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New York Giants Keep or Dump: Chase Blackburn

January 20th, 2013 at 12:30 PM
By Paul Tierney

The New York Giants were incredibly fortunate to find Chase Blackburn sitting on his couch in Ohio in the midst of their 2011 season. Michael Boley was injured, neither Mark Herzlich nor Greg Jones were ready for the challenge and the Giants had no answers to fill their void at MIKE linebacker. Blackburn came to the rescue and immediately improved the quality of play that Big Blue had bee receiving at that position. Blackburn's performance in 2011 and at times in 2012 was nothing short of heroic. He doesn't have anywhere near the athleticism that many of his competitors possess, yet he finds a way to play productively at the highest level.

No matter what happens this offseason, Blackburn will remain a beloved member of the Giants organization. His hard work, determination and leadership were instrumental aspects of Big Blue's 2011 Super Bowl victory. Furthermore, his interception on a Tom Brady pass in the fourth quarter of last seasons title game sparked the drive that brought Big Blue their fourth Lombardi trophy. Big Blue coaches, players, front office members and fans all owe Chase Blackburn for the memories he helped create in last season's magical payoff run.

However, as we say here nearly every day at Giants 101, the NFL is a business. For the Giants defense to ever truly be considered an elite unit, the team is going to have to find a way to solidify the middle. It starts up front with the defensive tackles, but Blackburn's play at the second level was detrimental to the overall success of the unit. He's not fast enough to cover tight ends and back out of the backfield or to be a consistent factor against the run. In essence, he's a below average NFL linebacker who possess great awareness with marginal talent.

Blackburn's future with the team is not as cut-and-dry as some make it out to be. Obviously, he's not the ideal candidate to remain the starting MIKE linebacker into 2013. However, it's not like there are any replacements banging down the door either.

Mark Herzlich has shown a concerning lack of awareness throughout his limited playing time. Keith Rivers might not have the size or durability to hold down the middle of the defense consistently. Furthermore, Jacquian Williams and Spencer Paysinger are inexperienced and are primarily considered WILL linebackers. With Michael Boley's potential departure, there is no player currently on the roster worth replacing Blackburn with.

If the Giants can muster up the salary cap room, they should look to the free agent market for a potential replacement. This defense does not have time to wait for a younger player to develop into a starting role. Unless Jerry Reese finds a player with worth spending a high draft pick on, free agency is the best bet for finding a new MIKE linebacker.

Given the Giants salary cap issues, signing a capable veteran is going to be a precarious task to accomplish. At best, the team would be able to sign a midlevel player to a $2-$3 million per year deal. There is not going to be a perfect solution to the middle linebacker situation this offseason, but it's important that the team upgrades from Blackburn. If free agency and the draft don't yield a solution, the Giants will struggle against the run once again in 2013.

Also…

Tags: Chase Blackburn, Football, free agent, Greg Jones, Jacquian Williams, Jerry Reese, Keith Rivers, Mark Herzlich, Michael Boley, New York, New York Giants, NFL, Spencer Paysinger, Super Bowl, Tom Brady

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65 Responses to “New York Giants Keep or Dump: Chase Blackburn”

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  1.  Begiant says:

    I can’t imagine Blackburn costing too much. I think he should be resigned as a backup MLB and special teams ace. If no other options open up he can be the starter…I do not see why we would dump him.

  2.  demo3356 says:

    Bring him back for vet minimum all day. Guy is one of those do anything to help the team guys that you need to have on all winning teams. I hope to god he isnt our starting MLB this season but just the same hope he is on the roster.

  3.  GIANTT says:

    The fact that there is even a conversation tells you the poor state of the LBs as a whole . I would love to hear that we have better options etc etc but the reality of it all is that Blackburn knows the system and unless there is the 2nd coming of LT or even AP who can start from day one , I dont see where the Giants have much of an option than to keep him as Begiant says at a vet minimum in case any other options dont work . I dont see him catching on any where else b/c of his below average skills but just the fact that he KNOWS the Giants system makes him a much more valuable asset to the Giants and at vets minimum which should factor strongly in his favor

  4.  Rosedale Is Back says:

    Bring Him Back cut everyother LB not named Jacquan Williams lol

  5.  kujo says:

    Re: Rosedale’s Rant on OL

    Hey, if they decide that Brewer, McCants and Mosley are no good, or another year or 2 away from competing for playing time, and they lose one or both of Beatty and Boothe, then I fully agree–let the 2013 draft be about building an elite offensive line by any means necessary. But I suspect that won’t be the case.

    •  Barbarossa says:

      Honestly I’m pretty optimistic about the state of the O-line provided we resign both Beatty and Boothe. The only position we really a quick fix for is RT and if either A) Brewer is ready to take over or B) we can bring in another Locklear type FA we should be fine there (an unlikely C option is that Mosley or McCants is ready to challenge for the RT spot but I find that unlikely due to their draft rounds and how long it takes us to integrate new O-linemen). My only real wish for the O-line this draft is to try and pick up a very solid OG or maybe an OG/C hybrid in the second or third round (this draft is supposedly O-line heavy so hopefully somebody falls a bit and Reese can BPA snap them up) who we can then coach up this year to hopefully take over for Snee next year. If they wanted to take a second guard or center in rounds 4-7 as a project I would also be fine with that as well.

  6.  Rosedale Is Back says:

    Reese needs to cut some of the veterans to make a point in the locker room that mediocre play won’t get you nothing but out of New York. And Cruz needs to be brought in hugged and told you dropped alot of Balls this year. Showed us that you are nothing more than a slot receiver and that Hakeem is the best wideout on the squad so all this 10 million a year crap needs to be brought back a little this is NYC we made you and we are getting a home town discount! All these endorsements are because you are a Giant and we gave you a shot son take 7 million over 4 years that’s fair.

    •  Begiant says:

      Seemed to me like Cruz was ducking away from contact and playing scared all season. Probably because of his contract situation but I bet it also attributed to the number of balls he dropped.

    •  sonnymooks says:

      And Cruz’s agent will laugh at Reese, and take Cruz somewhere else and get him a big contract. The Giants don’t have to pay Cruz big money, only one team does, and Cruz agent will make sure someone does.

      Thats why they have agents, and players do follow them.

      • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

        Well, assuming it does somehow come down to one or the other, the correct answer is Nicks. And that’s not a knock on Cruz, but he plays as well as Nicks does on the other side. He’s less valuable when Nicks is out or hurt, which proves his success is in direct alignment to Nicks’ on-field ability on any given Sunday.

        •  sonnymooks says:

          Nicks is the better player, there is NO doubt about that, but Nicks without Cruz or Cruz without Nicks, diminishes both of them. You need a 2nd option, BUT an agents job, is to get his client the best contract possible, regardless of anything else. In addition, Nicks, being the better player, is going to command more dollars then Cruz.

          If Reese tells Cruz to give a hometown discount, Nicks will be in his other ear saying grab every dollar you can get. If Cruz makes “X amount of dollars”, then Nicks gets “X amount of dollars plus Y”…….Obviously, Nicks wants “X” to be the highest amount possible.

          Facing facts, we may not be able to keep both, Cruz is going to go where the best contract is, Maybe its the Giants, maybe its somewhere else, and Nicks will do the same, neither one is going to settle for less then what their agents think they can get.

          Cruz will get in the 10 mill neighborhood, we can debate if he deserves it or not, it doesn’t matter, what matters is if someone else with a checkbook thinks he deserves it or not.

          •  GOAT56 says:

            It’s not just a maater of settling or not it’s a matter of risk. Does Cruz risk guarantted money today for possible future money? Inuries happen and not signing a long term deal is a risk for Cruz even if he’s being under paid. It will be interesting what happens because I think Cruz flinches before JR.

            •  sonnymooks says:

              I hope Cruz blinks, its good for the Giants, in multiple ways. That said, thats why players have agents, and his agent isn’t going to blink, its like going into a staring contest with a goldfish.

              In addition, you know Nicks will be solidly encouraging Cruz for max dollars. Whats best for Cruz, is better for Nicks. Reese knows it, Cruz knows it, Nicks knows it, and more importantly their agents know it.

  7.  Rosedale Is Back says:

    Yea have them on our team they never ever dress or get real playing time they show flashes of talent the last year of their contract then we over pay them story of the Giants. How in the blue hell are we over the Cap I said then I looked at what we are paying these clowns Boley is getting 4.5 million, Canty 7 million Webster another 7 million Snee 6 million the Bass lmfao what the hell was Jerry Reese thinking paying a center and average center 5 million a year. We are the NY Giants why aren’t we getting a discount just to be on the squad sell the fact that this is NY that you will get endorsements and chances at a second career that you wouldn’t get playing for other teams. WTF Jerry Reese isn’t as tough as I thought.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      The same players that lead us to the SB? You have never made this post last year. Their contracts now need to be re-adjusted or cut altogether for 2013 no doubt. But let’s not act like this is black and white. All had more good days than bad it’s just that all had much poorer 2012 seasons except maybe Bass.

  8.  Rosedale Is Back says:

    Cruz is good But he isn’t Hakeem “The Dream” Nicks its just plain and simple. Hakeem is a true Elite #1 wideout with Elite hands. Cruz is an Elite slot receiver that’s all his hands are average but he’s a playmaker but we can’t pay him 10 million because Hakeem is going to have to get 12 and we can’t do that so Cruz has to be sat down and told exactly what he is the perfect Secondary option for this offense.

  9.  fanfor55years says:

    There is NO Nicks vs. Cruz issue. It isn’t a fair fight and never was.

    Unfortunately, Mosley was set back a year thanks to his injury. That was a VERY bad break for him and the team because I think he is going to be a good one. But he may not be ready now until 2014.

    The Giants could have three very good possiblities at weakside linebacker even in Boley’s absence (Williams, River and Paysinger) and he could well be a cap victim. But this stuff about “he couldn’t even get on the filed for the last four games” of last season is ridiculous. They went to a “new-and-improved” Fewell scheme that mandated different personnel. It didn’t work (just like almost every other Fewell scheme has NOT worked), but Boley’s absence didn’t necessarily have anything to do with his play. That’s a Giants 101 legend that keeps getting repeated and isn’t true. If Boley goes it will mean losing the best linebacker on the team because he costs too much, not because he has no value.

    I said going into last season that the entire season would go down the drain if Beatty wasn’t ready to step his game up. My view right now is that the same holds for Brewer in 2013. He HAS to be ready or they have to bring in a solid veteran AND draft a RT high. And even then, it could be a rough season without Brewer finally proving he is a far-better-than-average tackle. They need that.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Oh yeah, Blackburn at veteran minimum is obviously a good move. That should go without saying. Special team expertise, excellent role model, good backup at all three positions, and a good “teacher” for the youngsters.

      But if he’s the starter we have a problem.

    •  GOAT56 says:

      F55

      I think Cruz vs Nicks is a discussion because you have factor in Nicks durability. And also add that still Nicks will likely cost more. I think those 2 factors make it an discussion. Now seeing this year to me makes it even more Nicks IMO. But I think the injury factor makes it some question. Plus add that Cruz’s contract is up first so by even signing Cruz to a reasonable deal like 4 years 26 mil that influences if we can re-sign Nicks in 2014.

  10.  Hardcharger says:

    I don’t understand all the Criticism Fewell is getting as our defense was top rated turnover team. Isn’t that whatt he was brought here to do? If our offense was elite like it was supposed to be than we wouldn’t be having this conversation right now. I can see about three games we should have won if our offense was what we thought it was. I think the offense really affected our defense. I mean, how many interceptions and fumbles did we see and our offense only came away with only 3 or 0 points. That has to take its toll on the defensive players. Could that also be a reason our defense underperformed? I think it played a part. Even with our defensive front paying as horribly as it did we did come away with plenty of turnovers. You have to give Fewell some credit for that. Plus, everyone here wants a creative coach but we chastise a coach who tries some different approaches. Is that not trying to be creative? If they would have worked he would have been called a genius. Once again, you have to at least give him some credit for trying something new. And before someone else says it, 4-4 only works in college but they said the same thing about this spread option offense. With that said, I wouldn’t mind a new D coach and that’s only because I rather have an attacking/blitzing style defense.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Those who think Fewell stinks have laid out the case over many months. Go back and read all those posts. Too long and boring to elaborate again.

      •  Barbarossa says:

        To sum up my biggest complaint about Fewell briefly he is the football equivalent of an ideologue. Everything revolves around his scheme and what he wants to do with the defense. Unfortunately while his scheme is great in theory we DO NOT have the players for it and consequently he is misusing several important players on our defense (Corey Webster, Jason Pierre-Paul, Antrel Rolle, Chase Blackburn, I could go on.). It is a square peg round hole problem and it is infuriating to watch him make the same mistakes over and over. Obviously this is a gross over-simplification, but I think misuse of personnel and not playing to our strengths is the single biggest contributor to two years of under-performing on defense.

        •  GmenMania says:

          Agreed. Put Fewell on the Bears, and I’m sure he’d do well. Their personnel is suited to a Cover-2 Defense. The Giants? Not so much.

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