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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

New York Giants draft: where is the competition ABSENT?

This morning Paul Schwartz of the Post writes about how Sinorice Moss, Jared Lorenzen and James Butler are going to feel some heat this summer from draft picks made this past weekend (Manningham, Woodson and Phillips respectively). Reese is always preaching competition in camp to make players better and make the team better.

Why do I continue to complain and ask for a LT? Because Diehl gave up the second most sacks in the league last year.

The Giants did not draft ANY Offensive Linemen. None. Add that no (veteran) free agents were signed either (the Giants only signed two), and essentially there is no competition here. The Giants will talk about how Guy Whimper will be in the mix, but how many of you think that is going to shake any trees? How many of you have the Super Bowl on tape, DVR or Tivo? Do yourself a favor and watch the game again. Watch the second quarter when Manning gets sacked and fumbles the ball. Watch the last drive. It is scary. Diehl is going to get Manning killed.

Reese says that Diehl is improving all the time. I agree. Diehl has improved. But not enough to play one of the most elite positions on the field, LT. Yes, Diehl did play LT well enough for us to win the Super Bowl. But you can bet your bottom dollar that the tapes of the Super Bowl Champion are being dissected right now and the competition sees a huge opening. You can make a Tackle into a Guard but you cannot make a Guard into a Tackle. Reese is betting that Diehl will improve some more during training camp. Granted, this will be his second camp at LT and he will be able to get incrementally a little more efficient. But David Diehl is the weakest link on this offense and his weakness in pass protection is a major liability.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

New York Giants take their chances in the NFL draft

For the past two weeks Wonder has been preaching value to us. It is not who you pick but where you pick them.

"These people (GM's) do not understand the draft," says Wonder. "You must pick players you like when appropriate, not just because you like them. Not picking for value is easily the most common draft mistake."

Well, Wonder approved of the pick of Mario Manningham. Not because of the player, but WHERE the Giants were able to land him. Manningham's former coach Lloyd Carr is never going to trash his player publicly, but he does support the idea that the Giants may have something here at the end of the third round.

The general philosophy of Ultimatenyg is play to win championships, not to beat some team during the season or just make the playoffs. In order to do that you are going to have to take chances. Take calculated risks. They may or may not work out. But at least put yourself in a position to enable something good to POSSIBLY happen. The Manningham pick is a perfect example of intelligent rolling of the dice. He may crap out. He may be a star. That is worth the risk at #95, the end of the third round. The fact that the Giants said they did their "homework" (due diligence) on him? All the better. The Seven P's: Prior Proper Preparation Prevents Piss Poor Performance. So the Giants checked him out, kicked the tires, and will give it a spin. If this is a bust, what have they lost? If they had brought in the same player with a much higher pick, the risks would have been far greater. The Giants did not allocate a huge amount of their draft on him, so the risk is certainly in line with the potential reward. Ronnie Barnes, the trainer for the Giants, says Terrell Thomas is in good health, but I think there might be more risk in that selection, given THREE previous injuries. Time will tell on all of these picks. Rookie minicamp is this week.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Free Agent signings for the New York Giants, Sean Payton on Shockey

Wallace Gilberry DE Alabama signs UFA contract with Giants

Vacchiano has a good list of signings...
"the Giants’ 2008 undrafted rookie class (so far):"

S Nehemiah Warrick, Michigan State
DE Wallace Gilberry, Alabama
OL Glenn Bujnoch, Cincinnati
DE Antonio Reynolds, Tennessee
OL Andrew Bain, Miami
OL Carnell Stewart, LSU
OL Dylan Thiry, Northwestern
DT Nate Robinson, Akron
WR D.J. Hall, Alabama

Sean Payton QA:
Q: Are you still pursuing Jeremy Shockey or is that dead?
A: I've read so much about that topic. No. 1, it's a player on another team that we would never be able to comment on. Obviously there's a history with myself being with the Giants organization and I was there when we selected Jeremy, but that wouldn't be something that I could comment on, just because I think it's inappropriate and there's been a lot written about it and half that stuff that was written probably was false. I don't know where it came from. Mickey and I talked about this and really in all fairness to our team and league protocol, I just don't think it is appropriate for us to even visit about it.

Wide Receiver and the NFL Draft

This past decade has belonged to the Wide Receiver. Players like Randy Moss and TO were big. The Draft sucked in more WRs into Round 1 during this decade to meet the demand of the easier pass catching rules of the NFL. So there was WR inflation all around.

The 2008 draft brought that trend to a screeching halt. Could it be the new "force-out" rule is going to stop the pass-happy NFL? Or could it just be that evidence proves that "the NFL's 32 teams finally seemed to learn a lesson long known to those who have (been paying attention): first-round wide receivers fail more than players at any other position, including quarterback."

Ultimatenyg has been arguing to anyone that would listen that you do not build a champion with WR #1 draft choices. These players are available in free agency (Moss, TO and Burress) and integrate quickly into your offense (unlike linemen, that require a few years of chemistry before getting efficient in execution). Even less heralded WRs like former Giants David Patten and Joe Jurevicius went to other teams and won rings.

Taking a WR like Devin Thomas was interesting because at #31 he was virtually a second round choice, home of players like Toomer and Smith. His consensus and internal value here merited attention. Manningham may indeed end up being an even better pick than Thomas because it allowed the Giants to focus on defense early and still get a good risk/reward from a late third rounder. VALUE VALUE VALUE.

The trend in WR has not 'ended.' There were still 9 WRs taken in Round 2. But this is a start. 8 Offensive linemen went in R1. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Linemen win the game- just ask Randy Moss.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

New York Giants 2008 NFL Draft Recap and Analysis


In tomorrow's papers we will get all of the wonderful spin on why every one of the Giants' picks were simply outstanding. Until Reese lays an egg, I will be following him like Svengali. He is 1 for 1, or rather 1 for 2007, so he certainly deserves a little latitude in his choices.

With that said, Wonder the Ultimatenyg draft guru likes picks 2, 3, and 4, but is uninspired with the rest. The Kenny Phillips pick has upside but we would have preferred Tyrell Johnson as a different Safety, or WR Devin Thomas or LB Quentin Groves. All three were taken in the second round, with the Redskins notably taking Thomas 3 picks later at #34. For the gmen Terrell Thomas and Mario Manningham are solid picks, and Wonder is particularly upbeat on Kehl for 4th round value, fully endorsing the move up to take him.

FYI the Giants had to give up a #194 to the Steelers to trade and move up from the #130 to #123 slot to pick Kehl.

There must have been some kind of major (medical, personal) problems with Josh Barrett for him to drop so badly that all 32 teams would avoid him like the plague. Denver finally took him with the 220th pick in the seventh round.

24 years and counting that the Giants have not drafted a LB in the first round.

Not that it means anything, but Wonder did not hear of the #199 pick (Henderson).

Wonder is giving his best grade for the draft to the KC Chiefs... all seven of their first seven picks make the team, says the draft guru. He is in seclusion for the time being, totally disgusted with the Jets second day after having gotten off to a very good start on Day 1.

Giants missed the boat on Barrett, picked Jonathan Goff

Wonder: "Goff is a good solid inside plugging LB but he belongs in a 3-4, not the Giants 4-3. To have a chance at Barrett at that spot and pass him up is terrible, mindless."

Separately Wonder is in mourning for not getting QB Josh Johnson (taken two spots ahead of the Jets). Re QB Ainge, "just what we need, another weak-armed QB."

Josh Johnson was another good pickup, but...

4 teams remaining between us and a shot at Barrett. (Of course right now Wonder is speaking with Mangenius about taking him for the Jets, who pick 3 ahead of us! LOL)

And now only two ahead of us. Jets took a QB. Too bad for your Jets, Wonder.

F!! Kellen Davis just went right after the post below, Barrett still left

Wonder's Random Day 2 comments on the NFL Draft

1) He likes the Mario Manningham pick at the end of the third round, good value. He thinks his teammate Arrington might be even better. Manningham is slower than expected, but has potential on upside to be a very good player. "Good Pick, I would have preferred Oniel Cousins but you cannot quarrel with taking Manningham there."

2) "The Giants should grab TE Kellen Davis in the 5th round (assuming he is still there) and then they can unload Shockey. Kellen Davis would be a great pick."

3) Kehl was a "Wonder-approved" move. That was "good value going up 7 picks to get him. He plays smart, pretty fast at that stage of the draft, played 4 years--- that is A LOT OF EXPERIENCE."

4) JOSH BARRETT IS STILL ON THE BOARD. This pick can make your entire draft with this value.

5) Detroit did great gtg Avril.

6) Eagles pick of Jack Ikeqwuono was a great pick at end of 4th Round. Tremendous upside. Could have been a first rounder or early second rounder but had medical issue, if that heals well it could have GREAT upside. Very smart risk at that (compensatory, end of 4th round) slot.

7) "KC did really well AGAIN today. Jamaal Charles, Brad Cottam (he's a horse and can block), steal end of Round 3 DaJuan Morgan, Will Franklin (big and fast)... ALL 7 of their (first 7) picks will make the team. This is going to be one of the best drafts by a single team I have seen in years."

8) Dolphins did great gtg Kendall Langford. Tremendous pick.

Giants trade up from #130 for Steelers #123 pick near end of R4 and pick LB Brian Kehl

OLB 6'2" 242 lbs. BYU ...from NFL.com:

Brian is a natural playmaker who showed marked improvement during his senior year. An intense offseason workout program saw him shed more than 15 pounds of bulk, helping increase his stamina and quickness on the field. With his instincts and athleticism, scouts feel he could be a nice fit as a weak-side linebacker. With his field vision and quick reactionary skills, some teams are also looking at beefing him back up for a possible move to middle linebacker.

"Kehl is just a flat-out player. He is one of those guys who is always around the football and is a ball hog and makes a lot of plays," BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. "I have talked to some people out there and they tell me one thing about this guy, he is not only an athlete but he has got a mind that is absolutely unreal and football is important to him."

Kehl earned Salt Lake Tribune first-team All-State honors as a senior at Brighton High School. He added academic recognition with a 4.0 grade-point average that gained him a spot on the Academic All-State team.

Marvelous comments on Mario Manningham

In Round 2, the USA Today special 2008 Draft magazine had Manningham going to Denver: "could be a steal for the Broncos at #42 and could thrive (alongside their other WRs)."

Marvelous has seen Manningham AT LEAST TWENTY times. He was always doubled on big downs and always got the ball. Invariably successful. Anything near his hands was getting caught, tremendous in the clutch. In Marvelous' opinion he does NOT run good routes, or can certainly improve on his routes. Reminds Marvelous of Toomer in his days at Michigan, same type of player, same school too. HE DOES NOT DROP THE BALL. Marvelous does not recall Manningham EVER dropping a ball. GREAT HANDS. When he gets his hands on a ball he catches it. Fearless, does not mind going over the middle. Marvelous likes the player, does not like the position because of other needs ("LB"). The Giants must have feared losing him at this spot because he will be gone in R4.

Dr. Rob says the NFL Network showed some clips, a couple of passes where he dropped the ball, and one where he got leveled coming across the middle. When he got free had plenty of speed.

Reese: "talent-wise we think he could have gone in the first row (round)"

Giants take WR Mario Manningham with round 3 pick

almost on the clock for Round 3 for the New York Giants

This was Wonder's assessment for Day 2 made on Friday BEFORE the draft began:

6) PICKS ON DAY 2. Wonder offers the following Day 2 names as players representing value in later rounds: Carl Nicks, Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Jordy Nelson, Curtis Lofton, Cliff Avril, Jeremy Thompson, Kellen Davis, Mike Pollak, Chilo Rachal..one may be available in 3rd round if LUCKY...but..you also have Patrick Lee, Marcus Howard, Justin King (steal !!)...after that you have guys like Tyvon Branch, Donnie Avery, Brad Cottam, Eddie Royal, Jeremy Zuttah, Craig Stevens, Tom Zbikowski, Terrell Thomas...Mike McGlynn...ALL would have great value anytime after round 3...total speculation as what to expect, and who will fall in 5-7....have to wait until AFTER the first day is over to have any clue...

let's go through them to see who is still there:
Tier #1 (Great Value in Round3): Carl Nicks, Jeremy Thompson, Kellen Davis (whichif taken puts talk about Shockey trade back on table), Marcus Howard, Justin King
Tier #2 (Great Value after Round3):Tyvon Branch, Craig Stevens, Mike McGlynn

Note that Wonder had Terrell Thomas as one of his preferred players for Day 2, so that the Gmen got him at the last pick of R2 is still pretty good, not a reach, not value, but nonetheless a solid pick.

SIzzle and Steak: Round 2 of the NFL Draft and the importance of the later rounds

Have you been noticing how the Eagles are trading more and more down into the second round? This is the football version of "Moneyball," where value is seen more reliably in those less heralded second rounders THAT GET THE JOB DONE. In the Super Bowl for the Giants, when you sort the team's reprentation of starters from the round where they came from, you would logically think that the first rounders outnumber the second rounders. But they do not. 3 first rounders, 7 second rounders. And the linked blog entry shows that over the previous administrations stretching all the way to 1979, the one constant is that the Giants do better in the second round, period end of story. Sizzle vs steak. Sizzle sells newspapers and draft coverage, steak sells championships. Add that Alford, DeOssie, Boss, Johnson, Bradshaw all came from (what is now) Day 2.

In reading up on the stories coming from the Giants "War Room," I am continually struck by the pressure and emotion of the Round 1 pick vs the stories that come from the Round 2 and later rounds. There is always some 'worry' and stress about the big ticket not being there. Reese and Coughlin were allegedly holding their breath as they waited for each pick in front of them NOT to take Phillips. Yet I think this is why the Giants do not do as well in Round 1 as they do in Round 2. Objectivity is lost. They covet. They start getting married to the idea of which player they want and they get emotionally attached. That is much less so for later rounds where they have so many people ranked and have no clue who is going to be snapped up before they pick. So they play it by ear and are far more balanced. They are more value-oriented. And I have to think about Wonder's positive bias for Terrell Thomas over Kenny Phillips, ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL. Seven, count them, SEVEN former second rounders started for the Giants in the Super Bowl.

Giants draft Phillips and Thomas- Sunday Morning QB

1) If you did not catch it, reread Wonder's comment #3 from Saturday morning about where the league was going with corners. It fits TOTALLY with why the Giants went after Thomas at the end of Round 2. Big strong physical corners who can play bump and run.

2) My sense is that the Giants went corner and safety in the first two rounds because of need AND the fact that the new 'force out' rule is going to help defensive backs vs WRs. Having strong physical guys who can push WRs at the line AND muscle them out of bounds may have a new 'urgency' with the new rules.

3) I am already reading this morning how Phillips is from a long line of blue blood Safeties from Miami. As if that matters one single iota. If Phillips can 'come to play' EVERY game then he will be a good pick and if he disappears from game to game (like he did in college) then he is not going to be a good pick.

4) My standard for a first round draft choice is (with exception of interior defensive line and QB), (A) CAN YOU START FOR ME IN GAME ONE OF YOUR PRO CAREER? (B) CAN YOU BE AN IMPACT PLAYER? What impressed me about Tyrell Johnson was that Wonder said unequivocally that Johnson starts his first game as a pro. He could not say the same thing about Phillips. MAYBE Phillips can. MAYBE he is as good as Johnson. The pick is made, I hope Wonder is wrong, but the odds favor Wonder. Let's hope both Johnson and Phillips are good pros and it is the "push" where either is a good pick.

5) Well, the Shockey saga is not completely over, but apparently the Giants demanded much more than anyone (Saints) was willing to pay. Smart move. Vacchiano LAST NIGHT: "Now it’s going to be very interesting to see what happens next. Shockey has made it very clear he’s not happy in New York." Vacchiano has not backed off- he has someone telling him that Shockey is not happy, and like a pebble in your shoe, that the pebble has to be removed. Ever think that maybe Shockey is the shoe and the questions are the pebble? Enough already. NEXT.

6) In all of the focus on the draft, I missed this little nugget that says Osi is not going to hold out and will be in camp on time. Good for Osi, good for the gmen. The only people that win with holdouts are the other 31 teams.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

New York Giants NFL Draft 2008 Round 1 and Round 2 recap

The Giants missed a very good opportunity at #31 and went conservative with Phillips. Remember the reviews of Wonder as draft guru- Wonder may not be right, but he won't be wrong... at worst he is a push, meaning in this case another Safety like Tyrell Johnson will be just as productive if not more so as opposed to Phillips. The CB at #63 (Terrell Thomas) was a good pick. He has good speed and is a reliable tackler. Between him and Ross they will get it done. And that also leaves Webster in there to compete with them for jobs.

Wonder was surprised at how Quentin Groves dropped to the Jags at #52; he thinks it was probably due to teams not wanting to risk that much on a player that had a medical condition (heart procedure, fixed, Doctors gave clean bill of health).

Wonder was very pumped for the Giants to get Avril or Bryant at #63, and is willing to bet even money tomorrow at the beginning of Day 2 that the Miami Dolphins take one of those with the #64 pick. We will see.

The Steelers got Mendenhall and Sweed, a great draft. KC scooped up Dorsey, Albert and Flowers, a huge haul. The Redskins got Devin Thomas at #34 after trading down, a very nice move.

"The NFL GM's got it right for a change, did not bite on Connor in the first two rounds. Good for them not going for that Penn State LB 1st round bs."

Grades Based on Value

Wonder's Value Assessments for draft. All teams from Rounds 1 & 2.

Boys A
Eagles A-
Skins A
Giants C+

Saints A-
Panthers B+
Bucs B
Falcons B-

Bears B
Vikings A
Packers A-
Lions C-

49ers A
Seahawks F
Rams B-
Cards A

Jets A
Patriots C+
Bills A
Dolphins A

Colts B+
Texans F
Jags B+
Titans D

Ravens C-
Browns B
Steelers A
Bengals B+

Chiefs A+
Raiders B+
Broncos A-
Chargers B+

Terrell Thomas is a nice pick at #63

Wonder just got thru saying that Wheatley was NOT a good pick, that Terrell Thomas (USC) was a much better pick than Wheatley (taken #62 by Pats). Wonder felt that if the Giants went (Devin) Thomas (Terrell) Thomas it would have been a good draft. But we got some defensive help in Safety and CB so it is not bad. Thomas will play opposite Ross and be aok. Wheatley cannot tackle. Terrell Thomas can tackle.

don't take Dan Connor

Connor is establishment pick penn state blah blah, take Avril, bArrett or Bryant

Giants set up again for many good choices at #63

Cliff Avril OLB tweener, NT Red Bryant, S Barrett... yes I would draft a second Safety but they won't do that. Cannot run up middle against Bryant.

TAKE BARRETT OR BRYANT!

Marvelous comments on Kenny Phillips

Marvelous saw a lot of Phillips in college: "Very in and out player, did not play hard enough. He has the tools, can be physical, can be a very good player, but he did not play hard every game. Fast, hitter WHEN HE CONCENTRATES. Needs to grow up, a good body, no injuries, he can play, smart, the only thing he is which is negative is that he does not play every game. IF he plays 100% he will be very good for us."

The operative word here is IF. This is why I would have liked Devin Thomas, and I am not a WR round 1 guy.

Marvelous: "It could have been worse, we could have taken Connor. I would have taken Groves over Phillips because we needed Safety AND Linebacker."

Phillips taken

He is a good player but Groves will end up being the better pick. They had a smogasbord of Thomas, Hardy or GROVES and took Phillips. Wrong pick. I hope it works out, but it is not LeRon Landry, it is not Sean Taylor, he is not Ronnie Lott, he is not Ed Reed. He is mediocre and they should have taken THE BEST RECEIVER in the draft OR a potentially great LB in Groves. Wonder: "not fast, not a hitter."

Wonder: "If the Rams do not take Devin Thomas (great on turf) they should fire their GM on the spot."

Groves could be a bust, but he could be a dominating LB, Phillips is 'safe' but it is the wrong choice. We all know the Giants had need at S, but they had need at LB too. Groves was the choice. Let's go Phillips, he is on our team, I hope Spags is right, clearly that was their motivation.

Phillips was not even on Wonder's top 31.
Redskins have had the best draft. They traded down to 34 (ATL took Baker and Wonder says Baker would have been there anyway at 34), they got a ton for trading down, and they took Devin Thomas anyway. SCORE for the Redskins.
KC did very well too, Dorsey, FLowers, and Albert.

GIANTS ON THE CLOCK- take GROVES

or take WR THOMAS! either would be a score.

Wonder says

"that was a c*m shot for the Giants, you guys have a shot at Quention Groves!" He says SEA should take Keller, Jets 'should' trade up to SD to get Devin Thomas

so Jones, then Mendenhall, then (CHRIS!, lol)Johnson go, vg for cleaning out the RBs, glad Mendenhall not a Cowboy

since we are not taking RBs and three straight have gone, GREAT FOR THE GIANTS. we can trade down if we want, there is THAT MUCH here for us to pick from. And if GB takes Brohm, it will be a smorgasbord

Baker going here was great, worried Dallas will get/take Mendenhall

(not because gmen would take him, just because they got rid of Jones and now will have a great RB)

Talib being picked was GREAT for the Gmen, we will get a vg pick

s***, Lions took Cherilus, that was not good for the gmen

and Hou is taking Mendenhall then

lions will take mendenhall now, smart trade because DRC was there if Ariz did not take him

Wonder:"THE DRAFT (as of 12 picks thus far) COULD NOT HAVE GONE ANY BETTER SO FAR FOR THE NY GIANTS!"

wonder: if the jets pass up gholston for mckelvin the mob at Radio City Music Hall will burn the place down. LOL!

wonder: if the jets pass up gholston for mckelvin they are "out of their minds"

raiders take mcfadden

kc takes dorsey and the jets take Gholston. if the jets take mckelvin wonder never watches a jet game again lol

#4 pick? raiders to trade saints and saints pick dorsey

Inside the mind of a draft guru

1) Wonder is getting out the message: "These General Managers and Directors of Player Personnel are simply not ready" for the new time rules that govern this draft. All you have to do is listen to Wonder speak for ~ 2 minutes on the topic to understand why. Your ear goes numb as he rips off 85 things that these GMs have not anticipated. He starts rattling off scenarios at who is available at draft pick #X for team A and then by implication who should be talking to who on Thursday, NOT Friday, and certainly not Saturday when it is TOO LATE. These guys are unprepared. When you think of the myriad angles to plan for, it is very clear these organizations have not planned for them. And now it goes to 10 minutes.

2) Wonder philosophy: (a) he gets a significant amount of his opinion from film (b) he is a VALUE guy. If he knows the consensus #93 pick in the draft is a Future Hall of Famer, he will still go apes**t if HIS team takes him with the 36th pick. "These people do not understand the draft," says Wonder. "You must pick players you like when appropriate, not just because you like them. Not picking for value is easily the most common draft mistake."

3) On Cornerbacks: "Revis and Ross are what the new NFL is all about. Press coverage, bump and run, tackling, bigger and stronger guys."

4) On judging a draft: "You need at least 3 years to judge a draft. Obviously more for a QB. Bryant may be the best NT in this draft and we will need 3 years to judge him. For MLB and RB, all you need is 1 year... either they are good in Year 1 or they don't have it."

5) On the draft/coaches dynamic: "There is a sleeper NT Frank Okum (Texas) who will go in the 5th or 6th Round. He has talent, but was out of shape at the Combine. If he loses 30 lbs. and hits the weight room he could be terrific. If he is taken by a softie like Herm Edwards he'll last 3 days and be out of the league."

6) On rules changes: "The NFL is so cheap.. no 60 year old refs. This 'force out' rule is going to be a nightmare. This covers up pathetic refs who cannot rule on a WR being out or not. The new rule will encourage safeties to drive receivers out of the field of play. Insane. And the 'icing the kicker' is ridiculous and should be banned."

7) On spygate: "Goodell was a moron. Image is everything. The league was made to look very bad. The Patriots should have lost the higher of the 49er/NE #1 pick, so here they are still picking #7."

8) On rookie salaries: Something must be done about rookie salaries in the Top 10 draft picks, because it is ruining the balance that once existed to help weaker teams get first crack at the best talent. Now they have to pay them an exorbitant amount of money, hurting their cap and making it harder for them to KEEP the successful veterans they need on their roster to be competitive. Of course Wonder has a plan for how to bring it all back in line, but if Gene Upshaw and the Players Union continue to be mindless then none of it really matters.

Wait till this afternoon when the actual drafting begins. Wonder is first getting warmed up. 3PM EST.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Guess who I bumped into?!!

I was at lunch an hour ago with a friend named Brandt, and when we finished we took a walk back to our office. As we passed the Wintergarden at the World Financial Center I spied a few NFL banner flags draped from the second floor, and we decided to check it out. It was the NFL Network interviewing JLong, CLong, McFadden, Dorsey, Gholston and Ryan. They are all HUGE, but Dorsey is ENORMOUS! Jake Long towers above everyone. Unbelievable to have seen them in person. Total accident.

Ultimatenyg featured in today's New York Times

Ultimatenyg's New York Giants Draft Analysis is featured in today's New York Times 'The Fifth Down'

2008 NFL Draft Preview- NY GIANTS ON THE CLOCK

1) NEEDS. The biggest offseason losses were Mitchell and Wilson. So LB and S are the biggest needs. Reese picked up Danny Clark and Sammy Knight to enable FLEXIBILITY in going after as much VALUE as possible. Those acquisitions are not long term answers, so you still have to expect the Giants to target those positions early. Reese is smart- he gets stopgaps so that he can maneuver on draft day.

2) Which returning starter is the WEAKEST LINK on DEFENSE? S James Butler. Butler is an overachieving UFA. While he is a competent tackler, his lack of speed is consistently a liability. The Giants can AND NEED to improve here.

3) Which returning starter is the WEAKEST LINK on OFFENSE? LT David Diehl. It pains me to say this because I am such a huge Illini fan, but I think that makes my objectivity even stronger here. David Diehl is an unbelievable 5th Round draft choice who has not missed a start in FIVE seasons (86 consecutive starts). Great Guard. Weak tackle. Too vulnerable on the edge. Second in the league in sacks allowed in 2007. Abused by Adalius Thomas in the Super Bowl. Reese loves Diehl for his work ethic and durability, but he'll be pragmatic and draft a LT HIGH. VERY HIGH.

4) PICK #31. Ultimatenyg's expert draft analyst is "Wonder." Wonder dissects the first round like this...You can easily see

6 OL (Long, Clady, Albert, Otah, Williams, Cherilus)
2 QB (Ryan, Flacco or more likely Brohm to GB)
3 DT (Dorsey, Ellis, Balmer)
4 DE (Gholston, Long, Merling, Harvey)
5 DB (100% RCromartie, McKelvin, Jenkins, combo of 2 from Flowers/Talib/Cason/Phillips)
2 LB (Rivers, Mayo)
4 RB (McFadden, Mendenhall, Stewart, Jones)
2 TE (Keller, Davis)
4 WR (BUFFALO????+TENN+PHIL+WASH+DAL???? taking Thomas, Sweed, Hardy, Kelly)

That adds up to 33 players for 30 spots before the Giants pick. This means that at worst you could end up with LB Quentin Groves from Auburn or Safety Tyrell Johnson from Arkansas State. Wonder loves Groves. There is volatility in the pick but the upside is a total home run, great value at #31. On Johnson, he is a very good pick at #1, he STARTS AT SAFETY ON OPENING DAY and would not be able to get out of the starting lineup for years to come. Two keys before the Giants pick... who does Buffalo take at #11. Wonder thinks it is quite possible that they take WR Devin Thomas, and if they do it is CELEBRATION TIME IN EAST RUTHERFORD, because that means an extra team taking a WR and leaving a great oppty for other players to fall to the Giants. Second key... If Denver does NOT take Mayo it is possible he could fall all the way to the Giants.

The draft is loaded with Offensive Tackles; Gosder Cherilus (Boston College) can fall to #31 simply because there are 5 OLinemen rated above him by consensus.

WR James Hardy (Indiana) may somehow fall to #31, that is another Wonder steal at that slot. Take the tall 6'7" Hardy and now you can definitely trade Shockey, says Wonder. The same argument is even easier to see if TE Keller falls to #31.

5) PICK #63. Wonder has Bryant, Avril, Nicks and Barrett as potentially there and representing value for the Giants at this spot. My favorite is Barrett, because this is a Safety at the right spot and right time. He can get the help of Knight, does not need to be an immediate starter, he's a good quality pick that matches need and lastly you are not wasting a first rounder on a position like Safety. If the Giants are keyed on getting interior DL help (it depends on their outlook for Jay Alford), then Bryant is your answer.

6) PICKS ON DAY 2. Wonder offers the following Day 2 names as players representing value in later rounds: Carl Nicks, Chris Johnson, Jamaal Charles, Jordy Nelson, Curtis Lofton, Cliff Avril, Jeremy Thompson, Kellen Davis, Mike Pollack, Chilo Rachal..one may be available in 3rd round if LUCKY...but..you also have Patrick Lee, Marcus Howard, Justin King (steal !!)...after that you have guys like Tyvon Branch, Donnie Avery, Brad Cottam, Eddie Royal, Jeremy Zuttah, Craig Stevens, Tom Zbikowski, Terrell Thomas...Mike McGlynn...ALL would have great value anytime after round 3...total speculation as what to expect, and who will fall in 5-7....have to wait until AFTER the first day is over to have any clue...

7) There are a few potential first rounders that Wonder says to avoid. They are LT Chris Williams, S Kenny Phillips, LB Dan Connor, WR Desean Jackson, TE Fred Davis and WR Malcolm Kelly.

8) Wonder separately points out a scenario in Round 1 where Oakland picking #4 would choose from Chris Long or Gholston, not care who it is, and let time expire to have the Chiefs pay more at #4 and let the Raiders save cap space too. The Top 10 salaries have gotten so out of hand that it is making a mockery of the 'reward' you get for picking high. Gene Upshaw and the Players Union are awol.

Summary- LB, S, OT are biggest needs. Groves, Johnson, Mayo, Cherilus and Barrett get the Wonder seal of approval for meeting those needs, if they are available.

Live draft coverage on Saturday and Sunday.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jeremy Shockey trade ???

The rumors and ideas about Shockey getting traded do not let up. It boils down to this- are the Giants a better team with him, OR without him plus a ~high second round draft pick? Let's analyze both camps:

CAMP 1: The Giants are better off with Shockey
1) The Giants got better w/o him because of Smith's return, Bradshaw's entry into the offense and Boss' solid play as his replacement, NOT because of Shockey's exit
2) Boss cannot block nearly as well as Shockey and he certainly is not as good in pass catching
3) The Giants offense was great w/ Manning finding his rhythm and will be unstoppable with Shockey as yet another feature
4) Boss and Shockey are a TWO TIGHT END SET that is scary good, and can give relief to the team if a WR goes down and makes that position a little thinner
5) Sean Payton knows him from his days as an offensive coordinator for the Giants (2002) and wants him for a reason- he is an ALL PRO player for a good reason
6) He is in his prime and under (a very affordable) contract


CAMP 2: The Giants are better off without Shockey
1) Eli played better because he did not have that raving lunatic in the huddle demanding the ball (The Tim Hasselbeck, Elliot W. theory espoused by many)
2) Boss is our new TE... it is inefficient to have two good TEs, so getting a draft pick for Shockey still gives us a TE presence and perhaps defense or an OL to help elsewhere
3) He gets injured often
4) Even when he is not injured he is often playing hurt at less than 100%
5) Gilbride is a moron for misusing him too much as a blocker, so take your losses, admit the inefficiency and let someone else (who expects to use him more efficiently) pay for his services so that everyone wins
6) Get something now for him while you can
7) Shockey has 'allegedly' voiced his frustration with the Giants offense to 'friends,' and you do not need that undermining your team

I asked Wonder about Shockey, and he thought that if the Giants get a tall WR at #31 like Hardy, it makes Shockey very expendable and that he should be moved (assuming they can get a good #2 pick). This makes a scenario unfold where the Giants wait for their #31 pick to arrive, and as soon as they know what position they take it will dictate whether they want the Saints' #2 pick. If the Giants are secretly coveting a WR or TE in R1 (OR, just as importantly if one falls to them value-wise), it would make sense to hold off any Shockey trade until that objective is met. I am in Camp 1.. I do not agree with trading Shockey. But if the Giants do want to move him, they are smart in waiting until the draft to see what other variables they can determine before making that decision.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Wonder on the warpath

Get ready for Saturday's commentary, because here is taste of the raving Wonder:

"For those GM's who DON'T UNDERSTAND:

1. CINC- gives up #9 and CHAD JOHNSON to

2. RAMS- give up its #2 and their 2nd round pick

WIN, WIN for both teams...yet NO ONE would even suggest it..clueless idiots...85 can't play again in Cinc if they hope to "move on"...and Cinc NEEDS DORSEY...and use extra 2nd round pick for OT, LB, or DE (groves still around ??) and RAMS sure could use 85..!! and they use #9 to draft either Ellis or Clady or Rivers or DRC !!!! AUTOMATIC !!!! I SHOULD BE GM !!!!!"

Update: Allen traded to Vikings

Chiefs trade Allen to Vikings. Wonder anticipated this in his mock draft comments (which were made before the trade occurred). "ALL is dependent on the Rams...IF they go Dorsey, Atl gets ryan...OAK will NOT allow KC to have Chris Long...soooooo, KC gets Gholston...the Jets take McFadden...and NE GETS F***ED FOR ONCE...they have to take Rivers, DRC, or McKelvin unless trade down with N.O (who want Ellis)."

Wonder's Mock Draft

So far we have given you Wonder's Top 5 at each position and his Top 31 VALUE BOARD. Wonder is a value guy. REPEAT- Wonder is a value guy. When you stray from Wonder's VALUE BOARD (see post yesterday) he is going to let you know. When you trade down so that you stay in line with value, you get wonder-ful praise. When you reach you get trashed. (Wait till the sparks fly from Wonder on Saturday.) Without further ado, here is Wonder's 2008 Round 1 NFL Mock Draft.

1. MIA- J. Long..safe but WRONG for value
2. STL- MUST and will take Dorsey..it's TURF !!..Cariker MUST move outside..all of a sudden, their DL starts to control the line..their speed off the ball..and power..AWESOME !!
3. ATL- will, and should, take Ryan..if not, Gholston
4. OAK- will take C. Long
5. KC- Ryan or Gholston. MUST TOTALLY rebuild..of course, I would start by firing the coach who lost 9 straight games..but what do I know..they are NOT crazy to trade J Allen...IF they get good value for him, start over and YOUNG..and IF Ryan avail, MUST take him..let him sit for TWO years while you rebuild OL, etc...
6. NYJ- McFadden. IF Ryan avail..MUST draft and play POKER!! Would also consider keeping Ryan and MOVING either Clemens or Penn. while Ryan sat..would think if ATL went with Dorsey or Gholston, that Blanks would LOVE to get Pennington "cheap"..perhaps their first 3rd round pick and a 5th rounder..win win for both teams...Atl gets character, etc...if not, Jets MUST take McF..if ALL gone (both Longs, Gh, McF, Dorsey) then must take Gholston...best would be to take him and THEN TRADE down...maximizes value AND stops NE from taking him...I think he MAY be awesome..but could be a bust as he really needs to play a 4-3end a la J Abraham in my opinion.. move down..grab Merling, Balmer, DRC, Mendenhall/Stewart,etc..make SURE YOU GET HARDY !!! (or Sweed or Kelly)..need BIG red zone presence.
7. NE- Rivers (betting they trade DOWN to CINC/N.O)
8. BALT- Ellis. MUST TRADE UP AT ALL COSTS TO TAKE RYAN even if "overpay"...their team is getting old on D...IF "protected" and not asked to do too much in '08, Ryan could step right in ala big ben.
9. CINC- They're PISSED but grab either McKelvin or DRCromartie
10. NO- McKelvin or DRC (better potential)
11. BUF- Devin Thomas before the mice get at him...might be a little high..BUT the thought of Evans/Thomas surrounding Edwards and Lynch is REALLY a cinch...just a "catching" TE and they're there...they should go for Kellen Davis
12. DEN- MUST GET OT AND DT...solution? trade for D-Rob and draft Clady...who is a GREAT pass blocker...MUST protect CUTLER!!
13. CAR-...real tough decision...but I think Stewart is best...team with Williams...great pot RB's...
14. CHI- MUST be able to RUN and PROTECT...IF they believe they can turn him around and get him in shape, OTAH is the way to go..I know Mendenhall is attractive here...native son and all...but they need HELP on OL...
15. DET- MENDENHALL before CHI changes their minds !!! not even a close decision..
16. AZ- really tough...but I think Merling is a good fit here...may also grab "leftover" of DRC, Rivers, McKelvin
17. MINN- need DE real bad..I believe they will obtain J ALLEN from KC, so...draft choice goes to KC..assuming they DID NOT get Ryan at #5, they should have gone after ALBERT at 5 and Harvey here...
18. HOU- they're sick all RB's are gone...real sick..have to decide...I say go get a tough, tall Possession receiver opposite Johnson (who is double, triple teamed every week)....HARDY or SWEED, whichever they like more...alternative is to grab Mayo and really ramp up that D that got brewing..if McKelvin, DRC is left, may grab one of them..
19. PHI- MUST take WR ..take either HARDY or Sweed...however, if they move Shepard and one of CB's is left, that's who they'll take...also, like Mayo here as a poss..
20. TB- wow...what are they to do ?? all depends on "before them"...I would love to take Groves here to be the new "Brooks"...if not, Balmer..
21. WASH- also depends on before them..but I like Keller here..could REALLY help Campbell a LOT.
22. DAL- Jenkins...UNLESS a WR is left...would NEVER take D Jackson here
23. PIT- they're sick no OT they want is here..but they're still going take Cherilus
24. TENN- DESP for WR...they're going to reach here...but Kelly is a decent gamble if all others gone...if he gets his head on straight...big target over the middle for Young
25. SEA- really pissed Keller is gone...so they grab Cason to play opp Trufant...may overreach to grab Bennett
26. JAX- TRADE DOWN...try to grab Bryant in 2nd round to replace Stroud...or misjudge and grab williams
27. SD- TRADE DOWN- wanted Cherilus...but I think Baker would be a good RT for them
28.DAL- Felix Jones...prob a mistake..but could be a "parttime" home run hitter opp Barber
29. SF- best CB for them that's left...
30. GB- MUST GRAB QB of their choice to groom and/or back up and/or BE their #1 if Rodgers bombs...
31. NYG- Lofton, Connor, Porter or other CB...whoever they think is best value here...would DIE if Groves still avail

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Dolphins will take OT Jake Long with first pick

Jake Long will get picked #1 in the draft.

Wonder's VALUE BOARD

The following is Wonder's VALUE BOARD, with a brief comment on each player. It is NOT A MOCK DRAFT. It is Wonder's assessment of the best player available. As an example, Wonder does not project McFadden at #1 for Miami and he does not see the Giants necessarily taking Flowers or Talib either. The hope for the Giants is that someone of value AHEAD of those players is available and FALLS to #31... someone like Groves, Hardy or Cherilus. Gosder Cherilus is 6'7", 314 lbs., switched to LT from RT in his senior year, and if you are not sure if the Giants will have interest... he played for Boston College, aka NY Giants North.

THE BEST PLAYER AVAILABLE, IN DESCENDING ORDER:

1. McFadden- POTENTIALLY biggest game changer
2. Dorsey- ever hear of Warren Sapp?..4-3 ONLY
3. Gholston- most POTENTIALLY dominant DE(4-3 end !!)
4. Jake Long- best OT..and SAFE pick
5. Chris Long- great att,motor,intangibles..(I think 4-3 end)
6. Ellis- undervalued...could be anchor in 4-3
7. Rivers-hard to predict...I think best in 4-3 OLB (TB brooks?)
8. Ryan- good but not great..needs a good team
9. RCromartie- POTENTIAL BEST CB in YEARS
10/11. Stewart/Mendenhall- GREAT value, studs
12. Albert- disagree.think he should be TOP FIVE OG, not OT
13. Clady- little unclear..good body..feet ??
14. Thomas- I believe he WILL be the next TO on good team
15. Balmer- versatile...3-4 NT or 4-3 DT..10 year solid pro
16. Mayo- not sure he can play MLB..but GREAT ILB 3-4
17. Merling- just plug him into a 4-3 DE and let him play
18. Harvey- Beast? or bust? has to play 4-3 DE
19. Otah- MOOSE...if not quick enough, could be a prob
20. Groves- POTENTIAL BEAST (see J. ABRAHAM !!)
21. McKelvin- solid pro
22. Keller- in new pass happy NFL, 60-70 catches/yr !!
23. Jenkins- solid pro
24. Hardy- "small" Harold Carmichael !! RED ZONE !!!
25. Sweed- unclear..but if he learns to go across the middle..
26. Cason- next group of solid cb's
27. Flacco (THIS MUST BE A NEED PICK..2-3 yrs away)
28. Cherilus- plug him in at RT for next 10 years..
29/30. Brohm/Henne (NEED PICK)- good value /pot..
31. Flowers/Talib (pick one!) for COVER 2

Monday, April 21, 2008

WONDER'S PERSPECTIVE- Round #2

The Giants Pick at #63. Here is a list of people Wonder says if available at #63 the Giants are out of their mind not to take:

Bryant
Avril
Barrett
Nicks


This is the spot where I like Barrett. He is a good safety. When you have a need for Safety, taking someone at Round 2 is smart, not Round 1. According to Wonder (a diehard Jets fan and hater of ALL New England sports teams): "if the bastards grab Barrett.. I shoot myself." So here is to hoping that the Giants get Barrett at #63 and the Patriots do not take him at #62... for our sake AND Wonder's health. Wonder is hoping that both the Giants and Patriots pass on Barrett and that the Jets take him early in Round 3. That could happen because Barrett could easily be a third rounder from OTHERS PERCEPTIONS. If the Giants are able to get Barrett at the very last pick of Round 2 that is akin to a third round draft choice anyway, so get him there and have a smart player in Knight groom him.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

WONDER'S PERSPECTIVE

We can guess all day whether Reese is in a position to trade up or trade down. My instinct is to believe that since this draft is deep enough through at least Round 2 (and more likely through Round 3), the Giants are going to sit back and wait for #31. Who is going to be available AND/OR a good pick at #31 for the Giants? WONDER answers that question for us:

Cherilus
Mayo
Groves
Hardy
Baker
Sweed?
Keller


Wonder: "Groves is the best of this lot. Hardy is the steal of the draft."

There are 7 guys listed here, and most will be gone by the time the Giants pick. Wonder is not a Connor fan. Given my personal preference for a Linebacker, GET GROVES! The Giants have not drafted a LB #1 in 24 years, so it is about freaking time! Plus, as much as I respect Wonder's alert on a WR like Hardy, I do not like WRs in Round 1. Considering that the gmen just scored with Steve Smith at #2 last year and that they have Toomer, Burress, Jennings, Moss... just draft a WR in ~4th or 5th round (more on that this week) and focus on other areas. ALSO, the weakest link on offense for the Giants is now Diehl at LT, so if the Giants go Offense in Round 1 it should be for a guy like Cherilus before a WR. Defense wins championships and the reason we won the Super Bowl was not because we scored 17, it was because we held the Patriots to 14. Take LB Quentin Groves from Auburn and make the defense better.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

NY Giants Top 10 plays- 2007 Season

video
IT DOES NOT GET OLD!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Wonder's NFL Draft Analysis: Top 5 picks on Defense by Position

DT: Dorsey/Ellis, Balmer, Bryant (true NOSE), Okam- out of shape, horrible at combine...but if someone like Parcells can kick his a** for a year, watch out...if not, out of league

DE: Gholston, Long, Merling (VERY underrated), Harvey (beast or bust), Cambell (beast or bust)

OLB: Rivers, Groves (CONV..huge potential or bust), Avril, Howard, Adibi/Wheeler

ILB: Mayo, Connor, Lofton, Crable, Bell

CB: DRCromartie, McKelvin, Jenkins, Cason, Talib/Flowers (BOTH need to play cover 2)

S: Demps, Johnson, Phillips, Morgan, Barrett (HUGE POTENTIAL...would be an all-pro after being on bench with BeleD**K for year or so..and learning...)

K: punter Brooks

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Wonder's NFL Draft Analysis: Top 5 picks on Offense by Position

QB: Ryan, Flacco, Brohm, Henne, Johnson (GREAT VALUE !! as project if late 3rd-4th round)

RB: McFadden, Mendenhall/Stewart (Tie), Jones, Johnson (FAST Leon Washington)

WR: Thomas, Sweed, Hardy, Kelly, Jackson...LOTS OF DEPTH here for SMALLISH fast guys..Avery, Royal, etc...have to grab SIZE early !!

TE: Keller, Bennett, Davis (KELLEN NOT FRED!!), Davis, Cottam (strictly potential, etc. blocker - all around)/Rucker

OT: Long, Clady, Otah, Cherilus, Collins/Baker...NOT WILLIAMS !!! NICKS, Cousins...plenty of potential..DEEP

OG: ALBERT, ALBERT, ALBERT, ALBERT, AND ALBERT....then, Rachal, Shuening, Young (conv.), Thomas/McGlynn

C: Pollack..STOP !! all suck..but...Sullivan, Justice...ok

If you have questions for Wonder, let me know via email or comment.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

ULTIMATENYG is DRAFT CENTRAL

How often does Ultimatenyg hype itself? With 10 days to go before the draft, fasten your seat belts because this blog is going to be your one and only required stop for

EXCELLENT RELIABLE OPINIONATED draft coverage.

How is this possible? We have a secret weapon.... WONDER.

Who is Wonder? Only the most knowledgeable draft expert around. Some people have a life. The draft IS Wonder's life!

Harold, one of the charter members of this blog from before inception when this was still an email group, is understated in handing out compliments. To anyone. Unless the are deserved. Listen to his comments on Wonder:

"Wonder comments on the draft as it happens, and he is always right. In an example where he preferred a particular team take player A over player B, the WORST Wonder ever was in hindsight is a PUSH, where both end up not making it. Otherwise, he is simply PHENOMENAL. And he is phenomenal every year, year after year. I've heard his draft insights, he knows his stuff, he is unbelievable."

If I told you all the stories about what he said and when he said it, you would not believe it. You would think it is pure hype. Start following this blog now, WONDER IS HERE. In coming days we will give Wonder's pre draft thoughts. And then we will have Wonder's draft commentary piped into the blog on Day 1 (and tentatively Day 2) live. Enjoy the best draft coverage. Tell your friends. Enjoy Wonder-ful commentary on what is the true score on the draft from the best- WONDER. Only on Ultimatenyg.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Myers of the Daily News with more New York Giants post mortem

Gary Myers had a good piece over the weekend which recapped the 4 game playoff run.
It is always easy to relive these moments because the Giants won. But it is also interesting because you get more accuracy about what actually happened. As an example, McCarthy's comments are revealing: (1) Favre made the mistake on his OT INT, not Driver on the route (Favre threw Driver under the bus in his postgame remarks (2) That Eli Manning was singularly praised by McCarthy for playing so well in the cold weather that night. Ultimatenyg pointed out how on the last drive of the Super Bowl, Adalius Thomas was practically living in the backfield, thereby RAISING Manning's score. When you look back and consider how Manning led the team down vs TB to seal the deal (Q4 24-7), was shut off at 9:27 left in Q4 by the Giants coaches vs Dallas, got the praise from McCarthy vs GB and was so solid vs the Patriots, I think the conclusion is that Eli Manning carried more weight for this championship than even we were aware of.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Good to Great

In the past there have been a few football books that Ultimatenyg has recommended:

The GM by Tom Callahan
Sunday Morning Quarterback by Phil Simms
The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam

Today we add a fourth book to the Ultimatenyg Book List-
Good to Great by Jim Collins

What is a business book doing on a football blog's reader's list? Because this book is full of epiphanies about what makes a long term successful organization. There are principles in this book that the Giants use which drive their success. One of the most telling is the Greek Parable of the Hedgehog and the Fox. The Giants are certainly hedgehog and Daniel Snyder's Redskins are all fox. There are lessons in here on all levels. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Jeremy Shockey Part 26

Jeremy Shockey is not on the trading block. We have stated here on Ultimatenyg and will reiterate the opinion that Shockey was not addition by subtraction in his injury helping the team win a Super Bowl, that Shockey should not get traded and that Shockey will not get traded. At previous times people like Manning have shot down anti-Shockey innuendo and this time it is O'Hara's turn to reject any anti-Shockey ideas. NEXT.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Some remarks from Eli Manning and Amani Toomer

1) Interesting take from Toomer on the W17 game...from giants.com... While nobody associated with the Giants felt good about losing the regular season game to the Patriots, some felt there were positives to be taken because the game showed that the Giants could compete with the NFL’s best team. Toomer, however, dissented from that opinion. “I was really ticked off about that,” Toomer said. “I felt we should have beaten that team that time, and everybody was so happy and giddy. I remember being really upset the whole week. I was thinking some people were happy just to be in the game. I must have totally misread (the team's reaction to the New England loss) because everybody came out the next week with just so much confidence,” Toomer said. “I was definitely pleasantly surprised. I felt like we came out and played hard and we knew that we had a tough opponent and we went out and took it to them, so I was pretty excited about that.

Ultimatenyg remark- Toomer's comments are enlightening. We thought that the W17 loss was very positive for all the reasons that were discussed in the media following the game and reflected upon numerous times thereafter. It is fascinating to learn that Toomer was initially upset because he DID NOT GET IT. He misunderstood the optimism. He thought his teammates should not have been happy about a loss. What he missed is that the players were excited about playing their best football of the season. The confidence that came from that clearly carried forward to the next four games in a big way. Maybe we should report Toomer to Antonio Pierce for jumping off the bandwagon!

2) Oh my goodness, another Eli quote. Someone wake me up! "If we stay the same team as we were last year, we are not going to be able to (win a championship) again. We have to become a better team." This guy must be eating his wheaties. He gets it!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Top Ten Draft Steals of All Time

As the NFL Draft moves onto center stage, some fun with draft picks that everyone missed.

10- Roger Staubach
9- Larry Wilson
8- Ray Guy
7- Shannon Sharpe
6- Bo Jackson
5- Dan Marino
4- Deacon Jones
3- Terrell Davis
2- Joe Montana
1- Tom Brady

Ahmad Bradshaw is a long way from getting to a list like this, but as one of the last players taken at the end of the 2007 draft he is off to a good start.

Bottom line- the draft is always an inexact science, so watch every team troll for the 2008 diamond in the rough.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Kansas victory over Memphis: it is all in the legs

No hard core analysis. No intense research this time around. Just an observation that Memphis clearly lost because their legs went dead at the end of the game. People can blame it on Calipari (I am not knowledgeable enough to comment on his substitutions during the game) or the players for choking. All I saw was guys who lost their legs and that was the whole story. In baseball, pitching is all in the legs. In football, the Giants 'road warriors' 11 game road win streak was all about more rest for the players, less arduous practices late in the season. These superhuman athletes are not robots that just get wound up like toys and play for 40 (or 45 or 60) minutes. They still get tired. The game is less complicated than many would believe.

Monday, April 7, 2008

John Fox

What is all the fuss about? ESPN's John Clayton writes about a few coaches who are the hot seat this season, one of which is John Fox.

What is going on here?!! Fox totally turned around the franchise immediately after becoming head coach, his team's biggest losing season is 7-9 and the Panthers have been hit by major injuries the past two years. So looking at the aggregate won-loss record of his stewardship as head coach is utterly ridiculous and Neanderthal. Oh, and I forgot to mention that he is 5-2 in the playoffs, having lost to Brady and the Patriots by a bleeder FG at the end... not that anything like that outcome could have POSSIBLY happened to US!?! Do you see where I am going with this? If this guy were around and we needed a head coach, I would pounce on him faster than a ...well, a panther. And one more thing- when Spags is plucked from the Gmen at the end of this season, and if the rest of the league is clueless about Fox, I would grab him as our defensive coordinator and let him know that he has the inside track (of course, no guarantees) with the organization to become the next Head Coach. Considering how well-liked he was by the Giants in 2001 (he was almost offered the Head Coaching job if Fassel blinked), this could be a decent setup- the Giants like hiring people who they know. Buy the Fox.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Jeremy Shockey and Kevin Boss

Giants.com has a good wrap-up on the TE position for the New York Giants as we go into the draft and the 2008 season. Some have speculated that because Boss is not nearly as adequate a blocker as Shockey, that Boss was used in routes more than Shockey so that his blocking would be less exposed. What this implies is that Shockey ironically ended up being a victim of his own success; he was held in to block more often because he was doing it so well.

For 2008, what would be a good development is having Boss become proficient at blocking so that the Giants could be more flexible in sending out either TE for a pass or keeping either in for pass protection. One thing is for sure- the Giants are in an enviable position at TE.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Michael Jennings, Wide Receivers and the draft

Eisen revisits with Michael Jennings. This kid is why the Giants do not need to press early for WRs in the draft. Reese preaches getting good competition at each spot so that training camp turns out a stronger roster, so you never know with him. Between guys like Jennings and Smith (and Moss on the outside looking in) I feel like there will be enough improvement and opportunity for the Giants at this position. I will be disappointed if the Giants go high (picks in first three rounds) with a WR, all else equal. Defense wins championships. Our biggest loss in the offseason was on defense. So I want the first two picks to be defense. The only exception to this thinking on offense is at Left Tackle. Diehl is now that unit's weakest link.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Another perspective on Coughlin's Renaissance

Very good article about the relaxed and happy Tom Coughlin. Who is this man and what has he done to the coach?
What a difference a year makes. Coughlin changed enough to make a BIG difference. He gave a little and got back a lot. The early word is that Strahan will renegotiate and come back in 2008. Some of this is because of Coughlin's willingness to listen to his players. All the players to a man remark in stunned surprise as they revisit memories from only 1-3 years prior when it was Tom Coughlin the taskmaster who would never smile and never bend. Plaxico Burress' comments (See post also from Jan 26 for this Jan 18 video, specifically minute 1:20 time) offer the most contrast between old Tom and new Tom. There is simply no way that old Tom makes that concession earlier in his Giants tenure. Considering that this interview took place before the Green Bay game (and perhaps earlier), it foreshadows the continued success of the team. The team did not tire, and it had the legs and lungs to survive a -10 degree windchill game that went to OT.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Do you tire of looking at this picture?


Like fine wine, it gets better with age.

The New York Giants Super Bowl XLII Ring

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Video Recap of 2007 Season at the NFL Spring Meetings at Palm Beach FL

video

Spygate and the New England Patriots, Installment 29

Spygate continues, and nobody likes that more than the New York Times. They have been at this story when everyone else gave up on it. They do not want it to die. They have enough unanswered questions for it to deserve continued coverage, especially when the owner chimes in on the subject.

What is interesting is that Matt Walsh claims he signed a non-disclosure agreement (NDA) while under the employment of the New England Patriots. The Patriots do not even bother addressing such an issue. My guess is that (1) Walsh did sign an NDA (2) he does not have a copy anymore (3) New England has a copy (4) it is filed away in some place they do not even know exactly where and (5) this is more than awfully convenient for the Patriots and the NFL. It is obvious that without Specter this would have died a quiet death many moons ago. In fact, it did EXACTLY that! But the pot got stirred up again a few months ago; Specter/Comcast and the media are clearly the only ones who really care about it coming out.

I will never forget that Patriots run. The Patriots proved me dead wrong that season. I kept saying they were going to get unmasked, that other teams would knock them off. Remember, this was the year of the infamous tuck play, where a Brady fumble versus the Raiders was ruled a non-fumble. And of course this was the year where a resurgent Greatest Show on Turf Rams team was two touchdown favorites over the seemingly weaker Patriots. This is how the Belichick Genius Legend began. Until the allegations of cheating, I was always quietly impressed by how they engineered that victory. If it was cheating, it would answer a lot of questions for me. And for many others.

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