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Troubling Giants “Off”season

At first, with the Brandon Marshall signing, the Giants offseason got off to a good start. Soon after, oft-injured but talented JPP was retained. Things in Giantland seemed to be business-like without controversy. Then the following developments occured..

Eli Manning memorabilia scandal.

Giants questionable draft.

DT Jonathan Hankins signing with the Colts.

Another OBJ Eruption.

Victor Cruz sounding off on his former team.

Like OBJ,  DE Olivier Vernon skipping OTAs.

Let us unpack each nettlesome situation:

Back in April,  an Eli Manning email surfaced which alleged him passing off “fake” game worn memorabilia. Although it was surprising to hear Manning’s name attached to this charge, he vehemently denied partaking in the underhanded charge. Because of this, it attracted negative attention with buffoon Chris “Bridgegate” Christie chiming in calling Eli a liar. At this point, there have been no further developments, but without a doubt, the situation raised questions about Eli’s otherwise sterling image.

As we have said before, the Giants draft was not a solid one. The team did address the TE position with Engram. In my opinion, the rationale is speed. This guy can run like the wind.  He will create match-up problems, but he CANNOT block. With OJ Howard  unfortunately taken by the Bucs at pick #19,  the Giants, in my judgment, should have traded up to get a guy who could have been their next TE for eight to 10 years.

The pick to replace Hankins was a head scratcher, too. DT Dalvin Tomlinson is much LIGHTER than Hankins by at least 15 pounds! Can Tomlinson clog the middle like Hankins did? Can he step in right away? Tomlinson did not even start at Alabama, so the jury is out on this guy. We have written here before that it takes time for a DT to elevate his game and transition from college to pro level. Think of former Giants DT Barry Cofield. It took Barry time to develop into the terrific tackle he eventually became.

Like offensive linemen, the Giants are collecting  questionable quarterbacks. The latest is their 3rd round draft choice, Davis Webb. Since Eli Manning was drafted in 2004, the Giants have attempted to pick a quality backup.  In 2008, it was Andre Woodson; in 2009 it was Rhett Bomar, and in 2013, it was Ryan Nassib. The common denominator with all three guys is they busted. Webb will, too. Mark it down.

Speaking of the offensive line, I am calling it Solari’s Souffle. With the Giants struggling to score points last year – 16ppg average overall and 13 ppg average in their last six games – no one paid the price for an inept offense. I called for the firing of Solari. As I wrote before, McAdoo stood pat and kept Solari.  After looking at Profootball Focus analysis of the Giants offensive line performances in 2015 and 2016,  the Giants remained the same pitiful 20th-ranked line in respective seasons. So, with Solari taking over in 2016, the Giants did NOT improve. Nevertheless, he has his work cut out for him. Hart, Flowers, Fluker, and Jerry are a collection of misfits. Unless he can improve their performance, we will see the same results as last year; watching a team struggle to score points.

The two important takeaways going into training camp:

  1.  Giants offensive line
  2.  Tomlinson replacing Hankins

As for the newest OBJ eruption, here we have the most talented receiver in Giants history,  a guy who won two games for the Giants last year (Baltimore and Dallas at home), misbehaving once again. Enough is enough. Instead of attending the OTAs, OBJ made other plans. This negative attention is no good for him or the team. Once again,  no one from the Giants organization called him out for not attending. This is sad. His new mentor/enabler, Hall of Famer Cris Carter, is in his ear. Carter, who never won a championship and did not watch the tape of the Packers playoff game, is convinced Beckham does not need to be with his team. After his atrocious performance against the Packers, one would think Beckham would want to be with his team so they can get better together. Nope!

As with OBJ, Vernon also skipped the OTAs. Here is another guy who in his biggest game of his career was invisible against the Packers. For two guys who are supposed to be leaders of this team,  they have not led by example. We shall see how this unfolds.

Lastly, former Giant fan favorite, Victor Cruz, found a new team in the Chicago Bears. Uncharacteristically,  Cruz had some harsh words about his former club. The link from Wind City Gridiron does a good job analyzing a purported Giants conspiracy in purposely decreasing his opportunities. My take is Cruz has a memory problem. Despite having a  horrific knee injury in early part of the 2014 season, the Giants stood by him. They did not cut him after the 2014 and 2015 seasons. In my opinion, the Giants worked with him patiently so he could get back in action in 2016.  Quite frankly, he will never be the same player he was prior to the knee injury.

There’s one big difference between college and pro football. In college you have your name on the jersey for four years and you graduate. In the pros, the name on the jersey may be the same for nine or 10 years but the athlete isn’t the same guy.

This George Young quote is apt for Cruz.

ALERT: Our Motown is working on an investigative piece on injuries in the NFL.  Please stayed tuned for his upcoming article .

Let’s hope strength and conditioning coach Aaron Wellman and Coach McAdoo can limit the amount of injuries as they did in 2016.  After having the ignonimous statistic of leading the NFL in injuries for three years in a row, the Giants turned things around.   The credit goes to Wellman and McAdoo. I truly believe minimizing the amount of soft-tissue injuries led to the Giants success in 2016.

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Author:

New York Football Giants blogger since 2007. Appeared on ESPN radio, New York Times, Long Island sports talk 1240 am.

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