John Mara, Jerry Reese

Topic: Jerry Reese’s greatest hits

Giants’ GM Jerry Reese seems to be a divisive figure among Giant fans. Some love him while others don’t. I personally think he’s one of the best GMs in the NFL. He’s brought as many Super Bowls to East Rutherford as his old boss, George Young, and he’s far from done.

The job of the GM is just not building through the draft, it involves building, maintaining and persevering as well. Finding players in the UFA and UDFA markets is just as important. This year, with the draft so deep, I can see Reese striking gold not just in the draft but on Manic Monday and beyond.

Since taking over as GM in January of 2007, Reese made some solid moves and we’d like to pay tribute to those by listing our top five:

1. 2010: Signed UDFA WR Victor Cruz

2. 2010: Drafted DE Jason Pierre-Paul with the 15th overall pick

3. 2010: Signed UFA Safety Antrel Rolle to a five-year deal

4. 2013: Drafted OL Justin Pugh with the 19th overall pick

5. 2007: Selected RB Ahmad Bradshaw in 7th round of the draft

Those are ours, what are yours?

Saturday Morning Shootaround: Nicks No. 88 no longer

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Some things of note on this beautiful Saturday morning…

Most people will be shocked if the Giants don’t grab one of these big TEs in the draft in three weeks. In his latest mock, ESPN draftnik Mel Kiper, Jr. is mocking UNC’s Eric Ebron to the Giants at No.12. Very few would be disappointed should the Giants take him. They need a big receiver to go over the middle and up the seam and that is exactly what Ebron does best. I’ll take it.

In Round Two, Kiper believes the Giants will snare UCLA OL Xavier Su’a-Filo, a player we haven’t talked about much and one that may be gone by the time the Giants pick at No. 43.

The Indianapolis Colts won’t be giving Hakeem Nicks his traditional number 88 jersey when it comes time to suit up next week. The number isn’t officially retired by the Colts, but they are reserving it in honor of their great WR Marvin Harrison and the late Hall of Fame TE John Mackey. Nicks will be wearing No. 14 instead. (PFT)

The Giants begin their offseason workouts on Monday. “Phase 1″, as it’s being called, will run through May 4th and the activities will be limited to strength, conditioning and rehab.

 

This draft is all about helping Eli

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

In a normal year, the draft would be next Thursday, but due to a scheduling conflict with the venue (Radio City Music Hall) the draft was pushed back until May 8. The Hall had planned an Easter show featuring the Rockettes to run through the end of April.

Eli ManningIronically that show has been scrapped, leaving football fans to go stir crazy unnecessarily for an extra two weeks. In the interim, mock drafts are getting a little crazy themselves. The more time passes, the more wild they’re getting.

Players haven’t gotten more or less talented over the additional time, it’s just the pundits and media have been allotted more time to study the draft pool this year. Every day, sleepers are cropping up and this very deep draft is getting more and more interesting.

The Giants, with the twelfth pick, have had players from just about every position mocked to them n the first and second rounds. The truth is, they have little control over their situation. They are relegated to the choices of the eleven teams selecting in front of them.

Evan Silva of Rotoworld came out with his two-round mock draft today. You’ll be a little surprised who he has the Giants selecting….

To read more of this story, click here

Friday Morning Notes: Snee, Eli making their way back

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Some things of note on this Friday morning….

OL Chris Snee, who underwent hip and elbow surgery over the past few months, should be able to participate in the Giants’ upcoming offseason program, which begins Monday. From Ebenezer Samuel of the Daily News:

“Giants OTAs begin next week, and a source said that Snee, who had hip surgery last season and had an elbow surgery earlier this offseason, will be in attendance. There’s still no timeline for when Snee will be 100%, but he’s expected to be on the field for the “bulk of” the offseason program, the source said. The Giants offseason program begins with strength training and drills next week; the on-field portion of things kicks off in late May.”

That is consistent with everything we’ve been told all along. Snee is entering the final year of his contract and both he, and the Giants, would like nothing more than for him to play that out.

QB Eli Manning is currently rehabbing from arthroscopic surgery on his ankle, and many are concerned about his recovery timetable. Not to worry, said former Giants OC Kevin Gilbride in a radio interview yesterday. Eli has been here before.

From Rotoworld: “That was Gilbride’s answer when asked how Manning would bounce back from his arthroscopic ankle operation. Gilbride also bristled at the notion that Manning is in the decline stage of his career. “He’d be the first one to tell you that he could’ve had a better year,” Gilbride said. “I can’t imagine (the Giants are) down on Eli going forward.” The G-Men would be crazy not to at least consider the possibility. There’s a lot on the line for the 33-year-old Manning in 2014.”

With Freeman in tow, what becomes of Nassib?

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The Giants went out and signed themselves another QB yesterday, one that has 60 NFL starts under his belt. Josh Freeman, if he can rededicate himself to his craft, may turn out to be a landmark signing for GM Jerry Reese.

Discipline seemed to be Freeman’s issue in Tampa. He did not like head coach Greg Schiano and the feeling appeared to be mutual. Things went south from there. But Freeman did nothing to help himself. He never embraced Schiano’s playbook and performed so poorly, the Bucs replaced him with a rookie.

Tom Coughlin has a way of straightening players out. He’ll smoke out the issues with Freeman, too. Eli Manning will also be helpful. There’s very little wiggle room for players to not act professionally under the Giants’ roof.

Can Freeman win the backup job? Can he convince the Giants to the point where they can go back to carrying only two QBs again?

He might. If that is the case, we can say goodbye to Curtis Painter. But what are the Giants’ plans for Ryan Nassib?

To read more of this story, click here

2014 NFL Draft: Predicting the Giants’ first three picks

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Here is my latest 2014 three-round draft for the Giants, trying to think like the unpredictable Jerry Reese would:

First Round #12 overall: Hasean Clinton-Dix, FS Alabama (6’1″, 208)

I know, crazy, right? Maybe not. HCD could be the best available at this spot so the Giants would, by nature, select him.

Some things to think about…Antrel Rolle is in the final year of his contract and the Giants have not approached him about an extension. Translation: they could be moving on. Throw in Will Hill’s constant troubles and the fact that Stevie Brown is coming off major knee surgery and your safety group doesn’t look so strong, does it?

Ha-Ha, as he is called, plays very much like Rolle does, but faster. He’s strong in the box, has excellent closing speed, great ball skills and is a renowned hitter. HCD is projected by many to be a Pro Bowl safety for years to come.

It will be tough to pass on several of the other players that will be here, but you only have one pick. This one seems pretty safe to me, with little risk and high reward.

To read more of this story, click here

NFL Mock Draft: John Football or Clowney No. 1 overall?

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

Today we begin our mock draft season, going team-by-team analyzing needs and predicting who will land where in the first round.

The Houston Texans possess the first overall pick in this May’s NFL Draft.  New head coach Bill O’Brien takes over a team that lost 14 consecutive games to close out the 2013 season, so it’s safe to say they need a shot in the arm as they start over in 2014.

Major Needs: QB, rush LB, ILB, CB, TE
Picks (11): The Texans own the first pick in each of the draft’s seven rounds, three compensatory picks (one in Rd 4, two in Rd 6) and a 6th round pick obtained from the Raiders.

The Texans have loads of talented players and are in position to add to that core. With 11 selections they have tons of latitude. What they don’t have is a “must-watch” presence that gives them national appeal. This draft could change that.

If I were the Texans…I would take Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel with the first overall pick.

Here’s why: Manziel could either be the next great player in this league or a marginal player who does not factor in any team’s success. I say he’s destined for somewhere in the middle. Manziel brings electricity, notoriety and interest to any franchise that needs an identity and a bigger following. Houston is the perfect place for him. Everything is bigger in Texas, and what better way to make a splash than to hire the most famous sports figure in the state. They have 1o picks after him to fill in some other blanks.

Manziel is worth the first pick for the marketing aspect alone. He looks to be at least as talented as Seattle’s Russell Wilson and brings those same intangibles and excitement to the table. Yes, he’s unpredictable and unconventional, but when he’s on the field, things happen. Last I checked, that’s what this business is all about.

The reality is…if the Texans stay put, they’ll probably select South Carolina DE Jadeveon Clowney. It’s hard to call the selection of Clowney unexciting, but the Texans passing on Manziel is a missed opportunity for the NFL. Taking Clowney would solve a need, however, and give them another top-notch pass-rusher to go with J.J. Watt.

Next up: St. Louis

USATSI_7506382_110579513_lowres

Giants, Josh Freeman expected to complete a deal

The Giants and backup quarterback Josh Freeman are expected to complete a deal in the next day (Caplan, April 16).


Update – 12:28 p.m.: It is expected to be a one-year deal (Vacchiano, April 16).

Freeman visited the Giants’ facility on Tuesday, but left without a contract.

He was released by the Bucaneers in October 2013, and was later signed by the Vikings. He appeared in four games last season, with 63 completions for 761 yards. He had two touchdowns and four interceptions.

In his career, Freeman has 80 touchdowns and 67 interceptions. He’s also rushed for four touchdowns, all coming in 2011 with Tampa Bay.

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

This could be a real find for the Giants. Or, it may not be. Freeman appears to be a player that might need some solid coaching to reach his potential. He’s played for three head coaches since entering the league and all three have been fired. How much Freeman had to do with those firings is debatable. What isn’t debatable is his inconsistent play. (See stats)

The Giants bringing Freeman in does not necessarily mean he’s staying. It’s very possible he could play his way out of here, too. If you recall, he was basically fired by the Bucs. They went to great lengths to discredit him publicly for some reason. But by the time we got to see him play next (and last), we saw how much Freeman had regressed.

In his only start last year, Freeman, who had been signed by Minnesota, completed only 37.7% of his passes (20/53 for 190 yards and 1 INT) in a Oct 21st loss to the Giants. He was wild and looked clueless. That may have been because he didn’t know the offense, but to the naked eye the problems appeared to be of the commission kind more than anything else.  The knock on him in Tampa was that he didn’t grasp the playbook there, either.

We’ll see where he fits, or if he fits, here with the Giants. Freeman’s troubles in Tampa began with poor performance on the field followed by missing team meetings and commitments off it. Here, we go by Coughlin time, which for those who don’t know, means be in your seat five minutes before start time. If he can do that, Tom Coughlin can help him with the rest.

Giants come up dry with latest group of FAs

John Fennelly, Lead Writer

The Giants are still tweaking the roster, searching for all and any players that may be able to help fill their many open holes. Tuesday, they were to work out two quarterbacks, Matt Flynn and Josh Freeman, and a WR, Laron Byrd.

Flynn was a no-show, deciding to sign with one of his old teams – the Packers – rather than audition for the Giants. Freeman did show, but left without a contract.

Ebenezer Samuel of the Daily News thinks the Giants may not be done with him:

While Freeman has yet to sign, he could still be an option, and it’s possible the Giants are still evaluating him. Ex-Redskin Rex Grossman and the routinely disappointing Brady Quinn are among the free agent quarterbacks still available.

The Giants are expected to somehow add a quarterback in the coming days, even if that arm lasts only through offseason workouts and training camp. The Giants have veteran backup Curtis Painter and second-year man Ryan Nassib on the roster, and, at most, they’ll keep three QBs for the regular season.

Byrd also left town empty-handed. The recently-released Cardinal apparently did not impress the Giants yesterday…

Former Vikings DT Kevin Williams had a two-day fling with the Giants as well, but thus far the two sides have yet to come to an agreement.

From Mark Craig of the Star Tribune:

“Had a good visit and gonna see what happens!” Williams said via text message, indicating that the two sides have not made a decision despite the fact Williams left town without a deal.

Williams, who arrived in New York on Monday night, has not ruled out playing what would be a 12th NFL season after spending the first 11 with the Vikings. The Giants were the first team to bring Williams in for a visit. They’re looking for a tackle to play alongside Cullen Jenkins after the Vikings signed nose tackle Linval Joseph earlier in free agency.

Flynn signs with Packers

Quarterback Matt Flynn has signed with the Green Bay Packers (Rapoport, April 15).

Flynn was expected to visit with the Giants on Tuesday, but didn’t make the trip.

John Fennelly, Lead Writer


Well, one option at backup QB down, one to go…

Flynn probably was playing this card to get the Packers to step up to the plate and sign him.

Freeman is the guy the Giants were initially looking at, anyway. If they can rehabilitate his psyche, Freeman is the player with the bigger upside.