Archive for the ‘Amani Toomer’ Category

Terrell Thomas, Antonio Pierce, Amani Toomer

August 5, 2009

1) Training camp video highlights.

2) Every now and then we are able to get it right once in a row.

July 22nd
“Ross- ??..did he have a sophmore slump? Is it me, or did he come on like gangbusters early in 2007, only to get more yawns than impact thereafter? Yes, the Giants use a lot of press coverage, so without the DL to keep up the pressure as last season wore on, we saw Ross exposed… At this point, it is not clear to me whether Thomas can offer even greater upside, given how he came on. So let’s see Ross do it, but we’d take either. Or both.”

August 4
“Speaking of closing fast, don’t discount the possibility that CB Terrell Thomas could eventually beat out Aaron Ross. Thomas is having a great start and closed very fast to step in front of Mario Manningham to pick off a Carr pass.”

3) Can you name four prominent first round draft choices who were lost to injury for the Giants during successful championship seasons for Super Bowl XXI, XXV and XLII? Yesterday we mentioned three: Kinard, Simms and Kiwanuka. But there is a 4th player, also a first rounder, who was lost to injury for one of these three championships. And he was a Pro Bowler too. Who did we leave out?! Hint, it was Super Bowl XLII… Jeremy Shockey. Almost a trick question, given how he was wasted as an asset that year anyway. Do you see a pattern– good TEs not getting enough touches? naah, couldn’t possibly be.

4) Pierce: “I am eager to go out there,” he said. “Like every year, I always come up with ways to push myself and ways to push my teammates and with everything that happened last year with the negative play in the playoff game and things that were said about me, I’m looking forward to looking those doubters in the eyes again and, like I always say, shut them up.”

We have the utmost respect for Pierce. He is an overachiever, an undrafted LBer who made it to the Pro Bowl and earned himself a championship ring. He has been the on-field General of this franchise’s defense EVERY season. As an avid studier of film, he knows formations and tendencies and will call out plays before they happen to fellow teammates, making everyone around him better. Case in point was LaVar Arrington, who was downright crestfallen when word got to him that Pierce had left the Redskins to go to the Giants in 2005. It took Arrington one year to get his tail up to NY to be with his former teammate in the middle. Before the fateful Achilles injury in Dallas that season, the Giants in 2006 had the early seeds of what could have been the most dominant defense in the league. The injury bug ripped through the team, one game after the next. Tuck and Strahan both were lost.

With all of that said, it is now 2009, not 2006. This is now the aging veteran Pierce. The one who got beat on the pass interference call to Watson which set up a 1st and goal for the Pats first TD of Super Bowl XLII. The one who could not handle Brian Westbrook out of the backfield. Spagnuolo adjusted and put a Safety on the RB on third down/obvious passing downs. Sheridan was the LBers coach, so he knows EXACTLY what he has and what he does not have in Pierce. Cold? Heartless? Age is not kind to LBers.

So Pierce has a chip on his shoulder. He’s playing with something to prove. He does not have anything to prove to us, his loyal fans. He simply has to prove to opposing NFL Offensive Coordinators that he won’t lose that half step in the second half of the season.

5) Amani Toomer has landed a job with the Chiefs. Hail Toomer. Warrior to the end. And just a reminder, you have not seen the last of him- we play the Chiefs Week #4.

6) Who is Vince Anderson? Garafolo reports that his stock is rising and he is competing seriously for that last Safety spot behind Phillips, Johnson and Brown:

“And finally, I mentioned Anderson up top and waited to the bottom to tell you he had an awesome afternoon. The undrafted rookie from Webber International (Fla.) got in front of Nicks on a fade and easily won a jump ball to knock it away. A few minutes later, he picked off a pass from Woodson that was badly behind the intended target. And finally, he showed good concentration to intercept a ball from Bomar that went through Moss’ hands. Nice way for Anderson, who converted to safety when he arrived in Albany, to get on the coaches’ radar.”

Tennessee 32 Giants 29

July 5, 2009

2002 was an extremely important year for the Giants and for me personally as a fan. 2002 was, from this NY Giants blogger’s perspective, the year which had the best Giants offense I have ever seen. 2008’s offense could have possibly eclipsed it, but when Burress went down the wheels came off, so 2002 still holds.

2002 had the juggernaut. Amani Toomer was simply fantastic that year. He was the Giants’ #1 WR, and wow could he do it all. He had the speed, the moves, the Toomer toe, in his prime, a Pro Bowl WR for the Giants in everything but name. There was one play that sticks out. The Giants are playing the Colts in Indianapolis, and the first play from scrimmage in Q3 is a flea flicker to Toomer, a bomb of bombs, Collins threw that ball a country mile and Toomer executed perfectly to make it a TD. Collins threw for 4000 yards that season. Tiki Barber ran for 1400 on the ground. Hilliard. And they had a rookie Pro Bowl TE named Jeremy Shockey. That offense could do ANYTHING it wanted. And it only got better as the season went on.

Steve McNair passed away yesterday. The Giants were 6-5 in 2002, playing against the Titans and an injured QB named Steve McNair. Fassel’s offensive juggernaut scored oodles that day, it could have scored a lot more. With the Giants leading 20-14 in Q3 they proceed to march down the field and score a TD. We’ve just entered Q4, there are 14 minutes left in the game. Your team is up 26-14. There is NOTHING TO DISCUSS.

RULE #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.

Fassel goes for 2 and the conversion fails. Giants still up by 12. Tenn and McNair score. 26-21. The Giants juggernaut 2002 proceeds to march right down the field and gets hung up at 1 yard line. No problem, the game is winding down, we’ll kick a FG and ice the game. Except now we are up 5 instead of 6. And 5+3 makes 8 (29-21), enough for Tennessee to come back down the field (there was a little Fassel Prevent Defense here and/or in the prev Tenn drive, if memory serves), score the TD, and have McNair get the 2 pt conversion. And the Giants lose in OT. Last night Eddie George remembered the life of Steve McNair and he remembered two games which McNair led his team back to victory. This game was one of them. Funny how everyone remembers things differently.

You cannot give the good players and the good teams too many opportunities. It’ll come back to bite you. The prevent works vs bad teams because they cannot execute well enough. Steve McNair, injured body and all, was a good player on a good team, and you cannot disrespect them for one moment. (The following year, McNair would be League MVP, an honor only one NYG has ever held in the modern Super Bowl era.) McNair put on a clinic, capitalizing on a ray of light left by the Giants.

It is somewhat stunning to hear of the loss of such a huge NFL warrior. Did you note how Eddie George also talked about the pain that McNair played through? McNair did not practice the week leading up to the game with the Giants. Too much pain. As fans we do not appreciate or understand the threshold of pain these men have and what they will do to play. This is such a violent sport. 250 lb. and 300 lb. missiles being thrown at you game after game, year after year. The violence seems to follow into players’ personal lives… Stallworth, Burress, McNair. Sad.

After all of the stories of his career, the NFL MVP, the Pro Bowls, the Super Bowl loss at the 1 yard line, to die at 36 from a gunshot. Whether it was murder or murder suicide, it is a terrible loss.

Separately, how ironic is it that JUST DAYS AGO the NFL held its rookie symposium to warn and educate its recently drafted players of the traps and minefields awaiting them? I hope these new members of the NFL realize that class is still in session.

Toomer is working out

April 9, 2009

We read a week ago that Toomer is staying in shape, waiting for the call from a team who wants the UFA. It may happen after the draft when a team decides it needs help from a WR that it did not get in the draft. It may easily happen after camp starts when WR injuries start depleting those ranks. We all know that despite Toomer’s age reducing his speed, he has the possession skills someone will want for that third down role. Some are speculating the Giants may take Toomer back at the right price. Not happening.. not unless the Giants are one of those teams that goes through a rash of injuries.

While Amani waits, at least he is living the dream

Toomer Part II

April 2, 2009

It is not every day that you get an ex-player to share some insight on what is actually going on INSIDE. Add the fact that it is Amani Toomer and you have something worth listening to. How many times in Toomer’s career did he show up a player or a coach? Before this, in 13 years, I cannot recall a single time.

January 28th: “They try to rely on the offensive line. And I think our offensive line is great, but they’re great when we mix it up.”

March 31st: “We practiced and prepared well. But we tried to beat them the same way we did the first time. We overemphasized things from the first time. We stayed the same. They adjusted. The rest is what happened. A shame.”

They’re great when we mix it up. Translation- you can have 5 great linemen going to the pro bowl but you cannot be predictable. Kevin Gilbride does not understand this.

October 28th: “Gilbride hinders the team. There is obviously something to lining up and punching someone in the mouth, but much like a fighter, there is a difference between a puncher and a boxer. A boxer can beat a puncher with strategy and technique. And it is much better to be a boxer and not always a puncher.”

Shout out to Rob, who gets the kudos for articulating how Gilbrown is the puncher, not the boxer. Banks gave us the corroboration. Toomer left nothing for debate.

Wonder comments on Burress and Cutler, TOOMER COMMENTS TOO

April 1, 2009

Three items today, do not miss Toomer’s comments at the end.

First, Wonder commented on the 2 big news items:
1) Plaxico Burress court appearance delayed until June 15th. (More on this article below, see “Toomer.”)
2) Jay Cutler and the Broncos are getting a divorce

On Burress… Either the Giants want Burress back or not, but EITHER WAY they have to
(a) get the moron atty and moron Burress to accept ~90 days of jail, (get him some cable tv, jokes Wonder), 45 of it will be in a halfway/his own house etc. and he’ll be out
(b) work with the NFL right now and arrange for a deal with Goodell, contingent upon Burress negotiating w courts above, where the Giants suspension at the end of the 2008 season (5 games + Playoffs) is recognized by the NFL as time served.
Both of those things must be done IN ANY SCENARIO.

>>>If you want Burress back, all these things are finished and he is ready for camp.

>>>If you do not want Burress back, all the bs is cleared away, and NOW YOU CAN TRADE HIM for a #2. There are more than a few teams that will want him.

Wonder is irate at the atty- he had 4 months to do a deal and did not, what kind of bullbrown is that?! Time is money for a 31 year old WR who needs to be playing in 2009. This delay could cost his client millions. (Yes, he could do delayed service of time in next year’s offseason, but that does not clear the deck for a trade.)

On Cutler, Wonder expects Denver to have a deal done in 48 hours. He is too hot a commodity and everyone will be trying to deal for him, so Denver will get a good price. CUTLER IS WORTH EVERY PENNY. How many times does a Pro Bowl QB with a rocket arm and TWENTY FIVE YEARS OLD COME ALONG?!!! Assuming you have a QB wish, he is worth it to get him. Yes, Wonder knows about the things being said about him not being a great teammate, but it is not a big enough issue. For the Jets, who have guys like Jenkins, Jones and Faneca in the lockerroom, he’d be fine. Add Rex Ryan, and it is no problem.

Wonder’s proposed trade: Jets give up David Harris (who Mangini loves) to Cleveland, a #1 to Denver, Cleveland gives up Derek Anderson, Jets get Cutler. Denver gets a Pro Bowl QB plus a #1. Cleveland gets a stud LBer and no longer has a QB controversy, the Jets get a franchise QB.

Other teams that could/should be strongly interested: TB, Chi and Minn. Minn just got Sage Rosenfels, but ship him off to Denver along with your backup RB Chester Taylor (Denver needs a RB) and a #1 in a deal for Cutler. TB does not have anything strong enough to offer for Cutler other than draft picks. Chi can get a deal done by throwing in Kyle Orton, Olsen and a #1.

The team that wants Cutler most will get it done quickly. Wonder reminds us that Bart Scott, one of the most coveted LBers in free agency, was sought after by more than a few teams waiting to talk to him. The Jets literally flew down to his house, called him up and asked him to take his dogs away, that they were in the driveway at 12:15AM after free agency had just begun. He packed his bags, went to visit the Jets and the deal was done. So if you want Cutler, pull the trigger or someone else will.

Lastly, Amani Toomer. See link from top. Ya think we would overlook his parting shot at the Giants for how they browned up in the playoff game vs the Eagles?!!! Not a chance.

Toomer said he will never believe that the Giants were not good enough to win a second straight championship last season. “We beat Philly in the regular season, lost to them in the regular season, and for some reason we overlooked them in the playoffs,” Toomer said. “We practiced and prepared well. But we tried to beat them the same way we did the first time. We overemphasized things from the first time. We stayed the same. They adjusted. The rest is what happened. A shame.

This is piece of evidence number 38 that Gilbrown (and Coughlin) was the root of all incompetence here. Now we have a player SPELLING OUT WHAT WE HAVE BEEN SAYING FOR AN ENTIRE SEASON. Gilbrown does not make the adjustments, and when we win it is often despite him. He had a freaking do-over and still blew it. It took one of his FORMER players to finally tell the truth. Carl Banks was nice enough to validate our thoughts, but Toomer closes the door on any remaining debate. Remember that Toomer did not say a word about Manning’s bad day at the office. HE SPECIFICALLY TARGETED THE FLAWED OFFENSIVE GAMEPLAN. So when anyone tells you it was Burress being hurt or Manning playing poorly, please calmly explain to them that GILBROWN IS THE WEAKEST LINK.

Soap Box

February 12, 2009

Some rants and some Giants talk.

1) Anyone who plays for ONE team in the NFL for 10 years or more deserves a modicum of recognition from the franchise they played for. If that franchise does not understand that, then there is something wrong. No, their jersey need not necessarily be retired, but to play for one organization and to play that long in the NFL is noteworthy. The way Toomer has apparently been cast off is inappropriate, to say the least. Does he deserve to have his # retired? Some here could make that argument. I will not. He wants to play more and the Giants no longer want his services, but he can still be recognized for representing the franchise in a tremendous way over the years. Every year in the NFL is like 2.5 years in any other industry. Toomer is not deserving of a ticker-tape parade, but he certainly was a big reason why the Giants got furnished one.

2) Favre already got his retirement press conference. What is this, his third retirement?! Only one allowed.

3) The Jets did exactly what they should have done in giving Favre a shot. It did not work out. You make that bet. You take that chance. At least you are trying. And anyone who wants to be a Monday morning QB and criticize the Jets for wasting a season does not know what they are talking about, because they obviously were not there/watching the game in Foxboro on Thursday Nov 13 when this man lifted the team to the biggest win for the franchise in many years and made everyone believers. He played hurt at the end and cost the team. But at least that guy is a warrior. Sour grapes from Jones et al? Perhaps. It is time for Ratliff to be given the keys. There is a foundation.. enough talent on that team to go for a title. Rex Ryan is going to put them in a position to win. 2008 was not a bad year for the Jets. And the fact that they got rid of Mr. Prevent-gini was a step in the right direction.

4) I am reminded that Reese likes to plug up needs before the draft by getting cheaper veterans like Mitchell (LB), Clark (LB) and Knight (S) to protect his flank in case the draft presents him with different solutions. It is a reasonable methodology to have body count there to promote necessary competition at positions lacking a minimum of talent. So look for Reese to do this again and get a linebacker or two in March. We have not seen Reese open up his wallet in free agency YET, so you have to assume (until proven otherwise) he will be behaving the same way again. Walmart, not Neimans. Reese is a scout. My read on him is that he always believes his organization can draft the talent. You have to assume he is not opening the wallet, so he better draft HIGH TWICE this year on LB.

5) Shocking! Not. Burress, Johnson and Boldin can be moved, says agent Drew Rosenhaus. If the Giants could somehow get a #2 (unlikely, given the ‘holes’ in that trade), where do I browning sign!! At this point if the Giants get ANYTHING for Burress, it would merely be so that the suitor could fend off others before he goes on waivers. Beggars can’t be choosers, so take what you can get. Realistically, who would want to take on Burress’s contract NOW? And have to deal with impending uncertainty of what will stand monetarily on the morals clause? Or the legal system? If I am any of the other 31 teams, there is very little getting me moved. Wait until the contract issues get sorted out before taking that over. This situation is not that much better than Pacman Jones or Michael Vick.

The Giants administration simply does not want or need unpredictability in its midst. We want things that are predictable, like the underachievement of Gilbrown, damnit!

Separately, the angered posturing of the Giants against Rosenhaus is predictable. Rosenhaus is a dirtbag, always has and always will be. He works hard for his clients and seems to cross the line regularly. Effectively he ‘outed’ his client/s. TFB. He is ‘calling the question’ on these organizations, making them admit that they will be parting ways unless something dramatic changes. He’d rather get that done NOW than after the free agent money has already been spent.

Carr re-signed for 1 year. Madison, Droughns & Knight cut.

February 10, 2009

David Carr was signed to a 1 year, $1M contract as the Giants’ backup. Surprising that the Giants could get him this cheaply, as his stock price increased this season. No, he is not a terrific #1, but he got it done as the #2 and looked good out there. Thumbs up.

As for Droughns, this was a numbers game. Older running backs are not going to get the playing time when younger guys like Bradshaw get wasted with less playing time. Wait. Stop. Wasn’t that supposed to read Bradshaw getting MORE playing time? Ooops, sorry. Foolish of me to try to make sense of that. Well, you know.. Droughns was so far down the depth chart that he was relegated to specials, and you can get a rookie for that job.

Sammy Knight? He had some injuries, but Safety was crowded too. Butler’s lack of speed was supposed to limit his playing time and give Knight more oppty, but Butler only got roasted a few times (Steelers game for one, remember?). Last year someone did not like it when I referred to Knight as sausage filler, but that is exactly what he was. Please remember that whenever you bring in a 33 year old free agent for a lower sticker price, it is as a role player. We doubted him playing through his contract, and that is exactly what happened. Knight is a good player, but this business takes older players and spits them out. This is yet another reason why Pierce is perishable now, and why LBer is so incredibly vulnerable. Considering Pierce is the best of the bunch and he’ll be out there with a wheelchair pretty soon, you better start getting MANY LBers, not 1 or 2.

Sam Madison was voted off the island months ago by the Giants. It is never pretty watching a talented veteran slowly lose just enough of their skills to become expendable. Guys like Madison and Toomer need to be celebrated a little more in their exit. We get guys like Favre with multiple press conferences and retirement fetes, while guys like Toomer (and Madison) win you rings and get discarded with the garbage. I thought the Giants were better than that.

Amani Toomer

January 29, 2009
Toomer Toe Alert

Amani Toomer’s role in the offense dropped. The team lost 4 of its last 5 games. He is an unrestricted free agent without any interest from the Giants. He is a 13 year veteran with many of the Giants’ (wide) receiving records. Add all of this up and the frustration comes out. He tried to retract a few remarks on his website, but his thoughts after 2 1/2 weeks of silence are the true thoughts and true emotions of a veteran tossed aside.

When you read in between the lines, clearly SOME of this is the playcalling. Where was the SLANT to Hixon, Smith AND Toomer in those waning weeks? They were singling those WRs because of the manpower directed inside that was (a) trying to stop the run and (b) disrupt Manning. Jimmy Johnson was upfront in W14 AND the playoff game that they were going to make Eli beat them. So what do you do with your WR? Arizona answered this with SHORT patterns. Why? Because the Eagles did NOT give Warner OR Manning a lot of time to sit back in the pocket. Get rid of the ball. When there is wind preventing you from throwing the ball way out into the flat, you have to go with the slant. Given that the WRs were singled, the pass to Toomer on the slant was there. If Toomer was not able to get separation, then that is another matter, but this is a very short route where timing is more important than accuracy because by the time the WR blinks it is in his breadbasket. A half a step is all you need to make this route work (think Tyree SB touchdown catch) because the corner is always trailing. Gilbride seemed to be playcalling for as many throws vertical as short… the vertical ones were a liability for Toomer’s decreasing speed. Toomer did not help his own cause because he dropped his fair share of balls this season. While this is no way for a 13 year veteran to go out, it means the Giants want more speed and need to move on.

Burress is in jail/out. Toomer is gone. It is time for the rest of them to step up. And if Reese is not comfortable with being aggressive in free agency, then one of these guys is going to have to fill the vertical void. If not, then Boss is going to have be Bavaro ’86 and lead the team in receptions, which TE-challenged Gilbrown is not excited about doing. Can Moss/Smith/Hixon/Manningham step it up? On sheer body count ALONE, Reese is going to have to make some moves. If you want a ‘Boldin’ then it is going to take Reese doing something he has never done before… opening the wallet for an outsider.

The Disappearance of Home Field Advantage

January 2, 2009

Some very interesting stats:
Last 25 years (1983-2008) Homefield team outscores Visitor by +3.1 ppg
Last 10 years: +2.8 ppg
Last 5 years: +2.5 ppg
Last 3 years: +2.1 ppg

So homefield advantage is eroding. Simmons at ESPN has an interesting theory on why, and I STRONGLY urge you to read what he had to say.

I bring these things up naturally because of what the Steelers did in the 2005-6 playoffs and what the Giants did in in the 2007-8 playoffs. Homefield is not what it is cracked up to be. There are many games at Giants Stadium that are worthy of a funeral march as opposed to the energy of the 12th man. Still, to be fair, the Giants are a pretty good homefield in the playoffs, having been there for Washington Jan1987, Eagles Jan2001, Vikings Jan2001. Yes, I am 3-0 in Giants playoffs games and have been there for both NFC Championship victories in the Super Bowl era. I will not be at the stadium this playoff run because I am one of those hdtv guys who does not miss the stadium anymore. I ask myself whether the new Stadium being built will make the ‘advantage’ grow even narrower. Between all the PSL stories and the Simmons article above (what, you didn’t read it? READ it!) I think it is obvious that the new stadium will lose some of its energy.

The sage of the locker room, elder statesman Amani Toomer was succinct and perfect in stating the advantages and disadvantages of homefield in the playoffs: “(Home-field advantage) just gives you an opportunity. It didn’t help the Cowboys much last year. That’s how I look at it. They’re not going to give us an extra seven points when we start the game.” To reach the Super Bowl again, the Giants — spared the road and the wild-card round — need to win only two games at home. So how does it feel for them to be the bull’s-eye in the target instead of the arrow in the bow? Is it different? “Not very much,” the veteran wide receiver, said. “I don’t think we get much respect from a lot of teams that we play. A lot of experts really don’t pick us to win it all. There’s definitely that feeling in this locker room.”

Barring Eli Manning learning how to throw a tight spiral in the wind, the Giants do not have a distinct homefield edge. The only edge they have is a week off, turning the tournament of 12 to a tournament of 8. And the time to heal some inuries. Once was a time when being the #1 meant a lot more. The Giants have the maturity and discipline to leverage that and not waste the opportunity. If Toomer plays half as well as his words, the Giants are in pretty good shape.

No "I" in TEAM, but there is an "I" in MEDIA

December 6, 2008

The Fifth Down sited an article that I just loved, so here it is again. This Giants team has no ego. I am getting particular joy out of watching the NFL and the media in their lame attempts to somehow anoint a “star” amidst this bunch. They just cannot help themselves. Ever since David Stern catapulted the NBA to riches with Bird, Magic and Jordan, every sport has a marketing game plan where they need to find the star to sell the game.

So everyone in football is digging around, trying to find the star. 11-1, where is the star? But if they spoke to anyone playing fantasy football, they would tell you firsthand that the Giants are a fantasy footballer’s nightmare. They distribute the ball to EVERYBODY! Sure, one player can have a monster game, but as soon as he is given any attention, they get the ball to someone else. And then comes Eli. LOL, Eli has that gift of gab, the lightning rod of statistics and media magnetism. Right up there with yogurt and dry toast.

And the defense? Your best player is a defensive linemen who doesn’t have a sack dance. All he does is stuff the run, stunt, disrupt the pass, go back to the sideline and bury his head in a towel.

If there were four guys who liked the limelight, who enjoyed most opportunities to show off their alpha male super status, it was Strahan, Umenyiora, Shockey and Burress. None of them are here for this team’s run at Super Bowl XLIII. An amazing testament to the rest of these players, to Reese and to the coaches for developing the younger players. That is the story.

As for the rest of us, I hope we get to see the media confounded by this for as long as humanly possible. These are the people covering the game, they are supposed to be more informed, and yet they are in denial about the All-Joes. Oh, and did we mention the most delicious irony- that the best players on this 11-1 team are the pariah of the media horde? Yes, it is the anonymous quintet a.k.a. the offensive line. LOL. Each time they try to introduce us to the group, they start telling us their names and almost in midsentence they realize their article is doomed! The ‘block.’ The ‘pulling guard.’ For our sake, let them leave these guys alone- it seems to work better that way. They go back to Plan A, fumbling between the vanilla of Toomer and the never-ending platitudes of Manning. My new form of entertainment is going to be watching the media trying to get a sound bite out of PlatiDude. Sadistically amusing.