Major Giant Concerns

The New York Giants have several major concerns as we head into another week of training camp. Not only are they faced with a shorten training camp , they must find answers and resolutions to the following questions:

1. What to do with Osi Umenyiora? At this point, the answer is obvious not only to Giant management, but to the media and fans as well. Regardless who is to blame in this, the Giants need to trade Umenyiora and get the best offer they can. originally, the Giants were looking for at least a 1st rounder as compensation, which I felt was unrealistic. The Giants could and should be able to receive a 2nd and 5th rounder as compensation or perhaps an NFL player and a draft pick for Umenyiora. There have been rumors flying around with teams like Seattle, St. Louis, Denver, Baltimore, San Diego and Atlanta as possible teams interested in Umenyiora.Whether these rumors are true or not, Umenyiora had a solid season last season and the Giants find a taker.

2. The TE position: With the lost of Kevin Boss (signed with the Raiders), the Giants need to find a TE. Currently, the Giants have Travis Beckum slated as their #1 TE. Beckum has skills as a receiver, however his blocking ability doesn’t quite match up with the Giants offensive schemes which requires their TE’s to block. Behind Beckum are two solid blockers in Jake Ballard and Bear Pascoe (who will most likely be the starting fullback, unless rookie Henry Hynoski impresses everyone in training camp and wins the job). The Giants need a TE who is not one-dimensional. The Giants need a TE who can block and catch the ball. Having a one-dimensional TE would certainly give opposing teams an idea what type of play the Giants are going to run and make the Giants a more predictable team.

3. Injury of Amukamara: Listed as a broken bone in his foot, which will sideline him for the next 2 months and possibly another full month after that to see action. The Giants face the season with Corey Webster and Terrell Thomas as the starters. The only backup depth is Aaron Ross, who thus far has been a disappointment for the Giants. The loss to Amukamara is a major setback for this team as Amukamara is the team’s best one on one cover guy (even as a rookie) and the Giants depth at DB is very thin.

Aside from these 3 issues, the Giants do have some good things to smile about. Over the next several weeks I will be following the team throughout training camp and report on any news from possibly trades to injuries.


Patriots Sign Shaun Ellis

Can’t say I’m happy about this.  I really wanted Shaun back, but I do understand that it would have been a part-time role.  It probably wasn’t worth giving Ellis anything more than a minimum contract, but It’s a little disappointing to see him go to the Pats.

I don’t expect Ellis to record more than four sacks this season, but he’ll still be a pretty good player for New England.  He’s definitely on the decline, but it’s going to be a little tough seeing him on a different team, especially on a rival team.

It’s now time for Muhammad Wilkerson to step up.  I have no doubts that this guy can put up at least five sacks this season.  If he can get to the quarterback and help stop the run, Wilkerson could be the next Shaun Ellis for the Jets.

With Wilkerson, Kenrick Ellis, Ropati Pitoitua, Mike Devito, and of course Sione Pouha, the Jets will be fine on the defensive line.  I’ve also heard a lot of good things about Marcus Dixon, who has a shot to earn playing time in camp and in the preseason.

Losing Ellis is disappointing, but it was time to move on.

BREAKING NEWS: Prince Amukamara Breaks Foot, Surgery Needed

We’re not joking.

To make matters worse, Giants tight end Ben Patrick retired today and Osi Umenyiora is still unhappy about his contract.  Things are not looking good for the Giants.

Could this offseason go any worse for the G-Men?  With Bruce Johnson lost for the year, the Giants are now very shallow in the secondary.  Big Blue still has Corey Webster, Terrell Thomas, and Aaron Ross as their three feature cornerbacks, but Prince would have rounded out that group very nicely.

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Giants Training Camp Update

Ryan Perrilloux, the young quaterback the Giants signed out of the UFL before the lockout began, has a tremendous arm. He showed it off with a couple of great throws on deep outs, one to Beckum and one to Ballard. Of course, Perrilloux also threw the night’s only interception, a badly thrown ball intended for Jerrel Jernigan that Brian Witherspoon hauled in. Again an uphill battle. The Giants have only carried two quarterbacks under Tom Coughlin. Eli Manning’s one and the other will likely be Sage Rosenfels or Jim Sorgi. Also, David Carr has a great shot at winning the backup spot. Undrafted free agent fullback Henry Hynoski is getting all the reps at fullback right now with Bear Pascoe unable to practice yet due to the CBA not being finalized. He didn’t do anything special Wednesday night, but the reps have to help his chances.

From Inside Football about Henry Hynoski

FB Henry Hynoski continues to show impressive hands, catching nearly everything thrown his way out of the backfield. If Bear Pascoe is moved back to tight end, the Giants would appear to be in good shape with Hynoski handling the lead blocking role.

The Giants are clearly worried about their FB position as they pursued both John Kuhn and Vontay Leach, but Hynoski has a real shot to stand out and win a roster spot.

From’s Mike Garfolo (he writes the best practice reports and game recaps of any beat writer of any team I’ve read)

The linebackers are impressing.

Translation: there’s lots of playing time to be won for the Giants’ young linebackers. And some of them stated their case by making some big plays on Wednesday night in the first full-pads practice of camp.

“They’ve been aggressive and noteworthy in their play,” coach Tom Coughlin said after practice. “Sometimes they’re in the wrong spot or something, but they recover and they seem to be able to go and make some things happen. I like the way they’re running around.”

one of the players making the biggest impression is Kenny Ingram, a former 6’6 FSU Safety. Ingram spent last year on the practice squad as he transitioned to linebacker and from reports early seems to be impressing all over the field. He could be a player to keep an eye on for Giants fans as a final roster addition this year.  Ingram, a former safety, showed his athleticism by jamming the tight end and then crossing the middle of the field to quickly make a stop on WR Darius Reynaud as he caught a ball over the middle. (S Jarrard Tarrant was there and probably should have picked the pass off but whiffed completely.) And again, Ingram used his wheels to track down RB Charles Scotton a screen pass.  From a couple of days ago: LB Kenny Ingram flashed once tonight when he did a good job of avoiding traffic to make a stop on Scott up the middle.

Also making plays is Boston College LB Mark Herzlich, who apparently will have a 60 minutes special air in September. What happens if he doesn’t make the team? Herzlich, who is being trailed by “60 Minutes” cameras for a feature to be aired in September (guess he’s making the team, huh?) came out of nowhere to make a stop on a run that looked like it was going to be a huge gainer. There was nobody in an enormous gap in the defensive line except OL Mitch Petrus, but Herzlich somehow got there to turn a big gasher into a short gainer.

Lastly the Giants 2nd round pick Marvin Austin is showing why the Giants were so excited to get him in the second round.  Promising signs from DT Marvin Austin, who absolutely rag dolled an OL on one play to throw the blocker out of the way on a run by Da’Rel Scott. He didn’t make the stop, but he blew up the play. And the way he shed the blocker was amazing. One play later, he beat OL Ike Ndukwe for a pressure on the quarterback. I’m rather sure it was Ndukwe on the play before as well, but I’m not positive because the blocker got lost in traffic and when Austin threw him to the side. Either way. Austin continues to impress, though he was drawn offside (along with DE Alex Hall) on Rosenfels’ hard count.

But who all in all has had the best training camp so far? It might be Travis Beckum.  When asked if Beckum would have a bigger role this year; Coughlin replied “Yeah, that’s the plan”.  Beckum has been all over the field catching everything thrown his way and blowing past coverage. Garafolo wrote that Beckum is more athletic as I’ve ever seen him  so far in training camp. Beckum is expected to have a major role this year, since the Giants lost Kevin Boss to the Oakland Raiders.

Jets Sign Derrick Mason

According to multiple sources, the Jets have agreed to a deal with wide receiver Derrick Mason.  Mason confirmed the signing on Twitter.

Averaging 66 catches per season in his fourteen-year career, Mason is a great third receiver for the Jets.  Any way you spin it, he’s been a better player than Cotchery has been for the Jets.

Any way you spin it, Holmes-Burress-Mason-Kerley-Turner-McKnight is a really solid receiving corps.  I think Jeremy Kerley will surprise a lot of people this season.  I wouldn’t be shocked if he proved himself as a top-three receiver.

Jets fans now have little to worry about concerning their passing game, even with Jerricho Cotchery gone.

Yankees Win Game One in Boston, Now in First Place

A 3-2 win Friday night catapulted the Yankees into first place over the Red Sox.   Joe Girardi’s gutsy call to pull Bartolo Colon in the fifth inning worked, as Boone Logan struck out Adrian Gonzalez with the bases loaded.  The Yankees bullpen shut down the Red Sox, allowing the Bombers to rally and score three runs in the sixth inning.

The Yankees are now a game ahead of Boston, with an opportunity to stretch the lead to two games today.  The two superpowers will throw it down again at 4:15 today.  With CC Sabathia going against John Lackey, there’s no reason the Yankees can’t win again.

Dolphins Desperate for Relevancy

Jason Cole couldn’t have nailed it better.

If news of Miami Dolphins fans’ chants for Kyle Orton(notes) and the media running wild with rumors about Brett Favre(notes) didn’t make it clear that these are desperate times in Miami, here’s one tidbit that should seal the issue.

This week, Dolphins management hired a “third-party” company to chase down a couple of hundred season ticketholders who have failed to make payments on their high-end tickets. As Adam Grossman, the team’s vice president of public affairs, was clear to point out, this third party is not a collection agency. However, it’s only a step removed.

Getting away from the argument over whether it’s OK for a sports team to chase people down for ticket money, here’s the deeper issue: The Dolphins, who were once the undisputed kings of South Florida sports, are so desperate these days to sell tickets that they have to go after everyone they possibly can.

They have gone 7-9 each of the past two years with coach Tony Sparano’s close-to-the-vest play-calling and lack of offensive weapons. Dan Marino’s former team is playing plodder football. It’s dreary and lifeless, sapping the energy from fans faster than South Florida’s brutal August weather. That’s one of the reasons the Dolphins have had to put a nightclub at one end of the stadium and sell off shares of the team to the likes of Fergie and Marc Anthony. The product on the field is simply not good enough.

Hence the cheers for Orton earlier in camp (which have thankfully changed to pleas for Chad Henne(notes) to emerge from his two-year malaise) and the frenzy over Favre when Sparano declined to shoot it down directly on Thursday.

Perhaps that little bit of excitement will help drive interest in the meantime. Perhaps the NBA’s labor issues will allow the Dolphins some time to get fans excited this fall.

Either that, or the Dolphins may have to scare up interest some other way.

This perfectly sums up the Dolphins and their motives.  This franchise is clearly more focused on selling tickets than putting a winning product on the field.  The Dolphins are a pathetic franchise with a pathetic owner in Stephen Ross.

Guys like Bush, Barber, and Favre would all make a very little impact for the Dolphins this season.  Despite this, the franchise seems set on going after these high-profile guys instead of finding solid role players to help this team take the next level.  I’m thrilled that the Jets get to play this team two times a year.

It’s going to be fun sweeping these losers this season.  Barring a major move, I doubt the Dolphins win more than six games in 2011.  I may be wrong, but I doubt it.