Archive for March, 2009

Lunch Special

March 31, 2009

Burress case delayed until June. This is a negative for Burress (he could not get a deal with min/no jail time) and the Giants (waiting game continues, still assuming without his services).

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The Quality of the Game

March 31, 2009

1) There was a really good article from a charity golf tournament where some former players were sitting around and talking about the latest from the NFL.

Jack Youngblood, Mike Ditka, Sonny Jurgenson, Jim Hart, Billy Kilmer.

These guys give us a reality check. They remind us of what the game was like. And young ones out there, trust us, it was better. I saw Ditka. I saw Deacon Jones, the one man who scared me from inside the television set. And of course I saw LT.

To think of these guys, playing football the way it was meant to be played, having to stop because of “the Brady Rule.” I cannot speak for all of you out there, but I am still irate at the chickenBrown call on Justin Tuck in the first Dallas game when he makes a totally legit tackle of the QB, they call him for a personal foul, THEN THEY HAVE THE INSANITY TO FINE HIM, then someone wakes the Brown up and tosses the fine out on appeal. To be fair, I actually think the pansyofficiating came to a head that weekend and got a little bit of reality therafter. I like the line from Lombardi- this is a COLLISION sport. When you start outlawing collisions, you degrade the quality of the game. LET THEM PLAY.

2) I was howling when Jurgenson talked about the likes of TO. At least you see that kind of discipline coming from Drew Brees when Shockey opens his mouth. This is what Manning was lacking. Bill Parcells would have controlled that stuff, and then he would have told his QB how to control that, and if his QB did not control it, Parcells would have gotten pissed at … the QB!! For not being in charge! It is a little lonely at the top, but if you want to lead as a QB that is what it takes.

One of my favorite stories from Monday Morning Quarterback is when Phil Simms remembers how the Offensive Line was not protecting Simms well enough, and how Parcells was starting to lay into the linemen during practice. So Simms is thinking to himself, yah Bill, go Bill, yes, lay into them for not doing a good job. And then Parcells pulls back and stops criticizing the linemen. He turns to Simms and starts ripping into him!! Why? Because (as he then continued in the practice) Simms was getting too buddy-buddy with his linemen, too much of a friend, not willing to take charge and keep his linemen in line. So Parcells ripped into Simms and let him know that winning was not about being friends with everyone in the huddle all the time.

Is it possible that maybe Burress would not be in the trouble he is in if Manning were a little more in charge and would tell the diva star WR who the real law was, before he ever had to know from the NYC law? Just thinking out loud.

How does all of this tie together? The quality of the game is built up or is lost not in one fell swoop but in a combination of smaller things that click together or drop off one by one. Too many franchises. Too many games. Flex scheduling punishing premium viewers. Night winter games. Diva WRs putting themselves before the sport. The Brady Rule. Poor officiating. Pansy officiating. Nature called our sport’s commissioner Roger GoToHell, and I am beginning to think he is right. The NFL is losing its compass, and GoToHell is slowly sending the league off the path.

Phil Mushnick airs a PSL story worth hearing

March 30, 2009

Yesterday, Phil Mushnick, proud NY Post muckraker extraordinaire, aired a PSL story that was sad yet typical of the bs gouging:

As the PSL and other ticket stories roll in, we’ll roll some out.

Here’s one from a longtime holder of good Giants season tickets, lower deck near the 40:

The Giants want $20,000 per seat for the PSLs. So the fellow calls the Giants and tells the sales rep he has decided he will cough up the $80,000 for the PSLs plus the $5,000 or so per season for the tickets, but the club must meet one, small request.

“What’s that?” the rep asks.

“Just stop charging me for those two home exhibition games every year.”

The patron goes on to explain that among all the ripoffs he has endured — all the night games and hikes in parking fees — being forced to pay for games that don’t count and are played by players who aren’t likely to make the team is the one he can’t stomach.

“I can’t even give those tickets away. Eliminate those tickets or waive their cost, and I’ll send a check for the balance, the $84,000 and something.”

“But I can’t do that,” says the ticket rep. “I’m sorry.”

“I’m sorry, too,” said the ticket-holder, now an ex-ticket holder, though the Giants have called back to see if he changed his mind.

LeBron James

March 29, 2009

Watch CBS Videos Online

Plaxico Burress

March 29, 2009

I have intentionally avoided discussion of the Plaxico legal case here on the blog because it is a waste of everyone’s time to follow everything that has been written. The only legal expertise I have is watching Law and Order for umpteen years, i.e. NOTHING. We’ll have more clarity within a few days.

Mara, the PSL

March 27, 2009

1) John Mara gave a voice of sanity amidst the mob majority of feel-good affection for the expansion of the regular season to (likely) 18 games. Peter King calls it a “freight train.” What is not to like, another two hits of crack for all the football addicts?!! How can that be bad?! Well, what if the crack is watered down so that now each of the other 16 hits we get are all weaker and less interesting? What if the coaches are juggling players for survival by attrition instead of simply being worried about playing the game to win?

Most of us here were watching football before 1994 when free agency started. We know the drop in quality that came from wrecking the continuity of team rosters throughout the league. That kind of drop in quality will likely come again, perhaps not as significant a drop, but nonetheless the same insidious undermining of competitiveness we have seen before. At least Mara gets it. Kudos to him for defending the quality of the brand.

2) More PSL news. The Giants sold out Field 3, the $5K endzone dreck seats. Are you surprised the $5K seats went before the remaining “club” seats? What- you mean you don’t want to spend $20K and $700/game to watch the Giants? Don’t worry, there is a stupid corporation waiting to deduct those seats as a business expense, provided they still have the profits to write it off against. All the food you can eat, what a deal!

And remember the loophole?

From a brochure given to PSL purchasers:

“What if I am not satisfied with the location I am assigned?”

Answer-
“If you are not satisfied with your assigned PSL zone and/or seat location, your PSL money will be refunded and your seats will be offered to another Giants fan.”

It comes as no surprise that they moved up the date to show PSL buyers their location from ~March 2010 to the Fall of 2009. Given the economic situation, the Giants are likely rushing to get past this loophole before people change their minds.

Where can the Giants trade up to?

March 26, 2009

Before this conversation of ‘where the Giants can trade up to’ even starts, let me preface it by saying that in general the second round is the best value in the draft. It is one of the rules. So for all of you yahoos (including Wonder) who want to trade up for the marquee player in Round #1, caveat emptor.

Now that that qualifier is out of the way, let’s play fantasy GM for a moment or two. Understand that the draft value chart is not the be-all-end-all of precise measurement. But it is what we have. In my humble opinion it is flawed because it does not ‘butterfly’ properly (the difference in value between pick 6 and 7 has to be LARGER than the difference from pick 7 to 8). But we see all over the chart that the math is incorrect. We will leave it at that.

Back to the Giants, NYG24 has supplied us with the #s where we pick, and I am taking him at his word.

slot points
29> 640
45> 450
60> 300
91> 136
100> 100
129> 43
151> 31
164> 26
200> 11
238> 2
total = ~1740 points

So if the Giants wanted to pull a Mike Ditka and trade all of our picks to jump to the head of the class, we could get the #4 or #5 pick in the draft. NOT WORTH IT. This short-changes the skills of Reese. It does get a little more sane and palpable to want to package our #1, along with one of the #2’s and one of the #3’s.

#1 + #2 + #3 = pts ( moves you up to)
=====================================
29 + 45 + 91 = 1226 (11th or 12th pick)
29 + 45 +100 = 1191 (12th pick)
29 + 60 + 91 = 1076 (14th or 15th pick)
29 + 60 +100 = 1040 (15th pick)

The fact that the Giants got that #3 pick (100th selection) makes me think that Reese is more likely than not to play some poker and see about his options in moving up, because now he can package something together and not be left empty in later rounds. All he would need is a team that is willing to trade down somewhere in that 11-15 area without killing him for a SANE deal to get done. And once Reese is there, he can aim and fire point blank and get someone he covets while still having a 2nd and 3rd rounder left.

Another possibility not to dismiss is that Reese stands pat at 29 BUT he packages his 2’s and 3’s together for anything from #16 on down in the first round.

The Eagles love to trade down to the second round, and since they have two #1’s, they might easily be enticed to trade down with the Giants for two #2s…… the Giants could trade their two #2’s and a #4 for the 21st pick in the draft, simultaneously knock Philadelphia out of the WR selection for H-Bey and also keep #29 for themselves.

I do not remember the last time the Giants had 5 picks in the first three rounds. You have to go back to 1986 for that. (Before hitting the link, if you can name all of them, you are probably a liar! Hint: there were SIX, including 4 in Round 2.) If this draft were not so weak (as compared to last year, for example), I would prefer standing pat and just drafting 10 players and being loaded for many years to come.

Summary: Reese has many cards he can play. If he finds a team willing to trade down, he has the bullets to trade up. He can do so in a myriad number of ways. He can stay right where he is. He can use his #1 to move up or he can use his other picks. So he has a great deal of flexibility. Should be a very interesting afternoon.

More regular season games

March 25, 2009

“More is better.” So it goes for the conventional wisdom employed by children and insecure adults behaving like children.

The NFL is floating an idea for a May 2009 vote on increasing the number of regular season football games from 16 to 17 or 18.

Using very simple logic:
we like football
17 or 18 > 16
we like more football
ergo, more games is good

MISTAKE. Big mistake.

We have seen it countless number of times.. players late in the season nursing injuries. It is not a question of whether players are playing hurt, it is a question of how hurt they are. Asking teams and players to play more and lengthen the season is DILUTION. It means the fans will get more games with less quality. It means playoff games with the walking wounded.

What is different now from a decade ago? From a generation ago? Players are a lot bigger and they are slightly faster. Granted medicine is better, but bodies are not able to take the abuse these players get subjected to on a 14 game season, let alone a 16 game season, let alone a 16 game season with higher energy collisions, let alone a 17 game or an 18 game season with these higher energy collisions.

This is where the money gets in the way of the sport. More regular season games means more money. But what about the quality of EVERY game? How do you measure the quality of a sport where players are already getting rotated more and more? We spend countless hours/days/months analyzing the draft, searching for that star, but then the 11 star-ters won’t be on the field because they are too hurt or need to be given less snaps to survive the season. We watched as warriors like Tuck and Robbins played hurt, significantly less effective by the end of the season. Let’s throw another 1 or 2 games in there and see what we get. What we will get is dilution.

You have to optimize quality, not quantity. The NFL is trying to optimize quantity, their economics. We the fans will get more of the second stringers playing more plays, more games. Is this good football? More is not better. The NFL is going down the road of baseball, whoring themselves out to the television coverage, the tv contracts, whatever they can do to grow their sport. But when growth comes at the cost of diminishing the quality of the product, any business manager will tell you that you have to find another answer. More games is not the answer.

More expansion teams. More teams being allowed into the playoffs. These are all ways of generating more revenue, growing the sport. They dilute the quality of the player on the field. They dilute the importance of the regular season.

Historically speaking, the reason why there were 6 preseason games was because most football players were out of shape come July. Unless they were the star of the team, most played in relative anonymity, did not get paid enough and had to have second jobs in the offseason. As salaries increased, that need became less and less. Offseason training became a mainstay to competitiveness. 6 preseason games gave way to 4 preseason games, and nowadays even 4 are not needed (for most starters) because everyone is a fulltime athlete now who comes into camp in very good shape. But that does not mean that cutting away those four games gives the NFL more “space” for increasing the regular season. That logic does not wash because the reason why starters are playing less and less in the preseason is because the coaches need to protect them for regular season snaps. The number of regular season snaps a player takes cannot be increased indefinitely. In the 2008 offseason all we heard about were the effects of the Giants having to play 20 games instead of 16, how the recovery from that year was longer and they had less time during the offseason to charge up for the new year, something which can get dismissed by the fast start but cannot be dismissed by the weak ending.

16 games is plenty of competition to determine who gets to go to the playoffs. When was the last time you heard a player or coach say they needed to play more games to determine who was deserving? Try never. 16 games is more than enough competition.

Addendum: Just found this Peter King link on nfl.com, at the end of the interview he discusses the proposal to expand the number of games. Very sad that his ear to the ground says it will pass. The only selfish/silver lining to this one is that the Giants, with a loaded D-Line, would have a distinct advantage in a longer season. Ya think that maybe Reese understood this when he was stockpiling Canty and Bernard?!

Compensatory Draft Picks

March 24, 2009

From CBS Sportsline last year:
Under terms of the NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in a year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks.

The number of picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four. The 32 compensatory choices announced today will supplement the 220 choices in the seven rounds of the 2008 NFL Draft (April 26-27). This year, the compensatory picks will be positioned within the third through seventh rounds based on the value of the compensatory free agents lost.

Compensatory free agents are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors. The formula was developed by the NFL Management Council. Not every free agent lost or signed by a club is covered by this formula.

From what I have seen historically, the best draft pick position a team can get compensation for is the end of the third round. (Has anyone seen a compensation pick in round 2?.. I cannot recall one.)

Updated: the Giants received a third round pick #100 in the draft. To have a #1, two #2’s and two #3’s is some haul.

Mitch gives us some Braylon Edwards, Plax and draft

March 23, 2009

Many thanks to Mitch for filling us in on the latest…

Report: New York Giants discussed trade for Cleveland Browns’ Braylon Edwards
by Mike Garafolo/The Star-Ledger
Sunday March 22, 2009, 9:28 PM
Tony Dejak/APThe Giants reportedly pursued a trade for Edwards.
There have been plenty of rumblings the Giants had talked with the Browns about a trade for their top wide receiver, Braylon Edwards. Those rumors had revolved around the Giants’ sending defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka to Cleveland. I had heard nothing to substantiate the rumors, so I didn’t mention them here.

But Ken Palmer of The Giant Insider reported today that, while the Giants never dangled Kiwanuka, they did inquire about Edwards.

To read the full story, you need a Scout.com subscription, but I’ve seen the full report and I’ll tell you what Palmer’s reporting:

The Giants offered the Browns the two draft picks they received from the Saints last year in exchange for TE Jeremy Shockey: a second-round pick and a fifth-rounder.

The Browns countered by asking for WR Steve Smith. The Giants said no.

The Giants then offered either of two other WRs: Domenik Hixon or Mario Manningham. The Browns said no.

The talks died down after that last exchange, though they could pick up at draft time.

I wish I could tell you more on this one, but I have nothing as of right now. What I do know is Palmer has been covering the Giants for a long time and has been out in front of plenty of stories.

I don’t doubt the Giants inquired about Edwards. And when Jerry Reese is asked about this report, he’ll probably give us the old, “We investigate everything. You know that.” But the exchange of several offers indicates this was more than just due diligence here. And while Palmer is suggesting the talks could spark again come draft time, I’m thinking Plaxico Burress’ legal situation could be the catalyst. If he goes to jail or is suspended for a while, the Giants will need to move along to the plan they have for Burress’ absence. And like Tom Coughlin said at the scouting combine, “it’d be great to have a player, if it’s not Plaxico, but with Plaxico’s magnitude, on our football team.” That player could be the 6-3, 215-pound Edwards, who surely wowed the Giants with his five catches for 154 yards and a touchdown against them last season – even if he has had a bad case of the dropsies of late.

The only part of the report that does surprise me is the Giants’ offering Manningham. I know the coaching staff is very, very high on him and the front office obviously loved him before the draft. So maybe that’s a sign they’re very interested in Edwards.

Right now, who knows? We’ll have to stay tuned on this one.

***

Speaking of Burress, from what I gather, there could be some news on his legal situation this week, despite the fact his next scheduled court date isn’t until next Tuesday, the 31st. I’m not sure exactly what we’ll hear, as I have precious few details, but I’m expecting to know more at some point. Sorry if that’s a tease, but it’s even a tease to me.

***

In addition to the Burress stuff, we might have even more news in a surprisingly busy week. I expect the league to announce the compensatory picks for April’s draft at some point during the owners’ meetings. The Giants should get at least one high pick after losing Girbil Wilson, Reggie Torbor and Kawika Mitchell to free agency last year. This guy tries to predict the picks each year and he says the Giants will get a fourth-round pick and possibly a third.

And we’ll find out the slate of games for opening weekend and Thanksgiving. The Bergen Record is reporting the Giants are expecting five prime-time games. The full schedule likely won’t be announced until next month.

MG