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Monday, March 31, 2008

Offseason Workout Program Begins Today for New York Giants, early signs are that Strahan looks to return for another year

Today marks the beginning of the voluntary offseason workout program. It looks to be a non-event. The only no-show of any significance is Umenyiora, and his agent says it is not related at all to his contract. Otherwise, there is also good news in the Giants and Snee working on a contract extension. Snee will be in attendance at the offseason program.

Early signs are that Strahan looks to return for another year.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

ESPN discusses the New York Giants' first pick in the draft

Guts, Glory and Giants Fans- Irv Brechner's salute to the Giants and Giants Fans

Read this doc on Scribd: Guts Glory & Giants Fans

Friday, March 28, 2008

Can the Super Bowl Champion Repeat?

Can the New York Giants repeat as Super Bowl Champions? In order to look at the world of 2008, you have to analyze the 1995 (the start of FREE AGENCY) through 2007 seasons for an objective examination of the question. There are MANY variables still to consider, but the one we will focus on is the rookie component to the championship teams.

Youth springs eternal. The Giants entered 2007 as the third youngest team in the NFL. Considering the punter alone adds ~half a year to that tab, the return of the rookie class of 2007 for 2008's campaign is a source of energy and optimism.

1974 Steelers analog? I just got through saying how the era of free agency makes comparison to Super Bowl winners before 1995 moot, and now here I go launching into comparisons with the 1974 Steelers?! Well, when you get a rookie haul like the Steelers got, the temptation to compare is strong. Of course we must not get too carried away here. The 1974 draft class of the Steelers is the gold standard. 4 Hall of Famers. A Super Bowl championship THAT YEAR. Their first. But that is where the Giants comparisons start to get tempting. These rookies also had a Super Bowl Championship THAT YEAR. And the NY Giants Super Bowl XLII victory has a RECORD NUMBER OF ROOKIES GETTING RINGS.

Year Team #Rookies AvgAge Notables
1974 Steelrs 15 25.3 Swann, Stallworth, Lambert, Webster, Shell
1995 Cowbys 15 26.9
1996 Packers 8 27.1
1997 Broncos 7 28.3 Pryce
1998 Broncos 8 28.5 Lepsis
1999 Rams.. 12 26.5 Bly, Holt
2000 Ravens 7 27.7 AThomas, JLewis
2001 Pats.... 9 27.1 Brady1*, Light, Seymour
2002 TBBucs 10 27.1
2003 Pats... 10 28.0 Koppen, Samuel, Wilson, Warren
2004 Pats... 10 27.2 Watson, Gay, Wilfork
2005 Steelrs 8 27.5 Miller
2006 I.Colts 10 26.5 Bethea, Addai
2007 Giants 14 26.4 Ross, Smith, Boss, Bradshaw

Note that the 15 rookies on Dallas' roster in 1995 had no noteworthy players. Zero pro bowls from that lot. If you look at the youngest teams with the most notable rookie contributors, the numbers seem to imply a correlation towards future sustained strength. The 1999 Rams and the 2001 Pats had future appearances in the championship. Based on these anecdotal observations, the 2006 Colts and 2007 Giants should be very competitive.

When you filter for 3 or more notable rookies on the Super Bowl winners, it does indicate a fair degree of future success. Free agency presents cap problems for the winners. Good players leave for more money. But in free agency your rookies are a captive audience. They are under contract, they are not going anywhere and they are not renegotiating for more cap pressure in the next few years.

Conversely, if we look at the teams on this list without any rookie contributions, there might be an even stronger argument for LACK of competitiveness in future years from those organizations. The three teams with none all suffered after their win because a bad draft that year was quietly covering up a deficient future. Combined with other teams naturally going after their productive leaders who are in their prime, these teams suffer a great deal.

It may be curve fitting to get a result we want, but if you remove the 41 year old Feagles, you get a more realistic representation of the roster, and that drops the average age to 26.1. Plus the 4 'notable' rookies mentioned for the Giants all played a big role in the Super Bowl. It obviously remains to be seen how their careers will unfold, but no one can deny that at that moment the Giants have at least four rookies...

Ross was starting most of the season with major minutes
Smith made catch after catch in the playoffs and Super Bowl
Boss made some instrumental catches at big moments in big drives
Bradshaw led the Giants in playoff rushing despite far fewer carries

Also not mentioned is Jay Alford, whose sack of Brady near the end of the game was one of the biggest plays of the Super Bowl. Michael Johnson started five games at Safety this season and played major minutes all year. THIS WAS NO ORDINARY ROOKIE CLASS. That is why we can say with early confidence that the Giants have 3+ notable rookies. BASED ON THIS VARIABLE THE GIANTS PROJECT TO BE EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE THE NEXT ~3 YEARS.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The New York Giants Rookies, one last time

On Saturday February 2nd, a day before Super Bowl XLII, we posted a piece on the rookie draft class of 2007. In it, we had a very good video which put the set of young players' accomplishments in fairly good perspective. In 4 weeks' time, the rookies will be rookies no longer, as a new draft class is selected by the Giants. But an analysis of the draft class of 2007 is extremely important to understanding not only why the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, but just as importantly if these foot soldiers give the team the legs for more titles.

I find it meaningful that when 4 rookies were asked who the best one was, we got 4 different answers! Who is the best rookie?
Zak DeOssie: "Kevin Boss."
Kevin Boss: "Steve Smith."
Steve Smith: "Aaron Ross."
Aaron Ross: "Ahmad Bradshaw."

Tomorrow, a discussion of past Super Bowl winners, their rookie makeup and whether these rookies give the Giants an advantage to win another title.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

A Conversation with Arnie V.

Arnie V. is one of the charter members of the ultimatenyg crew, having been in the original email group that was the humble beginnings of this blog. Today he shares with us some of his thoughts about the Giants and the game he has watched for many decades.

Ultimatenyg: When did you start going to Giants games?

Arnie: "In 1939. I was 6 years old. I was at the game on December 7, 1941. Word spread through the crowd about Pearl Harbor. Back in those days the portable radios were too large (to bring) and all we heard from the announcer was calls for Admiral So and So to call his office and General So and So to call his office. We were playing the Brooklyn Dodgers, a franchise that would end up folding during the war. In fact, during the war the NFL consolidated and you had teams like the Steelers and the Eagles merged. They called them the 'Steagles.'"

You were at the Colts-Giants 1958 game also?

"Yes. But I did not find that loss as painful as Marvelous did. You see, for me, the Giants had to beat Cleveland not once but twice at the end of the season in order for us to get to the championship game. So it was not as bad for me because I felt that we already had a few pieces of good fortune just to get to that game."

Any color on the game itself?

"We had come back to take the lead and actually had the ball with a 3 pt. lead when Gifford was running with the ball on 3rd down. Gifford swears to this day that he made the first down. But on the play, Gino Marchetti broke his leg, and Gifford contends that the confusion led to a wrong spot. We had to kick, and the rest is history."

What was different about the game back then?

"For starters, without free agency, a player was with a team and that was it. Trades did not occur that often. The furor when Huff was traded to the Redskins was enormous. There was very little movement of players from one team to another. Second, obviously the players are bigger and faster today. Third, you had players that used to play both ways. Chuck Bednarik played for the Eagles- he was a Center on offense and a Middle Linebacker on defense. He once hit Gifford so hard that he knocked him out for that season and the next season."

How has the game changed which is positive?

"The popularity. When I was growing up, Baseball was #1 by a wide margin. College football was much more popular than the Pro game. Today Pro Football is the #1 sport and it benefits from all the attention and interest."

How has the game changed which is negative?

"The game is now all about the money. Ticket prices are high. The game is for TV and not for the people going to the game. We get cold weather games at night in winter. I am afraid to look at the schedule for what they are going to do to us now that we won the Super Bowl. We'll be on a lot at night again."

With Brett Favre having retired, there has been a lot of discussion about his place in history as one of the ten best quarterbacks of all time. Who are your 10 best QB's?

"Well, I read the blog with what Marvelous had and I agree with every one of his picks. I really cannot offer anyone else who I would have in there. The only person who might be in there is Sid Luckman, but I would keep the 10 that Marvelous had." (Ultimatenyg note for Marvelous' Top 10: Unitas, Montana, Elway, and thereafter in no order, Favre, Baugh, Graham, Bradshaw, Marino, Manning and Starr.)

Who was the best Giants player you ever saw?


Anyone else who was close, or honorable mention?


Best Giants team?

"The 1986 team that went on to win Super Bowl XXI was the best in my opinion. Everyone made such a big deal about the Patriots winning 18 straight, and they were 18-1. But that Giants team was 17-2 and they were the most dominant Giants team I ever saw. They lost the first game of the season to Dallas on Monday night and proceeded to go 17-1 in the remaining games, which is nearly identical to what the Patriots had done. And of course they won the Championship as well."

Best Giants play?

"The 'Miracle in the Desert' has to be it. It was the culmination of the unbelievable. I used to think the best play was that hit of Montana by Burt in the '86 playoffs (Giants 49 SF 3) that LT picked off and ran in for a TD, but it was eclipsed by the Manning to Tyree play."

So 2007 is the best year for you?

"Yes. This year was so unexpected. 2007-8 was the best year because the whole playoff run was one great win after another."

Most Painful loss?

"The biggest loss had to be the 49ers playoff loss in the 2002-3 season when we blew the 38-14 lead. The Jets loss in 1988 at the end of the season which kept us out of the playoffs was a close second."

Did you see/predict the old Eli becoming the new Eli?

"No, and certainly not that quick. I was a moderate Eli critic. The Draft Day trade for him seemed very expensive. I was not overly enthusiastic. But now you have to believe that he has the confidence to play at a higher level, so that the new Eli will be with us from now on. I do not mean that he won't have bad games anymore, but I think we will see better play from him."

You were one of the more bullish people for 2007. What do you look for in 2008?

"I would be surprised if we had a bad year. I am looking for a good winning season and the playoffs. Maybe deep playoffs."

Thanks Arnie.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Rich Seubert signs contract extension with New York Giants

Rich Seubert of the New York Giants signed a contract extension making him a Giant until 2012.

So what is the big deal about an interior offensive lineman signing a contract extension with the Giants? In a word, everything. It is continuity for the offensive line. It is an undrafted UFA from unknown Western Illinois who quietly (well maybe not so quiet as a prankster amongst his teammates) goes about his business of making holes in the running game and protecting the QB.

Seubert was part of the no-name group of offensive linemen assembled in 2001 that started for the 2002 team. I will contend to this day that the 2002 New York Giants offense was the greatest New York Giants offense I ever saw. It featured Luke Petitgout and Mike Rosenthal at Tackle. Chris Bober was the Center. Jason Whittle and Rich Seubert were the Guards.

What firepower:
Tiki Barber 1400 yards in his prime.
Toomer 1400 yards receiving in his prime. (That he did not get a Pro Bowl nod that year was in name only.)
Shockey the rookie for 900 yards and a Pro Bowl.
Kerry Collins 4000 yards.
And a Jim McNally offensive line that was more than good.

Seubert's 2003 compound fracture leg injury would have ended most careers, but he came back and won a ring this year. Pretty telling that he wanted to remain a Giant the rest of his playing days, mentioning "loyalty" to the organization in his deal. These are the players that overachieve and enable championships.

Monday, March 24, 2008

First Round Value BY POSITION

In the Past 10 drafts, here is a list of the number of first round picks taken BY POSITION:

QB 28, WR 43, OT 28, RB 30, G/C 13, TE 13, DE 37, DL 29, LB 36, CB 43, S 15, P 1


Here is the same list for NET FREQUENCY DRAFTED. This is defined as drafting frequency taken MINUS frequency on field. (Example: QB is 1 out of 22 players on field or ~4.6%, frequency taken is 28 out of a total of 316 players taken or ~8.9%, so QBs are taken with a NET FREQUENCY of 8.9%-4.6%= +4.3% excess weight in first round.)

RB +5%
QB +4.3%
DE +2.6%
CB +2.2%
WR +2.2%
DL +0.1%
LB +0.0%
OT -0.2%
TE -0.4%
S -4.3%
G/C -9.5%

What this says is that RBs, QBs, DE's, CB's and WR's are more coveted vs their number of players at that position on the field. It also says that Safeties and Interior Offensive Linemen are less coveted relative to their numbers on the field. This makes a great deal of sense given what we know about the game. Interior Offensive Linemen are less skilled than Tackles, and while they are in the trenches, they do not cause fumbles and make impact the way other players can. Likewise, Safeties are not as fast as Cornerbacks and certainly not as important as a versatile LB or DE (who can wreak more havoc on a QB).

ULTIMATENYG General Manager:
(a) Underweight RB. While these players can have great impact, they also rate to get injured and have far shorter careers.
(b) Underweight WR. We have discussed this in 2007's offseason. There are always WRs available in free agency. Case in point Burress, Moss and Stallworth. Less draft, more free agent. If you want a quality WR, the Toomers and Smiths are there in Round 2 anyway.
(c) Underweight DL if you can. This is not a statement about need for effectiveness in the trenches. It is merely an observation that DL is probably the second hardest position for a rookie next to QB, and that experience is more important than pedigree. I keep thinking about Barry Cofield and Keith Hamilton at Round4 vs the Jets' Dwayne Robertson at Round1, the 4th pick in the entire draft. Good DL's take years to develop, and it negates the immediate impact you need for your first rounder in today's cap world. Articulated another way- you can win a title with a midround DL who simply is afforded the time to play the position.
(d) Overweight OT. SLAM DUNK. The statistic above that Offensive Tackles are only taken roughly in line with their natural frequency on the field is very surprising to me. The numbers do not lie. Use this to your advantage and draft more Offensive Tackles.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Bob Costas and Mark Cuban vs. the Blogs

First Mark Cuban decided that he was banning blog writers from the Dallas Mavericks locker room. Yawn. Then Bob Costas put in his two cents:

"It's just a high-tech place for idiots to do what they used to do on bar stools or in school yards, if they were school-yard bullies, or on men's-room walls in gas stations. That doesn't mean that anyone with half a brain should respect it."

Okay, time to chime in. I will be as idiotic as I can possibly be!
1) Blogging works because the content is strong. Ultimatenyg was a guest blogger on the New York Times Fifth Down (its very first one, I might add) and it was so successful that they now have had a number of guest bloggers on the site.

2) There is demand for information and discussion of the NFL and peoples' favorite teams beyond the regular season. Ultimatenyg started as an email group of friends and was getting a few hits per day in the 2006 regular season and now gets hundreds of hits per day in the OFFSEASON. The mainstream media drops offseason sports like a pariah and with the exception of a week of free agency and a week of the draft it effectively disappears until training camp.

3) If blogging was stupid and a waste of peoples' time, people would not visit the sites. Yet they do. Why? Because the blogs provide something that the mainstream media cannot do: honest commentary. It is the nature of the beast. The beat writers need access and they must 'behave' in order to maintain that relationship. Francesa and Russo will comment negatively on a player or coach but as soon as they get on the air with that person they kiss his a** for fear of offending him and not getting him on the air ever again.

4) Fans demand respect. They are smarter than you think and if you think you are fooling them they will walk. Are there going to be idiotic bloggers? Yes. But at least here on this site we strive to respect the opinions of others and we admit when we are wrong. Opinions will be wrong from time to time. This site does not make predictions on every game, but when it does it has a very decent track record. Everything said is a matter of record, and the good AND the bad do not get changed after the fact.

5) Ever notice how the blogs have links to other information, other media and other bloggers?!! Bloggers understand that the internet is a tremendous village of content and information. They are happy you stopped here to visit this article and are just as happy to pass you along to another site that they think you might find helpful or interesting. When was the last time you opened the NY Post and they told you to buy the Star Ledger because Garafolo scooped us?!!

6) Cuban and Costas could not have done a better job for bloggers. It is always amazing how (IDIOTIC!) critics of free speech end up aiding their enemies more by opening their mouths than by keeping them shut. It is the classic story of how the (frivolous) lawsuit is filed against a new book coming out, the media reports on the lawsuit so heavily that book sales for this hitherto unknown publication explode, the lawsuit is later thrown out of court for being... idiotic!... and the author lives happily ever after.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

NY Giants hike ticket prices $7 for 2008

The New York Giants announced ticket prices for 2008 will go up by $7 per seat per game, or an 8% hike.

If this were the worst of it, the price alone would not really bother me. Baseball and the NBA rip off people for MUCH longer seasons where they don't show up for every game. Guys don't run out ground balls and only start playing basketball hard in Q4. Football is actually a value proposition. But where things start to slide is that the NFL used to hold these fall and winter outdoor events at 1PM (or NOON!) depending on which time zone your team was in. Now we see the creep to 4PM and 830PM starts for more ratings revenue. Look out for the Super Bowl champs to be playing to snoozing and bailing crowds at a late night venue near you. And get ready for the latest financial wizardry to soak you- the seat license. So in the grand scheme of things, this $7 hike is just an hors d'oeuvre.

Friday, March 21, 2008

2008 Giants Draft

NFL Network had an installment on the Giants draft needs. It mentions the usual suspects of CB, OLB and S. I would like to believe the Giants go LB if they can get some speed there. I do not prefer to go Safety that early because Safety is not a skill position in the NFL. If Madison is still healthy, between him/Ross/Webster I would prefer going LB first and CB later on. Charles Davis thinks the Giants should go LB with Xavier Adibi.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


Did you notice the logjam at 3-6 this year in the draft order? Four teams all had the same record.

3- 'F'alcons 0.516 (strength of schedule)
4- 'R'aiders 0.516
5- 'C'hiefs 0.516
6- 'J'ets 0.523

The Jets lost the tiebreaker on strength of schedule. The Chiefs pick behind the Raiders because of intra-divisional standings based on common opponents. The Falcons won the coin toss.

1st round FRCJ
2nd round RCJF (NFL tiebreaker rotation format)
3rd round CJFR etc...

THE ROTATION IS WRONG! Why should the team picking second best in the first tiebreak of Round 1 get to go FIRST of these four in the next round, with everyone sliding up? The order should be reversed.

1st round FRCJ
2nd round JCRF
3rd round FRCJ etc...

If one consults the draft value chart AND the NFL makes the tiebreak as equitable as possible, the team that picked ahead of everyone and won the tiebreak in Round 1 would go LAST EVERY SUBSEQUENT ROUND AND the team that went last would go FIRST EVERY SUBSEQUENT ROUND etc..

1st round FRCJ
2nd round JCRF
3rd round JCRF etc..

WHY??? Because the difference in the lost tiebreak in Round 1 is SO HUGE that giving the LOSER the best picks in EVERY SUBSEQUENT ROUND would still not make up for the difference in Round 1! Check the draft value draft for picks 3-6.

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

If the Raiders got the #3 pick of Round 1 with the worst of the rest of the rounds, while the Jets got the #6 pick in Round 1 and best thereafter, the Raiders would still have 3128 points of value assigned to them while the Jets would get 2589!

In fact, we can go one step further- the NFL could give the tiebreak teams the CHOICE of taking [the best in the 1st round and the worst in every subsequent round] OR [the worst in the first and the best in every round thereafter], and I would still be willing to bet that every team would choose the former because of all of the edge in going ahead of the other teams in Round 1. At least you see the difference shrinking... teams would be willing to debate internally whether the edge in picking ahead in round #1 merits going behind every subsequent round.

Considering how microscopic the strength of schedule tiebreaker is, the current rules for rotating picks punishes tiebreak losers inordinately for no reason other than ignorance of a simple and fair alternative mentioned here.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Offensive Line

NY Giants RT Kareem McKenzie has been one of those cogs that differentiated the Coughlin regime from the Fassel regime.

Jim Fassel relied on the tremendous talents of Jim "Mouse" McNally, who took UFAs and made them into good linemen. The problem was that while these (cheap, value) guys would save Accorsi precious dollars for the cap, they were not going to be the answer at crunch time vs the best teams.

Coughlin and the front office have crafted an OL with a high second rounder in Snee (26), strong free agent pickups in O'Hara (30, Browns) and McKenzie(28, Jets), and McNally holdovers Diehl (27) and Seubert (28). What seems to make the line work is that all the guys can put together 15-16 starts per season, assuming there is no big injury (like the Seubert leg in '03). All of these guys have played with one another for three consecutive years, a rarity in the NFL. Continuity and durability. The Giants can get a LT for more depth/speed, but there is no reason this unit cannot get better. They are all in their prime. Other teams are trying to copy the Giant blueprint for success and most of them are far off on building this kind of continuity.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Burress, Accorsi and Reese

Back in March of 2005, Burress' agent tried to make an arms race between the Giants and a few other teams. Burress shows up at Giants Stadium. The agent does not accompany him, meaning that a deal is not likely to get done. This maneuver by the agent pissed the Giants off big time. The Giants told his agent that once Burress left them their interest was done. In an unusual move, the Giants then went out of their way to tell the media and the world that they no longer had interest in Burress. This was a way of telling the agent that they were not letting him shop their interest. It served to tell other teams that they should be wary of the agent's gaming tactics. And lastly, it directly undermined the player's value. After Burress went to look at the Vikings, he fired his agent, got Drew Rosenhaus and got a deal done with the Giants. The date was March 17, 2005, and Plaxico Burress took jersey #17 for the day of the contract. Three years later he is a Super Bowl champion wearing Giant blue.

The story reminds us that the Giants will not be leveraged. They go one and one, but once you leave you are done. And as they have shown so many times, they will go the cheaper route if they have to. It is interesting to note that Accorsi signed THREE BIG PLAYERS that month: Antonio Pierce, Kareem McKenzie and Plaxico Burress. Nice haul. ALL THREE WERE A BIG FOUNDATION FOR THE 2007 YEAR AND SUPER BOWL WIN. Reese still must respect that element of the front office. He is a scout, and wants to win with the players he drafts. That is great, but you need to go after a special player once in a while because he is a proven source who can help a need and win you a championship. Reese is not Accorsi, but he has to respect that Accorsi was a part of his success last year when he did not chase the next round of free agents. He had others from Accorsi's years to fall back on.

Summary- using cheap replenishments in free agency exclusively only works when you already have a great deal of talent and are very successful in the draft. There is too much talent lost in free agency for a team to reasonably assume that it will not need to use this player pool to improve the roster.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

DeAngelo Hall to the Raiders

Looks like DeAngelo Hall is going to the Raiders for their 2nd Round pick.

Before anyone gets too excited about it 'only' being a 2nd round pick, it is #34 in the draft vs. the Giants #31 (1st rounder) that was being proposed. Plus, from the details being kicked about, the salary for the new deal could be ~9M/year. I do not have as much information about the deal (i.e. details about Hall's headcase coefficient), but assuming he was NOT the big troublemaker he was portrayed to be, I would have liked doing the deal. IF he was deemed to be a big headcase and/or doing the deal now started squeezing cap space for Strahan/Umenyiora/Burress, then you MUST understand why the Giants passed. Either way the Giants felt the best course was to keep their first pick and their money (Garafolo points to this and also offers a possibility the Giants could get their hands on Asomugha). Don't fight it. Reese is a scout and he believes (as does Marc Ross) that they will get a very good player at #31 and that they had to opt out. Next.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Attention Kmart Shoppers

Let's review the Giants' free agent signings in 2008:

1) Sammy Knight S 5.15M/3yrs
2) David Carr QB 1M/1yr
3) Danny Clark OLB 4M/2yrs
4) Derrick Ward RB 1.1M/1yr

Do you see a profile? Reese is simply looking for CHEAP bodies in NEED places.Last month we identified needs and four of them were hit by the Giants. These are role players that plug holes. Do the Giants still need a CB, S, LB and LT in this draft? ABSOLUTELY. But now the Giants will not be tripping over themselves drafting for need ahead of value. Reese's formula is simple- get enough need taken care of with lower tier free agents so that you are as flexible as possible in the draft.

Danny Clark, Michael Strahan

LB Danny Clark signed with the Giants on Thursday. This is a numbers game. The Giants have holes at LB and S, so they have to get bodies in there that can compete for jobs and give the Giants flexibility next month in the draft. The goal is to be able to get the best player available at every point in the draft, so Reese needs to know he has his bases covered if (appropriately valued) Safeties and Linebackers are not there early. Knight will be 33 on opening day. Clark will be 31 on opening day. The Giants are smart enough to know that you do not get ahead by investing in aging assets. These players will likely not be on the roster in 2-3 years from now, but they will bridge the gap, keep the team competitive in 2008 and provide the team with maximum flexibility on draft day.

NFL Network discusses Michael Strahan's chances for coming back this year.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Derrick Ward re-signs with Giants

Derrick Ward has re-signed with the Giants.

The price was cheap enough. Ward has been injured a lot, and while he did a good job when healthy, Rob points out that Ward could never break that tackle which sent him to a long gain. If he got past the line of scrimmage, he was ALWAYS going down for a gain of 8-9 yards. While there is nothing wrong with an 8 yard gain, in the open field you have to be able to go for a 30-50 yarder some of the time, something Bradshaw and Jacobs have proven they are able to do. With Ward's salary very modest, it is the right thing to do for the team... but I certainly want to see BRADSHAW getting the bulk of the carries going forward. If Ward's presence interferes with Bradshaw's touches, then this signing is going to end up costing us more than the insurance is worth.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

David Carr is low risk and high reward

Listen to what the coach and GM say...

“David Carr is a talented player who came out as the number one pick in the draft,” Coach Tom Coughlin said. “He is a smart and athletic player who has put up some big passing game numbers. We look forward to working with him on the fundamentals of the game. We do have some technical things to work on, but we are anxious to work with him in our program. If we can place him in a positive environment, perhaps he can reclaim some of the things that people saw to draft him in the first round.”

“He has a strong skill set for the position and he has a history with Chris Palmer,” general manager Jerry Reese said. “He is here to compete for a job, and I am looking forward to seeing him compete.”

Carr will be the #3 QB to start and 'compete' for a job. He will work with Palmer to 'reclaim' form in order to be the #2. This reminds me a little bit of another reclamation project- Kerry Collins. Accorsi invested A LOT MORE in Collins back then. Here, Coughlin and Reese get to rebuild Carr with so little cost, and to be a backup. Carr's agent understands the situation- their hope is that Carr can establish new value working in a much better environment (ie a complete offense) and get a much better deal once success is reached (see Kawika Mitchell model). For the Gmen, they will be able to SEE the 'new value' before anyone else and the hope here is that the coaches can extend his contract when they determine he is a credible backup.

In Houston, Carr was getting ~$7M/yr for 7 yrs as a starting rookie without an offensive line. Here it is 1M for 1 yr as a backup and he has an offensive line. This is a no-brainer. The risk is his roster spot for 2008. Great reward if Palmer can get him on track.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Giants sign Carr

Giants sign Carr to 1 yr $1M deal with incentives.This is a nice move. The Giants will see if Carr can pick up the offense better than he did at Carolina and if they like him they will extend his contract at midseason. He is clearly a better and more credible QB than Lorenzen or Wright. If he gets adequate protection, he has plenty of weapons with this offense and will do better than his previous passer ratings suggest. This is an upgrade with zero cap risk, a call option, a very nice move by Reese.

Plax 'jacked'

This past Thursday we heard from Garafolo, who states that Plaxico Burress is 'jacked' about Jevon Walker's contract.

How many of you are surprised?

The moment that Gibril Wilson got that huge contract, the ultimatenyg fly on the wall knew that Strahan, Umenyiora and Burress would be yelling 'show me the money.' It took six days for the press to find out about some of their reaction. One would have to imagine that all three of them were more or less instantaneous in their reaction to the expanded salary cap. It will be up to Reese to find a way to make these players happy. They brought the team a championship. And since NFL contracts are voidable by management, the Giants cannot expect them to be quiet about being paid significantly less than the market. Wilson was overpaid, but these others know they are due a raise.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Super Delegate

No protection led to season-ending sack.

NY Giants free agency news and items

1) David Carr is visiting the Gmen. I like the move. I thought Carr had enough skill to get the job done, but was with teams that were flawed (Texans) and forced him to do more than he could (Panthers backup too quickly in starting role/injured). The Giants offense has all the pieces of the puzzle (excepting a very good LT), so we do not need a tremendous backup QB to keep us competitive. Remember that the Giants offense does not ask the QB to do everything. Schwartz refers to the sack numbers this guy took- he will be able to improve on that because he will get much better protection and will not be asked to stay in the pocket with the ball forever. I suspect he was not the Giants' first choice because he comes with a price tag. But now that it is 12 days into free agency, that price may have dropped enough to make him more value than before.

2) The Daily News does some salary cap math for us. Very good to read these items to understand where it all goes. Quick summary is that there is really only around 10M-11M left, not ~21M. Reese will need that money to up the antes on Strahan, Umenyiora and Burress.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Spygate saga continues

The Goodell-Specter-Walsh-Belichick Spygate saga does not go away. The bottomline here is that Matt Walsh is a private citizen with alleged material in a private industry that is dangerous to private parties. So nothing has to happen for everyone to be happy. But Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania is not happy with that. He has asked some interesting questions and will not disappear so easily.

The power structure of the NFL (the owners) does not want a black eye at this point, even if it means justice for one or two teams at the expense of an another. Their logic is simple... from a utilitarian viewpoint, further discussion of the matter hurts the NFL. Apparently Goodell had convinced owners (of franchises that could have been harmed by Patriots spying) that even if they were eventually redressed by the results of a deeper investigation, it would harm the NFL so much that redressed teams would not come out winners either. Since Walsh (the alleged videotaper) has requested immunity in order to come forward, Goodell up to this point has not offered that because he has no incentive to proceed any further with the inquiry.

That apparently has changed- a deal to get Walsh to talk seems closer. Goodell is certainly getting pressure. As much as he has tried to make this thing go away, he is likely getting threats with other actions if the investigation does not continue. You can tell in his press release how he words everything to demonstrate that the NFL is not acting passively, at least not anymore. At this point he is trying to prove effort as much as anything else.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

odds and ends

1) Coughlin just got a new contract. Going into the 2007 season, the odds of Coughlin changing were about as great as the odds of the Giants winning the Super Bowl. Coincidence? Of course not.

2) The Giants' interest in Brian Kelly and Trent Green is done. Both are headed elsewhere.

3) After David Tyree scored a TD to put the Giants ahead 10-7 in the Super Bowl, he made the special teams tackle on the next kickoff. How many times has that happened? How many times has that happened in a Super Bowl?

4) A quote from Tom Coughlin the day after the Super Bowl...

“I watched the game the next night, all by myself, and right there at the end I got nervous. I was scared it would change.”

Okay, admit it, you did the same thing too, right? I keep watching the pass to Burress in the end zone, and I am still hoping and praying that he will catch that ball. Get those two feet in bounds!

5) Super Bowl Love- When queried about getting a copy of Super Bowl XLII, one Giants fan replied: "I DVR'd it and told my wife if she ever erased it I'd divorce her."

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Behind Enemy Lines

I am up in New Hampshire in Patriots country. There was a death here. A Patriots death! The five stages of grief are anger, denial, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I can officially report that they have finished with anger and denial. They would still like to arrange some sort of way out of their misery, so they are clearly bargaining. Depression? yep, someone stole their dog and they are still looking. Acceptance? They realize it has happened but are certainly not all the way there.

The death of the Patriots was as sudden and unanticipated as the Giants' Super Bowl Championship. No one who was rooting for the Patriots saw this coming. NO ONE! Logically, given the tens of thousands of Giants fans who sojourned to Arizona, there certainly were plenty of Giants fans who thought it could happen, even if the odds were long. But I can assure you- there were exactly ZERO Patriots fans who saw this one coming. Acceptance will not be complete until opening day of 2008.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Manic on Manning

Thanks to Matt Medved of 'Sports Matters' for supplying today's picture.

Toggle to Manic Mode: Eli Manning's stature is on the rise.

Yes, in total manic fashion, a month after we have stopped playing football, we are shifting into another gear to inflate the already high opinion of Eli Manning.

Cynics out there are already groaning. They are pointing out that the same bipolars who were trashing the guy for every sin just months ago are now going gaga in the same inordinate way. Perhaps.

My reply? That was before I saw a replay of the Super Bowl.

We noted in yesterday's post that David Diehl (whether tired or not) became a human turnstile for Adalius Thomas in the final drive. So the conclusion from yesterday's evidence is that the Giants can use a Left Tackle so that Diehl goes back to Guard.

But what about the SECOND CONCLUSION?!... The stock price of Eli Manning has to be going north. Thomas was in his face constantly, and Manning was still putting the ball out there accurately right in front of the pressure. He got chased from behind by Thomas on a few of those runs RIGHT too, or else he would have done even better. If Manning does not get all of that pressure from Thomas he would have been off the charts good.

There were some questions (by others) about Manning's worthiness as Super Bowl MVP. The implication was that the defense (specifically Justin Tuck) deserved it because w/o the defense he is not even in the position to win the game. But after seeing Manning harassed by Thomas almost every play, it is HANDS DOWN clear that Manning was the deliver of victory in every way possible. If he did not have the CONTINUOUS BREAKDOWNS IN PROTECTION, he would have been far more effective in leading the team to a TD (if that is at all possible). It also points to the other widely held understanding that the Patriots did not lose this game- The Giants simply wrested the game away from them. And the replay of that final drive shows it was Manning who was largely responsible for that. Football is a team sport, and eleven players get a drive done. But upon further review, Manning picked this team up and carried everyone.

There is a very good article about Manning in coldhardfootballfacts.com. Their thesis? That this was the only sub-2 minute drive for a championship where a TD was NEEDED for victory. Unitas needed three points for a tie. Starr needed three points for a tie. Montana needed three points for a tie. Manning needed a Touchdown for the championship and nothing less would do.

Hmmm.. Starr, Montana, Unitas... with Manning going up against...Brady. Are you noticing a pattern here? Manning seems to be hanging out with some pretty impressive company. Speaking of good company at QB, how many players went through the Gauntlet of Garcia (4 Pro Bowls), Romo (2 Pro Bowls), Farve (9 Pro Bowls) and Brady (4 Pro Bowls)? That is FOUR Pro Bowl Quarterbacks. 19 Pro Bowls. Two future Hall Of Famers. Two future Hall of Fame Quarterbacks who will arguably be considered amongst the Top 10 QBs of all time. Now obviously Manning does not play AGAINST these Quarterbacks. His defense is the unit that faces them. But at the end of the day, he must do more against those teams than those Quarterbacks do against the Giants; he faced them all and won.

We have stated before that Eli Manning has a free pass for life because he has delivered a championship to the Giants. How much more can he accomplish? He has the ability to play as big as he wants in the biggest of games. The legacy he leaves for the Giants is in his hands.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Why Diehl needs to move back to Guard

1) Diehl was second in the NFL with 13.5 sacks allowed in 2007.

2) In the Super Bowl, Diehl was beat by Adalius Thomas repeatedly. Remember the sack, strip and fumble of Manning that is later batted by Bradshaw? That was Thomas beating Diehl.

3) The Super Bowl's winning drive...

1st and 10 (2:09) Thomas bull rushes Diehl into Manning, forcing a back foot throw to Burress incomplete.

3rd and 10 (1:59) Thomas bull rushes Diehl into Manning, forcing a back foot throw, Toomer complete 1 yd from first down. (Jacobs converts next play on handoff for 2 yds.)

1st and 10 (1:28) Thomas goes around Diehl. Manning runs right across line of scrimmage. Thomas tackles Manning after a 5 yard gain. Eli was almost stripped of the ball from behind on the tackle by Thomas.

3rd and 5 (1:15) Thomas again goes right around Diehl. The Great Escape by Manning. The Miracle in the Desert, The Catch in the Hat, David and Eliath.

1st and 10 (0:59) Thomas throws Diehl aside for a 1 yard sack of Manning. (His second sack of game, Patriots had three total on night.)

2nd and 11 (0:51) Thomas pushes Diehl into Manning as the ball is let go. Almost an INT by Meriweather.

(3rd and 11 to Smith, and then TD to Burress)

Diehl is a great part of this team. He plays every game, he can play every position, but he is NOT a full-time tackle. This draft is heavy on Offensive Tackles. Get one, slide Diehl back to Guard, add depth everywhere on the line. The only reason not to do this is to believe that Guy Whimper is the answer at LT.. so far we have not seen enough evidence of that.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Marvelous: The Top 10 Quarterbacks of All Time

We interviewed Marvelous, who has contributed to some of these blog pages occasionally to give us perspective on the game. He has been a Giants fan since the 1930's. Marvelous was at the greatest game ever played, the Giants loss to the Colts in 1958.

Ultimatenyg: You were at THE game? You were at the greatest game ever played?

Marvelous: "Of course I was. I went to all of the games back in those days. I was at the '56 Championship where we killed the Bears also. The '56 win was a very boring game, one of the most boring I have ever been to."

What happened at the '58 game?

"I had a premonition that Unitas would win. WE HAD THE LEAD. WE HAD THE GAME. To this day it was the BIGGEST CRUSHING LOSS in all of sports in my entire life. I still do not remember the trip going home after the game."

Marvelous, does the win this year in Super Bowl XLII make up for any of the pain of that loss? Does it heal any old Giants wounds?

"Absolutely. I never thought that we were going to win this game. I did not think we would win until it was BEFORE the 3rd and 11 play to Steve Smith. I was on the phone with my cousin Ron and I told him we were winning the game. This win was the biggest Giants win in history. The win this year was the single greatest biggest win of any team I rooted for in ANY sport. We won with chemistry. We were not the greatest team. But we were the best team that week."

So you don't think we were better than the Patriots?

"We were on that day. But I tell you with 100% certainty that we would lose if we had to play them again. The Patriots were stunned, they were sleepwalking."

Brett Favre has just announced his retirement. Where do you rate him?

"He is definitely in the Top 10 that I have seen."

Can you give me your top 10 QBs of all time?

"Johnny Unitas is definitely the #1 QB of all time. Tremendous. Cool, the most relaxed QB ever. Always knew the time, had a great clock in his head. Tremendous accuracy, most feared QB, NO LEAD WAS SAFE. He always played better with more pressure. Him and Raymond Berry were the best combo of all time."

Better than Montana to Rice?

"Oh yes. Berry was a freak. He had no speed. He would fail miserably in today's combines. But he had hands. HANDS! Could not drop a ball. I do not remember him dropping a ball. He would make love to the ball."

How would you rank the rest in the Top 10?

"I would have Montana #2 and Elway #3. I really cannot rank the rest, but in no particular order they would be Favre, Sammy Baugh, Otto Graham, Peyton Manning, Dan Marino, Terry Bradshaw, and Bart Starr."

Honorable Mentions?

"Sid Luckman and Norm Van Brocklin. You could argue for those two being there in the top 10. I loved Tarkenton but he did too much with his feet for me to consider him in my top 10 for QBs. Staubach was the smartest of any QB period. He was brilliant in managing a team. Namath did not play enough. And Bobby Layne was the toughest SOB out there."

Thanks Marvelous.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Brett Favre Retires- Top 10 QB of All Time

Brett Favre, one of the best ever. "... the master of the NO-NO-YES-YES Play."

Brett Favre early years video. A must view for all Giants fans who enjoy seeing NY Jets misery. (After it buffers, go to ~4:40 time.) Captured for posterity. I will leave the addendum to this in the comments section so as not to spoil it.

Sammy Knight signing

Coughlin on Knight: "Sammy Knight is a durable, physical player with 42 career interceptions. He comes to the line of scrimmage extremely well. He's a smart player who gets everybody lined up. He played in Kansas City for (secondary coach) Peter Giunta, so we know all about the quality of the man."

The Giants are a physical team, so it is good to hear that he will be able to fit in with their schemes. But please note sometimes it is what they don't say that is just as important.. 'he comes to the line of scrimmage very well' means he plays run fine. But what about his coverage skills? They left that part out. Spags will have to compensate for a 33 year old safety and not expose him to too much single.

From Paul Schwartz NY Post on Sammy Knight: "He does not possess the physical skills he once did, and reports are that his lack of speed will at times be a liability in coverage. But Knight is an able and willing participant in the running game and is effective up in the box, where he is a sure tackler."

Knight fills a need and allows Reese to manage the draft much easier. The Giants still need to draft here, but at least it is not rushed development.

How much confidence do we have in Kiwanuka to cover the TE? I still see a strong side LB as a key need for the Giants. We face two Pro Bowl TE's in our division, they need attention.

Monday, March 3, 2008

ESPN reports Giants sign Sammy Knight

3 yrs 5.15M, 1.25M Guaranteed.

Free Agency Busts

Free Agency Models compared


Top 10 Free Agent Busts (..and the Giants not close to anyone on this list.)

I think you could have come up with a list of the Top 10 Redskin Free Agent Busts singlehandedly. Hmm, let's try (in no particular order)...

1) Deion Sanders (this is a stickup, gimme all your money!)
2) Adam Archuletta (instant doom)
3) Dana Stubblefield (my favorite, he had me quaking in my boots coming over from the 49ers in the early years of free agency, and every game we saw him he was as tame as a kitten)
4) Jeremiah Trotter (good with the Eagles, bad with the Skins, good with the Eagles!)
5) Bruce Smith (the older they are, the more insane the team)
6) Jeff George (Jeff George)
7) Stanley Richard (4 quiet years, a relative genius acquisition on this list)
8) James Washington (Dallas dude, Washington dud)
9) Mike Barrow (beware of LBers over the age of 30)
10) Jacquez Green (you could have had your pick of any one of a # of Spurrier misses)

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Sammy Knight and Gibril Wilson

The first of the leftovers. These players are sausage fillers. Plug them in, Spags will have enough bodies so that Reese can draft for as much value and as little need as possible. If that is at all possible. Sad but true, we have a glaring hole at safety and a moderate one at LB too assuming Wilkinson and Kiwanuka are not training camp geniuses.

I just figured it out! The Giants are going economy because they need to have that cap room ready for Strahan, Umenyiora and Burress. Okay, that was a joke. I think the Giants are still in shell shock about how wrong they were in not using the franchise tag on Wilson. And to make matters worse, I think the Giants could have been told before the tag deadline (a week ago) that he was going to sign for 6.5M per yr and they STILL would have passed on tagging him for 4.4M for one year. Their reaction to the idea of tagging him when asked about it at the Combine was so telling. The THOUGHT was so radical, and it was summarily dismissed out of hand. (I am willing to bet that Pat Hanlon, the genius of all geniuses, was belittling the Giants beat writers for even SUGGESTING such a STUPID notion!) I congratulate Alvin Keels, Gibril Wilson's agent, for understanding the ramifications of the increased salary cap and ignoring the Giants. They were secretly praying the Giants would not tag, and they had 16M reasons why!

One last thing, let's add some insult to injury and remind everyone that we will have to pay someone like Knight 2-3M per year (because he likely won't last the length of the contract they agree to), when the Giants were 3M bid for Wilson just days ago. This is called attitude adjustment.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Jevon Walker? I doubt it.

This is a stretch, but fwiw, the agent for Jevon Walker is trying to drum up interest. Probably not from the gmen, but here it is anyway.

Non-moves continue..

Excerpted from Schwartz at the NYPost:

1) The Saints called and expressed interest in trading for tight end Jeremy Shockey. The Giants are not shopping Shockey and they declined to discuss any trade.
2) The Giants have some interest in Seahawks RB/kick returner Alvin Pearman. They also could be interested in a similar player, Maurice Hicks of the 49ers, and possibly two veterans, CB Jason Webster (Bills) and DE N.D. Kalu (Texans).
3) The Giants spoke with the agent for QB Trent Green.

The Giants expressed interest in a few other mid/lower tier players, and once there was more than a couple of teams interested as well, the Giants said no thanks. Typical. When was the last time you saw the Giants get in an arms race? They like going one on one. No bidding wars for the Giants.

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