Simms shares Giant thoughts

On August 2, the CBS Television Network hosted its annual "The NFL on CBS Media Day," affording media members the opportunity to interview several of the network's on-air personalities.

The Giant Insider caught up with former Giants quarterback Phil Simms, currently a game analyst for the network. Simms offered several blunt comments about issues surrounding the current state of Big Blue.

What's the biggest difference going to be in year two for Eli Manning? What did he learn as a rookie?

Simms: I think the fact is that he just knows it's hard. And it's going to be hard his whole career. I think that's what you learn as a young quarterback in the NFL – that everything you do is just hard. It's hard to be successful. But he probably knew that already. Are we going to see a different quarterback this year? Of course we will. I don't know how much we will all see with the eye, but being an ex-player I'll see some of the things that he improves at.

What's your opinion of Manning calling out Jeremy Shockey for missing offseason workouts?

Simms: First off, when I read about it, I never thought Eli was calling him out. I never even thought of perceiving it that way, but it was written [in the newspapers] that way. Nowadays, you can't say anything. Everybody complains, 'oh, he's so boring.' Hell, if you try to express any feelings at all, it's taken out of context. And I really thought his whole comment about Shockey was taken out of context. But what does it mean in the grand scheme of things? Nothing. I'm sure Jeremy Shockey understood it and he and Eli fixed it up real quick and they'll do well together.

How effective can the Giants offense be this season?

Simms: They'll be better if Jeremy Shockey can get back to just being a tight end and they don't use him in all the different roles. That's not talked about either. Jeremy Shockey took one for the team last year. And he was a good soldier. He was quiet. He moved around the backfield and all that stuff – and it really diminished his skills, I think, as a tight end. So, I think he can potentially still be one of the best. Getting Plaxico in there is going to be big time. You still got Tiki Barber. Getting the tackle [Kareem McKenzie] in there – that's big stuff. The Giants made tremendous strides on the offensive side.

What are your thoughts on Tom Coughlin as he heads into his second season? Does he seem to have a better relationship with his players?

Simms: (Sarcastically) Oh, Tom's too hard. C'mon...He wants his players to show up on time...Tom's an ice cream salesman next to my college coach. Again, I think it's overblown. I think it's the way that Tom Coughlin presents himself – he's a nice guy, he's kind of funny – but he doesn't like 'off-the-cuffing' as much as the media likes. Hey, you know what, once a perception's out there you can never change it. I don't care what you do. Him wanting guys to show up on time – it's amazing what they want you to do nowadays for a couple million dollars. He'll be fine. In fact, I find him not to be that physically demanding of a coach on his football players. He's into giving them a chance to succeed. He knows all about the 'science' end of the game. Again, the perception, I think, is way overdone. But nothing's going to change that.

If you were NFL commissioner, what would you change?

Simms: The game doesn't need much – that's evident by the people who watch it. I talk to people every day. I went to a restaurant here in New York, and I'll bet I talked to 15 people. They asked me questions and we talked about football. And very seldom do I get complaints. So that tells me a lot right there. I have [a suggestion] that has nothing to do with the outcome of games: I would like to see the pay structure of NFL players change. I would like to see more guaranteed contracts. It would change a few things. I think the system as it stands now is that everything is a little too one-sided in my eyes. Sooner or later you've got to start doing a few things like that for the players; it's not always just about superstars. I'd like to see guaranteed contracts work their way into the NFL.

Should Harry Carson be in the NFL Hall of Fame?

Simms: Wow, I've answered this question eight million times. I follow the Hall of Fame. I see whom they put in every year. And I don't know the word to use except 'shameful,' that he's not. He didn't get the notoriety, the fanfare – whatever it was – to be in there. Are you telling me that people who vote for the Hall of Fame actually know how the middle linebacker has played in football games? Of course they don't. They have no clue. The only reason they can vote on quarterbacks and receivers is that they go on stats and perceptions. Sometimes, man, I could do an hour on the Hall of Fame. I don't understand why there's not some ex-players or ex-coaches on the board voting on these guys who really deserve to get in. I hear writers talking about players – and I'll bet you they can't tell me that Harry Carson played inside linebacker – and they're the ones who are going to vote him in or out.

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