New York's off-season notebook
Jason Sehorn had difficulty defending receivers throughout the season, but before they parted ways for the offseason teammates and coaches were quick to defend the nine-year veteran whose future with the organization is unclear.
"People are gonna get open," Defensive Coordinator Johnnie Lynn said of Sehorn's substandard performance in San Francisco. "The quarterback bought some time. But I'm proud of what Jason did and how he played. At the start of the year, everybody was saying, ‘He's this,' and ‘He's that.' Well, at the start of the year, he still had the knee problem. So working through this season and coming on, he did well." Sehorn has completed only two seasons of his six-year, $36 million contract, but he will likely be asked to take a pay-cut if he wants to remain a Giant. If the 31-year-old Sehorn agrees to have his salary slashed, he may also be asked to switch positions, especially since free safety Omar Stoutmire will become an unrestricted free agent after next month. Sehorn started his career as a free safety in 1994, but became the Giants' starting right cornerback in 1996, and aside from time missed due to injuries, didn't relinquish the position until Will Peterson out-played him this season.
"We have a good thing back there in the secondary right now," Peterson said of Sehorn's status. "I don't know if they wanna break that up, but that's not up to me."
It isn't entirely up to Sehorn, either, but the team will take an approximate $2 million cap hit if they release him next month. "Everything," Sehorn said, "will take care of itself."
Payton's Place To Be Determined
The Giants averaged 26.9 points in nine games after Jim Fassel supplanted Sean Payton as the team's play-caller, so Payton's place in the organization is uncertain to say the least. "I'm gonna sit down and talk with Sean and see what he has to say," Fassel said. However, Fassel acknowledged that their meeting would be "different" than those with other assistants, "because I took his primary responsibility away."
Fassel still didn't commit to calling the plays again next season, but Payton could join longtime friend Jon Gruden in Tampa if he doesn't want to work with Fassel anymore. There were whispers regarding Payton joining former Giants Defensive Coordinator John Fox in Charlotte, N.C., but when Bill Parcells hired ex-Giants RB Maurice Carthon off Detroit's staff to be his offensive coordinator in Dallas, the odds of Parcells loyalist Dan Henning leaving his Panthers post diminished.
Fassel Feels Kicker Is A Keeper
This is about as surprising as the conclusion of the movie "Titanic," but Fassel said he will actively seek a replacement for first-year P Matt Allen and another long-snapper during the offseason. Allen averaged an NFL-low 36.9 yards-per-punt, and his 32.5-yard net average was the sixth lowest total in the league. But he has faith in first-year K Matt Bryant, who made 27-of-34 FG tries this season (79 percent), but missed crucial kicks in their final two games. "Matt has done, I think, a very good job for us," Fassel said, "considering what he had to deal with, too."
Fassel will bring another kicker to training camp, though, perhaps Owen Pochman, if he has recovered from his preseason knee injury.
Read Won't Join Mac Duff, von Appen
Though their special teams were erratic again this season, Fassel doesn't expect to change coaches at that position for what would be the fourth time in four seasons.
"I expect Bruce (Read) to be back," Fassel said. Fassel also defended Read's failure to remind Allen to call timeout in the event of another botched snap on that fateful third-down field goal attempt in San Francisco.
"It's not like that hasn't been covered," Fassel added, noting that he actually told Allen about that "a dozen times" earlier in the season.
The End Zone: Notes & Quotes
The Giants generally left 41-year-old Trey Junkin alone as they cleaned out their lockers the day after his two snap snafus contributed largely to their collapse in San Francisco. "He probably feels worse (than we do). What do you say?" RB Tiki Barber said. . . .
SS Shaun Williams apologized to teammates and co-owners Wellington Mara and Bob Tisch for getting ejected from the San Francisco game, but felt he had to help LCB Will Allen before receiving that second costly unnecessary roughness penalty with one minute left. "I look around and this lineman (304-pound C Jeremy Newberry) is attacking Will Allen," Williams said. "What am I supposed to do, just let that happen to someone I care about?"
C Chris Bober said he will approach Fassel about permanently solving the long-snapping problems on FGs and extra points, but Fassel probably won't want to overwork him. "If they need me, I'll go out there and do it, but it's the coach's decision," Bober said.