“Next Man Up”

With Hakeem Nicks’ most recent injury to keep him out of action for an estimated 12 weeks, Coach Coughlin’s oft-used phrase, “next man up” will surely be put to the test. In Nicks, the New York Giants stand to start the season without one of their most explosive playmakers. While the Giants will most definitely miss Nick’s stats (1,192 yards, 7 TDs, 15.7 YPC in 2011), its the intangibles that he adds that will be missed the most. Sure, Cruz had a breakout year (1,536 yards, 9 TDs, 18.7 YPC), but does he come close to reaching those numbers without Hakeem drawing as many double teams on the other side of the field? Opposing defenses can’t double team everyone, as made apparent by Manningham’s playoff performances. I’m sure you’ve heard the video with Belichick telling his defense to take Cruz and Nicks out of the Super Bowl. His defensive unit complied, focusing mostly on Nicks and Cruz, allowing Manningham to run free in the second half.  Does Jake Ballard become a known TE in this league without the presence of Nicks and Cruz demanding the defense’s respect like they do? To drive this point home even more, remember that the Giants’ running attack was mediocre last year. Even without defenses focusing too much on the run, Hakeem and Victor gave defensive coordinators fits. It’s these intangible factors that will be missed more than anything reflected on the stat line.

Hakeem Nicks has some big shoes to fill. Perhaps the WR with the most similar stature would be 2nd round pick, Reuben Randle. While not jaw-dropping, his collegiate stats should be taken with a “grain of salt” as he was playing with run-of-the-mill QBs his entire career with LSU. In OTAs and some of his highlight clips, you can see flashes of explosiveness that reminds me of Nicks. They are both tall, lean receivers with deceiving speed. Eli tends to bring the most out of everyone he’s throwing the ball to and I am looking forward to see what he can do with the additional reps he will be getting in training camp in Nicks’ absence.

Ramses Barden and Jerrel Jernigan are relative unknowns: The former due to plaguing injuries and the latter due to severe lack of experience. Barden possesses the physical attributes to dominate the receiving game, but has yet to prove he can do it. Jernigan came from the small school of Troy, and with such a limited offseason induced by the lockout, has not been given time to mature to what he can potentially be.

Domenik Hixon is coming off back-to-back ACL injuries and is as huge a question mark as any rookie or second year receiver on the team.  If his knee is close to 100%, I can see him being a reliable target for Eli again.

I have to wonder if the Giants are missing Devin Thomas nearly as much as I am right about now. I really liked what he brought to the team on Special Teams and believe he would’ve became a solid contributor given enough of a chance.

The mantra of “Next Man Up” will be spoken repeatedly this offseason, and make no mistake – someone will step up. The pieces are there – young, unproven players, veterans returning to action, a retooled running game and TE. It will be interesting to see how this all plays out.

New York Giants and the “Chief” agree to terms

Happy at Last?

GIANTS.COM: The ongoing speculation about Osi Umenyiora’s contract can now end.

 The Giants today announced that the two-time Pro Bowl defensive end has agreed to a restructured contract. The terms were not disclosed.

Umenyiora and the Giants have had discussions regarding his contract since the end of last year’s lockout, and the end result is that all parties are happy.

“This gives me peace of mind, definitely,” Umenyiora said. “We just resolved a situation. It really was affecting me in a bad way. Because I didn’t like all the negativity that was surrounding the whole situation. I couldn’t stand it, because if you know me, you know I’m not that type of person. I’m just happy all that is over with and I’ll be there. I’ll play out this contract, I’ll play this year and I’ll play my heart out.”

Umenyiora said he is in top condition and is eager to return to the field with his teammates on Monday.

I gotta be honest – This was probably the last thing I expected to wake up and read this morning.  I woke up expecting to read what all true Giants fans are accustomed to reading: Coughlin fining players for showing up only 2 minutes early to a meeting, another player being carted off the field for tearing an ACL while running ALONE on the sideline during individual drills, or a rival NFC East team pilfering another one of our players, like Steve Smith, Cofield or Goff in recent years. This, however, came as a true surprise.

“Can’t Wait” (someone set up Bart Scott a Paypal account so I can donate copyright infringement penalties to him. Maybe he can buy Mark GQ Sanchez a hotdog or something) to see what the terms of this contract are.  I feel very conflicted by this news. On the one hand, I’ve grown to both dread and shake my head in disgust over this dude’s offseason antics. Every year it’s the same story: wah, wah, wah – “I’m not being paid enough”, “I’m a starter! I don’t want to come off the bench, even though I get damn near the same amount of plays as the ‘starting’ DEs”. I suspect this guy has a strong stench of vinegar following him wherever he goes – Being this big of a douche has to come with some pitfalls. Since we’re on the subject, who the FUCK gave him the idea of setting up a Twitter account?

Now, on the other hand, I can hardly contain my excitement when I think about our starting defense about to take the field this year.  If people can stay healthy and Fewell decides to keep his “simplified” schemes, we are gonna straight up DOMINATE this year. The D-Line is STACKED – rotations of JPP-Canty-Joseph-Tuck and then Osi-JPP-Tuck-Kiwi on third and longs? Goddamn – who are you gonna double team?  Combine this with smarter LB play and a finally healthy secondary? Here’s hoping that TT is fully healthy and the true, full offseason gives the Prince time to learn what the fuck he’s doing out there.  Speaking of Amukamara, how fitting was it that he records an interception in his first game against none other than the Eagles?

Is it September yet?

PS –  “I’m just happy, I’m happy all that’s over with,” Umenyiora said. “It’s time to get back to work. It was definitely frustrating (not being on the field this spring), but hearing some of the things they said, whether it was Kiwi or (Justin) Tuck or JPP  or Antrel (Rolle) – hearing the way they supported me, it made me want to come back even more and be around them. Those guys really stepped up for me. I really appreciate it and I’m happy to be here with them.”

Osi, while I am happy that you are happy that your boys had your back, I think these are the backs you should be more concerned with. In my opinion, anyway..: