Here's a few stories of interest during a slow week for football:
- In my opinion, the most underrated pick the Giants made this year was taking Travis Beckum in the fourth round, and that was before I read this piece from the Daily News detailing his switch from linebacker to tight end after his freshman year at Wisconsin. The fact that he was so productive right away at a position he had never played before is pretty exciting, and makes me think that he has lots of potential to develop into an impact receiver at the NFL level. Tight ends coach Mike Pope seems to agree:
"Where you could really see he's a potentially exciting player is when we did the one-on-one things (in camp)," Pope said. "I mean, he can run, he can separate. The talent is there."
- Nice profile of formerly undrafted free agent Chase Blackburn from the Utica Observer-Dispatch. Blackburn on his role as resident special teams ace and occasional starting linebacker:
"Now, it’s no big deal," Blackburn said of a role he doesn’t expect to change this season with the return of veteran middle linebacker Pierce and the acquisition of weak-side linebacker Michael Boley. "I feel completely comfortable at any position. I always prepare myself like I’m going to start every game, you have to. That’s all you get in the NFL sometimes, one shot. If you don’t take advantage of it, they’ll find somebody else who will."
- One of the most overlooked stories surrounding the Giants, and one which actually worries me more than not having Plaxico, is whether new Defensive Coordinator Bill Sheridan can adequately fill the shoes of the departed Steve Spagnuolo. USA Today talked with him after his first mini-camp in charge of the D, and at the very least he sounds confident:
"Each year you study other teams in the league and you modify some of the things you are doing," Sheridan says. "So we will add some new installation and the players will be fired up about it because it is new. I'm just licking my chops and waiting to get going. We are going to be good."
- Another article about the Giants defense and their Super Bowl XXXV nemesis Baltimore Ravens, both of whom are coping with the loss of highly regarded defensive coordinators.
- With all the media focus on knuckleheads like Plaxico Burress, Terrell Owens, or Michael Vick it's sometimes easy to forget that there are some really good people in the NFL. Shaun O'Hara's work with Cystic Fibrosis certainly seems to qualify him in the latter category. Even though we root for the laundry, it's always nice to hear that the guys wearing it are trying to make a difference.
- Somewhat related, David Diehl will be performing at a comedy club in Manhattan tonight, apparently playing an unspecified quarterback. The proceeds from the event are going to Project Sunshine, which helps kids dealing with diseases like cancer and AIDS around NYC. Apparently Nate Robinson of the Knicks and some of Diehl's Giants teammates will be there as well. The article has a link to the event, if you're gonna be in Manhattan you should check it out - I want to know what QB Diehl could possibly play, other than Jared Lorenzen.
- In other acting news: it's official, Michael Strahan will be starring in a Sitcom on Fox next fall. He was fantastic in his cameo on Chuck last season, and hopefully that will carry over to a starring role. In a real showcase of acting chops to rival Sean Penn playing a gay man or Charlize Theron playing an ugly woman, Strahan will be playing a retired football player.
That's all for today. Training camp can't start soon enough.