Ahh, what is that scent I am picking up? Could it be? Yes, it's ... the sweet smell of disrespect.
That scent hasn't been around our New York Giants for a while. A Super Bowl title, followed by a 12-4 season that included an NFC East crown will bring well-earned respect.
Yet, scrolling around the Inter-Google for Giants' stories Monday evening there they were -- a pair of stories dissing the Giants. OK, so full disclosure demands that I tell you one of the stories was actually e-mailed to me by loyal BBV follower 'John W.' Disrespect, though, is disrespect.
What in both of these posts was so egregious that it has me all worked up on a beautiful summer day?
I resigned myself months ago to the fact that the hated Philadelphia Eagles are the Flavor of the Month among pundits, many of whom suddenly seem to think the Eagles are the greatest thing invented since cheesesteak and that the Giants are yesterday's news.
But both of these audacious posts were foolhardy enough to predict that the Giants will finish third -- yes, third -- in the NFC East behind not only the Eagles but the Dallas Cowboys as well.
First up among these blasphemous and unrepentant posts is Andy Benoit of NFL Touchdown. Here is some of what Benoit said in a very comprehensive preview of the Giants.
This year, every potential dimple of cellulite in the Giants’ firm, golden thigh has been obfuscated. Running back Derrick Ward, who gained 1,025 yards backing up 1,089-yard starter Brandon Jacobs, left in free agency but was replaced by shifty third-year pro Ahmad Bradshaw. Ingenious defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo took the head coaching job in St. Louis, but most observers are confident in his understudy, former linebackers coach Bill Sheridan.
Every issue is covered. Except the one about replacing Burress. Reese probably could have filled the gaping hole at wide receiver by trading for Arizona’s Anquan Boldin or Cleveland’s Braylon Edwards. But instead of paying a premium for sure-things, he rolled the dice on Draft Day, selecting North Carolina’s Hakeem Nicks at the end of Round One and Cal-Poly’s Ramses Barden in Round Three. It’s a questionable risk for a team that’s ready to win now. But Reese has that glittering ring. So instead of saying what?!, we can only say hmmmm ...
The defense is outstanding. The first string is loaded with playmakers, the second string is loaded with experience and just about everyone is under 30. Thus, New York’s season rests on the offense. More specifically, it rests on the wide receivers. If the Giants can put together a threatening passing attack, they’ll be similar to what they were 18 months ago. If not, they’ll be similar to what they were six months ago.
The other blasphemous post came from the Bleacher Report, a site that I usually pay little attention to. After this, I will go right back to not paying attention to BR, which will help my mood. BR's NFC East preview is actually complimentary toward the Giants, but still has them finishing third.
Gone are Plaxico Burress and Amani Toomer. Eli Manning's top target is now Steve "The Other Steve" Smith. But Brandon Jacobs, Amhad Bradshaw and their stout defense will carry them to success, as it did in Pittsburgh and Baltimore.
I suppose the Giants could finish third. Eli could get hurt. Ditto for Brandon Jacobs. Bill Sheridan could prove to be more Johnnie Lynn than Steve Spagnuolo. The vaunted offensive line could start showing cracks. The Cowboys could, for once, actually play up to their potential.
I think you have to be delirious, though, to look at the talent and the accomplishments of the teams in the NFC East in recent years and conclude that the Giants are -- on paper -- the third-best team in the division. Either that, or you are a Dallas fan.
I guess, though, the disrespect might be a good thing if it becomes a trend. The Giants did just fine in 2007 when the supposed 'experts' thought they weren't good enough. Maybe that will be the case again here in 2009.