Sunday, August 21, 2011

Questions to be answered

Osi decided to have surgery on his knee. I don't get exactly how this works. Here's the soap opera sequence of events, as we recontruct them: Osi is a plaintiff in the players anti-trust suit against the NFL claiming that Reese promised him a new contract or a trade...Osi wants a new contract... Osi holds out and does not report to camp on time.... Giants fine him....He comes in one day later....He rides stationary bike insted of practicing, still demanding a contract or trade.... Osi and his agent are given permission to seek a trade but there are no takers. Now here's the part about the knee.....Osi says he has a knee problem which requires surgery.... Giants doctors say it does not need surgery and can be managed with treatment and diminished practice schedule....Osi gets another opinion from another doctor which confirms the Giants team doctors' prognosis.... Osi starts practicing and after 3 days with some pain and swelling in the knee, unilaterally decides to have the surgery. 

Here's the part I don't get ...if Giants team doctors and Osi's own second medical opinion concur that surgery is not necessary, why can the player overrule both his own doctor's opinion as well as the team's and have surgery? I think at least part of Osi's motivation to have this surgery was to punish the Giants for not giving him a new contract. If they won't give him a new contract, he won't give them a full season of football. And if he wants to gain leverage to make a run for a new contract after this year, he wants to show off his ability by playing at full strength the entire year, not at a slightly reduced performance level. Osi said the reason he returned to practice was to "be there" for his coaches and teammates, but to me, this looks like Osi is looking out only for himself. I don't blame him - an athlete's career is very short, and he should try to get as much money as he can while he can. Just don't be disingenuous and pretend that what you're doing is only for the good of the team, when it is all about yourself. I still think the Giants made a tactical mistake by keeping Osi. Now, with this surgery it is too late to trade him, since no team wants to take damaged goods. They should have traded him right away, moved Kiwanuka back to DE and played one of the many up and coming LBs on the team in that spot. Bad decision.

There are several questions coming out of training camp, which quite frankly have not been answered and which will determine the quality of the Giants season.
On the offensive side of the ball: Can Beckum, Pascoe and Ballard step up and replace Boss as a TE presence? Can Beatty step in and be a top LT? Can the OL settle down with all the shuffling and be a solid presence? Can the Giants find that 3rd WR to replace Steve Smith in the lineup? Most of all - can Eli cut down on his interceptions and lead an offense to make it productive with all these changes and apparent open questions?
On defense - Can Kiwanuka progress as LB? Can Aaron Ross regain his form and be a solid CB? Will Kenny Phillips regain his speed and be the top S Giants expect him to be? Most of all - will Fewell be a little more cerebral and analytical in his approach to the Giants defense instead of using his blitz-and-attack-at-all-costs philosophy? Will the defense come together better in Fewell's second year and understand the schemes and approach better.
On Special Teams - will Quinn figure out how to coach these guys and get better coverage? I have always said that every NFL team has enough good athletes to be at least competent on ST. Therefore, good ST coverage is almost entirely about coaching. Can Quinn do it? I'm actually less concerend about the punting, because I think Dodge will settle down and have a better year if they keep him and Weatherford  is a solid punter if they go in that direction.

The rest of the preseason will be interesting and more important for the somewhat unsettled Giants to resolve some of these open questions. I wouldn't be surprised if the Giants pick up a player or two that are cut from other teams at the end of the preseason to address some of these questions.

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