Thank You, WordPress

September 8th, 2016

I’d like to thank the great people at WordPress for making this blog a reality, but I’ll be moving on to create my own format for posting thoughts and opinions (on everything!) in the very near future for this website. Until then, I will keep this conglomeration of content online for posterity,  marked as “ARCHIVE”, which covers much of the 2007 through 2009 seasons in-depth.  To first time visitors, enjoy. And to repeat offenders, it’s a great chance to rehash one of the truly great seasons, namely 2007, in Football Giants history. – BK

Ticker Tape

February 6th, 2012

 I regretted missing the victory parade back in 2008. I wasn’t going to miss this one. This photo was taken from my camera phone right outside of City Hall, the end of the parade route. That’s Justin Tuck holding the Lombardi.

King Eli

February 5th, 2012

I haven’t posted in over two years, but now seems as good a time as any. Eli Manning was, in my mind, clearly the MVP of the league from Game One through the Super Bowl. I’m not talking Player of the Year or any other made up award, I’m taking M-V-P in its truest sense. Whenever the Giants needed Manning to make a big play, he was front and center. Countless fourth quarter comebacks and the unquestionable leader of that football team. When I think “most valuable”, where would the Giants be without #10? Certainly, not Super Bowl Champions for a second time in four years. Way to go, kid.

Giants Sign Rolle

March 7th, 2010

The Giants operated swiftly and directly, landing the best safety on the market in Antrel Rolle, formerly of the Arizona Cardinals. Rolle, who was due a $4 million signing bonus by Arizona, was released and the Giants became the direct beneficiary. While Arizona wanted to resign Rolle, both the Dolphins and Giants began courting the former University of Miami star immediately, with the Giants winning the bidding war. The move gives this secondary instant credibility at the safety position, a spot where the Giants displayed some of the worst play in the league last season. Rolle made his first Pro Bowl this past season and is regarded as one of the better playmaking defenders in the league, something the Giants desperately need. Rolle was selected in 2005 as the eighth overall player in the draft as a cornerback, moving to safety in 2008.

Rolle is now the highest paid safety in the league, roughly at about $8 million per year. Is he the best? No way. But he is in the upper echelon of safeties and if the Giants can somehow get Kenny Phillips back at 100 percent, they’d have one of the best, if not the best, tandems in league. That’s a big if, however. Phillips is rehabbing from micro-fracture surgery and the reports have been mixed. Some say he’ll be ready to participate training camp on a limited basis, while others say he’ll only be running by then.

This signing was two fold. It protects the Giants if Phillips’ career is in fact over, giving them a proven safety. Shortly after Rolle was signed, the Giants cut Aaron Rouse from the roster leaving the team with only three legit NFL safeties, and that includes the injured Phillips. While safety doesn’t have to be a first round or second round pick now, be assured they will take a safety somewhere in the 2010 draft. It thus allows them to focus on their other areas of need come draft time without needing to reach for a safety too early. Middle linebacker and defensive tackle remain high on the team’s watch list for sure.

Antonio Pierce and Free Agency

March 3rd, 2010

Last week the Giants released one of their key components to the 2007 championship team. Antonio Pierce won’t go down as one of the greatest linebackers in Giant history, but he will certainly be remembered as a leader and the quarterback of the defense during his tenure. Age and injuries, as always with NFL players, has begun to erode his skills and the Giants have decided to move on. The separation appears to be very amicable on both ends and it’s a nice gesture by the Giants to give Pierce a chance to catch on with someone during free agency, rather than in August had he been a camp casualty. I thought perhaps Pierce could still be one of the team leaders and mentor to his heir apparent, but that heir is going to have to step up immediately, whoever he is. MLB right now is the biggest hole in this defense.

Which brings up to free agency, set to begin on March 5th. With no CBA in place, any player with six years or less is a restricted free agent, instead of the usual four. With that, the strategy is to sign the players at a certain level of compensation, versus losing them for nothing, and bringing them to camp to compete and earn a roster spot. If they are cut, the Giants owe them nothing. The only factor is they take up a training camp roster spot.

The Giants made qualifying offers to every one of their restricted free agents, except Kevin Dockery. Interesting, considering Dockery can be a useful player but who played poorly last year. You’d think the Giants would expect a bounce back year from him, albeit as the fourth corner. My conclusion is the Giants were not happy at all with his attitude, poor play aside. Also surprising were the tenders to Sinorice Moss and CC Brown, two players I cleary don’t see having a future with the team. More importantly, Dominik Hixon and Barry Cofield will be Giants in 2010. Those two were the most important restricted free agents to get qualifying offers to.

There aren’t a lot of big names out there in free agency, mostly due to the CBA. The names most closely associated with the Giants are Cardinals’ MLB Carlos Dansby, the Packers DE Aaron Kampman, and the Pathers’ Julius Peppers. With the release of Pierce, Dansby is a no-brainer but he will command a whole lot of money and years. And with the status of the CBA, I don’t think a conservative franchise like the Giants will bite. Dansby will also be 29 in November. Kampman is a good DE but is coming off an ACL at mid year, so he could come at a bargain price considering his talent level. But again, I think the Giants would shy away. They’ve already seen what DE coming off surgery does in Osi Umenyora. There’s been a ton of trade talk about Umenyoria, but DE’s with his pedigree don’t grow on trees and it’s fully reasonable to expect #72 to be a much better player in 2010. He’s signed and has zero leverage to demand anything. Osi needs to have a good season on the field this season and the Giants know it. The Peppers rumor is just that, a rumor. I can’t see the Giants spending that much money on a guy with a reputation of taking plays (games?) off.

Remembering back to 2007 the Giants did hardly anything in free agency, and instead relied on a great draft class. I think that will be the philosophy starting March 5th, especially considering how last year’s free agent crop worked out. The one factor, however, that could come into play is the opening a new stadium and wanting to do it with a bang. Let’s see what happens. One name I would like to see: running back Darren Sproles. He’d be the final home run piece to an already good offense. Non tendered by San Diego, he’s an unrestricted free agent.

Post Super Bowl Notes

February 10th, 2010

I haven’t written for awhile, but now is as good a time as any to get back into the swing of things.

First, congratulations to the New Orleans Saints for their Super Bowl victory. Considering what that region has been through, you have to be happy for them. A championship is by no means a cure all, but it certainly will give that city something to proud of.

The Giants hired a new defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, who was the DC of the Buffalo Bills for the last four years. I don’t know much about his style, but I can say one thing. I happened to see a smidgen of game last year where he was serving as the interim head coach after Dick Jauron was fired. If I remember correctly, the Bills had just defended a trick play by Jacksonville near the end zone and Fewell exuded energy on the sideline, celebrating with his players. Win or lose, I want to see some passion from my coaches. I think Fewell will bring just that. A good hire.

I heard an interesting assessment from ESPN’s Sal Palentonio about an uncapped year in 2010. It appears we are headed for that with no CBA agreement on the horizon. With that, Palentonio believes that rather than seeing a spending frenzy, quite the opposite will happen. Owners will collude in their free agency spending to drive down the salary cap, saving more money and preparing for a possible lockout come 2011. Kinda makes sense. What do you do when you know troubled times are ahead? You cut back.

The other thing worth mentioning comes from something I heard on a Philadelphia sports station on my way to work. John Mara’s comments about how angered he was over this past season have been well documented. This particular morning show was in awe of Mara because, only two years removed from a Super Bowl victory, he was still demanding excellence. Of course they were comparing this to their own franchise, which typically likes to refer to itself as the “gold standard” of NFL teams despite not having any hardware. I think we are pretty fortunate to have such candid leadership in a owner.

The combine followed by free agency are just around the corner…

Simply Put: Embarrassing

January 4th, 2010

I had written a few weeks ago that it was up to Tom Coughlin to not let this team slide off the edge the way Jim Fassel had done on at least two separate occasions at the end of seasons. The Washington game appeared to give credence that Coughlin had succeeded. Then game Carolina and Minnesota.

Last week was the first time in three years I hadn’t posted after a game. Simply, the Giants embarrassed themselves, the organization, and their fans with a pathetic performance versus Carolina. With still a glimmer of playoff hope and a chance to close Giants Stadium in style, this team let an average football team walk all over them. And didn’t fight back.

After public apologies from Coughlin and Eli Manning, this team followed up that showing with an equally porous effort in the finale versus Minnesota. Actually porous isn’t even the right word. I might want to call it comical, but I wasn’t exactly laughing. The Giants looked helpless in trying to stop the Vikings. The offense, disinterested.

Bill Sheridan will be fired. The Giants can not allow him to return after his defense gave up more points than the 1980 Giants. That was my first year as a fan. I know how bad they were. This defense is worse. I’m not sure the players ever bought into what his system was, and yes, there were injuries but there is no excuse for giving up 40-plus points in five separate games. The fan base would be outraged, and the last thing the Giants need is chants of “Bill must go” in a new stadium next year. He’s gone.

Not immune to all is Tom Coughlin. Coughlin is an offensive coach but he is the head coach of this football team, and must take responsibility himself for the complete collapse in these last two games. I’m not advocating replacing TC by any means. But he’ll be in the third year of a four year contract next year. This team will have to rebound and play well the entire season. We know how the Giants treat coaches with one year left on their contract. They either extend them or get rid of them. 2007 aside, his teams have had a penchant for falling flat in the second half of seasons (2005, 2006, 2008). Some of that is injuries (see ’05 and ’06) and bad luck (Plax in ’08). And if you throw in this year after a 5-0 start you see the trend. Next year is big for TC.

Sometimes an organization needs a good ass kicking to re-evaluate itself and refocus. Things have been pretty good around here since 2007. The first order of business will be to get things sorted out with the coaches on the defensive side of the ball. Offensively, the team scored over 400 points and needs a little tweak on the OL and possibly another running back, IMO. From there, free agency and the draft need to focus getting a physical middle linebacker and a dynamic player to add to the mix on the DL, which has lost some of its luster. With the 15th pick in the draft, we’ll have a shot a premium player who can hopefully contribute instantly.

2010. New stadium. New commitment. This team will have something to prove next year.

Ambush in DC

December 23rd, 2009

Monday Night was the first time in awhile that I sat down and without any trepidation watch the Giants. With this rollercoaster of a season, I just was ready to view it and not get emotionally attached. And wouldn’t you know it, the Giants played just a terrific football game that had me smiling at the end of the evening.

They jumped all over the Redskins, with an opening eight minute, Parcell-ian drive that featured a great mix of run and pass. Particularly of interest were those little “bubble screens” to Ahmad Bradshaw. I’ve been clamoring for the short passing game, particularly to the backs, and it has been better this season. But this was a perfect example of how you get your quarterback into the game with safe, easy, and effective tosses. It then sets up your downfield passing, and Eli Manning had another splendid game on his way to his best statistical season. Kudos to Kilbride.

Now I’m not going to salute Mr. Bill Sheridan. Yes the Giants looked more active on defense, but they were playing against a depleted offensive line. Which further extenuates the point I have been making all season. A pass rush cures all ills. Even with Corey Webster and Aaron Ross out, pressuring the QB is a defense’s best friend. Still, there were those occasions when the Giants were running around like Keystone cops on defense, allowing a few big plays on screens and misdirections.

Admittedly, I was quite surprised at the final 45-12 score. I figured the Giants to win a squeaker. While the Redskins didn’t play well, I think credit should go to the Giants for making them quit by taking complete control of the game early, and often.

The only thing that ruined this win, and put a big damper on the playoffs, was Dallas’ surprising upset of the Saints. But should it really be considered that much of a shocker? Consider, these same Redskins had the Saints dead to rights two weeks ago. The depleted Falcons also battled the Saints after that, only to lose a close game. New Orleans was simply due. The Cowboys are that rare team that can rush four, and play seven deep in coverage. That’s how you beat a team such as the Saints. I had predicted only one more win for the Pokes, but that win could springboard their season. They have the Skins next in Washington, and considering what happened Monday night it’s hard to make a case for them not being victorious. Dallas knows a win in Washington gives them a point blank shot at the NFC East come Week 17. That’s motivation.

Looks like the Giants will have to win out, and with Minnesota suddenly being threatened for the number two seed, that doesn’t seem probable. Let’s take care of Carolina first, then sit back and watch some Sunday Night Football.

Start The Sheridan Countdown

December 16th, 2009

Talk about disappointment. I was leery going into this one and my instincts proved to be correct. How in the world do you give up 45 points at home in your biggest game of the season? And what make it even more frustrating is the Giants’ offensive game plan was spot on. They ran, passed, and blocked probably as well as they have all year. But all for naught. Thirty eight points just flushed down the drain. The Giants were the best offensive team on the football field last night, rolling up over 500 yards and owning possession time by over 10 minutes. Eli Manning played just how you want your QB to in a big game.

I can’t believe I actually paid Bill Sheridan a compliment last week. This guy needs to go. I understand Coughlin can’t fire him in-season at this point, but I’ve seen about all I can take. Sure, make the case that 14 points were not the responsibility of the defense last night, but look at how and when they gave up points:

  • Opening drive: You should want your defense on the field at home to start a big game, with the crowd behind you. Eagles go right down the field for a 7-0 lead.
  • Right before the half: After the offense battles back to within seven, the Eagles score another TD in just over a minute to regain a 13 point lead.
  • Third quarter: After the Giant offense (again!) manages two scores to take their first lead of the night, it takes exactly two plays (a kickoff and subsequent bomb) for the Eagles to get the lead right back.
  • Fourth quarter: Pinned on their own nine yard line and with a lead of six, the Eagles go all the way down the field to put the game away. There is not one third down conversion needed in the entire drive.

Four situations, four failures. This defense should not be this bad. The Giants in no way can bring back Sheridan next year. I’ve heard multiple analysts talk about how confused the this defense looks. That’s directly attributal to the coordinator.

So, it’s back to scratching and clawing. Two more wins…maybe. But I see Dallas winning just one more to be honest, and the Giants have the tiebreaker. But in the big scheme of things, what’s the use? A third meeting with Philly or a date with Arizona, either of them on the road.

It’s Official: Section 126,

December 11th, 2009

row 35, seats 13-14. Lots still to be determined this year, but I am so looking forward to 2010 in the new stadium!!!