Archive for the ‘Barry Cofield’ Category

Musical Chairs at DL

July 14, 2009

9 men, 8 chairs. Round and round we go, when the music stops, nobody knows.

Those were interesting comments from Tollefson last week. He is one of the lesser known subs who certainly gets enough time in the rotation as a DE. But does he even make the team?! Let’s do the math..

Assuming that Douzable, Evans, Henderson, Hill, Bryant and JClark all do not make the team…


One of these 9 does not make it. This would imply a shorter list of Cofield/Robbins/Bernard/Alford/Tollefson. I am no doctor, so far be it for me to make a guess about Cofield and Robbins after surgery. I am going to go with Robbins on the PUP list for now so that the Giants take their time, keep him fresh on a longer timetable and have his knees (ETC!) ready for the 2nd half push and postseason. Intentionally speaking, that is a nice luxury to have. Is Robbins better than others on this list? Of course, when healthy, YES. 100% comebacks from microfracture surgery take time. If Robbins were to have a very good camp or even get a lot of reps, it would make this decision harder. Then I would suspect that 1 of these guys- Cofield/Tollefson/Alford gets cut. Normally Cofield would not be there, since he was a starter. But he had offseason surgery too. Drilling down.. Tollefson or Alford? I suspect that Reese would have a shot at getting a late round draft pick for one of them.

The one good thing about all of this is that the Giants are very deep here… nice problem to have. If the Giants stay healthy in camp and some team that is thin at DL does not, then look for the Giants to possibly deal one of them. Why? Because Defensive Linemen are grown, they are not born… another team could make one of these guys a starter and 3 years from now they could be a solid cog in their defense.

Wonder’s take on the logjam at DL? “Robbins might be cut period. We’ll have to see how Tollefson, Cofield, Alford, Bernard look like in camp.” That sounds a little harsh to me. His salary is a reasonable $2.1M in the last year of his contract. A cheap enough call option. I would think the Giants PUP him before they cut him. This way they have an option w/o taking up a roster spot. To be fair, the Giants probably don’t know exactly what they are going to do- they need to see how everyone is doing this summer at camp and then simply evaluate who makes the most sense to be on the roster.

Summary: Robbins microfracture+DL+32 years old= PUP.

Busy day in OTA land, plaxi-shmoe

June 6, 2009

Ralph Vacchiano reports that

Cofield “may” have had micrfracture surgery too. Read the note by Ralph that says how the Robbins blog deleted the word “microfracture” from the Robbins site. Too late, the cat’s out of the bag. I always find it stunning how people try to delete history. Saturday Night Live had a great skit back in November of last year with the Big 3 automakers on C-Span in front of Congress asking for 10’s of billions of dollars. The plan was to get more and more money every few months with no end in sight. These comedians (and the public) had this one figured out well before we pumped in 50B-60B to see GM still go to bankruptcy anyway. Why mention this? Because you can no longer find the video on the SNL website. NBC pulled it. The truth (be it to the gov’t or to the ad clients) hurts.

Lots of passing at Friday’s OTA

Antonio Pierce lost a gear last year. 31 in October? Ouch. This is what happens to ALL LBers. A few are able to sneak by until 33, but most get to 31 and the downhill slide is unforgiving. Boley will help his game, but remember that Boley will probably be thinking too much to be making an impact, at least in the first half of the 2009 season. Pierce’s days are numbered. If he is able to find the fountain of youth and play effectively for one more season, it would be a huge gift. This was why we were so keen on beefing up LBer. I really hope Sintim can help this team, but his hamstring certainly does not help. At least he’ll be able to rest it from mid June to the end of July.

Someone is going to have to explain why it all of a sudden has dawned on plaxi-shmoe that he needs to do a deal NOW to keep him in the 2009 season. He had this at the end of March and passed. Two more months have gone by and he is NOW figuring it out? For his sake the grass better be greener with the Jets/Bucs/Bears.. in 2010?

Rest for the Weary Interior Defensive Lineman

January 1, 2009
The Ultimatenyg Wife and Daughter made cookies for the New Years Party last night.

The rest will be a positive for the DL- an oppty for Tuck, Robbins and Cofield to get back to their early season energy with a few less bumps and bruises to contend with.

When we lost Osi in August, we knew that was a BIG hurdle to getting another title. Well, here we are. All it means is that the Giants need HELP. They need the offense to get more points. They need the kickoff coverage to help them with field position. Yes, they need the Safety to pickup the RB out of the checkdown, not Pierce. (Wonder agrees, says Pierce should not be on the field on 3rd and long.) They can commit a few less penalties. The Giants have enough to win it all, they just need to be a little tighter from here on in. Gilbride needs to get more than 21 points per game this offseason, it will NOT be enough unless guys like Robbins ARE BACK.

Like we have said before, IF ROBBINS IS BACK IN EARLY SEASON HEALTH, they’ll be on Broadway on Feb 2nd. But when did an interior DL ever finish STRONGER as the season wore on? I am willing to bet that that extra week off for Cofield may have saved him in ways we do not know. Interior DL is like playing Catcher in Baseball. The length of the season is a major grind. The physical demands every game wear you down like no other position on the field. It is not a coicidence that these guys get hurt and eventually cannot play well enough with their injuries and must take a week off to heal.

We looked at the 4 Pro Bowl picks this season (Haynesworth, Jenkins, Ratliff and Williams), added in Cofield and Robbins, and looked at their combined tackles and sacks in the first 11 games and then looked at the same stats in the last 5 games of the season.

Statistic First11 Last5
Starts 100% 84%
Tackles/game 3.1 2.8
Sacks/game 0.52 0.08

So the number of tackles this squad made dropped off by 11% per game. Given that the number of starts also dropped by 16%, you can argue that the run-stopping stayed consistent. But the total number of sacks plummetted from 34 in the first 11 games to 2.5 in the last 5 games, a drop of 84%. These guys simply lose their wheels. ALL OF THEM. I did not inspect the assists/solo tackles ratio, but anecdotally it looked like there were less solos and more assists in the latter part of the season.

EIGHT FOUR PERCENT. THE SACKS DRIED UP. COMPLETELY! For Robbins, his last sack came on October 19th. For Defensive Ends, they may come in “bunches,” but for Defensive Linemen, they come in the earlier part of the season. You can argue, but hey, he got injured! But injuries alone only would account for a 16% dropoff in production, which is almost exactly what we see from the number of tackles. And this dropoff in sacks was for all the probowlers, not just (the alternate Pro Bowler) Robbins.

One factor which cannot be ignored is that Robbins collected 5.5 sacks in his first 6 games vs. weaker competition with a winning percentage of 30.7%. In the last 10 games, the Giants and Robbins faced opponents with a winning percentage of 61.8%. So some of the dropoff in his personal performance may have been related to that variable.

The Giants pass rush misses the push from Robbins up the middle. All teams miss this, but it has been especially acute for the Giants. Even if Robbins does not get the sack, if he getting the forward push this will help Kiwanuka and Tuck because the QB will not be able to step up into the pocket. At this point in the season, all we need is the hurry, knockdown, push. Sacks just confirm the other three and generally cause change of possession.

Separately, if you have a site which tracks INDIVIDUAL HURRIES and KNOCKDOWNS for defensive players, pls let us know.

Cinc 13 NYG 10 Halftime

September 21, 2008

Sloppy first half. We could EASILY be getting beat badly in this game, as the score could be 21-10 if not for a few stops inside the red zone. Sure, in those stops we had a pretty good example of Ross releasing his man and making the open field tackle and a Kiwi 3rd down sack. But let’s get right to the problems:

1) Dockery and Butler looked bad this half. The Bengals are clearly attacking these guys. Chatman has 5 receptions in the first half for a reason.

2) Gilbride’s game plan has been terrible. The Bengals have injuries and are depleted in the secondary, and yet we run the ball despite consistent effort on the part of the Bengals to have 8-9 men in the box. Eli does not have the time to be audibling every play at scrimmage (there are enough penalties as it is by our team this half). WHEN WE PASS WE WIN AND WHEN WE RUN (A LOT) WE LOSE. We moved the ball easily when the ball was aloft.

3) Gilbride’s playcalling has been utterly predictable. When we have been in 2nd and short after a first down pass, the chances of the gemn running is like 103%. They pile the men in the box too.

4) Plax had a bad drop early but I believe he was in bounds for the TD. Dierdorf and everyone are looking at the WRONG foot. Everyone in looking at Foot 3. Yes, foot 3 was out of bounds… Foot 2 was in AND foot 1 was already in with the ball in possession.

5) If Coughlin calls another timeout in the 2 min warning of the first half while he does NOT have the ball waiting for the opposing team to get stopped a down or two later, I am going to scream. He did the same bonehead mistake in the Super Bowl, and thank goodness for the Tuck strip and Osi fumble recovery before the end of the half. This time it gives the Bengals an extra 30 seconds and all that time to march down the field. It probably did not matter, as the same 3 goes up, but it could have easily cost us 4 more and who knows if the Robbins block of the FG makes them miss it from just a little further out.

Summary: Beware of Dockery and Butler as the un-dynamic duo. PASS TO WIN this game.
(btw, Boss has the hands, get him the ball more. Ahmad Bradshaw against this defense with pass catching out of the backfield could be lethal. So far he has played zero except specials. kudos to Fred Robbins, Boss, Cofield sack. Hixon and Smith should be ahead of Toomer on the depth chart.)

Barry Cofield

August 22, 2008

Robbins and Cofield, puff piece or genuine article?

The default is always to assume puff piece unless there is something on the margin that separates it. Slap me around and let me know if I am guilty of passing along a puff piece article. This one could easily qualify. Except one thing which caught my eye which makes a lot of sense:

“Rookie year is such a blur,” said Cofield, who also spent time in the offseason working with defensive line position coach Mike Waufle. “You do so much with the All-Star games and the combines and stuff, you never really get your legs under you. Last year we changed the defense, so I wasn’t completely comfortable.

“But this year, being able to control my offseason with all the work, to be fresh and having such a great knowledge of Coach [Steve] Spagnuolo’s defense, I just feel like I’m in the best shape physically and mentally since I can remember.”

You have to be excited about the fact that this is the second year under Spagnuolo’s system. Trust me, we were in the stands that fateful September Sunday Massacre last fall at the hands of the Packers, when all hell broke loose after halftime and the sky fell on the Giants. The players were learning the new system and had given up those now legendary “80 points” we have heard about over and over. So when Cofield says he is feeling as good physically and mentally as he has his entire life, I BELIEVE IT. Why?

1) Because Cofield is pretty quiet with the media.
2) Cofield has always been understated in his self-assessment.
3) Comfort and continuity in a coach’s system is very real.
4) These are all strong words for a guy who has already started 31 of 32 games.

Everyone knows how difficult it is for a QB to make it in the NFL. I won’t bother telling you what you already know. But some of you may not know or appreciate the level of difficulty at DT. This is classic meat grinder. I think it takes conservatively 3-5 years for these players to get their “legs.” They are pounded on relentlessly in the scrum and need superhuman strength to survive, let alone thrive. So when Cofield says he is in a new place, a better place, it is exciting to hear. I took the bait. Call me gullible, but I believe Cofield’s words are significant. Time will certainly tell. So far in the first two preseason games all I have seen from the (first team) defensive line is a lot of awesome control and domination. But this is preseason- 4 games in August mean less than 1 quarter in September. So let’s see what is under Cofield’s hood. If it is anything close to what he is saying, this Giants defense could be VERY SPECIAL.

Somebody burst my balloon so that I can come back down to earth now. Thanks in advance.

Jay Alford

June 10, 2008

Jay Alford talks with about 2007 and 2008. We take it for granted the progression of a rookie, but Alford makes candid remarks about getting in shape, hitting the wall, managing the pull between specials/defensive unit work and getting more playing time. “I got a lot stronger this offseason, I want to work on my power rushing.” People do not understand that the position at interior DL is probably the second most difficult (next to QB) for a rookie to come right in and be successful. The physical demands are incredible. (That Cofield even started all 16 games as a rookie was incredible… not surprisingly we witnessed his first season tail off dramatically towards the end.) For Alford, if he can become a good lineman for the Giants he will only add to the amazing Rookie Class of 2007. Regardless of what he is able to do in his career, that sack of Tom Brady in the Super Bowl will always have a special place in our championship season.

Do you start in your first game as a rookie?

May 5, 2008

With the exception of QB, ultimatenyg believes that the question a franchise should ask itself when picking that first rounder is- WILL THIS PLAYER START GAME ONE AS A ROOKIE? Some players are shot out like a cannon. They enter into the league and instead of fighting for a roster spot or playing time, they start game 1. And then they never leave. If it takes time to get settled into the league and a rookie takes a few games or a full season to break into the starting rotation, that is not a stain. No shame. But your #1 pick is different. This is one of the ~32 best players in the country by your own evaluation. Considering there are almost 1700 players on the roster for NFL teams, if you cannot find a player that can break in as a starter, then something is probably wrong. (DE is a second position next to QB that is extremely difficult for 22 year olds to physically manage, thereby making drafting one in the first round a true test of whether the choice is merited.)

This is not an ironclad rule. Matthias Kiwanuka is a good example of a very good pick at #32 in the first round. At DE, he was not expected to supplant two players (Umenyiora and Strahan) who went to the Pro Bowl the preceding year.

Here is a list of starters in Game 1 of their rookie season for the New York Giants in the past ten years.
2006 Cofield
2004 Wilson
2003 Diehl
2002 Shockey
(If you can comment on a player I may have missed, appreciated. My database does not give granularity, so a mistake is possible here.)

The point is that guys like Ronnie Lott and Lawrence Taylor, two notables who started their first game as a Pro and never left, cannot be held back. They move at a different speed and the pro game almost adjusts to them and not the other way around. Shockey was the same way, knocking over bodies in 2002’s preseason like bowling pins en route to an easy Pro Bowl selection. (…which is why I still maintain to this day that he is a resource which is woefully mismanaged.)

Will Kenny Phillips start for the Giants in Game 1? This will go a long way to determining whether he is a good pick for the Giants. The Giants have the following coming to camp at this position:
1) Butler- a starter noted for his efficient tackling but slow speed
2) Johnson- a #7 rounder who started a handful of games as a rookie after others got hurt, plays with aggressiveness (a polite way of saying that he is playing hard but does not necessarily make all the right decisions yet)
3) Knight- a smart veteran who plays strong up at the line yet (because of age) can get beat by a TE in coverage

The logic is that this is not a particularly deep set of incumbents. If Phillips is any good he should be starting against Washington on Thursday night in the Meadowlands.

First Round Value BY POSITION

March 24, 2008

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

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


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

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

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

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