Archive for the ‘rookies in Super Bowl’ Category

"The rookies" enter their 3rd year

July 22, 2009

A little while back I went to check a particular play from the Super Bowl, something jumped out at me… the first TD drive of the Giants at the beginning of Q4. With the exception of Tyree’s TD catch culminating the drive, every play was handled by a rookie!

Boss 45 yd pass play
Bradshaw 4 yd run
Bradshaw 2 yd run
Smith 17 yd pass play
Bradshaw 7 yd run

These guys are now entering their 3rd year, if they can all make the jump, it will be a very good year. It also underscores how all hands have to be on deck- in today’s NFL you need your rookies to hit the ground running, to be able to help the team out later in the year. Rookies who start at the beginning of the year get tired by the end because they are not ready for the grind, which can be twice as long as college. But the three rookies featured above are noteworthy for a few reasons.. (1) they all saw limited action for the first ~3/4ths of the season and (2) were all on the list of players who needed more playing from Gilbride last year and certainly need it this year in order for the team to make the jump. Everyone here knows full well that the jump from 2nd year to 3rd year pro in the NFL is usually a make or break proposition. We see no reason why the tremendous rookie class of 2007 cannot and should not make a quantum leap in production for this team.

In descending order of confidence:

Boss- once Plax went down, this man needed to be the center of the offensive passing attack. We argued for it late last season, it did not happen, but we do not see any reason (other than Gilbride neglect) why this kid cannot have a huge year. HUGE. But you don’t have to listen to us, just listen to Bavaro, get him the damn ball.

Smith- he’ll be taking Toomer’s spot at the possession wideout. Looking for big camp and big year.

Bradshaw- protect the ball and the rest is all downhill. There are no excuses for him or the coaching staff this year. NONE. Ward is gone, the snaps will be there, carry that ball high so that it does not get stripped. Run for daylight every single snap. Stretch opposing defenses the way it was done in the 2008 playoffs.

Johnson- surprised? It is more about bodies back there than anything else. Losing Wilson after 2007 and Butler in 2008 leaves a fulltime starter spot open for this guy with less rotation than the past two years.

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. Time to make that big jump. At stake is nothing less than a Super Bowl, because with the superior depth of our DL in 2009 and the potential for bookend corners in Ross and Webster, this defense can be awfully stingy. 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.

Alford- That sack of Brady still has us worshipping this guy! What can we say. We did not see a lot last season, and with Cofield and Robbins playing hurt, he had an opportunity and did not exactly bust the door down. With the depth this year, does he make the team?

DeOssie- Specials guys get cut if they are not competing for starting jobs by their 3rd season. But this guy is a long-snapper; is that enough to keep him on the roster? By the numbers, he is in trouble. Alford is a long snapper too, so one of them likely stays. With Boley hurt, Sintim hamstring(?), LBer is not exactly teeming with competition for roster spots. So it is up to DeOssie to stay on the field.

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Can the Super Bowl Champion Repeat?

March 28, 2008

Can the New York Giants repeat as Super Bowl Champions? In order to look at the world of 2008, you have to analyze the 1995 (the start of FREE AGENCY) through 2007 seasons for an objective examination of the question. There are MANY variables still to consider, but the one we will focus on is the rookie component to the championship teams.

Youth springs eternal. The Giants entered 2007 as the third youngest team in the NFL. Considering the punter alone adds ~half a year to that tab, the return of the rookie class of 2007 for 2008’s campaign is a source of energy and optimism.

1974 Steelers analog? I just got through saying how the era of free agency makes comparison to Super Bowl winners before 1995 moot, and now here I go launching into comparisons with the 1974 Steelers?! Well, when you get a rookie haul like the Steelers got, the temptation to compare is strong. Of course we must not get too carried away here. The 1974 draft class of the Steelers is the gold standard. 4 Hall of Famers. A Super Bowl championship THAT YEAR. Their first. But that is where the Giants comparisons start to get tempting. These rookies also had a Super Bowl Championship THAT YEAR. And the NY Giants Super Bowl XLII victory has a RECORD NUMBER OF ROOKIES GETTING RINGS.

Year Team #Rookies AvgAge Notables
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1974 Steelrs 15 25.3 Swann, Stallworth, Lambert, Webster, Shell
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1995 Cowbys 15 26.9
1996 Packers 8 27.1
1997 Broncos 7 28.3 Pryce
1998 Broncos 8 28.5 Lepsis
1999 Rams.. 12 26.5 Bly, Holt
2000 Ravens 7 27.7 AThomas, JLewis
2001 Pats…. 9 27.1 Brady1*, Light, Seymour
2002 TBBucs 10 27.1
2003 Pats… 10 28.0 Koppen, Samuel, Wilson, Warren
2004 Pats… 10 27.2 Watson, Gay, Wilfork
2005 Steelrs 8 27.5 Miller
2006 I.Colts 10 26.5 Bethea, Addai
2007 Giants 14 26.4 Ross, Smith, Boss, Bradshaw

Note that the 15 rookies on Dallas’ roster in 1995 had no noteworthy players. Zero pro bowls from that lot. If you look at the youngest teams with the most notable rookie contributors, the numbers seem to imply a correlation towards future sustained strength. The 1999 Rams and the 2001 Pats had future appearances in the championship. Based on these anecdotal observations, the 2006 Colts and 2007 Giants should be very competitive.

When you filter for 3 or more notable rookies on the Super Bowl winners, it does indicate a fair degree of future success. Free agency presents cap problems for the winners. Good players leave for more money. But in free agency your rookies are a captive audience. They are under contract, they are not going anywhere and they are not renegotiating for more cap pressure in the next few years.

Conversely, if we look at the teams on this list without any rookie contributions, there might be an even stronger argument for LACK of competitiveness in future years from those organizations. The three teams with none all suffered after their win because a bad draft that year was quietly covering up a deficient future. Combined with other teams naturally going after their productive leaders who are in their prime, these teams suffer a great deal.

It may be curve fitting to get a result we want, but if you remove the 41 year old Feagles, you get a more realistic representation of the roster, and that drops the average age to 26.1. Plus the 4 ‘notable’ rookies mentioned for the Giants all played a big role in the Super Bowl. It obviously remains to be seen how their careers will unfold, but no one can deny that at that moment the Giants have at least four rookies…

Ross was starting most of the season with major minutes
Smith made catch after catch in the playoffs and Super Bowl
Boss made some instrumental catches at big moments in big drives
Bradshaw led the Giants in playoff rushing despite far fewer carries

Also not mentioned is Jay Alford, whose sack of Brady near the end of the game was one of the biggest plays of the Super Bowl. Michael Johnson started five games at Safety this season and played major minutes all year. THIS WAS NO ORDINARY ROOKIE CLASS. That is why we can say with early confidence that the Giants have 3+ notable rookies. BASED ON THIS VARIABLE THE GIANTS PROJECT TO BE EXTREMELY COMPETITIVE THE NEXT ~3 YEARS.

The New York Giants Rookies, one last time

March 27, 2008

On Saturday February 2nd, a day before Super Bowl XLII, we posted a piece on the rookie draft class of 2007. In it, we had a very good video which put the set of young players’ accomplishments in fairly good perspective. In 4 weeks’ time, the rookies will be rookies no longer, as a new draft class is selected by the Giants. But an analysis of the draft class of 2007 is extremely important to understanding not only why the Giants won Super Bowl XLII, but just as importantly if these foot soldiers give the team the legs for more titles.

I find it meaningful that when 4 rookies were asked who the best one was, we got 4 different answers! Who is the best rookie?
Zak DeOssie: “Kevin Boss.”
Kevin Boss: “Steve Smith.”
Steve Smith: “Aaron Ross.”
Aaron Ross: “Ahmad Bradshaw.”

Tomorrow, a discussion of past Super Bowl winners, their rookie makeup and whether these rookies give the Giants an advantage to win another title.