Tag Archives: Eli manning

The Giants: In An Awkward Place

Last week, I spoke with Earnest Christian on his “EJ Talks Football” podcast and in our ramblings concerning NFL free agency, we discussed the current position of the New York Giants.  It was a difficult spot for me because I have a hatred for this franchise that goes longer than a quarter of a century. I will not get into why I loathe this franchise so much, but I will say, the reasons have scarred me since a young boy till now.

As a fan who roots against the Giants, last year was a great season.  The Giants looked pitiful, the fans were frustrated and the season was over from the start.  But if one is to really step back and analyze where the Giants are at right  now, it  is a really, really awkward place to be.

The Giants are a team that sit with the number two pick in the NFL draft.  The Giants also have a terrible offensive line (one of the NFL’s worse), an aging quarterback in Eli Manning (whose talents have been diminishing for years and may be at a “rock-bottom” point) and a contract negotiation with stud wide-receiver Odell Beckham.

Source: Patrick McDermott/Getty Images North America

When it comes to the offensive line, there are already talks that free agent guard Andrew Norwell signing with the New York Giants is already a “done-deal.”  If this is so, this is the Giants moving in the right direction in the off-season, but it certainly cannot stop there.  Maybe the Giants look to free-agent tackle Nate Solder to help solidify a rebuild of the offensive line, or they look in the draft.  In this year’s draft, quite possibly the best player in it is Notre Dame guard Quentin Nelson.  The Giants taking Nelson number-two overall though would be doubtful, and if this was the course of action they’d want to take they would likely trade down a few spots. . .just a few.

When it comes to Eli Manning and the quarterback situation of the New York Giants, new general manager Dave Gettleman, has told the New York fans and media that Eli Manning will remain as the team’s quarterback.  This was unexpected by many considering how Eli Manning has played in the last few seasons, and also considering that this seemed like a good time to just break free, and draft a new quarterback for the future with the number-two overall pick.  Instead, the Giants have given the cringe-worthy statement of keeping the decrepit QB under-center.  If this is true this means the Giants have no interest in Josh Rosen, Josh Allen or Sam Darnold.  This doesn’t mean other teams don’t though.  The Giants can easily trade out of this spot for a mini-ransom of sorts, which is ideal for a team in their position.  Also, keeping Eli Manning in there for another year, really does no damage to the rebuilding model – if the model includes acquiring pieces to an offense that would be better for a new quarterback to control.

Source: Al Bello/Getty Images North America

Finally, we come to the Odell Beckham drama.  With a heavy emphasis on the word “drama” because that’s all Odell is.  Well to be fair, he’s also a top five wide receiver in the league, and one of the two biggest play makers in football (next to Antonio Brown).  With that being said, Odell wants to be the highest paid receiver in the league.  Oh sorry, the highest paid player in the league.  Yeah, no thanks.  This comes at a terrible time for the Giants, but this is a business.  Odell is playing his hand correctly and you can’t blame him.  The truth is, Odell is a star.  A star in New York.  That equates to bigger things than just the football field.  But in the same breath, Odell is someone who came into the league with injury issues, and last year started the season missing week one with an ankle injury and then had his season cut off due to a left ankle fracture in week five.  Odell also has the reputation of being a petulant child and a general pest.  He has a huge target on him from defenders all over the league because he tends to show boat and talk trash — BUT he is the best player on this roster. . . by far.  The question here is, do you really pay a receiver that much (we’re talking in the ball park of ($17 million a year) while rebuilding?  Even if Odell signs a deal of a realistic $14-$15 million a year – where does the sense come in for all of this?  Teams that have the wide-outs with big contracts only make noise if the rest of the team is solid – like the Steelers or the Falcons — but even then – no championships.

This is a very awkward time indeed for the New York Giants.  If I said I feel bad for them, I’d be lying through my teeth.  The petty little demon inside of me is grinning ear to ear.

By the way, we only discussed their offense and how they should go about fixing that. . .this defense gave up the second most yards in the NFL last year as well. . .so uh. . .Good Luck out there with the rebuild G-Men.

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio

New York Giants 2015 Preview

The New York Giants finished 6-10 last season, but Giants fans will tell you it’s because of their slow start.  Quarterback Eli Manning seemed lost in a the new west-coast offense system implemented by offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo and the offense’s timing seemed off on nearly every snap.  Also, the Giants were without their first round pick for the first four games of the season, O’Dell Beckham Jr (we’ll get to him in a few minutes).  This Giants team needs to be just as explosive on offense as their division rivals, the Eagles and the Cowboys – and also must find a way to stop those opposing offenses.

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Defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul wanted a contract extension this season.  The Giants were cautious of doing so because J.P.P’s production has gone below expectations.  Good thing the Giants didn’t rush into things, because Pierre-Paul lost a finger while playing with fireworks on July 4th.  Pierre-Paul has been the butt of many jokes in the aftermath of that event, but in all seriousness nobody knows if he’ll be ready by week one, and even if he is, nobody knows how effective he will be.  The Giants still are willing to sign him to a franchise tag, but J.P.P – even in all of his nine fingered glory – isn’t thrilled about the franchise tag.   J.P.P’s former college teammate George Selvie, has been the lesser pro-player of the two, since they both came out of USF, while the Giants will depend on the likes of Kendrick Ellis to help out the middle of the defensive line.  The Giants used a third-round pick on UCLA defensive end, Owa Odighizuwa.  Odighizuwa has had some injuries including a hip surgery which has somewhat limited his side-to-side quickness.  He makes up for a lack of lateral movement with brute strength.  The Giants need somebody to be a pass rusher and it may fall on the rookie.

Veteran Jon Beason is the only linebacker worth talking about on the Giants, but has been struggling to stay healthy and there is no telling what kind of player he’ll be from snap-to-snap.  There is no speed at the line backer position from the Giants which will make it hard for them to cover the more athletic tight ends or add much to this pass-rush.

Defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo was brought back onto head coach Tom Coughlin’s staff trying to recreate the defenses that the Giants had in the late 2000’s.   He has his work cut out for him this year, with not much up front and at the moment, working with as little help from the safety position as possible.  The pre-season has not been kind to the Giant’s safeties as they keep dropping like flies, including second-round pick Landon Collins out of Alabama.   The Houston Texans have just released safety Stevie Brown, so it makes sense that Brown, the former Giant, finds himself back in New York in no-time.  Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and the often injured Prince Amukamara are a pretty solid corner combo that has nothing behind them in the depth chart.  Without a solid pass rush, these two will most likely find themselves in bad spots often.

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The Giants knew they needed to work on their offensive line this season and they did their best this off-season.  They signed former CFL star, Brett Jones, who played center (and at times played guard) for the Calgary Stampede.  Jones was the CFL’s best offensive lineman and his versatility on the line will help the Giants out.  It’s a step up in the level of competition for Jones, but it’s a step in the right direction for the Giants offensive line.   The Giants also used a first-round pick on Miami Hurricane  Ereck Flowers.  The tackle came into the draft with noted character issues, but unless he has a nervous breakdown before the start of the season – the Giants have no reason to keep him off the starting roster.

Running behind this offensive line is running back Rashad Jennings.  The former seventh-round pick has been a back up for most of his career and last year as a starter he seemed to flourish at times.  Jennings has an injury history which caught up with him last year and gave time to running back Andre Williams.  Williams was coming off of a monster year where he ran for over 2,000 yards at Boston College, but he could not get his legs going last season.   The Giants are hoping that it was just ‘runner’s fatigue’ and this season the sophomore back can show more promise.  The Giants are expecting former Patriots running back Shane Vereen to be the receiving back needed in this west-coast attack, but the success rate of running backs after leaving New England’s offense is very low.  .  .  Like most Patriot’s players, Vereen is more a product of that system than anything else.

Eli Manning still holds the reigns at the quarterback position and that won’t change anytime soon.  He cut his interceptions down last year (from twenty-seven in 2013, to fourteen in 2014) but still has an issue with fumbling (having seven last season).   He’s a perennial “over-thrower” but his confidence never leaves him.   He was having a miserable start to last season until Odell Beckham Jr. returned from injury, but for this offense to work, Eli is going to have to utilize everything around him.  The problem is, there really isn’t much.

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In the twelve games he played last season, wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. recorded ninety-one receptions, twelve touchdowns, over 1,300 yards and at least one sports-show highlight a week.  Beckham’s small stature doesn’t help out much when he’s asked to block on the outside for running backs, but at least his intensity doesn’t let him quit at it.   Odell’s “over-the-top” enthusiasm keeps fans entertained, but has also made him a “marked man” of sorts throughout the league. . . The return of Victor Cruz is just about as exciting as the thought of “Pepsi Blue.”    Cruz seems to refuse to run routes over the middle and has a lost a step in the deep-attack.  His dancing days are behind him.  It would be nice if Rueben Randle would grow into his potential already.  Randle had his best season last year with 938 receiving yards and at this point, should be the number two receiver on the Giants roster.  If Cruz would be willing to accept his true role, which is a slot receiver, the Giants would have a formidable trio out there – but nobody has ever heard of a slot receiver who won’t run routes over the middle, so there goes that idea. . .

Projected Record: 7-9

Projected Pro Bowlers: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie

G.W. Gras

twitter @GeeSteelio