Archive for the ‘Kiwanuka’ Category

Sammy Knight and Gibril Wilson

March 2, 2008

The first of the leftovers. These players are sausage fillers. Plug them in, Spags will have enough bodies so that Reese can draft for as much value and as little need as possible. If that is at all possible. Sad but true, we have a glaring hole at safety and a moderate one at LB too assuming Wilkinson and Kiwanuka are not training camp geniuses.

I just figured it out! The Giants are going economy because they need to have that cap room ready for Strahan, Umenyiora and Burress. Okay, that was a joke. I think the Giants are still in shell shock about how wrong they were in not using the franchise tag on Wilson. And to make matters worse, I think the Giants could have been told before the tag deadline (a week ago) that he was going to sign for 6.5M per yr and they STILL would have passed on tagging him for 4.4M for one year. Their reaction to the idea of tagging him when asked about it at the Combine was so telling. The THOUGHT was so radical, and it was summarily dismissed out of hand. (I am willing to bet that Pat Hanlon, the genius of all geniuses, was belittling the Giants beat writers for even SUGGESTING such a STUPID notion!) I congratulate Alvin Keels, Gibril Wilson’s agent, for understanding the ramifications of the increased salary cap and ignoring the Giants. They were secretly praying the Giants would not tag, and they had 16M reasons why!

One last thing, let’s add some insult to injury and remind everyone that we will have to pay someone like Knight 2-3M per year (because he likely won’t last the length of the contract they agree to), when the Giants were 3M bid for Wilson just days ago. This is called attitude adjustment.

Giant Myths in 2007 and 2008

February 23, 2008

Let’s see if we can list some Giants (and NFL) myths and then quickly debunk them.

1) A Training Camp Holdout Works. Not. Most holdouts are disasters. Many end up in injury. In the case of Strahan, he was needed in Game 1 and was not able to help with impact until ~ Game 4-5. Show up at camp and if the coach has any clue he will not overwork a veteran who is 35 years old. And in the case of a contract holdout, the team loses, the player loses, and the free agent is generally the only winner because he shows toughness (for all the rest of his clients) and kills the player and the team in the process.

2) We were never winning a Super Bowl with Tiki Barber. Coughlin would not listen to Barber. The Maras (as a result, in my opinion) told Coughlin to change and listen to/communicate with his players better. If Barber had been playing this year with Spagnuolo doing his magic tricks and Manning throwing the ball better, who is to say what would have happened? I have stated before and will reiterate it here- Reese’s removal of the BIGGEST penalty offender in Luke Petitgout probably was the single largest addition by subtraction the Giants had. (and I never understood that until it happened.)

3) We were never winning a Super Bowl with Shockey. See previous posts for this myth getting rejected. To quote vanilla Eli Manning, that is a stupid theory.

4) The experts were wrong about (not predicting) the Giants success this year because they were ignorant of the facts. NOT! The Giants had two new coordinators, a new defensive system, a new Left Tackle, lack of depth at OL, no proven pass-catching out of the backfield, a mediocre QB who remained mediocre for the first 15 out of 16 games, a veteran holdout, a new FG kicker who could barely make (and missed many) extra points, a new LB playing out of position, and a secondary which our own GM was the first to admit was our most glaring weakness. Oh, and did I mention that we had a once-in-a-generation rookie draft class that no one, not even Jerry Reese could have predicted would make such an enormous impact? Excluding Washington W3, the Giants did not beat a team with a winning record until Tampa Bay in the Playoffs. Pierce can use the self-righteous indignation ‘us-against-the-world’ stuff (GREAT- it helped us win a title!), but until W16 Buffalo and W17 Patriots, this team was inconsistent, half-baked, and COUGHLIN HIMSELF ADMITTED HE HAD NOT SEEN A GAME ALL YEAR WHERE HIS OFFENSE, DEFENSE AND SPECIALS ALL PLAYED WELL ALL ON THE SAME DAY. That changed W17. Logically and rationally, W17 was the change when (not so coincidentally) Manning started playing great.

5) Gilbride’s ring proves he has the answers for us on offense. His playcalling was often unpredictable and therefore positive, but beyond that I see mismanagement of Shockey/Boss and Bradshaw, not to mention no help for Eli correcting mistakes which he repeated too many times until near season’s end. Not sold on him at all. Someone explain to me why we never ran outside in the Super Bowl? Can anyone justify RunRunRunKick vs Dallas at 9:27 left with a 4 point lead? This offense is better than Gilbride.

6) Coughlin can’t change and is not capable of winning the big one. The Giants ordered him to communicate better and listen to his players, he did and the rest is history. I thought he was a dead end, and I was dead wrong!

7) We can convert Kiwanuka into a good LB. Well, to be fair, this one has not been totally busted. Yet. Incomplete. When he handles Witten I will admit I am wrong on this. My mantra is very simple- You draft players in the first round to be an impact and you select players in rounds 3-7 to do the other work surrounding THEM. Asking a DE to go into coverage is okay once in a while to confuse a QB, not okay for every down assignment.

8) Eli Manning is too inconsistent and too inaccurate. Out of nowhere he busted us nattering nabobs of negativity. FREE PASS FOR LIFE.

9) The Giants can’t beat anyone with a winning record. Until they beat 4 of the best in the league, all in the playoffs, to win the Super Bowl!!!!

10) Now that the Giants are Super Bowl winners, their tougher schedule will be a large obstacle to them doing well. Ever since the league realigned into 8 divisions, there are only 2 games in each team’s schedule which get matched for strength of record from the previous season. For the Giants this means we play Minnesota and Carolina. THEY WENT 8-8 AND 7-9 THIS PAST YEAR. So the Pete Rozelle scheme of having the dregs play the dregs and the best playing the best has been diluted and it is Minnesota and Carolina that have to worry about the Giants, not the Giants worrying about them.

11) The Giants (a year) after the Super Bowl always get torched and this coming year we will get torched once again. Look at the circumstances… 1986 was followed by a strike year when Mara was naively last to the party to lock up replacements. 1990 was followed by the Parcells screw defection in May 1991 when we inherited a poor choice from Young in Ray Handley. Between Handley and Rod Rust, it sent the organization back about 20 years back into 1970’s Giants depression. 2000 was demonstrated to be a semi-fraud year where our 12-4 record was pumped up with the inflated steroids of a weak division which we whipped 7-1, while only going 5-3 vs everyone else. This was an above average year and Fassel could never handle any prosperity because the strength of schedule came back the next year to expose his team. Summarized- there is no strike in 2008, there is no coaching change in 2008, and there is no fraud since we whipped the best. The youth (improving) should give us more legs to have a very competitive year.

Linebacker- Staple or Buggy Whip?

February 21, 2008

Bill Parcells: “I like linebackers. I collect ’em. You can’t have too many good ones.” He said that in the 1980s, when guys like Byron Hunt, Pepper Johnson and Andy Headen could have started for many other teams but were backups with the Giants. The game has evolved, with the NFL making the rules much harder for pass defenses. Passing statistics are inflated today because the rules make covering a receiver more difficult. Teams are drafting wide receivers to take advantage of the changes. And in turn, these same teams are more aggressive in going after cornerbacks in order to reply to the shift. Ernie Accorsi responded to this metamorphosis by going after defensive ends more aggressively so that quarterbacks could be disrupted on a good pass rush.

But what about linebacking? Is it a lost art, a position undergoing corporate downsizing from 3 to 2 as teams use 4 linemen, 5 defensive backs, with 2 LBs left over? Is there so much passing that you do not need LBs except on 1st down? In the past six seasons, there has been a tendency for slightly more passing attempts per game, but it is not significant enough to be a trend. When teams pass too much, they get one-dimensional and opposing defenses adjust and force those teams to balance with more run again. And considering that LBs are still needed for TEs and RBs in pass coverage, the role of these players is not going away by any stretch.

Giants Draft Choices in Round #1, Round #2
1998 S, WR
1999 OL, RB
2000 RB, DL
2001 CB
2002 TE, WR
2003 DL, DL
2004 QB, OL
2005 QB*,CB
2006 DL, WR
2007 CB, WR

There is only one position the Giants ignored with their first and/or second pick during this 10-year period … linebacker. (You have to go back to 1991, when the Giants picked Kanavis McGhee in the second round.) And it has been 24 years since the Giants drafted a LB #1: Carl Banks in 1984. The Giants have been extremely fortunate in recent years to anchor their LBs with players like 8th-rounder Jessie Armstead and free agents like Mike Barrow and Antonio Pierce. Mathias Kiwanuka was moved to LB because of need. Jerry Reese has been fabulous, but it is not rocket science to know that Kiwanuka moves better north (toward the QB) than south (to the TE). Kiwanuka is an impact lineman. He and Tuck will aid in the transition of Michael Strahan’s retirement. Accorsi might have been right to design a team that puts heat on the QB, gets talent on the corners, and plugs up with patchwork LBs, but you cannot totally neglect this position either. Since the NFL is a copycat league, you would expect pass rushing ends to go up in value. Does the NFL de-emphasize linebacking because of Accorsi’s actions? At this point it would appear that a high pick at (strongside) LB better be fast enough to blitz the QB or cover a TE to pay off the investment in today’s world of the pass.