AND THAT'S A WRAP (ON THE OFFSEASON)
"All good things must come to an end, though I’m not sure that “good things”
is an apt way to describe what seemed like both the shortest and longest
offseason in recent memory. As defending Super Bowl champions, the Giants had to
pack a lot into a comparatively little time between Super Bowl XLVI and the end
of their minicamp last week.
They got it all in, though, and not just
the parades and parties and trips
to the White House. They signed all their draft picks, restocked their team,
up the annual Osi Umenyiora mess and even signed
Tom Coughlin to a contract extension.
And now they rest.
so do I.
Before I depart for my much-needed vacation, though, I’ll leave
you a few thoughts on the offseason and the recently completed minicamp (though
I caution you to keep in mind it’s impossible to tell much from three days of
non-contact, no-pads practices). Training camp opens on July 26 at the
University at Albany. I’ll be back sometime before then to start prepping for
the title defense.
In the meantime, in case there is any important
breaking news, make sure you’re checking the Daily News Giants
page, and you should always be following @TheBlueScreen on Twitter, too.
You know, just in case.
Emptying my notebook of a few final thoughts
-RB David Wilson, the Giants’ first-round pick,
is very, very quick. Da’Rel Scott is fast, as everyone saw last preseason, but
Wilson’s straight-ahead speed has to be pretty close. And he has what Scott
doesn’t – a great burst when he cuts to the outside and lightning quick moves. I
believe running backs coach Jerald Ingram calls that “shake”. He looks like a
guy who can make defenders miss and find holes to run through pretty quick.
We’ll know more when the pads are on, but the
early returns on the top pick are very good.
rule out Ramses Barden for the No. 3 receiver job, though I hesitate to
say that because he’s become something of a legendary spring and summer player.
He had a strong couple of days of practices, which isn’t unusual. However, the
favorite has to be rookie Rueben Randle, the Giants’ second-rounder. He had some
drops early in OTAs, but I don’t recall seeing any during this camp and he
looked good turning upfield after catches over the middle. Barden can catch, but
the knock on him (OK, one of the knocks) has been his lack of a burst and
inability to separate from defenders. That doesn’t seem to be a problem for
Randle. What about Jerrel Jernigan, you ask? Hard to see him winning this job
outright, mostly due to his size. He could be a useful situational slot
-The Giants screwed up by losing Jake Ballard
to the Patriots, no doubt. The fact is they had a young player they
liked and they lost him for nothing, all because either Tom Coughlin or Jerry
want to “waste” a roster spot on him all summer when he wasn’t likely to
play in 2012. What I don’t get about that is rosters have expanded from 80 to
90, so even if they kept Ballard the Giants still would’ve had nine more players
in camp than they’ve had in previous years. Plus, they aren’t carrying a second
punter or kicker and only three quarterbacks, so they certainly had plenty of
room to “stash” him. … That said, this isn’t a big deal. Ballard isn’t Tony
Gonzalez. He was a very pleasant surprise last year and seems like a good
player, but he’s not very fast and wasn’t a great blocker. Add in that he wasn’t
going to play in 2012 and not everyone comes back from microfracture surgery and
is the same player, there’s no guarantee that he’d ever duplicate what he did
last year. Ballard was a nice player. If they could’ve kept him, that would’ve
been great. But it’s not a loss that figures to have any impact on the Giants
-Alarm bells went off when the Giants re-signed DT
Rocky Bernard, because they sure seemed overloaded with players at that
position. Chris Canty and Linval Joseph are the entrenched starters and Marvin
Austin and Shaun Rogers seem to be the backups. Then again, Canty is recovering
from knee surgery and Joseph is recovering from ankle surgery and Rogers missed
all of spring with an elbow injury. Also, Rogers is listed at 350 but looks
much, much more. And then there’s Marvin Austin, the Giants’ second-round pick
in 2011 who hasn’t played a game since the end of the 2009 season. He missed
2010 because he was suspended for his senior season at North Carolina and then
2011 with a torn pec. And now, word is he’s overweight. Defensive coordinator
Perry Fewell didn’t say that in so many words, but …”It will be up to Marvin to
come back in peak condition,” Fewell said. “So these next five weeks he has off,
I assume he will really crank it up and get into better condition.” Told that
Austin looked a little big, Fewell said “You know what, he doesn’t look big
besides Shaun Rogers and Linval Joseph and Chris Canty and those guys. So hey,
I’ll go for it right now.”
--I’m a long way away from making my
prediction, but I’m astonished by the number of starters this team
returns. Really all they lost was RT Kareem McKenzie, TE Jake Ballard and CB
Aaron Ross. But they have last year’s No. 1 pick (Prince Amukamara) and the
previous starter (Terrell Thomas) competing to replace Ross, their top
free-agent target (Martellus Bennett) to replace Ballard, and even without
McKenzie they’ll still start five offensive linemen with starting experience. I
don’t know if the Giants will win the Super Bowl, but if they stay healthy I see
them getting off to a 2008-like start, where they built on the confidence of
their surprise Super Bowl run and began rolling. The Packers did the same thing
-Eli Manning looked off during the three-day
minicamp, proving that everyone was right about his No.
31 ranking on the NFL Network’s Top 100. It was obviously way too high. …
OK, I’m just kidding. Clearly there’s no reason to worry about Manning. I also
can’t get overheated about the NFL Network’s stupid list. The players voting on
it (whomever they are … I’ve yet to find any) are doing the same bang-up job
they used to do on the Pro Bowl. Absolutely, Manning should’ve been higher. A
little higher, anyway. I don’t know where I’d rank him, but I don’t think I
would’ve complained if he were anywhere in the Top 20. I also don’t have a major
issue with him being ranked behind Tom Brady, Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers. I’m
a little surprised he’s behind Ben Roethlisberger (30), but I can at least
understand the arguments for the other three. Bottom line, though, Eli Manning
is the reigning Super Bowl MVP, so who cares?
--One last word on
the NFL Network Top 100. I do have an issue with this: Jason
Pierre-Paul (24) being ranked ahead of Manning. Pierre-Paul is a beast and is
probably one of the Top 5-10 defensive players in the NFL. But Manning is the
best and most important player on the Giants. Period.
a little worry in Kevin Gilbride’s voice about injured WR Hakeem Nicks,
who has a broken foot and likely won’t be back until the middle of training camp
… the Giants hope. Maybe it’s nothing, or maybe it’s just a coach fretting over
depth. There is some potential depth at receiver, but not a lot of proven depth.
And as good as Victor Cruz was last season, no one knows how he’ll fare without
Hakeem Nicks or Mario Manningham to take away some of the attention of the
defense. If it’s Cruz and Randle or Barden lining up as the starting WRs on
opening night, the offense could look a lot different.
Martellus Bennett did not look fat. Hey, he
--Some of the young and relatively unknown players
that stood out to the coaches at minicamp included third-year safety
Stevie Brown, rookie receiver Brandon Collins (Texas and then Southeast
Louisiana), first-year safety Will Hill (Florida), rookie LB Jake Muasau
(Georgia State), and third-year tight end Ryan Purvis. A few others to keep an
eye on during training camp: Third-string QB Ryan Perrilloux, who has a cannon
for an arm and has looked very sharp; first-year WR Dan DePalma, who has drawn
raves from teammates and some team execs;second-year DE Justin Trattou, who is a
good bet to fill the Dave Tollefson role as the Giants’ fourth defensive
And that’s that
This will be the final blog
entry of the 2012 offseason. As I said earlier, I’ll be back somewhere in
mid-to-late July to begin previewing the Giants’ training camp at the University
at Albany which begins when players report on July 26. (For
the full training camp schedule, click here).
Things happen, of
course, when you least expect them so seriously, keep checking the Daily News Giants
page throughout the rest of the beginning of summer, and as always make sure
you’re following @TheBlueScreen
on Twitter too.
And here’s another reason to follow @TheBlueScreen on Twitter:
Inspired by the NFL Network’s ridicu-list (otherwise known as their Top 100)
I’ll be unveiling my Top 10 Giants players. You can only view them on Twitter
over the next few weeks, so make sure you’re following. I may throw in another
Top 10 li"st or two, too.
In the mean time, have a safe and enjoyable
start to your summer. See you when the Super Bowl title defense begins again in