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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Fred Robbins uptick, Peter King on Shockey's exit

Vinny DiTrani Wed Morning Camp Report

Garafolo passes along an item of note- Brandon Jacobs went out of his way to praise the yoy improvement of Fred Robbins. I have to agree with Garafolo here that these are the items that are information on the margin. All the players are busy trying to survive camp, so when your starting RB notices the improved line play of a defender, it is noteworthy.

Peter King's recounting of the way the Shockey left dovetails with how this blog opined. The key was that this was a steady erosion- the Giants did not wake up one day and go from happy with #80 to wanting to move him. His disenchantment rose progressively through the offseason. The Giants' hand was pressured in April and it was forced after minicamp. This point is important- the Giants did NOT trade Shockey because of any perception that he was "addition by subtraction" in the Super Bowl run.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Marvelous color on the NY Giants

We have not seen a single preseason game, let alone the regular season, but Marvelous is willing to share his first impressions:

1) Lawrence, Long Island, NY roots of Shane Olivea make him well known to Marvelous, who says the Giants got lucky here and if the guy can stay clean he will be a GREAT pickup. "I really believe he will be a fixture on the team for years to come. Does not matter whether he is a second stringer or what, the Giants STOLE HIM. The Giants were good for him and he will reward them."
2) Manningham reminds him of Toomer. Does not run great routes, the future lies ahead of him, all in his hands (literally and figuratively). "He could become a very good player, a steady member of our offensive arsenal, all up to him."
3) "I think Phillips will start, he is terrific, he has the goods, will be very important to us. If he doesn't start at the first snap of the season he will not be far behind."
4) The injuries (so early) are making things tougher to put into perspective... annoying more than anything else.
5) "Kiwanuka will be an excellent player at LB. Very smart. He will not be a DE. More confidence, stability, long arms, long steps, he will okay, a winner, he may surprise a lot of people." He is very concerned about the LBers and this is why Kiwi is CRITICAL to the Giants this season. "Wilkinson bothers me with all his injuries."
6) Concerned about defensive backs gelling. "Madison at his age? ..Injury prone. Makes up for it with his smarts."
7) Concerned about Jacobs. Injury prone, also "slowed up at the end of the year, hit the hole like an old man. I lost confidence in him at the end of the season and was shocked that the Giants did not use Bradshaw more. The 4th and 1 play call (Patriots final drive) to Jacobs was an abomination- he looked very slow and very tired."
8) Toomer is no youngster but he is very important, always the escape valve for Manning.
9) Offensive line is cohesive. "Snee is the best on the line. McKenzie showing some wear, will be a problem this year, he played out of his skull the past season and it will catch up to us. This guy (Olivea) from SD is going to help us here, since he plays RT. Very strong, a motor that does not stop, I am telling you we stole him."
10) O'Hara has the smarts, important.
11) Dallas is the team to beat, no contest. All Stars everywhere.
12) "Let's see if Bradshaw can improve his game. I am hearing he is in great shape, he can give us that extra energy to put us over the top."
13) Last but not least, "my faith in Eli Manning is enormous. I absolutely feel he will be clutch when it counts. His resolve is enormous, he finds ways to win games. He is the Giants, he is the man, God forbid he gets hurt."

I will not pin a prediction on Marvelous until the end of preseason, but he definitely supplied us with plenty of color here, thanks Marvelous.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Puff piece on Phillips from NFL.COM

They have had what, like 4 days of camp? So this hype on Phillips means very little. But it could be worse. He could be wallpaper too. So we will take it for what it is worth. All I know is that we have 4 guys competing for spots so that can't be bad. And it sounds like Phillips can cover ground with speed that is slightly better than Butler, so this is a good thing.

Monday Camp Reports

Mon Morning Practice

Training Camp Video Update

Mon Afternoon Practice

Kiwanuka: "Football's a lot more fun now ... than it was when I was learning from the beginning." Whether this experiment works or not, whether it is justified or not, Kiwi is a total professional and has done whatever the Giants have asked of him. He is articulate and takes the high road every time.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Wonder comments on Favre and a possible Jets landing

Late last week Wonder had the opportunity to discuss the possibility of the Jets going after Favre: "If they're smart, they make a STRAIGHT UP TRADE FOR PENNINGTON...given GB's lack of QB depth/exp., he would be perfect for Rodgers, etc...the Jets would prob have to throw in a mid-range draft pick..but would make a LOT of sense...Pennington should be mentor/backup at this point...Penn. would prob have to take a pay cut..but what are his alternatives ?? OR trade him to the BEST team for him- VIKINGS...no wind, great record in dome, great running game and DEF,...and if Jackson slips at all, they' ve got CP to start...so give GB a 2nd or 3rd, and get a 4th or 5th for CP. Make Favre a TWO year deal/offer that's incentive laden with a caveat that he MUST complete the second year ($$ penalties etc)"

Excellent Bob Popa compilation by NFL.COM

Bob Popa calls the Giants charge to a championship. Still just as sweet.

Training Camp Hype and Reporting

Every year it is the same parade. The same beat writers get fed the same stories and quotables from mostly the same sources. If you don't have a VIP Pass, word from more than a few attendees at camp is that you can't see s***. If you are attending camp and have posted to this site in the past, you can email us and we will get your comments on the blog. I am sure you can give us better info than these beat writers because your perspective and agenda and are not clouded.

The things we look for in training camp are the following: where is the competition for jobs, who is on the bubble, who is having a standout camp, which rookie/s is making an impact, significant injuries/loss of playing time, second string depth (especially in preseason games).

The things we do not look for in training camp are the following: creampuff beat writer canned pr positive pieces on individual players, one unit's superiority over another unit from one practice to the next, how wonderful the team is doing. (Unless it is 0-4 in camp it is always doing wonderfully.)

There were two things I remembered from last year's camp: we had depth and there was a kid named Bradshaw who looked really good. Everything else was the usual bs, worried about Strahan getting injured (I was sure he was going to, but nonetheless, he took a while to get in the flow anyway, which just meant he was smart enough to go slower and not overdue it and THEN get injured), watching Manning's accuracy. So the point is that if you can find ONE player who is going to make a difference and one macro theme, that is pretty good for takeaways from this circus sideshow they call training camp.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

New York Giants Training Camp Day #2

New York Giants Training Camp Report Day #2

items of note>
1) competition at Safety going exactly as anticipated with Johnson and Butler fending off Phillips and Knight early on because of their familiarity with the system, but the latter doing well and projecting a very tight race for starting jobs
2) Manning threw a lot of picks
3) McQuarters, Pierce, Tollefson, Webster and Thomas all mentioned for individual plays
4) Kiwinuka mentioned for sliding in at DE. Can you say 5-1-5 nickel? Now that is a TRUE double nickel. Coughlin went out of his way to praise his attitude and work ethic.
5) Hixon played well on offense. He is taking advantage of the extra time coming from Burress being inactive.
6) With Clark and Wilkinson limited, Kehl and Blackburn getting a lot of work.

Moss on the bubble... this time for real
Coughlin says Burress IS hurting, ankle is sore
Nate Robinson was cut
Jessie Armstead is a volunteer coach
Derek Brown (!) sighting
Asante Samuel strained his hamstring in Eagles camp

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Bob Glauber on the Giants

First day of camp

Sound bytes from morning practice on the ultimatenyg NY Giants blog.... Garafolo on the afternoon report from camp.

Eli Manning is the leader of the offense. He is simply more relaxed, now he is talking about receivers getting reps, TEs getting reps. He is focused on improving, and if he does the Giants are in very good shape.

Michael Jennings?!! I believe it was Sinorice Moss who mentioned that Jennings was making plays and looking very good out there. Remember, Jennings was making a lot of plays in preseason and was looking good until he got hurt last summer. We go from full to loaded at WR if Jennings is healthy.

Right now Ward, Bradshaw and Jacobs are sharing snaps with the first stringers.

Plaxico Burress was in camp but did not practice. He was on the sidelines on the bike and in meetings. Coughlin on him not practicing: "his ankle." Others are speculating it is all about the holdout, that he is not practicing because of the contract dispute. On the surface that is not true, but at this point this is what we are fed and it might still be part of a work 'slowdown.' Garafolo chronicles all the ongoings...

Coughlin singled out a nice play by Kenny Phillips in morning practice.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Wilkinson on PUP List

The news that Wilkinson is on the PUP list is not good. I THINK THIS IS JUST A SMOKE SCREEN FOR THE NEW RULES FOR 2008 LIMITING THE NUMBER OF PLAYERS THAT CAN PRACTICE AT TRAINING CAMP. This guy needed the reps, he has the speed, this is supposed to be his breakout year with lots of playing time and possibly some impact. A setback for the LBing corps, which was already the weakest unit on the team. I think it is just the latest NFL technique to keep as many bodies on the squad as possible for as long as possible.

Jared Lorenzen lands in Indianapolis.

Osi highlights

Tyree will be put on physically unable to perform list.

Jacobs to play out the last year on his contract. This is a good move for everyone. The Giants have plenty of RBs, so why not make Jacobs earn his next contract in this year. He has only played one season as a starter and was injured multiple times. I hope he plays great, stays healthy this season and the Giants have to pay up for his services in 2009.

Shockey speaks to the Saints media, and NY listens in.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pre-camp ideas and things to watch for

1) Safety? Butler. Johnson. Knight. Phillips. Pick 2. At this point people are saying that Knight and Phillips have the best shot to be the starters this season, but this position is WIDE OPEN. I hope there is enough depth so that Butler is cut. But in a strange way, I would not be surprised if he started! This is because all 4 are imperfect. They each have strengths and weaknesses.

Butler (see previous post's remarks from Spags) is a good tackler who knows the system but is freaking slow.

Johnson is entering his sophomore year and he should rate to grow with a nice jump in comfort in Spags' system. He has the starts (5) from last year to put him incontention for a lot of playing time.

Knight is the veteran with experience, intelligence and strong run stopping skills in the box. But he is weak in coverage and is new to the system.

Phillips is the classic wild card. Rookie #1 pick who everyone will be watching. The level of his play in camp and this season will not only dictate how strong we are at this position but how strong the entire defense is and by that comclusion how well the entire team plays. Remember that when rookie #1 Aaron Ross got inserted into the starting lineup (literally H2 of the Redksins game in W3), the tone of the defense accelerated and the team never looked back. So if Phillips hits the ground running, his presence can be felt QUICKLY.

2) ELI MANNING. Weakest link? Star QB who overshadowed the performances of 4 straight Pro Bowl QBs en route to the Super Bowl? If new Eli is with us in 2008 this team will be a bear. Eli has been talking exactly like what you want to be hearing this offseason- knowing full well about the games where he was weakest link and that he can do a lot to improve to get the team to be ultracompetitive this year. Eli never got too high and that works to his advantage in not coming crashing down to earth. Eli is not resting on his laurels.

3) Do we have any speed at LB?

4) Does Diehl's play at LT improve? We cannot afford to have the 2nd highest sacks allowed and expect (playoff) competitiveness this season again.

5) Can we get Woodson or Carr to become a credible backup? If I know the Giants they will probably cut Wright in deference to the promise/pedgiree of newest arrivals. Otherwise it would mean an immediate admission of error in the draft pick or reclamation project.

6) Do the rookies of 2007 ascend and make the dramatic impact in 2008 we are hoping for? This holds so much promise for the team.

7) How does the team shut down the run w/o Strahan?


Giants coaches spoke to the media yesterday.

1) Linebacker is (parsing his words) the biggest weakness on the defense
2) he likes the secondary now because as a group there are a lot of bodies and a lot of competition
3) he singled out Butler's solid play from the end of last season, doing a lot of quiet/unnoticed things during games that were very important to helping the team win
4) happy he has all his positional coaches back in all the same spots
5) the elephant in the room- how will the run defense make up for losing Strahan?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

New York Giants sign Kenny Phillips

New York Giants sign Kenny Phillips.

Now all the Giants need to do is get Plax in camp and this will be one happy family for preseason.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Jeremy Shockey traded to the New Orleans Saints, Part 2

John Mara: "I had a couple of long conversations with Jeremy this spring and summer. From those conversations, it was apparent to me that a fresh start was the best thing for us and for Jeremy."

READ BETWEEN THE LINES, the Giants wanted him because they were better WITH HIM. This was not their choice or their thinking that they were better without him. Their hand was forced.

NEXT. If the Giants are healthy, they can get the job done without Shockey. Gilbride you nitwit, wake up and USE your weapons. Spags had four tremendous pass rushers, he found ways to get ALL going north to the QB and (use Kiwi and Tuck for) wreaking havoc on guards and centers. With Gilbride we have Shockey in on every down... blocking. OMFG.

There once was a time when the Giants drafted a rookie phenom in the first round who immediately turned heads when he hit the field. He too was filled with all kinds of energy, and physically was a man amongst boys. His name was LT. And Parcells (first as his defensive coordinator and then as head coach) knew how to manage the man-child. Let him do what he did best. Give him his own set of rules. Keep him happy. Make no mistake, LT was a rogue too. Just like Shockey, LT was a party animal with the same unbounded energy. The only difference is that Parcells let his rogue sleep through meetings, and (for better AND for worse) looked the other way at times when it came to LT's drug use.

IS SHOCKEY A PEA BRAIN? Absolutely! He was unhappy because he felt he was being impeded FROM HELPING THIS TEAM. He simply needed coaches that could communicate with him and figure out ways to make him happy. They all knew the team was far stronger with this ballistic missile pointed at the opponents. By the end, he was pointed at the gmen and he had to go. This was NOT Shockey's fault. It was Coughlin and (specifically) Gilbride's. I have said it here before and I will say it again.. when you get a Maserati you do not put it in midtown traffic to collect fares. This was a wasted asset, plain and simple. (Ultimatenyg pointed out the day after he went down with a broken leg that the Giants would NOT miss Shockey because he already was being so underutilized that it did not matter. Sad indeed.) Smarter athletes would have channeled their drives to suit the needs of the team. In fact, the way I saw 2007, with how Shockey was a model citizen and on-field TEAM player, how could you complain? So the facts here are that he is gone and that we should stop looking just at Shockey and more at the Giants organization for why this failed. You get a player with his skills once or twice a generation, they often come with some asterisks, and if you can manage the asterisks you can win championships on their shoulders.

Gilbride still mismanages his talent. Try using Boss in pass patterns more if his hands are much better than his blocking. Get Bradshaw on the field more. Run him on screens in open space. (Despite Strahan and Umenyoira starting at DE) Spags found ways to get Tuck on the field all the time. So when we won the SB and everyone was talking up Spags for a head coaching job and no one was talking up Gilbride, were you surprised? When it came to this, that Shockey had to be traded, it should not have been a total surprise.

Monday, July 21, 2008

New York Giants trade Jeremy Shockey to the Saints for a 2nd and 5th Rounder

New York Giants trade Jeremy Shockey to the Saints for a 2nd and 5th Rounder

Just like the Skins had to make a distressed and motivated buy when Daniels went down, the Giants had to make this trade because Shockey forced their hand. The Giants will be okay but they lose a Pro Bowler. Blame goes to Gilbride, who kept the Maserati busy in midtown traffic picking up fares instead of out on the highway where it belonged.

Note that these are NOT the same "draft picks" as the ones offered by the Saints in April. In April the Saints were at #9 in the second round, the 40th pick in the draft. Not only do we have to wait a year to pick, we will likely be picking a lot lower than #40 and the 2009 draft will not be nearly as deep as 2008's draft. I am sure the Giants argued these points in holding onto at least the original 'terms.'

PSL Choices

Reprinted from a comment made by ultimatenyg in the NY Times Fifth Down June 29th, 2008.
Yes, now that Wellington Mara is gone, the Giants fans are screwed. Some people do business with more loyalty than others. WE THE FANS ARE CUSTOMERS, nothing more, nothing less. If you do not like it, VOTE WITH YOUR FEET. I think what is going on here is that there are many people who want to teach the Maras and Tisches a lesson, leave, and have them get punished economically for their betrayal. IT IS NOT HAPPENING! And you KNOW THAT, namely that the waiting list is too long and there probably are many thousands more that are not even on the waiting list that will gladly pay for the PSL from someone in the secondary market once that gets going. Quit your crying and accept the fact that as customers you took ZERO risk. During World War II it was so bad that NFL franchises folded. The Eagles and Steelers became the Steagles for a few years. If the NFL were to implode you the fan can walk away with no financial burden. At the end of the day, loyalty shown or abandoned, these owners have the right to make any choice they want. If this decision to forego loyalty bites them on the behind decades or generations from now, so be it! For now we are all pissed because they are going to get away with it.

Your choices:
a) pay and keep going to games
b) pay and then resell the PSL in the secondary market for a PROFIT (how much pity do I have for you NOW?!!)
c) don’t pay, take the $ that would have been paid on seats AND/OR the PSL and use that to buy a home theatre so that you can watch the games at home in an upgrade
d) write angry letters to the Giants telling John Mara that his father is rolling in his grave
e) boycott the Giants
f) boycott football
g) buy a PSL in the secondary market from one of these disgruntled seasons tickets holders who chose (b) and finally get to go to games in the seats that these people only had because their grandfather had them
h) ADDENDUM (7/19)- trade down to a cheaper PSL from your grandfather's seat at the 50 yard line and get a cheaper one in the third tier

After the Baseball Strike of 1994, I was angry at greedy owners and greedy players and chose to boycott the sport by not going to games. 14 years and counting, and I have not given the whores of baseball a single dime. And now I watch (in vindicated amusement) as the steroids-deal-with-the-devil continues to erode the credibility of their sport. And yet I listen in horror on WFAN as these empassioned baseball addicts continue to support the de facto FRAUD! In the end baseball and football are still just a game and it is certainly just a business. I think John Mara has betrayed his father’s principles, but that does not make the situation any better. They made their choice, now we make ours.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Jay Glazer reports Jason Taylor signs with Skins

I think this deal is a mistake for the Skins. Everyone should know by now what I think of second round picks, the steak of the draft. So giving away what can arguably be your next Tiki or Strahan or Sehorn or Toomer or Umenyiora or Snee or Smith or... (get my point?) for a car with a lot of miles on it makes little sense to me. The Redskins are saying to me they will win this year or next year, and that rarely happens that you make a coaching change and get that kind of immediate turnaround. Snyder Snyder Snyder.

PSL Choices

When John Mara unveiled the PSL purchase program, he injected a little wrinkle, offering a "tradedown" for those seasons tickets holders who cannot afford their own seats' PSL but would be willing to take a cheaper PSL seat elsewhere in the stadium. Combined with the fact that 150,000 people are on the waiting list for seasons tickets, and it is very clear that those 1K seats in "90%" of the upper deck are going to be SOLIDLY BID OVER THE GIANTS OFFICIAL ASKING PRICE IN THE SECONDARY MARKET. And if there wasn't all of these Wall Street layoffs, EVERYTHING would be bid well over. No doubt about it, lots of denial out there.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Odds and Ends

Video: O'Hara and Madison talk about the 2008 season ahead.

Bob Popa takes over the mic on the NFL Network. With Gumbel gone, almost worth thinking about subscribing.

John Mara introduced the PSL plan to the first wave of season tickets holders. They are starting near the 50 yard line. FOUR points of note: (1) you will probably see some people who are balking at the higher-priced PSLs, but the Giants will enable those currently in very good seats to "trade down" and select a cheaper PSL (2) there are 150,000 people currently on the season's ticket waiting list (3) The PSL's are payable in 3 installments- 20% in 30 days, 40% by Aug 1, 2009, 40% March 1, 2010. Lenders are saddling up to the Giants to arrange financing options. (4) Parking and stadium egress will be greatly improved for the new stadium. (My goodness, I could design it blindfolded and it would be an improvement over what they have now.)

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Spags on Phillips and Thomas

"They were both very productive guys that both played at a high level of football so that right there we think means a lot. Just in the few days we have had a chance to work with them they are pretty much every bit what we thought they were. We will keep working them and hopefully get two good players out of them." - Steve Spagnuolo on S Kenny Phillips and CB Terrell Thomas.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nightmare on Lombardi Avenue

So now the Packers are not budging, intimating they will not release Favre and make him carry the clipboard. What a nightmare. The Packers don't want to be facing him in their division twice per year. They want Rodgers now. Theismann knows QBs....

"The Packers have said they would bring him back but not as the starter," former Washington Redskins quarterback Joe Theismann said. "That's ridiculous. That's so unfair to Aaron Rodgers. It has to be a trade. Everybody has drawn their lines in the sand. A deal's got to be made before training camp. It's a mess... I don't necessarily think there is a right or a wrong. I think the Green Bay Packers have done everything they can. They were told they had to move forward without Brett Favre, and then he changes his mind. What are they supposed to do, stop everything because he wants to change his mind? From Brett's side, he's doing something he feels like he can do and wants to do. But Brett has put the Packers in a very bad situation... (Favre) is the single most entertaining player on the field to ever play the position. I call him 'Everyman' off the field because every person out there can relate to the personal challenges he's been through. But no matter how this thing shakes out, I don't think it has served Brett very well... Green Bay would be stupid to trade him within the division. The best scenario for my money is Tampa Bay. Jon loves to have as many quarterbacks as he can get. If you're gonna trade for Brett Favre, you need him to play right now and Jon runs a pure form of the West Coast offense like Mike McCarthy did."

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Giants sign OT Shane Olivea

Giants signed OT Shame Olivea. Once again, it is not what is said but what is NOT said. What is not said is:
1) the Giants are not sold on Koets and Whimper.
2) the Giants were not (in hindsight) happy with themselves for not drafting a single Offensive Lineman and they desperately need some competition in camp.

It is simple numbers: a team carries 8-9 OLinemen on a 50 man squad (and when they dress 45 they usually only dress 7 OL). So when the team has guys like Brandon Torrey, Dylan Thiry, Kevin Boothe, Na'Shan Goddard, Andrew Bain and Digger Bujnoch, it is saying we need a little more competition than this. If one of them wins a job it is a lot. This is what camp is really about- the survival of maybe one of these guys on the final roster.

Monday, July 14, 2008

The Main Event of the World Series of Poker

is World Championship No-Limit Texas Hold'em. 6,844 Entrants. 35 players left. Top Prize over $9M. Notables still remaining include Mike Matusow. Play will end when they reach the final table of 9 players and then it will resume in November (ESPN). The media will be very happy if Matusow is still alive in the final table. They will have a field day if the lone remaining woman, Tiffany Michelle, makes it there. The way things are progressing, she stands as good a shot as anyone given that she has ~7.3M chips (average chip stack is currently ~4M).

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Plaxico Burress book tour radio interview

In between minicamp and training camp, you have to be a returning Super Bowl champion to have material like this for a football blog. Little items of amusement, like- they served chicken broth on the sidelines of the Green Bay championship game instead of water or gatorade, which would freeze. OR BIGGER ITEMS, like the fact that the mcl sprain in the shower caused Plax to be unable to make cuts to the right in the Super Bowl.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Favre asks for unconditional release from Packers

Favre has asked the GB packers to unconditionally release him so that he can play football again in 2008.

How many times has this guy retired now? I lost track. We all put him up on a pedestal when he retired in March to honor his place as one of the top 10 quarterbacks of all time. So what do you want the Packers organization to do NOW? It is July and Favre has the itch to play again. I feel for the Packers because they are trying to move on. This is a disruptive move for them. Even if they made it known that they would not be receptive to another year, they have him under contract and could have easily traded him back in February to any of a host of teams that would logically feel they are a QB away from a title. And they should be able to do that now as well. But training camp opens up in less than 2 weeks, so any suitor has already lost at least SOME interest in a player like this. There really are no winners. If I am the Packers, out of respect for MY organization I try to trade him and if I cannot get much of anything I would then release him.

What kind of impact will Favre have with another team? He better join a team with an offensive line, because that itch to get back in the game will turn out to be a nightmare if he is getting clocked all the time. The only thing that is perfectly clear to me is that this is a mistake for Favre. Strahan is looking like a freaking genius right now. #92 spent some time, thought it over, made sure it was what he was going to do, did it and has made the right choice. The likelihood for Favre is that he will be joining a new system (even if it is something similar to the offense in GB), will have new linemen he needs to be on the same page with, new receivers he needs to be on the same page with... new trust issues he will have with his coaches. Unless he gets a "super" fit this is a can of worms of enormous proportions. He could have the greatest fit imaginable, still get blindsided at his age and not fully recover from injury. I respect his will to win, his will to play, but if the Giants taught him anything in his last game as a pro, it was that he was coming up a little short and needed to take a seat. In Canton.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Growth and Value

There are two general camps of investing in the world of stocks: growth and value. Growth stocks are ones where you pay a (significant) premium to what the stock is currently worth on its balance sheet because the company is expected to grow revenue and profits at an inordinately high rate, making the purchase price justified over a certain period of time. Value stocks are ones which have been beaten down and can be purchased at a discount to accepted norms of the balance sheet, ie low price/earnings ratio, low discount to "book" value etc.. Why the mention of these financial investment terms on a football blog? Simple- drafting is all about selections based on a philosophy of growth and value. To quote Wonder, it is not WHO you take but WHERE you take him. Therein lies the denominator which ultimately determines the aggressiveness of a draft choice. Initial Public Offerings ("IPOs") are always about growth, because often these younger companies have more growth prospects than balance sheet track record and stability. In 1986 Microsoft went public and was one of the greatest examples of a successful growth stock, always outperforming what was seemingly a rich stock price. For every successful growth pick, there are many less-heralded companies that fade into oblivion. Think Dot-com high fliers that went from triple digits to zero. They never made a penny in earnings and eventually they cratered. In the football world, paying up for 'growth' means using a very high draft pick for someone who has skills but not necessarily the track record of performance 'yet' on the field. Johnnie Lam Jones was the ultimate draft growth pick disaster. The Giants have recently made two growth picks (coincidentally both in the second round): Osi Umenyiora and Sinorice Moss. At the time, picking Umenyiora was a reach, but the Giants felt that his 'raw' talents would lead to great success down the road. They were correct. (And well before this blog was started, I was on record as not being happy... here was a guy who barely knew what football was who was short on experience being taken in the SECOND round! Not value by ANY stretch.) But obvly the 'promise' of Sinorice Moss, who was given a pedigree because of his brother, has yet to deliver the same rewards. Such is the life of a growth pick. The latest examples of classic value picking is Justin Tuck and Ahmad Bradshaw. Tuck fell to the third round because of an injury. Bradshaw fell to the 7th round because of "off the field" criminal activity. Bradshaw was a classic bear market where his valuation eventually becomes so compelling that you expend less resources on the promise of performance returning down the road. Great value because of WHERE he was chosen.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Exceptions to the Rules..?.. Part 3

Is Rule #10 (trading a lot of picks for one player) seemingly obliterated by the success of Eli Manning in leading the Giants to Super Bowl XLII? How is it possible to say that Manning has a free pass for life while also being adamantly against Accorsi's trade to get him? The answer is easy- I have said both and have no qualms saying it again:


This blog was started at the end of Nov 2006, 2+ years after the draft day in 2004 when Manning was taken in exchange for #1 in 2004, the #5 in 2004, the #1 in 2005 and the #3 in 2005. All for moving up three spots. I argued it in email in 2004 and will argue it again here- ACCORSI EGREGIOUSLY OVERPAID.

1) For starters I will say flatly that Ben Roethlisberger (whom Accorsi admits he would have taken with the #4 pick had the trade not been made) wins the Giants not 1 but quite possibly TWO titles already.

2) Secondly, like it or not, Eli Manning said he was not willing to play for the Chargers. Tough S***. Use that to your advantage and get a distressed sale.

3) It does not matter whether Eli goes to the Hall of Fame, wins us one or ten titles, the trade subjects your team to far more IMBALANCE by taking a team sport which is already focused on the success of a QB and putting it on the shoulders of ONE player EVEN MORE! Remember Jay Alford, that unknown #3 pick from 2007? The one who sacked Brady and was in on more than a few key plays in the Super Bowl run? That is a #3 round pick that is part of your team, one which could have easily been there for the Giants that we will never know about because we no longer had the EXTRA #1, EXTRA #3 and EXTRA #5.

4) DO THE MATH! Go to your draft tables and you will see the Giants overpaid for moving up by roughly the value of a high #3 pick. Almost a second rounder! Not chopped liver.

So the point is that yes, Manning played lights out in his last 5 games, helped us tremendously to win a title, but that does NOT validate the trade. The trade was a poor one from the moment it was made. I do not care if all we got was old Eli through his first 3.5 seasons or the new one with the title. If someone gives you a coin and tells you heads you win 2 and tails you lose 3, it does not matter that it landed on heads and you 'won.' It was still a bad bet. Accorsi can argue all he wants about what he knew and did not know about Manning, but he overpaid AND had alternatives at #4.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Exceptions to the Rules..?.. Part 2

14) The 2 week layover for the SB makes for a lousy game which improves the chances for the favorite.

My only reply to this one is that Ultimatenyg nailed the two week layover for Super Bowl XLII a full 12 days before the Super Bowl when no one had yet begun to discuss the issue.

Rule 14 is all about the general matchup between two close teams during the regular season that would become a blowout (for the favorite) with the extra preparation. The odds actually fronted that and got it wrong because the Giants were never going to get the respect (and they STILL don't have it 5 months later!).

Monday, July 7, 2008

Plaxico Burress to be at camp- Paul Schwartz/NYPost

2008 is shaping up as a tremendous year in sports

A great Super Bowl, arguably the best (Giants fan or not!) Super Bowl with the best Super Bowl play as well.

An epic win by Tiger Woods, in an 18 hole playoff on one leg.

And yesterday, an epic Wimbledon Final.

These three 2008 championships are going to stand the test of time. What a year.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

ESPN Coaches Poll

Rodney Harrison voted dirtiest player

Hines Ward voted (Non-QB) smartest offensive player

Zach Thomas voted smartest defensive player This one is a good read because they point out how smart players are always anticipating tendencies.

Rooney has the best reputation for an owner in the league.

Giants players receiving votes were Pierce (dirtiest), Strahan (smartest), and former Giant Nick Greisen as (notably) the youngest of those who received votes for smartest defensive player.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Exceptions to the Rules..?.. Part 1

Life is not perfect. Rules are made to be broken. The Rules For Winning in the NFL were posted on July 4th 2007. They cover a wide array of football decision-making, so it is not an easy task of assigning grades/performance. Yesterday we had some good comments that indicated some exceptions, but are the exceptions really EXCEPTIONS? I contend that the exceptions actually bolster even more evidence that the Rules continue to work.

As an example, it has been suggested that Rule 8 (being unpredictable) and Rule 21 (getting quality wins of 11+ points) were not used by the Giants and thus disproves and provides exceptions to the idea that a championship needs those elements. It is very clear that Coughlin (and through his mediocre assistant, Gilbride) used a very straightforward offensive approach, which on the surface supports this contention. My rebuttal is that the Giants offense was HELD BACK by Gilbride/Coughlin (specifically in Dallas) or else we would not be sitting here looking back and comfortably indicating the exception.

EVERYONE WHO HAS ENOUGH SELF-RESPECT AND RESPECT FOR THE GIANTS RUN will freely admit that we needed a whole lot of things to go right to squeak out wins of 4 (last defensive drive stop), 3 (OT) and 3 points (last drive) in the last 3 games. It did not have to be that close.

This was a quality win. Technically it is not (since the final was by 10, not 11), but when you are up by 10 and put the dagger in them with a long sustained drive to go up by 17, that is the definition of letting your offense win the game for you.

1) Patrick Crayton's dropped ball (..if caught he is still running)
2) Patrick Crayton cuts off his route in the penultimate play or else Romo's 'overthrown' ball is a TD.
3) Romo's overthrown ball to a wide open TO in the red zone.
4) Gilbride's decision to use Bradshaw so much less than his effectiveness warranted (even Aikman and Buck wondered aloud about that one)
5) Shutting down the offense with 9:27 left

The Giants held on but violated too many rules. When you play with fire you get burned. The Giants were the better team but they gave the Cowboys opportunities. How about the personal foul on Davis for diving on Strahan- a drive killer. Point is that if the Cowboys executed just slightly better we are bemoaning the violation of Rule 17, 18 and 21.

1) Tons of points left on the field

The Giants offense was not conservative in the GB game. They played to win and could have chalked up a 'quality' win in so many ways but the team shot themselves in the foot too many times. Imo, that game does not refute the rules at all. The final score of this game could have easily been as much as ~37-16 Giants.

1) 4th and 1 on the final drive
2) Why all the running between the tackles?

The Giants shot themselves in the foot in the first half, consistently driving on the Patriots and coming up with very little. This was simply a hard fought game. And when you play an 18-0 Tom Brady team the way our defense played them, it just shows that Defense Wins Championships.

Friday, July 4, 2008

The Rules For Winning in the NFL

(Ultimatenyg note: This is a reprint of July 4, 2007's post. Rule 6 was violated so badly (causing a loss in this past year's playoffs) that we had to create a 6a addendum just for the offender! The last word (rule) has never been more true, eh Tom Brady?!!)

In the spirit of Independence Day, we declare these truths to be self-evident, that not all coaches and general managers are created equal... THE RULES FOR WINNING IN THE NFL! Please comment, detract, add your own. These rules can be amended (doubtful, but possible!) by your feedback.

1) Do not draft a "versatile" player in Round 1 of the draft. "Dominant" should be there, not versatile.
2) Left Tackle is a rare commodity. A good Left Tackle is better than a great ______ (fill in almost any other position).
3) WRs are a dime a dozen. Do not waste resources here; pick one up when you are close to the prize. They are always available.
4) "Linebackers, I collect'em." - Bill Parcells.
5) Pitchouts do not work in the red zone.
6) Repeat after me, Do not go for the 2 pt. conversion until there are 6 minutes left in the game. If there are more than 8 minutes left in the game, it is a 99% certainty that it was the wrong decision.
6a) The Mike Tomlin Rule- The only thing worse than violating Rule 6 is violating Rule 6 AFTER a penalty makes it a 7 yd (or 12! or 17 yard) attempt.
7) The Devon Hester Rule- If there is a special teams player in the end zone on a FG attempt, it is probably a good idea to fake the kick.
8) Do the unpredictable. Once you are predictable you are dead.
9) Trading down in the draft is good.
10) Investing all of your resources in one player is (now, more than ever in the era of free agency) a mistake. Eli Manning, Herschel Walker, Ricky Williams... the teams that do the best are usually giving the pick and getting multiple players.
11) "Read and react" is for losers. Set the tone, dictate terms of engagement, let others copy your SB blueprint. By the time you copy someone else's, the league has figured out how to adjust, so you are wasting your time.
12) Defensive Coordinators make better head coaches and increase your chances for a SB championship.
13) Let the clock wind down to 3 seconds and kick your FG. I have never seen a team muff the (3rd down) attempt and kick on 4th down with the extra time that you left on the clock. I HAVE seen plenty of teams kick the FG and give the other team the oppty/win when they got their hands on the ball again. (ie Dallas Mon Night 2003)
14) The 2 week layover for the SB makes for a lousy game which improves the chances for the favorite.
15) Special teams are always underrated.
16) The only thing the prevent defense prevents you from doing is winning.
17) The only thing the prevent offense prevents you from doing is winning.
17a) The Kenny Holmes Rule- the only thing worse than the prevent offense is the prevent offense when your defense is exhausted/impaired by injury.
18) Players are told to play for 60 minutes. Yet who benches the head coach when he only coaches for 50?
19) The Fassel Rule of Prevent: It is always the coach's fault when a large lead is blown/the game is lost.
20) The Fassel Rule of December: Practice in December w/o pads- your players will appreciate it and win many more games for you with their fresh legs.
21) The Bill Walsh "Quality Win" (winning by 11+ points) is a necessary objective at all times because it enables you to win MORE games that are more hotly contested.
22) After 1st and Goal from the 1-2 yard line, if you fail to score a TD on your first three tries, kick the FG on 4th down.
23) The Carl Banks Rule- You cannot simply turn it on and turn it off in the NFL. Play every game and maintain/improve on your high level of play.
24) Second round draft picks are the best value in the draft. No sizzle, all steak.
25) # of headcases <= strong head coaches. (If you have a strong head coach you can have up to 1 head case in the locker room. If you have a weak head coach you cannot have any. A strong head coach with 2 or more head cases means a locker room infestation and problems.)
26) Defense wins championships.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Strahan WFAN

Strahan was on WFAN a few days ago... 12 minutes of remarks.

summary- 1)Tiki has a lot of intelligence, worth listening to. 2)Shockey gets a bad rap, he is in a no-win situation, if the Giants win this year they should have won because they were the defending champs, if they lose it was because he came back and they lost the chemistry. He gets a raw deal. If he is unhappy let him play with another team. 3)Defending the title not my problem anymore, feels good! 4)Basketball at least has a decent rookie contract structure. 5)His new job means speaking out so if he offends some players, that comes with the territory.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

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