In his epic goodbye note to readers (until training camp), Daily News beat writer Ralph Vacchiano made some interesting observations. The one that caught my eye was his prediction that former fourth-round pick Andre Brown would open the season as the Giants' third running back behind Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw.
Brown's trying to return from a ruptured Achilles tendon, and you can't find a lot of running backs who've successfully pulled that off. Here's what offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride said about the topic during last week's minicamp:
"So there are a few more mistakes right now [from Brown] than we could afford if we had to put him in. We couldn’t afford to put him in right now."
Hmm...That's not exactly a ringing endorsement from the coaching staff. The offseason is normally full of hyperbole when it comes to players who are attempting to earn playing time. If you stand around Jerry Jones long enough, you'll become convinced that Kevin Ogletree's the second coming of Michael Irvin. But the Giants' coaches are tempering their remarks about Brown.
Vacchiano also had an interesting thought on the Osi Umenyiora saga:
"I like that the coaches didn’t bow to Osi Umenyiora’s pressure and made him start mini-camp as the second-teamer," writes Vacchiano. "That’s a great way to let him know you can’t demand a job. Still, knowing the two participants in this battle, I think the only eventual solution to this potential mess is to let Umenyiora start during the regular season and have Mathias Kiwanuka come off the bench. I don’t think Umenyiora will be able to help himself from being a disruption if he’s coming off the bench on game days, regardless of how much defensive coordinator Perry Fewell intends to use all his ends. Kiwanuka won’t be happy about being a backup either, but he’s more reasonable. I think. I realize that’s not exactly the best way to determine a starting job, but they’ve got to keep the peace. They can’t afford to have anyone causing the distraction that Umenyiora caused last season. And in theory, they’ll both get about the same amount of snaps anyway."
I've never known Tom Coughlin to go out of his way to "keep the peace." General manager Jerry Reese is the calming influence in the organization, but it's not like he's going to tell Coughlin how to handle Umenyiora. I think the Giants should start the player who gives them the best chance to sack the quarterback. If that's Kiwanuka, then Umenyiora will have to live with the outcome.
Umenyiora acted childishly this offseason when he threatened to retire if he was the backup. The Giants shouldn't put him in the starting lineup just because they think Kiwanuka would handle coming off the bench more maturely. That's called enabling, and I don't think it's a good precedent to set.