NFL Nation: Rich Seubert

Thoughtful piece here from Paul Schwartz, with the help of former New York Giants tackle Luke Petitgout, on the Giants' preference for parting ways with players before those players lose their effectiveness. At the end of the week in which the Giants cut two-time Super Bowl-winning running back Ahmad Bradshaw, as well as linebacker Michael Boley and defensive tackle Chris Canty, Petitgout remembers his own experience and sees it reflected in what's going on now:
“The Giants are a family,’’ Petitgout said. “It’s something tough to accept, like when a girlfriend dumps you. They know when your time is up. Some guys may buck the trend and have a good couple years after that but if you’ve been there a long time, they know your medical history, they know your aches and pains, they usually make the right decision. I basically had a time bomb in my back and when I went to Tampa it went off. The Giants knew what they were doing.’’
[+] EnlargeAhmad Bradshaw
Jim O'Connor/USA TODAY SportsThe Giants parted ways this week with Ahmad Bradshaw, who was their leading rusher the past three seasons.
It cannot have been easy for GM Jerry Reese to say goodbye to Bradshaw, who played through significant pain to help deliver the team's Super Bowl title last year. But between Bradshaw's salary and the chronic foot injuries that kept him from practicing during the week or playing at full strength on Sundays, the Giants believed it was the right thing to do. It's not the first time they've cut a player while he was still an effective producer for them, and if Bradshaw's best days are behind him, it won't be the first time the Giants cut a still-productive player just in time:
Reese is rarely wrong. As a former scout, his eye for talent isn’t confined to youngsters. Steve Smith and Kevin Boss haven’t done a thing and haven’t stayed healthy. He traded away Jeremy Shockey. He did not re-sign Brandon Jacobs, Derrick Ward or Amani Toomer. He cut Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert and Kareem McKenzie. He didn’t think Antonio Pierce's neck was sound enough to continue playing. He passed on bringing back Plaxico Burress. In the same purge that caught Petitgout, Reese also jettisoned Carlos Emmons and LaVar Arrington. Did any of these players prove Reese wrong?

Pretty amazing list. Combine this idea with what we wrote about here Thursday -- the Giants' organizational belief in developing young players in their system so they're ready to take over when it's time for the veterans to go -- and it's easy to see that Reese has a definite plan and is sticking to it. Will it work? No way to know. If the Giants are in something of a rebuild mode, they're going to need many of their young players to be as good as the team thought they'd be when it drafted them. And not even Reese, with all of his track record, can predict how players are going to play. The point is, even as things change with the Giants and people come and go, it's still easy to see the consistency with which they operate, and it has served them well.

Camp Confidential: Giants

August, 14, 2011
8/14/11
12:02
PM ET
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- It's funny to say this about a team that plays where they play, but the New York Giants like it when nobody notices them. They like being forgotten, underestimated, treated as an afterthought. They're OK with the Jets getting all the back-page-tabloid attention and the Eagles being the big offseason story because of their free-agent shopping spree. The Giants believe in their own way of doing things, and if that means lying in the weeds while people on the outside are distracted by other teams that are hot at the moment, that's fine with them.

"We believe in our organization, and we believe in our coaches," said ninth-year offensive lineman David Diehl, who has moved from left tackle to left guard as part of the Giants' offensive line shuffle. "We're not running around doing the free-agency fiasco and all that stuff. Yeah, you hope that, if an opportunity arises, you bring in guys that fit holes. But at the same time, we've got guys that have been here, guys that are a part of this team, guys who know the system."

That's why, even though they lost tight end Kevin Boss and receiver Steve Smith in free agency and didn't sign new guys the way the Eagles did, the Giants say they're not worried. They have a different way of doing things here. They build through the draft and groom their own players to replace the ones who leave. And they have a few guys they think can fill the holes created by their cuts and free-agent defections. It remains to be seen whether they're right, of course, but the vibe at Giants training camp is clear: Go ahead, underestimate us. We'll see how it turns out in the end.

THREE HOT ISSUES

[+] EnlargeWilliam Beatty
Bruce Kluckhohn/US PresswireThe Giants will have a revamped offensive line that includes William Beatty, left, at left tackle.
1. The new offensive line. When they cut longtime center Shaun O'Hara and guard Rich Seubert on the first day of free agency, the Giants signaled a decision to change an aspect of their team that hadn't changed much over the past six or seven years. They signed free-agent center David Baas from San Francisco, moved Diehl inside, and gave the starting left tackle job to 2009 second-round draft pick William Beatty. So there are questions that must be answered about how quickly the newly configured group can jell, how smooth the relationship between Baas and quarterback Eli Manning will be and, perhaps most importantly, whether Beatty in his third NFL season is ready for the responsibility of protecting Manning's blind side.

"In the case of William Beatty, it's time," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "We've had him here. He's talented. He's had an opportunity to learn. He's practiced against some of the best. We've had some defensive ends around here that can play. So it's time. It's his turn."

Beatty started four games in his rookie season and two last season as he was being groomed for this opportunity. He's perhaps the best example of the Giants' belief in their ability to groom their own replacements for departing veterans rather than having to hit the free-agent market to do so. Now, he must prove that their faith in him was justified.

2. Can Osi Umenyiora be happy? Upset about his contract, the Giants' star defensive end has sat out practice and demanded that the team re-work his deal or trade him to a team that will. Neither of those things appears likely to happen, though the Giants have offered an olive branch in the form of some 2011 incentives depending on the number of sacks Umenyiora gets this year. He had his knee checked out last week and there's a sense he could return to practice Monday. The way Jason Pierre-Paul played in Saturday night's preseason opener only helped the Giants' leverage in this situation. They believe Pierre-Paul, their 2010 first-round pick, can be a capable replacement for Umenyiora at the defensive end spot opposite Justin Tuck. Of course, if Umenyiora wants to come back and play, they'll be thrilled to be able to rotate three such weapons at the defensive end spots. It would also enable them to put Mathias Kiwanuka at linebacker and leave him there.

3. Manning's safety valves. As the Giants' passing game evolved over the past couple of seasons, Manning relied heavily on Smith and Boss as targets when things broke down. Both are gone. The Giants hope that 2009 third-round pick Travis Beckum is ready to replace Boss. Beckum is a good receiver, but he doesn't have Boss' size or blocking ability. And they're trying everyone from Mario Manningham to Domenik Hixon to Victor Cruz in Smith's old slot-receiver role in the hopes that someone can play the position the way Smith did. Top receiver Hakeem Nicks appears poised to have another big year, and the Giants can use Manningham on the outside as they did last season. But Manning is justifiably concerned about who will be there for him when a play inevitably breaks down, and tight end and slot receiver are positions that need to be sorted out before camp ends.

"When we've gotten in trouble in the past, we always had Steve in the slot, and that's kind of all we worked on -- Steve's in the slot, there you go, he's got it down," Manning said. "And so last year, when he got hurt, we were in trouble. No one else really knew how to play it. So this year we're putting everybody -- Hakeem is in there, Manningham's getting in here, we're getting a lot of people in there to get them to learn some of it, so that'll probably create some more opportunities for us to move guys around and get some mismatches."

MAN IN THE MIDDLE

[+] EnlargeJonathan Goff
William Perlman/The Star-Ledger via US PresswireJonathan Goff is entering his second season as the starting middle linebacker.
Linebacker has been a weak spot for the Giants the past couple of years. Unable to add outside free agents because of cap concerns, they'll address it by moving Kiwanuka there for first and second downs. But much will still fall on the shoulders of Jonathan Goff, who enters his second season as starter at middle linebacker in the Giants' 4-3 defense. "I'll have better composure this year," Goff said. "Last year, being my first year, was a little bit of a learning experience for me. This year, I think we're all on the same page to move forward as a defense and get better. It's just natural now." Goff is responsible for communicating the calls from the sidelines and for making any front-seven checks. (The coverage checks are the responsibility of the safeties.) He knows he'll need to take a stronger on-field leadership role for the defense to play more consistently this season.

AN 'EXPLOSIVE' PHILLIPS

Two years ago, Kenny Phillips was on the verge of breaking out as one of the top safeties in the NFL. But he lost his 2009 season to a left knee injury, spent the 2009-10 offseason rehabbing the knee and wasn't the same player when he returned in 2010. This year, Phillips said, he was able to condition himself the way he normally would for a season, rather than have to rehab, and believes it has made a huge difference. "Just being more explosive," Phillips said. "Last year, just seeing the field, it was kind of difficult at times, because I'd been away from the game, to be able to break on the ball -- to actually see it and then be able to get to it. But this year, now, everything is just fluid. My technique and everything is sound. I just feel good about everything this year." Phillips said he learned a lot last season playing and working with veteran safety Deon Grant (who remains an unsigned free agent), and that, with his physical ability fully restored, he believes he'll be a better player.

OBSERVATION DECK

  • Hixon could be a very important player for the Giants if he's recovered from his knee injury. He showed ability to play that slot receiver position when he was healthy, and will get a chance to show it again, though it seems clear the Giants would like to have multiple options there in case something goes wrong.
  • Linval Joseph, the 2010 second-round pick, would seem to have the playing-time edge at defensive tackle over 2011 second-round pick Marvin Austin. But each brings impressive size and agility to the position, and between them the Giants should be able to capably replace Barry Cofield, who signed with Washington.
  • The starting secondary of Phillips, Antrel Rolle, Terrell Thomas and Corey Webster looks excellent in practice. The question is whether there's enough depth behind those guys if there's an injury. Cornerbacks Michael Coe and Brian Witherspoon and safety Tyler Sash have a chance to earn playing time with Prince Amukamara hurt and Grant not re-signed. Witherspoon has been impressive on special teams and looked good in Saturday's game. Sash appears to be very athletic, but he needs to play with more discipline.
  • Kiwanuka at linebacker is a work in progress. No question he has the ability to play it, but he over-pursued Saturday at times the way a defensive end might.
  • Even before he left Saturday's preseason game with a thigh injury, kicker Lawrence Tynes looked as though he might be cause for concern. Having missed a few practices as he recovers from knee surgery, Tynes was unable to boot kickoffs out of the back of the end zone the way it seems every other kicker in the league has so far this preseason. And he missed a couple of field goals (though the first was a 56-yarder he shouldn't have been asked to try). Worth keeping an eye out to see how he looks the rest of August.
  • As for punters, Matt Dodge has looked better than he did in his difficult rookie season, but it's going to be tough for him to beat out Steve Weatherford, who's just better at the job.
  • Every day is different, for everybody and every team. And so, at the end of a crazy day tracking, dissecting and analyzing all of the moves being made and not being made in the NFC East, we like to pause and ask each team a simple question: How was your day ...

    Dallas Cowboys?

    "Fiscally responsible." Yeah, that's not a real exciting answer. And as pretty much every one of their fans will tell you, the Cowboys haven't had a real exciting week. But while Jerry Jones would surely love to be slugging it out for Nnamdi Asomugha and the other top free agents, the fact is the Cowboys had to start this offseason slowly. Thursday, they added Marc Colombo to the list of cuts that will trim more than $19 million in payroll and help get them under the cap. They agreed to terms with left guard Kyle Kosier one day after bringing back left tackle Doug Free. They signed first-round pick and projected starting right tackle Tyron Smith and then immediately let linebacker DeMarcus Ware go to work on him in his first training-camp practice. But they did nothing to address their holes on defense, and in fact they lost one of their free-agent defensive ends, Stephen Bowen, to the Redskins. But that loss could be a gain. Bowen got a surprisingly huge deal (five years, $27.5 million, $12.5 million guaranteed), and the Cowboys don't believe he was worth that much. That deal could actually help them get the defensive end they want, the Packers' Cullen Jenkins, who'd been talking to the Redskins but no longer is. The Cowboys still need two safeties, two defensive ends and maybe another offensive lineman. But they'll get them. Fans just need to be patient. This may not be the most exciting Cowboys offseason ever, but it will surely be more productive than it's been so far. They are crawling before they walk.

    New York Giants?

    "Newsy." The Giants are still working and waiting on the resolution of their negotiations with Ahmad Bradshaw, Kevin Boss and Steve Smith, but they did knock out a new deal for Mathias Kiwanuka on Thursday. And Bradshaw lost a lot of his leverage when the Dolphins, with whom he and his agent had been playing kissy-face, acquired Reggie Bush, so they should be able to get him at something closer to their price. But this day for the Giants was more about people talking -- John Mara talking about Plaxico Burress and Osi Umenyiora, the team talking to David Diehl about moving from tackle to guard and to Will Beatty about starting at left tackle, Rich Seubert and Shaun O'Hara talking about being cut ... lots of talking. There was even a report that the Giants were talking to Brad Maynard about coming in to replace shaky punter Matt Dodge. The talking -- at least to the free agents -- will soon lead to results one way or the other. But there was no shortage of interesting storylines coming out of Giantsland on Thursday.

    Philadelphia Eagles?

    "Cathartic." Yeah, they finally got that Kevin Kolb deal done. Felt like it took forever, right? Well, that's only because of that little lockout thing we no longer like to talk about. The end result is that the Eagles have their starting right cornerback in Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and a second-round pick next year and will need to go find a veteran backup for Michael Vick, which won't be too hard. They also agreed to terms on a five-year contract with defensive end Jason Babin, who was much better last season with the Titans than he was in his first stint as an Eagle. But he should be OK since he'll be working with former Titans defensive line coach Jim Washburn, who's now in Philly. They still need to address linebacker and backup running back and maybe offensive line, but the actual moves they got to do Thursday will help, and at least they provided some distraction from this very icky DeSean Jackson holdout situation.

    Washington Redskins?

    "Productive." I'm sorry. I don't think they'll contend in 2011, but I really, really like what the Redskins are doing. Sure, they overpaid for Bowen. But as someone pointed out to me on my extremely active Twitter day, the Redskins (a) have the money and (b) sort of have to overpay right now to get guys to go there, right? Like cornerback Josh Wilson, Bowen is a guy who is young and still emerging, and the Redskins are making a bet that he'll be better in the short-term future than he is now. They are a future-focused team and should be, and their moves have reflected that. Another example: They cut veteran center Casey Rabach and reportedly agreed to terms with Chris Chester, who can replace Rabach at center or play guard if Will Montgomery or Kory Lichtensteiger does. Still need a right tackle, but the defense starts to look pretty doggone respectable with the additions of Wilson, Bowen and Barry Cofield. Oh, and I almost forget. They dumped Albert Haynesworth on an AFC team before the sun came up. That alone would have made it a decent day for Mike Shanahan no matter what else happened.

    Me? Man. My day was kind of nuts. Did some more TV and a whole lot of Twitter conversating with y'all. Enjoyed every single bit of it and can't wait for tomorrow.

    How was your day?

    NFC East: How was your day?

    July, 26, 2011
    7/26/11
    10:14
    PM ET
    It's clear by now that this first week or so of post-lockout NFL business is going to be as insane as Eagles fans likely remember Crazy Eddie's prices were. A quick review shows that I did 13 NFC East blog posts and a live chat in a 12-hour stretch Tuesday, and things are just getting revved up. So, because we're doing quick-hit analysis move-by-move and some things are obviously going to slip through the cracks, I'm going to try and do a daily Day-in-Review post that tries to assess what kind of day each team in the division had. I was originally planning to do one per team, but for now we'll try this. Going to try, I said. If it doesn't work... hey, I tried.

    So, how was your day...

    Dallas Cowboys?

    "Efficient." Dallas needed to make some cuts to work on getting under the salary cap, and they trimmed Marion Barber, Leonard Davis, Roy Williams and Kris Brown from their roster. Marc Colombo's status remained up in the air at day's end, and the next order of business was likely the restructuring of some veteran contracts (Romo, Austin, etc.) to keep freeing up room for outside free-agent pursuits. Reports surfaced that they reached out to Abe Elam to talk about one of their openings at safety, and they are talking with guard Kyle Kosier, who along with Doug Free is an important re-sign for them. Knocking $16.6 million off their 2011 payroll represents a good first day for a team that needs to rebuild its defense within the next week.

    New York Giants?

    "Confusing." When the Giants decided not to make offensive line a priority in the draft, many people assumed it was because they felt they had enough depth at the position. But Tuesday brought news that veterans Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert and Shawn Andrews would be cut. Adam Schefter reported that Kevin Boothe would return on a two-year deal, but even if Will Beatty is ready to be the starting left tackle, the Giants will need reinforcements. They also needed to get under the cap, but such a drastic purge at one position suggests a recalibration of free-agent priorities for a team that has work to do to bring back several of its own free agents. Adam also reports that the Giants have been speaking with Plaxico Burress about a reunion, which is confusing in light of what Burress had to say about Tom Coughlin after his release from prison last month. Giants fans tend to trust their team's front office, but if there's a sound plan here, it has yet to reveal itself. The Giants did make a feel-good move in the morning, signing undrafted rookie and cancer survivor Mark Herzlich, who could be part of the solution at linebacker if he can return to the form that made him one of the best defensive players in college football in 2008. Jay Glazer of FoxSports.com reported on Twitter that potential linebacker target Paul Posluszny would sign with the Jaguars, but I still expect the Giants to find another linebacker in free agency. Herzlich has big upside but is no sure thing.

    Philadelphia Eagles?

    "Unsatisfying." We woke with the idea that the long-expected Kevin Kolb trade could happen as soon as the clock struck 10 am. It did not happen, and in fact the market for Kolb took a hit with the news that the Broncos were trying to trade Kyle Orton (thereby providing the Cardinals with another option) and that the Seahawks were going to sign Tarvaris Jackson (depriving the Eagles of the most viable other trade partner with which they could leverage Arizona). Kolb to Arizona still seems the most likely outcome here, but the longer it goes without the Eagles getting what they need to get in return, the more likely it is that he ends up staying in Philadelphia. Michael Vick hinted that DeSean Jackson could hold out of training camp due to dissatisfaction with his contract situation, which portends trouble on that front. The Philadelphia Inquirer also reported that the Eagles were planning to let go of all of their own free agents, including linebacker Stewart Bradley and backup running back Jerome Harrison -- news that led some (including me) to speculate that they were clearing the financial decks for a big signing such as Nnamdi Asomugha. One of those free agents, safety Quintin Mikell, agreed to a deal with the Rams, according to Adam. And the team announced the signing of undrafted running back Noel Devine of West Virginia, who could perhaps compete with Dion Lewis for that backup running back spot. Fair amount of business conducted, but none of the big moves we've been expecting from the Eagles... yet.

    Washington Redskins

    "Encouraging." There were reports of discussions of a trade of Donovan McNabb to Minnesota, which was a mild surprise. If they can get anything -- even a fifth-round pick -- for McNabb, they'll have to call that a win. Adam reported that Santana Moss had agreed to return on a three-year, $15 million deal, which is a move each side wanted to make sure happened and will help the Redskins' inexperienced quarterback and receivers. I don't think that move takes them out of the running for Santonio Holmes, but The Star-Ledger reported that the Jets are moving to try and re-sign Holmes, as was expected. So he remains a long shot, and potential offensive line target Marshal Yanda re-upped with the Ravens, taking him out of Washington's plans. But the re-signing of Moss and the serious McNabb talks have to count as a good first day for a team with a lot to do.

    How was my day, you ask? Busy, but lots of fun. Looking forward to another busy/fun one tomorrow. Love that we have actual news to write about, at long last. And I hope you enjoyed your day here on the NFC East blog. Talk to you again in the morning.
    Earlier today, we discussed the Giants' decision to release offensive linemen Shaun O'Hara and Rich Seubert. The moves continue. According to Shawn Andrews' Twitter account, he and the Giants were unable to come to agreement on a restructuring of his contract and he's out as well. Adam Schefter reports that they are going to re-sign Kevin Boothe to a new two-year deal, so that helps, but they're going to need to be in the offensive line market in free agency. I know Giants fans are saying they trust Jerry Reese to figure this out, but I still have to think they would have addressed the line in the draft if the plan all along was to cut all of these guys.

    Meanwhile, Adam also reports that the Giants are interested in bringing back receiver Plaxico Burress, who helped them win a Super Bowl four years ago but got sent to prison for shooting himself in the leg with an unlicensed gun in a crowded nightclub two years ago. Given what Burress had to say about Giants coach Tom Coughlin upon his release from prison last month, it's hard to imagine he wants to go back there. But if the offer is right and the other interest isn't what he hopes, there's always chance for a reconciliation, I would think. Makes one think the Giants are worried about Steve Smith's injury, no?

    Giants cuts: O'Hara, Seubert

    July, 26, 2011
    7/26/11
    3:21
    PM ET
    Not the greatest day to be a veteran offensive lineman for the New York Giants. On the first day of post-lockout NFL business, the Giants have informed longtime center Shaun O'Hara and guard Rich Seubert that they will be released. The Giants have work to do to get under the salary cap, and they appear to have begun that work by ridding themselves of the contract of a couple of injured veterans on the interior of their offensive line.

    The Giants, who are about $6 million over the cap, will save about $5.3 million with those two cuts. How they replace their starting center of the past seven years and one of the guys who filled in for him when he was injured last year remains to be seen. Backup center Adam Koets is coming off knee surgery himself.

    There has been some talk of left tackle David Diehl moving inside, but that assumes Will Beatty is ready to take over the starting left tackle position. And we're still waiting to see what happens with Shawn Andrews, who filled in at a couple of different positions along the line in 2010 and could be the starting left tackle if Beatty isn't ready. Many have assumed that Andrews was at risk to be cut, since he stands to make $7.5 million this year. But if he agrees to restructure, it appears as if they have a couple of ways they could still use him.

    Regardless, it appears as though they will be needing some new bodies for the offensive line in New York. Expect this, along with linebacker, to be the position they look to address in free agency.

    O'Hara, incidentally, was the Giants' NFLPA player rep and, along with Giants owner John Mara, a key figure in the negotiations between players and owners. Got to think it burns him up to have sat across the table from Mara those many months only to be blindsided like this on the first day after the lockout ended. O'Hara was the Giants' starting center for every game but one from 2005-09. He missed 10 games last year with foot and ankle injuries.

    Free agency in the East: Guards

    June, 23, 2011
    6/23/11
    11:10
    AM ET
    We continue our position-by-position look at four-year unrestricted free agency and its potential impact on the NFC East teams and their plans. The fourth in our series will focus on the guard position, where, even with top guy Logan Mankins franchised by the Patriots, there are a number of good options available.

    NFC East teams in need

    [+] EnlargeDallas' Kyle Kosier
    Howard Smith/US PRESSWIREOffensive guard Kyle Kosier will be an important player for the Cowboys to re-sign.
    Cowboys: Left guard Kyle Kosier is on the list below, and the Cowboys will make an effort to bring him back. But even if they do, they could cut ties with Leonard Davis at the right guard spot, and unless they think Montrae Holland or one of their late-round draft picks is ready to start there, they will be on the hunt for free-agent help.

    Giants: Yeah, we've gone round and round on this topic. And if everyone's healthy, the Giants are fine at guard with Chris Snee and Rich Seubert. But if center Shaun O'Hara falters, Seubert moves in there and they could stand to add some depth. They've discussed moving left tackle David Diehl back inside, which could answer some of these concerns.

    Redskins: They like the progress Kory Lichtensteiger showed on the left side last year, but if they're not convinced Will Montgomery and/or Artis Hicks can handle the right guard spot, Washington could be looking for a more established starter there.

    Top five potential unrestricted free-agent guards

    1. Harvey Dahl. Most likely to stay in Atlanta, but he's a fearsome run blocker who would help in Dallas if they decided to commit to the run. Also a natural guard who could help the Redskins move Montgomery to center if Casey Rabach falters and they need to do that. The Falcons also have another solid guard, Justin Blalock, who would be unrestricted under the proposed new rules, so they may have to make a choice.

    2. Davin Joseph. Loaded with talent and potential, but he's had some injury issues (including last season's broken foot) that could lead the Buccaneers to part ways with him and give other teams pause before signing him.

    3. Daryn Colledge. He's got a Super Bowl ring, which will catch teams' attention if the Packers decide they have enough depth to let him go.

    4. Kosier. Getting up there in years, but he's an important player for the Cowboys to re-sign because they like the way he worked with rising star Doug Free on the left side and would rather not break up that pairing.

    5. Marshal Yanda. He played right tackle for most of 2010 in Baltimore in place of the injured Jared Gaither, but he's got experience at guard too. That kind of versatility -- the ability to play any spot along the line at a starter's level -- should have widespread appeal. He'd be a perfect guy for the Giants if they're looking to add reliable depth but don't feel they have a specific spot that needs filling.

    Predictions that mean nothing: Cowboys re-sign Kosier but let go of Davis and pursue another free-agent option, such as Joseph. Redskins sign Yanda to play either right guard or right tackle. Giants do nothing.
    LANDOVER, Md. -- The new year begins a lot like last year did for the New York Giants as they will miss the playoffs again.

    The Giants took care of their business by beating the Washington Redskins, 17-14, at FedEx Field. But the Green Bay Packers defeated the Chicago Bears and clinched a playoff spot and eliminate the Giants.

    What it means: The Giants (10-6) have only themselves to blame with their collapse in the final eight minutes against Philadelphia before getting routed in Green Bay with a playoff berth at stake last week.

    Now the Giants have an entire offseason to contemplate what went wrong and how they came so close to being a very good team but could never quite get it together against their stiffest competition.

    An imperfect 10: The Giants won their 10th game of the season but became the 18th team since 1978 (not including the strike-shortened season in 1982) to win 10 games or more and miss the postseason according to ESPN Stats & Information.

    Super Mario: With the Giants struggling to separate themselves from the Redskins, Mario Manningham blew by DeAngelo Hall for a 92-yard touchdown catch that gave the Giants a 17-7 lead early in the third quarter. Playing as the top receiver with Hakeem Nicks sidelined by a broken toe, Manningham was the big playmaker the Giants need in the passing game, finishing with four receptions for 101 yards and a touchdown.

    Another Giant injury: The Giants lost Rich Seubert early in the game with a dislocated right kneecap. Seubert was in agonizing pain almost immediately after his leg appeared to get caught underneath him. Seubert arguably has been the Giants’ best offensive lineman. While guard Chris Snee is going to the Pro Bowl again, Seubert has played guard and been terrific at center in place of the injured Shaun O’Hara, who was also voted to the Pro Bowl.

    With Seubert out, the Giants inserted Kevin Boothe at center. The Giants have had three linemen play center and suffer injuries -- Seubert, O’Hara and Adam Koets.

    Giants defense: The Giants defense tried to go out on a positive note after their previous five quarters against the Eagles and the Packers. Perry Fewell’s unit forced four turnovers, including three fumbles, to hold off the Redskins and quarterback Rex Grossman. Osi Umenyiora did his strip-sack thing and Jonathan Goff forced another fumble with the Redskins inside the Giants’ 20 and driving. Keith Bulluck intercepted Grossman.

    Umenyiora had a terrific regular-season finale, recovering one of his own strips. But the Giants, as they have done late in the season, suffered a lapse and gave up a 64-yard touchdown catch to Anthony Armstrong to cut the Giants’ lead to 17-14 with under six minutes remaining. But they were able to hold on at the end.

    What's next: For the second straight year, the Giants failed to make the postseason. Now it remains to be seen what kind of changes the organization will make. General manager Jerry Reese said earlier Sunday that Tom Coughlin knows where he stands, a hint that the head coach could return.

    NFC East Pro Bowl analysis

    December, 28, 2010
    12/28/10
    8:20
    PM ET
    NFC Pro Bowl: East | West | North | South AFC Pro Bowl: East | West | North | South

    Perfect sense: I think right guard Chris Snee was the one New York Giants player who truly deserved to start, so the voters got this one right. And Giants defensive end Justin Tuck is one of the most feared pass-rushers in the league, so he deserved to make it as a reserve. Tuck's six forced fumbles probably helped him grab the final spot ahead of Eagles defensive end Trent Cole (nine sacks), who has been excellent against the run. I think the Philadelphia Eagles' Michael Vick was the most obvious choice in the division. He'll start at quarterback, and he'll be throwing to reserve wide receiver DeSean Jackson of the Eagles. Jackson was edged out for a starting spot by Calvin Johnson of the Detroit Lions and Roddy White of the Atlanta Falcons. And considering that Jackson's numbers were down when he played with Kevin Kolb early in the season, it's understandable that he didn't receive a starting nod.

    I thought Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten, outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware and punter Mat McBriar were all no-brainers. Witten has 90 catches and he's lifted his game since Jon Kitna replaced Tony Romo in the starting lineup. Ware hasn't been as dominant as in the past, but he's still considered one of the two or three best pass-rushers in the league. And McBriar has had a phenomenal season. He's led the league in net and gross average for much of the season. But the Cowboys getting five starters while the Eagles only had four seems a bit ridiculous considering their records. I could go either way on Washington's DeAngelo Hall. He has six interceptions and eight takeaways overall, but it's not like he was a picture of consistency. He probably played well enough not to end up in the next category.

    Made it on rep: The voters always seem to make major errors along the offensive line. Bears center Olin Kreutz was still starting after he'd faded as as a player. And though Giants center Shaun O'Hara is a good player, he missed way too many games (nine) to be named to a Pro Bowl team this season. Rich Seubert actually had a better season than O'Hara, but more players and coaches have followed O'Hara's work over the years. The fact that Cowboys center Andre Gurode drew a starting nod shows how much of a farce the Pro Bowl can be. Gurode's deserved to go in the past, but not this season. And as talented as he is, you have to say that Jay Ratliff's going on reputation this season. Surely a 5-10 team doesn't deserve five starters. Sometimes it helps to have that star on your helmet at voting time. I'm not sure where to put Eagles left tackle Jason Peters. I will admit that he played much better this season, so this is not as big of a sham as it was last season with him starting. But to me, Todd Herremans is the Eagles' best offensive lineman.

    Got robbed: I know Hakeem Nicks missed a couple of games with a leg injury, but I thought he was deserving of Pro Bowl consideration. He has emerged as one of the best wide receivers in a division that is filled with talent at that position. I'm not sure Cowboys left tackle Doug Free was "robbed," but he was best offensive lineman the Cowboys had this season and is far more deserving than Gurode. Cole should have been in the mix, and I also think Eagles defensive tackle Antonio Dixon had one of those under-the-radar nice seasons. Redskins safety LaRon Landry was on pace to make the Pro Bowl team, but an injury landed him on injured reserve. Was he robbed? Probably not. But he had a much better season than O'Hara -- and I think O'Hara would be the first to admit that.

    One more name from the Redskins: I realize that rookie left tackle Trent Williams sort of limped into the end of the season, but I was very impressed with how he played in the first 11 games or so.

    Click here for the complete Pro Bowl list.

    Live from New Jersey

    December, 19, 2010
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    EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Greetings from New Meadowlands Stadium, where we're waiting to find out whether Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Asante Samuel and right tackle Winston Justice will play against the Giants. ESPN's Sal Paolantonio has already reported that Eagles wide receiver DeSean Jackson (foot) should be good to go for today's game.

    Sal listed Samuel as "highly questionable," so we'll keep our eye on that situation. For the Giants, all signs point toward Shaun O'Hara (foot) finally returning to the starting lineup. That means that Rich Seubert will return to his old spot at left guard. He joked this week that playing center was much easier on his body.

    Giants' Shaun O'Hara in a hard cast

    August, 26, 2010
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    Turns out the Philadelphia Eagles aren't the only team with issues at center. Giants starting center Shaun O'Hara is now wearing a hard cast because of left Achilles tendinitis and ankle swelling. He's expected to miss the rest of the preseason, which will not please Tom Coughlin. The Giants head coach believes that it's absolutely necessary to find some continuity with the offensive line heading into the season.

    Rich Seubert will take over at center until O'Hara returns. The good news is that O'Hara has a high pain threshold and he'll try to play through this issue.

    "It's just something I've been dealing with pretty much all through camp," O'Hara said. "I've had some good days and some bad days. It's been something we've been kind of coping with and working through. It's reached the point where we decided we need to just try to isolate it and give it some complete and total rest."

    If the Giants can get ahead of this injury now, it will give O'Hara a better chance of making it through the season. If O'Hara can't be ready in time for Week 1, I'd expect for Will Beatty to take over at left tackle and David Diehl at left guard.

    Anyone remember the Giants?

    April, 15, 2010
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    Tom Coughlin Jerry ReeseAP Photo/Bill KostrounUnlike their NFC East counterparts, Giants GM Jerry Reese and coach Tom Coughlin have not made any splashy moves this offseason.
    I was just thinking about the good ol' days of the '07 offseason, when Jeremy Shockey was shouting at new general manager Jerry Reese and Michael Strahan was threatening to retire to a life of football analysis and sitcom appearances. Three years later, the Giants have become the shrinking violet of the Beast compared to their counterparts.

    It's gotten to the point where it's nearly impossible to get co-owner John Mara to say anything to a secretly placed cellphone camera. And while the Eagles and Redskins pulled off the trade of the past two decades (at least), the Giants have signed a couple of safeties and quickly put the kibosh on Osi Umenyiora's brief retirement threats.

    "We're flying under the radar," a high-ranking club official told me Thursday afternoon. "And that's exactly how we like it."

    Other than a mild coin flip controversy, not even New Meadowlands Stadium is getting any burn. Like it or not, the Jets have surpassed the Giants in terms of compelling storylines -- and for the time being -- in the overall NFL hierarchy. If we conducted a pre-draft power rankings report, which I'm sure will happen any minute now, the Giants would likely be in the middle of the pack. And there are those among us (John Clayton) who think the Redskins leapfrogged both the Giants and Eagles with their bold trade for Donovan McNabb.

    So where's the panic? When will Reese pull the trigger on an intra-division trade? At least sign former Cowboys Pro Bowler Flozell Adams to be your left tackle. It would be intriguing to watch Adams and the man he tripped on national television, Justin Tuck, bond as teammates. But apparently the Giants are embracing their relative anonymity in relation to their NFC East foes.

    I'm even told that Tom Coughlin has suspended his motivational T-shirt operation. In the past, he's introduced us to XXLs with catchy messages such as "Talk Is Cheap" and "Our QB Is Less Interesting Than Yours." Coughlin is now going with a simple "It's about the team" message during interviews and family meals.

    The biggest offseason story outside of Umenyiora's bellyaching is the arrival of new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell, formerly of the Bills. No one has been really clear on what changes Fewell will make, but he's apparently much more aggressive than his predecessor, Bill Sheridan. In two separate conversations this offseason, Reese has told me how utterly disappointed he was in the team's safety play. And that's why the Giants aren't waiting around to see if Kenny Phillips makes a full recovery from microfracture surgery. Reese made Antrel Rolle the wealthiest safety in the league early in free agency and he later signed journeyman Deon Grant, whose best trait is that he rarely misses games due to injury.

    Now that we're a week away from the draft, everyone pretty much assumes the Giants will select a linebacker No. 15 overall. In a perfect world, Reese would select Rolando McClain and mock drafters across the nation would be very supportive. But I think McClain's way too good of a player to last until No. 15, so the Giants will have to be ready for Plan B. I'm pretty sure they have one.

    [+] EnlargeJoe Haden
    Jeremy Brevard/Icon SMIIf Florida cornerback Joe Haden lasts until the No. 15 pick, the Giants will have an interesting decision to make.
    "I think we could improve our team at every position probably; so not just linebacker, any other position," said Reese, who tried desperately not to say anything Thursday afternoon during a pre-draft news conference -- and succeeded . "We are looking for seven good players who can give us depth or maybe be a starter at any position -- not necessarily linebacker."

    In an upcoming mock draft that I was asked to participate in, Idaho guard Mike Iupati will go to the Giants at No. 15. Iupati would immediately replace Rich Seubert at left guard, and David Diehl could stay at left tackle. Of course, everyone thinks the Giants will take a defensive player, so this won't be a popular prediction. If Florida cornerback Joe Haden somehow slips to No. 15, I think Reese would have an interesting decision to make. And I almost think he'd have to take him despite the Giants' depth at that position. Actually, Reese addressed this very topic.

    "Back when we drafted [Mathias] Kiwanuka we had [Michael] Strahan, we had [Justin] Tuck, and we had Osi," said Reese. "But he was the best guy on the board right there at that time. There was no way we were going to pass him up. So it doesn’t preclude us from drafting even if we have depth at a position; if he is the best guy up there, it is going to be hard for us to pass him up."

    So basically we spend two or three months discussing a certain player such as McClain, and then the Giants don't have an opportunity to draft him. Reese was very up front about the fact that he hates picking this early in the draft. It's a sign of what type season the Giants had.

    But don't expect the Giants to miss on the pick. They've connected late in the first round in the past (Hakeem Nicks, Phillips), and now the odds get even better. The Giants continue to fly under the radar. And that may just be a position of strength.

    Giants' LG Seubert sidelined

    December, 21, 2009
    12/21/09
    9:29
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    LANDOVER, Md. -- Giants left guard Rich Seubert left the game with a knee injury and his return is questionable. He has been replaced by Kevin Boothe, who appears to be playing well. In fact, I think Boothe is the one who just flattened Redskins linebacker Rocky McIntosh on Ahmad Bradshaw's 4-yard touchdown run.

    The Giants have held the ball for more than 14 minutes on their two scoring drives of 80 and 63 yards.

    Redskins-Giants game has whole new feel

    December, 19, 2009
    12/19/09
    8:19
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    Jim Zorn/Daniel SnyderAl Messerschmidt/Getty ImagesRedskins coach Jim Zorn, left, has remained gracious despite the changes Daniel Snyder has made.

    Surely Redskins owner Dan Snyder wouldn't make a stunning move on the Thursday before the Giants come to FedEx to provide "Monday Night Football" with a compelling storyline. Oh wait, you think he would?

    It's pretty obvious that Snyder didn't simply wake up Thursday morning and decide to can his longtime pal Vinny Cerrato. But the timing of Cerrato's "resignation" followed closely by the hiring of Bruce Allen as general manager certainly gives Monday's game a little more pop.

    Hard as it is to believe, the Giants (7-6) still have a decent shot at a wild-card playoff spot and several Redskins players now have a three-week audition to try to grab Allen's attention before he overhauls this roster. Make no mistake, that's what it will take to make the Redskins competitive again. Cerrato made the humorous statement a few weeks ago that he handed coach Jim Zorn the keys to a playoff team this season, but we all know that's not true.

    Even before season-ending injuries to starting offensive linemen Randy Thomas and Chris Samuels, this wasn't a roster that was built to compete for an NFC East title. It was dotted with big names, some of whom (Santana Moss, Clinton Portis) appear to be on the downside of their careers. Some Redskins fans had given up on the Snyder-Cerrato partnership ever ending. But behind closed doors, the seemingly happy relationship had cooled. Yes, they still made the rounds on the field before games, but Cerrato finally started to lose Snyder's ear.

    Now, a new era begins in Washington with a general manager tied to the Redskins' past. Allen's father, George, coached the Redskins from 1971-77 and was one of the most beloved figures in the history of the franchise. But Bruce has forged his own reputation during stops in Oakland and Tampa Bay. His love of the franchise is a quaint sidebar but it doesn't shed any light on whether or not he'll succeed with the Redskins. The only way this works is if Snyder actually sticks to the business side and allows Allen and whichever head coach (possibly Mike Shanahan) to take care of the football operation. Like his mentor and friend, Jerry Jones, Snyder is enamored with the splashy move. He doesn't sweat the small stuff, such as drafting and developing players along the offensive and defensive lines.

    Why make a commitment via the draft when you can set the market in free agency? If this latest plan is to work, the organization needs to move past the embarrassing pre-draft trips during which Snyder lands in a college town for one last look at the hottest prospect. For all his business acumen, you still get the feeling that Snyder is playing dress-up when it comes to football decisions. Maybe Snyder is doing what Jones did in 2003 when he hired Bill Parcells to coach his team and make most of the personnel decisions. That move didn't pay off with a playoff win but Parcells rebuilt the team and put it in position to win 13 games in 2007.

    I don't know how closely Allen has watched the Redskins this season but my guess is that he has had an eye on them for the past few weeks. He's publicly said that he plans to evaluate Zorn over the final three games, but we all know the score. Zorn was effectively fired the day his play-calling duties were stripped by Cerrato, but the Skins weren't able to coax him into quitting, which would have saved them some cash. In what has been an embarrassing situation all the way around, Zorn has somehow managed to remain gracious -- and his team keeps showing up and competing against superior opponents. He was asked Friday about reports that the Redskins are already in talks with Shanahan to replace him as head coach.

    "I'm not aware of that, and I wouldn't even try to go there," said Zorn. "Because I'm not looking towards what is going to happen this offseason or next season yet. We're right in the middle of it. For us, I'm kind of excited about where we're heading."

    The Redskins are likely headed for an offseason of upheaval, but first, they get a crack at the Giants, a team that has owned them lately. I think this will be the most competitive game between the two teams since the 2007 season, in part, because the Redskins excel in an area where the Giants have been awful. The Giants actually have a decent overall defense but they're one of the worst units in the league in the red zone.

    And with the rise of second-year tight end Fred Davis, the Redskins are actually solid in that area. Since Chris Cooley suffered a season-ending injury against the Eagles on Oct. 26, Davis has five touchdowns in seven games. He's a big target for Campbell and he's elusive enough to catch the ball inside the 10 and then find the end zone.

    The Giants will try to cover Davis with middle linebacker Jonathan Goff at times and safeties Aaron Rouse and Michael Johnson will also get their turns. Those are matchups the Redskins invite.

    On offense, the Giants have immense respect for Redskins defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth. Left guard Rich Seubert actually had a nice game against Haynesworth in the season-opener but Giants offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride is not taking any chances.

    "The guy is a freak of nature," Gilbride told reporters Thursday. "He is a huge man who has some explosiveness to him. We tried to slide and help. We tried to keep a guy inside or a guy outside and help. More often than not, he was on his own and Richie just hung in there. The guy is incredible. He plays with such heart and determination. It really is inspiring to watch him. I don’t know how he does it with some of the injuries he is battling through, but he does."

    The Giants obviously have something on the line in this game. And with recent developments in Washington, there's also a renewed sense of urgency from the Redskins. On Thursday, this became a much more attractive matchup.

    Final Word: NFC East

    December, 18, 2009
    12/18/09
    4:09
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    NFC Final Word: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

    Five nuggets of knowledge about Week 15:

    Scott Cunningham/Getty ImagesThe Cowboys' secondary will have their hands full with Robert Meachem and the rest of the Saints' receivers.
    The Cowboys can't allow the Saints' receivers to run wild. I watched the Saints receivers destroy an overwhelmed Giants secondary earlier this season. You cannot allow them free access to their routes. Cornerbacks Mike Jenkins, Terence Newman and Orlando Scandrick must get solid jams and make the Saints receivers compete. Robert Meachem and Devery Henderson are vertical route runners who can destroy you on any play. Marques Colston does an excellent job of working across the middle. Communication will be the key. If you mess up on one play, Meachem will be dancing in the end zone. Sean Payton has done an amazing job of convincing every receiver that he's a No. 1 guy. When Lance Moore gets back out there Saturday night, he won't be thinking of himself as a No. 4 guy. Drew Brees doesn't care who he's throwing to -- as long as the guy's open. The Cowboys' corners will have their hands full like never before.

    The Eagles' defense can't be lured into another shootout. Conventional wisdom suggests Donovan McNabb and the offense will score enough points to win but we've also seen this Eagles team go belly up against teams such as the Raiders. The defense was embarrassed by all the missed tackles against the Giants last Sunday. They allowed more than 500 yards of total offense but benefited from an Eli Manning self-induced fumble. In this game, Trent Cole and the defensive ends have to get some hits on Alex Smith. The 49ers' quarterback has been playing a lot better in recent weeks and the ball's coming out quicker than in the past. It also helps that he has an explosive receiver like Michael Crabtree. The former Texas Tech star is great at catching balls in tight windows and he'll turn upfield and take it to the house if you don't watch it. Players such as Asante Samuel and Quintin Mikell have to do a much better job of wrapping up. And you better not give Frank Gore too many cutback lanes. If you're too aggressive off the snap, Gore will make you pay dearly. This is the most underrated Beast game of the weekend.

    With Albert Haynesworth back, the Redskins need to have another huge game in the pass rush. If you give Eli Manning too much time in the pocket, he'll pick you apart. The Giants hung more than 500 yards of total offense on the Eagles on Sunday. The last time the Redskins and Giants played, left guard Rich Seubert and Haynesworth had quite a battle. Rookie outside linebacker Brian Orakpo is seeing more time at defensive end and that's been a great thing for the Redskins' defense. He had four sacks against the Raiders and he's a matchup nightmare for the Giants' offensive tackles. His bull rush is already one of the best in the division. But the problem for the Skins is that LaRon Landry refuses to stay back on deep balls and is susceptible to getting burned. I could see Hakeem Nicks having a big game. He's a strong receiver who can beat the jam and get vertical in a hurry. For the Redskins to get the upset, they'll need to have three or four sacks and cause a couple of turnovers. And by the way, it wouldn't be that huge of an upset.

    The Cowboys better account for Reggie Bush on every play: When Sean Payton returned to Texas Stadium in '06 and hung 42 points on Bill Parcells, he used a guy named Mike Kearney to expose the Cowboys' defense. On Saturday night in the Superdome, I think he'll try to line up Reggie Bush all over the field. The Cowboys will assign a cornerback to him at times but he'll also end up against linebackers. If Keith Brooking is chasing Bush across the middle, that's a bad situation for the Cowboys. Of all the favorable matchups the Saints have in this game, this one could end up giving the Cowboys the most nightmares.

    The Giants have been able to grind out wins against the Redskins with the running game in the past. For some reason, I smell a big game for Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Tom Coughlin has hated the fact this offense has lost its identity. He believes with all his heart you win games in December in the Beast by pounding the ball on the ground. The Giants have spent a ton of time trying to solidify their running game. And Jacobs is starting to gain some confidence. This might be his game. Please clip and save this last piece of advice. Everything coming out of the Meadowlands suggests the Giants are going to run it like crazy against the Skins. Have a wonderful football weekend.

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