Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Let's start to get serious about the season

I must admit that taking 4 months off from issuing new posts is not exactly how I'm going to build a growing, dedicated following on this blog. Certainly the draft and FA activity provided lots of grist for the mill that I could have written about, but that is water under the bridge now and the advent of July when teams get back to training camp has inspired me to get going again. 

You can never tell how a draft will work out, but on the surface the Giants seemed to have added some good talent this year. Coming into the draft, the areas of need on the team seemed to be OL, LB and DB. Giants stayed true to their mantra of  "never bring your depth chart into the draft room" and did not reach for a pick at a particular position because of need.  More than that, they traded up to obtain Nassib, a player at a position that is most definitely NOT one of  need. I think there are some quality players the Giants picked up in Hankins at DT and Moore at DE. I am particularly eager to see what Cooper Taylor will be like - he has great size, 4.45 speed and could be a real interesting player at S. Fewell likes the 3-S look and he and Will Hill have the size to make that work. To stop the running QBs, you need size and speed at DB and they may provide it. But the draft of course will turn on whether Pugh turns out to be a player. He's tough, he's smart, he's experienced, he can play either RT or LT, so on the surface Pugh seems like a good pick, notwithstanding the fact that his arms are an inch shorter than the draft experts think they should be. If he turns out to be a very good player, Giants will be set with bookend OTs for the next 5-7 years. 2nd and 3rd round picks Moore and Hankins were each at one time judged to be first round talent who both slid in the draft for one reason or another. Moore could be a bust, but if he gets his head together and works hard, he could be the steal of the draft. 

The FA maneuvering was interesting - resigning Keith Rivers, taking a flyer on Aaron Curry at LB, resigning Aaron Ross and cutting salaries of some of their own players that were on the bubble - Diehl and Webster, in particular. The Giants strategy on defense is apparently to sign a bunch of huge DTs and DEs to improve the run defense and get enough talent at DB and LB that someone will emerge and play good football. Giants also resigned Terrell Thomas at DB so at CB they have: Webster, Amukamara, Hosley, Ross, Thomas and some others behind them for depth. Webster had a bad year last year, but he has played good football in the past and I don't think he's done. Same is true for Aaron Ross. (I have to point out that in the last two Giants titles, Webster and Ross started every game at CB for the entire season and playoffs). One of these players has to find his legs and play opposite Prince. 

The Giants roster seems loaded with DTs, too many to carry onto the final active roster. In my judgment, there will be some decent players that will get cut. Giants have Shaun Rogers, Marvin Austin, Linval Joseph, new FA signees Cullen Jenkins and MikePatterson as well as draftee Jonathan Hankins. They also list last year's rookie Markus Kuhn as DT, though he played some DE last year. Excluding Kuhn, that's 6 DTs and they clearly won't carry that many into the season. I guess competition is good, but if Hankins shows something, my guess is that Rogers and maybe Austin will not make the final roster. Austin has been a real disappointment. He came in with such high expectations but has never showed the coaches enough to get on the field. 

The deal the Giants made with Cruz was perfect for both sides. Cruz got more money than any slot receiver in football, but had to compromise and did not get Mike Wallace money. Giants, on the other hand, while they gave more money to Cruz than either Welker or Amendola got, managed to tack the contract onto the back of the tender offer that Cruz had already signed. That has the effect of giving the Giants control of Cruz for one more year and lowering the average cost of the contract overall. They also pushed the big salary hit to 2015 when it is expected that the new TV deal kicks in. Consequently, the salary cap numbers will rise for every team, making it easier for Giants to absorb these cap numbers. The big question is what this means for Nicks..... more on that in later posts. 

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