Friday, June 13th, 2008

It’s June…Get Off the Panic Button!

Giants Rumors & News

To put it mildly, this is hardly the ideal way to start  a Super Bowl title defense. In less than a week, the Giants have dealt with the retirement of Michael Strahan, the unhappy rantings of disgruntled Jeremy Shockey, and now the demands for a new contract by Plaxico Burress. So much for peace, love, harmony and a lack of distractions.

Burress apparently wants to be paid TO/Randy Moss/Javon Walker money. Shockey is ticked off at the Giants for God knows what, so he spent yesterday, the first day of mini-camp,ticking off his head coach. Strahan just wants to make millions without sweating and having 300-pound guys beat on him every Sunday.

It seems like a mess. In reality, though, we should have seen all of this coming.

Burress played tremendously on one leg last season, proving himself to be among the half-dozen elite receivers in the league. Now he wants to be paid like it. In today’s NFL, that’s how it works. You win, the stars demand to cash in. TO recently signed …

Thursday, June 5th, 2008

Tyree will be fighting to hang on

Giants Rumors & News

Read lots of speculation yesterday that Super Bowl heroDavid Tyree could find himself out of a job this season.

With third-round pick Mario Manningham added to a deep corps of receivers that includes Plaxico Burress, Amani Toomer, Steve Smith and Sinorice Moss the questions about Tyree’s ability to make the team are justified.

Tyree will also be fighting for a roster spot with Michael Jennings, free agent DJ Hall and return man, special teams ace Domenic Hixon.

“I have no reason to really worry,” he said. “I’ve proven myself when I’ve been given the opportunity. I’m not that concerned. It’s not that big of a deal to me. I just have to get back to being healthy and do the things that I can do.

“Making the catch was a great opportunity, but I can’t rest on it. I have to work hard. There’s always something to prove. You always have to have the competitive edge.”

The reality is the Giants don’t need Tyree as a receiver. He caught only four balls in the regular season last season and has 54 catches …

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008
Giants Rumors & News

So, what does the signing of defensive end Renaldo Wynn, a 12-year veteran, mean for the Giants?

Does it mean they think Michael Strahan is retiring? I don’t know, but they are definitely hedging their bets.
Does it mean they would really like to keep Mathias Kiwanuka at linebacker, at least on running downs? Definitely.
Does it mean Wynn can expect a lot of playing time? Even if Strahan retires, the Giants have Osi Umenyioraand Justin Tuck, as well as Dave Tollefson and Jay Alford, both of whom showed some ability last season. They also have sixth-round draft pick Robert Henderson.

Wynn played for Giants coach Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville. To me, this is simply a case of the Giants bringing in a player Coughlin respects to be absolutely certain they have enough depth on the defensive front.

Wynn won’t be asked to do anything great. Just play an occasional series, defend the run and hold his own.

(Read more of Ed Valentine’s Giants’ coverage at Big Blue View)

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

What do the numbers really say about Jeremy Shockey?

Giants Rumors & News

Jeremy Shockey’s chief complaint with the New York Giants for the past couple of seasons is that the ball just doesn’t come his way often enough. Let’s look at the hard numbers and see just how valid his complaint is.

In Shockey’s rookie season, 2002, he led all tight ends with 74 catches. In 2006, the last full season he played, he caught 66 passes, a good number that placed him 5th among all tight ends. Last season he had 57 catches in 14 games — a number that means he would have roughly equaled 2006 if he had played all 16 games.

So, Shockey hardly has a beef if his contention is that the Giants ignore him on offense.

Let’s look deeper than just the number of catches to see how effective Shockey has been.

Football Outsiders uses a couple of statistics One, called “Defense-adjusted Points Above Replacement” or DPAR to rank players at each position. Another, “Defense-adjusted Value Over Average” or DVOA, represent value per play.

When looking at tight ends, …

Tuesday, May 20th, 2008

Kiwi: Where should he play?

Giants Rumors & News

Between now and Week 1 against the Washington Redskins, I’m sure we will spend lots of time discussing this. Since Yahoo! Sports brought it up, though, let’s talk about where Mathias Kiwanuka plays if Michael Strahan retires.

It would seem natural that Kiwanuka, drafted as a defensive end, would move back to his natural position if Strahan hangs up his spikes.

Not so fast, though. This is what defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo had to say on the topic of Kiwanuka.

“If Michael does retire, I think we’ll try to leave Kiwi at linebacker. That was the original plan and he was growing into the position. Of course, in case of injuries, guys move around. And in our defense, he might be on the line now and then, but I would like to keep him as a linebacker.”

If Strahan retires and Kiwanuka goes back to end, it’s a move I certainly would understand. I hope it doesn’t happen, though.

Despite his early struggles last season I maintain that Kiwanuka …

Friday, May 16th, 2008

Giants getting ready to say goodbye to Strahan?

Giants Rumors & News

No one in a position of authority with the New York Giants is going to say it, but from here it seems pretty obvious the team is preparing for life after Michael Strahan.

How else do you explain the drafting of Robert Henderson, who would seem to have no shot to make the team if Strahan is in uniform? The drafting of two linebackers who would seem to make it OK to move Mathias Kiwanuka back to defensive end if the need arose? The fact that veteran defensive end Renaldo Wynn, who played for Tom Coughlin in Jacksonville, visited yesterday and could sign with the team soon?

Strahan is, arguably, the second-best defensive player in Giants’ history behind Lawrence Taylor. I have been hoping, and will continue to hope, that he returns for a 16th season. The way he played last year, with 9 regular-season sacks, you know he still has the ability.

Strahan was coy Wednesday night when asked — again — whether he …

Wednesday, May 7th, 2008

King: Cowboys rank ahead of Giants right now

Giants Rumors & News

Peter King came out with his off-season team rankings yesterday in his weekly ‘Monday Morning Quarterback‘ column.

He placed the defending Super Bowl champion Giants sixth on his list behind New England, Indianapolis, Jacksonville, Dallas (ugh!!) and San Diego.

The only one on the list that really bugs me is Dallas. Talent-wise, I get it. The Cowboys haven’t proven they can win when it counts, though. The Giants, obviously, have.

Here is what King said about your defending champions.

This is a team that caught fire at the right time and rode the wave to a title. Was it the best team in football in 2007? For the last two games of the year, yes. For the rest of the season, not even close. But the last two games of the season are the biggest.

Funny how a season progresses: In Weeks 9-14, the Giants went 3-3, losing three times by double digits and winning by six, five and three points. Then, ka-boom.

Moving forward, the Giants will be fortunate if Michael Strahan plays. …

Monday, May 5th, 2008

Where will Kenny Phillips fit in?

Giants Rumors & News

With rookie mini-camp this week (Friday and Saturday) it is still all about the newcomers for the Giants this week.

So let’s take a more in-depth look at each of the Giants’ draft choices, how they affect the roster and how much playing time we can expect them to get.

Today, we will look at No. 1 pick Kenny Phillips.

The Miami safety was thought by most to be the best safety in the draft, and he figures to challenge for playing time right away.

My guess is that veteran Sammy Knight, signed to replace the departed Gibril Wilson, gets one safety slot.

We have talked about it a little before, but I think Phillips will eventually push the just-adequate James Butler out of the way for the other slot.

Argue if you want about strong and free safety — that doesn’t interest me. What does interest me is getting the two best players on the field.

Oddly, Phillips’ presence doesn’t really put anyone’s roster spot in jeopardy. The Giants had only three safeties — Knight, Butler and Michael …

Thursday, May 1st, 2008
Giants Rumors & NewsKnicks Rumors & News

Good morning! Your breakfast order is now up here at the Hot Stove. So, grab that coffee and dig in.

A slightly different style this morning, since thinking up breakfast items every day makes me hungry and I really, really need to drop a couple of pounds.

Anyway, here goes.

News Item: Giants visit White House

Thank you Dubya! I am, admittedly, a Democrat and I can’t wait until you’re outta town. Today, though, you’re the man. That Jessica Simpson joke you cracked when the Giants were in town yesterday, where you said “We’re going to send Jessica Simpson to the Democrat National Convention,” gave me the perfect excuse to run a photo of Tony Simpson’s — er, Romo’s — lady friend.

News Item: The Yankees are falling

Jorge Posada, Alex Rodriguez and Phil Hughes have gone on the disabled list in successive days. Any guesss who will join the injured tonight? My money is on Melky Cabrera, since he is actually playing well.

On the field, the Yankees lost and finished …

Wednesday, April 30th, 2008

Has Hughes had it too easy?

Yankees Rumors & News

So, what is wrong with ‘The Franchise’?

It is painfully obvious that the New York Yankees’ Phil Hughes, youngest starter in the majors at 21, looks out of his league right now.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way for the phenom.

Over at Bugs & Cranks, I opined that it might be time for Hughes to make a few starts at Scranton to regain his seemingly shattered confidence.

At the awesome Yankees’ blog, River Ave. Blues, they are advancing a different theory. They say Hughes’ primary problem is that he does not know how to deal with failure.

From RAB.

When Phil was cruising through the minors, he’d be going five or six innings, and in many games he’d have just two or three baserunners. That simply doesn’t happen in the majors, not for a 21-year-old. Major league hitters won’t be fooled by the same stuff that gives AA hitters fits.

That’s fine, though. Every pitcher needs to make adjustments at each new level. Phil has to adapt to not only pitching with …

Wednesday ‘Breakfast:’ The Yanks aren’t feeling well

Giants Rumors & NewsKnicks Rumors & News

Welcome to your Wednesday ‘Breakfast at the Hot Stove.’ We hope we’ve cooked up a good meal for you this morning.

Sour milk

A-Rod is heading to the disabled list to join Jorge Posada. Phil Hughes (0-4, 9.00 ERA) might be heading to Scranton after getting rocked again last night in a 6-4 loss to Detroit. Definitely not a good night for the Yankees.

Behave yourselves at the table, children!

The defending Super Bowl champion Giants (yes, I love saying that) visit the White House today. There will be no behaving like this.

Not on the menu?

Mark Jackson remains the front-runner for the Knicks’ coaching gig, and names like George Karl and Chuck Person have also popped up. Curiously, one name you never hear mentioned is former Knicks’ great Patrick Ewing, now an assistant with Orlando.

I never quite got used to the idea of Ewing as a coach. It just doesn’t seem to fit. And maybe that’s because it doesn’t.

From the New York Daily News recently.

Respected trainer/analyst David Thorpe, during an ESPN …

Tuesday, April 29th, 2008
Mets Rumors & NewsRangers Rumors & News

Time for a Tuesday edition of ‘Breakfast at the Hot Stove.’ Hope you’re hungry this morning.

Finally, some home-cookin’

The Yankees defeated the Indians, 5-2, last night, polishing off a brutal stretch where they played 18 of 20 games on the road. The 18 road games, by the way, is the most ever played in April by a major league team. The Yankees have plenty of issues with injuries, pitching and unproductive hitters, but they have to feel pretty good all things considered. They went 10-10 during that stretch, are 14-13 overall and sit just a game out of first place in a highly competitive AL East. The Bombers are home for 18 of their next 25 games, so maybe they can make some headway.

Soggy Cereal: Delgado spurns Mets’ fans

The Mets were rained out last out, and Carlos Delgado rained on the Met fans’ parade. He rejected their pleas for a curtain call Sunday, and Kevin Kernan of the New York Post says he did the right thing.

A sweet treat

The New York Rangers, down 0-2, desperately …

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