Call it the Monday Morning Blues, or whatever you want, but there seems to be a slight lull in the dizzying pace of the craziness that has surrounded New York Giants training camp thus far. Enough of a lull for us to try and get some momentary perspective.
Scanning through the comments on many of the posts around BBV the past few days, you can sense the anxiousness. I guess all of that is predictable. The Philadelphia Eagles have made a couple of big free-agent splashes. Plaxico Burress ended up with the New York Jets.
The biggest news the Giants have made thus far regards who they have lost, and who they might yet lose. They seem to be seriously considering parting ways with running back Ahmad Bradshaw. No one knows what will happen with Osi Umenyiora. The Giants cut loose long-time veteran lineman Rich Seubert and Shaun O'Hara.
With a seriously compressed free agency period due to the lockout, reality suggest that there will be somewhat of a state of flux with rosters around the league throughout camp. Player movement is far from over, so the best advice I can offer is to relax a little and let it all play out.
Here's a thought for you to ponder, my incredibly anxious Giants friends. The famously rigid Giants coach Tom Coughlin seems to be handling much of the uncertainty better than some of you are.
"This might be one of those unusual years where you may have changes in your roster anytime throughout training camp. You go into it knowing full well, normally that's the case. This year, because of the last six months, who knows? There could be changes throughout camp," Coughlin said. "Yeah, you'd like it settled. Yeah, you want to get to work. Yeah, you want to have cumulative practice time. Hopefully that will be the case. To always try to improve and do better and create the competition you're talking about, I'd like to be able to do that, too."
In other words, what you see today might not be what you get in six weeks or so when the regular season starts.
Let's look at a few points.
- Everyone, including the Giants, would like to see Ahmad Bradshaw, Steve Smith and Kevin Boss signed right now. Bradshaw is the big concern and, to be honest, I can't blame the Giants for being hesitant to give huge money to a guy with a history of ankle and foot problems, fumbling issues, durability concerns because of his size and some increasingly-discussed character issues. If Bradshaw does not return, the Giants will still run the ball effectively. It's mostly about blocking, gang, not who is carrying the ball.
- The changes to the offensive line. Yes, the Giants cut two veteran starters. But, haven't folks been clamoring for changes to that group for a couple of years? David Diehl is no longer a tackle, Will Beatty is getting an opportunity. It will be just fine.
- I would say let's relax about the wide receivers. This might be another disappointing year for Ramses Barden, currently on the PUP list, and there are questions about Smith. But, Hakeem Nicks and Mario Manningham are back. Domenik Hixon is drawing lots of positive comments. Victor Cruz is back for another shot. Wide receiver will not be a problem.
- The Giants special teams will be vastly improved. No offense to Matt Dodge, who is still on the roster, but Steve Weatherford is one of the best punters in the league and will get the job. Hixon and Jerrel Jernigan improve the return game. The Giants spent the offseason collecting players with an eye toward helping their coverage units.
- Young players getting an opportunity. How much complaining have we heard here that Coughlin doesn't give young players a chance. Well, Beatty has a big opportunity. A young wide receiver or two might have an opportunity. It doesn't appear that any veteran linebackers are coming in, so Clint Sintim and the plethora of young unproven linebackers the Giants have will get an opportunity. Linval Joseph and Marvin Austin have opportunities. DJ Ware might finally get a full opportunity, too. All of that is worth being excited about.
There are plenty of questions around the Giants right now. And, sure, on paper maybe they have lost a little ground to the Eagles. But, who cares about paper, anyway? It's about what happens on the field, as 2007 proved.
The Giants remain one of the most talented teams in the league. I have said it before, but regardless of what the other teams around the league do the Giants need to take care of their own business. If some of the big-name guys like Bradshaw choose to leave, replace them the best way they can. Then, on the field, quit beating themselves. Do that, things will be just fine.