It's on to 2012-2013 season as the New York Giants look to win a 3rd Lombardi Trophy in the Manning-Coughlin era and put themselves into the elite status of a select few teams in NFL history. Can the Giants pull the repeat?
The Champs vs. America's Team
By: Joe Catalano
A very tough first week matchup indeed for both teams. I refer back to last season when the Cowboys visited the Jets at MetLife Stadium in week 1 and came out of the gate fast. Dez Bryant, Tony Romo and DeMarcus Ware looked like they were headed straight for the Super Bowl, but we all know what happened.
Regardless, look for Dallas to be inspired; this is a team on the rise. The loss of Laurent Robinson will hurt, but Dallas has plenty of offensive weapons. I see this as a make-or-break year for quarterback Tony Romo. Amani Toomer may think that he's better than Eli Manning, but Eli has 2 Super Bowl wins and 2 MVP's to go along with it.
Dallas' secondary will be really sharp this season with the addition of 1st round draft pick Morris Claiborne. The New York Giants defense will also be powerful with offseason signings and restructuring. Dallas will have to deal with Jason Pierre-Paul, Osi Umenyiora, Mathias Kiwanuka, and Justin Tuck coming off a Super Bowl victory.
NFL odds makers currently list the Suber Bowl champs as prohibitive favorites at -185.
The Giants have suffered some losses on the offensive end, and the defense will have to bear down. Look for this game to be definitely lower than the 47 total.
Pick: Dallas/Giants - UNDER 47
By: Joe Catalano
The Giants have been all over the map this season from restructured contracts, DUI's, White House trips, players leaving for free agency, contract extensions and injured players. Let's see what this weekly installment has in store for us.
Michael Strahan is back
Strahan is lending his two cents in the Osi Umenyiora contract restructuring situation, and the former Giant has called it a "highway robbery" and he wouldn't have returned under those circumstances. Strahan claims that Umenyiora is too nice and that he should have taken a more hard line business approach. Umenyiora's contract will be for $6.5 million dollars this season. But he will become a free agent next season.
It sounds like sour grapes to me, as Strahan had plenty of negotiating problems with the Giants and was happy with his one ring. The Giants seem to have plenty of old disgruntled players that don't play for them anymore and all they do is complain. Not a sign of loyalty to a club that's been good to them if you ask me.
Giants and Jets to block Megamall
I'm including the New York Jets in this story as the Giants and Jets both play in the same stadium. There are plans to build a "American Dreams Meadowlands" megamall and the Giants want no part of it. If any of you've been to a Giants game and dealt with the parking and the traffic, you'd understand why. There are times when a fan must take two buses from their parking spot just to get to the stadium. It's very discouraging.
The mall site is across the highway from MetLife Stadium and violates an agreement of expansion plans at the Meadowlands complex. MetLife Stadium is the largest investment in any pro stadium at $1.6 billion dollars, and ownership doesn't want their investment to be tarnished in any manner.
Hakeem Nicks will be back
Now that Eli Manning has lost a few targets, it's essential that the Giants have a healthy Hakeem Nicks on the field and ready to play. Nicks broke his foot last month, but in a radio interview he said that he will be ready to play when training camp starts on July 26th. Nicks' eagerness to return is encouraging, but the Giants need to handle this with caution. They can ill-afford to lose Nicks.
Canty will be ready for training camp
Defensive tackle Chris Canty had offseason surgery on his knee, but said that he'll also be ready for training camp. A lot of Canty's best moments last season came at critical moments during the end of the season and Canty claims that he has a grasp on the Giants 4-3 defense. We wish him well, as the Giants need as many able bodied players as they can have on the field with a lot of transitions after the offseason.
What's the Diehl?
By: Joe Catalano
A topic that's been rehashed about a million and one times this week is the story of offensive lineman David Diehl. Let's revisit temporarily as it's been on the back pages of New York papers and has been a hot topic on sports radio.
Here's the "Diehl"
It seems like everyone is prone to making mistakes and that's what's happened to ole' Giant reliable David Diehl. I've been praising the Giants for the good chemistry that they've exuded on and off the field. I noted that Coach Coughlin finally got his contract extension and Osi Umenyiora finally got the overall picture and was going to have his contract restructured. The Giants recently went to the White House to celebrate their Super Bowl Championship. The Giants were on top of the world and I made note that this is the NFL, "where the big boys play", and anything can happen. Sure enough, two days after the White House trip, something happened. David Diehl received a DUI.
Diehl was celebrating a little too hard after Croatia beat Ireland in the European Soccer Championship. Diehl has Croat roots and soccer is a big thing in every place except for the United States. Diehl apparently left a Queens, NY bar and smashed his BMW into a bunch of parked cars. After the accident, Diehl tested well over the legal limit. This was his first offense.
Lucky and stupid!!!
If you look at some of Diehl's comments, he tried to make lite of the situation and claimed that he's the biggest contributor to charity on the team and in the NFL. I've got news for Mr Diehl; being charitable doesn't change the fact that you were extremely lucky that the cars that you crashed into didn't have people in them. Put the ego by the wayside as giving to charity doesn't make you above the law and better than others.
The sad part of this story is that Diehl is what he said he is; a good, giving person. It doesn't change the fact that he did something really stupid and we'll have to stay tuned to hear about his punishment. Court date is set for July 26th. Let's hope that after the slap on the wrist that he'll get, the only thing that he does that is newsworthy is protecting number 10 from a concussion.
One more interesting bit of information that passed the newswire is the Giants cutting tight end Jake Ballard. Ballard had a breakout season in 2011-2012 when he caught 38 passes for 604 yards and 4 TD. Unfortunately for Ballard and the G-Men, Ballard tore his anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during the Super Bowl. Here's the kicker, it was a designed move to ultimately pickup Ballard again when healthy.
Bill Belichick might not be able to beat the Giants but is a genius at making the right move at the right time. The Patriots claimed Ballard off of injury waivers. A brilliant move made by New England this past week and you better believe that this will only enhance the rivalry between the Giants and Patriots, creating more bad blood.
We'll revisit Giants camp next week. Stay healthy and don't drink and drive. Take it from David Diehl who knows what "not to do" again.
By: Joe Catalano
Finally getting the respect
Let's face it, this has been a football team and staff that has been underappreciated and they've excelled at the highest level. Head coach Tom Coughlin is finally starting to get his respect as a head coach of the G-Men.
Lots of players labeled Tom Coughlin as an undesirable coach to play for, but after a 2nd Super Bowl Championship, player's opinions are starting to change. You can only imagine how much Plaxico Burress would love to play for his former taskmaster Tom Coughlin.
Giants’ management has stuck with Coughlin through the good times and the bad, and they have rewarded him with a contract extension. Coughlin was signed to a 2-year contract extension that covers him until the end of the 2014 season. Coughlin expressed his appreciation to the Mara and Tisch families. In the regular season, Coughlin has gone 82-57 but we all know that Coughlin and Manning's success has come in the post-season where they were continually underestimated.
White House Trip
The Super Bowl winners got to visit the White House, and President Barack Obama expressed that the 2011-2012 Giants team was eerily similar to that of the Super Bowl Championship that preceded this one (The David Tyree Giants).
Coughlin, who isn't known for his humor, made a funny remark, as he mentioned to President Obama that he thinks that he, his team, and President Obama all hope to meet again next year. Obviously, in order for this to happen the Giants would have to repeat and Obama would have to get re-elected.
Osi Umenyiora signs restructured contract
The bad blood is over as Umenyiora expressed that he knows other players have to get paid and he came into camp physically fit and is ready to go.
Umenyiora was entering the final year of his contract worth $4.7 million dollars, and apparently he will be receiving almost double in this upcoming season instead. After the deal was set, Umenyiora attended the Giants voluntary workout program for the 1st time.
Long term contracts are a problem in this situation with stars like Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck on the roster. For the moment, the squabbling has subsided.
Currently, everything seems positive at Giants camp but stay tuned for upcoming news as things can change quickly in the NFL.
By: Joe Catalano
All of a sudden the signing of Mario Manningham by the San Francisco 49ers could be a bigger deal than the defending Super Bowl Champion New York Giants thought.
Hakeem Nicks injured!
Sometimes timing comes into play and if the Giants knew that star wide receiver Hakeem Nicks would be sidelined for possibly 3 months or more, they would've made a play for Manningham.
Hakeem Nicks suffered a right broken foot at an organized training activity on Thursday. This is very much unexpected as Nicks is the veteran receiver on this squad and one of Eli Manning's favorite targets. Nicks fractured the fifth metatarsal as he was running a route during drills. He's scheduled to have surgery on Friday and have a screw inserted into the broken bone.
Officially this should take 12 weeks to heal and head coach Tom Coughlin is already expecting Nicks to be ready for the season opener. Talk about speculation!
He is still winning!
I'm referring to actor Charlie Sheen. Why would I make a Charlie Sheen reference in a New York Giants season blog? Charlie Sheen was the mysterious buyer of all time Giants great and the best defensive player ever, Lawrence Taylor's Super Bowl XXV ring. The ring sold for $230,000!
LT claims that the ring was given to his son and his son decided to put it up for auction. Taylor also claims to have no problem with the decision. The Mara's can't be too happy about this because Super Bowl rings from a top notch organization are coveted, especially someone of the caliber of Lawrence Taylor.
On a sidenote, Eli Manning and some of the Giants veterans claimed that they're ready to go and defend their title. They want another ring and hopefully if they get it, they won't sell it like Lawrence Taylor's son. The Giants are next scheduled for a trip to meet the president. This should be an exciting experience for some but if your Eli Manning it's nothing out of the ordinary as this will be his second trip to the White House.
The Hakeem Nicks injury is the main story that surrounds the Giants and a lot of their success depends on how quickly that this injury will heal. Stay tuned for more New York Giants updates.
Giants Stick with Osi
By: Joe Catalano
Let's take a look at the Super Bowl Champs and see what's going on in Giant-land as New York tries to do the impossible and go for back-to-back championships.
The strong get stronger?
The Giants had thought that they had solved the Kiwaunuka problem but now have to worry about defensive end Osi Umenyiora. It's not as if the Baltimore Ravens aren’t strong enough defensively already, but they've expressed great interest in Umenyiora via Twitter.
The Ravens are looking to offer a 3rd round draft pick for the defensive end, and, personally, I don't like seeing team chemistry broken up for a measly 3rd round draft pick. When you think about it, it doesn't make sense. The Ravens run a 3-4 defense while Umenyiora is a 4-3 pass rushing defensive end.
Umenyiora hasn't been a happy camper for a while now; a team can get tired of the negative feedback, but when you have a winner like the Giants do, you deal with the complainers as long as they perform.
Look for Osi to stay with Big-Blue.
Running back Ahmad Bradshaw isn't looking to give his job up anytime soon, but he's very impressed with the talent of 1st round draft pick David Wilson and will be looking to help in making Wilson's transition from college to the pros an easier one. Wilson has a bright future ahead, and Bradshaw has given out his first bit of advice, “Learn the playbook.”
In actuality, learning the playbook is of great importance. A good example of this is Chad Ochocinco of New England. Fans thought that Ocho was done with, but the real story is that he couldn't be targeted by Brady because he didn't know the playbook. Don't expect the same to happen with David Wilson. This was a superb pick by the Giants, and he'll be ready for action come September.
The Giants received some bad news when they learned of the passing of wide receiver Stacy Robinson. Robinson was only 50 years old and played with the 1986 Super Bowl team, catching 3 passes for 62 yards. 1986 was Robinson's best season by far. Teammates and ownership were sad to hear the news.
Stay tuned for more news out of Giants headquarters as SBR gives you updates on a regular basis.
Signings and Draft
By: Joe Catalano
As I present you a new installment of the New York Giants blog, I'm going to talk about two different subjects in a key player signing and results from the NFL Draft.
Linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka was slightly skeptical and impatient, but the Giants recognized the importance of his presence on this team and signed him to a a 3 year signing extension worth $21.5 million dollars and an $8.5 million dollar signing bonus. Playing the role of a lineman in pass situations, Kiwanuka is a longtime foundation of the Giants defense. Last season he played all 20 games and finished with 84.5 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 13 tackles for losses and had 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.
On a sidenote, the G-Men also signed veteran defensive tackle Shaun Rogers
Addressing departures and holes
The Giants immediately addressed the departure of wide receiver Mario Manningham and the big hole left by bruising running back Brandon Jacobs in the NFL Draft. The Giants immediately went directly for offense in the first two rounds of the draft with their first two picks.
David Wilson, RB, Virginia Tech: Wilson will be a great complimentary back to Ahmad Bradshaw as he played 3 years at Virginia Tech which finished with a respectable 11-3 record in 2011. In his junior year, Wilson ran for 1709 yards and 9 TD's on 5.9 yards per carry. Wilson has some decent size, played against solid competition and will be a great addition to the Giants team.
Reuben Randle, WR, LSU: In the second round, the Giants went for the 6 foot 4 Randle who was on arguably the best football team in college football last season. He's no stranger to tough defenses and high level competition coming from LSU.
On the season, Randle caught 53 passes for 917 yards and 8 TD's. He didn't come up big in the BCS Championship game against Alabama but the Tide were on a mission that day.
With the major injuries that happened to the tight end spot at the end of last season, New York went for 6 foot 4, 267 pound Adrien Robinson out of Temple.
All in all, this was a very good draft for the Giants as they addressed many key positions as they used their last 3 picks for tackles.
Stay tuned as we keep you up to date on the happenings and progression of Big Blue
G-Men ready to defend title
By: Joe Catalano
Schedules have come out for the 2012-2013 NFL season and, as expected, the defending Super Bowl Champion Giants were hit hard. The Giants persevered through every obstacle last season; can they handle this slate of teams?
2 Tampa Bay
3 @ Carolina
4 @ Philadelphia
6 @ San Francisco
8 @ Dallas
10 @ Cincinnati
12 Green Bay
13 @ Washington
14 New Orleans
15 @ Atlanta
16 @ Baltimore
We all know that the Giants aren't a great regular season team but that they excel in the post-season. They need to win the games that they're expected to win and not lose games to lowly teams, like they did last season to Seahawk team taking to the field with a backup QB.
The first game of the season is going to be a barnburner, but the Giants get the edge at home against Dallas. Weeks 2-5 comprise a softer part of the schedule during which Philadelphia on the road poses the only major threat.
Starting with week 6 at San Francisco, the schedule gets tough as the 49ers will be one difficult team to beat. They had the Giants reeling in the NFC title game and have now picked up a bunch of star free agents in the offseason, former Giants Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs among them.
From week 7 through the end of the season, Washington is the only team that New York should definitely beat - and this is a Redskins squad that's likely to take RG3 as the 2nd pick in the NFL Draft. Wins won’t come easy during this stretch of the schedule with the Giants taking on Cincinnati, Baltimore, and Atlanta on the road. All 3 of these teams are playoff teams.
Home sweet home?
Home is usually where a team can take refuge, but in the 2nd half of the season, New York plays 3 Super Bowl contenders in Aaron Rodgers and the Packers, Drew Brees and the bounty hungry Saints, and Big Ben and the Steelers.
For some teams, all 3 of these teams, even at home, represent losses; the Giants will be put to the test if they want to defend their title.
Stay tuned for more Giants updates as we're coming up on the NFL Draft.
Eli And The Giants Go For 3
By: Joe Catalano
The Giants have been able to
overcome great odds in consistently being the team on the road in the
post-season but have yet to gain the respect from the NFL odds makers.
As we sit on the 1st of
April, NFL betting lines list the Giants as the 9th best choice to win the Super Bowl at 16/1. Teams
that they've embarrassed such as Green Bay and New England lead the way as the
favorites. Although there's a lack of respect for this squad, sports bettors that
believe in this team should be elated at the long odds, after all, those who had added them to their NFL picks last year were handsomely rewarded.
Wide receiver Mario
Manningham and running back Brandon Jacobs have both signed with the Giants
nemesis, the San Francisco 49'ers.
Upon his departure, Mario Manningham called this a business move as a free agent and he was impressed
with the defense and coaching in San Francisco. Manningham was the 3rd option
on the Giants receiving core but will always be remembered for making some key
catches when the Giants needed it. New York will look to fill that 3rd role
possibly via a mid to late round draft pick.
Brandon Jacobs is a different
story. With all of his size, Jacobs seemed to have a lot more to say than what
he was able to produce on the field.
After the Super Bowl, Jacobs
said that he was coming back to New York, but the writing was on the wall with
his offhanded comments even after a Super Bowl win. He had fallen out of favor
with Giants management and never really lived up to his potential. As we
know, Jacobs does a lot of talking and will be looking to stick it to the team
that released him as he's a member of one of the best teams in the NFL. There
will be bad blood.
The running game will rest
upon the shoulders of Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw showed his ability to eliminate
fumbles. D.J. Ware, Da'Rel Scott, and Andre Brown
will be the backups. The Giants will be looking towards the NFL Draft for a backup
Big Blue says goodbye to
veteran right tackle Kareem McKenzie, and David Diehl and James Brewer are the
front runners to replace the longtime Gian.
With the return of Terrell
Thomas after missing all of 2011 due to injury, cornerback Aaron Ross was
expendable and he signed a 3 year contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Ross
had 59 tackles and 4 INT's in 2011.
Torn ACL issues
The Super Bowl put an
immediate focus at the tight end position due to the injuries to both Giants
tight ends Jake Ballard and Travis Beckum New York signed blocking tight
end Martellus Bennett from Dallas, but we'll have to keep an eye on this
situation as the year progresses.
Wide receiver Domenik Hixon
is coming off of a torn ACL, as knee problems are becoming a common theme for
Manning's targets. Not a huge concern, but as I stated, look for the Giants to
pickup a replacement for Manningham in the middle to late part of the
More bad news for the Giants' running game, as running back Andre Brown has been suspended for the 1st 4 games of the upcoming
season due to breaking rules regarding the NFL's performance
enhancing drug policy.
Linebacker will be a primary
focus in the draft as Jonathan Goff was sidelined last season and is now a free
agent. Mathias Kiwanuka switched to linebacker from the defensive end position, but he is a pass rusher and this was a transition not favored by
Kiwanuka, but was done only to fill the hole. The Giants will go heavy on linebackers in the draft as they don't
know if Goff or Chase Blackburn will re-sign.
Defensive end Osi Umenyiora
has expressed major displeasure with his contract and the way that the Giants
are handling the situation. His contract is below market value and he's in his
final year of the contract, meaning that the Giants organization will have to make some big decisions. Do they try to get something in return and trade Umenyiora, or hold out and expect to get some use from him?
Stay tuned as we keep you updated on Giants news
on a weekly basis up until the season. You wont want to miss it!