Archive for April, 2007

Draft Preview

Thursday, April 26th, 2007

A few thoughts about the draft: Only a small percentage of the players drafted actually start for their team when the NFL kicks off this September. Most will be backups and situational players, gradually working in more and more playing time as the season goes on. Some in fact, don’t play at all. It’s not easy being a rookie in the NFL. That being said, people tend to get overly excited about their team’s selections. Take the Giants for example. They were about as average as you can get last season, 8-8 and picking just about in the middle of the first round. How many positions can you name where a draft pick could start next year? I can only think of three: safety, corner, and outside linebacker. And corner, which is technically one of the more difficult positions, is probably a reach.  Every other position is entrenched with a pretty good player. Obviously that doesn’t mean the Giants will only pick at those positions. The draft is a way to build depth and secure future starters. This draft is important for the Giants to help build their roster three and four years down the line. The real key is how quickly you can get rookies to contribute in some capacity on the field and thus make your team better.

Okay, so here’s what the Giants won’t draft: a kicker, punter, a quarterback, or a defensive end. That’s my preview. Any other position is up for grabs. Again, that would seem to indicate the Giants have a weak roster. Quite the contrary. I believe the Giants have good players. Their line play on both sides of the trenches is pretty darn good and they have playmakers at the premium positions on the offensive side of the ball.

This team’s weakness right now is defense. The defensive line could use another tackle who can contribute (there’s that word again) and an athletic linebacker. Same deal at safety and corner. But I wouldn’t mind seeing the Giants draft a wide receiver if that was the best player available. That’s the key. Don’t reach for a player based on need; take the best available athlete. Since the draft is a building ground for future years, taking the best player is in my opinion the best draft philosophy.

This draft is interesting because I believe, between picks 20 through 35, you are going to get a comparable player. That would make a good case for the Giants trading down, and acquiring an additional pick(s) in say round three or four. 

Finally, for posterity, I do want to throw out three names that I’d love to see the Giants take with their first rounder. If they do indeed trade down, I like  Penn State LB Paul Posluszny. If they stay at #20, LSU wide receiver Dwayne Bowe or Pitt corner Darrelle Revis would be great additions. 

Wright Move?

Monday, April 16th, 2007

I’ve been pushing for the Giants to sign another quarterback as insurance if Eli gets hurt. But is signing eight year vet Anthony Wright the way to go? Everyone loves Jared Lorenzen, that Hefty Lefty, but anyone who thinks he’ll step in and run the offense is just kidding themselves. Don’t be fooled by preseason. Tim Hasselbeck has some experience and leadership qualities, but clearly lacks the physical skills for anything long term. While the Giants have recongnized they need a backup QB, I’m not sure they have accomplished it with this signing.

It’s a tough call, really. He has thrown twice as many passes in real games compared to Hasselbeck. And that means he has much more experience than Lorenzen. Hell, he has even started an NFL playoff game for the Ravens.

My feeling is Wright will have to make the roster in training camp, with three guys competing for two spots.

Free Agency Review

Thursday, April 12th, 2007

Back on February 25 I gave my free agency preview and promised a review before the draft. And delivers…

Okay so I can toot my own horn. The Giants handled free agency perfectly.  How you ask? They followed my suggestions almost to a “T”.

The lone exception was not re-upping kicker Jay Feely. Letting Feely go could be a mistake. Since that terribly frustrating Seattle game from 2005, where he missed three potential game winners, I never had the same confidence in Feely whenever he lined up for a kick. Still, over two seasons he hit 84% of his attempts.  Furthermore, in an upcoming season where the Giants could be in some tight games, a kicker can make all the difference.

The Giants then signed LB Kawika Mitchell, who I thought would be the best bang for their buck in a not-so-hot free agent field. If you read this blog (someone, anyone?) you know what I think about this move. Well done Jerry Reese.

Now there is even talk of signing a veteran backup QB, namely Jay Fiedler. The Giants need someone to be able to step in if Eli gets injured.

The one move I didn’t see coming was the trade that brought Rueben Droughns from Cleveland for a player who wasn’t going to make the team this year, WR Tim Carter. The Giants were extremely dissapointed in Carter, not stepping up last year when they needed him. Droughns will provide insurance in case Brandon Jacobs struggles in a starting role or is injured. He’ll also be a seven-10 carry relief pitcher. I still feel the Giants need a Dave Meggett-type, and hopefully they’ll look for one in the draft. A third-down back who can also double on kicks and punts.

Since free agency wasn’t anything to shake a stick at (and why no one should be predicting doom and gloom at this point), the draft does prove very important for the G-Men to replenish their roster with young talent. It will be Reese’s first draft as the top guy. I’m working on my preview and will have it in about a week.

2007 Schedule

Wednesday, April 11th, 2007

The Giants 2007 schedule was released today, and I’m sure the ‘Net is propagated with game-by-game predictions and records for every team. I won’t try to do that here.

The highlight is five nationally televised games, including three on Sunday night. That includes the first Sunday night game on opening weekend versus the Cowboys in Dallas. The other Sunday games are in week 4 versus Philly and week 15 versus Washington, both home. There is one Monday Nighter in Atlanta (week 6) and the finale is a Saturday night showdown at Giants Stadium versus New England, provided by NFL Network. They battle the Jets for bragging rights in week 5 and of course play the Fish in London at the halfway point.

This year’s schedule is the 11th easiest in the league, based on opponent’s winning percentage last season (which ultimately means nothing to me.). But I can say the beginning of the schedule is a bit more favorable than last year’s, with three of the first five games at home.  After four weeks, the Giants will have played every NFC East rival and have an idea of where they stack up.

There is only one 4:15 game (Dallas, week 10), but basically half the home games are non-1pm contests because of those three prime time games. And while it is always exciting to have your team playing in the national spotlight, it becomes especially harder on fans to attend such games in my opinion.

complete 2007 schedule

Okay, so another appetizer has been given to us for the upcoming season. Next the draft…