Hello Giants fans! It's been a while since I've sat down and tried to type out a fanpost but being in college will do that to you. So between American Politics reports and Expository Writing journals, I've decided to take some time out of my schedule to sit at my keyboard and bang out some of my thoughts on the Giants roster and football in general.
Now while this post may seem to be a response to a particular thread conversation we had earlier, it really is not. But what that thread did do is make me realize the extreme and outlandish expectations that us football fans sometimes have for the players on our team. Yes, as devoted fans it should not be surprising that we want what is best for our team and have our own views of how things should be conducted when it comes to who makes up the 53 man roster and who is higher on the depth charts. But there comes a point where our expectations are so ridiculous that it is just impossible for the players to meet them no matter what their abilities are. I'll explain more after the jump.I think I will address the most current cases of great expectations that us Giants fans have been suffering, and those cases are directly related to a certain Victor Cruz.
Yes ladies and gentleman, I give you the "Cruz Theory". If you view the above picture you will see a Victor Cruz who was fighting for a roster spot after making the Giants as a UDFA out of UMASS. This is one of the many plays in which he completely burnt the Jets secondary and allowed him to catch on with the New York Giants. As you all know he would later go on to break numerous Giants Receiving records and absolutely spoil us with amazing play making ability. The key word there being "spoiled". The Cruz Theory, also known as the Undrafted Free Agent Theory, has sent many of us Giants fans into a tizzy over which unheard of player will emerge on the scene as the next Victor Cruz. Folks, I have to be very honest with you. There is no "next Victor Cruz". What Cruz did was a once in a lifetime achievement, something that is not going to happen on an annual basis. While I think deep down most of the fans on here are educated enough to know this, still we pine for another breakout superstar that can lead us to the promise land. This can cause us to drool and whine for unproven players to make the roster when they have only showed flashes in camp. A few examples may be in order.
Exhibit A: David Douglas
After a very good training camp, David Douglas began to turn many heads in the BBV community. Making spectacular grabs and showing good Special Teams ability had many clamoring for Douglas to beat out veteran Ramses Barden for a roster spot. He sat out the first preseason game with a Quad injury, but came back and had a few good plays against the Jets and Bears second and third teams. He did not, however, put up any Cruz-like numbers or show the shiftiness and elusiveness that Cruz possesses. Now don't get me wrong, I really like Douglas and hope that he gets stashed away on the practice squad, but he has not shown us anything that warrants him earning a spot on our 53 man roster. Every spot on a teams roster is extremely high in value, and I just don't think Douglas possess that value to our team yet. He may develop into a better player in future years but right now he hasn't out played Barden or Jernigan by any stretch of the imagination. Jernigan made some very good plays in both training camp and against Kyle Wilson in the preseason game against the Jets. Barden had some fantastic grabs against Bears Cornerback Charles Tillman, burning him on a few routes and making him look absolutely silly. Both deserve roster spots over Mr. Douglas, no matter how badly we want another UDFA Wide Receiver to be the next Cruz.
Exhibit B: "Jersey" Joe Martinek
Another UDFA, Joe Martinek has quickly become a fan favorite due to the hometown vibe he has, hailing from the Rutgers football program, and his blue collar attitude that embodies everything that is the New York Giants. Having a few impressive runs in training camp, a few BBV members were insisting Martinek make the roster over guys like Scott, Brown, and Ware. There were even suggestions that he take the place of Henry Hynoski as a fullback since Martinek took a few snaps at the fullback position as well. Now I realize that everyone loves a hometown hero story but lets look at this logically. What does he offer that the other backs on our team don't? The answer is nothing. He doesn't possess the speed that Scott has. He doesn't have the same run blocking abilities as Hynoski. He doesn't have the knowledge of the playbook and effective 3rd down pass blocking that Ware possesses. The only man he matches up well with is Andre Brown, but I don't even think that Brown will make the roster. The Giants traditionally carry four Running Backs. Bradshaw and Wilson are locks. Ware is more or less a lock because of his blocking abilities. Scott has shown bursts of speed on Special Teams and has done a good job this preseason returning kicks and also blocked a punt. But Martinek can catch out of the backfield you say? Oh good, so can Hynoski and David Wilson. I'm not trying to put Martinek down, he's a good player, but it comes back to the value of a roster spot. He just doesn't have the value that the other backs have. That's why I feel Jersey Joe doesn't have a spot on this team unless that spot is on the practice squad.
In Reese We Trust
Now we've been given good reasons as to why we should believe in our UDFA's. Jerry Reese has been amazing in finding guys that can contribute to our team despite not even being drafted. Victor Cruz, Mark Herzlich, and from the looks of it, Will Hill have all been strong editions to the Giants roster. Hill has proven he can play with the 1's and will probably get better and better as he learns the position. Herzlich is in a heated competition with Blackburn for the starting MIKE spot, even though I feel Blackburn will win out and they will groom Herz into the MIKE of the future. Victor Cruz....well we already know about Victor Cruz. No need for explanations there.
The thing that us fans need to keep in mind is the fact that Reese will not strike gold with every guy he signs. Not every UDFA to walk into our training camp will be able to produce like Victor Cruz, or even like Hill or Herzlich. The same holds true with his draft picks. Not every draft pick will be a hit. It would be nice if they were, but some guys just don't develop into decent NFL players. Some guys get injured easily. It's just not possible to always hit the nail on the head with your draft picks. But be that as it may, us fans also need to give those draft picks some time to develop. Which leads me to my next point, how we tend to give up quickly on a player without valid or rational reasoning.
He Must Be a Bust
I recall reading through a few threads during and after our most recent preseason game (not just on BBV either) and began to see some of the most disturbing comments that I've read in a while. There are Giants fans that are labeling Prince Amukamara as a bust.
I cannot think of one rational, logical argument that would warrant anybody calling Prince a bust. There is no evidence that he cannot play at the NFL level. In the playoffs, against some of the best passing attacks in the league, Prince was targeted roughly twenty times and only once was a ball completed his way. That is well under a 1% completion rate that he allowed when the ball was thrown his way. He also did that without use of training camp or even regular season games since he was out with a broken foot. Well that causes some people to cry "Oh well that means he's delicate! Prince is a Princess! See what I did there? Lololololol". Please. Prince has suffered two freak injuries in his short NFL career. The broken foot was an out of blue injury that was purely freakish, and the sprained ankle happened when another player rolled over his leg/foot, which could and has happened to many players. He also went on to tackle the largest Wide Receiver in the NFL the very next play after getting injured, which isn't exactly something a "Princess" would do.
The Sinorice Moss Principle
Remember this guy? Yeah I thought so. Moss was a Wide Receiver that most Giants fans had very high expectations for. Selected in the second round of the 2006 NFL Draft, a lot of us were amazed by the speed and shiftiness that Moss possessed. He also had football in his genes since he was the brother of Santana Moss, who is an above average Wide Receiver in this league. Year after year he showed off his skill set in the preseason, but it never seemed to translate into meaningful snaps. It took four years for the Giants to finally part ways with Moss, and it was a prime example of what a bust is. But the failed Sinorice experiment has caused us Giants fans to get a bit jumpy and want to pull the trigger on cutting a guy without really seeing him.
The comparisons to Sinorice Moss flew this morning when members of the BBV community was discussing cutting Jerrel Jernigan (in favor of David Douglas surprise surprise). Now these comparisons are completely unwarranted and seemed completely irrational. The only similarities in Moss and Jernigan is their body type. The comparisons stop there. Jernigan is entering into his second year as an NFL player. Moss was given four years. Moss did not have the WR depth that Jernigan had and has to compete with. Some argued that Jernigan didn't catch one pass last year. That's very true. But when exactly was he supposed to do all this receiving that is expected of him by the fan base? At the beginning of last year he was behind Nicks, Manningham, Hixon, and Cruz. Cruz exploded onto the scene the about the same time Hixon went down. So as we all know our Big Three consisted of Nicks, Cruz, and Manningham. Being that the Giants usually only run a three receiver set or less, where exactly was Jernigan supposed to get snaps? The fanbase would have exploded if Mario got benched in favor of a ROOKIE, Jerrel Jernigan. Trust me folks, we're a long ways away from Jernigan being anywhere close to Sinorice Moss.
Ramses Barden: Inconsistency, Bad Luck, and Iffy Comparisons
Ramses Barden is easily the most controversial player on the Giants roster in the fact that you can make a valid argument either for or against him. The Giants traded up to grab Barden in the 3rd round of the 2009 NFL Draft. With woeful depth at the Wide Receiver position, many began to compare the 6'6 Barden to a former Giants Receiver that assisted us in a Superbowl win. Yes, everyone and their mother was comparing Barden to Plaxico Burress due to the fact that they were both......tall. That gave Barden a very unfair reputation to live up to. While Burress may have been a bonehead, he was a hell of a Wide Receiver. To expect ANY young player to come in and live up to the expectations of being the next Plaxico Burress is very unfair and already puts the player at a disadvantage. Throw that in with the fact that he shattered his ankle just as he was warming up and you can see how Barden has gotten into such hot water with the fans.
Now to be fair, Barden has had a few prominent negatives in his career. While being able to make some very good receptions, he has been on the roster for what will be four years now and hasn't been able to crack the starting lineup. One year was injury, but the others were him just getting beat out by better guys. Nicks was going to be our top guy, but both Manningham and Cruz just outperformed Barden. Ramses is also criticized for not being able to use his size to his advantage and not being physical enough at the point of attack. Those statements hold a lot of weight and leave me wondering what exactly is the deal with "The Pharaoh". This is one guy that we will have to judge based on this upcoming year alone, but for now please leave the Sinorice comparisons at home.
This piece is NOT intended to call out anybody in particular on this site, or any others. If anything I am just as guilty as the next guy of being to quick to judge a player, whether that judgement is unwarranted praise or an unfair "bust" label. The NFL is full of talented players and as fans we need to realize that we have to curb our expectations if we're going to make it through life without very high blood pressure. The important thing is that the 53 men the Giants coaching staff chooses are the 53 men we have to support and cheer for this season, and hopefully they will lead us to another Superbowl title. Feel free to leave any thoughts you may have.