5 Biggest Mistakes of 2013 So Far for New York Giants
The 5 Biggest Mistakes the New York Giants Made This Offseason
The New York Giants are an organization that specializes at not making too many mistakes. They do not overpay their players and do not sign players to glacially long contracts that are bound to hurt them later (hear that Jerry Jones?), so finding fault with their moves is a rare occurrence. Yet this offseason they have made some missteps. Every mistake seems to come down to overconfidence.
What the Giants had last year was a good but not great team. They were above .500 but missed the playoffs. At times the offense was unstoppable with Manning constantly finding receivers down field, but at other times the Giants seemed thin at wide out and offensive line. Defensively the Giants varied from game to game. Despite a lot of talent on the defensive line, they rarely found the quarterback. Much of what Giants GM Jerry Reese has done has been to respond to those issues, such as bringing in Louis Murphy and drafting Justin Pugh in the first round. Reese also aptly let Osi Umenyiora go; his unproductive play did not warrant a big contract. However, Reese seemed to oddly feel confident at the safety and linebacker position despite the struggles of last year.
The Giants' recent success explains the overconfidence, but the holes within the team are worrisome. Reese has come to earn the trust of New York’s fan base, but now he must hope that the replacements he found perform or that trust could start to degrade.
Losing Martellus Bennett
The Giants' first mistake was letting Martellus Bennett go. He wanted more money, but he was a sure thing for the Giants. And with Hakeem Nicks' seemingly constant injuries a consistent force on offense would have been an asset. The Giants replaced him with Brandon Myers who could be a big player for the Giants. Reese is confident that Eli Manning can make Myers a good player. He is not wrong to be confident in that as Manning aided Bennett’s career immensely and turned Jake Ballard from a no name into an asset in 2011. Still, Giants fans have worries that if Nicks goes down and Myers does not pan out the passing game could be crippled.
Letting Chase Blackburn Go
The Giants should not have let Chase Blackburn go. He signed with the Carolina Panthers for less than a $1 million a year. The Giants have a hole at linebacker right now, so missing a chance at a player like that for so cheap is a real mistake. Not only that, but Giants fans are attached to Blackburn after consistently making big plays for the team in the 2011 playoffs. For a player so cheap Reese and the Giants could have afforded to have a little nostalgia.
Letting Kenny Phillps Go
Kenny Phillips was always injured, so losing him to the Philadelphia Eagles was foreseeable but still a bad decision. Phillips was a Pro Bowler when on the field. His problems staying there were real, but for his upside the Eagles should not have been able to sign him to a contract with less than $1 million guaranteed. The Eagles built the contract so that his pay scales with his playing time. This was a move Reese could have easily done to keep an asset.
Signing Dan Connor
Reese’s next mistake was replacing Blackburn with Dan Connor. Connor is no great player, and now he has problems with the law after trying to bring a knife on a plane. The Giants hate having players with off the field issues, but now they have little choice with so little depth at middle linebacker. Reese had better options; Brian Urlacher may have cost too much, but anyone besides Connor would have probably been a better move.
Not Drafting a Linebacker
The biggest mistake Reese made was not drafting a linebacker. To not draft a linebacker suggests that Reese believes in the Spencer Paysinger, Jacquian Williams, Keith Rivers, Mark Herzlich and Dan Connor linebacking corps. This is where Reese’s confidence becomes overconfidence. Not a single one of those players has shown the ability to really be a starter. Reese needed to spend a high draft pick to help solidify that area, and he missed a golden opportunity. If none of the Giants' young linebackers pan out it could mean serious problems for Big Blue.
Jay Cullen is a New York Giants writer for RantSports.com. Like him on Facebook at Jay Cullen- Rant Sports.