BOOM! Walter Thurmond certainly did make an impression on Tuesday during his first meeting with reporters who cover the New York Giants. He also got the attention of peers from the Philadelphia Eagles and Denver Broncos.
That kind of stuff will happen when you call yourself the best slot cornerback in the league and boast that it's possible the team you just joined could have a secondary better than the best one in the game in 2013, the Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks' 'Legion Of Boom' that you just left as a free agent.
Should Thurmond, who signed a one-year deal with the Giants, have turned down the rhetoric a bit on Tuesday? Sure, probably. Prove it on the field, don't talk about it in the media or argue about it on Twitter. Then again, perhaps after two playoff-less seasons the punched-in-the-mouth Giants could use a little of the swagger Thurmond apparently brought with him from the great Northwest.
Giants' coach Tom Coughlin has always lived by the mantra "Talk is cheap. Play the game." While the Giants have shown great respect, love even, for their venerable coach they haven't exactly lived by Coughlin's credo.
Remember Plaxico Burress predicting a 2007 Super Bowl victory over the New England Patriots? Brandon Jacobs was never at a loss for words. Neither was Osi Umenyiora. Remember Umenyiora calling himself a top five defensive end when he didn't even start for the Giants? Justin Tuck wasn't a loud mouth, but he was never shy about flashing his Super Bowl rings and talking about the championships his Giants teams had won. Antrel Rolle has never been shy with his opinions, particularly when it comes to how good he thinks the Giants are -- or should be. Didn't Rolle says Tuesday that he thought new Giants Dominque Rodgers-Cromartie was the league's best corner? That's pretty audacious right there. Truth is, for years opponents -- especially those in the NFC East -- have said the Giants talk too much.
Maybe they have been right. Maybe they haven't. Point is, these aren't the Tuck-Umenyiora-Jacobs-Burress era Giants anymore. It's a new day with a largely new team that has few players with connections to those Super Bowl teams. It's a team that -- finally -- has no choice but to look forward to the future of what they hope to be rather than talking about, and trying to lean on, the glorious past they had together. Because, they have no real past together.
Coughlin himself recognizes that the culture of the locker room will change with all of the new faces wearing Giants' uniforms:
"The culture will change," Coughlin told Michael Eisen of Giants.com "Now, the principles and the values will not change, but how we go about our business has to change, because we have so many new people that have to be integrated into the system."
Perhaps Thurmond's bravado is part of that new culture. Of course, you don't want players talking all the time and wasting a lot of energy on useless braggadoccio. You do want players who believe in their talent -- and have the ability to back it up.
Is Thurmond the best slot corner in the NFL? Probably not. He is, however, probably in the conversation. He is also better than Terrell Thomas, Rolle or Jayron Hosley -- the guys who tried to play it for the Giants last year. Is Rodgers-Cromartie better than Richard Sherman of the Seahawks or Darrelle Revis of the New England Patriots? Probably not, but he's both in the conversation and better than anyone the Giants have had at corner for several years.
In the end, what these guys say to the media and the verbal jousting they do with each other on Twitter makes for some fun reading, but doesn't matter. What matters is what happens when these guys step on the field. The rest is just noise.