Good morning, New York Giants fans! Hopefully everyone had a fun, and safe, Fourth of July. Here is upstate New York's Adirondack Mountains, our holiday festivities were postponed by a major storm that KO'd power from Thursday night until late Friday. Let's hope you had better luck.
Now, on to a few football notes.
JPP Not Happy With NFL Top 100
Giants' defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul took to Instagram to express his displeasure with being left off the NFL Top 100 list:
Now WTF is wrong with this list? Don't get me wrong all these guys are great players, but come on now! I see a lot of players who's not on this list that should be, but that's none of my business ☕️ lamo. #2014season #Gobigblue #unstoppable #F*#%whodontlikeit
I have already been critical of Pierre-Paul this offseason for talking too much about the kind of player he thinks he is. Unfortunately, here is Pierre-Paul again talking as if he just completed his All-Pro 2011 season and got snubbed, rather than coming off two seasons where he totaled only 8.5 sacks and was not really an impact player. So, I will say this again. Pierre-Paul needs to stop talking like one of the NFL's premier defensive ends, get on the field and show that he actually is one.
-- Kudos to Jordan Ranaan of NJ.com for the original find.
Two Giants At 'Contract Crossroads'
Former sports agent Joel Corry, writing for CBS Sports, lists two Giants among 30 players at 'contract crossroads' entering the 2014 season. You can probably guess who they are -- quarterback Eli Manning and the aforementioned Pierre-Paul.
Manning has two years left on his deal, and Corry correctly writes that "If new offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo doesn't resurrect the two-time Super Bowl MVP and fix the Giants' offense, a quarterback could be taken early in the 2015 NFL Draft."
We discussed Manning earlier this week. One thing not addressed in that post is the reality that, needing cap space for their free-agent frenzy, the Giants did not extend Manning's contract this offseason. There is a simple reason for that, and it is that Corry is absolutely correct. The Giants want, and need, to see which direction Manning's career will take this season. Can he play well and convince the organization that he is still the guy they can build their franchise around? That would be the best scenario. If he plays poorly, the Giants will have no choice but to begin laying the groundwork for a Manning-less future.
Special Teams Should Be Better
The Giants were, as we have discussed several times, horrid on special teams. Earlier this week, Sports On Earth looked at that unit and figured the Giants should be much-improved in 2014.
My "special teams health indicates organizational health" hypothesis gets plenty of support from the 2013 Giants. Special teams contributors from the 2011 Super Bowl run, like Mark Herzlich and Spencer Paysinger, were torn between kick coverage and the starting lineup. With the Giants grabbing last-ditch running backs off the waiver wire, they had no hope of acquiring a quality returner. Injuries and confusion led to three punt return touchdowns early in the season, while the combination of Reuben Randle, Jerrel Jernigan and Michael Cox did nothing of interest on returns.
Trindon Holliday's arrival solves the return problem, and the Giants were already restoring law and order on the coverage units by season's end. Early in last season, Damontre Moore (who made himself useful on special teams with a blocked punt) could be seen lined up as a kick gunner on the wing, with reserve tight end Larry Donnell on the other wing. No wonder Dexter McCluster sliced through the first line of defense: The Giants were just throwing the best available healthy bodies at a bad situation. Later in the year, suitable youngsters like Cooper Taylor took over as gunners, and the long returns became less frequent. With some free agent arrivals and lots of rookies, the current roster is deep enough to keep the Giants from doing desperate stuff like make 250-pound pass rushers race up the sideline.