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Archive for January, 2006

What and who is next for the 2006 Giants?

Thursday, January 26th, 2006

Speaking fo his days in Cleveland, Ernie Accorsi said recently: “quarterback, pass rusher, corners – in that order. But if you have to choose between corners and pass rushers, it should be the pass rushers. We had two great corners in (Hanford) Dixon and (Frank) Minnifield (in Cleveland). But you can’t cover forever. And when you have a pass rusher you don’t have to cover long.”

Since EA has to be happy with Osi and Strahan and says he’s happy with Tuck, you have to think the Giants are looking for a pass rushing defensive tackle or linebacker and corners.

Or should we scratch the pass rushing defensive tackle? As EA said, “We are in good shape with our defensive front. Those two guys are Pro Bowlers, but the people inside, William Joseph who was injured, (Kendrick) Clancy and everyone else – (Damane) Duckett and (Fred) Robbins are good role players. We have depth and we have a couple of young guys that have a chance to be pretty good players. So I am happy about our front. We have work to do in the back seven, obviously.”

So linebacker and cornerback, which is more important? In a 4-3, you don’t rely on linebackers for a pass rush, so EA has to be thinking corner first. Interestingly though, he said he’s looking for depth. Naturally he’s hoping Will Peterson comes back and says Will Allen would be back if the corner market doesn’t get too expensive. He thinks Webster will be good and is not giving up on Deloatch.

While talking defense, EA also said “Some guys are getting older and they are losing it.” He’s probably talking about Brent Alexander, Shaun Williams, and Carlos Emmons so you have to wonder if any of those guys are coming back. would take Emmons back personally. He can compete with Torbor at strong side linebacker and did OK at weakside linebacker so he’s good depth there. Injuries are a concern, however.

While EA said the focus is obviously going to be on defense, wide receiver was also a need. Interestingly, he said nothing about a left offensive tackle to groom behind Luke.

Punishment

Sunday, January 22nd, 2006

Nathan Mallett, the fan who ran onto the field at Cleveland Browns Stadium during a Steelers-Browns game, was sentenced Tuesday to spend Super Bowl weekend in jail.

Nathan Mallett, 24, will begin his three-day sentence on Feb. 3 and won’t be allowed to watch the Feb. 5 game on television or listen to it on radio.

Municipal Court Judge Joan Synenberg ordered Mallett not to attend Browns games in Cleveland or any other city for five years as a condition of his probation. He also most perform 150 hours of community service with Browns charities. He could have been sentenced to up to 30 days in jail.

49ers Vice President of Player Personnel

Thursday, January 19th, 2006

An excerpt from a Q and A with Vice President of Player Personnel Scot McCloughan:

What positions are deep in the 2006 draft?

It

Will Blackmon CB/WR BC

Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

Will Blackmon is an intereasting prospect: Will Blackmon is one of the elite athletes in college football. He made his name as a return man and corner during his first three years at BC, but is now making an impact as a wide receiver for the Eagles. In his three years as a standout corner, Blackmon picked off seven passes and tallied 139 tackles. As a return man in 2004, he became one of the best special teamers in the country. He finished the year with a 27.2 kick off return average, which included a 96-yard touchdown return. On punts, he averaged 11.3 per return, along with a 71-yard return for a touchdown.

Blackmon is a potential cornerback (a position of need for the Giants), a potential receiver (who is the Giants #3?), and a return man (Do we really think Morton is better than Ponder returning kickoffs?).

King on Manning and Shockey

Tuesday, January 17th, 2006

I think I am officially worried about Eli Manning. I spent two hours last week watching coaches’ tape of the Giants’ loss to Carolina in the wild-card playoffs, and Manning was far worse than he looked on TV. And that was bad enough. I’ve been a Manning backer and I continue to be one, but let me point out a couple of things that made me wonder if he’ll ever be great. One: I’m not sure if it’s because he’s worried about getting blasted by the oncoming pass rush, but often, at the end of throws, he turns his body almost in a flinching way. Turning his body takes away some of his accuracy. If you’re a quarterback, you’ve got to know it’s vital to stand in there, in the face of any kind of pass rush, and not let that pass rush affect the ball you’re about to throw.

Two: This one is just as alarming. Some of Manning’s judgments are brutal. Early in the third quarter, backed up deep in his territory, he went back to pass, faded right slightly, and was boring a hole with his eyes through Jeremy Shockey, who was running an intermediate cross from the strong side to weak.

Manning was so obviously looking for Shockey — and this all happens within a second, so it’s hard to see while watching TV or from inside the stadium — that the Panthers’ right cornerback, Chris Gamble, sprinted down off his man and toward Shockey. And Manning can’t sense the impending doom, even with Shockey covered and a helper coming down over the top. He throws, awkwardly, across his body, and it settles into the hands of his unintended receiver, Gamble.

Manning needs to have a gut-check offseason. He needs to work on his weaknesses. Big-time.

I need to publicly thank Jeremy Shockey. A couple of weeks ago, I took a New Jersey high school tight end who’d had a brain tumor removed to see Shockey at Giants Stadium. Shockey hung with the kid, gave him a football, signed it, posed for pictures, told him to enjoy high school times because they’d be the best years of his life, and thoroughly lifted his spirits. Shockey could have mumbled a few words and moved on. Instead, he gave someone a lasting memory and some hope.

Focus on defense or offense?

Sunday, January 15th, 2006

With tons of Giants fans chanting “draft defense”, it was interesting to see a Redskins defense that had been dominant come up small in Seattle.

As an aside, the fact that the Seattle offense didn’t miss a beat (against a good Washington D) without Shaun Alexander shows that we Giants fans were right: Alexander is not the most valuable player in the league. He’s not even irreplaceable.

Anyway, while Washington lost because of its offense, the defense still gave up some yards and some points. The Seattle defense (which wasn’t supposed to be great) played really well. This means that defense isn’t always enough to win championships – you at least need an offense that can score off of turnovers.

Speaking od Seattle’s defense, it would be nice if we could draft a Tatupu equivalent talent at OLB). He went with the 13th pick in the second round, so that tells us there could be some talent available when we pick in the first or possibly even the second round.

To me there’s no question that you address left tackle in the draft. They don’t become available in free agency often and are expensive when they do so the sooner we draft one the better in my opinion. The question is do we draft a receiver and when?

Giants needs

Friday, January 13th, 2006

While some people say the Giants need a wide receiver since the Giants have no #3 (Tim Carter didn’t produce much in that role and who knows what happened to Jamaar Taylor or why David Tyree continues to excel on special teams but not at the third wideout spot) I think the Giants have three clear needs.

The two immediate needs are on defense (sure a receiver would be nice, but the Giants offens put up impressive numbers and averaged something like 26 points/game). Outside linebacker and defensive back.

Emmons, Pierce, and Griesen or Torbor, Pierce, and Emmons were effective combinations. However Emmons is getting old and Griesen is a free agent. I actually like Griesen and would be satisfied with Torbor or Emmons, Pierce, and Griesen or Barret Green (if he ever gets healthy).

The wildcard with Griesen is how much money he wants vs. how much it’ll cost to upgrade. San Francisco’s Julian Peterson is the best free agent outside linebacker, but he made $5.289 million this year. Plus the 49ers’ might franchise him again this off-season. If Carolina’s Will Witherspoon, a weak-side linebacker, became available I’d rather pay a bit extra for him and part ways with Griesen.

In my opinion, you never want to rely on the draft to find your starter at any position. Look how long it took Robert Gallery to develop and he was the “surest pick” of his draft. However there are some exciting linebackers available in the draft: A.J. Hawk and Iowa’s Chad Greenway will be off the board by time the Giants pick. However, Hawk’s teammate, Bobby Carpenter, might be available. I’d have no problem drafting him to compete for a starting spot. As long as we don’t need him to be a starter.

Then with defensive backs, Brent Alexander is really getting old. Can James Butler take over? Who knows? What I do know is that we should have a plan B in case he can’t.

Corner is by far the most pressing need in my opinion. Webster looks good for next season: “Webster, I think, came back up a little bit at the end of the year, which gives us a real good fit there,” said Coughlin. However since Coughlin put Terrell Buckley in at nickel over Deloatch one wonders if Deloatch will be joining Frank Walker (wherever he is).

That leaves Will Peterson, whose back makes him huge question mark and Will Allen whose looming free agency makes him a huge question mark. The best potential free agent is Buffalo’s Nate Clements, but he is going to be expensive. The Jets’ Ty Law and the Dolphins’ Sam Madison are likely/possible salary-cap cuts. Also not likely to come cheap.

To get a cheap corner you ahve to draft a corner. Virginia Tech’s Jimmy Williams is considered the 2006 draft’s best corner, but he’ll be long gone by time the Giants pick. Clemson’s Tye Hill, Ohio State’s Ashton Yoboudy, and Penn State’s Alan Zemaitis might be available. I like Alan Zemaitis as a cornerback but say you draft him. Now your corners are Webster (promising but unproven), Peterson ? Deloatch ?, Walker?, and a late first round pick. I don’t like it when you need your draft picks to start, so clearly a free agent corner is in order here. If he’s not too expensive Will Allen showed me enough this year to be resigned.

The blame game

Tuesday, January 10th, 2006

Bob Glauber heaps lots of criticism on the Giants, particularly on the offensive game plan:

Take one play in the third quarter, when the Giants had a second-and-7 at the Panthers’ 40. The Giants lined up three receivers to the right, which presents a challenge to the defense: Is it a pass play with so many receivers lined up to one side of the formation? Or will the Giants pull off the unexpected and try a run?

With the Giants, there really is nothing unexpected with this formation; they always run out of it.

Panthers coach John Fox, the former Giants defensive genius, knew it, so he didn’t worry about a pass. Instead, he blitzed strong safety Marlon McCree, who made the tackle and limited Barber to a 1-yard gain.

Another tactical blunder: The Giants didn’t go to a quick snap count often enough, which Barber contends would have helped the running game and, by extension, the passing game, because Manning wouldn’t have been forced into so many must-throw situations. Instead, the Panthers countered by keeping an extra player – usually McCree – in the tackle box closer to the line of scrimmage.

Now you don’t blame the coaches for everything, some credit goes to Carolina for wrapping up Tiki like the Chiefs never could. Plenty of blame goes to Eli Manning and his lack of accuracy, the offensive line for getting beaten, Burress for not showing up, etc.

But you expect your coaches to outsmart the other guys. You hate to see the Giants embarassed, even partially, due to coaching blunders.

Giants playoff loss

Monday, January 9th, 2006

I suppose it’s time to start blogging about the draft with the Giants season finished after an ugly game in which the Giants got pushed around.

The Giants were not only outplayed but also outcoached according to the AP:

John Fox and the Panthers seemed to be ahead of the Giants on almost every play in his return to the Meadowlands, where Fox spent five years as defensive coordinator before taking over in Carolina in 2002.

“It was strange,” Barber said. “They were in our huddle a little bit. They kind of had us dissected and figured out and we couldn’t get anything going consistently.”

One problem is that some of the players who were clearly outplayed today can’t be easily replaced. Kareem McKenzie is a good example. It’s beginning to look like we overpaid for that guy.

Anyway, I’ll be back soon with some possible off-season scenarios that will never happen. But we Giants fans have to amuse ourselves somehow.

New Giants

Sunday, January 8th, 2006

Giants announce 5 players signed to reserve/futures contract for the 2006 season: QB Josh Harris, OG Enoch Demar, OG Julius Franklin, S Adrian Mayes, and P Travis Dorsch.

The two players that Giants fans are probbaly most interested in are the safety ans the punter, two positions of need if the rumors about our punter retiring are true.

Dorsch was a good punter and place kicker for Purdue. He was undrafted and signed by the Bengals in 2002. Mayes was also an undrafted free agent. He was originally signed by the Cardinals in 2004.