Hot Topic & Player Notes: Giants

The late George Young, who served as the mentor and advisor to Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi, had several basic tenets for building a pro football team. In his case, of course, it worked, and for years now his plan has served as the Giants' handbook.

One of Young's beliefs was this: The three most important positions are quarterback, pass-rushing defensive end and offensive tackle.

Another was: You can never have enough pass rushers.

Well, Accorsi has followed the line. Two years ago he made a major trade on draft day to secure the first overall selection, quarterback Eli Manning, who had been drafted by San Diego.

It cost the Giants a great deal -- swapping their first-round pick, with which they had taken, at San Diego's request, quarterback Philip Rivers, plus a third and the next year's first -- but Accorsi feels it was worth it.

"Every year that trade is going to look better and better," he said. "It was the way for us to go. When you get a chance at a quarterback of a generation, and you're close enough to make it happen, you have to try."

This year he went for the defensive end, Mathias Kiwanuka of Boston College, despite the presence of Pro Bowl defensive ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora on his roster.

Was that overkill? It would be well to remember that the Giants drafted linebacker Carl Banks in the first round of 1983 -- with the third overall pick -- despite already having Hall of Famers Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson as well as Brad Van Pelt and Brian Kelley.

"You find room for the great players," Young said.

The Giants were going to take Kiwanuka in their original first-round slot, 25th, but Accorsi took another chance and traded down to 32nd to pick up additional picks from Pittsburgh -- and Kiwanuka was still there.

"We had a list of seven players when our turn came," he said. "Five we would have been happy with, the other two we could have lived with, but Mathias was on top of the list then and when we came up later."

With the signing of free agent LaVar Arrington, the Giants can field a formidable pass-rushing unit that could include Strahan and Umenyiora, Arrington, reserve end Justin Tuck, middle linebacker Antonio Pierce and Kiwanuka.

"That collection," Giants personnel director Jerry Reese said with a smile, "might be difficult to defend against."

PLAYER NOTES

--Coach Tom Coughlin, when pushed, admitted that newly acquired LaVar Arrington has been moved back to strong-side linebacker, and said that at the moment his starting trio would be Arrington, Antonio Pierce in the middle and Carlos Emmons at WLB. He would not comment on rumors that the Giants are contemplating a switch to a 3-4 base alignment, saying only, "We use a three-man front frequently during a game."

--The loss of WLB-MLB Nick Greisen to the Jacksonville Jaguars will become a problem if reserve Reggie Torbor can't make enough happen. Greisen couldn't stay with the Giants once he demanded that he be allowed to play inside, which for a 4-3 team means the MLB. That is Pierce's position.

--Prior to training camp, the starting secondary shapes up as Corey Webster and Sam Madison at CB, Will Demps at FS and Gibril Wilson at SS. Webster was a rookie (second round pick) last year, and Madison and Demps came to the team as free agents. Wilson is the only holdover in the secondary.

--The Giants' second-round draft choice, WR Sinorice Moss, is the younger brother of Washington's Santana Moss. He is just 5-8 but weighs 185 and was timed in 4.37 seconds for the 40-yard dash. He will probably become the third WR in a short time, vaulting over the injury-prone Tim Carter and Jamaar Taylor.

STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL

FRANCHISE PLAYER: None

TRANSITION PLAYER: None.

UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--CB Terrell Buckley was signed on Dec. 7 and the 14-year veteran was more of a hindrance than a help, and saw action in the final five games of the season plus the one playoff game.

--RB Michael Cloud clocked his second tour of duty with the Giants, signing as a free agent Dec. 26. He had one carry for zero yards.

--LB Jay Foreman was signed as a free agent Dec. 27 to provide another body for the injury-decimated group of LBs. Played in the final two games (counting the playoff loss to Carolina).

--LB Roman Phifer had the worst luck of all. He was signed Dec. 19 and aggravated a knee injury in a practice session. He appeared -- minimally -- in two games before being placed on injured reserve. UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (not tendered offers)

--CB/KR Lamont Brightful (not tendered as RFA). RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS

--WR/KR Willie Ponder (tendered at $721,600) seems to have fallen deep into coach Tom Coughlin's dog house and isn't expected to recover. Why? He fumbled two kickoff returns. That's tantamount to sharing the playbook with the opposition.

--TE Visanthe Shiancoe (tendered at $721,600) was a third-round pick out of Morgan State three years ago and while his athletic abilities never let him down, he just hasn't picked up the position. PLAYERS RE-SIGNED

--WR Tim Carter: UFA; $2M/2 yrs, $500,000 SB.

--QB Tim Hasselbeck: UFA; terms unknown.

--OG Lewis Kelly: UFA; terms unknown.

--RB/KR Chad Morton: UFA; terms unknown.

--WR David Tyree: RFA; $7.5M/5 yrs, $1.5M SB.

--CB Frank Walker: RFA; $721,600/1 yr.

--OT Bob Whitfield: UFA; terms unknown.

PLAYERS ACQUIRED

--LB LaVar Arrington FA Redskins; $49M/7 yrs, $5.25M SB.

--CB Jason Bell: UFA Texans; terms unknown.

--S Will Demps: UFA Ravens; 5 yrs, terms unknown.

--S Quentin Harris: UFA Cardinals; terms unknown.

--CB Sam Madison: FA Dolphins; $7.4M/4 yrs, $2M SB; 2006 cap: $1.4M.

--CB R.W. McQuarters: UFA Lions; $6M/3 yrs, $2M SB.

--G/C Grey Ruegamer: UFA Packers; $750,000/1 yr, $40,000 SB; 2006 cap: $465,000.

--LB Brandon Short: FA Panthers; terms unknown.

PLAYERS LOST

--S Brent Alexander (released).

--DT Kenderick Allen: RFA rights terminated/Packers; terms unknown.

--CB Will Allen: UFA Dolphins; $12M/4 yrs, SB unknown.

--DT Kendrick Clancy: UFA Cardinals; $8.1M/4 yrs, SB unknown.

--LB Barrett Green (released).

--LB Nick Greisen: UFA Jaguars; 2 yrs, terms unknown.

--OG Jason Whittle (released).

--S Shaun Williams: UFA Panthers; 1 yr, terms unknown.

MEDICAL WATCH: No updates.

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