Yesterday, a post we made here on Monday got another blogger, Ed Valentine of Big Blue View, "all worked up." I like Ed. He does good work over there at BBV and he also went out of his way to pay all of us here at UltimateNYG a very nice compliment. We agree on plenty of things, we don't agree on others. Let's see if either of us have the an answer.
1) First off, I got crucified for going to a site that did not list the Giants draft-day trades, everyone here let me know I missed the Barden/Kehl trades and then I had to get reminded again. I go hundreds upon hundreds of days in a row without an error, without any copy editor fact checking me, and then the moment I screw up I have to hear it in stereo. Life's a bitch. My bad.
2) Okay, so we hear from Ed that his draft expert, aka Judy Battista of the NY Times (with whom the link is bad and does not help us to actually analyze the piece, through Gil Brandt, who we respect) claims that the Giants have been drafting better than the Patriots. The track record of Reese for not having strikeouts is very very solid. But Ed says Reese has "not always hit home runs..." to which I reply, name me one home run?! Steve Smith? Long double. Phillips? A single in a rundown trying to get to second if he can get healthy. If Kevin Gilgarbage could remove his head from his a**, my guy Boss would be a triple. Interestingly, Nicks may be Reese's shot at a home run.
3) "you can make an argument that no general manager has drafted better during his time than Reese." We feel that is biased. And maybe this is at the heart and soul of what makes UltimateNYG what it is and what it is not. We are not homers. We are not drinking Pat Hanlon's Giants Kool-Aid. We call it the way we see it. We lift guys like Corey Webster and Kevin Boss to the moon and take Gilbride (in 2008) out back and shoot him. We love the Giants but we are not in love. When Brian Westbrook was cut (which feels like a retirement), we saluted a tremendous player because he forced us to be better or suffer the consequences. We despise the Eagles but we acknowledge great Eagles adversaries. People think that when we saw problems at LBer and lack of depth at Safety last summer, that that could be construed as being negative. Or that after a win vs Atlanta we said we were going nowhere because we had no defense. It is not negative. It is being objective about our team. At all times. I'll get into fights with Wonder over Webster and Boss, because when I see good play I want it recognized. But when I see dung, I want that recognized too. People want to fete Coughlin and Gilbride for that magical run in 2007, but I remind them, where were they at 9:27 left in the Dallas playoff game when the Giants had a 4 point lead and went into the prevent offense tank???! We applaud the good and we pan the bad. Reese did a great job in 2007's draft, but 2008 and 2009 have been less than stellar. Reese is one of the better GMs in the league, but maybe, just maybe, his 2007 draft was partially a product of him still being the Director of Personnel AND General Manager. He only wears one hat now, and maybe that is why 2008 and 2009 had perhaps a little less magic.
We went to our resident NFL expert and asked him if Reese is the best GM out there (the past three years).. his answer was emphatic and unequivocal- "hell no!" So we followed up and asked him one by one, who of the other 31 were doing better. He rattled off the following teams:
Now I am not about to start dissecting how these 10 teams did. My point is that as Giants fans, can we get a little dose of reality and remember that 32 teams think they had a great draft, not just one?! And do me another favor- don't go walking away thinking we dislike Reese, because we do like him. I spent more than a bit of time arguing FOR him while talking to the NFL guru. I like Reese. He is intelligent, he is good, but he is not Bill Polian. Bill Polian is constantly drafting near the end of the round. He sits there at 31, watching how we take the shooting star JPP at 15 and he sits back and takes LB Jerry Hughes at 31...
3a) Here is an example of Giants Reese Kool-Aid- the stellar Rookie class of 2007, the backbone of Giants fans' adulation of Reese (aka "In Reese We Trust"). Hey, I am the first to admit that I loved the job he did in finding these kids and letting them put us over the top. But let's get some objectivity two years later. What have they done for us lately? Steve Smith and Kevin Boss have graduated, but the rest of them are stuck in neutral. See Next Post for some objective ratings.
4) The Giants could have traded down and had Jerry Hughes. And had another Round 2 pick. Someone on BBV commented that I am just some disgruntled draft guy who wanted to move my pick. I wish it were that simple. There just needs to be flexibility. In truth, if I could trade down to Round 2 every year (Rule #23) I swear I would. Philosophically, Round 1 is where people dream of the next LT (JPP?!?!!), Round 2 is where they play consistently great and unheralded football. So, yah, I'll admit I am a guy who likes drafting down for those second rounders. Maybe that is a little chess. See #6 below for the checkers.
5) "In the end, though, what I am really for is acquiring good players who can help the Giants win championships." In this regard, Ed and I may completely agree on what we both want for the gmen, but what constitutes a good player who will help the Giants win championships? In today's NFL, while we understand the need for the Accorsi pass rush, it must also have LBers who can cover, Cornerbacks who can cover and Safeties who can cover. The Giants do not have LBers who can cover. Reread Glenn Warciski's great piece (Wonder raved about it, which is high praise... "Glenn gets it") for why the Giants, who skipped on many good LBers in Round 1 and Round 2, did not acquire the good players who can help them win championships. DE and DT in Round 1 and Round 2? That is the old blueprint (Rule #11). The NFL is onto the new one, covering guys.
6) "I am just not buying into the argument that the Giants missed out on something simply because they did not get involved in the chess game and move pieces all around the board." Neither am I. The argument was clearly stated that trading in and of itself is not what makes a draft. Ed was clear to single out my faux pas on forgetting about the Kehl and Barden trades. But he also left out my description of how the Patriots traded their Round 3 (#89 pick) for a Round 2 pick next year. The Patriots did that one in 2008 as well. You do not have to play Chess to figure out that if I start out the draft with a 1224567 and you start out with a 1234567, that I am going to have a better draft, all else equal. I like Reese. So does Ed. I like Reese with two 2's better than I like Reese with a 2 and a 3. So I'll be happy to play a lot of that game if it gets me no-brainer gimmes like that. I am not asking for Reese to play the Sicilian defense. Just some simple checkers... a willingness to forgo your pick because there is too much value otherwise. Someone commented, paraphrased, 'but if I trade my 3 for a 2 next year then I do not get Chad Jones. I like Chad Jones!' Yes, we like Chad Jones too. Agreed, you cannot have your cake and eat it, but you can get better cake with a Steve Smith, Corey Webster, Chris Snee, Michael Strahan, Amani Toomer or Osi Umenyiora Round 2 player next year.
7) "Let's wait a couple of years, see how all the players Reese selected pan out, and then make a judgment. If history tells us anything, I suspect we will see that JR did just fine." Let me remind all of you that we are committed on this site to being as objective as possible at all times. We base our opinions on the work of our two draft experts, Pete and Wonder. It is not all about one player (JPP), or even the position chosen (DE vs LB). It is about an evaluation of all 100 and 200 players respectively by both guys. We'll be verified on all of the work collectively. Not on just one pick. So will Jerry Reese. Reese needs to be excellent again. He was excellent in 2007 and that got us a title. Almost is not good enough. We count success here in Lombardi trophies. Reese's job is to deliver Lombardi trophies.
Summary: Ed is a tireless blogger who has a terrific site. I enjoy the debate. We agree on many things. We have disagreed on others. People see our sites for having different tones, and perhaps this debate sheds some light on that. In the end, we both have a great deal of respect for Reese, but I want our GM to do more than "just fine." I want SUPER.