2011 New York Giants Need a Redemption Season!

January 27, 2011

The New York Giants front office and upper management have a lot of work to do this off-season. Management can either reconstruct or revitalize the current roster. I’m quite sure General Manager Jerry Reese is already hard at work. Pending the current CBA talks and a possible lockout, certain issues will arise. What I respect about the Giants management is that they do a fine job of preparing. Preparation has been the cornerstone of the Giants success throughout their history. The tradition and practice won’t cease this off-season. I carefully analyzed the roster and the challenges ahead for Big Blue and came up with a few recommendations.

Bring back Ahmad Bradshaw! This will be one of the most important re-signings the Giants will conduct in the coming months. I understand that he has put the ball on the ground during critical times and in critical games. However, the upside is whats important. Given Bradshaw’s work ethic and commitment to excellence, he will address the issue and solve the problem. Keep in mind, he is also young and durable. Ahmad will only get better and in my view he is already a franchise running back.

The verdict is still out on Brandon Jacobs. However, I believe retaining him will be an important insurance policy down the line. Remember, all NFL teams, have dream teams on paper. We must remember that injuries are what bring us back to reality. Depth is more important in this league than a featured lineup. Some have suggested releasing Danny Ware. I’m not so sure, I’ve seen a lot from him in the limited capacity he was used. In case of an injury to a starter, he could provide depth at RB and prove to be a gem for the G-men.

WR Steve Smith and TE Kevin Boss are also a concern. I respect Kevin Boss but Steve Smith is more of a priority in needing to be re-signed. Smith is the best possession receiver in the game. Boss has value but you can create packages for his loss. The Giants coaching staff did a fine job at putting TE Bear Pascoe in as a blocking tight end and using Beckum in the slot. It has worked and with time and repetition it will only get better.

We now have DE Mathias Kiwanuka and LB Keith Bullock to look at. Kiwanuka has more stock than Bullock because of youth and versatility. However, Kiwanuka’s stock value has dropped because of the neck injury. I would still let Bullock go instead of Kiwanuka because he hasn’t shown me any reason why the team should retain him. He looked confused at times in the defense and much too slow in coverage. Mathias has more value, period. A one year contract would be a safe and wise bet to determine his future as a Giant. I wouldn’t give up on LB Clint Sintim. I have a sixth sense about his potential in the defense and think they should give him another chance.

The signing of DT Barry Cofield is a must. Cofield’s production this season has been stellar. Big Blue’s front four is the bread and butter of the defense, so they need to maintain the core of the defense. This signing is just as important as Steve Smith and Ahmad Bradshaw in my opinion. I think there is a project in progress with DT Linval Joseph and it might take a while. As for the upcoming 2011 NFL Draft, we need to take a cornerback in the first round and offensive tackle in the second. OL Will Beatty has potential but still needs work and the team needs protection at his position.

“Heaven Yeah”

Andrew G – nygreporter.com

Is There Such a Thing as Zen in the NFL?

January 27, 2011

NEW YORK – The strength of the pack is the wolf. This is a very old military term that explains how the strength of a unit, depends upon the strength of each individual within the unit. The military and the NFL have many similarities to them and are often compared in analogies. Teams of men go to war on the field of battle and all of that. The other side of that coin concerns results and what derives from those results. Does the act of winning release endorphins in the brain that elevate the man to an omnipotent experience with the universe? I’m not sure because I’ve never played football at the professional level but this topic certainly deserves further investigation.

What brings a player to a personal state of Zen? Does it occur during the NFL Draft when they hear their name called? Perhaps, when a player arrives at minicamp or training camp and they see their name on a locker or jersey? Is it that first preseason game or regular season game when the ball is snapped? Is it the development process or working out and practicing? Is it getting voted into the Pro Bowl? Or does it simply and only come from winning a Super Bowl? I have just mentioned a bunch of tremendous “moments” in a players career but I’m not sure if any of them pinpoint the exact moment when Zen is reached. The only one that makes sense would be winning the Super Bowl but even then, is it that moment when the stage in on the fifty yard line and the trophy is hoisted up or is at the moment when the last second ticks off the clock? It could even be further down the road when a player finally receives his Super Bowl ring. Who knows?

It’s hard to separate the money players make from their achievements on the field because one dictates the other. The famous basketball coach Phil Jackson introduced Zen to his players and they seemed to turn out alright. He created a culture that was less about money and more about state of mind and won championships. Perhaps, it is more of a constant state of Zen, then any actual moment that occurs and then leaves. I’m not sure about that theory though. I do not see how a football player can be in a constant state of Zen when their very job is to cause violence. It would seem more likely to me that they reach that euphoric state from reflecting on winning and what they have accomplished on the field of battle. I don’t know how someone can feel at perfect peace and bliss with the world, when a 265 pound man is trying to rip your head off. I guess the only people on earth who truly know the answer to these questions are the players themselves. How many of them have separated ego from true happiness can be debated but I’m hopeful at least one player has taken their mind and game to the ultimate level.

What are your thoughts about this topic and do you think a state of Zen can be reached through playing NFL football?

RD – nygreporter.com


Super Bowl XLV Green Bay Packers vs. Pittsburgh Steelers

January 24, 2011

NEW YORK – I envy the final two teams standing tall after a rough season. The Green Bay Packers will face the Pittsburgh Steelers in Super Bowl XLV and their fans must be having a blast! It doesn’t feel like it’s been four years since the Giants won Super Bowl XLII but it has been. The Packers beat the Bears to advance while the Steelers finally shut up the talkative Jets. All four of these teams deserve some respect for making it as far as they did during the 2010 NFL season. We must also congratulate the Packers and Steelers for getting to the big game and we wish them both luck.

The NFL Pro Bowl will be played next weekend in Hawaii, since NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, changed the game format to have the Pro Bowl played before the marquee Super Bowl. With the collective bargaining agreement looming in the wings, football fans may want to sit back and really enjoy these final two games of the season. Things could be a lot different come the beginning of the 2011 NFL season. I know it will be hard to watch the Pro Bowl with its lack of meaning but just try and enjoy it if you can.

I have to admit that I am gloating internally a bit because I picked the Green Bay Packers to win it all this year. They haven’t completed my prediction yet but they are in the Super Bowl and one win way from being the NFL Champions. If any of our readers would like in-depth Green Bay Packers coverage, I would suggest you check out my friend Jersey Al’s Packers website, Home. I expect this Super Bowl to be a throw back of the classic days of football. Both of these teams match up very well and I truly expect it to be a battle. I’m not sure if it will be a shoot out or a defensive game yet. All signs point to a low scoring defensive battle but things could very easily go the other way with these two outstanding offenses. As I mentioned, I will be rooting for the Packers and the NFC to take the Lombardi trophy home.

The Super Bowl will be played on February 6, 2011 at 6:30 PM EST in Cowboys stadium.

RD – nygreporter.com


Is Keeping Coughlin Really The Best Choice?

January 21, 2011

How in Holy Simms’ name did the Giants let this season slip through their fingers like that??? Really, all the Giants needed was to hold on to a big lead against Philly at home with 8 minutes left on the clock and they were in the playoffs! Sure, there were other games lost, like that pathetic loss to the Titans in week 3, when the Giants self-destructed and gave the win, and I mean literally handed it, to a pedestrian at best Tennessee team. There is also the loss to the Romo-less Cowboys at home in week 10, in which Jon Kitna, yes, Jon FREAKIN’ Kitna, tore our defense apart throwing for 327 yards and 3 TDs.

These were three games that Big Blue should not have given up in any circumstance. These losses define just what this Giants team had become in 2010: slackers. I remember saying during the ‘07 Super Bowl run that when the Giants were on fire, there was no stopping them and the bigger the stage, the better they played but now all I see are excuses and laments.

Furthermore, when the head coach of the New York Giants tells anyone who criticizes a 10-6 season to kiss his butt, well, I begin to think it’s time for a change. The problem is less about the record, as 10-6 usually gets you into the playoffs but more about the way the G-men posted such a record. This team had every chance to go 13-3 and be the No. 1 seed in the NFC but no, they killed themselves along the way with sloppy play (hey, it even rhymes!).

Don’t get me wrong, I love Tom Coughlin, and I really respect what he’s done for the Giants but lately I’ve been wondering what some other coaches could do with this talented team. In other words, I find it difficult to see what contributions are specifically made by Tom Coughlin himself! He doesn’t call the plays on offense or defense (actually, it seems as if he has no control over his defense at all), and this season the team was so anti-Coughlin that I began to question his ability to reach the players lately. The offense was a turnover machine. The defense, albeit playing well for the most part, too often settled for playing the coverage game and forgot that blitzing may actually be good, especially when you have such talented pass-rushers!

Where is Coughlin’s finger on the team? I thought he was supposed to be this strict, fundamentalist coach but his team lacked fundamentals A LOT of the time this season. On offense, drops occurred by the dozens, fumbles killed tons of drives and don’t even get me started on the interceptions!! On defense, when they were clicking they seemed unstoppable but there were games in which they looked like a bunch of fools playing a pickup game in somebody’s backyard in inner New Jersey – completely clueless!

Now, just to prove how talented this team is, even with all the mistakes that were made, they still won 10 games! Imagine what a coach who the players actually listen to could do with this team. That’s why, even disapproving of the attitude and the way they came out to the public, I tend to understand what KP and Antrel Rolle were talking about in that interview.

I truly believe it’s time for a change in leadership and I don’t know if bringing in one of the big guys (Gruden, Cowher, etc) is the answer either. All I know is that the players need a fresh start. They need a coach they can rely upon and rally behind to win games, much like the Patriots do with Bill Bellichick, and I hate to say it, like the Jets do with Rex Ryan. Sadly, the coach for New York is just not Tom Coughlin anymore in my opinion.

Saulo Padua – nygreporter.com

2011 New York Giants Need Changes on Special Teams

January 20, 2011

NEW YORK – The New York Giants need help on special teams and the sooner the better. There have been no reports about any coaching changes or news of any plans to make changes. I am surprised by this because I thought the team would address the special teams squad a week after their season ended. The future of punter Matt Dodge has not been discussed yet and the continued employment of special teams coach Tom Quinn has yet to be determined. Trust me, fans are paying close attention to both of these situations.

I do not believe that Coach Quinn’s job security should be contingent upon the leg of a rookie punter, let me be clear about that. If the woes were strictly limited to poor punting then I would focus solely on the punter but it was much worse then that. The special teams gave up big plays, gave up TD’s and made some boneheaded mistakes. It was painful to watch them on the field and I would cringe every time they lined up for a punt or kick. The return game was no better. The Giants went through a bunch of return men, including bringing in talent mid-season with Reynaud and Blackmon. It feels like Big Blue went through a dozen different returners by the time the regular season was over. This lack of consistency contributed to the team having one of their worst seasons ever on special teams. It was certainly one of the worst I can remember.

I mentioned possibly drafting a return specialist in the 7th round of the 2011 NFL draft (using the last pick). Some people think it is a good idea and some weren’t so sure about it. I made sure to include the stipulation that the return specialist should be a cornerback or wide receiver only. This way they could also double as depth to those crucial positions next year. I have not forgotten that WR Domenik Hixon will be back for 2011 but the truth is that we don’t know how well he will perform after coming back from an injury. I hope he is fully healthy and can be better then ever but I’m not willing to endure another season like 2010 on special teams and would like to hedge all bets. I’m sure that Coach Coughlin and GM Jerry Reese are very concerned about this group and will have the best possible talent on the field by the time the 2011 Giants training camp rolls around.

One position the team will not have to worry about for a while is long snapper. The Giants long snapper Zak DeOssie was named to his second Pro Bowl today and will be the 5th Giant named to the Pro Bowl this year. DeOssie has played his entire career in New York since being drafted by the Giants in 2007.

What changes can be made during the offseason to help the Giants special teams improve in 2011?

RD – nygreporter.com


New York Giants Seek a Big Blue Redemption

January 19, 2011

First of all, let me begin by saying Happy New Year to everyone because I know it has been some time since my last post. However, I had to allow the reality of the New York Giants missing the playoffs this year to marinate. Reality has finally set in and the ill feeling has subsided. At this point, all we can do is take a look back at the 2010 season and try to learn from it, understanding that our playoff absence is deserved. Many Giants fans have a strong understanding of why we missed the post season and many others are still in denial. There is no need for perceptions or assumptions. It is what it is!

Why aren’t we playing in the NFC Championship game? Many factors have stopped Big Blue short of their goals but I will list just a few. Mental and physical mistakes? Take a look back at the Eagles game. The Giants pride themselves on defensive schemes. More importantly, the execution of the scheme is a priority for success. In the last 8 minutes of the 4th quarter, many of the players seemed to be confused and out of position. Poor tackling allowed Michael Vick to be elusive and gain extra yards on 3rd and longs. Deion Grant attempts what looked like a sure sack and Michael Vick blows right by him. Kenny Phillips has to make a play on the TE and if he can’t defend the pass, then all he has to do is make the tackle. Instead, Phillips gambles and allows a touchdown. The Eagles then have the Giants in the red zone. Terrell Thomas gives the opposing Wide Receivers so much of a cushion, the play ends in either a sure touchdown or a setup for a goal line score. The above examples are just a few that contributed to the 2010 collapse in my opinion.

What do I see in the future? Well, the Collective Bargaining Agreement will dictate so much next season. However, let’s take a look at what we have now. We must re-sign Kiwanuka! Also, take care of Ahmad Bradshaw and Barry Cofield, two huge team contributors. Steve Smith has great chemistry and continuity with Eli Manning and should stay. We must keep our WR corps intact and a potent threat to defenses. Not only a threat on the field but a headache for other teams when they have to prepare and game plan. Retain the playmakers that we have because they know the coaches and the system. That is an advantage for any NFL team.

What should we look for in the draft? Honestly, I realize that we need help at the Linebacker spot but I don’t believe it’s an immediate need. I strongly believe we should take a strong cornerback in the first round. We have a strong front four and everyone in the league knows this but in order to be a shutdown defense you need a strong secondary. We have great safety help but we don’t have any shutdown corners. With our first pick in the 2011 draft a strong corner is recommended. I believe we have young talent at the Linebacker position that can be groomed. I still believe in Gerris Wilkinson and the speed of Clint Sintim. We also have a sleeper on the practice squad roster by the name of Kenny Ingram out of Florida State. Just my synopsis from my General Manager mindset. Keep the faith Giants fans!

“Heaven Yeah”

Andrew G. – nygreporter.com

New York Giants Safety Antrel Rolle Back in the News

January 18, 2011

NEW YORK – Why? That is the biggest question I ask myself when I hear about players talking in public about house business. I honestly wish Antrel Rolle could somehow reply to this story and tell us exactly what happened because players usually say their words were taken out of context. Until Rolle replies publicly about this, we have no choice but to take what he said from reliable writers and sources as the truth. I just shake my head every time I hear about a player talking about their feelings in public, when will these players learn to just keep their mouths shut in public?

Now when I say players should keep their mouths shut, I am talking about them keeping their mouths shut to the press. I am talking about their personal feelings on another player or coach remaining private. This is not how New York football handles their business and the fans are beginning to get annoyed with Rolle. He is speaking to the press too much about Big Blue for someone who has only been on the team for one year. He happens to be dissing head coach Tom Coughlin, the only coach other then Bill Parcells to bring a Lombardi trophy to New York, since Super Bowl wins were recorded. I am in awe that Rolle would have the nerve to tell the press that Coughlin needs to lighten up because he feels it is effecting his fun. Your fun? Really Antrel?

You know what is fun? Winning a Super Bowl is fun. Playing a season without 16 players landing on the IR List and not turning the ball over 42 times is fun. The Giants are a dangerous team when they are healthy and their second stringers aren’t making mental errors because of a lack of real playing time. The good news is that the Giants are now deep with players who have real game experience under their belts. But Antrel needs to calm down. He is a fan favorite and the players seem to respect him but he will learn what happens to people in New York who like to talk to much. This isn’t Arizona and the fans in New York do not like talkers. He does not want to become a pariah like Tiki Barber has to fans.

I was equally surprised to hear that Kenny Phillips got into the mix and offered some equally judgmental comments. Phillips has been in town much longer then Rolle and I expect him to know better then that. The team stuck by Phillips when he was dealing with a serious injury and he must know that Coach Coughlin had the final word on all of that. All I have to say to Kenny is, come on man.

My advice to Antrel Rolle is simple, the fans have accepted you, shown you love and respect your game on the field. Don’t take the weight of this city on your back because you can’t keep your personal opinions to yourself. You are not bigger then New York or the history of the Giants organization. Take it down a notch and enjoy the fact that you are playing on a solid 10-6 team that had some misfortune in 2010 but will be better in 2011. Think of the millions of New Yorkers and people around the world for that matter, who have to go to work everyday (if they are lucky enough to have a job) in an environment without any fun. You’re better then that Antrel, I know you are.

What are your thoughts about safety Antrel Rolle voicing his personal opinions to the press about Head Coach Tom Coughlin?

RD – nygreporter.com


Would DE Jason Pierre-Paul Make a Good DT for the Giants?

January 16, 2011

NEW YORK – I was having a conversation with one of my writer friends about the draft and he mentioned the defensive tackle position being a problem in 2011. The Giants will more then likely have to let one go and most think it will be DT Barry Cofield. Personally, I hope the team doesn’t let Cofield go because he is a rock in the middle and one of my favorite players. Unfortunately, there is a very real possibility that he will not return. If it were up to me, I would lock the man down with a four year contract. This situation at the defensive tackle position will no doubt effect the Giants 2011 NFL Draft but to what extent?

There are a number of possibilities that could occur before the draft in April, such as a free agent signing or a trade. One of the more interesting scenarios I have come up with is the possibility of converting DE Jason Pierre-Paul to a defensive tackle. Now before you all rip my head off just hear me out and remember this is only an idea. JPP was drafted in April of 2010 and was listed at 270 pounds. By the time the 2010 regular season started in September, Pierre-Paul bulked up to 285 pounds and was still flying around the field like he was a welterweight. My question is simple, what would JPP do if he put on another 15 pounds (to round it out at 300 pounds) and got those extremely long arms a yard or two closer to the opposing quarterbacks at the defensive tackle slot? It is a very intriguing thought.

It is extremely unlikely that this will happen but DC Perry Fewell has been using the “nascar” defense quite a bit this year. The name of the game is to get the talent on the field. Imagine Tuck, Osi and JPP on the field for every single down the defense played in 2011, that’s scary. Ultimately, Pierre-Paul’s talent at defensive end will prevail when Osi or Tuck decide to retire or move on to another team. But wouldn’t it be amazing if JPP were to change the defensive tackle position forever with his unique combination of size and speed? Where ever the team decides to play JPP, one thing is for sure, the guy is going to be a pro bowl player within a year or two. He is just too talented and committed for things to turn out otherwise.

I would like to hear your thoughts on whether or not JPP would be a nice fit at the DT spot in 2011 or if you feel he is too valuable as depth for the DE spot. Please keep in mind that the Giants will be getting a guy named Mathias Kiwanuka back from injury in 2011 as well.

RD – nygreporter.com


2011 NFL Draft: New York Giants Debate Begins

January 15, 2011

NEW YORK – Let the debates begin! Giants fans from all over the country are weighing in on what they feel are the biggest areas of need for the team. Since writing my own needs assessment last week, I have been getting messages from our readers about the 2011 NFL Draft. There is a tremendous amount of interest and remember the G-Men have the 19th overall pick in round one.

You already know that I am torn between drafting a linebacker or offensive lineman (Center) with the first round pick. I’ve had members suggest getting a running back or a tight end in the first round. Surprisingly, the running back position has come up the most besides the linebacker slot. I do not agree with using a first round pick on either a running back or a tight end but I certainly think they should be drafted at some point in the middle to late rounds. I still believe in the Bradshaw/Jacobs tandem but have less confidence in the tight end group.

I had left off the tight end position from my initial draft assessment because of the depth with Boss, Beckum and Pascoe but after taking a second look, it might not be a bad idea to grab another. The current linebackers did a great job in 2010 but they were certainly overshadowed by the performance of the defensive line and the defensive backs. Giants fans long for the old days when opposing teams feared the Big Blue linebackers. New York has always been considered a defensive team first and an offensive team second. New Yorkers love a strong defense and DC Perry Fewell has brought them back into the elite NFL rankings. GM Jerry Reese will surely give Fewell a couple of new toys to play with on an already tough defense.

The player research is in full throttle and Giants fans are throwing out prospect names left and right. I would love to hear some of your thoughts on this subject, do not be shy about leaving a comment in the section below. You do not need to be a nygreporter member to leave a comment. I would particularly like to hear some names of sleeper players that I am unaware of. What are your thoughts and what position do you think the Giants will draft in round one?

You can check out my draft by position order here in a previous article – 2011 NFL Draft: New York Giants Early Bird Edition

RD – nygreporter.com


New York Giants DC Perry Fewell Will Return in 2011

January 14, 2011

NEW YORK – Giants fans can finally exhale with the news that Defensive Coordinator Perry Fewell will return to Big Blue in 2011. Fewell was being interviewed by a few teams searching for a new head coach, Denver and Carolina were the front runners but it just wasn’t meant to be.

Denver and Carolina decided to go in a different direction, which means that Fewell will be coaching for the G-Men and honoring the last year of his two year contract. He was extremely vocal about wanting a head coaching position but I still expect him to give his best to the Giants this season. I’m sure he will and I am very excited to have him back for another year. I’m pumped to see how far he can take the defense in 2011. The Raiders are the last team looking for a head coach but all of the experts say it is highly unlikely that Fewell will end up in Oakland.

If Fewell would have been chosen for one of those coaching positions, that would have meant the New York Giants went through four defensive coordinators in four years. They include Coach Spags, Coach Sheridan, Coach Fewell and whomever the fourth DC would have been. That kind of inconsistency is something that does not help a team mesh together or make the players buy into a defensive system. I’m glad Fewell will be around for the 2011 NFL Draft, training camp and all of the preseason games. I think the man has great input and although GM Jerry Reese is Yoda when it comes to the NFL draft, I know he respects Fewell’s opinion.

Coach Fewell has also become a fan favorite and everything I’ve read about the players, tells me they love the guy too. I would have been very upset if the team lost yet another solid coach after short stint. I understand that the Giants organization has to be cautious about locking up staff in long term deals but this might be a good time to offer him an extension before next season. We need some stability at the DC job and Fewell is a great fit with the team, so why wait? Now fans will have to wait and see what the team decides to do with OC Kevin Gilbride. What do you think about the Giants coaching situation?

RD – nygreporter.com