'Five things I think I think' about the New York Giants has been on a little hiatus since the end of the 2014 season. There is enough going on, however, that it is time for 'Five things' to come out of mothballs. So, here are some thoughts for you today.
I think the Giants will get an offensive line starter in free agency
I don't know if that will be right tackle Bryan Bulaga, guard/tackle Orlando Franklin, guard Mike Iupati, tackle Joe Barksdale or someone else. I suspect, though, that Giants general manager Jerry Reese agrees with ESPN's Todd McShay and that he would rather do something other than select Iowa's Brandon Scherff, Stanford's Andrus Peat or LSU's La'el Collins with the ninth overall pick.
I keep going to back to Reese's "play-maker over a guard" comment, and I think he has shown us over the years that he wasn't just blowing smoke when he said it. Reese also said during the Combine that "If you're picking in the Top 10, the Top 12, you should be getting better players." That can be taken as another hint that the GM isn't going to "settle" for an offensive lineman at No. 9 if he thinks there is an impact player available on either side of the ball who offers greater value.
If the Giants don't land one of the top free-agent offensive linemen then whichever offensive lineman the Giants believe is the best would be a solid choice. My guess right now, though, is that free agency takes that off the board at No. 9.
I think Tom Coughlin knows an extension guarantees him nothing
We noted earlier that when Tom Coughlin signs the extension he is expected to receive his contract will carry past his 70th birthday. That means he won't enter the 2015 season as a "lame duck" coach. It doesn't mean there is any guarantee the Giants will allow him to continue coaching past 2015. And I think he knows it.
Coughlin acknowledged in his Monday interview with Kim Jones that "There may be a little more intensity in it this year because of the circumstance we've found ourselves in."
He also said last week that "There are 32 guys that coach one year at a time, I don't care how many years you have on your contract."
Tom Rock of Newsday pointed out on Twitter Monday night that Marv Levy and George Halas were the oldest coaches in NFL history, both reaching the age of 72. Given his choice you know Coughlin would love to surpass both of them. During his season-ending press conference he said he would like to coach "probably 10-12 more years."
He said it light-heartedly. But if you know Coughlin, you know he believes he could. And he would like to.
As Rock also tweeted Monday night, "The number that will stop him is losses, not age."
I think this could be your year, Beezer Brigade
In my tongue-in-cheek mock draft on Monday, I referenced the Giants' tendency over the years to bypass draft-worthy linebackers in the early rounds. With so many linebackers likely to be available to the Giants on Day 2 of the 2015 NFL Draft, I think there is a really good chance the Giants select a linebacker in the first three rounds for the first time since they took Clint Sintim in the second round in 2009.
Who will it be? Who knows? Shaq Thompson (if he doesn't go in the first round), Eric Kendricks, Denzel Perryman, Paul Dawson, Benardrick McKinney, Hauoli Kikaha, Stephone Anthony and a few others could be there for the Giants to consider.
The Giants need a Plan B at middle linebacker for the oft-injured Jon Beason, as well as a plan for the future. They could also use a WILL. Maybe they get at least one of those in the upcoming draft.
I think Jon Beason will have to take a pay cut to stay
I don't think Reese could have telegraphed that one any better than when he said "Jon's under contract. So we'll see where that goes. He's under contract," during his Scouting Combine press conference.
The Giants will need the cap room if they use the franchise tag on Jason Pierre-Paul, which will cost them roughly $15 million. So, asking Beason to take a pay cut after a season during which he played only four games makes perfect sense. As does bringing him back for the 2015 season, if he will agree to a pay cut, since the Giants don't really have another middle linebacker.
Beason's current cap numbers for 2015 is $6.691 million. That in untenable for a player who has an injury history as long as Beason does.
I think not changing the 'process' rule would be disappointing
This one stretches beyond the Giants, of course, but I have to comment on it.
St. Louis Rams coach Jeff Fisher,a member of the competition committee, said this recently about the league's controversial catch/no-catch rule:
"There will be a discussion. It's going to be difficult to change it - particularly because of the standard and replay. It's one of those areas where I think we have two standards. The bang-bang on-the-field call and then the replay standard, where it's frame-by-frame-by-frame. I just think that we have to have a rule that is defined - that's a bright line - so it can be officiated. And I think we have that with the catch now."
ESPN's Kevin Seifert also wrote recently that the 'process' rule will be difficult to change.
It might be an over-simplification, but should it really be as difficult as the NFL has made it to figure out what is and is not a catch? In a vacuum this rule has to be changed because right now what we see is simply too much confusion, and too many calls that the rulebook says are correct but the naked eye and common sense tell us are wrong.
The bigger problem is that the NFL, because of its constant tinkering with the rules and adjustments every year to "fix" things has made the rulebook ridiculously unwieldy, to the point where there is way too much interpretation and minutiae.