And now a brief interlude between firings.
Inspired by fellow Big Blue View writer Jim Schmiedeberg and reader "Landeta," I take a look at the Giants All-Bust Team for the just-completed decade. The list is compiled of former draft choices, free-agent disasters and even a star who just didn't live up to everything he was supposed to be. Let's just get on with it.
QB - Almost an impossible category for Big Blue considering they have only had two regular quarterbacks this decade, ElI Manning and Kerry Collins with a brief stint by Kurt Warner. Therefore, the nod goes to the highest drafted quarterback not named Rivers.
Jesse Palmer was drafted in the 4th round in 2001 and was out of the league by 2004. In his two years as a Giant he threw 120 passes, completing 63, throwing three touchdowns and four interceptions. Jesse wasn't a bust for long. One year after his playing days executive producer Mike Fleiss called Palmer "our number one draft pick." Jesse starred as The Bachelor and now works for ESPN as a college football analyst, so he's got that going for him. (Dishonorable mention to Jared Lorenzen, who had one of the best nicknames of the decade, the Hefty Lefty.)
RB - This one is a lot easier. With the 11th overall pick in the 2000 draft the Giants selected the African American version of Butterbean, Ron Dayne. Dayne wowed New York Giant fans with his unique running style. Hisfavorite move was utilizing his massive 250-pound frame by tip-toeing to the line of scrimmage then immediately laying flat on the ground, face first, as though he were being arrested. In Dayne's four years as a Giant he failed to rush for 4 yards a carry in any year. (Dishonorable mention to Joe Montgomery, who was selected in the 2nd round in 1999 and was out of the league by 2003)
FB - For the last decade the Giants have asked their full backs to block, and when they are not blocking they should be blocking, and when they are in meetings they should be blocking, and when they are eating they should be blocking and when.....no no you get it. For the most part the trio of Greg Comella (best hands of the group) Jim Finn, and Madison Hedgecock (who has the worst hands of the group by far) have done exactly that. However, in 2002 the Giants had one fullback on the roster and he was gone by 2003. Charles Stackhouse touched the ball 20 times in his two years, and while Hedgecock has seen even less action, at least he has buried many a linebacker into the Meadowlands turf. Unfortunately, Stackhouse didn't block like Hedgecock and Finn was brought in the following year to take his job.
3 WR - While the Giants highly-touted wide outs are flourishing in 2009, this wasn't always the case. It started in 2002 when the Giants selected Tim Carter in the second round. Allegedly, GM Ernie Accorsi and Jim Fassel had this conversation about Carter in the war room:
Fassel - I want Carter. Do it NOW Ernie..Do it, Do it, DO IT!!!
Accorsi - Whoa, calm down Jimmy we have three hours to go. Now let's look at the facts. Carter is fast but he is injury prone and isn't a great route runner. I think we should consider Antwaan Randle-El from Indiana.
Fassel - I want a Tim Carter, no I want a Jeff Hatch, I want a Quincy Monk , I want a Daryl Jones, I want a Wesley Mallar........
Accorsi - YOU'LL GET NOTHING AND LIKE IT. (muttering to himself) I should have given this job to Coach Fox. Carter is Gary Sheffield's cousin, how bad can he be?
Tim Carter was bad. In his five years as a Giant he never had more then 26 catches in one year. In 2007 he was sent packing. After a full year out of the NFL Carter returned to the league in a cameo role for the St. Louis Rams. Carter played one game and had one catch. Typical.
In 2006 the Giants once again tried to find a wide out in the second round and once again they ran into a bust. Sinorice Moss. While still a member of Big Blue, Moss has failed to establish himself. In his four years as a Giant Moss has never had more then 21 catches in any one year, and has three career touchdowns. There was hope that Moss could make a name for himself on special teams but he has been equally as pathetic as a returner.
(Dishonorable mention to Ron Dixon who was drafted in the third round in 2000 and was out of the league by 2003. Dixon was also part of the worst 45 second sequence in Giants history. OK, he shouldn't be blamed for his 97-yard TD return in the 2001 Super Bowl but it was easily the most forgotten highlight since Endy Chavez robbed Scott Rolen of a home run in the 2006 NLCS. Chavez's catch was one upped two innings later by a Yadier Molina home run, and Dixon's kick off return was wiped out by a Jermaine Lewis TD return one play later...ugghhh.)
TE - Now for some more Skip Bayless action. My choice, Jeremy Shockey. I know, I know he was a Pro Bowler and one of the best tight ends the Giants have ever seen. But you and I both know it wasn't meant to end the way it did. The brash, loud-mouthed, physical freak burst onto the scene by punching fellow teammate Brandon Short in the face after refusing to sing a song as part of a rookie hazing, and we loved it. He ate up safeties and embarrassed linebackers in coverage and we loved it. He was demonstrative after every catch and we loved it. His mouth never stopped running and we excused it. He blasted homosexuals on the radio and we pretended not to hear it. He blasted coaches for not coaching and we decided it didn't matter. He blasted Jerry Reese and poof, like that, he was gone.
If you were a fan from 2002 to 2007 odds are you have a Shockey jersey. He was supposed to be this generation's offensive version of LT. He didn't play within the rules, but he was so good it wasn't supposed to matter. He didn't redefine a position but we wanted him to. We wanted Shockey to be a Giant for life, and now he is playing in New Orleans. Part of me misses him, but part of me thinks he, unlike LT, just couldn't live up to our hype.
LT - While the popular pick here is Luke Petitgout I disagree. Yes, Petitgout racked up the offsides penalties and had a propensity to hold but he was a durable tackle for eight years. Instead, I'm going with 2002 third-round pick, Jeff Hatch. Third-round picks are supposed to be factors in their careers, at least role players. Hatch lasted one year and then was never heard from again. Which leads me to this. Why don't we have an Unsolved Mysteries show for NFL players. I want Robert Stack to tell me what happened to Christian Okoye? Where did Barry Word go? Why did Barry Foster vanish? Is Jeff Hatch still alive? Did Mike Mamula turn into dust and blow away?
LG & RG - Since 2000 the Giants have drafted three guards, and that's only if you count Wayne Lucier, who was really a center. The other two were Chris Snee and David Diehl who have worked out very nicely. The nod here goes to Diehl because the guy decided he was too fancy for the position and now moonlights as a left tackle. And based solely on the fact that by the time he became a Giant he was being held together by duct tape I'll give the other nod to Glenn Parker. In truth the Giants have been very lucky at this spot for a more than a decade.
RT - Not a great pick here either because the position has been filled well, but if I had to choose I would go with the combo of Guy Whimper/ Bob Whitfield. Whimper has been sitting behind Kareem McKenzie/ David Diehl for three years but there are no signs that he is going to take over when they are done. In fact it appears as though 2009 draft pick Wliliam Beatty is already ahead of him on the depth chart, and it also appears as though Diehl won't stop playing till 2072. I went with Whitfield for having a ginormously large ass, which Kevin Boothe appears to be competing wtih.
C - Derek Engler - Because I said so.
3 LBs - In the '80s and '90s the Giants were Linebacker U, only not a college team. They had Banks, Carson, Reasons, Pepper, Armstead and the immortal LT. The 2000s weren't as friendly. In 2004 the Giants tried to fix their problems through free agency. They signed Carlos Emmons and Barrett Green. The duo only made things worse. Things got so bad for Green that he was benched against his former team the Detroit Lions. Two years later Green was out of the league. Emmons was oft-injured and failed to make an impact on the field. In his thee years he averaged 48 tackles and finished with only two sacks.
In 2006 the Giants made another splash in the free agency market and once again came up bust. Lavar Arrington was supposed to be the modern day Lawrence Taylor, but the ONLY similarity between the two was the number on their backs. Arrington signed for 7 years and 49 million and immediately switched to number 55 as a Giant. Unfortunately, the switch did not improve his play. Six games into his first season as a Gianttore his achilles and was never heard from again. Where is he Stack? WHERE?
(Dishonorable mention to Gerris Wilkinson, who was selected in the third round in 2006 and has had little if any impact)
3 CBs - In 2001 the Giants attempted to overhaul their secondary by drafting Will Allen in the first round and Will Peterson in the third round. The "Wills," as they were dubbed, showed promise but were derailed by injuries and hands of steel. Allen has lived up to his first round status with the Dolphins but as a Giant his hands became tragically comical. Any ball he got his mitts on seemed to bounce right off into the waiting arms of an opponent. At times I wondered if opposing quarterbacks should simply throw it directly to Allen knowing he would deflect it into the hands of a wide out. After his rookie contract ended the Giants said good bye to the first of the Wills.
William James was once William Peterson. Now James moonlights as a nickel corner back all over the league, but at one point analysts predicted Peterson would be the steal of the draft. Unfortunately, a severe neck injury derailed Peterson's Giant career. A change of name and a few teams later Peterson has hung around the league, but he never lived up to his first-day draft choice.
Poor Curtis Deloatch. In 2005 he was inserted as a starting corner but it was quite clear that defensive coordinator Tim Lewis had no faith in the undrafted rookie free agent. Deloatch was often seen 10 to 15 yards off the ball pre-snap and clearly did not have the speed or the quickness to keep up with NFL wide receivers. Any third and short was a gimme as Deloatch was not allowed to play any where near the line of scrimmage. Even with a heavy cushion Curtis was often beaten deep. Deloatch was out of the league by 2007.
(Dishonorable mention to Dave Thomas, the slowest corner in Giants history, and Rod Babers. Babers a fourth-round pick, left camp before being cut only to come back to camp and be officially cut days later.)
2 Safeties - The Giants simply don't believe in this position. In 2009 they went with the radical idea of playing without any safeties. You cannot convince me that Aaron Rouse, CC Brown or Michael Johnson are actual safeties. Go ahead, try and convince me. It can't be done. That said, for most of the decade the Giants employed stop gaps vets like Brent Alexander and Omar Stoutmire. They have tried late-round draftees like Sam Garnes and Gibril Wilson (the best of the bunch) and even an undrafted rookie in James Butler. Perhaps the Giants don't try to fix the problem because most of their efforts have been futile, which leads to my two choices.
In 1998 the Giants selected Shaun Williams with the 24th overall pick. Williams played for the Giants for eight years but never lived up to his top billing. He never had more then three interceptions in one year and never amassed more then 80 tackles.
In 2006 the Giants signed Ravens safety Will Demps. Demps was coming off of major knee surgery and it showed. Demps was best known for flopping after running backs and trailing behind slow tight ends. Demps was gone a year after signing his multi-year deal.
(Dishonorable mention to the Giants front office for tricking people into thinking Rouse/Johnson/ Brown were actual safeties)
2 DEs - Like the linebackers of the '80s and '90s the Giants have gotten it right this decade with their ends. This is a decade that saw Micheal Strahan, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka. You have to go back a far way to find actual busts, so here goes.
While he only played one year this decade Cedric Jones was a monumental bust. The 5th overall pick in 1996 hardly made a ripple in Big Blues ocean. In his final season in 2000 Cedric left with a whimper after starting all 16 games and recording 3.5 sacks. I'm fairly certain Tuck could achieve that total if he never played a game all year (zing!).
In 2001 the Giants signed Kenny Holmes to a four-year $20 million dollar deal. Holmes never had more then eight sacks and his career was over in 2003, but he did have great locks. Looking for a bright side here, people.
2 DTs - In 2003 the Giants selected William Joseph with the 25th overall pick. Although Joseph wasn't a standout at Miami the theory was he was good in a great system, and was overshadowed by other great players. Turns out Willy Joe didn't stand out for a reason, he just wasn't that good. Joseph started only 17 games in his four-year career, finished with seven sacks and 51 tackles. After his rookie contract ended he was signed by the omnipotent front office that is the Oakland Raiders. In the 12 games he has played for Oakland Joseph has recorded five tackles and 0 sacks, an excellent signing by an excellent organization (I need a sarcasm font). Jerry Reese should see if they may have interest in C.C. Brown.
This year the Giants reached out to two defensive tackles via free agency, and truthfully both could be on this list. For some reason I am willing to give Chris Canty a pass because I think he will be back next year to prove his worth. While Rocky Bernard, a man who once swallowed his own car (jokes are funny, maybe not this one), had trouble getting on the field even when he was healthy. Bernard is a likely cut in the off-season, seems like a bust at $19 million.
KR - Brian Mitchell was brought to the Giants in 2003 to bring some electricity to a sub-par return unit. Mitchell one of the greatest return men of all time was absolutely shot by the time he came to New York. Mitchell averaged 20.3 a return and his longest of the year was a whopping 29 yards, yep whopping. One year later Mitchell rode off into the sunset as one of the greatest return men of all time, though his days as a Giant had nothing to do with that.
PR - In 2004 the Giants signed Mark Jones after being cut from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Jones averaged a paltry 6.7 yards a return and his longest of the year was an earth shattering 29 yards. Yep, earth shattering.
(Dishonorable mention to Brian Mitchell, and R.W. McQuarters for terrifying me in Green Bay)
Kicker - For missing 17 field goals in Seattle I have to give this one to Jay "Guns" Feely.
(Dishonorable mention to Jon Markham for being drafted in the 5th round and not making the team. And here are some more names for you just for fun, Brad Daluiso, Olindo Mare (in camp), Owen Pochman (in camp), and Matt Bryant).
P - Rodney Williams. Williams was the Giants punter in 2001 and had a mighty leg, but absolutely no control over it. Williams once booted a 91-yarder but often out-kicked his coverage and was not familiar with the idea of the coffin corner. He was gone by 2002.
Coach - No, he wasn't the head coach but Bill Sheridan was the coordinator for the worst Giant defense since 1966. So, Sheridan it is.
For a team that went to two Super Bowls this decade it goes to show you that everyone makes mistakes. Thank God NFL contracts aren't guaranteed. And now back to the firings.