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Big Ben Ripples

When Ben Roethlisberger signed a shiny new 5 year, $87 million dollar contract, Giants360 did a celebratory jig being that it was so close to St. Patrick’s Day. It meant that the log jam of contract extensions for Eli Manning’s classmates, those quarterback’s drafted at the top of the 2004 NFL draft, was broken. Manning, Roethlisberger, and Philip Rivers are all in the final year of their contracts, and none had been extended until Roethlisberger. His signing the 5 year contract means the floodgates had opened and Manning and Rivers will use it as a basis to also renegotiate. We assumed the Steelers structured the contract to create additional cap room for 2015 and 2016 and back loaded the deal. And we were w-w-w-wrong.

Roethlisberger's contract did not offer much cap relief.

Roethlisberger’s contract did not offer much cap relief.

Roethlisberger had a salary cap figure of $18.5 million 2015 before the extension. It was the second of two balloon years at the end on his prior deal that has much easier to manage figures of $8 to $13.5 up front. This contract averages $21.8 million and drops his 2015 cap charge to only $17.2 million. The $1.3 million created is hardly a windfall. Next season, that charge jumps to $23.9 million and then it drops to $18.2 in 2017. Roster bonuses of $12 million ensure that it will likely be renegotiated or Roethisberger will be cut early int he 2018 NFL year, which begins in March. It’s a clear market deal, not a salary cap restructure.

Which brings us back to Manning. His cap charge for 2015 sits at $19.75 million and, as regular readers know, Giants360 had been calling for Jerry Reese to extend Manning to lower that amount before free agency started to give the Giants flexibility to sign some impact players. Now that we are a week into the free agent process, and the premier free agents are off the market, the urgency is gone, and Manning is no closer to an extension than he was two weeks ago. Should Reese still extend Manning? The answer is yes.

Manning had a bounce back year in 2014 with 4,410 yard, 30 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. If we give him the San Francisco game as a mulligan, he had just 9 interceptions on the season. He accomplished this while operating behind another patchwork offensive line and learning a new offense for the first time since he was a rookie eleven years earlier. When he came out of Ole Miss, many scouts though he would best fit a West Coast scheme as a professional. Manning’s performance in 2014 proved that prognostication to be accurate. With an improved line in front of him, a full season of Odell Beckham, Victor Cruz returning, and Shane Vereen coming out of the backfield, 2015 is shaping up to be Manning’s best season yet. Reese should lock him up now to ensure he finishes his career as a Giant.

Expect McAdoo to kick things into a new gear in 2015.

Expect McAdoo to kick it up a notch in 2015.

The West Coast offense takes more than a full season to fully comprehend, not only for the quarterback, but for the other players on the offense. When the Giants take the field in September, this offense will be ready to kick things into another gear and Ben McAdoo will be able to roll out new wrinkles he was unable to utilize in 2014 because the concept were new. With practice limitations under the 2011 Collective Bargaining Agreement further inhibiting the full development of the system, Manning’s accomplishments are even more impressive.

The franchise tag for quarterbacks next season will be somewhere between $20.5 and $21.5 million, using prior season increases as a guide. Extending Manning will allow the Giants to structure the deal in such a way that they control the cap hit for the first two years of the deal.

For those who will say, Manning should take less money so the team can bring in more talent, I ask a simple question… If your boss, came to you and asked you to take 20% less in salary to allow the company to being in some more workers, would you say yes?

Tagging Manning will cripple the Giants 2106 cap

Tagging Manning will cripple the Giants ’16 cap

Manning had a horrific 2013 season, but proved he is still a franchise quarterback last season, and Giants360 expects him to improve upon that performance in 2015. If signing him to a market value contract is what it takes to ensure that he finishes his career with the Giants, so be it.

The salary cap information quoted in this article is taken from overthecap.com. A website that compiles cap information for all NFL players and contracts. If you have an interest in this detail, that’s the site to click on.

For the best Giants content on Twitter, follow @Giants360, a community of Giants fans nearing 18,000 strong an growing. All the breaking news will be tweeted out there first, then analyzed here, on Giants360.com.

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My Kingdom for a Safety

Free agency has been open for just over two days and the Giants have been among the most active teams, re-signing three of their own free agents and bringing in five players from other NFL teams. The biggest name among those signed is Shane Vereen, the third down back who will add a dimension to the offense missing since Tiki Barber abruptly retired nearly a decade ago. The natives grow restless as this team still has needs, the most glaring of which, safety, came back into focus last night when Antel Rolle signed a three year contract with the Chicago Bears.

The promising Berhe's role will increase

The promising Berhe’s role will increase

The Giants have one inexperienced presumed starter on their roster, second year man Nat Berhe, and he’s joined by only Cooper Taylor, the talented, but oft injured 2013 draft pick. Two of three top free agent safeties have already signed, and the third will command big money as a result of market scarcity. Jerry Reese doesn’t overpay for players, but may be forced to increase his ante in order to fill a critical position of need. Or will he? Giants360 dug deep into the free agent lists and found a even dozen available safeties, some are potential starters, and others will serve as stop gaps, men who can step up for at least one season and provide depth at the position.

There are walking wounded among the men identified, but, if healthy, they should come at a reasonable cost, and, if paired with one of the Giants identified targets, would form a basis for a good transitional secondary. Adding a draft pick into the mix would be prudent.

The Former Giant:

Stevie Brown, 27, 5’11”, 221, lbs, 5 year veteran: Brown was a rising star before he tore his ACL before the 2013 season. The thing to remember about ACL tears is that players often bounce back fully the second season after the injury and Brown showed some signs of improving towards the last year. In 2012, he was a highly effective coverage safety and a ball hawk, with 8 interceptions. The Giants brain trust agrees with this assessments as they made a push to sign Brown before he became a free agent on Tuesday afternoon and are still attempting to bring him back into the fold.

Premier Options:

Devin McCourty never made it to free agency, spurning advances from both the Giants and the Eagles in favor of re-signing with the Patriots before he hit the open market. He signed a $47 million contract and will count $6 million against the Patriots salary cap this season. There were reports that he turned down more generous offers from both NFC East rivals to stay in England. Da’Norris Searcy signed a $24 million contract with the Tennessee Titans and will count nearly $4 million against their 2014 salary cap. The sole remaining premier option is Rahim Morris, the Giants360 preferred choice from the start, and his price will fall somewhere in between McCourty and Searcy.

Rahim Moore, 25, 6’1″, 195 lbs, 5th season, Denver: Moore is a consistent coverage safety that struggles to support the run. Originally a second round choice in 2011, Moore has been a fixture in the Broncos secondary, starting 48 of his 57 career games. He was permitted to leave in free agency by the cap strapped Broncos who have also lost offensive lineman Orlando Franklin and tight end Julius Thomas. Moore has been making the rounds, visiting the Texans, and talking with the Eagles and the Giants. He is the biggest remaining prize on the free agent safety market.

Update: Moore signed a 3 year, $12 million contract with the Texans. Four million dollars is fully guaranteed. Cap charges are $3 million, $4.35 million, and $4.65 million. This is a reasonable contract, and if the Giants were truly interested, one the team could have afforded.

Ron Parker, 27, 6’0″, 206 lbs, 5th season, Kansas City: A late name surfacing as a top candidate in the safety field, Parker is a converted cornerback who started 15 games for the Chiefs in 2014. While played well in coverage, but struggled to support in run defense, Parker appeared to grow into his new role as the season went on. His upside is the reason teams have been pursuing him, including Chicago, Baltimore, Philadelphia, and the Giants. Parker attended Newberry College, the same school as Giants wide receiver Corey Washington, although at different times. The two men are also workout partners during the off season and Washington has been trying to recruit Parker to the Giants. Given their need at the position, they can use all the help they can get.

Update: Parker has re-signed with the Chiefs. The preliminary contract is reported by his agent to be 5 years, $30 million.

Spagnuolo Disciples:

Players with a knowledge of the Giants defensive coordinator’s system, and of whom he has intimate knowledge, both of these players have a history with Spagnuolo.

Stewart knows Spanguolo and vice versa

Stewart signed with Denver

Darian Stewart, 26, 5’11”, 214 lbs, 5th season, Baltimore: Originally identified at a potential Giants target in our free agent preview series, Stewart played for Spagnuolo in St. Louis in 2010-2011 and followed him to Baltimore where Spagnuolo was Assistant Head Coach and Secondary Coach last season. An undrafted free agent, Stewart has had an up and down career, but has started 33 of 70 games and bounced back significantly in 2014 under the new Giants defensive coordinator’s tutelage. He know Spagnuolo’s system, is solid in run support, but struggles in pass coverage. He’s still a work in progress, but one Spagnuolo seems to think is worth completing. Our theory was confirmed when news broke that the Giants are pursuing him.

 

Update: Stewart signed a two year contract with the Denver Broncos, financial details are not available.

Jeromy Miles, 27, 6’2″, 214 lbs, 5th season, Baltimore: Another player who flourished in Spagnuolo’s system, Miles took big jumps in both pass coverage and run support from 2013 to 2014. Another undrafted free agent in 2011 by the Bengals, Miles has bounced between Cincinnati and Baltimore during his career, starting only 3 of his 70 career games. Spagnuolo must have seen something, because 2 of the starts were last season, and he rated out well. There’s been no word of Giants interest, but as option dwindle, don’t be surprised if his name pops up on the Giants radar.

Limited Play Options:

These plays don’t have a lot of experience, but have shown well when they have gotten opportunities. Young, and still on the upside of their career, these men are either ready to take the next step or will grow into a starting position. Given the Giants need, some Miracle Grow will be needed to get them ready by September.

Jeron Johnson, 26, 5’10”, 212 lbs, 4th season, Seattle: Johnson has been a backup member of the Legion of Boom for 4 seasons and has been above average in his limited opportunities on defense. With Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas at safety, Seattle provides few opportunities for others to get on the field. The Seahawks have shown an ability to find and develop defensive backs under Pete Carroll, and Johnson could be a diamond in the rough.

Update: Johnson has a visit scheduled with the Washington Redskins.

Coleman suffered due to the Eagles offense.

Coleman signed with Carolina.

Kurt Coleman, 26, 5’10”, 192 lbs, 5th season, Kansas City: A seventh round pick by the Eagles in 2010, Coleman followed Andy Reid to Kansas City last season and it was a shrewd move on his part. While a poor to mediocre performer in Philadelphia, Coleman improved markedly in both pass coverage and run support last season for the Chiefs. Part of the issue in evaluating defensive players for the Eagles is the pressure the Chip Kelly offensive puts on the defense in terms of number of plays and time on the field, both are increased by the extreme pace of the Eagles offense. Part of Coleman’s struggles in Philadelphia may have been attributable to that distorting effect.

Update: Coleman signed a two year contract with the Carolina Panthers on Monday, March 16th.

Josh Gordy, 28, 5’11”, 195 lbs, 6th season, Indianapolis: Gordy is a box safety who is good in run support and average in coverage. He’s started 11 of 59 career games, but just one in 2014, Gordy would fit nicely at strong safety as a stopgap measure. He would come at the veteran minimum and provide quality depth.

Taylor Mays, 27, 6’3″, 231 lbs, 6th season, Cincinnati: Mays is a classic ‘tweener,’ suited to play strong safety or linebacker, but not a top option at either position. He has had some success as a box safety and had held his own in pass coverage. Another stopgap option, Mays has started 10 of his 66 career games and could be signed to provide safety depth.

Update: The Redskins have also been reported to have interest in Mays as a potential replacement for the retired Ryan Clark.

Veteran Options:

There are several veteran players who, despite their advanced age in NFL terms, had solid 2014 seasons. The Giants could sign them for slightly above veteran minimum one year deals after the free agent market cools off and hope they have enough gas left in their tank to solidify the secondary for another season.

Dawan Landry, Jets, 6’1″, 212 lbs, 32, 9 year veteran: The Jets secondary was much maligned last season, but their issue was at cornerback. Landry turned in a solid season, both in pass coverage and run support despite having junior varsity players rotating in at cornerback through the year. That alone makes in an immediate upgrade to Antrel Rolle. Landry has started 126 of 130 career games, including 14 of 16 in 2014

Jim Leonhard, Browns, 32, 5’8″, 188 lbs, 10 year veteran: An undersized, coverage only safety, Leonard is the ultimate journeyman, having played for 6 NFL teams in 10 seasons. Lacking the size to provide run support, Leonhard still played the pass well, even at age 32. He’s another stopgap option.

Usama Young, 29, 5’11”, 186 lbs, 9th season, Oakland: Young has been an effective safety for a long time in the NFL, but his last two seasons have been cut short by neck (2013) and ACL/MCL (2014) injuries. The Giants will need to do their due diligence on his recovery, but, if healthy, Young would be a cap friendly veteran option to serve as a transitional player in the secondary. Rehabbing a knee at 29 is a tricky proposition, but is successful as often as it’s not, and those 50/50 odds are worth exploring.

If healthy, Pollard is a stopgap option

If healthy, Pollard is a stopgap option

Bernard Pollard, 30, 6’2″, 225, 10th season, Tennessee: Pollard is coming off an Achilles tendon tear and has a reputation as a bad seed in the locker room, but he’s an above average safety with a world of experience, and, if healthy, would solve the Giants secondary issues for a season or two until a permanent solution can be found. With 106 starts under his belt, Pollard should be a mentor to both Berhe and Taylor, although his history as selfish teammate does not support this assertion. Beggars can’t be choosers, and with safety options dwindling faster than snow in the suddenly temperate New Jersey climate, Pollard deserves a look see.

What should the Giants do? Signing Moore is still their best option, but he’s likely pricing himself out of their market. Parker seems to be the name to watch, with his Giants connection to Washington, but he’s spent a lot of time with the Bears. Rolle’s signing may diminish Chicago’s interest and help the Giants land him. Stewart has become a hot name over the past 24 hours, and his connection to Spagnuolo makes him a viable candidate who will plug and play quickly in the Giants defense. In a perfect world, both Parker and Stewart would sign, with one pairing up with Berhe to start, and the other battling with Cooper for the third safety spot on the roster. In the imperfect world we live in, one of them will be signed, sometime in the next five days, and one of the Limited Snap or Veteran options will be added later to sure up the position.

We are only two and a half days into free agency and still five months away from training camp. Tom Coughlin is a compulsive planner and as sure as spring is coming, he has met with Reese and has multiple contingencies laid out for the position. Fret not, Giants fans, the situation at safety is not as dire as it seems, there are still a multitude of viable options for the taking. There’s also the NFL draft, as bereft of safety options as it may be.

Coverage of free agency continues ongoing on the Giants360 (@Giants360) Twitter account breaking news, and detailed information with analysis provided here at www.giants360.com. Your perfect source for all your New York Giants needs.

Giants360: All Football. All Year Round.

 

Calm Before the Storm: Giants Free Agency Primer

Tomorrow at 4 PM, all hell breaks loose as hundreds of NFL players are up for grabs in the annual rite known as the Free Agency Frenzy gets under way. Since Saturday at noon, when the “Legal Tampering Period” commenced, rumors have been circulating about which teams are linked with varying players and what level of interest exists from both sides. Giants360 is attempting to cut through the noise and bring you a concise list of 5 1/2 players the Giants should be considering signing, as well as the names of those players most frequently linked with them over the weekend.

Jerry Reese enters the off season with a plan and sticks to it to build the team he fields in September. Various alternatives have been proposed, but based on the rumors coming out of the Quest Diagnostic Training Center this weekend it that plan is taking shape. The defense will be infused with some new blood in free agency, starting with safety and the defensive line. While the team has other needs, those areas will be addressed first. Keep in mind that the Giants are notoriously tight lipped, and there have been surprise signings, with last year’s addition of Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, being the most recent example.

If you’ve been keeping up with the Giants360 series of free agents by positions, you will be familiar with these names. Through all the players we identified, it’s boiled down to a handful of primary targets. There are 5 slots, but 6 names, as one is an either/or, one player to address a glaring hole on the team, and it’s first on the list.

Dallas re-signed the wrong lineman

Dallas re-signed the wrong lineman

1. Offensive Line: Jermey Parnell, OT, Dallas or Orlando Franklin, OT/OG, Denver: Dallas re-signed Doug Free on Saturday, leaving the younger, and higher rated player in 2014, Parnell to hit free agency. Some would wonder what the Cowboys football people know that outsiders don’t, but Jerry Jones is an oil man, not a football man, and might have made this choice with his heart. Parnell won’t come cheap, but would complete the Giants offensive line, stepping in at right tackle and pushing Justin Pugh inside to right guard. Franklin can play right tackle or right guard, but will carry a higher price tag than Parnell. The highest combined run/pass blocker that will hit the market, expect Franklin to be heavily pursued. He has a reputation as being a the nasty road grader that the Giants need. Either player would push the Giants offensive line to the next level.

Update: Franklin may no longer be a viable option for the Giants, as there are late breaking rumors that he has agreed to terms with the San Diego Chargers on a five year contract.

Update II: Jermey Parnell is reportedly telling people he plans to sign with the Jacksonville Jaguars.

2. Rahim Moore, S, Denver: Reports are running rampant that the Giants are showing strong interest in Patriots safety Devin McCourty, but there have also been rumors of overtures toward the highly talented, but more affordable Moore. McCourty is the higher rated player, mostly on the strength of his run support. A former second round pick, Moore is a dependable coverage safety that would fill the void left by departing veteran Antrel Rolle if McCourty’s salary demands prove too steep for the Giants limited salary cap. Update: McCourty has re-signed with Patriots, making Moore the next man up at Safety. If the Giants have been smart and looking at him all along, they will have a leg up in bringing him to East Rutherford.

Versatile run defending linebacker Sheard would fit the Giants well?

Versatile run defending linebacker Sheard would fit the Giants well?

3. Jabaal Sheard, LB, Cleveland: One of the most accomplished run defenders in the free agent market, Sheard also has 23 sacks in 50 career starts. The type of flexible player Steve Spagnuolo values., Sheard has played down lineman as well as linebacker, so he would be a candidate for a role in the NASCAR pass rush packages he deploys. A full time starter in his first three NFL seasons, Sheard started just 5 games in 2014, making him want a fresh start, something the Giants can offer. He has upside potential, but could be signed to a reasonable contract.

4. Terrance Knighton, DT, Broncos: “Pot Roast” is a run stuffing force rumored to be following former Broncos defensive coordinator from Denver to Oakland, where Del Rio is now head coach, as he followed Del Rio from Jacksonville to Denver. As a perfect player to pair up with Jonathan Hankins, it would be a diligent move for the Giants to talk to Knighton about his Super Bowl aspirations, something he got a taste of in Denver, but did not realize, and will not see come to fruition any time soon in Oakland. A more cost effective alternative to Ndamukong Suh, and the run stopping presence the Giants need in the middle of their defense, Knighton would be a perfect fit.

Former 20th overall pick Clayborn played like he was drafted by these Bucs

Former 20th overall pick Clayborn played like he was drafted by these Bucs

5. Adrian Clayborn, DE, Buccaneers: A former first round pick, 20th overall, Claybourn never lived up to that hype in Tampa. He has been linked to the Giants through free agency rumor, but Giants360 had already selected him as one of our five and a half players to target, showing that his joining the Giants is meant to happen. Before tearing a biceps muscle and missing 15 games last season, Clayborn also missed 13 games in 2012 with a knee injury. When healthy, he managed to put up a 7.5 sack season in 2011. With his injury history, Clayborn will be able to be signed to a team friendly contract and anxious to rehabilitate his career. If Spagnuolo can work his magic, he could be a hidden gem of this free agent class, and if deployed correctly, a force on the Giants defensive line, alternating with Robert Ayers to form a run/pass platoon that keeps both players healthy and productive.

Rumors, rumors everywhere, but which are true? It’s difficult this time of year to separate the chaff from the wheat as agents often float rumors to drive up interest in their clients, and team to drive up the cost of their opponents signing or re-signing individual players. There have been several names that have come up multiple times as Giants potential targets, whether true or not, they won’t be able to sign them all unless Eli Manning, Prince Amukamara, and/or Jason Pierre-Paul sign long term extensions prior to free agency opening on Tuesday.

The Giants were interested in two of the top names expected to hit the market, S Devin McCourty and DE Jerry Hughes, however, both re-signed with their respective teams, New England and Buffalo, yesterday. As is most often the case, top talent is not permitted to make it all the way to free agency. Their agents use the legal tampering period to gather offers and leverage it back to their current team and maximize the offer on the table. The names associated with the Giants are being broken down into two categories – those identified in our free agent series as potential Giants targets, and the surprises.

The Giants360 Identified Targets: In our free agent series, Giants360 sought to identify value players who would fit the Giants well, but come with a cap friendlier contract that the flashy names at the top of the free agent list. Several of those names have been linked to the team through rumor (Not started by us):

Dan Williams, DT, Arizona: Williams is the best run stuffing defensive tackle on the free agent market by a wide margin, but injury concerns would limit him to a role player on the Giants defense. He started just 6 of 16 games in 2014 and 40 of 70 in his career, he would be a run stuffing partner on first and second down lining up next to Jonathan Hankins, but come off the field in pass rush situations. He can hold his own if an opponent opts to pass on the early downs, and his sack opportunities were limited from playing nose tackle in Arizona, but Williams is best suited for a run stuffing rotational role.

Spanguolo is familiar with McPhee

Spanguolo is familiar with McPhee

Pernell McPhee, OLB/DE, Baltimore: Another versatile player, McPhee managed to rack up 7.5 sacks and 56 quarterback hits and pressures combined, despite not starting a game in 2014. Also an accomplished run defender, McPhee is a player Spagnuolo is familiar with from his as an assistant coach in Baltimore, and their interest in him indicates that the Giants defensive coordinator sees him as a player ready to take another step. His signing would likely mean the release of Jameel McClain from the team, as McClain underwhelmed playing out of position and McPhee would play a similar role and is said to be seeking a “generous” contract. It unlikely the Giants will be able to afford both.

Update: McPhee reportedly agreed to terms with the Chicago Bears.

Brandon Graham, OLB/DE, Philadelphia: There is a theme developing among the player the Giants are seeking in free agency. Flexibility on defense. The Eagles cleared a boat load of cap space by trading LeSean McCoy, and releasing Trent Cole and Todd Herremans, but have no made a move to re-sign Graham. Some Eagles defenders complained last season about the Eagles up tempo practice habits making their legs rubbery for games days, and Chip Kelly is said to be purging them from the roster. Given Graham’s solid ratings, it leads one to believe he’s among those being purged for not being on board with the Kelly program. Not only would be boost the talent on the Giants linebacking corps, but would weaken the Eagles, a double bonus for the Giants.

Update: Reports have Graham returning to the Eagles. Those up tempo practices not as bad as they seem.

Antone Smith, RB, Atlanta: Smith is an explosive player who scored 5 touchdowns in just 38 touches last season before a broken leg ended his season. Injuries are the knock on Smith, who has struggled with hamstring and knee injuries during his 5 year career, but the 4.37 speed in the 40 tantalizes coaches. Smith scored one of his five touchdowns, a 74 yard catch and run, against the Giants in their week 5 win over the Falcons, and the coaching staff took note of Smith’s explosiveness. He would be a play to deploy in limited situations to protect his healthy, but a signing that could pay huge dividends.

Adrian Clayborn, DE, Buccaneers: See write-up above.

The Surprises: These players slipped past us during our initial review, but have been linked to the Giants, causing us to go back and take another look.

Parker is a converted cornerback.

Parker is a converted cornerback.

Ron Parker, SS, Chiefs: Parker saw his most significant playing time in 2014 for Kansas City after very limited use on defense for Oakland, Seattle, and Carolina earlier in his four year career. A journeyman already in his four NFL seasons, the 6’0″, 206 lbs, cornerback converted to strong safety rated poorly in both pass and run coverage last season. He had some good games, and his overall struggled could be attributed to playing out of position, something the Giants must believe if they are pursuing him. Of his 16 career starts, 15 came for the Chiefs last season, he never seemed to get comfortable, and his game by game ratings were inconsistent throughout. To make matters worse, his special teams ratings were especially poor. The Giants looking into adding him to the roster is an indicator of the shallowness of the overall safety market.

Brooks Reed, LB, Texans: Brook Reed had a good 2014 season, not a great one, after he suffered through an abysmal 2013 season along with most of his Texans teammates, J.J. Watt excluded, of course. It was this dramatic plunge in his ratings that cause Giants360 to pass over him in our free agent review. With 14.5 career sacks, Reed adds some pass rushing ability to his run defending prowess. At 28 years old, the 6’3″, 255 lbs Reed is a five year veteran that has room to improve under the Giants coaching staff’s keen eye. Just average in pass defense, he would likely be a two down linebacker. His limited time on special teams does not provide insight into what he would add in that critical arena. He would be a value addition to the Giants linebacking crew.

Update: Reed is said to be leaning towards signing with Atlanta when free agency opens tomorrow.

The Giants like the versatile Helu

The Giants like the versatile Helu

Roy Helu, RB, Redskins: A fourth year player, with superior receiving skills, Helu has caught 129 passes in his three active seasons. Missing all of the 2012 season with a toe injury that saw him placed on injured reserve, Helu has been otherwise healthy and would provide a third down weapon out of the backfield for the Giants. He can also run the ball, averaging 4.4 yards per carry on 255 career carries, although most of those came during his rookie year. With Andre Williams limited effectiveness as a receiver, and Rashad Jennings ability to stay healthy a concern, Jerry Reese is looking to add another back to his stable of runners, and Helu has risen to the top of list. Giants360 prefers Jacquizz Rodgers, but Helu’s versatility appeals to the Giants coaching staff and he’s leapfrogged over the superior receiving former Falcon.

Of the eight non-premier free agent rumored to be of interest to the Giants, five had been profiled for you in the weeks leading up to the legal tampering period. As free agency heat up over the few weeks, we will continue to monitor the rumors and bring you the latest information on Twitter (@Giants360) with opinions and analysis to follow here. Your best source for Giants information.

Giants360. All Giants. All Year Round.

Falcons at Giants: Keys to Victory

The Giants accomplished only three of the five Giants360 keys to victory against the Washington Redskins last Thursday, but did so with such efficiency that the three checked off outweighed the two they failed to meet resulting in the blowout 45-14 victory for the Giants. Eli Manning had his finest day in Ben McAdoo’s offense, throwing for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns. The defense generated six turnovers, including four interceptions, and Kirk Cousins was largely contained other than on designed run that went for 12 yards in the first quarter.

Special teams are still a mess, with big returns being wiped out by sloppy penalties and punt protection still spotty. Pass defense is still vulnerable down the middle of the field, with Cousins completing 13 of 16 passes for 185 (of 257) yards and his only touchdown in that area. None of his four interceptions were between the numbers. Having Devon Kennard return and take over for the abysmal (in coverage) Mark Herzlich will help improve pass intermediate pass coverage, and Will Demps was an improvement deep. The Giants miss Will Hill’s coverage skills in the secondary.

Smith with have the Falcons ready.

Smith with have the Falcons ready.

Against the Falcons, the Giants will win the game if they accomplish the following:

  1. Run the Ball. The Falcons surrender an average of 150 yards per game on the ground and have already given up 9 rushing touchdown this season. Their average of 4.55 yards per carry surrendered ranks in the bottom third of the league and screams run the ball as the focus of the Giants game plan for this week. The only one of the Falcons first four games where an opponent ran for less than 139 yards was their Thursday night massacre of the Buccaneers when Tampa Bay only attempted 18 rushes. Expect big games from both Rashad Jennings and Andre Williams.
  2. Do Not Kick the Ball to Devin Hester. The 31 year old Hester has experienced a career revival in his first season in Atlanta after spending eight years as a Chicago Bear and already has a touchdown rushing, receiving, and on a punt return. The Giants have given up a punt return touchdown to Ted Ginn, jr. of the Arizona Cardinals that shifted momentum in that game and cannot afford to test their shaky special teams against the NFL’s top punt returner. Weatherford needs to kick it out of bounds even it it costs the Giants 5 yards of field position. That’s better than giving up 30 yards or a touchdown to a Hester return. I’ve given up on the Giants having an impact kick or punt return until I see a flag free game on special teams. I’m beginning to think that might not come until 2015 and not in a game refereed by Ed Hochuli.
  3. Throw Deep to Odell Beckham At Least Three Times. As stated in Key One, the focus of the Giants game plan will and should be running the football. However, with important division games on the horizon against the Philadelphia Eagles and Dallas Cowboys, it’s important to get Beckham, the twelfth overall draft pick with game changing speed, on film running deep. This will force upcoming opponents to take the threat seriously and open up worlds of possibility for the Giants suddenly potent offense. Remember how effective the Giants running game was in 2008 before Plaxico Burress shot it, and himself, in the leg? It was part offensive line, and part opposing defenses respecting Burress’ deep speed. Beckham can have that same effect. If Manning connects on one of the deep throws, it’s that much better.
  4. Bring the Pressure on Defense. The Falcons offense line is in shambles with two starters on injured reserve, and another not practicing. Matt Ryan will be throwing quick passes to offset the shaky protection and the Giants need to pressure him into making errors. This key has absolutely nothing to do with my starting the Giants defense in two of three fantasy leagues this week.
  5. Don’t Overlook the Falcons. With the divisional match ups coming up, and the Falcons limping into Metlife Stadium, this is the type of game where the Giants have historically come out flat. The team is improving, but not yet good enough to win ugly. The Falcons have enough talent to beat them if they don’t bring their A game from the first quarter.

There’s our five pack for the game – it’s a sandwich game, a downtrodden team in between two divisional match ups. Tom Coughlin will do his best to keep his troops focused and from getting carried away in their press clippings. Falcons head coach Mike Smith is an excellent tactician and will have a game plan designed to exploit the Giants two main vulnerabilities – special teams and pass defense down the middle. The Giants coaching staff corrections made over their mini-bye will go a long way towards determining the outcome.

Texans at Giants: Keys to Victory

Making Fitzpatrick pass will create turnovers

Making Fitzpatrick pass will create turnovers

Against the Cardinals, the Giants accomplished 3 of the Giants360 5 keys to victory and had a chance to win the game in the fourth quarter. By failing to run the ball effectively, and not creating two turnovers, the Giants were unable to seal the deal and ultimately lost a close game, by a score of 25-14. They were leading 14-13 with 10:28 remaining in the game. We have another set of keys for Tom Coughlin and crew this week, and if they are able to accomplish all 5, they should beat the Houston Texans and avoid falling into a 0-3 hole. Teams at 1-2 have a 25% chance to make the playoffs, but losing their third straight drops the Giants playoff chances to only 2.5%, making this game very important to the team’s season.

  1. Run the Ball. This key will be on every game list until it’s accomplished. It’s especially important against Houston because it will keep the offensive line from having to pass protect. The Texans are vulnerable to the run, giving up 5.80 yard per carry, but opponents have not been able to take advantage as Houston has gotten out to early leads. Texans’ opponents are throwing against them twice as often, 82 drop backs, compared to just 40 rushing attempts. Controlling the ball, and the clock will key a Giant upset.
  2. Stop the Run. Houston’s run pass ratio of the polar opposite of their opponents, with 79 rushing attempts compared to 42 drop backs. This protects Ryan Fitzpatrick from having to do too much to help the team win games, and prevents the Fitzpatrick turnover machine from operating. Stopping Arian Foster will flip the switch on the turnover machine and the win meter in the Giants direction.
  3. Keep J.J. Watt blocked. The Houston defense has a lot of talent, but Watt’s is supreme. The Giants are catching a bit of a break with 2014 first overall draft pick Jadaveon Clowney sidelined with a knee injury, but the Texans pressure the quarterback, having 3 sacks, 18 quarterback hits, and 26 hurries. Almost a third of those come from Watt, therefore containing him will give Eli Manning time to operate and expand upon the progress the Giants offense showed in last week’s games.
  4. Improved Special Teams. Ted Ginn’s punt return for a touchdown followed by Quintin Demps kickoff fumble provided the momentum shift back to the Cardinals as well as the margin of victory for Arizona. An often forgotten, but critical third of the game, special teams can make or break a close contest, and miscues from these units broke the Giants last week. They are correctable mistakes, as Coughlin would say, and immediate corrective action is needed.
  5. Catch the Ball. Coughlin spoke to Victor Cruz as a team captain and leader and told him more is needed from him and his unit. The Giants are among the league leaders in drops and for an offense that relies on sustaining drives with short passes and yards after catch, this trend must cease. Comfort in the offense and repetition should bring familiarity and more opportunities for big plays, hopefully not before it’s too late.

There are other things that the Giants must do in order to ensure a positive outcome to this game, the biggest of which is improve upon their abysmal -6 turnover ratio. If they accomplish the five keys Giants360 has put forth above, that will come, especially given Fitzpatrick’s turnover history. Manning will throw fewer interceptions if he is not forced to press by having to throw while in third and long or while trying to rally the Giants from behind. This is a winnable game and one the Giants desperately need in order to keep the season from slipping away from them, but whether or not they take it is a matter of hitting on the keys.

Follow along while giants360 live tweets the game on Twitter and interact with 4,600 other Giants fans for one of the best Internet game day parties around. See our thoughts while the game is in progress, and share yours. The best that tweeted  @giants360 are retweeted to the group.

And give the author a follow – @hyprcaffeinated. He’s always on the lookout for other keen observers of the unique, ironic, and amusing aspects of life, and a good dark roast K-cup for his Keurig brewer.

Cardinals at Giants: Week 2 Keys to Victory

Floyd is the Cardinals top Weapon

Floyd is the Cardinals top weapon

On Monday morning, Giants360 provided the five keys to victory for the Giants to upset the Detroit Lions in their opening game. Tom Coughlin, Ben McAdoo, and Perry Fewell chose to disregard our advice, accomplished none of things on the list, and lost miserably, 35-14. The most glaring oversight was the failure to “Blanket Megatron,” choosing instead to single cover him with Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, and allowing him to rack up 100 yards and two touchdowns before the first quarter ended. Hopefully a lesson learned for the Giants coaching brain trust.

Here are another five keys to victory for today’s home opener against the Arizona Cardinals, achieving them will improve both the Giants performance and odds of victory:

  1. Run the ball effectively. The abysmal showing of the Giants running attack on Monday is attributable to several factors. The Lions appear to have been keyed in on the play calling and anticipating the plays, the formidable pair of defensive tackles, Ndumakong Suh and Nick Fairley, and the Giants patched together offensive line. The team has had six days to make corrections, and that improvement needs to show on the field tomorrow. Controlling the ball and the clock will keep the Cardinals offense off the field and keep the Giants defense from wearing down, as it did in the fourth quarter on Monday night.
  2. Blanket Michael Floyd. All of the talk leading up this game has been about Larry Fitzgerald, but Floyd is the bigger threat among the Cardinals two wide receivers. He was targeted 7 times in their game against the Chargers, catching 5 for 119 yards. Fitzgerald is talented, but Floyd is a deep threat with excellent hands, double cover him to keep him from Calvinizing the Giants secondary.
  3. Protect Eli. This will be a key for every game until the offensive line actually accomplishes it. Eli Manning was under pressure 31% of the time against the Lions, and looked uncomfortable in the pocket the remaining 69%. Until he regains confidence in the big men that protect him, it will be hard for him to be fluent and seamless in McAdoo’s offense. The Cardinals defense is solid, but the line is not nearly as ferocious as the Lions front four. If the Giants offensive line can’t protect the quarterback against this team, it may be a long, hard season.
  4. Sack the quarterback. The Giants defense was able to get pressure on Matthew Stafford, but he was sidestepping and scrambling away from it like the second coming of Donovan McNabb. Whether Carson Palmer or the equally immobile Drew Stanton starts tomorrow (It’s looking more and more like Stanton), Jason Pierre-Paul, Damontre Moore and their line mates have to finish their plays and put the Cardinals passer on the ground.
  5. Create at least 2 turnovers. In the Lions game, the Giants failed to generate any turnovers. The closest they came was when Joique Bell recovered his own fumble in the first quarter. The Lions, on the other hand, intercepted two Manning passes, and used the superior field position created to turn a 7 point lead into a 20 point lead and never looked back. The Giants defense has the talent to wreak havoc on opposing offenses, but need the execution.
Creating turnovers. Do it.

Creating turnovers. Do it.

The Giants have a chance to win this game and even their record and 1-1, especially if Stanton gets the start. Accomplishing the Giants360 keys to the game will go a long way to making sure this happens. Are you listening Tom Coughlin?

Are you following @giants360 on Twitter? We will be live tweeting from Metlife Stadium today, as long as we have the bars to do so. If you’re not following us, you’ll miss out on all our in stadium observation.

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Giants at Lions: Week 1 Keys to Victory

The Giants enjoyed an undefeated preseason, winning all 5 games they played, often in exciting fashion with late game heroics. Many of the players who contributed to those wins are no longer on the roster or firmly entrenched on the bench, and instead, the players who made those comebacks necessary will be playing the entire game. Game plans have been prepared and installed, intensity is ramped up, and the games count towards the goal of every team taking the field this weekend – The 49th Superbowl, to be played on February 1, 2015 in Tampa, Florida.

Key Pressuring Matthew Stafford.

Key 4: Pressuring Matthew Stafford.

The Giants travel to Detroit, Michigan for a Monday night opener against the Detroit Lions, a game which odds makers expect them to lose. The points spread has been steadily increasing all week, from 5 points this past Sunday to 7 points today, an indicator that the betting public has been putting their money on the Lions. In order for the Giants to win this game, and they are capable of winning it, here are the keys to victory for the team:

 

  1. Run the ball effectively. Detroit’s run defense was 23rd in the NFL last season, but improved to 4th in the league during the 2014 preseason, a possible indicator that the team has improved in that area. While the Giants’ offensive line was out of sync for the entire summer, their run blocking was effective and both starter Rashad Jennings and short yardage back Andre Williams were able to rip off big gains with some consistency. Running the ball with keep the Lions offense off the field, open up play action passes for Eli Manning, and make the Giant offense click.
  2. Protect Manning. During his limited preseason snaps, Manning was running for his life. He was strip sacked, and his fumble led to a Buffalo Bills touchdown in the first preseason game and even when there wasn’t pressure on him, Manning acted as if it was there. Detroit tallied 11 preseason sacks, in the top 5 of the NFL, and if they are able to pressure Manning effectively, it will lead to mistakes and good field position for the potent Lions offense.
  3. Protect the Football. One of the area wheres the Giants improved in the preseason was turnovers, averaging just one per game, after turning it over 2.75 times per game in 2013. If the turnovers come early and often, it will be a happy night in the Motor City.
  4. Pressure Matthew Stafford. No NFL quarterback preforms well when under constant and consistent pressure. The Giants used pressure to win their two most recent Super Bowls and quietly amassed a league leading 14 preseason sacks this year. With their upgraded secondary and linebackers, effective pressure from the defensive line will help create turnovers and do for the Giants what was done to them last season.
  5. Blanket Megatron. Calvin Johnson is the Lions most dangerous player. If he’s allowed to run loose in the secondary, it will be a long day for the Giant defense. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Prince Amukamara, and Walter Thurmond need to prevent him from getting a clean release off the line and the safeties need to provide help over the top and make Detroit’s other weapons beat them. Golden Tate one on one doesn’t put the scare into a defense that Johnson does and both Jameel McClain and Devon Kennard can match up with Reggie Bush or Eric Ebron. Johnson shouldn’t see single coverage all night.

If the Giants are able to accomplish the five items on the above list, it should prove enough to best the Lions and send them home with an opening day victory. As you saw in the 360 Pick article posted yesterday, it’s too soon to expect miracles from this team and while they will keep it close, Giants360 believes this one will slip away. Taking the 7 points, however, is the smart play, because historically, whenever most people are counting a NFL team out, they prove the most dangerous.

It's his first game tonight. Tweet pics of others to @Giants360

It’s his first game tonight. Tweet pics of others to @Giants360

Are you following @giants360 on Twitter, we will be live tweeting all the games and want you to join us. It’s the place to be for Giants news, rumors, and game day observations. To the right is a picture of Big Blue fan William, who will be enjoying his first Giants game tonight. Tweet pics of your young Giants fans to @Giants360 for a chance at a retweet and to be included in giants360.com articles for this coming week.

Did you know that Giants360.com now has a shop with all the team official gear to show your Big Blue pride? Click the Giants Store link in the upper right hand corner and be sure to use the code “Kickoff” to save 20% on your purchase in celebration of the 2014 season.

And give the author a follow @hyprcaffeinated

Giants 360 Picks: Week 1

We picked the Seahawks to win but not cover in a high scoring affair on Thursday night and got off to a decent start, as Seattle won the game and the over came in, but Green Bay wasn’t close to covering the spread. Injuries impacted the Packers drastically in the second half and a close game turned into a Seattle route.

Week 1 is always challenging, as teams have yet to establish their personalities for the season. Defenses are usually ahead of offenses, but the line makers in Las Vegas are well aware of that and build it into their odds. Let’s take a look at games and make take a look at who we like in week 1 action.

New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons:

Line: Saints by 3.5
Over/Under: 51.5

Analysis: The Saints are a different team on the road, going 1-7 against the spread in 2013. The Falcons are rebuilding their offensive line and will keep it close, but Drew Brees wins a close, high scoring affair.

Straight Pick: Saints
Spread Pick: Falcons + 3.5
OU Pick: Over 51.5

Confidence: Low confidence picks on all

Minnesota Vikings at St. Louis Rams:

Line: Rams by 3.0
Over/Under: 43.0

Analysis: The Vikings were 5-3 on the road against the spread and starter Matt Cassel was their most effective quarterback. The Rams turn to journeyman Shaun Hill following Sam Bradford’s season ending injury and will need time to adjust their offense. The Vikings win in a upset.

Straight Pick: Vikings
Spread Pick: Vikings + 3.0
OU Pick: Over 43.0

Confidence: High confidence on all three picks

Cleveland Browns at Pittsburgh Steelers:

Line: Steelers by 7.0
Over/Under: 41.5

Analysis: Pittsburgh has lost 3 season opening games in a row, but none of those games were against Cleveland, who they are 24-3 against in the last 27 meetings. The game will be low scoring, and the Steelers win by at least a touchdown.

Straight Pick: Steelers
Spread Pick: Steelers – 7.0
OU Pick: Under 41.5

Confidence: High confidence on all picks

Jacksonville Jaguars at Philadelphia Eagles:

Line: Eagles by 10.0
Over/Under: 52.0

Analysis: The Jaguars will be an improved team in 2014, but they’re not quite good enough to beat the Eagles. It wouldn’t be a shocker if they keep the game close, probably not though, lay the points and take the over.

Straight Pick: Eagles
Spread Pick: Eagles – 10.0
OU Pick: Over 52.0

Confidence: High confidence on Straight, Low confidence on Spread and OU

Oakland Raiders at New York Jets:

Line: Jets by 5.0
Over/Under: 40.5

Analysis: One of the best trends in betting games is taking a bad west coast team in an early Sunday kickoff on the east coast. Another one is to not to bet any game involving the inconsistent Jets. Clashing trends say the Jets will win the game, but won’t cover the spread. Why not take the over, but based on that statement, you know the confidence is low.

Straight Pick: Jets
Spread Pick: Raiders + 5.0
OU Pick: Over 40.5

Confidence: High confidence on Straight, Low confidence on Spread and OU

Cincinnati Bengals at Baltimore Ravens:

Line: Ravens by 1.0
Over/Under: 42.5

Analysis: These teams are 13-13 straight in their last 26 match-ups, with the home team winning. Cincinnati is a much better home team than road against the spread. With two good defenses early in the season, expect points to be at a premium.

Straight Pick: Ravens
Spread Pick: Ravens – 1.0
OU Pick: Under 42.5

Confidence: Low confidence on all three picks

Buffalo Bills at Chicago Bears:

Line: Bears by 7.5
Over/Under: 48.0

Analysis: Chicago improved an already good team. Buffalo is still a work in progress and E.J. Manual looked horrid in the preseason. The Bears should win this one easily and may score 48 points by themselves at home.

Straight Pick: Bears
Spread Pick: Bears – 7.5
OU Pick: Over 48.0

Confidence: High confidence on Straight; Low confidence on Spread and OU

Washington Redskins at Houston Texans:

Line: Texans by 3.0
Over/Under: 44.5

Analysis: Two new coaching staffs, means two unknown quantities. Go with the home teams at your own peril. The Texans defense should be fierce with J.J. Watt and Jadeveon Clowney on the same defense, so take the under, if you must.

Straight Pick: Texans
Spread Pick: Texans – 3.0
OU Pick: Under 44.5

Confidence: Low Confidence on all three picks

Tennessee Titans at Kansas City Chiefs:

Line: Chiefs by 3.0
Over/Under: 43.5

Analysis: These teams have only played 5 times since 2004. The Chiefs should win at home in a close, low scoring game.

Straight Pick: Chiefs
Spread Pick: Titans + 3.0
OU Pick: Under 43.5

Confidence: Low Confidence on all three picks

New England Patriots at Miami Dolphins:

Line: Patriots by 5.0
Over/Under: 46.5

Analysis: The Patriots will be in their dark blue uniforms on the sunny side of the field in Miami in September. Bill Belichick has probably had the team in full uniform in a steam room all summer to prepare. While everything about this game screams “Miami,” the Patriots have a knack for doing the unexpected.

Straight Pick: Patriots
Spread Pick: Patriots – 5.0
OU Pick: Under 46.5

Confidence: High confidence on Straight; Low confidence on Spread and OU

Carolina Panthers at Tampa Bay Buccaneers:

Line: Buccaneers by 3.0
Over/Under: 38.5

Analysis: The Panthers were the surprise team of 2013. Tampa Bay is a candidate to be a surprise team for 2014, but not this early. Carolina’s defense and Cam Newton win this game for the visitors. Keep an eye on Cam Newton’s injury report, there’s a slim chance he doesn’t play in this game, in which case, it’s a no bet on all counts.

Straight Pick: Panthers
Spread Pick: Panthers + 3.0
OU Pick: Over 38.5

Confidence: High Confidence on all three picks (If Cam Newton plays)

San Fransisco Forty-Niners at Dallas Cowboys:

Line: Forty-Niners by 4.0
Over/Under: 51.0

Analysis: San Fransisco is hurting between injuries and suspensions, but not nearly as bad as the Dallas defense. The Forty-Niners will score early and often, the only question is, will they lay off in the fourth quarter.

Straight Pick: Forty-Niners
Spread Pick: Forty-Niners – 4.0
OU Pick: Over 51.0

Confidence: High confidence on the Straight and Spread Picks; Low confidence on the OU

Indianapolis Colts at Denver Broncos:

Line: Broncos by 8.0
Over/Under: 55.0

Analysis: One of Denver’s regular season losses last year was when Peyton Manning visited the Colts at his former stomping grounds in Indianapolis. The rematch is in Denver, and he will extract his revenge, if the teams trade touchdowns, the Colts could cover the spread and the over is a shoe-in, but the Denver defense is improved. The Indy defense is not.

Straight Pick: Broncos
Spread Pick: Broncos – 8.0
OU Pick: Over 55.0

Confidence: High Confidence on the Straight pick; Low confidence on the Spread and the OU picks

New York Giants at Detroit Lions:

Line: Lions by 7.0
Over/Under: 48.0

Analysis: The best unit on the Lions defense is the line, the worst unit on the Giants offense is the line. If the Giants can give Eli Manning time, he can exploit the Lions weak secondary, if not, well, you understand why the game is low confidence.

Straight Pick: Lions
Spread Pick: Giants + 7.0
OU Pick: Over 48.0

Confidence: Low confidence on all three picks

San Diego Chargers at Arizona Cardinals:

Line: Cardinals by 3.0
Over/Under: 46.0

Analysis: San Diego was a surprise playoff team last season, and Arizona was a 10-6 spectator under first year coach Bruce Arians. The Cardinals front seven has suffered losses to both injury and suspensions, giving the Chargers enough of an advantage to eke out an opening night win.

Straight Pick: Chargers
Spread Pick: Chargers + 3.0
OU Pick: Over 46.0

Confidence: Low confidence on all three picks

If you want to play a parley: Go with the best of the high confidence picks – Forty-Niners -4.0, Vikings + 3.0, and Steelers/Browns Under 41.5

If you’re in a suicide pool: Pick among these teams – Eagles, Forty-Niners, Jets, and Bears.

Season Preview, Part 3: A Celebrity Take

Erin Foley decked out in Giants gear and her sacred Giants scarf.

Erin Foley decked out in Giants gear and her sacred Giants scarf.

Erin Foley is a comedic actress, writer, and comedian who you may have seen in the movie Almost Famous or on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. When she appeared on the improv comedy panel show @midnight, Giants360 was first introduced to her podcast, Sports Without Balls, where Erin and a guest delve into a wide array of sports each week, and through it, one learns of her lifelong devotion to our New York Giants. If you’re looking for a lighthearted, informative podcast that mixes every sport imaginable with wit, laughter, and charm, I highly recommend it.

Erin was kind enough to answer some questions for Giants360, and couldn’t have been more gracious. As you will see, she knows her football, and the Giants.

Giants360: Will Eli bounce back his season?

Foley: Yes, Eli will bounce back. I will defend Eli to my grave. I hope that’s not anytime soon because it’s the start of the NFL season! Thank God! When Giants’ fans throw Eli under the bus I respond with this list: Kerry Collins, Kurt Warner, Kent Graham, Dave Brown, Jesse Palmer, Danny Kannell… that usually does the trick. His consistency and two Super Bowl rings should be enough. It would be enough if he didn’t have a big brother.

Giants360: Can the team wrestle the NFC East away from the Eagles?

Foley: I don’t see anyone wrestling the East away from the Eagles which kills me. I think they are going to get better and better which means I will be purchasing a flask.

Giants360: The new offense? Will it fix what was broken?

Foley: It’s going to be interesting to see what this new offense entails. I think we all can agree that the preseason was a bit of a hot mess. 5-0 doesn’t mean anything. Good news first. Our offensive line went through an overhaul in the off season. It’s always been so solid for the Giants. Eli had 700 interceptions last season because our O-line was comprised of cousins of the dudes on the practice squad. If the O-line is better, the new and improved running game will take the pressure off Manning. Bad news. Eli will be throwing to the cousins of the wide receivers on the practice squad. We need Odell’s hamstring to be duct taped and Victor Cruz to grow another arm. I guess I’ll be playing tight end.

Giants360: Who’s your favorite Giant – Current and All Time?

Foley: Current: Manning. All Time: Mark Bavaro and LT (tie).

Giants360: Victor Cruz said recently that this team has championship mettle. Can you see them making another championship run?

Foley: I can see them making another championship run in another year or two. It depends if everyone stays healthy and this new offense goes forward and down the field instead of side to side and out of bounds (see last season).

Giants360: Will you be attending any Giant games this year?

Foley: I hope to either catch a home game later in the season when I go back to New York City or possibly head to Seattle (quick flight from LA) and try to be New York’s 12th woman.

From the stage to the huddle. Meet the newest TE for the NYG

From the stage to the huddle. Meet the newest TE for the NYG?

And there you have it folks, another Giants360 exclusive, Erin Foley will be playing tight end for the Giants, the position most in need of an upgrade. She is already a better option than Adrien Robinson.

Many thanks to Erin for taking the time to talk to Giants360 and her insights into upcoming Giants season.

If you would like more information about Erin Foley, her comedy, albums, and tour dates, visit erinkfoley.com. Sports without Balls can be found on iTunes, on allthingscomedy.com, or though the Apple podcast app. Follow Erin on Twitter @erinfoleycomic.

Be sure to follow @Giants360 on Twitter. Get the latest news, notes, and rumors there first. And we will be live tweeting all the games. If you’re not following, you’re missing out.

Did you know that Giants360 now has a shop with all the team official gear, including a Giants flask for Erin, to show your Big Blue pride? Click the Giants Store link in the upper right hand corner and be sure to use the code “Kickoff” to save 20% on your purchase in celebration of the 2014 season.

And give the author a follow @hyprcaffeinated