, I know, I know, I promise not to do the 56 game rip when he had a 74 QB rating and could not play consistent quarters let alone consistent games, playoffs et al...
What I speak to now is, before anyone anoints Gilbride, I have a few bones to pick. (1) What is this under-use of the TE? First it was Shockey, now it is Boss. At least your malfeasance is non-discrimatory. (2) And why is it that you never took Bradshaw out of mothballs? One again 9 carries for Bradshaw for 5 yds/per, Jacobs 14 carries for 42 yards... 3 yds/per. Hmm, like has been said before, in a game of inches, we see the difference in feet and yards. (3) On the subject of Bradshaw, ya think we might just have gotten LUCKY when a slow and lumbering Jacobs makes it back to the line of scrimmage and barely gets that first down on 4th and 1? Why not use Bradshaw so he can kick out if necessary- in fact a kick out and we get 10-20 yards or possibly a TD. (4) I heard some math- that 90% of the run calls were between the tackles.... what is UP with that? We knew that the NE linebackers had one weakness, slowing speed due to age. We practically played into their hands.
THE GAME DID NOT HAVE TO BE SO TORTUOUSLY CLOSE.
Friday, February 8, 2008
Thursday, February 7, 2008
Coughlin mentioned two rookie "unheralded" plays... (1) when McQuarters fumbles away one of those late punt returns vs the Packers, one guy from GB is trying to pick it up and flubs, and it is Michael Johnson who pops it out of there so that Hixon can recover. (2) In the Super Bowl, when Ahmad Bradshaw fumbles, he gets back his own fumble with cool resourcefulness.
When the subject of Tuck came up, Coughlin praised Tuck immensely and pointed out that last year when he got injured, the team really missed him and Michael Strahan.
Separately, nothing to do with this interview, they have an 18 minute version of Super Bowl highlights on NFL Films, and they showed that on the very first play of the game- a kickoff to Hixon, he only gets to ~near the 20 yard line. Hixon was face masked for SECONDS and it would have been 15 yards.
Steve Spagnuolo stays with the Gmen
Okay, so it will likely be only another year, as he will have many more teams vying for him as a head coach which will represent a better opportunity than the nightmare that is Snyderville. But for our defense, it means another year of continuity, another year to have young guys like Tuck, Ross, Webster, Johnson, Cofield, Kiwanuka and Alford work under him. It means perhaps one more year of Strahan... he may decide that with Spags staying on that he will too. It means not having to face him twice a year in Washington. And one more thing- it means we may be seeing Fassel again, on the other side of the field.
Wednesday, February 6, 2008
1. Pats gave up 21 sacks during reg season, gave up 5 vs gmen in Super Bowl, the most of any game this year.
2. Season Low 14 pts of offense for Brady and Co.
3. NFL Total Access had Super Bowl XXV won by the Giants as the #1 Super Bowl of all time... where do they put Super Bowl XLII??? I know the game did not end on the Burress TD, but considering the Manning to Tyree, the 18-0 Pats, the most lead changes in Q4 of ANY Super Bowl, this one may have to eclipse it. I know it does for me.
4. All three Giants Super Bowl victories occurred with us trailing at halftime. (The fact that we are 3-1 in Super Bowls and were trailing in all 4 reminds me of Super Bowl XXXV, which I would rather forget.)
5. Let's acknowledge that Barber's exit was probably one of the reasons for Coughlin getting grief from Giants Mananagement about poor communication with players, followed by orders to start listening more to his players. And let's go one step further and realize that Coughlin's success in this area is a big reason why players 'bought in' and played so hard for him. So Tiki was a positive force for change, and might very well be indirectly responsible for some this year's success.
6. Heard a few quotes: 'Eli the Mann, Brady the Lady' and '18 Wins 1 GIANT LOSS"
7. Olivia Manning after Peyton was MVP of Super Bowl XLI: "Maybe next year it will be Eli's turn." Only a mother could say that. The rest of the football world laughed, EVERY SINGLE ONE OF US! Mom was right. You cannot make this stuff up!
8. Speaking of Super Bowl Parents, Steve DeOssie met up with son Zak after the game and wept. 1990 ANALOG LIVES!!!
7. Giants fans parade serenade for #92: "One more year!" ... for Spags: "Redskins suck!"
8. The Giants won the last 3 games by 4, 3 (OT) and 3 points. Had it all the way!
From Dr. Rob at the game:
9. Brady had open receivers all day, but the pass rush would not allow him to find most of them.
10. Webster and Ross still had pretty decent coverage but Brady was inaccurate.
11. On 'The Helmet,' Manning set his feet and threw a very good pass as a result- HE TOOK THE HIT! (ultimatenyg note- Old Eli throws this one off his back feet and does NOT take the hit.)
12. Manning has consistently been throwing when there are 8 men in the box and running when there are 7. (Kind of reminds me of the sound fundamentals of Tim Duncan, who is shooting with single and passing with double.)
13. On the Tyree TD, at least 2 or 3 players are frozen on play-action and that enables Manning to stick it in vs single coverage.
14. On the Smith muff that gets picked off by Hobbs, Ahmad Bradshaw saves a TD because w/o him riding the player out of bounds he has 90 yards of daylight. This is where u have to be at the stadium, because all we see is two slow linemen trying to take the angle.
The stories coming out of this game are giving new meaning to the oft overused expression "Team of Destiny." There had to be some sort of Divine Intervention at work here. Evidence? Hmmm...
1) The Bradshaw fumble recovery was nothing short of a miracle. Pierre Woods of the Patriots FALLS ON THE BALL. If this was ANY other game, the whistle blows, the play is over and the ref points his arm the other way for the turnover. But Bradshaw comes over (this period of time felt like an eternity in the pantheon of fumble scrums), sticks his arm underneath his body, pops the ball out of there and recovers the ball. According to an interview with Woods, he somehow never had control of the ball. It almost reminds me of an 'I Dream of Jeannie' episode where the ball is "blinked" to another location and everyone else is wondering how it actually became teleported. IF THE REFS CALL THE TURNOVER, NO ONE HAS ANYTHING TO SAY! All I know is I am whistling past the graveyard on that one.
2) The 45 yarder to Boss? Well, it turns out that that one was drawn up on the sidelines by Gilbride just minutes before it was used! We are playing sandlot football at the Super Bowl.
3) We now find out that somewhere in the Q4 Toomer busted (broke?) his hand, and he never knew until in the lockerroom when he was shaking hands with people.
4) The Helmet. The Great Escape. I do not know what they are going to end up calling it, but no matter because they will always be calling the NY GIANTS 2007 Super Bowl Champions. When I watch the tape of that play over and over I am still mystified by how the ball stays in Tyree's possession despite being held precariously on the side of that damn helmet with ONE hand! How it does not somehow get jarred loose is almost as if G-d has a hand in there holding it in place. I still do not understand it. I see it but I do not understand it.
4a) How does this Manning kid get away from those linemen who have him in their grasp? Manning is not that strong and these linemen are not that weak. He had help from somewhere.
5) And then there is the revelation from Toomer- that David Tyree couldn't catch a pass in (the last) practice the Friday before the game. The guy who couldn't catch a pass in practice, the same guy who flubbed the TD catch versus Green Bay that was right in his arms. And now he catches THREE PASSES. One of which is a Touchdown. One of which is off his freaking helmet. The guy had 4 receptions ALL YEAR.
6) I am not even writing this blog until I go online this morning and start reading how Plaxico Burress, all healthy and ready to go (remember the 23-17 boast before boarding the bus, how he was "97%" healthy?), slips in the shower at the hotel the Monday before the game and sprains his MCL. He plays the game almost as a decoy on a sprained MCL and still catches the final TD. He had to be carted off the field to the lockerroom.
THIS SPACE LEFT BLANK FOR MORE MAGIC.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008
1) Brady was valiant. He took a beating and fought through to the end. He gave the ball to the defense with a 14-10 lead before the 2 minute warning.
2) A lot of NFL current QBs who were at the game were quietly and privately just a little more than happy that Brady got put on his a**. (They are a little tired of being compared so poorly to the anointed one, who so often has much better protection than they do.)
3) The Patriots CANNOT let the Strahan sack happen- it puts them out of FG range. Simms did not single out any one player/coach.
4) The lightning-fast playing field helped the pass rush.
5) Tuck was the unsung hero. Giants got a bargain in their new contract that he just signed.
6) The playcalling when the Pats are about to score at 10-7 to make it 14-10 was not good enough. You have to work the clock down and use the fact that if you fail to get a TD that at least it is 10-10. I think Phil was thinking that if you threw underneath (for a sure completion) or ran, that you could push the ball closer and burn clock-- too much time was given to the Giants.
7) The Giants' run thru the playoffs was unbelievable... Phil thinks it was the hardest run ever.
8) The Manning pass and catch by Tyree was one of the greatest plays in football ever.
9) Re the pass rush in this game, it is important to understand that hidden in the W17 game was that the Giants were VERY CLOSE to getting to Brady. Brady was just barely getting the ball off and Simms felt if the turf speed or any of a number of variables changed, that the Giants would get to Brady easier this time. The pass rush affects so many things- you cannot get to Moss downfield anymore. Lack of run means the playaction is not going to work, and w/o playaction you cannot buy the extra time to freeze safeties and allow runners to go longer routes. The longest pass play was 19 yards.
10) On the final Burress TD catch, CB Hobbs is not to be faulted.. it was a blitz and they teach the CB to go for the first move on the blitz because you have to assume the QB will not have enough time for the second move's route. The Giants did great because they picked up the blitz and Eli went exactly where you have to go to on that defensive play call.
11) Giants controlled pace of the game and outplayed the Patriots.
12) Boss play broke the tempo of the game.
13) The Giants and Cowboys are the two most physical teams in the league. Old Time Giants Football.
14) They do not do instant replay of the scrum on a fumble because they do not know when the whistle blew. (Today we heard that the Patriot who fell on the ball lost by Bradshaw admitted he did not have control of the ball when Bradshaw went under his body and popped the ball out to regain possession.)
15) The stock of TB, DAL and GB rises because of how the Giants played NE.
16) 20-20 hindsight: the drive before the end of the half vs Dallas to tie the score defined the Super Bowl run of the Giants.
Fran Tarkenton Video Clip- The Most Mobile QB in NFL History
When Manning gets away from the grasp of a number of Patriot rushers, it does look like luck. But when I think back to my youth about how Fran Tarkenton used to do that kind of maneuvering on an almost regular basis… there is obviously a tremendous amount of intangible skill involved.
The clip on Tarkenton is a great show, even in 2008. He had eyes behind his head. Deacon Jones' and Merlin Olsen's remarks had me roaring in laughter. When Tarkenton went to the Vikings, it was a very bad day for Giants fans. The play by Manning to Tyree heals that wound too. There was plenty of redemption going on on Sunday night.
One more thing- Tarkenton and Manning both are #10..!!
Of course he is NOT jealous of the Giants. But he is JEALOUS that today the team gets a parade down the CANYON OF HEROES. If memory serves, the '86 and '90 teams did not get such treatment because the team moved out to Jersey in the 70's and the mayor/s of NYC did not exactly greet them back for a parade in open arms. Celebrations took place at the stadium instead. This one will be a little better. (addendum- Len Berman said that '86 was rejected by Koch because of 'NJ' and '90 did not happen because of the Gulf War.)
A few members of the ultimatenyg contingent were at the game...
Monday, February 4, 2008
Simply the biggest play in NY Giants history... "The Helmet"
Phil Simms: (paraphrased) 'One of the greatest football plays ever.'
Peyton Manning: "Eli's pass to Tyree, I think, was one of the greatest plays of all time."
Bob Golic and Mike Greenberg: #1 Super Bowl Play of All Time.
This was an incredible play defining an incredible game. It had Manning scrambling, it had him getting sacked, then a miraculous Tarkenton-esque escape, followed by a heave to David Tyree, met by a Pro Bowl defender, a jump ball, a catch pinned against the helmet, and the ball somehow stays caught despite Harrison pulling at Tyree's arms to rip apart the ball (not to mention the additional impact with the ground) from his hands. All taking place in a 2 minute Super Bowl drive for a championship.
Eli's place in Giant and NY sports is set for life. I am having a somewhat hard time comprehending it all. I know it happened, but this is larger than anything we could imagine as fans of this team.
We think of other events in sports that are similar... Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. I was 6 years old when the great NY sporting events of '69 occurred, Willis Reed, Miracle Mets, Joe Namath. So I cannot compare those events. My first Super Bowl that I watched and understood was Dallas beating Miami (24-3), so the only true comparison I have for this is Montana to Taylor when the 49ers beat Cincinnati. For this to happen to OUR team in those similar circumstances is somewhat amazing. And let us remember Montana and the 49ers were favored, and they did not need Manning (slipping out of the grasp) to Tyree's Helmet to survive. Beating the Bengals was not beating the Goliath of Belichick and Brady. I think I will only begin to comprehend the scope of this win in the next few days.
The 1990 Championship Season's analog is alive and well. Carl Banks had this one pegged MANY weeks ago. As glorious as the 49er NFC Championship was, as amazing as the triumph over the Bills was in Super Bowl XXV, somehow it misses. This year had even more. THREE ROAD PLAYOFF WINS. Overtime versus the Pack IN Lambeau. Followed by the insanity of this comeback with ~2 minutes left against an 18-0 team that was huge favorites. Incredible. SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS!
ONE MORE THING- Please read Phil Simms' comments on the game BEFORE IT WAS PLAYED, posted yesterday at ~1PM. He NAILED IT right here.
Strahan- sacks, pressures, run stops, smelling out flat pass, giving this team the message that they were there in Arizona to WIN the game.
Toomer- Not satisfied with getting to the SB again. Returning from ACL surgery and making an impact on a regular basis. Yet another amazing toe catch from the sideline master.
Manning- FREE PASS FOR LIFE! He has delivered a Super Bowl Championship to us and can throw 4 INTS every game for the rest of his career and I will not care. He was Joe Montana tonight, his line should have read 3 TD and 0 INTS if not for a deflection. His scramble out of a potential sack and subsequent pass to...
Tyree- THE GREATEST PLAY IN GIANTS HISTORY. 3rd and 5, Manning about to get sacked and make 4th and long and the end of our Super Bowl hopes. THE HELMET. An earlier TD. He was the miracle. This eclipses Mark Ingram's 3rd and 12 and Bobby Johnson's 4th and 17. Not even close.
Burress- playing all season hurt, and then catching the final TD for the Super Bowl. If he is healthy he is getting 100+ yards per game for us and completely changing the game.
Pierce- the General on the playing field, making all the calls, always having the defense in the right place, making everyone around him better.
Smith- clutch catch after clutch catch. 3rd and 11 tightrope first down to the 13 yard line sets up Burress TD heroics.
Boss- what hands?!! 45 yard catch and run ignited our offense en route to the win!
Bradshaw- fighting and scrapping for yards wherever he could find them. I still do not understand how he got back his own fumble.
Jacobs- 4th and 1 carry on 'the drive' instrumental. This player's blitz pickups this evening were the UNSUNG HERO OF THE GAME.
Webster- He slips on the Moss TD. But then he bats away a long pass to Moss on the final drive to effectively seal the win. Against all odds he is arguably sharing the MVP of the entire playoffs with Manning.
Tuck- 2 sacks, a fumble strip of Brady, constant pressure on Brady. The MVP of the game if Manning does not lead the final drive.
Umenyiora/Cofield/Robbins/Alford- in the trenches, controlling everything.
Diehl/Seubert/O'Hara/Snee/McKenzie- in the trenches, controlling everything.
Wilson/Johnson/Butler/Ross/Dockery- holding one of the most potent offenses to 14 points, bending but not breaking. TEAM.
From one of the Las Vegas Strip's managers at a sports book: "Congrats to all believers. You can forward to Dr. Rob and all other Giants fans. The books got slaughtered. Not only was the money right but the moneyline bets came in too. I knew we had a chance when the two biggest bets today were $100k -12 and $60k at -420 on the moneyline for the Pats. You might wonder how the book got slaughtered? The majority of the bets today and all week were on the Giants. A special shout out to Ron. Great call!"
Sunday, February 3, 2008
I thought Super Bowl XXI and Super Bowl XXV were sweet. Super Bowl XLII's victory is beyond anything I could have imagined. It is a figure of speech to ask someone to pinch you when you are having doubts imagining that reality is indeed exceeding anything you could have dreamed about, but I found myself doing that because the win was so surreal. We thought the Giants had a chance, but did any of us truly KNOW that we were going to come out winners tonight?! And when we went ahead 10-7 we thought it was possible. And when it was 3rd and goal for the Patriots at the 8 and a stop forces a possible OT, are we thinking win when Moss gets the TD? There is enough time left, 3 timouts. But can we go down the field? I just saw the replay and it was a Brandon Jacobs falling forward on 4th and 1 or else we are thinking of what could have been. Miracle play after play kept the drive alive. Manning getting out of that sack and then the scramble for....The catch by Tyree on the helmet?!!!! That play was better than Mark Ingram on 3rd and 12 in 1991! I never thought I would hear myself say that. And then the Steve Smith (okay, you are forgiven for the INT) catch for 11 yards and a 1st down. And then Burresssss in the end zone for TD!!! Comfortably NUMB! The rookie Alford sacks Brady to put them in the hail mary and the game is sealed!!!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!! ELI MANNING GETS A FREE PASS FOR THE REST OF HIS CAREER!!! THE GIANTS ARE SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONS!!!!!
I am not a very big Mike Francesa fan, but he did a beautiful job articulating all of the storylines for this Super Bowl. In a nutshell, this matchup has the ability to live up to the hype for the first time in a long time because of the 18-0 season of the Patriots. And if the Giants were to somehow pull off an upset, it would also imply an epic game and one of the biggest upsets in all of sports. So we are going to see some form of history tonight, and if the game is competitive it will be very special.
Phil Simms was on for an hour. Newer blog readers know that I think the world of Simms for too many reasons to list here, but suffice it to say that I respect his opinions and views immensely. Phil can be wrong- he picked the Raiders over the Bucs in the Super Bowl ~5 years ago. He also contended that the Giants were fine for being conservative on offense in Q4 vs Dallas, something I disagree with in a HUGE way.
Against Dallas (3 weeks ago) he thought the Giants would be competitive and had a chance at possibly winning the game. TODAY HE THINKS "THE GIANTS CAN HAVE A CHANCE TO BEAT THE PATRIOTS." So his sentiments are eerily similar. What does that mean? It simply tells us that we are not completely subjective and biased for thinking that the Giants have a chance.
* Almost everyone he has spoken with thinks the Patriots are going to score in the 40's and and are going to win easily, but that he is not of that opinion.
* It will be a lower scoring game than most think and it will be more competitive.
* The NYG are on an emotional high that he has not seen in sports.
* Two keys are (1) can the Giants DL be disruptive (2) can the Giants be more physical on offense.
* Has heard this fast turf is in excellent condition and will be even faster, which benefits speed.
In terms of the players who benefit from speed, this means Moss, Welker, Umenyiora and Bradshaw.
FINAL THOUGHTS: Win the game, win it ALL, win the SUPER BOWL CHAMPIONSHIP. Are we underdogs? Yes. But if we have that small chance to win, I want to win. I will leave it with the final thought from Michael Strahan after the Patriot loss in W17:
"It's frustrating because when you have a team like this up against the ropes, you can't afford to do that," Strahan said. "I guess I am supposed to be happy that we are going to the playoffs and we played well and we came almost close but that is not good enough for me. I'm not out there to play and be fish food," Strahan continued. "I'd rather be the fish. I want to eat it." Beat the Patriots tonight and win the title!
Saturday, February 2, 2008
Mike Vrabel: "He is a great back and he is one of those guys who is gaining confidence each time he carries the ball. Bill (Belichick) loves him. He shows film of him, he gets his helmet knocked off and runs through three guys and says: 'That's a pretty good 6-yard run.' He's right."
Junior Seau: "He's not showing all his game. He's got a great upside. He hasn't played a full season. There's more to his game than you think. He's going to be a great player."
Bill Belichick: Bradshaw is a "key player to stop. He gives them a spark when he touches the ball. He has good quickness, he has good power, good vision. He's a good cutback runner. He made a huge play there in the draw play against Green Bay. I know it got called back, but they had him for no gain, he broke a couple tackles, used his quickness to break out of there and went the distance – 50 yards or whatever it was. Bradshaw is a good back. … He's a threat to go anywhere on the field."
Jim Brown, Hall of Fame RB: "(Bradshaw) could be the guy who decides the game."
Ronde Barber: “That kid is going to be great. We kept on hitting him and pounding him and he kept going forward, fighting for yards."
Reggie Torbor: "It might sound crazy, but in some spots, he's harder to tackle than Brandon (Jacobs)."
For the Giants and Bradshaw, the Future is NOW. Speed kills. Use it or lose it. Get this guy the ball as much as possible and win the game.
The rookie draft class of 2007 will be remembered for a long time.
Ross- starting CB
Smith- #3 WR behind Burress and Toomer
Alford- backup DL seeing plenty of time to keep everybody fresh
DeOssie- special teams, long snapper
Boss- starting TE for injured Shockey
Koets- special teams OL
Johnson- started at Safety midyear when secondary was hurt
Bradshaw- THE MAN (see next post)
Video linked.. they are supportive of one another and are not rookies anymore. To say these guys have been instrumental in the success of this team is an understatement.
Second video supplement by Steve Sabol on "Reese's Pieces"
Friday, February 1, 2008
A list of reasons for why the Giants will lose the Super Bowl:
1) The Patriots offense is as good as the '99 Rams, maybe better.
2) Tom Brady is one of the best QBs of our generation.
3) Bill Belichick is one of the best coaches of our generation.
4) The Patriots have too many ways to win a ball game.
5) Umenyiora and Burress- talk is cheap.
6) A Pats win means the '72 Dolphins crybabies can finally go away.
7) Is Coughlin/Gilbride ready for primetime?
A list of reasons for why the Giants will win the Super Bowl:
1) The Giants played NE already and know what it will take to win.
2) Toomer and Strahan: The Giants are here to win the game.
3) You cannot plan a ring. Seau and Barber both get denied.
4) The road warriors are on the road.
6) 18-0. The bigger they are the harder they fall.
7) The Patriots defense is the chink in the armor.
8) This team is resilient. Bruschi on the gmen: "...incredible mental toughness."
9) 1990 analog.