It took an astounding 25 days – close to four weeks – before the Giants signed their first free agent of the offseason. The 49ers signed two starting defensive backs – something the Giants could certainly use – during the first day of free agency alone when they locked down corner Nate Clements and safety Michael Lewis. They tossed in playmaking linebacker – yet another hole in Big Blue's roster – Tully Banta-Cain for good measure.
Yes the Giants discussed some big names such as Dominic Rhodes, Leonard Davis and the like, but didn't even come close to signing them. They even decided that Kevin Curtis, a solid receiver with good upside potential, wasn't worth the money so they sat back and watched him sign with the Eagles. Now it's way too early to tell if the Giants missed out on some talent or were prudent in their passivity. But it's pretty hard to get excited about a team that barely made the playoffs last season doing next to nothing.
However, one partial period of free agency is way too small a sample on which to judge Jerry Reese, who could turn right around and pull a couple opening-day starters out of the draft at the end of the month.
Perhaps that would soothe the minds and hearts of Giants fans. That's because, right now, they don't see a plan – and they're none too happy about it. The fans see the release of players like Luke Petitgout and LaVar Arrington, only a year after they signed him, but don't see anyone coming aboard to replace them.
What all the lack of action on the Giants front has done is lower the expectations of New York's fan base. Last year at this time, we were talking about the defending division champs that had added Arrington and whole new secondary to the mix. While it didn't turn out as well as hoped, there was still plenty of excitement last March and April. This year? Not so much.
If you can find five fans that are happy and strongly agree with the decision to retain Tom Coughlin that would be a lot. The optimism regarding Eli Manning has begun to wane and the fact that it's darn near impossible to see how this team has gotten better since the end of last season has Giants fans in a general malaise.
And it's not just the fans that are upset with the lack of action. Several Giants players have wondered aloud why nothing has been done, while TGI has even heard rumblings that some of the assistant coaches are curious as to why they haven't been given more to work with.
Say it ain't so, Tiki – Have to admit TGI was plenty surprised at Tiki Barber's verbal assault of Coughlin on his way out the door. Barber basically blamed his whole retirement on Coughlin and his tough practices. Now, believe you me, we all know most of the veteran players absolutely, positively do not enjoy playing for Coughlin – despite what some of them say in team-generated press releases. And Barber was always at or near the top of that list. But with a few rare exceptions, he always said the right thing and did what was best for the organization. That's why it was just plain wrong of Barber to take an unsolicited parting shot at Coughlin.
Listen, it's hard to ever feel sorry for Coughlin because of how abrasive he usually is towards most of his players and members of the media. But he definitely didn't deserve to have to defend himself on this one. Barber has been nothing but the best with the media since his arrival in New York and has become a great friend of TGI. But we have to call it like we see it and Tiki was dead wrong to call out a defenseless coach – after the fact, no less.
Kiwi to LB – Mathias Kiwanuka says that no one's come to him yet about the second-year man playing a stand-up linebacker position this season. But it says here that he better be ready when they do. The Giants defensive staff has discussed moving Kiwi back to serve as an extra pass-rusher and also as a way of getting him on the field as much as possible. Kiwanuka said his staff back at Boston College also discussed the move. He added that he'd just welcome getting more snaps in any way possible.
No offense – Heaven only knows how the Giants offense is going to hold up without the services of Barber, the best running back this organization has ever seen. But one step Coughlin made was to hand over the play-calling to Kevin Gilbride. It wouldn't be too harsh to state that Gilbride failed as a QBs coach. Eli Manning not only didn't improve under Gilbride's tutelage, but he actually regressed last season. But take heart, Giants fans, because maybe Gilbride's calling in New York is calling the plays. Most of his players threw their full support behind him. While John Hufnagel was pass-happy to say the least, Gilbride appears, at least at this point, like someone who's going to adapt to the given game situations and show a better ability to change on the fly.
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