Archive for the ‘NY Giants’ Category

Free Agency Eve

February 28, 2008

Free agency begins tonight. Do not try to predict what Reese will do. If one uses last year as a single datapoint, he will be quieter than we would like. But drawing conclusions from one datapoint is ridiculous. There could be one particular player who the Giants rate much higher than others, in which case Reese gets active in a hurry. We’ll put it another way- the over/under number for high ticket free agents the Giants entertain will be 1, and the over/under number for high ticket free agents the Giants sign will be 0.5. Here is a quick summary of excerpted positions from packersnews.com which are more relevant to the Giants-

Linebackers: Lance Briggs has been linked to San Francisco and Washington after spending a season wallowing under the franchise tag in Chicago. He seems best suited to play outside linebacker in a 4-3 defensive scheme, and at 27, he will strike it rich. … Terrell Suggs (Baltimore), a hybrid linebacker/end, and Karlos Dansby (Arizona) have been franchised. … The price for converted end Calvin Pace (Arizona) jumped after his breakout season in 2007, but the Cardinals reportedly want to retain the five-year veteran. Bargain basement: Boss Bailey (Detroit), Kawika Mitchell (N.Y. Giants), Brandon Chillar (St. Louis), DeMorrio Williams (Atlanta), Rosevelt Colvin (New England, released).

Cornerbacks: New Orleans reportedly is the front-runner to land Asante Samuel (New England), the 27-year-old cover king who is considered the top free agent in this year’s class. The Jets, Tampa Bay and Philadelphia also have been linked to Samuel, who is expected to get a contract averaging $10 million or more per year. … Nnamdi Asomugha (Oakland) and Marcus Trufant (Seattle) were franchised, leaving Drayton Florence — who lost his starting job in San Diego last season to Antonio Cromartie — as the next best option. Question mark: Will Brian Kelly (Tampa Bay) regret paying $435,000 to buy out the final year of a contract that would have paid him $3.2 million in base salary next season? Bargain basement: Ty Law (Kansas City, reportedly to be released), Randall Gay (New England), Travis Fisher (Detroit), Jacques Reeves (Dallas).

Safeties: Gibril Wilson will test the market. Philadelphia and Denver have been reported as possible destinations. Dallas placed the franchise tag on Ken Hamlin. Question mark: How will season-ending injuries to Yeremiah Bell (Miami) and Madieu Williams (Cincinnati) affect their value? Bargain basement: Eugene Wilson (New England), Will Demps (Houston), Marquand Manuel (Carolina), Chris Crocker (Atlanta).

I was going to include a recap of Left Tackle, but when I read it, it made me wince. They had Flozell Adams at 32 leading the parade… between his age and his stature as a penalty offender on the order of Luke Petitgout, I would be surprised to see Reese go for him.. and any other high priced name in this category. This leaves us with Safety, CB, and LB as the only places where we might be active. The only other item of note will be Derrick Ward, who is expected to hit the free agent market tomorrow.

Marc Ross

February 27, 2008

The new Director of Player Personnel is Marc Ross. While working for the Eagles, Ross was responsible for bringing in players such as Brian Westbrook, Lito Sheppard and Derrick Burgess. Some excerpts of what he had to say about the draft:

“You never want to pass up good players. If you have players of similar talent, similar value – their value is close – then you should push it toward the need end, I think, but if there is a huge discrepancy and you have somebody on the board that just has so much more value than the guy you have at the position of need, then you have to go with the guy who you have the higher value on. No doubt about it.

“Good players are going to end up playing and if you force a bad player into a position of need, then they may not end up playing anyway. I have had that happen in drafts (for the Eagles), where we try to force players just because we needed them or you thought you needed them. You end up with a position of strength at this time in the year to maybe a position of weakness where if you would have drafted the best player then that wouldn’t have been an issue. It seems like here they have done a great job in doing that. Taking the best players and they have found a way to get them on the field with (Justin) Tuck and Kiwi (Mathias Kiwanuka). Good players are going to play. They will find a way to get on the field.

“I am glad they cut the time down on the draft this year so it won’t be as long as some other years (the time between first round picks has been reduced from 15 to 10 minutes). This is my first time picking this low. We picked low a lot in Philadelphia, so I am used to waiting for a while, but this is the first time picking this low.

“I think we are in a good situation to take the best player, because in the first round a lot of teams do take for need. I think there will be some players sitting and waiting for us with that last player who probably should have been drafted higher. That is my thought going into it. My thought is that we can find just as good a player at 31 as we can at 10.

“You never know where those players are going to come from. Ahmad Bradshaw would have been (the 250th player taken last year), but if you stack the board again this year and he might have been in the first round. You just never know where those guys are going to come from. I am not discouraged. People have been saying that every time we won a playoff game, ‘Oh, it is messing up your draft pick.’ But I look at it as a challenge. I have total confidence that we are going to get a good player where we are picking.

Reese is a scout. Ross is a scout. The scout mantra is pick’em and play’em. I like the 31st pick in the draft, and his remarks make me feel that much more confident. (See previous post for more color on why- it is like a second rounder.) Reese and Ross know very well that if they give up the pick for Hall, they could be giving up a lot. For all we know, both clubs go into the draft w/o a deal and may make one after the first 30 players have been chosen when NY is on the clock. But either way, it is very interesting to see the scouting culture well entrenched at the Giants front office.

Free Agency approaches

February 26, 2008

and word is Gibril will likely get ‘overpaid’ by one of ‘many’ suitors. Translated, the Giants will likely get outbid. Strahan will take more time to make his decision on whether to come back.

I would love Wilson to come back a NY Giant. But Reese has to do what he has to do, and that means letting him walk. Safeties are NOT a skill position in the NFL. These are the stresses of holding the team together. A team like the Eagles knows that they win twice if they drive up the cost enough to make us drop out of the arms race for his services. Losing a safety is not as critical as losing a CB or Lineman.

Jerry Reese and Zach Thomas

February 23, 2008

Reese
Zach Thomas
I continue to be impressed by Reese’s professionalism, his perspective, his understanding of the NFL, and his priorities in getting the Giants to where he wants them to be. Actions speak louder than words, but both seem to be fairly consistent and dovetail one another.

What does this have to do with Zach Thomas going to Dallas in a 1 year deal? Everything. I have never seen a 34 year old LB improve a team. In fact the only position which I have seen a 34 year old football player improve his team is in some special situations at Quarterback. When other teams get younger, stronger, FASTER, that is when I get concerned. The Young/Accorsi/Reese structure of staying away from free agents >30 years of age may not work for EVERY situation but it is a reasonable model for enabling competitiveness.

Roster Update

February 22, 2008

1) Dahl cut. 2) Giants trying to get Mitchell and/or Wilson re-signed before UFA deadline. Mitchell more likely than Wilson. Strong interest from others likely for Wilson. 3) Giants willing to renegotiate Strahan’s contract when he is ready. 4) Trade talk is centered on Giants trading a #1 pick to the Falcons for CB DeAngelo Hall.

2nd Annual Ultimatenyg Awards

February 19, 2008

1) Offensive Player of the Year — Plaxico Burress
2) Defensive Player of the Year — Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck
3) Crippling injury of the Year — Mathias Kiwanuka
4) Coach of the Year — Steve Spagnuolo.
5) Play of the Year — Manning to Tyree. Catch 42. The Helmet. The Play.
6) Most Improved Player Award — Corey Webster, Eli Manning
7) Rookie of the Year — Ahmad Bradshaw
8) Disappointment of the Year — Sinorice Moss
9) Ugly Play of the Year — Moss Bomb TD in W17
10) The Please Cut Him Already Award — James Butler
11) Honorable Mention Award — Madison Hedgecock
12) Official “Bust” Tag Declaration Award — William Joseph
13) The “On-Deck” Bust Tag Award — Sinorice Moss
14) Special Teams Player of the Year Award — Domenik Hixon
15) Stupid Penalty of the Year Award — Sam Madison Personal Foul at GB
16) Decision of the Year Award — Coughlin playing to win in W17 vs NE
17) Inflection Point of the Year Award — Giants’ Defensive Stop of Redskins on 4th and 1 in W3
18) Best Game of the Year — Super Bowl vs New England
19) Worst Game of the Year — Minnesota
20) Prominent Player Most Likely NOT to be on the roster next year— Gibril Wilson ($)
21) Comeback Player of the Year Award — Amani Toomer off ACL surgery

The Crucible of the NFC East

February 18, 2008

Ray Rhodes, Andy Reid, Norv Turner, Marty Schottenheimer, Steve Spurrier, Barry Switzer, Chan Gailey, Dave Campo, Vince Tobin, Dave McGinnis and… Bill Parcells.

This a list of the coaches the Giants faced in the NFC East in Jim Fassel’s tenure from 1997-2003. See a pattern? Other than Reid and Parcells, it was an endless parade of misses. Wasn’t this a great thing for the Giants? One would think so, but on further inspection it is survival of the unfit. The lack of strong and consistent competition within the NFC East set back our franchise, and the rest of the NFC East along with it.

Fassel floated from year to year. It was annoying to find that the Giants could not handle any prosperity. Under Fassel, as soon as the playoffs were attained, the schedule got harder and the team took on water. The Giants were unable to have two consecutive years in a row of winning records. How could it be that Fassel could lead the gmen to the playoffs three times in those seven years and be so far away from a championship?

Year 1997 Record 10-5-1 Division Record 7-0-1 Non-Division 3-5
Year 1998 Record 8-8 Division Record 5-3 Non-Division Record 3-5
Year 1999 Record 7-9 Division Record 3-5 Non-Division Record 4-4
Year 2000 Record 12-4 Division Record 7-1 Non-Division Record 5-3
Year 2001 Record 7-9 Division Record 4-4 Non-Division Record 3-5
Year 2002 Record 10-6 Division Record 5-1 Non-Division Record 5-5

Note how the Divisional Record vs the weak NFC East was 31-14-1 during this time and the Record vs the rest of the NFL was a mediocre 23-27.

and then the wheels came off:
Year 2003 Record 4-12 Division Record 1-5 Non-Division Record 3-7

Coughlin this year before the Super Bowl:
Year 2007 Record 10-6 Division Record 3-3 Non-Division Record 7-3

For six years from ’97 thru ’02, the NFC East covered up a multitude of NY Giants sins. When Parcells joined the NFC East in ’03 combined with Reid (and the weakling Cardinals no longer in the division), the team crumbled like a house of cards. Coughlin inherited an NFC East division that was was no longer a doormat. Despite Snyder’s attempts to make the Redskins an easy mark, Joe Gibbs was at least going to force you to earn your way. During this period, Reid’s Eagles had a near miss at a Super Bowl win, and Phillips inherited a Dallas team strong in personnel. In 2007 the Cowboys were 13-3, the Giants were 10-6, the Redskins were 9-7 and the Eagles were 8-8. The result was a 3-3 record this year vs a division which did not have a single losing team.

There is a very big difference between divisional games and non-divisional games. Your divisional opponents know you and all of your tricks. The games become much more about who can be physical and who can execute. Add a division that is strong from top to bottom and your divisional games become an even greater test. So it is that the divisional playoff game between the Giants and Cowboys took on so much more meaning. By many accounts, the Dallas Cowboys and NY Giants were the two most physical teams in the NFL. The Dallas offensive line was dominant. I will go as far to say that the single biggest moment in the entire playoffs was in Q3 versus Dallas when Flozell Adams went down. Before that time, the Dallas Cowboys were not allowing the Giants to get pressure on Romo and a win was not happening. After that moment, Umenyiora was able to handle Adams and the floodgates opened.

That which does not kill you makes you stronger. The Giants were well served by the trials in the NFC East. Conversely, perhaps those doormats of the Bills, Jets and Dolphins in the AFC East did not help the Patriots as much as one would have thought. When you consider that the ’86 Giants had the soon to be ’87 Super Bowl Skins to fight with, how the ’90 Giants had the soon to be ’91 Super Bowl Skins to fight with (not to mention the Eagles, who stopped our undefeated season), and how the ’07 Giants had two other NFC East playoff teams to contend with, it becomes readily apparent that a strong NFC East is in the best interest of the Giants in order to win championships.

Ultimatenyg to be featured in the New York Times Monday 2/18- Friday 2/22

February 17, 2008

The New York Times has invited Ultimatenyg on its Fifth Down Online Football Site Monday February 18th through Friday February 22nd as a guest blogger. The “Fifth Down” is the New York Times NFL Blog.

A view from the other side

February 14, 2008

Simmons from ESPN on his Patriots’ loss. A view from the other side. These were the people who gave us no chance. Giants fans talked about these types in the two weeks leading up to the game; as much as we did not want to think about the emotional letdown of a Giant loss, we knew that a Patriots loss was going to be the equivalent of an atomic bomb for all of their fans. Simmons captures the nuclear fallout and allows Giants fans to relive the moment in full splendor. Yep, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Where did you see that one?

It is easy for us to understand that Simmons missed the big elephant- the Patriots offensive juggernaut could not do the things it had done all season because the Giants pass rush was disrupting their game.

One more thing- his ‘castaway’ simile was poetic genius. Simmons captured the intensity of our joy. Impressive awareness for someone who could have easily been overwhelmed and consumed by his own dismay.

Trivia Question: When was the last Giants home win this season?

February 8, 2008

I will put the answer in the comments section.