Since winning and then celebrating Super Bowl XLVI, things have simmered down for the Giants. In the meantime, let us catch up on the latest Giants news.
On Monday, Giants DE Osi Umenyiora made a guest appearance on ESPN radio's Mike and Mike program. When asked about returning to the Giants for the 2012 regular season, this is what Osi shared.
“We’re just going to have to wait and see,” Umenyiora said. “I can see it going either way. I can see where they would keep me, I can see where they would trade me, because it makes sense both ways. So hopefully things will work out in my interest. I know the team is going to do what’s best for them. They’ve always made the right decisions for that organization. Whether that’s keeping me or trading me, I’d love to stay, but at the end of the day I understand it’s a business and hopefully things will work out.”
Even though Osi is still under contract for the 2012 season, most likely, the Giants will retain him for another year. Unless, another team makes the Giants an offer in which they cannot refuse. Despite missing 7 games due to injuries in the 2011 season, Osi managed to register NINE sacks in NINE games. Additionally, according to NFL Films' Greg Cosell, Osi's critical strip of Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers in the NFC Divisional playoff turned out to be a game changing play. Umenyiora knocking the ball out of Rodgers hands on 1st possession of 2nd half was game’s biggest play, Jennings wide open on “sluggo” versus Webster – Would have been an easy TD. There is no coincidence the Giants got on this "hot" streak leading up to a Super Bowl win with a healthy Osi. Clearly, Osi is a play maker. At this point, the Giants would be remiss in trading him. Lingering injuries to DE Justin Tuck affected his play in 2011. For the most part of the 2011 season, Tuck was a shell of himself. So keeping Osi because of "wear and tear" injuries to Tuck would be a safe move. And former DE and now linebacker Mathias Kiwanuka could slide back to defensive end. But remember he sustained a neck injury in 2010. Because of this neck injury, the Giants signed him to a two year contract prior to the 2011 season.
On the other hand, the Giants might jettison Osi to a team in exchange for draft picks and perhaps a player. With the emergence of JPP as the best defensive lineman in the league, the Giants may want to retool other areas of the team: offensive line, linebacker, and running back. (areas which we have touched on earlier this week) In other words with JPP playing at a sky high level, Osi has become expendable. The Giants thinking maybe let us get something for him now. As opposed to having him leave after the 2012 season with just being rewarded with a compensatory pick. Remember, in the 2011 draft, the Giants second round pick Marvin Austin suffered a season ending injury. He very well may be part of the Giants three DT rotation in 2012. Versatile Chris Canty can play DE and DT. Furthermore, a scrappy Dave Tollefson could get more snaps at DE in 2012 too. If Osi is no longer a Giant, the Giants do have contingency plans.
As Osi stated things could go either way. Only time will tell what the Giants plan to do with Osi.
Speaking of time, it has been almost two years since Giants 3rd round pick Chad Jones was involved in a gruesome automobile accident. It appears, Jones will be ready for off season workouts. But it is too premature to tell if he will be partaking in on the field drills. Here is Jones' February 15th interview on WWL radio in New Orleans.
Finally, former Giants defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan gets another chance. On February 17th, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers announced Sheridan would be their defensive coordinator. The infamous Sheridan presided over one of the worst defenses in Giants' franchise history. His defense allowed the second most points in team history, and teams scored 40 points or more FIVE times. At his press conference, Sheridan defended himself. His cockamamie excuses were injuries and dumbing down the defense engendered a defensive free-fall.
“Even though we started out the season 5-0 and we had the No. 1-ranked defense in the National Football League after sustaining a couple of season-ending injuries to some of starters – Antonio Pierce, Kenny Phillips. . . we started to falter and we hit a skid during the middle of the season,” Sheridan said. “In hindsight, looking back, I think one of the things we probably did was we assumed, as a defensive staff, we assumed because we had made the playoffs four previous years . . . that things would get turned around, they would get better.”
“I think the second thing that happened as we sustained those injuries in the early to middle part of the year, in an attempt to help some of the new players we were bringing in and working with, and some of them were free agents that were on the street and we ended up having to bring them in and they played in our lineup at the end of the year, I think we tried to be very simple for them,” he said. “But in hindsight, I think we may have been guilty of maybe being too simple. Because again, it’s great for your own players that you present to them a simplistic scheme that they can execute on Sunday, but you’re also not posing enough issues for the teams you play against. You’re not giving them enough problems.”
How awful was Sheridan defense? Back in December of 2009, our Andy Furman examined the 40 point debacles. In the 2009 season, it happened an astonishing FIVE times. And the followup statistic on history is that this last occurred to the Giants franchise in 1966. We had to go back 43 years to see this kind of egregious violation of our senses! Here is another article in which Andy and Pete Furman collaborated on. Using a defensive simple rating system on Profootball reference blog, the Furmans were able to scrutinize Giants defenses of the past. And in their findings, Sheridan's defense was a fraud. If the Giants did not play "cream puffs" early in that year, (ie Tampa Bay, Oakland, and Kansas City), the defensive numbers would have been worse. In fact, Giants defensive players quit on Sheridan. Our Paul Burke wrote a post about Giants' players freelancing. Mathias Kiwanuka elaborated on the 2009 defensive disaster.
"It started out with good intentions, players were doing more than they were asked to do in an attempt to make up or compensate for issues that we couldn't correct from one week to another," Kiwanuka explained. "And then from there it just snowballed into when you were on the field, you had 11 guys freelancing and you have no idea where the other person is going to be or what to expect and teams are taking advantage of it. Once things started going downhill, people quit buying into the system and it is tough. There were errors all over the board."
"We didn't believe in the system that we had and people didn't trust that the positions that we were put in were always going to work," Kiwanuka said when asked what went wrong last season. "We had a high enough of a maturity level to overcome it but for some reason the passion just wasn't there."
Kiwanuka's statements from 2009 belie Sheridan's comments made at his Tampa Bay presser. Needless to say, I am glad Sheridan was dispatched from the Giants. And he will have his hands full as the Bucs DC. Tampa Bay plays six division games against formidable quarterbacks. Brees, Ryan, and up and coming Cam Newton will most likely torch the Bucs in 2012. Unless he learned from his mistakes from 2009, it will be a dour season in Tampa.