Over the years I've gone from helping to warm up the blimp to being vehemently in the "In Reese We Trust" camp.
This year the OVERALL logic of 5 of the decisions on this roster have me a little perplexed. Note that I am still optimistic about our chances this year and I do trust Reese and Coughlin, mostly, but I have a few issues with the roster. Unlike most of you however, it's not any specific player that I think we really should have kept that concerns me, it's more general than that. My issues:
3 Quarterbacks (one too many, and a wasted draft pick)
9 Offensive Lineman (too many, especially at the mediocre talent level among the backups)
4 TEs (one too many and the wrong personnel mixture)
3 healthy RBs (one too few and no veteran in the bunch)
3 "healthy" safeties (actual safeties not CBs who may or may not be capable of playing the position)
I realize that a GM's job is to make decisions both for this season and for the future but the issues I've listed above don't seem to make sense to me based on BOTH of those criteria. Especially given the fact that we have won two SBs under the Coughlin/Eli era and are still poised to win more, the first decision particularly baffles me:
3 Quarterbacks. This realistically doesn't help us in any reasonable way. Frankly if Eli is abducted by aliens our season is pretty much sacked. Of course if he misses a quarter or a short period of time you need a veteran (which we have) to step in and hold the ship steady. The focus needs to be put on protecting the Savior, giving him toys, and providing him with a worthwhile defense. The drafting of Nassib really shows itself to be a mistake when his roster spot is being wasted and his fourth round pick could have been.... something...ANYTHING that could help us now and in the next 3-4 years. A young OL (at any position) or a DB especially would be very, very helpful for both this year's run and for the future (even before ABs injury we knew we needed DBs). The idea that you are either grooming a QB for the post apocalypse (the dark times after Eli) or as a possible future trade is frustrating. Particularly the latter. The Giants are not an organization that seems to try to play such games as spending a 4th round pick hoping to "possibly" trade the guy in the future for a 2nd or 3rd rounder. Really? I think that's thinking wayyyyyyyy too far into the future and getting wayyyyyy too cute. We have pressing needs for a realistic SB run now and in the next few years. Nassib's pick and his spot on the roster do nothing really to help achieve EITHER of those goals and given that ELI is a proven SB winner the time to fight the fight is now (meaning this year and the next 4-5) and not start worrying about a possible successor or trade bait. There is a time for that sure, but it's not yet, not when another championship is a reasonable possibility. These chances don't come around all the time and when they do you have to strike. That 4th round pick could've come in very handy. For the record I didn't slaughter the pick when it was made. I was so stunned that we took a QB that I was intrigued. Now looking at it when the roster has some glaring issues (ones that don't surprise us and really aren't in hindsight) it seems like a real head scratcher.
9 Offensive Lineman
Simply put it's at least one too many. If you peruse some of the other top teams in the league most have 7, a few have eight. Eight is plenty. I can understand having eight, but the odds of FOUR offensive linemen going down in the same game is ridiculous. You can argue having 7 is too few, but 8 is certainly enough. Especially when one of them is Diehl. He should be cut and his roster spot should be used for another position. The odds that your ninth OL is ever going to play in even one game due to four injuries is absurb. Could it happen? Yes, but extremely unlikely. The talent level of your ninth offensive lineman is likely, and is this case actually is, frankly...offensive. A player of the caliber of your 9th OL is sitting out there available on the waiver wire in need of any emergency to pick up for next week. And Diehl has no part in the Giants future after this season. Let him go. Pick up a safety. The odds that a safety....ANY safety we could add to the roster today will see the field is exceptionally more likely than the 9th OL. I can understand planning for the future but 9 OL is a luxury we can't afford, particularly at the talent level we have, we aren't holding onto 4 future Pro Bowlers on the bench, we aren't even holding onto 2-3 likely future starters.
4 TEs (one too many and the wrong personnel - meaning a veteran who can't block and two projects) I don't share the lack of enthusiasm that some of you do for Bear Pascoe. I won't go off on a rant but he's one of those lunch pail guys that rounds out a championship roster. He plays TE and FB competently, knows the offense well and is trusted by the coach and the Savior. He essentially is the primary backup at two different positions. Therefore the roster spot that he personally occupies is very, very valuable. Disregard him all you want but he can block and he can catch well enough to be used to do both. His roster spot is well utilized since he can and DOES play two positions. He's not going to the Pro Bowl, but HE PLAYS - meaning he is actually on the field quite often and he performs his job when he does. His roster spot and his yeoman-like abilities are a dash of our winning formula. We bring in Myers who can't block which means we need another TE on the roster who can be a strong blocker. (The decision to bring in Myers forces your hand with your third TE). HOWEVER you keep two completely unproven projects, neither of whom may see the field much and because you like both projects you don't want to part with either. Mind you these aren't "prospects" likely to play for the team in the future they are "projects" unlikely, but hopeful, that they pan out. Their two roster spots could, alternatively, be taken by one decent veteran TE who can block and who knows his assignments and has experience. The whole mixture here is an issue - both at this position and at OL. 4 TEs is too many because again it's possible, highly likely even, that at least one of the two projects does not only not play a role this year, but does not play a role in the future either. Having 2 projects at the same position, particularly TE does not seem to make sense nor help the stated goals. One TE project maybe, but two??? Particularly when TE is one of those positions that are now oozing out of college at the draft every year with NFL ready players. IR the latest Loch Ness Monster (Robinson), go with Donnell and save another roster spot at his point. Again when you look at a previous decision - to keep 9 OL - you can easily use one OR TWO of them as extra TEs either in short yardage or in pass protection. We do it sometimes, teams like the 49rs do it all the time. Keeping 4 TEs, with two of them as projects is a luxury and one which wastes a roster spot. And one that is unnecessary with the extra OL. At worst keep 9 OL or 4 TEs but please for the love of the Mannings, do not do both! Honestly the best would be to keep 8 OL and 3 TEs. Finally the fact that our passing offense is a dynamic down field attack and we have two excellent WRs with a 3rd being groomed really lessens the need for a project, let alone TWO PROJECTS on the active roster at a spot that we don't value so much. And for those who want us to throw to the TE more: with Nicks, Cruz and Wilson, our TE should always be our fourth option at best. Spending additional spots for future TE projects seems pointless. One maybe, two - absolutely a luxury we can't afford.
3 healthy RBs (one too few and no veteran in the bunch). Not having a veteran RB who can pass protect is the single worst thing about our roster. Yes, Hynoski or Bear could probably fill that role, but I think we'd all prefer a true RB in there: for strategical purposes. Providing Eli's safety, as is stated by Reese and Coughlin all the time, is the first job of any Giants RB. So how they have allowed this situation to occur is mind boggling. Also RB is a fragile position. RBs are constantly going down. We are going into a game with only one "backup" RB, but FOUR, FOUR!!!, FOUR backup OLs and 2 backup TEs (counting Myers and Bear as actual starters)!!! Considering two backs, at a minimum, actually play in a game you have 1 true backup sitting on the bench. In all realistic scenarios, you might actually NEED, a 4th RB (meaning at some point this season he sees the field for more than just a play or two) a thousand times more than you might actually need a 9th OL or a 4th TE. And the fact that NONE of the RBs on the roster are experienced players proven to be good pass blockers is a real travesty. Not being able to guarantee that we have an adequate protector of the Savior is simply INSANE. If Eli were to be abducted by an alien on 3rd and long because we didn't find room on our roster for just one veteran running back just capable of pass protection...... you can take all of your cute TE projects and your QB projects and your Brewers and your Diehls and while you are at it resign Beckum and activate Barden and any other cutie pies you guys want and start them all b/c nothing will matter. In the immortal words of the Pet Shop Boys... "It's a...it's a...it's a sin!!!"
3 healthy safeties I know that we have one coming back soon from suspension but that still leaves us short now and we start the season against two teams that sling the ball around. Injury waiting to happen TT doesn't so much add additional depth as much as he adds additional concern and the need for an additional DB. I know we have 6 CBs so a total of 9 DBs on the roster but at a minimum six are going to play every week and likely we'll lose at least one or two to hamstrings. And when one of them (TT) is a serious injury concern, at least two of the veterans (Ross, Webster) have lost a step and most of the others are of questionable talent it would be worth it to add another DB who might not only get a chance to play due to injury or the ineffectiveness of the starters, but if he's young he could contribute in future years as well. In particular that player could have been taken with Nassib's 4th round pick. Yeesh. At the very least a veteran safety, even a middling waiver wire pickup could be an upgrade over an injury risk TT or an older CB (Ross) playing out of position. (For the record I think bringing back Ross was an okay move for the overall roster, but not in the sense that he might be needed to play safety week one). A veteran safety presence here (not a CB playing out of position), given all of the "communication errors" we've had under PF's defense could help both on the field and on the sidelines. Certainly would be more valuable than a 9th OL.
I've looked at this not so much from a standpoint of "I can't believe we cut Marvin Austin!!!" to a more holistic view of how we've built the roster - position wise and strategically speaking from the way we play the game. These four decisions, numbers-wise, don't make sense to me, particularly in light of one another. 9 OL AND 4 TEs seems ludicrous. If you really want 4 TEs and the two projects are both supposed to be "keepers" and good blockers then cut the last OL. It's not as though all of the backup OL are considered "keepers" that you can't possibly envision letting one go. If you get killed by injuries at OL you can pick up a serviceable emergency fill-in that probably is no worse than the 9th OL that you cut.
We have a 3rd quarterback that we don't need and a 9th OL that we don't need (I'm giving you your four TEs since I know you want those two mythical beasts so much). Those two roster spots are completely "dead." Meaning they hold no value this year, and little chance of future value in the next 2-3 years. If you really are passionate about the Loch Ness Monster and Donnell, fine keep em both, at least they have a better chance of seeing the field if one TE gets hurt. And in the event one of them does turn out to be a gem then Myers is gone and we have a new starter. The same cannot reasonably be said of the QB or OL. If Nassib is our QB we've entered the post apocalypse.
At the very least use those two extra spots for a veteran RB and another Safety. These are positions that more likely would actually get playing time this year. I know everyone wants to believe that TT can be used at safety but with his multiple knee injuries the odds of him being healthy the full season are VERY VERY dicey. While every player is at risk for injury, TT's history has to be taken into account in your decision making.
I think a team that has one two Super Bowls recently and has visions on another one this year has to put a bit more of a premium on roster spots for positions that are MOST LIKELY TO PLAY first, future starters second and then and ONLY then "projects" like Nassib or Robinson.
The general theme is: we are holding onto a few players that either are of a low skill level or are projects and those players are at sitting at such a deep depth at their positions where they are less likely to play while at the same time we are simply, numbers wise, short at positions where an additional player would be likely, if not almost guaranteed to play.
I'm a big fan of Reese and Coughlin, not one of their naysayers, so let's dispense with the "they know a lot more than you do" - of course that's true. I would love to know what you guys think about those five roster decisions specifically according to your own opinions. And if you read this far I hope you were drinking a beer, a good one, along the way and thanks for reading. Go G-Men! Praise Eli.