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New York Giants Need to Get Back to Basics in 2013

February 3rd, 2013 at 1:15 PM
By Jen Polashock

The New York Football Giants are one of the oldest (Est. 1925) and most storied organizations in the NFL. Although they are the proud owners of eight Championship titles (3rd in among all NFL franchises), only four of them are Lombardi/ Super Bowl titles. To football heads, this is a technicality. To those who love to claim “five rings,” etc. it gets categorized as a shortcoming.

'New York Giants in the victory formation' photo (c) 2012, Marianne O'Leary - license:

History continues to be bred in blue tradition, as last year’s playoff wins brought the Giants to the top – with more championship appearances than any other team, with 19 overall appearances. 11 Conference championship titles are blue-owned as well (6 are NFL Eastern: 1956, 1958, 1959, 1961, 1962, 1963 rather than NFC). Big Blue won their represented Division championships 16 times. Eight were NFL East (1933, 1934, 1935, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1944 & 1946) while the other eight were NFC East (1986, 1989, 1990, 1997, 2000, 2005, 2008, 2011). It’s been mentioned that the G-Men currently hold the record for most NFL playoff appearances with 31.

Anyone care to debate that it’s time to add to history and get back to basics?

It was only a year ago that the New York Giants were in the middle of Media Day and preparing for the big game, but to many of us, it feels like a lifetime. Memories are vivid and being replayed on several sports channels this week. It isn’t the same. No excitement is built up. No butterflies are forming in the pits of stomachs. No game planning to discuss here. Nothing but an empty feeling is left alongside another gut feeling as if the team doesn’t really belong here.

Basics. Run the ball and stop the run. Simple, right? Running the ball may be easier than stopping it for Big Blue.

The outlook for the offensive run game is seemingly more optimistic. With the late-season surge of first-round draft pick David Wilson, it gave oft-hurting RB Ahmad Bradshaw time to “rest” and come into the game refreshed and ready to attack opposing defenses, looking like a fresh-footed (pun intended) rookie with experience (a la 2007). #44 needs to follow his blocks more, however. Period. Having explosive back-ups like Andre Brown and a possible Kregg Lumpkin cannot hurt. FB Henry Hynoski has already shown that he is ready to take on more responsibility for the team. It is yet to be seen what the plan is at this position as far as free agency or the 2013 NFL Draft. This area should definitely become a strength this upcoming season.

As for stopping the rock from being run, well, the Giants can’t always depend on the back seven to come up and stop the ball carrier. It’s all gotta happen up front. Speed doesn’t necessarily mean a stop. What does is a huge athletic body. Defensive Tackles that plug holes and win the battle on the line most of the time. It may be old school thinking or just solid memories, but the G-Men need a DT like Jim Burt again (calm down, I didn’t say Sam Huff). The pass rush and defensive ends have been the line’s bread and butter, no doubt. The need for a change and more power is obvious here though. Adding a playmaker that can only help the front four will help the entire defense. Just an opinion.

Over-thinking in any situation can be a set up for disaster. Keeping football “basic” for 2013 can be one easy way to get to that common, coveted goal.


Tags: Ahmad Bradshaw, Andre Brown, David Wilson, Football, Henry Hynoski, Kregg Lumpkin, New York, New York Giants, NFL

49 Responses to “New York Giants Need to Get Back to Basics in 2013”

  1.  Nosh.0 says:

    Really too bad so many smart people are just plain wrong on Cruz. Who’s more important Nicks or Cruz is at least a debate. Calling Cruz a Slot WR and comparing him to Steve Smith is moronic. Cruz goes over the top and stretches defenses as good as any WR in the NFL does. Teams have to keep a safety up top when he’s on the field or they will get burned. This season with #88 a shell of himself and no one stepping up to be an adequate #2 option, Cruz caught 86 balls for over a thousand yards with 10 TD, while being doubled and going against a teams best DB.. The guy is a playmaker. Stop downplaying how good he is by calling him a “Slot WR”, it’s wrong as he lines up outside all the time. Heres his 2012 highlights, what some people really had the nerve to call an “average” season.

    Defenses have to double this guy every play or he’s a threat to take it to the house, and even with a double he’ll beat them. Really if this season showed anything it’s how pathetic the rest of our pass catchers were as no one else was able to step up and make plays with Cruz taking most of the attention.

    If we’re gonna have a reasonable talk about Cruz here’s some phrases that need to be banned.
    - “Jurnegan can replace 85% of what he does”
    - “He’s basically Steve Smith”
    - “He’s not a #1?

    These phrases are basically the equivalent of saying Women can control if they get pregnant, global warming isn’t real, and our president is a muslim from Kenya. Hard to establish credibility when such comical phrases are written.

    • Dan BentonDan Benton says:

      Cruz is extremely talented and what he offers can’t be matched by any WRs behind him on the depth chart. That said, much of his success is derived from Nicks. When #88 was a complete non-factor this year, Cruz was doubled and he vanished. When Nicks is drawing the double, Cruz runs wild.

      Not only is Nicks the obvious #1, but he’s so good he makes Cruz exceptionally better.

    •  fanfor55years says:

      Must be tough being so wrong. Or have you not heard that the Giants, who know better than all of us, seem to have easily determined that Nicks is their guy and they’re willing to let the Cruz situation play out?

      Smith was no Cruz, but except for the great, long plays, he could just as well catch those 8-12 yard balls (and hardly dropped any). Cruz is not an X-receiver, never mind #1 receiver. He isn’t Steve Smith (the other one) who while relatively small is powerful and tough and nails. As to the 85%, perhaps but perhaps not, but what Jernigan or someone else could do is force a defense to cover him, meaning Nicks or Randle has single-cover, and that’s more than enough when we also have Bennett (presumably), Brown (presumably), and Wilson.

      Look, Cruz is tremendous. He made unbelievable plays the last two years at just the right times. I don’t want to lose him. I’ve said frequently that his catch and run against the Jets last season was THE play that made the championship possible. He embarrassed the Niners in the NFC Championship game. He’s a great kid too. My son has his jersey. I REALLY don’t want to lose him. I’m just looking at it the way I think Jerry Reese is, and I cannot disagree with him.

    •  sonnymooks says:

      This isn’t a political site, and not drinking kool-aid does not mean your opinions should be banned.

      That said, regardless of how one values Cruz versus Nicks, the bottom line is that the more one of them makes, the more the other is going to make. If you think Nicks is more important then Cruz, then if Cruz gets X amount of dollars, then Nicks gets X+Y amount of dollars, if you believe the reverse, that Cruz is more important then Nicks, then Nicks gets X and Cruz gets X+Y.

      Nicks and Cruz (more specifically their agents) have it in their best interests for the other to get maximum dollars, basically, they both want “X” to be the highest amount possible, even if one of them is going to get X-Y amount of dollars, the higher “X” is, the better, and giving a hometown discount to the Giants sort of screws your teammate (and friend).

      This is going to be a tough negotiation, personally, it might be best to do both of them at the same time, independently of each other, so as to prevent them from leveraging each other.

      That said, if either one hits free agency, its bad for the Giants, and keeping just one, will diminish the one you keep, its better for Nicks to have Cruz and its better for Cruz to have Nicks. It doesn’t matter at that point who is more important, both players, perform better as a tandem then they do solo.

  2.  fanfor55years says:

    For those of you insisting that while the Giants are hard against the salary cap (in fact, in need of dumping about $10MM to get to even with it) they can “afford” to pay Cruz at the same level as Nicks (a ridiculous proposition to start with), you might want to remember that cutting all of that dead wood you suggest is there means that a good portion of their salaries would STILL count against the cap in 2013. You do NOT reduce your cap nearly dollar-for-dollar with those players’ salaries.

    For those of you saying you surround Eli with playmakers, welcome to my world (I’ve been saying playmakers are the crucial ingredient for years, but have also talked about that “core” that many seem to be ignoring). What you do NOT seem to want to admit, though, is that the cap is very precisely aimed at forcing the fair distribution of those playmakers around the league. You simply cannot hang on to a lot of them and stay under the cap. The Giants will have at least two, perhaps three, home run hitters in 2013 besides Cruz (Nicks, Wilson, Randle). They may get another one in the draft, and they may even have one already in Jernigan (who has the speed and quicks to take balls to the house after a catch). BUT, if you cannot run the football, and you cannot stop the run, you will not win championships. Most games are won or lost in the trenches and on the arm of the quarterback. That’s not going to change. So if you will HAVE sufficient big-play possibilities on offense with-or-without Cruz, and you cannot afford to pay him $9MM per annum without having to sacrifice too much talent elsewhere, then don’t try to tell me that it wouldn’t be more valuable to have a shot at one of the best draftees (who will come relatively cheap and be on a contract for five years) plus our already-likely nine additional picks (presumably including two of the first nineteen picks and three of the first fifty-one….which should get at least two potential stars and one very solid starter). A little maneuvering by Reese and we could wind up with a top corner, a top offensive lineman and a top defensive lineman by the time we made three picks, and possibly even have traded to put ourselves in position to also get a linebacker with impact.

    I think the 2013 draft is a critical one for this team that will be saying goodbye to a lot of veterans in 2014. I also think too many of you are convinced the Giants need a complete overhaul this second. They were ONE play away from the playoffs in 2012 despite playing poorly and suffering plenty of injuries. Reese will not panic. many of those most of you want gone WILL be back in 2013, as well they should. The transition won’t happen overnight, but the next two drafts are critical.

    All I can say is that I’d take Joeckel, or Warmack, or Fisher, or Jones, or Milliner, or Lotuleilei or any of 2-3 others PLUS another stud at #19 over Victor Cruz right now and never look back. I think Cruz is great. I think adding one of the above is better for the quality of the team and much better business.

    •  Dirt says:

      I think this is a bit of a reach because none of us know really what the cap hits would be for cuts and restructures. How much remaining money is salary vs bonus, etc. You could be right, but it’s not like veteran guys haven’t been cut from this team in recent years.

    •  GmenMania says:

      So let me get this straight. You would take a consensus top 5 pick and another “stud” over one Pro-Bowl wide receiver? Shocker!

      The real question is whether any team would pony up a large contract and a 1st rounder for Cruz on the open market. I think many teams would give the contract, but not many will be willing to give up the 1st rounder, and certainly not any in the top 10. Getting one of Joeckel, Millner, or Loutuleilei is a pipe dream. The only teams that would likely give up the first would be picking at the end of the first round, and probably won’t have the cap space to give Cruz the contract he wants.

      The most likely scenario is that Cruz hits free agency without an extension, we tender him at the first round level, and he eventually accepts the tender and plays another season here. What happens after he signs that tender, no one can anticipate.

  3.  Samardzija says:

    If we cant keep both Cruz and Nicks and Cruz over some of the stiffs we are paying Ill be livid.

    Some of you need to stop dislocating your shoulders trying to get in a good pat on the back though, for all we know this could be a PR stunt by the Giants trying to get Cruz to lower his demands. Impossible for anyone of us to know..

    •  Dirt says:

      Yeah pretty much. It’s news that’s come out exactly one day after “Cruz doesn’t rule out holdout”. May be true, but there is some number above 0% of this report from an anonymous source that pertains to Cruz negotiations.

  4.  Samardzija says:

    While I think Nicks is the superior player to Cruz, the game breaking ability that Cruz has is something you dont get round that often: Wilson COULD be a guy like that. Cruz already is. He has the ability to completely turn the game around and score from anywhere on the field. I dont think you can replace that quite as easily as some seem to think.

  5.  Sparky says:

    Is Cruz Good, Yes, it’s plain and simple, that’s not debatable but the Question of him being the Number 1 receiver is the question. Could he be a Number 1 receiver, you can answer that with a yes also.

    But I don’t see it happening on the Giants as long as Nicks is here, Nicks is a true X receiver on THIS team and this scheme that Gilbride has employed. The system the Giants use is not one where Cruz is the most effective as the X receiver. I don’t care much for stats, but what I saw was with a 75% Nicks Cruz did not have the usual YAC as he would have had when Nicks was much healthier. Cruz still had the catches but he was limited and for the most part relegated to little to no YAC for most (not all) of the second part of the season.

    Nicks needs to be extended even with the “durability” issue that is a fact (his big downfall is that he try’s to play through an injury too often). A 75% Nicks is better than no Nicks at all in this Gilbride System; even if we keep Cruz.

    If Cruz somehow manages to leave this season after a tender what are the possibilities of retaining Hixon? Eli’s comfortable with him and he knows the system.

  6.  Nosh.0 says:

    Don’t worry, when the Giants lock up Cruz long term I’ll be sure to come on here and salsa all over your precious ego. Just as with Osi, Plax, and the ludicrous notion that TC ever planned on retiring while Eli was here, I’ll be proven right.

    Let me know how you like to eat your crow. Perhaps with a side of salsa?


    •  fanfor55years says:

      I absolutely, positively, hope you can do that. I don’t want to lose Cruz. But I think the arguments that he’s not going anywhere are silly, as are those that compare him to “veterans who aren’t worth what they’re paid”.

      I’ll say again, I believe Reese is sitting there and that he, John Mara and Tom Coughlin all agree that they hold the cards with Cruz, that he will play for them at either the 2013 tender price or on a 3-4 year deal that is considerably less than he’d get elsewhere, and that they are 100% correct in concluding that.

      My fond hope is that Cruz signs for something like 4 years, $20MM with at least $15MM guaranteed. I don’t think he will, because someone else is going to offer him much more if he hits free agency. He’s clearly worth it to the right team. Just not to the Giants, who have plenty of other options.

    •  LUZZ says:

      I was the one that suggested TC may retire soon. It’s appearing I was wrong on that one and reading your response at the time actually made sense to me. i was only speculating not reading the tea leaves at all.

  7.  sonnymooks says:

    I agree on getting back to basics, especially with teams adopting faster tempos now. Controlling the clock and grinding down the other teams defense are not just basics, they are going to become bigger priorities.

    Its a hell of alot more easy to score points in the 4th quater, when you have been pounding that defense for the previous 3 quaters, in fact, everything works better when you have that ground and pound attack going.

    NOW stopping the run, whole different story. One of the weaknesses of the cover 2 scheme has always been that is makes you susceptible to the run unless you have outstanding talent. The Giants NEED a playmaker in the middle, not just at the DT spot, but even the MLB spot, just for support. Simply adding big slabs of beef isn’t good enough either, we need guys who can clog and collapse, and thats crucial. We don’t know if Marvin Austin will ever be that guy, and Canty is getting up there, we need to look at this draft and see what we can get. Stopping the run has not been our strong point and its going to need to be.

  8.  Dirt says:

    Peyton Manning had Harrison forever and Colts kept Wayne with him the whole time. Two receivers, two expensive ones, two Super Bowl appearances. Sure, their defense sucked, but so does the Giants’ expensive defense at the moment.

    Eli Manning weighed in on his thoughts about Cruz last Sunday when, surrounded by the best receivers in football, targeted Cruz over and over and made him the all time Pro Bowl receptions record holder. I’d bet the franchise would rather have the onus on him and his weapons and chop down the defense than have to cut his own tools away. Shht he might even take a pay cut himself to do so.

    •  Samardzija says:

      Yeah, to me this is a no brainer. Every time I see our contract situations I cant help but shake my head at what some of our players on defense are making.

      •  GmenMania says:

        +1. To pay Webster or Canty $7 million and not pay Cruz close to that is nuts. Cruz is 4 years younger than both of those guys, and is much more valuable to the team as well.

  9.  Krow says:

    And why do we assume Nicks and Cruz present some sort of Sophie’s Choice? Dump Webster and Canty … sign them both … problem solved.

  10.  fanfor55years says:

    Repeat after me: Webster and Canty count a lot against the cap in 2013 whether they’re on the team or not, unless they are restructured, which neither can be forced to do.

    You want to talk about cutting players to make room for Cruz? Okay, but that’s for 2014!!!!!! Why is it some of you just don’t get it. The issue is 2013, not the next year when a number of what look now like bad deals can be ended. The issue is what to do with Cruz in 2013!!!!

    There are two questions: who is the more important receiver on the Giants, Nicks or Cruz?; and What does Reese do with Cruz for 2013 since Cruz wants a contract that the Giants cannot afford to give him? My answers are Nicks by a mile, and play things out knowing you either get a discounted deal from the player or you give him a first-round tender. Those are my answers, and I believe they will be the Giants’ answers. Scream and yell all you want. I’m not stopping anyone from having an opinion, but many of you are not even addressing the right questions.

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